If you’re brand new to digital marketing, we recommend you start with our digital marketing glossary to learn the basics before reading this guide.
Digital marketing isn’t just about having a Facebook account for your business. It’s more than just email campaigns and social media marketing. Your digital marketing plan needs to have clearly defined goals. What are you trying to accomplish? Common goals include growing your social media followers, increasing clicks to your website, building an email list, and ultimately convincing your audience to buy your product or service. When you have clear goals, you can measure and analyze your marketing efforts to see what’s generating a profit for your business.
As mentioned above, your plan should define multiple goals, but all the goals should work together. Ultimately, your plan should funnel your audience toward conversion (becoming customers). The funnel should involve four high level steps and multiple marketing channels, but the general process involves finding users who are interested in your business/niche and driving them toward your website. Your website is designed to flow toward valuable content and, complemented with sophisticated remarketing, ultimately convert a sale. Here’s how it typically looks:
If you’ve done everything right, the users clicking through to your website either (1) searched for your business/niche directly on Google or (2) are fans/followers of yours on social media interested in what you’re offering. Either way, these are warm leads with legitimate interest in your business – you want to take care of them.
A lead magnet is something you offer to your users in exchange for their email address. This is a critical step in your digital marketing plan. Building a strong email list is paramount to a successful digital marketing campaign. Not only can we retarget hot leads with email marketing, but we can also use our email list to refine our audiences for social media ads. Make sure your lead magnet offers your users serious value. If it doesn’t, they either won’t subscribe, or you’ll lose credibility and trust if they do subscribe.
In general, you want to design your website (your menu, how you link from page to page, etc.) to flow toward your lead magnets (and ultimately sales) no matter where your user starts. This is good practice. But when warm leads enter your website through Google or social media, they are ideally a few levels downstream and only a click away from a highly relevant lead magnet. This is typically a landing page, “master guide” of sorts, or an in-depth blog post which ends with a signup box. Just remember: give value.
Each lead magnet serves a different purpose – either a different user persona, a different sub-niche, or a different final product. Let’s go back to our gym example. You can target all local users with something like offering a free workout session in exchange for joining their email list. The ultimate goal is to convert these leads into gym memberships, and this lead magnet gets them through the door.
For non-local users, maybe the goal shifts from gym memberships to selling supplements. Instead of a free workout session, maybe you offer a complete 3-month diet and exercise plan. You can even use this guide to promote some of your supplements (or supplements like them) as part of the diet requirements, which opens the door for you to follow up through email later. There’s virtually no business that can’t offer some kind of lead magnet, and knowing which users subscribed for which lead magnets gives you richer analytics to play with.
E-commerce can be a critical component of your digital marketing plan. Not every business requires e-commerce, but more businesses can utilize it than you’d expect. If you can close the sale online, you should capitalize. In the time between a customer deciding to buy a product and actually making the purchase, a lot can change. So it’s important to entice your customers to buy immediately.
Going back to our gym example, selling supplements is an obvious e-commerce opportunity. You don’t need a physical store to sell anything nowadays – just sell online and manage the logistics/fulfillment after. But let’s say your lead leaves your gym after a free workout without becoming a member. You can retarget them through email and, if you convert the sale, push them through online registration, waiver/terms, and payment. Their identity was already verified when they used your free trial. Everyone saves time in the long run.
Virtually every physical product, digital product, and subscription/membership can be sold through e-commerce and online checkout. Even services – salons, maids, catering, and many others – can be sold through e-commerce and online booking systems. Refunding online payments is simple, so there’s little downside to expediting the sale. If e-commerce isn’t possible, you can expedite physical payments by creating scarcity, such as imposing deadlines on certain offers. So get creative and close the deal.