• Jon Senne

5 Digital Marketing Tools to Grow Your Business

Intro


Digital marketing is absolutely vital to the success of a modern business. This should come as no surprise when 59% of the world, 4.66 billion people, are connected online in 2020. If you want your business to reach its potential, it's time to get familiar with the tools of the digital marketing trade. Imagine Design & Marketing is here to help.


Social Media


Social media is a vast array of websites and applications that enable users to create and share content while participating in online social networking. This includes Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and many, many more.


To the untrained eye, social media may seem like a chaotic place where people share pictures of their “best life” and post unsolicited political views. But to the astute observer, social media is the gold mine of the internet, the gift that keeps on giving to marketers and attention seekers alike.


Over 3.6 billion people worldwide use social media – that’s nearly half of the world’s population. Social media connects your business with a new audience and can convert people who don’t know about your products into loyal brand ambassadors. Social media is also free advertising and an awesome way to announce new products, promotions, and developments in your business.


A strong social media presence builds trust with your audience while giving you an honest impression of what people think about your business. This allows you to see the strengths and weaknesses of your business from the customer’s perspective.


The benefits of social media for your business are nearly endless, but here is a short list: increases web traffic, generates leads, boosts sales, helps with customer service, allows you to see what people say about your brand, teaches you about your customers and audience, and keeps you top of the consumer’s mind.


Social media may seem like a lot to learn, but no digital marketing tool can help your business grow faster than a great social media presence.


Tips for Social Media


1) Get on a schedule. It’s hard to keep up on posting. A social media calendar can organize your posts and keep your schedule organized. Many platforms – like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter – allow you to schedule your posts days in advance, meaning you can do all of your post creation in one session and leave the dirty work to the machines. For those that don’t allow future posting, there are apps that will do it for you, such as Later, Loomly, and Hootsuite.


2) Be patient. It takes time to grow your audience and convert them into customers. It may take months, or more, but your hard work will pay off with sales if you keep trying and stay consistent. It’s a marathon, not a sprint, and persistence pays off.


3) Don’t oversell. Social media is not about making a sale – it’s about making a connection. If your audience likes and trusts you, they will buy from you – that is Sales 101. If you cater your posts to entertaining and informing, you will organically build trust, which leads to buying traffic in the end. Your goal is engagement from your audience. Keep that at the forefront of your mind when creating your posts.


Video


Videos are by far the best way to keep your audience engaged, entertained, and coming back for more. High quality video content can educate, entertain, and captivate the mind of your audience.


Video gives you the ability to communicate a lot of information in a short amount of time. If done well, your audience will retain more information than they would from other mediums, such as a photo, podcast, or blog.


Videos are also the best way to increase your search ranking because they are viewed as “high-quality content.” As I’ve mentioned, it is incredibly important to do everything in your power to rise to the top of search rankings and get your business found online.


The attention span of your audience varies, but generally studies show that attention span on social media is somewhere between 30-120 seconds. Somewhat surprisingly, the length of attention span actually depends on which platform the video is posted to. Therefore, the length of your video should vary based on which platform you are posting to. Some examples are:


Instagram: 30 seconds | Twitter: 45 seconds | Facebook: 1 minute | YouTube 2 minutes


Making a video can seem like a daunting task but a video can be literally anything. It can be you in your bedroom talking for 60 seconds about the 3 reasons you love “insert product here” (just be sure to clean your room up first). The key is to be excited and be yourself. No one wants to watch a boring video. Likewise, no one wants to watch you act like someone you’re not. Authenticity and energy make for great video content.


Making video content can be stressful, but no other medium will pay you dividends quite like video. Do your best and forget about what people may think. If you’re authentic, energetic, and posting content, you’re winning the long game. Trust me.


Tips for Videos


1) Plan your video. Write a script, or at least make a bullet point of topics. Consider your scenes and storyboard, if necessary. Make sure that the background and lighting are perfect.


2) Practice basic video editing. Basic video editing skills are essential for effective content marketing. Solid experience in video editing will drastically improve the quality of your content. Many free apps exist, such as OpenShot, Lightworks, and VSDC, and many social media platforms provide built-in video editing software. Once you learn the basics your imagination is your only limitation.


3) Reshoot your mistakes. The beauty of video content is you can keep trying until you get it right. Don’t settle for mediocre results – make your video great by working on it until it is perfect.


Pictures


A photograph captures a moment in time and holds it in place, allowing a memory to be shared over and over again. The old saying is “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Today, a picture is worth ten thousand “shares” and twice as many “likes.” Likes and shares, in turn, are a cost-free avenue of marketing and advertising your products and services. Because of this, pictures are incredibly valuable to your business.


