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How start-ups can manage their own Digital Media Marketing

In February 2004, the world became ‘smaller’. It was the month that Mr. Zuckerberg launched “The Facebook”, thereby igniting the age of social media. Within 24 hours, 1200 Harvard students had signed up, and after 1 month, half of the graduate population had a Facebook profile.

What we didn’t know then, was just how beneficial the arrival of social media would be for start-up businesses. Previously, if entrepreneurs didn’t have a sizeable marketing budget, they relied on word-of-mouth and perhaps a flyer drop at key robot intersections. The likes of radio and TV ads that could reach a significant portion of their target audience, was far beyond the financial reach of start-ups. However, for more than 50 years, traditional advertising spend has dropped by single-digit percentages each year, with digital marketing increasing in double-digit increments. The reasons for this are simple; digital marketing is considerably less expensive and more targeted. This allows for efficient budget spend.

All start-ups should consider handling their own digital marketing in the early days. Whilst things like business insurance which will include cover like Liability insurance and Directors and Officers insurance must be left to the experts, digital marketing is within your grasps. It will allow your business the time it needs to find its financial feet. It is a time-consuming process but it will save you money until you can afford the professionals.

Before kicking off your digital marketing strategy, you’ll require an overall marketing strategy. For this, you need to know:

WHO your target customer is;

HOW you are going to reach them;

WHAT problem you are solving for them.

Within your marketing strategy, you will also develop your visual brand identity, which includes your brand’s look, feel and tone.

The digital marketing strategy falls within the greater marketing strategy.

What is digital marketing?

Digital marketing is all-the-buzz at the moment, but many people are incorrect when it comes to defining what it entails. It isn’t just social media (Facebook, Twitter and so forth), and it also isn’t just Google ads. Digital marketing incorporates all the below:

–       Website

This is the cornerstone of your digital marketing strategy. Stats show that 39% of visitors leave a website if images take too long to load, 44% will leave a website if there’s no contact information, 38% will stop engaging with a website if they find it unattractive and 70-80% research a small business online before purchasing from it.

Ensure that your website is impeccable and enticing. The likes of WordPress are user-friendly ways of building your own website.

–       SEO/SEM

71% of consumers start their journey on search engines when discovering a new product or service, which is why SEO is vital to the success of your digital marketing. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is free or organic content like meta-data, blogging and backlinks, whilst SEM increases your ranking on the Search Engine Results Page via paid advertising with Google AdWords and PPC advertising.

–       Content marketing

This is compelling, valuable content that intrigues and entices your target market, hence building trust. Valuable website and social media content must be a priority within your digital marketing strategy. Content marketing  comes in the form of case studies, testimonials, infographics, demonstration videos and blogs.

–       Social media

There are a large number of social media platforms, but you’re most likely to have heard of Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter. The platforms your industry will benefit the most from, will require some research from your side.

Creating a social media content calendar is crucial to effectively and professionally manage your business’s social media. You need to schedule daily posts, weekly posts and competitions, for example. Careful planning will go a long way to ensuring you don’t become overwhelmed – managing your digital marketing is time-consuming, but remains manageable if meticulously thought out. Don’t become reactional, as this will result in badly thought out posts or ads that may damage your business image.

The creation of ads on Facebook and the other social media platforms is a step-by-step, simple process. The more you do it, the easier it will become.

–       PPC

Pay Per Click ads apply to social media, e-mail, SMS and Google. They generate more traffic to your website and ensure the leads are ‘qualified’ thanks to targeted advertising.

–       Email marketing

The role of Email marketing is first and foremost about nurturing leads. It is an opportunity to give them exclusive insights into competitions, promotions and the introduction of new products. This sharing of valuable content builds trust and brand affinity. Emails must include links to your social media pages and your website.

Email marketing is also an effective way to reach out to clients following a lead generation  campaign.

Yes, starting a business does have unavoidable costs like stock, office rental, interest costs and business insurance. However, just like you are doing with your digital marketing, look for ways to reduce these costs. Perhaps delay that office rental by working from home until your business is better established? Ask about consignment stock from suppliers; if they see potential in your business, they may well help. Businessinsurance.co.za gives you access to competitive comparative quotes on the likes of Liability insurance and other business insurance requirements, so you may end up paying a lot less than you thought.

All your hurdles are easily surmountable when you break them down into bite-sized portions. So, keep on keeping on!

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