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Level Up with this Digital Marketing Guide.

What is digital marketing?

Digital marketing also known as online marketing is the promotion of brands, products and services through digital communication. This includes email, social media, website and other web-based digital communications.

How does everything work?

1. Register a domain name

Your website is the storefront to your online business, and like a store needs an attractive layout, you need a beautifully designed and navigable website to attract customers. A domain is like the rent you pay to have your storefront online. A domain can be the name of your business e.g. yourbusinessname.com.

A domain is important so that potential and current customers can have an address to find you online. Domains can be purchased through web hosting platforms such as GoDaddy, Blue Host, Name Cheap, but we recommend Site Ground for it's reliability and affordability. At Site Ground your domain can be purchased along with other features necessary for your website such as free SSL and email hosting plans which we discuss further in the next section.

2. Setting up a professional email address

Now that you have your website set up, we highly recommend an email hosting plan along with your domain from Site Ground. The two go hand-in-hand. Your domain purchase comes with a free professional email account. A professional email address is one which matches your domain name. e.g. emailus@yourbusinessname.com.

Customers will feel a sense of legitimacy about the website that they are shopping on when they see a professional email address. It gives a sense of trustworthiness and accountability so clients feel like they are making a secure transaction as well as interacting with a working team at an establishment. Impression counts. A professional email address stands out more and looks more trustworthy than a personal email address. It also makes it easier for customers to search for your company online.

3. Getting an automated email service provider

Studies show on average, 33.8% and 39% of Americans check their emails throughout the day and 1-3 times a day respectively. Email marketing is often overlooked when compared to social media marketing and other types of marketing but this is still one of the best and most underrated ways to market your business. Social media is often fickle. Fierce competition among social media giants like Youtube, Instagram and Tik Tok shift users’ attention from one platform to the next as they suddenly change their algorithms; add the latest feature; or suddenly stop working.

This makes it unwise to completely rely on social media marketing as it is inherently unstable. Email marketing campaigns, on the other hand, is the steadiest way to keep in contact with your clients. So getting an Email Service Provider like Mail Chimp to automate this for you is key. It can be used to generate sales, maintain customer engagement, gain new customers, create/ maintain brand awareness and reward customer loyalty.

4. Hiring a freelance designer

Buying your domain is the beginning. Creating and designing your website is where the fun begins. There are different ways to create your website. You can build it from scratch using HTML, CSS and all that good stuff which is the most technical and time-consuming way but the perk is that there are no limits in its design. You have full control of how the website is laid out.

The other way is to use a pre-designed template. The work is done for you so no coding is needed but templates can be restrictive in its design as elements cannot be shifted to exactly how you would like your site to look.

We recommend getting the best of both worlds by hiring a designer from Fiverr. You’d think hiring a professional designer as a small/ new business owner might be overbudget but Fiverr has quality design professionals who can work to make the website look EXACTLY how you would want it using their coding skills at affordable prices.

5. Getting social media management

We spoke a bit about the cons of social media but it does have its benefits too. Every post on social media is basically an ad for your business. Millions of customers are on at least one social media platform so the potential to reach new customers is likely. Keeping consistency and uploading quality posts are the main challenges of business owners but learning this skill is critical in having an online business.

Remove some of the tedious work like scheduling content to auto-publish, finding new customers, and instantly responding to comments with a good social media managing tool such as Sprout Social. Post, reply, or share content in seconds — on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google Business Profile. All from one simplified Dashboard.

6. Content marketing

Content marketing allows you to bridge the gap between a purchase indecision and a purchase. Purchase decisions, more often than not, are based on emotion. Content related to your brand has a lot of influence and persuasive, and be a main factor in someone’s purchase decision. Just seeing an interesting post, for example, can lead to an impromptu purchase that was not even at the forefront of their mind when they first started browsing online.

Content marketing can be in several forms including: Ebooks, Videos, Podcasts, Infographics, Blogs, Social Media posts and the list goes on. Content should come across as educational and/entertaining so as to keep the audience engaged. All of these could contribute to being a part of your digital marketing strategy that helps to build awareness among consumers about your business.

Lastly here's some advice. Please be patient with all the steps mentioned before. Along with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and amazing consistent content you could see results anywhere between six months to a year. So just keep at it and be consistent, we wish you all the best.

Kirk Padmore

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