As an entrepreneur, you're always looking to take your business to the next level.
Inevitably, digital marketing will come up as an avenue to evaluate.Despite being an avenue teeming with potential and opportunity, many entrepreneurs hesitate. As a marketer, these are the reasons I hear over and over again:
- "It's just not the right time."
- "My product isn't where I want it to be yet, so it's too early."
- "I don't think it's the best ROI for me."
- "I don't have the budget for digital right now."
- "I just don't feel that digital is the way to go."
- "My product does not need digital marketing."
My advice is this: If you haven't started yet, invest in digital marketing now.
In this day and age, digital marketing is like the vitamins for your business -- an essential part of growth.
Here are 4 things that entrepreneurs need to understand about the importance of running digital marketing in parallel with product and service development.
1. Digital marketing doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg.
One of the biggest benefits of digital marketing is flexibility. That flexibility extends to cost as well.
Successful digital marketing starts by creating authentic, unique and relevant content, which can be as simple and inexpensive as putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard).
Start with the question, "What keeps my target client up at night?" From there, start writing blog posts that address the questions and concerns they might have.
These kinds of posts boost search performance. As people search for answers to their questions, your website will show up. Depending on the blogging platform you use, these posts are also free, or very low cost.
Once you have your awesome content, ensure it's listed, categorized and optimized properly.
What does this mean?
Use relevant tags for each post. For example, if you're selling pet products, use "pet products" as a tag. If the post is specifically about dog beds, is "pet products", "dog beds" and maybe "dog sleep solutions". Get it? Your blogging platform probably has a simple field for tags that you just have to fill in.
Optimize your post by ensuring the title, headlines and content are aligned and reinforce the keywords you think people will most likely use in their searches. Consider a title like, "Top 5 Dog Beds for Canine Insomnia". You score "dog beds" and "canine insomnia" as keywords.
2. Digital marketing is as much about the buildup as it is about the kickoff
Building up to a product launch is as important as the launch itself.
Most successful marketers know how to introduce the right teasers, trailers and previews at the right time to get the hype up for a product or service release.
Take the movie industry, for example. Before a movie hits theaters, you'll see at least one teaser, a few trailers and plenty of content spread across a certain time period. The buildup is sometimes even more intense than the movie!
How does this translate to entrepreneurs in other industries? You're probably not going to create Hollywood-esque trailers. Instead, cultivate a certain following on social media by sharing teasers about your upcoming product. Build traction using images and video on multiple channels. Use the power of social media to create excitement around your brand or concept and how it will make change people's lives for the better.
Use teasers like, "The ultimate solution to conquering bathroom tile mold is just 3 days away!" Make it exciting. Make it intriguing. Throw some humour in if you can. Don't give it all away. Just get people interested.
3.Every product or service, no matter how good, needs digital marketing
According to internetlivestats.com, there are currently over 3,398,470 global internet users and that's growing by the second. Seeing as most people are on the web and we're spending more and more time surfing on our phones than ever before, it simply makes no sense to overlook digital marketing.
No matter your ideal target, they are on the web. Connect with them with the right content, at the right time, with the right message and you will reach a much bigger audience with much less investment than with almost any other marketing outlet.
4.You don't have to hire 10 different agencies to do your digital marketing work
You can actually start doing all of the above on your own.
When you're ready to invest a bit more, hire just one agency that will work with you to integrate SEO and content marketing. Many entrepreneurs hire two different agencies, but a good agency will do both.
Marrying your search strategy with your content strategy will yield a higher ROI for your business and logistically, it's much easier to work with just one agency.
All entrepreneurs should venture into digital marketing and should not wait for the 'ideal moment' either. Nothing is ever perfect. It's about making the best of where you are and moving forward.
The 'ideal moment' is now. It's always now.
If you don't start now, someone else in your space will.
Follow HuffPost Canada Blogs on Facebook
Follow Tarek Riman on Twitter: www.twitter.com/tarekriman