A Sample System for Successful Digital Marketing
In my previous article, Introduction to the World of Digital Marketing Part 1, I mentioned that a lack of a system is one of the most significant obstacles for a successful digital marketer. These systems make life a whole lot easier by streamlining the process of marketing, as well as allowing you to correctly assess the efficiency of all the measures you have taken in the past and present.
Now I won’t go into this topic in detail as there are many digital marketing gurus out there (both fake and authentic) that offer their systems. I don’t want to compare or contrast the innumerable number of systems out there. What I am going to discuss, is the basic formula underlying these systems. This will show you how to find a system out there that you know will be able to help you out in your digital marketing endeavors. Understand the process well enough and you may even be able to create your own system from scratch!
Step 1: Define the Product
You, as a business owner, are by default, a digital marketer. Whether you realize it or not! It’s essential that you understand what exactly you are offering.
This is generally referred to as “a product,” but it could be anything at all: consumables, apps, materials, tangible hardware, digital software, personal services, outsourcing services, courses, membership sites, coaching sessions, and all sorts of things. Anything can be a product to sell if people NEED it and are willing to pay for it.
The first thing you need to understand here is the purpose of your product. A product must serve some purpose, either real or imagined if it will sell well in the market. A real purpose is a practical one, like how a screwdriver is needed to turn screws by hand. Your customer doesn’t want the screwdriver, he wants to hold something in place. Are you able to meet that need? An imagined purpose is one that meets a human need, like how a delicious recipe can evoke strong feelings in a person. Understand the purpose of your product and you will know what it will be for.
Then, you should evaluate your product by its relevance. Tablets used to be irrelevant or unimportant to people when they were first launched, but Apple released the iPad at a time when people needed computing on the go. This is a perfect example of how you’ll have a much easier time selling a product if it’s important and relevant to the time.
The last thing you need to define with your product is how well it’ll fare against the competition. Consider yourself lucky if you’re selling a product with little or no competition. Stiff competition, however, will require you to convince consumers that your product has something that the competition does not have.
Once you take all these factors together, you’ll be able to define the purpose, relevance, and competitiveness of your product – all of which are vital things that will affect how you sell your product.
Step 2: Define the Demographic
Once you have defined the product you aim to sell, the next thing you need to define is the people that will most likely be willing to pay money for your product.
This is called a demographic, also known as a target audience or potential customer base. You will be working to meet the needs and wants of these people, and you will be able to sell your product much more easily if you understand them better.
The first thing you need to do is limit the physical variables. These are the variables that physically differentiate people, like age, gender, and physical condition. This will allow you to paint a solid picture of the person you would like to sell your products to.
The next thing is to work on the social variables. This is what sets people’s cultures and identities apart, like nationality, ethnicity, education and even political affiliation. These unique social variables will help you gain an idea of how these people present themselves to other people.
After social variables come financial variables. The income of your target demographic will greatly affect how they live their lives, especially since upper-class, middle-class and low-income people live very different lives. Pinpoint what income bracket you want to appeal to and you will be able to know what marketing tactic will appeal to your demographic the most.
The final and perhaps most difficult variable you need to define is the language that your target demographic uses. This is not just about using the written and spoken language of a people, but their expressions, culture, and mindset as well. The need to understand the language used by your target demographic is critical to better ‘connect’ with them.
All these will help you better understand the people most likely to buy your products. You can then adjust your marketing strategies accordingly.
Step 3: Define the Methods
Once you have defined your audience, the next thing you need to do is define the digital marketing methods you’ll use in your campaign.
There are countless ways to sell a product on the Internet. The good thing about this is that you do not need to limit yourself to just one marketing method. If the methods work to bring in sales, then you can mix and match to your heart’s content.
This article focuses on helping you succeed as a digital marketer, not on the various marketing methods, so I will just make a quick run-down of the marketing tools at your disposal:
Website creation – This is a no-brainer for any digital marketer. Whether you create a full website complete with all the relevant perks for visitors or a simple landing page and funnel to sell a product, your website will serve as your public face on the Internet. Make it pretty and effective and it will get the job done for you.
Search engine optimization – Search engines like Google and Bing have these unique methods of ‘ranking’ websites based on their content and relevance to a set of keywords. You can either study up on SEO or hire a specialist to do the optimizing for you.
