Are you trying to develop an online marketing strategy for your business? Feeling overwhelmed or don’t know where to start when it comes to marketing your business online? I’ve got you covered – this is the only digital marketing strategy guide you’ll ever need.
The internet is rife with opportunities for starting or growing your business and I want to help you take advantage of these opportunities.
Whether you’re a brick and mortar or a business that operates completely online, having a sound online marketing strategy is a must to grow and scale in today’s world.
If you’re not leveraging online marketing effectively, you’re missing huge revenue potential. So, there’s no time to waste. Let’s get to it…
- What is Online Marketing?
- How Does Online Marketing Work?
- Why is Online Marketing so Effective?
- Establishing Your Website – The “Hub” of Your Online Marketing Strategy
- Online Marketing Strategy #1: Content Marketing
- Online Marketing Strategy #2: Social Media (Organic)
- Online Marketing Strategy #3: Paid Online Advertising
- Online Marketing Strategy #4: Joint Venturing
- Online Marketing Strategy #5: Mobile App Marketing
- Online Marketing Tools Guide
- How Can I Create an Online Marketing Strategy for My Business?
What is Online Marketing?
Any marketing that a business or brand does on the internet can be considered “online marketing.” You’ll also hear other terms like “internet marketing” and “online marketing.”
Any marketing that a business or brand does *offline* would be considered offline marketing, even though offline marketing efforts can [and do] exist simply to drive traffic to a business’ online presence.
It’s also important to note that online marketing encompasses far more than online advertising. As is true with offline marketing, paid advertising is only a small subset of an overall online marketing strategy.
Inbound marketing is any marketing that’s permission-based rather than interruption-based. It’s a play on what Seth Godin described in a book called Permission Marketing.
“Permission Marketing is just like dating. It turns strangers into friends and friends into lifetime customers. Many of the rules of dating apply, and so do many of the benefits.”
― Seth Godin
Seth Godin also said, “Permission Marketing is the tool that unlocks the power of the Internet.”
If that doesn’t make you stand up and take notice, I don’t know what will.
To better understand permission marketing, let’s take a look at a basic Facebook ad versus an evergreen blog post on Google…
A Facebook advertisement interrupts a user who is browsing Facebook. It’s not invited. There’s no permission. This tends to annoy more people than it serves them.
When someone types a question or topic into Google, they’re giving Google permission to serve results to them. If your result is served and your content answers the person’s question or helps them in some way, you’ve created a permission-based value-add. Instead of annoying them, you’ve delighted them.
While both types of marketing are relevant and useful, the power of inbound marketing for building an audience, creating KLT (know, like, trust), and converting prospects into buyers can’t be denied.
How does online marketing work? What’s the strategy?
For most businesses and brands, the goal of online marketing is the same as any other type of marketing or advertising – capture and hold people’s attention.
Once you have someone’s attention, they know you. Once they know you, the next step is to get them to like you. And after they like you, the objective is to get them to trust you.
This is known as KLT and it’s the time-tested formula for turning prospects into buyers (aside from having a good product or service).
The only difference is that everything is happening in a virtual world instead of the real world.
What does that look like?
Well, instead of trying to get someone to come to a brick and mortar location, you’re typically trying to get them to come to your website.
Just as with brick and mortars, a certain percentage of people who come to your website are going to browse around and another percentage of them are going to buy.
The challenge is that you can’t talk with them while they’re browsing. In fact, you don’t even really know they’re there when they’re there.
How can you possibly build KLT when you can’t talk to people?
That’s a great question and it’s why blogging, and “content marketing” in general, is so popular.
You can build KLT with your content. You can also capture visitors on an email list so that you can continue communicating with them over the course of weeks and months and years. This is another popular way of achieving KLT.
We’ll be discussing all of this in greater detail later. All you need to know for now is that the general goal is to get people to visit your website and either:
- Buy something.
- Get on your email list (or chatbot list, or whatever other means you have of capturing their information) so you can continue communicating with them until they buy something.
That’s how online marketing works in a nutshell.
Why is online marketing so effective?
Online marketing is extremely effective for a few reasons:
- It can be far less expensive compared to traditional forms of marketing and advertising.
