With 84% of American adults connected to the internet, compared to the less than 1% in 1995, it’s safe to say that the internet is more important than ever. In the United States, the average American spends about 8 hours each week on the internet.
8 hours may not sound like much time, but think of it this way: there are 168 hours in a week, and when you factor out 40 hours a week for work, 8 hours a day for sleep (56 hours a week), that leaves 72 hours a week for everything else. When you also factor in cooking, eating, exercising, being with friends and family, cleaning, and commuting, there isn’t much time left for anything else.
Whether it is on a mobile device or a computer, the 8 hours Americans spend each week on the internet is a crucial time period for marketers to gear their efforts toward.
After reading this guide, you’ll be able to reach consumers in that 8-hour stretch of time when they are available and learn:
•How to use buyer personas to tailor your digital marketing effort
•An in-depth review of and how to start using pay per click, SEO optimization, social media, and content and email marketing
•The best assessment, organization, and tracking practices for creating a successful digital marketing strategy
Digital Marketing in a Nutshell
What is Digital Marketing?
Digital marketing is the act of promoting your services online through digital channels.
How Is It Different from Traditional Marketing?
Traditional marketing tends to focus on direct mailers, television, and radio advertisements. These can be very cost and time prohibitive when dealing with design, formatting, printing, postage, mailing, and agency costs on top of an initial customer list purchase.
What are the Benefits of Digital Marketing?
•You can save costs by doing it yourself. Digital marketing is far less costly than traditional marketing and you can do it yourself. You don’t need to hire a video agency to film for you or an advertisement agency as an intermediary to publishing. Everything you need, from publishing platforms to design tools, is available online. This greater access coupled with low costs help level the playing field when it comes to a well-funded corporation versus a small business. Your digital marketing can be just as good as a well-funded corporation with the right tools and strategy.
•You Can Raise Brand Awareness and Extend Your Reach. Another benefit of digital marketing is that it helps you build awareness and widen your reach. It can work as a great supplement to any marketing campaign and is strong enough to stand alone.
Laying Down a Strong Foundation
Know Your Business
As with any marketing effort, you want to have an ultimate goal in mind. Start by defining your business’s mission. This will help you to create small and actionable goals towards achieving that mission.
Know Your Audience
Understanding your target audience and catering to their needs is secondary, but necessary to achieving your business’s mission.
- Start by developing buyer personas. A buyer persona is a representation of a group of your customers based on market research about your existing customers. It reveal insights about the group’s decisions, their attitudes, needs, and expectations that drive them to choose or not choose you. You can your customers’ motives, so that you can better communicate how your services meet their needs.
- Name your personas for reference. For example, a male caregiver with a lack of family support system who is a New York banker looking for care for his mother who lives in Ohio might be “John The Prodigal Son.”
- Use the buyer personas to tailor your marketing. This ad “Gain work-life balance with home care” would be geared toward “Jen The Superwoman” who works full-time but is a full-time mother, and wants to provide care for her dad without sacrificing time at work and at home.
Quick Overview – What is Pay Per Click
What is Pay Per Click?
Pay per click is a type of display advertising in sponsored listings of a search engine or partner site. You pay each time your ad is clicked(pay-per-click) or each time your ad is displayed(cost-per-impression).
Pay per click, or PPC, is the more effective type of paid ad. PPC puts ads directly in front of prospects as they search for similar and related items. It generates a lot of traffic in a short amount of time through quick distribution of your ad on search engines. Alsoo highly targeted, it attracts those who already have a pre-existing interest in your service.
The downside is that it is more costly than other platforms and can add up based on the popularity of your ad.
Get Started with Pay-Per-Click Ads
You’ll get the best results from one of the two leaders in PPC, Google AdWords or Bing Ads.
- Sign up through their respective websites.
- Create your ad. Choose the search terms that will make your ad appear in the results. Craft a short description about what service or product you offer along with its value, and end it with a call-to-action, so that prospects can call you, visit your website, and/or visit your storefront.
- People will search online using certain keywords. If these keywords match your ad, your ad will appear next to or above search results.
- Connect with prospects. Based on your ad’s call-to-action, prospects can connect to you in various ways by calling you, visiting your website, or visiting your storefront.
Quick Overview – Social Media
What is Social Media?
Channels like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are online communities where users interact with each other through shares, likes, pictures, comments, messages. Recently, it has evolved from being just about “socializing” to more about “priming”. For example, when Facebook began, it was a way for college students to interact with each other online; today, it is a booming platform whose main revenue-driver is through connecting other businesses with its users through hosted web pages, ads, and more.
Social media as a marketing platform is quite multi-faceted. You can get a lot from using this type of digital platform, such as:
- Low cost. Social media platforms are virtually free to join, and therefore, get you the most bang for your buck.
- Automated Insights. Many platforms also offer analytics and data on how many people visit your profiles, how many clicks you get, and more.
- Large reach. With reblogging features on almost all social media platforms, if your customers share your content, they pave the way to more customers, like their friends and family, from their social networks.
- Publish quickly. Instantly publish and distribute content as quickly as you can Google search something.
