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WNC Business

Digital marketing services expand opportunities for businesses

Jan 10, 2024 11:01AM ● By Randee Brown

Business owners often wear many hats, leading to time limitations which can make it difficult to focus on marketing efforts, according to Activate Business Solutions CEO Aaron Means.

While critical to growing any business, marketing tasks are often passed to someone who has to learn on the fly, and can end up pieced together with minimal psychological strategy. While hiring full-time marketing staff can be cost-prohibitive, outsourcing these tasks to a specialist can end up being a cheaper and more productive solution.

The goal of marketing strategies has always been creating top-of-mind awareness for products, services, and brands. Before the internet, marketing was one-directional, but now, Means said there are many layers to good marketing strategies, and they are all based on building engagement with the target audience. Websites can be great for sales but they need traffic, and social media and email marketing can be great ways to increase visitors.

“People are looking to engage with fun, interesting content that offers them value,” Means said. “Sales have actually become a byproduct of this engagement.”

Digital marketing specialists have knowledge of best practices and new trends, according to Means. A business can create relationships with these specialists, setting expectations for results and receiving data and analytics in order to make necessary adjustments to their campaigns.

Strategies for digital marketing can include website optimization, Google ads, email campaigns, social media targeted ads, and retargeting those who have engaged with previous content. Search engine optimization is also critical, and Means said a specialist will look at a variety of aspects including key words and phrases, how content is structured on each page, photo titles, and even the photos themselves.

“It can be technical and time consuming, which is least suited for small business owners who don’t have the expertise,” Means said. “Once good SEO is established, the site also must be maintained, just like gardening. It will continue to need new content, photos, and overviews to make sure it all falls in line. Outsourcing this to an expert can make a big difference for things like where a website appears on search engines like Google.”

Email marketing lists are highly important for businesses as well. They are a database of past customers and prospects, and Means said this is the only digital asset that businesses really own. An email list is a great target marketing method and an easy way to send follow ups, thank you notes, and event invitations. A business can easily drip content to prospects not ready to make a purchase, keeping them engaged and allowing the business to stay top of mind.

The hottest trend Means is seeing in digital marketing is automation. Smart features can retarget certain segments of email lists, and sales funnels can be set up in different CRMs so marketing paths can be directed to different groups of clients. Specialists can help businesses prepare these types of campaigns which can increase open rates and engagement, and help lead prospects to making a purchase.

Artificial intelligence is also a growing technology in digital marketing campaigns. Business owners may be able to use this tool to improve the quality of written copy, create multiple ad versions for testing, choose subject lines, and more. While AI can generate a rough starting point for many types of marketing text, the product is not generally a copy-and-paste quality; it will still need to be polished to provide the necessary human touch.

“The real winning formula for digital marketing is getting the engagement that comes from emails and posting things on social media that people will enjoy,” Means said. “If businesses do more of that, they will see an uptick and more followers and create trends for people sharing their content. This creates a whole different landscape when it does come time to sell, and outsourcing or learning from specialists can create opportunities for growth.”