A digital marketing plan will depend a lot on the industry you’re in, your products and services, and your target audience. This article will cover the steps you can take today to start off your internet marketing efforts, whether for a small offline business or a digital company.

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Digital marketing is very important for any business. It’s not just about bringing in traffic to your website, but also about being recognized by your target audience as a thought leader.

This helps you establish your unique positioning in the industry, and develop trust with your potential buyers. All of that leads to warm leads, ready to buy your product when they have a need for it or even straight away.

Online marketing is valuable because it attracts your target audience Click To Tweet

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What are the digital marketing strategies you can use?

There are a lot of different channels a website could utilize to bring in traffic, so it’s good to follow a digital marketing strategy framework.

Some companies follow a yearly marketing plan, but as you start out, it’s good to start with our marketing plan outline below and adjust it as you learn more about your business and customers.

1. Start with SEO and research your keywords


Using keyword research to start off digital marketing

Your website and content could be credible, well-written, authoritative and useful, but it won’t mean anything if your target audience can’t find it. One of the most important online marketing basics is to utilize search engine optimization (SEO) practices to make it easy for people to find your information at the opportune moment.

This does not mean that you type purely for the search spiders, but rather that you base all the articles on information that people are actually looking for online.

Some of the essentials of SEO include maintaining a healthy word count, adjusting page titles and meta descriptions so they don’t get cut off in search results, and incorporating helpful internal and external links as well as a well-chosen keyword or phrase.

If you go for the wrong keywords, you could still gain some traffic, but from viewers who aren’t interested in your product or service.

One of the foundations of good digital marketing is to get traffic from the right audience. Keyword.io and Keyword Planner are free online tools you can use to check the interest in different keywords.

2. Content Marketing: Publish optimized, valuable and relevant content pertaining to your target audience


Sample of a good content marketing strategy


Hubstaff is a tool for managing remote teams. Thus, our blog content is focused around topics that people in our niche look for: productivity, time management, business growth and so on.

Content is the foundation of any marketing strategy, a tenant that holds true with digital marketing, as well. Internet marketing tactics utilize blogs, landing pages, articles, white papers, ebooks, web pages, and more.

Blogging is especially effective in driving traffic because of the nature of SEO. Blog articles and web pages are indexed by search engines so that readers can easily find the content they are searching for.

The more content you publish, the greater your chances are of being discovered by your target audience. New content shows search engines that your site is active and reflects well on reliability.

Blogs give you a powerful way to communicate with your market and build loyalty and trust. Click To Tweet

However, it isn’t enough to blog frequently. The content you create and distribute online must also be well-crafted, relevant to your chosen keyword, and useful to the audience who discovers it.

Blogging gives you another way to communicate with your market, and it is a powerful way to build brand loyalty and trust. Publishing high-quality content also increases the chances that other pages will link to it, which will help your company’s SERP (search engine results page).

If you don’t have the time to create blogs that are consistently high quality, consider contracting with a reputable freelancer to produce the best content.

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3. Leverage social media by sharing and re-sharing your content


How to do social media - beginners guide on marketing

Social media has the ability to connect individuals, groups, and companies alike. Social media has the power to attract attention (what’s trending on Twitter?) and deliver messages with a concise and powerful voice.

Use your social media channels to share the content you create and give your audience another opportunity to discover your website, your solution, and your brand.

The more people see and share your social media posts, the more likely those posts are to drive traffic back to your website. This builds credibility and gives you another chance to leave an impression on potential clients.

4. Use email marketing to stay in front of your prospects


Email marketing provides a direct line to your audience and results in qualified traffic from people who are truly interested in your brand and niche.

Most individuals who subscribe to your newsletter already have some sort of contact or familiarity with your brand. They could have signed up at an event, at one of your stores or on your website.

Regular email newsletters keep your brand on top of your audience’s mind: they know what you do, how you can help them, and when the time comes, guess who will they go to?

