Have you developed an amazing and scalable product, found a market to serve, and earned your first revenue stream? Congratulations, you have a running startup! Now the best way to grow your startup is to market your product in the digital sphere. You’ll need to have at least one brilliant digital marketing strategy to help your business out.
In this article, we have 14 digital marketing strategies that you can adopt. This is actually two lists of 7 strategies, one for the short term and one for the long term. You may ask yourself, which one should you prioritize? The answer to that is both.
Why should you focus on both short-term
and long-term strategies?
Short-term marketing strategies
such as advertising serve to introduce your brand and excite the market. It plays on the psychology of arousal and social conformity.
Short-term strategies often drive sales quickly because buyers are drawn by the hype and excitement, and participate because they see that other people are doing it too, that the price is appealing or the product is excellent.
Like all that is exciting, repeated exposure to the same promotional content can risk the audience becoming tired or even wary of your brand – a phenomenon called ad fatigue.
Long-term marketing strategies
on the other hand focus on building brand credibility and relationship with customers. It takes a long time to develop, but it is crucial to start the hard work on branding early on. Producing helpful video content or articles on your website can seem like effort that goes unnoticed by your target market, and this can seem frustrating at first.
But you must believe that your content will be appreciated later, when you’ve managed to build a community of satisfied customers who become fans and advocates of your brand. Of course, you can’t build brand credibility if you haven’t made any sales. This is why advertising is important to encourage people to experience your brand without prior knowledge of it.
Seven short-term digital marketing strategies
for brand awareness
1. Search and banner ads
Search engines have become a fundamental platform from which users search for products and services. They have embedded themselves into our modern digital and it seems unimaginable to live without using them.
As literally the first websites that we visit to visit other websites, it’s crucial to work together with search engines and ad banner networks (most likely offered by search engines). Search and banner ads are served to viewers with specific geolocation and/or search intent, allowing you to advertise efficiently and with scale.
You will want to have a stunning, user friendly (and fast!) website for the ads to link back to, to ensure that the ads are generating results for your business. Learn more about pay-per-click ads on Google here.
2. Social media ads
If you haven’t yet built a website, you can still advertise on social media. But even if you already have a website, advertising on social media can strengthen your website marketing efforts, so it is worth the consideration.
Social media ads are different from search and banner ads. With search ads, your only content is descriptive ad copy that is limited to less than a hundred characters. Banner ads are either static or dynamic images that shouldn’t contain too much text. Social media ads rely on your content creation skills to balance the different ways of communicating.
Remember to create your ad as if you are making a regular social media content. Evoke high emotions, whether positive or negative, make them entertaining or at least practical. This ensures that whatever content that you serve, paid or organic, is share-worthy. Learn more about social media ads.
3. Live streaming
This is the online version of event marketing. In “offline” event marketing, products are being showcased in one place, hoping to attract a large number of crowds. If not for social media, this is the only time where brand representatives can have a direct conversation with their prospects, and to build up a community of interested people.
Live streaming offers a similar experience in which brands are able to present themselves, educate and possibly even entertain. Audiences can ask the presenter in real time and experience real engagement as a group. One important note is that live stream marketing should be less about selling, and more about knowledge-sharing and community-building.
4. Referral programs
It’s possible to do this online. For example, most booking and commerce engines provide a field to enter a referral code, which then offers a discount. If repeat purchase is likely for your type of products, you can work with your current customers and encourage them to share referral codes for the benefit of their friends as well as themselves in the next purchase. Learn more about how you can turn your website into an automatic marketing machine.
5. Free trials
For software-as-a-service (SaaS) business, free trials can be more effective than freemiums in the short term. Firstly, the time limit creates an urgent situation of scarcity, and customers are more likely to explore its features to the fullest. Free trials are ideal for one-off purchases, however freemiums are good for habit-building and encourage customers to subscribe to premium services sooner or later.
If your business has been running for some time and you notice a bestseller, you can induce a short-term scarcity tactic by claiming that the product is in high demand and that supplies are limited. On your website or social media, you can announce the number of products still available.
This tactic will work if your market is niche, and there isn’t a competitor selling the same product or if the product is unique / limited edition. Use this tactic for physical goods such as food and clothing. Use the tactic sparingly and only use it to excite the market, not to inflate the price.
7. First-timer discount
Another pricing strategy that works in a majority of websites. Certain cookies can identify whether the user is new to the website and has not yet created an account. Set a huge discount for every service and a countdown. This works in two levels – to create scarcity and to offer a paid but cheap trial period.
Seven long-term digital marketing strategies
to build credibility and relationships
1. Customer service
Is it a surprise that customer service is part of a digital marketing strategy? It shouldn’t be. In the digital era, customer service is no longer restricted by staffing. There are dozens of SaaS companies that offer artificial intelligence plugins to introduce a chatbot into your website. This will help your customer service to answer frequently asked questions, sort problems, and redirect the customer to an expert staff member.
