I think you'll agree with me when I say digital marketing -- and all its sub-categories, including SEO, social media, content creation, email, and more -- is critical for any company's growth in 2019.
With over four billion internet users globally, and more than 3.4 billion active social media users, it stands to reason digital marketing is vital for reaching a larger audience than you could through traditional methods alone.
Plus, digital marketing can help you better engage prospects, turn prospects into leads, and ultimately convert leads into loyal, delighted customers.
However, embarking on a digital marketing journey, particularly as a start-up or smaller company with limited online presence, can be both overwhelming and frustrating at times.
To help inspire your marketing team and kick-start your 2019 digital marketing strategy, we've cultivated a comprehensive list of digital marketing tips from marketers here at HubSpot. Keep reading to learn the 12 critical tips HubSpotters want you to know before you implement or refine your own digital strategy.
Digital marketing tips
Definition: Inbound Marketing is the process of attracting the attention of prospects, via content creation, before they are even ready to buy. It's one of the best and most cost-effective easy to convert strangers into customers and promoters of your business.
1. Know your customer.
Ari Plaut, a Product Marketer at HubSpot, suggests: "Keep on top of the pulse of the customer, and hold yourself accountable to it. Schedule monthly time to shadow your support team and your sales team. Your best content ideas will come straight from the source -- your customers."
2. Match your content to every stage of a buyer's journey.
Alex Girard, an Associate Product Marketing Manager at HubSpot, says: "Personally, I think a big 'Ah-ha' moment for our customers when talking about ads strategy is when we tell them they need to match their content offer to a moment in the buyer's journey. It doesn't make sense to target an ad for a sales demo at someone in the awareness stage. It also doesn't make sense to target an awareness stage offer, like a recommended blog post, at someone who is ready to buy."
3. Don't just write about your products or services.
Karla Cook, a Senior Manager of the HubSpot Blog Team, advises: "Don't just write about your products or services on your blog. That can immediately alienate anyone who isn't already close to purchasing. Instead, invest the time in learning about what your target audience is interested in, and develop content that aligns these interests with what your brand can offer. For example, if you're selling coffee makers, you might create a blog series that looks at different ways to improve your morning routine."
4. Focus on the long-term.
Jeff Vocell, a HubSpot Product Marketer, suggests -- "Focus on delight, not short-sighted acquisition. I'm a marketer, and I understand the pressure to deliver leads to sales each month. But employing short-sighted tactics that generate some attention and may result in a momentary spike ultimately won't set you, or your customers, up for success in the long-term. As marketers, we should focus on generating demand through helpful and customer-centric campaigns."
5. Incorporate SEO into your overall content strategy.
AJ Beltis, a HubSpot Content Optimization Specialist, told me -- "While positioning a blog as a pure thought leadership publication has its merits, incorporating an SEO strategy into your topic selection and blog writing is the best way for long-term traffic growth. Use sites like Ahrefs or SEMRush to find out what people in your industry are searching for and talking about as a first step to maximizing your blog's potential."
6. Understand the big picture when analyzing an advertisement's performance.
Cathleen Smith, a CSM at HubSpot, notes: "A good approach to take when you see bad ads is to understand the big picture. What is the overall journey someone is taking to get to the point where they see your ad? For Google ads, someone had to search for a keyword you chose, see your ad, have it resonate with them, click on the ad directly, and then have the landing page feel relevant and easily digestable."
Additionally, Smith says, "If your ad isn't performing well, don't just look at the messaging itself, but see if there's a mismatch between what someone is searching for, the messaging you are showing them, and the landing page on which they end up. With that bigger picture in mind, when you see a 'bad' ad, look at all the different pieces of your campaign to determine what needs optimization."
7. Remain flexible as audience preferences shift.
Kristen Baker, an Associate Content Strategist at HubSpot, says, "The world of digital marketing is ever-changing -- businesses constantly need to ensure their digital strategy remains relevant to their target audience. For instance, if you're targeting a group who's primarily active on Instagram, focus on that platform and consider using your resources to create engaging Instagram Stories, instead of spending too much time making YouTube videos. However, pay attention to if, and when, your audiences' preferences shift."
8. Remain consistent in design when launching a campaign.
Brittany Geoffroy, a Marketing Manager of Global Acquisition, told me -- "When launching an integrated campaign on multiple channels, make sure you tie together your creative design and messaging so there is a red thread throughout the campaign."
9. Become a growth leader for your company.
Jeff Vocell, a HubSpot Product Marketer, advises, "Marketers have never had a better opportunity to be growth leaders. Marketing has historically been responsible for attracting new leads and then passing them off to Sales. Today, in a world where customer experience has to come first, marketers have an opportunity to architect the path to growth through sales and services as well.
"Instead of solely thinking about how you can bring in new customers, start to ask yourself, and your colleagues around you, what happens when this lead is passed over to sales? and, what happens when sales pass them to services as a customer? It's likely you'll find opportunities for advocacy and marketing embedded in those moments that will help you grow better."
10. Personalize your content.
Clint Fontanella, a Junior Staff Writer at HubSpot, says -- "Personalize your content to differentiate your business from competitors and create a unique customer experience. More than 40% of customers switch brands dues to poor online personalization."
11. Try new things
Meredith Hart, a Junior Staff Writer at HubSpot, suggests: "If you see that something could be working better, go back to the drawing board and try something new. This can apply to internal processes within your team or with your digital marketing efforts. For example, if you're experiencing low engagement with your marketing emails, test out creative subject lines to boost your open rates. Or release a series of themed content that keeps your audience coming back for more. Small changes can have big results."
12. Don't underestimate backlinks.
Braden Becker, a Senior Staff Writer at HubSpot, notes -- "Marketers are increasingly shifting their SEO strategies from keywords to topics. In other words, the more keywords you target that all belong to a similar topic, the more expertise you'll demonstrate, and the better you can perform for each individual keyword. But expertise and organic traffic don't happen at the same time."
Additionally, Becker suggests, "While topics are important to building your reputation, you still need the backlinks -- a major ranking factor for Google -- to back it up. While you create content on each topic, share this content in as many ways as you can. By networking with people in your industry, and tracking how many other publishers are linking back to your content, you can get a better sense of how quickly your content will perform the way you want it to."