- It can be far easier to find your target market (or make it easy for them to find you) and communicate specifically to them.
- It’s much easier to use inbound marketing and permission marketing.
- It can be used to generate revenue and even run an entire business without a physical location.
- It can often be scaled faster and with less complication.
Online marketing is both a gift and a curse, though.
While I’d argue that it’s much more of a gift, it’s not magic, effortless, or any of the other common myths you might hear.
Yes, the upside potential is massive. At the same time, though, there can be a steep learning curve. In fact, it often feels like the learning curve never ends because the strategies and tactics are constantly changing.
Technology is moving at a fast pace and sometimes it’s difficult to keep up, especially if you’re not techy. This hits “solopreneurs” (single-person businesses) harder than established companies, but it’s still a fairly universal challenge.
Even with its faults, though, online marketing is a brilliant new frontier with endless possibilities.
Establishing Your Website – The “Hub” of Your Online Marketing Strategy
For most online businesses, online marketing starts with your website. This is home base. It’s where transactions take place – where people contact you to schedule services or where they come to buy products directly.
Establishing your website these days seems easier than ever, but this space is rife with beginner mistakes.
One of the biggest and most common mistakes people make is building a brochure site instead of a website that’s oriented toward traffic generation and conversion.
“If you build it they will come” is most certainly not something that happens on the internet. Millions of websites have been built that did nothing of relevance before being abandoned by the site owner.
Building the site is only a very small first step. The real value comes from your ability to get high-quality, targeted traffic to the site and convert that traffic into leads or buyers.
Another common mistake is building on a closed-box platform that doesn’t scale. Website builder sites like Wix and Squarespace are popular because of their promise of making things easy, but they have lots of downsides and limitations.
For almost all cases, if you’re going to be building out a serious online marketing strategy, you want to build on the WordPress platform.
If you still want ease of use for building and editing the site, I highly recommend the Divi Builder for WordPress.
Specific Online Marketing Strategies & Tactics
Alright, it’s time to get into the specifics of proven online marketing strategies.
Keep in mind that you don’t have to use every online marketing strategy there is. Eventually you might want to, but in the beginning it’s important to focus your efforts on a small set of strategies and tactics.
Let’s get started…
Online Marketing Strategy #1: Content Marketing
One of the core strategies for driving traffic to a modern website is content marketing – creating compelling, entertaining, and useful content to capture the attention of your target market (read: How to Become a Prolific Content Creator).
Content marketing is popular because it’s highly effective, it scales, it adds value, and can be created free (aside from your time). The article you’re reading right now is content marketing.
Your job, as a business owner or online marketer, is to figure out what types of content work best for your capturing the attention of your audience and converting them into leads and sales.
Let’s take a look at the most popular core strategies. This will help you understand what your options are and what you want to start experimenting with.
Blogging & Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Blogging is the act of publishing articles online.
SEO is the act of getting your website’s articles and pages ranked in search engines so they can be found by lots of people.
Here’s a basic 3-step blogging & SEO strategy:
- Write and publish articles that engage your target audience in various ways.
- Your target audience finds your articles by searching for the topics you’re writing on or by seeing your articles on social media or mentioned on other websites.
- Your target audience gets so much value from the article that they decide they want to (A) buy from you or (B) hear more from you (so they sign up to get on your email list or they contact you directly).
It’s not as easy as just sitting down and writing some articles and publishing them on your website, though.
For starters, you have to know exactly what to write about. To do this properly, you need to know what your target audience is searching for and looking for and how much potential traffic is up for grabs.
This is where SEO comes into play.
Since your target market is going to be using search engines like Google to try and find your content, you need to make sure that people are searching for what you’re publishing and that what you’re publishing comes up when people search for it.
You also need to write the highest quality content possible, because there’s a lot of competing content floating around in the world and there are many other established websites competing for people’s attention.
If you’re thinking that this is hard work, you’re right. However, the payoff for getting content ranked makes it all worth it. If you play the blogging and SEO game right, you can earn tens of thousands and even hundreds of thousands of targeted visitors to your website every single month, for free.