Email marketing – This is an oldie with digital marketing but is still as relevant today as it was before. Getting people to willingly sign up for an opt-in campaign will allow you to build a list of interested potential customers. You can then use this list to send out newsletters informing potential customers about the products you have to offer them.
Article marketing – Brand name is something you absolutely need to build on the Internet, and article marketing will do just that for you. Writing a whole host of articles on a topic will allow you to establish yourself as an expert in a specific niche; making it easier for people to trust you and be willing to pay for your products. Articles can also be used for search engine optimization, so that’s killing two birds with one stone.
Forum marketing – Posting, communicating, sharing, and interacting in forums is another way to build your brand name in an existing community. Search the Internet for forums related to the product you are selling and engage with the people there. Remember to contribute useful content and be part of the community instead of trying too hard to sell your product. Remember: you are trying to establish yourself as an authority and an expert, not a desperate peddler. Don’t underestimate the power of Facebook groups!
Blog marketing – Blogs are a great way for you to reach out and communicate with people, and they are well-loved by the search engines as well. A blog is something like a personal journal where people can react to your posts, so it is not a good place to push for sales. Think of it as a platform where you build trust with existing and potential customers and share helpful content with them.
Social network marketing – Facebook and Twitter are like mini-blogs, except massive in scope. Their networking capabilities make them ideal places to make announcements and shout-outs. They are also great tools for getting quick feedback and opinions from people. There are, however, correct and incorrect ways of using social networks. Be careful what you say, otherwise, you could have your mistakes instantly broadcasted across a wide network of people.
Viral marketing – Content that people will want to share is called viral. It can be a striking photograph, it can be a funny sound clip, it can be a sad video or it can be a witty meme. What matters at the end of the day is that people will share the content and make a connection to the product you are selling. Again, there is a correct and incorrect way of creating viral content – especially since people are less willing to share content when they know somebody will profit from it.
Link exchanging – Working together with other digital marketers can be a very useful and lucrative affair, especially when you agree to exchange links on each other’s websites. This link exchange effectively allows you to tap into each other’s customer bases, but will only be possible if you work with people who complement your business instead of competing directly with it.
Personal marketing – Real-life events like parties, seminars, conferences, and social gatherings are excellent opportunities to market your business, even if that business is based on the Internet. This is where it pays to maintain a social circle in real-life, and you would be surprised how effective this can be.
These are but a handful of the digital marketing tools at your disposal, especially since the list will grow much longer if you are willing to put money into the whole affair. Doing so will give you access to pay-per-click advertising, banner advertising, classified advertising, link purchasing, and lead purchasing. You can even hire other marketers to market your product for you, a system called affiliate marketing.
Step 4: Review the Methods
Once you implement your methods of choice for marketing a product, you will then have to take a long, hard look at which ones work and which ones don’t.
This basically means you’ll have to evaluate the effectiveness of your marketing methods. You should check if each one meets your marketing goals and lives up to your expectations. The problem here, though, is that you need to know how a method failed or succeeded. Failure to do this will result in adopting or rejecting a marketing method without finding out why in the first place.
To objectively evaluate a marketing method, you first should rate it based on three criteria:
This is the single most obvious criterion for evaluating a marketing method’s effectiveness. It is relatively easy to keep track of the number of sales made within a period, and comparing this month’s profits to last month’s profits is a relatively simple task. The numbers alone, however, are not the only thing that determines your long-term success as a marketer.
Happy customers make for good advertising, while unhappy customers can make your life much more difficult. It is always important that you get feedback from your customers, especially since your success as a marketer hinges on your ability to meet the needs and wants of your customers to their satisfaction. Reaching out and communicating with your customers then becomes essential in reviewing the efficiency of your marketing methods.
What works today won’t work tomorrow, which is why you always, always must keep track of how well your methods bring customers into your fold. The same marketing methods can only work for so long, so keep checking back on how they perform and modify them as needed.
Remember that some marketing methods work better for a mature product that’s been on the market for some time, while some methods become less effective the more people know about the product. Keep this in mind and you’ll be able to evaluate the sustainability of your marketing methods.
