In this post, I’ll share with you 10 of the best digital marketing ideas to grow your online business in 2023 and beyond.
When I started my online business venture way back in the summer of 2004, the phrase “digital marketing” wasn’t quite as well-known as it is today.
As a matter of fact, Facebook and Gmail were still in their infancy.
WordPress didn’t have a website until around 2005. And there was no YouTube! Imagine that, no YouTube? Gees, how did the world ever cope?
Google and SEO were in the birth of the spotlight, for sure, but PPC was kind of picking up traction.
And as for social media?
Well, that was also in its very early stages. And we were very limited on what we could actually do with it. Remember MySpace?
As digital marketers, we did things a little differently back in the day. And primarily because the internet marketing landscape was not quite there.
Today, we’re inundated with so many methods to grow our businesses online, and offline.
We’re forever learning about the latest tools, tactics, and technologies.
Every day we discover some new marketing method or idea.
Everywhere you look online these days, some marketing guru is preaching about the latest marketing trend or magic formula.
Honestly, it can get mind-boggling at the best of times.
And here’s the thing:
You just can’t ignore the shift and hope you can continue to grow your business using the same old marketing techniques from yesteryear.
And I’m betting that when a new thing does come along, you either feel compelled to learn about it, or it’s just overwhelming. But yet, you don’t want to be left behind.
As Jacky Lovato accurately wrote in this post:
If you don’t keep up, you’ll get left behind.
It’s that simple.
What we will cover in this post
The digital marketing super-highway
To some extent, every business owner that has a website sees themselves as some kind of internet marketing guru. Even from day one. They post their website link on Facebook and boom! They’re a marketing superstar.
I’m not a marketing expert by any means. Nor do I have a degree in digital marketing, but I do have a boatload of skills and 15 years of experience in the field, especially in the online world.
With so much advice going around, it can be freaking overwhelming at the best of times, I can tell you.
I remember starting out in this very niche many years ago and thinking to myself –
I’m never going to get to grips with any of this stuff.
And you know what?
Even though I feel that I know a great deal about how to market my own business online now. I’m still learning every single day.
Every day’s a school day in the digital marketing world, so don’t feel as if you’ve got to learn everything in one go. It’s not practical or possible.
So, one of the questions I get asked a lot as a growth-driven web designer is –
Do I actually need to learn digital marketing, or can I just build a website and wait for people to find it on Google like most people often do?
And yes, I know what you’re thinking –
But Fabrizio, everyone knows how to use the internet to market their business, it’s 2023, for heaven’s sake. Who doesn’t know how to send an email or post a link on Facebook?
Now that’s funny. But let me start with this:
I have worked with dozens of small business owners in the last few years. And most of them didn’t have the slightest idea how to use the internet to market their business.
Even something as simple as creating a Facebook business page, or setting up email marketing. These can be quite complicated for a lot of folks.
And here’s the thing. There’s nothing wrong with not knowing. Not every business owner knows how to use the internet to grow their business. It doesn’t come as a default like – “Oh you have a business therefore you should know how to market it online.”
But if you’re a marketer reading this, sure, it might be easy for you and me as online business owners and marketers. We spend most of our time online. We’re wise enough to know a thing or two about how digital marketing works.
But, to assume that every other business owner knows about running a website works. Or how to use social media to increase brand awareness, and how to launch high-converting email campaigns. Or how to do PPC, and all the rest of it, for me that’s shallow thinking.
I actually thought the same thing too once. That everyone knew how to do this digital marketing stuff. Boy was I wrong.
So here’s the reality:
There are thousands of small business owners who have no idea where to start when it comes to online marketing.
Heck, most of them don’t even have a website, to begin with.
So, think about those brick-and-mortar-based businesses that have been long and well-established ‘offline’. They simply hit a brick wall when it comes to the digital world. No pun intended.
So, to finally answer the question – Do you need to know digital marketing?
If you are a brick-and-mortar small business owner wanting to grow online? Heck yes.
If you’re an entrepreneur wanting to grow your website? Heck yes!
Interest in digital marketing has continued to grow over the last five years.
It’s now critical for any business getting online to get to grips with good internet marketing practices.
The digital marketing playing field has changed
Internet marketing methods are somewhat different from conventional offline marketing tactics.
For starters, most of the offline or traditional marketing techniques are based on “advertising” and, or “cold hard selling”.
The internet, although it shares similar values and principles as traditional marketing, is a very different landscape altogether. And navigating it can be challenging at best, but not impossible.
Advertising is just one “tiny” piece of the online marketing puzzle. The rest of the puzzle is made up of other forms of online marketing tactics.
So, finally, in this post, I will share with you 10 of the best digital marketing ideas you need to know about.
Of course, there are hundreds of other tactics out there you could explore. But, you need not worry your head about any of those, yet. Especially if you’re new to all this.
For now, let’s focus our attention on the tactics that matter for increasing brand awareness and growing your business online.
Let’s finally, dive in!
(I do apologize if I waffled on for too long…)
#1: Get a responsive website
This is not for everyone.
If you’re reading this and you already know the importance and significance of having a website for your business, then move on. I assume you have a nice-looking website.
If you have a business without a website, and you don’t think it’s a big deal, then please read on:
Your business might be coping perfectly fine without a website. But, if coping is all you want for your business then that’s fine. If you’re looking for growth, new customers, and increased profits, you’ve got to have a website.