Millions and millions of people are podcast listeners and most of them use apps on their phone to subscribe to their favorite podcasts. If your podcast is published in the iTunes directory, anyone can subscribe from anywhere in the world and listen to your content.
The story gets even better, though. The iTunes directory acts like a search engine, so just being in the directory with the right keywords can result in a lot of organic audience growth.
This isn’t a situation where you have to pay to promote your podcast or worry about sending attention to your podcast from other platforms (though that does help).
When you publish a new episode, the directory is updated and the new episode is automatically sent to all your subscribers.
Here’s the basic 3-step podcasting marketing strategy:
- Start a podcast on a topic that will engage your target audience (like I did).
- Publish episodes and promote your show to build a consistent subscriber base.
- Use your authority, influence, and calls to action within your podcast to convert listeners into leads and buyers.
Podcasting is exploding in popularity because of how effective it is at converting listeners into leads and buyers.
We talked earlier about building KLT (know, like, and trust) with your audience. Well, it turns out that being in their ear for 30 minutes, 60 minutes, or even longer every single week is a really good way to do that.
And since a successful podcast might have tens or hundreds of thousands of downloads every single month, it’s a massive opportunity.
86% of podcast listeners listen to all or most of each episode and they listen to an average of 5 shows per week. That blows all other content out of the water!
By the way, you don’t have to start your own podcast to leverage podcasting. You can find podcasts that are already aimed at your target market and work your way onto those shows as a guest.
You’ll need a good reason for the host to bring you on their show, though. Having a book is a good way to get in. Having a name for yourself is another good way. At the end of the day, the host wants you to bring value to their audience.
YouTube is the largest video platform on the internet. It also behaves like a secondary search engine for hundreds of millions of people.
Anyone can start a “channel” on YouTube, publish videos, and start building an audience of subscribers.
As is true with podcasting and the iTunes directory, YouTube acts like a search engine. So, you can build an audience directly through the platform without having to send subscribers to your channel from other platforms.
Here’s the basic 3-step YouTube marketing strategy:
- Start a free branded channel on YouTube.
- Publish high-quality videos that engage your target market and show up in YouTube search to build a subscriber base.
- Use your authority, influence, and calls to action to convert your viewers into leads and sales.
What’s the scope and scale opportunity? It’s massive. YouTube has 1.5 billion monthly active users watching videos for more than an hour a day on average (and that’s just on mobile devices).
YouTube viewers tend to be very loyal, too. If they like your content and personality, they’ll subscribe and continue coming back to your channel over and over again. It’s a great way to build KLT.
Another upside to YouTube is the ability to broadcast live to your audience. When you broadcast live, YouTube will prioritize your content in the feed and let people know that you’re live. This can bring more attention to you and let you engage your audience in a really relevant way.
A webinar is a live or pre-recorded online presentation. Typically, they’re slide-based, but they don’t have to be.
While this might seem super techy, all that’s required is a webcam, microphone, and basic webinar software.
Here’s the basic 3-step webinar marketing strategy:
- Create a free class on a topic your target market is interested in and get them to register for the webinar.
- Teach (typically from 30-90) minutes.
- Close with a direct pitch for your product or get indirect sales through product mentions and follow-ups.
Many people have great success with direct pitches on webinars and others have great success with indirect selling. There is no hard and fast rule – you should test out which strategy works best for your audience.
It’s also somewhat dependent on what you’re selling. If you have a software product, for example, you can teach a concept that requires your software and your audience will naturally see the power of the software and want to buy. It can be as easy as that.
If you sell an information product, you might need a harder pitch to get good results.
The best webinar players are getting stunning results, though. It’s not uncommon for a single webinar to do tens of thousands of dollars or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in sales depending on the size of the audience.
Here are some things you need to keep in mind about webinars, though:
- Unless you have an existing audience, you’ll likely need to pay to drive leads to your webinar funnel.
- Webinars have a “show rate” of about 30%. In order to get 100 people live on your webinar, you’ll need to get about 300 people registered.
- Not all sales will happen on the webinar. Many will happen in the following days, but only if you have a good follow-up system in place.