Regular email newsletters keep your brand top-of-mind and renew audience awareness and interest. Click To Tweet

It is important to listen to what your subscribers want instead of just talking about what you think is important. For example, you may want to send out newsletters that cover your product features, but your email marketing audience could be more interested in the industry as a whole.

Send out engaging emails that have the information your subscribers want in order to build trust, foster relationships, and maintain interest and passion about your brand.

If you know your industry in and out, this should not be a problem.  You already know the common issues, challenges, and concerns people have. Turn that insight into blog articles and provide amazing content addressing the problems of your clients.

If you struggle at first, return to the first step of this digital marketing plan: a good keyword research will reveal what people are looking for online.

Read about 8 great email marketing tools that you can use to drive traffic.

5. Engage your local audiences on mobile devices


Via 1stwebdesigner.com

A lot of people are looking for specific services they need on Google and other online channels.

Your local audience is looking at your website to get key information such as store hours, contact information, how it works, FAQ, and so on.

Make this information easily accessible through design and content planning in order to help the people looking for your products and services.

According to a study on mobile users and local search, more than 60 percent of adults prefer to use mobile devices for local search. Remember to keep it short, to the point, and valuable. At the end of your articles, lead people into an action such as calling you or contacting you in other ways.

In addition to having a responsive website with easily accessible information, be sure to update your location in Google maps and other directories that mobile audiences use to find local services.

6. Publish multiple forms of content to drive traffic and deliver messages in your audiences’ preferred format


We added a video to one of our more popular blog posts

This could include webinars, white papers, videos, surveys, and other forms of content that will represent your brand. Different audiences prefer receiving information in different ways, and accommodating their preferences makes it more likely for them to enjoy, remember, and trust your content.

7. Engage in guest blogging

A guest post is an article that someone external to the organization writes for a blog.

The Hubstaff blog has published guest posts from awesome influencers in the industry, like Vera from Workhoppers, Anthony of Sticker Mule, Joe of Collage, and so on. These are all good examples of guest blogging.

Historically, guest posts were used to get backlinks for SEO, at any cost. Too often, these posts bordered on spam and were published in exchange for cross-promotion, or other reciprocal benefits.

Guest blogging is a bad idea if you are in it just for the backlinks or to improve your search ranking. Even if you get a backlink from your guest post, you’ll end up with a poor article out there attributed to your brand. It’s even worse if you repurpose content in multiple places (sites get penalized for duplicate content), or do the unthinkable and (*gasp*) plagiarize.

Guest blogging is a good idea when you’re interested in what you’re writing about, have the authority to write on the topic (beyond reading a few articles online about it), and have a genuine interest in the website you’re writing for. For example, I’ve been following Workfrom (go Oregon) for a long time, so when the opportunity came up to write for them, I jumped at it.

It’s a great way to build relationships in the industry you’re in, share ideas, and increase your thought leadership on a subject.

Getting started with guest blogging and other marketing tactics

Companies are usually happy to accept a guest post from you provided it’s well-written and insightful. Unless their blog is purposefully in-team (for example, they only publish blogs written by people in their network), guest posts from outsiders provide valuable new insight.

If you’re doing a guest post for branding, thought leadership, or another company, then you’ll find companies especially welcoming. If you’re trying to write a guest post as a freelancer, meaning you can bill the blog, if it publishes your piece, then you’ll have to research which websites pay for guest posts and how to formally pitch your ideas.

The best way to get started with guest blogging is to reach out to blogs you read yourself regularly and see if you can submit anything that would fit the blogs tone and target audience.

In all of these tactics, make sure your branding and key messages align. Keep your content consistent, stay authentic, and aim to serve your target audiences on the platform the way they prefer with the information they want.

Anything we missed? Let us know what inbound marketing tactics you use and other online marketing basics you’d like to see in the comments below.

This post was originally published August 3, 2015, and updated April 2019.