Tips to Help Get You Started
Now that you have an idea or two on how to be a successful digital marketer, I do have some tips that will help make life a little bit easier for you when you start marketing your products. Here are some of the more important ones:
Resell rights are good products to start with
If you want to try out your hand at digital marketing and want to take a low-risk approach, then you may want to purchase resell rights to digital products. Other Internet marketers with established names simply want to enhance their reputation; letting other marketers sell their digital products and keep the entire profits to themselves.
Examples of these digital products include guides, e-books, software, and even videos. Simply go to your preferred search engine, type “resell rights” and select the digital product that you would like to work with. You can then experiment, or you can take this more seriously and market a variety of these items for a nice profit.
Create a simple landing page that catches the eye of your customers
Visit some landing pages that have recently caught your eye, and pay attention to why. Most boast simplicity and are concise and to the point. How appealing is the product to you? Is the copy playing to your emotions? Is there a sense of urgency to buy? This is how you construct a landing page – clean, simple, compelling, but straight to the point. Be careful not to overdo the extra testimonies, promos, and special effects because this can sometimes clutter up the page and make it harder for visitors to see what you are selling. The important thing you need to do is highlight your product and make sure visitors know what they stand to gain when they acquire your product.
Always provide incentives for those who opt-in to mailing lists
Look at a few of those landing pages again. Are there words like “FREE GIFT!” or “BONUS” or “If you act now, you’ll also receive these…”? Visitors to your website will be much more willing to opt into your mailing list if they stand to gain something useful without having to pay money for it. You sign up for the mailing list for the free offer, but you also sign up for a mailing list to receive other offers that will meet your needs. It’s a win-win situation for the customer and the seller.
Seed your landing page and website with keywords
One of the most basic aspects of search engine optimization involves properly seeding keywords where they are most needed. Keywords are around two to four words long and are basically the focal points of a discussion. For example, a website talking about tips to help new online marketers could revolve around the keywords “digital marketing success.” The website addresses, page addresses, page titles, headers, and the content will then have these three words contained with them all. Having a specific set of keywords to define a website’s content will make it much more attractive for the search engines.
Never forget your call to action
No matter what product you sell, make sure that you clearly tell potential customers what you want them to do. “Buy now,” “click here” and “subscribe today” are some examples of calls to action that direct a potential customer to take action after being exposed to marketing. These calls to action have been shown to be extremely effective in getting customers to commit to a product or service, so make sure that all your marketing efforts end with a call to action.
Internet marketing is never an easy thing. Newbie digital marketers (aka many unsuspecting business owners) need to establish themselves in an unfamiliar and extremely competitive environment, while veterans of the business always must be in their best shape lest they lose their dominant positions to new and talented competitors.
These tips are designed to help you establish a better foothold in the world of digital marketing. I leave the more technical aspects of your own studies, as each individual topic like SEO and consumer psychology will require thick volumes of their own. Most of these specifics are best outsourced to a someone who specializes in specific digital marketing techniques.
The real key to marketing success, however, lies not in what you know but how you approach overall strategy. The techniques and methods might make success easier, but you will be unable to fully appreciate their benefits unless you:
- Are sincere, transparent, reflective, excellent, competitive, understanding, empathic, efficient, innovative, emotionally balanced and hungry for knowledge.
- Don’t fear failure, pace your study of marketing, connect with your customers, build a list of productive leads, properly utilize aforementioned list, follow up on your sales, streamline work with a system, add depth and breadth to your marketing and establish a reason for pushing yourself to excel.
- Understand your product inside-out, understand the needs and wants of your customers and understand the pros and cons of the various marketing methods available to you.
Oh, and one last thing – never, ever sell out your customers. NEVER sell the email addresses of your customers, selling this list to third parties will instantly put you in hot water with the law and Internet authorities. Most importantly of all, though, your customers won’t appreciate being the recipients of spam email and will be quick to break off all business with you.
With that in mind, we aim to make the world of digital marketing something our clients don’t have to be experts at. It’s helpful for anyone who owns a business to know the basics, but creating an effective strategy and implementing a plan is best left to experts for maximum results. There are a lot of ups and downs in the digital marketing journey, but with a team who specializes in being up to date on the many changes going on, you can be rest-assured your digital marketing investment will continue on an upward path. If this is something you’d like to talk to us about working on, please reach out and we’d love to set up a plan on how to take your digital marketing to the NEXT level!