- There are specific formats that yield better results than others. It can take a lot of testing to figure out which format, which topic, and what style of delivery works best for your audience.
- Webinars tend to work best when they’re combined with email marketing.
Here’s another benefit to webinars: When you design one that works really well, you can automate it by creating what’s called an “evergreen webinar.” You can even automate the pre-webinar emails and post-webinar follow-up emails.
Once that’s done, you drive traffic to your automated webinar funnel and you can make consistent sales without doing any extra work. It’s a very powerful opportunity.
Webinars have a “show rate” of about 30%. In order to get 100 people live on your webinar, you’ll need to get about 300 people registered.
Email marketing is one of the most effective online marketing channels. For many businesses, it’s the number one driver of sales online.
The reason email marketing is so effective is that it gives you the ability to “nurture” your prospects over time.
For many businesses, like those that sell software or information products, the sales cycle tends to be longer and requires significant KLT.
That means you have to stay in communication with your prospects for a long time. Email is better for this than almost any other channel.
Here’s the basic 3-step email marketing strategy:
- Create an account with an email service provider.
- Build your email list and use email segmentation to reach the right customers at the right with the right messaging.
- Email your list with content that engages them and nurtures them and use calls to action to drive sales.
How effective is it? 80% of retail professionals indicate that email marketing is their greatest driver of customer retention and according to VentureBeat, email marketing generates an average of $38 in revenue for every $1 in expense.
That’s a killer ROI, right?
Of all the online marketing strategies available, email marketing is my #1 pick. It’s something you absolutely must do if you don’t want to leave money on the table.
Online Marketing Strategy #2: Social Media (Organic)
Now we’re moving out of the realm of content marketing and into social media marketing. Yes, you can technically do content marketing on social media, but social media is much more than that.
One thing that’s important to understand is that each social media platform has a different audience demographic and requires a unique set of strategies. This is so important, in fact, that Gary Vaynerchuck wrote an entire book on it called, Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World.
Here’s the basic 3-step social media marketing strategy:
- Establish your presence on social media platforms where your target market is most likely to hang out.
- Capture your audience’s attention by being entertaining and useful and build up authority over time.
- Make direct pitches to your audience, capture them on an email list, and generate revenue indirectly from brand building.
If you really want to be successful with social media marketing, you’d be best served to follow this advice…
“The secret to social media success is to think and act like a member first, and a marketer second.” – Mari Smith
One of the downsides of social media is that most popular social media platforms, aside from Pinterest (which isn’t really a social media platform anyway), are not built to be search engines. Therefore, content on social media has a very short lifecycle.
When you create a post on Facebook, for example, you might get 72 hours of engagement out of that post before it disappears into a black hole.
This stands in stark contrast to something like blogging, where a ranked article can drive you thousands of visitors a month for years and years.
Another downside to social media is that you’re building your following on a platform you don’t own. This is always a potential problem, as the platform can “pull the rug out from under you” by limiting your ability to reach your audience or charging you money to reach them.
This has happened on multiple social media channels, with Facebook being the most popular example.
Even with the downsides, social media is still very effective as an online marketing channel. You just have to know how to play the game effectively based on the channel you’re targeting. Here’s a rough overview of the most popular social media channels…
Facebook users are 53% female and 47% male with 87% of the user base being in the 18-29 demo. This platform is one of the most versatile and dynamic in terms of the type of content you can post and the ways in which you can interact with people. It’s also the largest social media platform in the world and by far the most popular social media platform.
While organic reach on Facebook for brand pages is pretty much dead, personal profiles and Facebook Groups are still very effective aspects of the platform (aside from Facebook Ads which I cover later).
Instagram is used by 31% of American women and 24% of men. 59% of internet users between the ages of 18 and 29 use Instagram and 33% of internet users between the ages of 30 and 49 use Instagram. This platform is primarily focused on photos and videos with the ability to create public posts, live video, and send private messages.
37% of Twitter users are between ages of 18 and 29 and 25% users are 30-49 years old. 24% of all internet male users and 21% of all internet female users have a Twitter account.
Unfortunately, engagement on Twitter has been declining for some time and most marketers struggle to get engagement. Twitter can still be good for networking, micro-engagement, and hand-to-hand combat via advanced Twitter search, though.
