If you’re reading this, chances are you’re a small business owner or someone new to the digital marketing world looking for free information, and I have some good news! That’s exactly what you’ll get! Yes as a digital marketer I do have a vested interest in having you hire me to market for you, however I also recognize that many businesses (especially when first starting out) don’t have the resources to hire a firm so they want to do it themselves. If you’re in that boat then you need a solid place to start.
When you first enter the world of digital marketing, you’ll need a basic framework of how the different platforms work so you can know what to start researching. There are two main areas you’ll want to look at, and each industry will benefit differently from each of them. These areas are as follows:
- Inbound marketing – This is any form of marketing that helps direct people who are already looking for what you have to offer. In paid terms this is generally Google ads and Microsoft advertising (formerly Bing ads)
- Outbound marketing – This is a much more diverse field and this is any form of marketing used to push your product or services out in front of your target audience. In general this form of marketing is either social (Facebook, Instagram, reddit, Pinterest, etc.) or media related (Youtube, Pandora, digital billboards, etc)
Your job in understanding these areas is to see which of these forms of marketing applies best to your business. In the future I plan to go over major industries and outline what usually works best for them, but in the meantime simply ask yourself if your ideal customer is likely to search for your product or service (in which case focus on inbound marketing), or if it’s more likely that people will only purchase after seeing an ad for you somewhere (in which case focus on outbound marketing).
After you decide whether you would benefit most from inbound marketing, outbound marketing, or a mix of both, look at how much money you can afford to spend and try to put together a plan of where your money would be best spent. Keep in mind inbound marketing is nearly always dramatically more expensive per click than outbound so if you rely on a large number of people going to your website or have a very inexpensive product or service, this is rarely the right choice when you are first starting out.
The last form of marketing not outlined above, though it does more relate to inbound marketing than outbound is content and SEO marketing. This is important for every business to be on top of, however it rarely drives sale early on. If you are a new business starting out with a shoestring budget, I strongly recommend against relying on this. I would only make this a main focus if you have strong writing skills, plan to prolifically write content, have a solid plan for ways to get that content out beyond just blog, and are not relying on your new business as a primary source of revenue. In the long run SEO and content marketing is fantastic but it can take many months or even years to show significant results.
While this is a very short overview, it’s meant to just provide a starting point for research, if you do want to market for yourself I always recommend starting with first-party resources directly (Google, Facebook, Microsoft, etc.) and nearly every major digital marketing platform provides a variety of free resources. If you want to learn more from us or talk to us directly you can fill out the form below and I promise we won’t spam you!