- Generate Interaction. You get immediate feedback in the form of likes, comments, and reblogs.
- Nurture brand loyalty. Boost your reputation online by publishing relevant content, providing customer service, and responding to inquiries and comments
Get Started with Social Media
- Determine which social media platforms your target audience use. See left.
- Create an account with a social media platform. With Facebook, you can manage your business page from your personal account.
- Complete your profile. Fill out as much information as possible, so prospects and customers easily understand what services you offer and how to contact you.
- Maintain a regular presence. Posting regularly shows that your business cares about its image, the contact information is up-to-date, and you are readily available and accessible.
- Interact with consumers. Social media gives prospects and customers the chance to interact with you directly. Respond accordingly.
Quick Overview – Content Marketing
What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing consists of creating and distributing valuable content, such as blog articles, e-books, guides, and other resources to your target audience.
Content marketing communicates messages to your customers and prospects without selling. Instead of pitching your services, you deliver resources that makes your prospects more knowledgeable about the field. Delivering consistent and valuable resources makes your business a reliable source for not only information, but also services when it comes to purchasing.
The complex and emotional eldercare journey puts your business in a unique position to not only help consumers by providing resources, but also gain from being a reliable source.
Get Started with Content Marketing
- Brainstorm content ideas and choose your medium. Topics of interest include estate planning and budgeting for care.
- Choose a platform for publishing. Your platform depends on your media choice. For example, an article would best be published on a blogging platform like WordPress.
- Create your content. Make it easily read and use facts, anecdotes, and your industry knowledge to inform readers.
- Promote content through a many digital platforms. Once you’ve created and published your content, promote it through a channel, such as Facebook or an email marketing campaign, to gain more readership.
Quick Overview – Email Marketing
What is Email Marketing?
Email marketing involves using email to send advertisements, request business, solicit sales, or promote content. Email marketing acts as a direct channel that can be used to reach individuals personally.
However, you probably know from experience that unsolicited emails get annoying. To reduce unwanted emails, people filter out any unsolicited emails by only enabling approved senders’ emails to their inboxes or adding other types of filters. Similarly, some people simply just never read their email messages if they believe it is from a business.
A quick way to get around this, at least initially, is to have some type of personalization in your email. For example, instead of sending an email from sales@AgePath.com, it would be more personal to send it from Julia@AgePath.com.
Get Started with Email Marketing
- Compile customer emailing list. You can draw this from a number or resources, such as from those who sign up on your blog or other marketing efforts or an existing customer emailing list.
- Draft a valuable email. Determine the purpose of the email for yourself and your prospects. Be sure to include a way for prospects to follow up with you if the email does capture their interest.
- Take the time to personalize. Personalizing your email by sending it from an employee email address or by adding a greeting with the receiver’s first name, like “Hi Jen!”, can make all the difference between an opened and unopened email.
- Don’t forget an opt-out link. You should give prospects the chance to unsubscribe to your emails, so as to not overstep boundaries by continuously sending unwanted future emails.
Overview – SEO Optimization
What is SEO Optimization?
Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is the structuring of your website to achieve greater visibility in non-paid search engine results.
While there are many techniques for increasing web traffic and attaining a more robust digital presence, SEO allows your website to gain greater visibility with a less work. Plus, most of the changes that SEO requires also improve the functionality and navigability of your website for visitors.
Get Started with SEO Optimization
- Understand how search engines work. While most search engines use complicated algorithms, take these simple steps to rank higher. Google recommends designing your website for visitors and ease of navigability. See left.
- Use unique and descriptive titles. For each web page, create a separate title tag to increase the likelihood of your website appearing in search engines. Instead of tagging your page as “eldercare”, you’d want to tag it “assisted living in Los Angeles.”
- Simplify your URLs. Simple, descriptive URLs, instead of randomly automated ones, convey information about the content it links to and lead to better rankings by search engines.
- Improve your ranking with content. First, provide original and easy-to-read content. Then, try logically breaking up the text to help visitors and search engines find specific content faster.
Creating a Successful Digital Strategy
Assess your Resources
• Personnel. Your current marketer might be the perfect fit for spearheading your digital marketing. If the work needs to be shared with someone else, find someone new or in-house who is creative, understands your services and goals, and can responsibly manage your efforts.
• Budget. Budget accordingly for your personnel needs. Then, account for whether you use paid online ads.
Schedule Your Strategy
• Organize your strategy on a timeline. Set an overall timeline for the first run through of your digital marketing efforts at 3 months to test and track your efforts meaningfully.
• Schedule your due dates. First, divide your calendar by platform type, draft due dates, and publish due dates. Then, include an end date for reviewing your digital strategy.
Track Your Metrics
• Identify your metrics. Determine what you want to be held accountable for achieving, like a certain number of email opens. Then, base your figures on an analysis of previous digital marketing campaigns.
• Choose your methodology. Pull data from individual sites to measure your conversions. Similarly, track engagement, or even directly ask leads how they found you.
• Connect it to your calendar. Flush out the days, platforms, and content that are most successful by documenting your results and matching them to your calendar. Then, revise your strategy based on these results.