Linkedin has expanded their platform significantly in recent years and is now a strong channel for online marketing if your goal is to reach businesses and workers. 28% of all internet male users and 27% of all internet female users use Linkedin.
One key piece of demographic data is that 44% of Linkedin users earn more than $75,000 per year. Linkedin now has a “wall” and a “feed” that’s very similar to how Facebook works. There are also groups you can join and post in as well as a robust private messaging system.
Meetup is not traditional social media platform. Instead of 100% online interaction, Meetup.com actually facilitates offline interaction by allowing you to create local meetup groups. I still consider it to be an online marketing channel because most of the organizing and recruiting happens online.
All demographic stats provided by Omnicore Agency.
Online Marketing Strategy #3: Paid Online Advertising
Paid online advertising is a more traditional online marketing strategy. Instead of earning traffic, leads, and sales over time through organic methods like content marketing and social media marketing, you can simply buy traffic (and ultimately, leads).
Russell Brunson, a brilliant online marketer, has made the point time and time again that the business that can spend the most to acquire a customer, wins.
He’s built a huge, multi-million dollar empire in a very short amount of time primarily through paid advertising funnels (with zero venture capital).
I first heard Russell say that, but it turns out it’s a concept taught by another brilliant marketer…
“Ultimately, the business that can spend the most to acquire a customer wins.” —Dan Kennedy
The point here is that it’s a mistake to ask, “what’s the least I can spend on advertising?”
This is a mistake that I made for a very long time, by the way. The right question to ask is, “what’s the most I can spend on advertising?”
The reason this is true is that the marketer with the willingness and ability to invest in acquiring customers, even if you lose money on the first sale (but win out with lifetime value), has an enormous competitive advantage.
Being able to profitably buy new customers is huge. Some might say, “it’s everything.”
Here’s the basic 3-step strategy for online advertising:
- Identify where your target market hangs out online.
- Pay to get in front of them.
- Create a relevant offer to generate either sales, leads, or brand awareness.
Keep in mind that building a paid advertising funnel that works is much harder than it sounds.
Not only does it take a lot of time and testing, it takes a good bit of money to establish and scale. This is especially true since a lot of the “early money” will vanish into thin air as you figure out what doesn’t work.
If you have the money, though, and the risk tolerance, then it’s certainly a strategy you should pursue.
Here are the most effective types of online advertising you should test out…
I talked earlier about content marketing and SEO with the goal of gaining strong placement in search engines like Google.
Well, if you have money you can simply buy the best positions.
PPC stands for “pay per click.” You buy an ad spot based on specific keywords or demographics and pay every time someone clicks through to a specific page you want them to visit.
You can buy PPC ads on most of the major search engines as well as Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, etc.
Facebook is a particularly popular place to run PPC ads because of Facebook’s highly advanced targeting options and ad types.
Social Media Advertising
If you’re working on growing your social media audience, you can use paid social media advertising to grow your following. For example, you can run ads to try and get more subscribers on YouTube.
In the old days, people would pay to get in front of people on Facebook so they could build up their Facebook Page followers. I wouldn’t recommend that now, though, considering that Facebook has killed the organic reach of pages.
You could still use that strategy if all you cared about was your brand image – creating some sort of social proof. It wouldn’t really have any other purpose, though.
Of course, you can do PPC advertising on social media but I covered that under the PPC topic.
One of the most effective forms of advertising and one of the easiest to start with is re-targeting, sometimes referred to as “remarketing.”
Facebook and Google are the two most popular platforms for re-targeting, a method of advertising that allows you to show ads specifically to people who have already visited your website.
You can even get more granular and run ads only to people who have visited a specific page on your site.
If you’ve ever visited a big site, like Victorias Secret or something, and then their ads started following you all over the internet (on news sites, Facebook, etc.), then you’ve seen how re-targeting works.
You don’t have to be a big player to use re-targeting ads. It’s as simple as putting a line of code on your site, setting up some custom audiences in Facebook, creating your ads, and setting your budget.