We live in a world where professional quality cameras are built directly into our cell phones and other mobile devices. Combined with the fact that the average person keeps their cell phone within 6 feet at all times, it has never been easier to snap a picture and build your brand.


Let’s be honest: pictures make you and your business look way cooler than they actually are. There I said it. Pictures allow for a healthy dose of imagination for your audience as they are deciding whether to buy from you – or someone else.


Pictures also help your web page rank higher in search listings and get more traffic. Pictures also help your social media posts by ranking you higher in the search and display algorithms.


You may never take “the perfect shot”, but even a bad picture can start a conversation. Pictures are the most convenient way to boost you online marketing presence.


Tips for Pictures


1) Take pictures of everything! You never know when you will capture a special moment.


2) Use a photo editing app to refine and redesign your photos. Many are free such as Pixlr, Snapseed, and Photoshop Express, and many social media platforms have photo editing software built in.


3) Caption and hashtag your picture. A picture is worth a thousand words, so think of a few clever phrases that describe your photo. Guide your audience’s imagination with captivating language.


Podcasting


Podcasting is the latest craze in marketing and online content. What is a podcast, anyway?


A podcast is simply one or more people recording a conversation about a chosen topic – the rules are pretty free and loose beyond that. Many podcasts feature multiple people wearing headphones in a recording studio while discussing industry specific ideas and developments.


Truthfully, any spoken word recording can be a podcast – even just one person speaking into their phone in a bedroom. Podcasting caters to a more casual listening experience and, as such, the content is more casual as well.


A podcast is like being a part of a great conversation where you don’t have much to say but you are happy to listen because you are learning something. A podcast can be listened to while you work, go to the gym, or drive home. I personally listen to podcasts while I cook dinner or when I need background noise that won’t distract me while I work. In a multi-tasking society, the ability to passively take in entertaining information is very appealing.


People are attracted to thoughtful, in depth conversation. You may be surprised to know that most people don’t have much thoughtful conversation in their life. Many people don’t have much conversation of any sort in their life. For some, that is why they turn to podcasts.

Podcasting is one of the best ways to establish yourself as the “brand authority” in your industry. Podcasting is also an excellent way to network with like-minded individuals, whether it be consumers or other industry professionals. This is a great way to begin building your community.


Many ask, “how long should my podcast be?” The honest answer is: there is no correct answer. Can you provide 20 minutes of engaging, insightful conversation? Great! Then don’t stretch it to an hour. 20 minutes of informative conversation is better than an hour of nonsense and filler. But then again, if you can keep it interesting for an hour (or more), you should. The focus with a podcast should be quality content over amount of content.


Podcasting may seem like a fad, but it is here to stay. Stay ahead of your competition by starting a podcast before your competitor does.


Tips for Podcasts


1) Plan your podcast. Make a list of topics and questions that you would like to discuss and do your research. Consider your audience and your guest(s). What does your guest want to talk about? What does you audience want to hear?


2) Be yourself – The worst thing to listen to is a person who is trying to be someone else. You are not Joe Rogan, or Colin Cowherd, or Bill Gates – you are who you are. Trust that people will appreciate your authenticity and like you for who you are.


3) Be consistent – You will NOT have listeners at first. It is what it is. It takes time to build an audience and you must earn their time and attention. Keep podcasting even when no one is listening. Like all things, the battle is won in the dark before anyone knows it is occurring.


Blog


A blog is a regularly updated website or web page that is written in a conversational style. It’s a lot like an essay, but with less formal structure and more informational fun. The goal of a blog is to help someone who is asking the question that you are answering, even if the potential cost of answering the question is today’s sale. Reputation is everything in business, and the best reputation you can have is “helpful.” Passing on a sale to help your audience today may lead to a long-term partnership tomorrow.


Blogging is an excellent chance to deeply explore your products, ideas, and interests with your audience. Blog posts are also your opportunity to prove that you actually know what you are talking about by backing up your opinions with facts and statistics. Furthermore, a blog is a great way to talk directly to your audience about new products, industry news, and frequently asked questions.


A well-run blog creates educational content that is useful and interesting, leading to more web traffic and increased brand awareness. Blog posts help your webpage rank higher in search listings, making your business easier to find online. Any blog post should have at least 300 words, but an awesome blog post has between 1,000 and 2,500 words. The ideal blog length for search rankings is approximately 2,500 words.


Blogging takes time and effort, but it will help both you and your reader and can be an invaluable resource for growing your business.


Tips for Blogs


1) Blog at least once per month, but preferably once per week. As with all things, consistency is key. Your blog may not ever build an audience, but if it helps even one person it has achieved its purpose.


2) Do more than the bare minimum. Show your audience that you care by making your blog posts more than 1,000 words.


3) Do your research! It’s important to provide the facts that back up your opinions.