Business on a Budget: Digital marketing

by Jake Martin, Title Text

5 min read

If you choose wisely and use them right, digital marketing can prove to be a quick and cost-effective way of gaining new customers and providing excellent customer service.

Digital Marketing Tip 1: Good online communication

Feedback and recommendations from clients should always be valued by your business and should be encouraged. Luckily, there are plenty of free applications and cost-effective options to help get great communication from your customers.

Suggestions include Live Chat application Olark, which at its basic free level allows 20 conversations in a calendar month, along with a variety of paid-for live chat plans.

If you are looking for an alternative to live chat, then Zendesk could be a viable option. This app is designed as a ticketing system which will highlight high priority issues and allow you to respond quickly to customers who have raised them.

Another tool which prioritises customer support messages is Desk.com, which also has functions that analyse response times and help staff to work as a team to resolve customer issues.

Finally, there are tools designed for customer interaction and feedback, such as Get Satisfaction.

Digital Marketing Tip 2: Embrace social networking

To make the most of the social media channels you join, you need to provide your readers with useful and relevant content.  Get the content right and people will share it with their contacts, providing great potential to reach new customers. This method has proven to be more effective than the ‘hard sell’ message.

If you are on Twitter, then connecting, listening and learning is especially important. You can save yourself some research time with the Twellow tool, which hunts out businesses and people with large numbers of followers that you could engage with. If you want to look at industry-relevant content and opinion, then you can monitor this using Sprout Social.

There are also apps like Hootsuite if you need to schedule and organise your tweets. This means you can stray away from the computer, safe in the knowledge that you have a strong presence on social media.

Things work a little differently on Facebook, where you want to earn ‘likes’, and with this social currency, the clue really is in the name. Facebook users will have to like what you are doing/offering, and may like to feel they are getting something special as well. You could think about setting up exclusive Facebook promotions or offers, and posting content such as videos or useful product guides. In essence, you have to look at your business through the eyes of someone new and ask yourself what they would want to find out about it.

Lastly, don’t overlook Pinterest and Reddit if your products are visually attention-grabbing.

Digital Marketing Tip 3: The right way to advertise on Facebook

So your activity on Facebook has proved profitable, but this is just one part of it. To keep the momentum going, you may consider using paid-for advertising to boost your message. Here are our tips:

  • Try and target your advertising as much as you can, and earmark a ‘test budget’ so you can see if the campaign turns out as expected.
  • Facebook likes its users to stay within the site, so try and link your ad to a page within Facebook – you will also find the cost per click is lower.
  • Plan/implement different promotions and offers, and compare and contrast the results to see what works and what your strongest messages are.
  • You can also increase your reach by making use of the ‘friends of connections’ targeting tool on Facebook.

Digital Marketing Tip 4: Accumulate sales with affiliations

Affiliate programmes are paid for by performance when other websites or affiliate partners promote your business products.

You can either work this on a targeted one-to-one basis or you could join an affiliate network. Here, you register and set up an account, decide what cut any third parties will get if they promote and sell your products, and then let third parties know what you are offering. Two examples of affiliate sites you can sign up to are Aflite and Zferral.

Digital Marketing Tip 5: Gain leads from the web

There are several ways you can gain professional contacts and leads from the internet, the first being the ‘professional’ social network Linkedin. This site enables you to easily message your contacts, and encourage them to share details of your products with their own network. Other Linkedin functions include being able to set up group business pages through your profile and use the group(s) as a way of updating potential clients about your business, products and website.

Linkedin also offers advertising packages, which may be useful if you are looking to sell to other businesses and professionals. Advertising can be targeted by occupation, an effective way of making sure the right people get to see your products.

Alternatives to Linkedin include e-location and Experian, both of which have vast databases of contacts, and can provide relevant lists of potential leads.

Digital Marketing Tip 6: Additional business tools

With the internet constantly evolving, there are always new applications coming onto the market, including new cost-effective services for businesses.

  • First up there is Optimizely, which is good for helping you to, as the title suggests, optimise your website. It will show you what to do to build a better website, and how to optimise it. You can even build more than one version of a website page, and find out which one is most effective.
  • If you need to create and sign contracts online, and perhaps enter into negotiations as well, then Contractual.ly could help. It’s also a handy storage device for important documents.
  • Unbounce is all about landing pages on websites, and allows you to easily tweak and alter them, even if you’re not a wizard with technology.
  • If packages at a fixed price that will help protect both your business assets and intellectual property sound good, then Venture Proof could be your tool of choice.
  • Last on the list is an identification tool which will give you stats on what is bringing the highest amount of traffic to your business website. It could be email links, internet searches or your social media activity. Whatever it is, Bringshare will show you what is and isn’t working in your online strategy.

What ideas would you add?

Information may be abridged and therefore incomplete. This document/information does not constitute, and should not be considered a substitute for, legal or financial advice. Each financial situation is different, the advice provided is intended to be general. Please contact your financial or legal advisors for information specific to your situation.

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