You can do re-targeting for as little as $5/day and it’s highly effective since you’re running ads to a warmer audience – people who are at least partly familiar with your brand.
We talked earlier about how effective podcasts are for building KLT and I recommended that you try to be a guest on certain podcasts in your niche if you don’t want to start a podcast of your own.
That’s not the only option, though. Most of the larger podcasts in your niche will have sponsorship spots you can pay for (this is how podcasts make money). They’ll do an “ad read” to put you in front of their audience as a recommended product or service.
This can be a highly effective form of online advertising because of the nature of podcasts and the types of audiences podcasts are able to organize and nurture.
One thing I’ll recommend is that if you’re going to do podcast sponsorships, don’t send people to a website address. Most people are listening to podcasts on their phone and on-the-go. They’re not going to stop what they’re doing to type in a website address and fill out forms.
Instead, make them text a code to a special number in order to get your offer. Use SMS (text message) marketing to collect their data and then send them the details of the offer.
This allows you to not only capture their phone number but their email address as well. Then you can use SMS marketing and email marketing to follow up until you get the sale.
Not enough businesses are doing that. They’re still sending people to websites like we’re stuck in the old days. As a podcast host myself, I can tell you that SMS marketing is way more effective than trying to send listeners to a website.
We live in the “influencer” age of the online space. This is the age where practically anyone can build a massive following on social media or the internet in general.
The thing about social influencers is that, well, they have *influence.* If they tell their audience to buy something, their audience buys it. If they tell their audience to follow someone, their audience follows that person.
It’s not true 100%, of course, but they have a lot of influence.
Understanding this, it’s no surprise that influencers started selling their influence to marketers. You can pay an influencer to mention your product or brand and use these mentions to build your own following or generate sales.
The two best influencer platforms right now are Instagram and YouTube.
The top influencers will be very expensive, but you can recruit “micro-influencers” (people with a much smaller following, but still statistically significant) for very cheap. Sometimes, you can just give them free stuff in exchange for their mention.
For this channel to work, you really have to hammer on it for a little while. One-offs can work, but if you can create a situation where the same people start seeing you mentioned by various influencers, that’s when the real magic happens.
Online Marketing Strategy #4: Joint Venturing
Influencer marketing is a great segway into this online marketing channel.
Here’s an idea: instead of paying influencers to promote you, do some old-school, hand-to-hand combat networking and start to build relationships with influencers and micro-influencers.
Building relationships opens the door to joint venturing, which is co-creating and/or co-promoting a product or piece of content.
The main goal here is to borrow someone else’s audience to grow your own and to create sales.
Why do all the work to build an audience from the ground up when you can just borrow someone else’s? This is the power of joint venturing. – Kevin Michael Geary
Here’s a basic 3-step joint venturing strategy:
- Networking with influencers or micro-influencers to build a meaningful relationship.
- Co-create a product or piece of content (such as a webinar, guide, etc.).
- Co-promote what you created (mostly via email and social media, but possibly paid ads as well if it’s a product).
Joint venturing (JV) can be one of the fastest ways to grow and scale.
If you have an audience of 50k and you partner with someone who has an audience of 100k or 150k, you’ll see massive gains in your own following and the sales you can drive from this type of co-promotion are well beyond anything you could do on your own.
Of course, the top players aren’t going to want much to do with you if you’re a nobody. It doesn’t make much economic sense for them (unless they just really like you).
All isn’t lost if you have a small audience, though. You can play a step-up joint venturing game. If you have 1000 followers, find someone with 3-5k followers and JV with them.
When you get to 5k, find someone with 10k or 15k.
Work your way up. Again, this strategy is a way to scale your audience quickly because every time you do a JV promotion you’ll add a relatively large chunk of followers to your own project.
A popular sub-section of the joint venturing model is affiliate marketing – giving people a percentage of sales for promoting your product.
For physical products, the commission is usually less than 20%.
For digital products, the commission is almost never lower than 25% and can go as high as 100% (yep, lots of people offer 100% commissions on certain products because they simply want the leads in order to leverage upselling in the funnel).
