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How Your Startup Can Execute a Solid Digital Marketing Strategy

12/30/2015 10:36 am ET | Updated Dec 30, 2015

2015-12-17-1450386554-143643-PhilLaboon.jpgPhil Laboon is a serial entrepreneur and investor. Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Phil has founded several companies both in his hometown and his homes away from home, Florida and Costa Rica. His proudest achievement, Eyeflow Internet Marketing, has grown from a one-man operation in his basement to a full-service inbound marketing firm in Pittsburgh's South Side. The company, which specializes in building a company's online brand authority, evolved out of Phil's own experience in online consulting. 

I started my first company at 19 and quickly learned that without a solid marketing strategy, you'll go nowhere. Now, 14 years later, I've taken all of the lessons I learned along the way and packaged them together to create my own marketing company, helping hundreds of entrepreneurs get their business off the ground.

If there's one overall lesson I learned, it's that one of the best ways to market your new business is to start with a solid digital marketing strategy. Modern consumers generally search online for products and services, so it's vital to build a digital marketing plan that will reach as many potential customers as possible.

Keeping up with the latest trends and updates in search engine optimization (SEO) is also a must. Exploring SEO practices and digital marketing strategies can help you to determine which digital platforms and techniques may best meet the needs of your business.

Embrace the Concept of Social Media

Even if your personal interest in social media is limited, more people than ever use these platforms every day. Many people choose products and services as a direct result of discovering them on social media. If you want to be successful online, this is a good place to start.

You can easily find social media conversations related to your industry by entering various keywords in search boxes. Simply log on to a site, enter the keywords or phrases you think are relevant and view the discussions that are taking place. For example, if your startup caters to seniors who need tech support, try entering phrases such as "tech support for retired people" or "personalized tech support." Once you find the social media conversations you are looking for, you can become actively engaged with users by offering your thoughts on the topics being discussed. Be sure to participate in such discussions only when you have valuable insights to offer; otherwise, you will risk damaging your credibility with other users.

One of the top trends in social media marketing is visual content. You can capitalize on this by posting eye-catching images or a useful infographic on your business's social media pages. You can also create memes for your company. An excellent way to get users involved is to even invite them to help you create these memes.

Be Sure Your Website Is User-Friendly

Optimizing your website to meet the needs of users is essential. If those who visit your site cannot navigate it easily, they're not going to stay for long, and they probably won't visit again. If this feels overwhelming, you can consult a website developer who will help showcase your startup and make your website easy to read and navigate.

A recent SEO trend I've seen that every business should follow is optimizing for mobile devices. This became crucial after Google made an algorithm update that requires sites to be optimized for mobile users. If you haven't done this yet, you might want to visit Google's help pages for details on how to test your website. You'll also find information there on what changes you need to make in order to become compliant with the new algorithm.

One surefire way to ensure that your customers are happy with your website is by going straight to the source. Offer a few free or discounted services to your clients in exchange for valuable user feedback that can give you a better picture of what does and doesn't work for your current clients before investing the time into redesigning your website.

Use Email to Reach Your Target Audience

Most people check their email every day, so using email to reach your intended customers is still a viable marketing strategy. However, be aware that email marketing practices have evolved in recent years. A monthly or weekly newsletter may not be enough to hold the attention of the consumers you wish to attract.

Instead, give your audience something they can actually use. At Eyeflow, we send out anywhere from five to seven offers a year, giving our email subscribers some valuable insights into our process and providing actionable tips they can take to better their business's online footprint. It's a win-win situation. It helps us build customer loyalty while simultaneously helping our clients better their internal marketing knowledge.

The marketplace is always competitive, and creating a startup may present a variety of challenges. If you want your business to get noticed by potential customers, you need to rely on an effective marketing strategy. You can do this if you pay attention to and capitalize on the latest digital marketing and SEO trends.

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