2. Content marketing
Content marketing is a must as it is the most reliable long-term digital marketing strategy.
Content (such as articles, videos, podcasts, and other interactive media) builds up your brand’s credibility by showing that your business is up to date with what is trending in the environment around it as well as in the industry. Customers of today want to be educated and make smart choices, and creating content that educates will help your customers achieve that. In other words, your brand can potentially delight an individual long before he or she experiences your brand through purchased products. This increases trust and credibility.
Happy customers and clients will be more likely to refer your brand to someone else, and this can be done digitally as well – through mentions in social media, sharing your link by email, from guest posts or even news coverage. Links to your website (known as backlinks) are signals that search engines use to determine whether your website deserves to be ranked on the first page of search results.
The more effort you put into your content marketing, and actively sharing them online, the better credibility you will have and the higher the chance of discovery by search engines. If you create content and target a well-researched group of keywords, your content will be search-engine optimized if you publish them on your site. Learn about search engine optimization here.
3. Email marketing
Just as users subscribe to a Youtube channel or to an account on other social media platforms, so can they subscribe to your website, so that content is delivered directly to their inbox. Email marketing is more than just a way to distribute your content to interested prospects.
More than just newsletters, emails can also be used as a soft promotional strategy that delivers customized offers to a wide variety of customers in your mailing list. You can determine which content is more helpful to a certain group of subscription members.
For example, a customer who has recently purchased a product can be encouraged to take a survey to determine whether he or she is happy with the product. Much later, you can automatically send specific emails for this individual if there are signals that he or she is likely to become repeat customers or even ready for upselling.
Making this process automatic is part of a good digital marketing practice. You can use special mailing software that allows you to customize your message while still saving you time.
4. Website development
Website development can take time; from concept to design, to development and testing. It will also require maintenance and updates, and to be filled with useful content for the aforementioned reasons.
Since many of the strategies mentioned require you to have a website, it is worth the investment to develop your own website. Make sure that you understand the core goals of your website before you even begin the design phase. Is it brand awareness, lead generation, ecommerce or just a quality signal to support your offline sales? Understanding your core goals will ensure that you build a website that works for your business.
It’s a good idea to partner with a website development agency such as Island Media Management. You won’t just have the final product (the website). You will also have the assurance that it will function properly, be well-designed, become visible to search engines, and automate your sales. Learn about our web design service here.
5. Google My Business
Make your business visible in a local listing by registering your business with Google My Business. It is very easy to set up, and takes no longer than an hour. Once you’ve filled in all that is required, a verification process will take several days in the background.
This is unlike web development or search engine optimization, but many owners miss this crucial step to make their business look official on the web. You can do this even if you don’t have a website. We highly recommend you register or claim your business right now, if you haven’t done so, as part of a solid digital marketing strategy.
You can optimize your Google My Business listing for local SEO to ensure that users in your area easily find you in Maps.
6. Customer-centric approach using big data.
Membership cards are common now even in the most product-centric businesses. Think of retailers. Customers of retail stores are more likely to compare prices and performance since products on shelves are similar. Rarely do retail stores sell customized or bespoke products to customers.
However, the introduction of membership cards allow retailers to keep track of customers’ shopping behavior, to details like time of purchase and the location (of the franchise) where the purchase happens. Discounts can be adjusted to the customer’s data, and customers are also rewarded for sharing the information digitally.
If your business is anything but product-centric, you should consider the degree of customization of services that you’re willing to offer, depending on the lifetime value of your customers.
7. Facebook “secret groups”
Facebook has a neat feature that makes a group invisible, and new members can only be invited by other members. What’s the point of being invisible to the world if marketing is about reaching the right audiences?
The goal of marketing is not only to reach the right audience, but also to get people to talk about your brand. Reaching the right audience is one way to do it, and creating an exclusive group or service is another.
This is not a new strategy. Commercial airlines do this all the time with mileage cards. An access to exclusive lounges and free upgrades is rewarded only to people who have earned them through repeat purchase of their service. When a customer achieves an uplifted status after converting their mileage, what do they do next? Certainly not to keep it a secret.
But even if that customer has shared the fact that he or she has claimed some amazing deals from the sheer number of hours spent on an airplane, it’s not easy for a new member to attain the same level of exclusivity.
Facebook’s “secret groups” are no different in principle. If your brand has received positive light, has earned credibility and trust, you can create an exclusive community for die-hard fans of your brand. This kind of group also protects the community from trolls and spammers as it is hard for them to enter the group. Another advantage is that this community will be filled with brand advocates. Learn more about social media marketing and social media management here.
Partner up with Island Media Management
Choose the best digital marketing strategy for your startup, and make it work for you. By partnering with Island Media Management, you can delegate the hassle of managing your online presence to us. Save your time and energy towards other aspects of your business, and let us attract customers to you in the background.