It’s fairly easy to create an affiliate program, but they’re not always easy to run. Finding the right affiliates can be difficult and creating all the resources they need is time-consuming and requires some expertise in things like copywriting and graphic design (or you have to hire those things out).
Again, though, if you can create a successful affiliate program you’ll open your products and brand up to other people’s audiences as they work to promote you in order to earn commissions.
Another sub-section of joint venturing is contest marketing – getting exposure and leads by running a contest online.
While you can run contests on your own, they’re far more successful when you recruit influencers and JV partners. You can give away something of your own, give away other brands’ products, or a combination of the two.
If you are able to run really successful contests and giveaways, other brands will often contribute so they can get in on the action. When this happens, they’ll almost always announce the contest or giveaway to their audience, giving you a huge bump in exposure.
I’ve run contests to build a social following, grow an email list, and collect podcast ratings and reviews (for various shows). They can be very effective for getting a lot of followers or reviews in a very short amount of time.
Online Marketing Strategy #5: Mobile App Marketing
I’ll be upfront with you and let you know that I have zero experience in the mobile app space. However, I still understand the underlying strategy play here and also recognize that mobile app marketing is one of the leading online marketing trends in 2019.
As is true with Google, iTunes, Pinterest, and YouTube, the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store are search engines. If you create an app for your niche, that app can be found as people search.
If your app is super useful or entertaining or what have you, people will talk about it and word will spread.
You can get blogs to write about your app. You can get podcast guest spots to talk about your app. You could potentially do an app as a joint venture opportunity.
It’s not just marketing though. Your app can be a direct source of serious revenue. Even a free app can generate a ton of revenue either with ads or with “in-app purchases,” which are paid add-ons or upgrades inside the app.
Here’s a basic 3-step marketing strategy with mobile apps:
- Plan, design, and develop a useful app in your niche (typically listed as free + in-app purchases)
- Get your app accepted into the App Store or Google Play Store & start onboarding new users.
- Use the app to gain exposure through various other marketing channels and drive direct revenue with in-app purchases.
The two downsides of the mobile app strategy are that it’s extremely expensive and it can be difficult to find quality developers you can trust.
Good marketers know, however, that big downside can also mean big upside. When there are a lot of barriers to entry, that means most of your competitors were probably scared away from doing the same thing.
Before you enter the space, you’re going to want to make sure you have all your ducks in a row. Check out what other apps are available, do a bunch of market research to make sure your app idea is something that people would find useful, and do your due diligence when it comes to finding a development team.
What tools do I need to be successful with online marketing?
There are a host of tools you’ll need to effectively execute on your online marketing strategy, depending on the marketing channels you choose to use.
Of course, each type of tool is going to present you with a dozen or more options from various companies.
For example, you’ll need an email marketing service provider in order to do email marketing properly. But, they all have different features and options and price points, so which do you choose?
Just choosing which tools you’ll use can create significant overwhelm and kill your momentum unless you have advice from someone who has used the tools and knows the ins and outs of online marketing.
To help you stay on track, I’ve created a handy Online Marketing Tools Guide that you can download free. It’ll cover the best tools for each marketing channel I covered in this article as well as my personal recommendations…
How can I create an online marketing strategy for my business?
There are a lot of online marketing strategy templates out there and in my opinion, they’re too cumbersome.
They’re kind of like business plans where you’re asked to do a ton of upfront data collection, forecasting, and decision making only to have to make massive pivots and adjustments once you start engaging with the real world.
Honestly, the best way to do this is to:
- Know what all your options are – survey the landscape.
- Get strategic advice from someone who takes the time to learn about your business and your goals and can set you on the right path so you don’t waste a bunch of time and money “figuring it out.”
This guide laid out your options so that you understand the online landscape and can clearly see what’s possible.
If that’s enough for you, fantastic! If you’re like most people, you probably feel overwhelmed and wish you had someone to talk about your business with and find out exactly what the best course of action is.
Of course, if you have any questions about this guide, the comments section is open down below.
Kevin Michael Geary is the founder of Digital Ambition. After building three successful online businesses in three separate niches in less than five years, he turned his attention toward helping men and women all over the world start an online lifestyle business so they can escape the rat race, make an impact, and live life without limitations.