Check out this statistic –
According to GoDaddy’s 2015 small business survey, they found that 60% of small businesses do not have a website.
Here in the UK alone, it’s estimated that 2 million businesses still don’t have a website. (Source)
That’s quite alarming, I think so anyway.
Those numbers might be less now as we approach 2023. But, many small businesses don’t bother with a website because they feel it’s either too expensive to build one. Or too time-consuming to manage.
Or, they just don’t understand how much of an impact a website can have on their business and customers.
A mobile-responsive website can have a massive influence on your business. Especially when you factor in that 60% of internet access is occurring on mobile devices.
SmallBizTrends made an interesting point in one of their articles here. It said –
With a website, your business stops being invisible.
There’s no better way to put it. Because, without a website, your business is virtually invisible to those trying to find your products and services online.
Check out my web design course: Want to learn how to build a professional website for your brand without hiring a designer? Check out my WordPress and Oxygen Builder web design video course.
#2: Start blogging
Oh no, not the “blogging” advice again…
Blogging is nothing new. It’s been around the block for some time now. Almost every internet-based business manages a blog of some sort.
Back in 1999, a list was compiled by Jesse James Garrett where there were only 23 blogs in existence on the internet (Source).
According to this infographic, as of 2019, the number of blogs in existence exceeds 600 million.
And it doesn’t stop there, because the content just keeps on mounting. 4.4 million blog posts are published daily according to this source.
Those are some incredible numbers, right? Can you imagine what it must be like today in 2023?
So, why should you even consider using blogging in your business when there are already so many around? And, how can you use blogging as a digital marketing strategy?
Let’s take a closer look at what blogging can do for your business –
- Blogging can help you share timely and relevant information with your leads and customers. Think of it as a direct way to communicate with them.
- Businesses that use blogs receive 67% more leads than businesses that don’t market with blogs. (Source)
- Blogging can help improve search engine rankings, thus driving more targeted buyer traffic to your business website, products, and services.
- Blogging is a great way to humanize your brand and give it a voice. It can help you build more connections, reinforce relationships and help you earn the trust and loyalty of your customers. That’s important if you want people to buy from you again and again.
- Blogging is a cost-effective marketing strategy, simple to set up and every business should be using it.
I don’t want to just throw up a bunch of statistics and expect you to believe that blogging works. The proof is in the pudding, right? Well, I guess you’re right.
So take a look at the Smart Passive Income Blog. Pat Flynn, who is the founder, started as a blogger. Nothing more, nothing less.
Darren Rowse from ProBlogger started his online business by blogging, not as an author or public speaker, but as a blogger.
I started my creative online business not as a designer or web developer, but as a blogger over at Magnet4Blogging. The rest is history as they say.
#3: Search engine optimization (SEO)
Having a great-looking website is all well and good. You can also have amazing content on your website. And, you might also have great products or offer the best services in your industry. However, if no one can find you, then it’s all a waste of time.
Here’s one website marketing strategy you can’t ignore:
Search Engine Optimization, or SEO for short for all you noobs.
I’m sure that you’ve heard the term ‘SEO’ being thrown around the internet marketing world. It’s probably a household term now.
I have spoken to many small business owners, as well as website marketers, and bloggers, and I often ask them –
“What do they do to drive traffic to their website?”
Do you know what most of them respond with? –
“I’m doing advertising” or “I’m running PPC campaigns”, or “I’m boosting posts on Facebook” etc.
That’s wonderful to hear, but all of these tactics are far from being the most cost-effective.
Don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing wrong with paid advertising or PPC. But then I ask –
“What about SEO?”
The response I usually get is this –
“Pfft, SEO is too specialized. It’s way too time-consuming and doesn’t give me immediate results”.
Well there you have it… immediate results. That’s the world we live in today. We all want instant gratification. Whatever happened to working towards something?
I get it, your business can’t wait around for Google to give you free traffic so that you can convert into real paying customers. You want people to find your content, products, and services immediately.
I personally know businesses that have huge advertising budgets for their businesses. They spend a lot of money on PPC ads. Some companies even spend their entire annual marketing budget on it.
Because PPC marketing brings in traffic faster than SEO and that’s a fact. Faster traffic means more leads and more customers quickly.
But PPC marketing comes at a cost, of course. And that cost can be a heavy one if no proper planning or budgeting is involved.
Again, I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with paid advertising online. But, there is a much better and more cost-effective way.
Yes, you guessed it. It’s called SEO.
You can do SEO yourself, you don’t need to hire an SEO specialist. And whilst doing SEO is free, it has some disadvantages over PPC.
- SEO doesn’t always provide immediate results. You have to wait to see the result of your efforts.
- There’s no guarantee that optimizing for search engines will pay off because some keywords will be too competitive.
I’ve created a lot of website copy as well as blog posts that have struggled to rank. Some eventually made it to page 2 or 3 of Google, some never at all. And the odd few even make it to page one.
Take this post, for example. It has remained on page 2 of Google for the search phrase ‘digital marketing ideas’ forever. It has never made it to page one.
But that said, this post still gets good traffic from the search engines. Doing SEO can provide your business website with free traffic too, and lots of it.
And again, I’m not saying that PPC is bad in any way. What I am saying is – If you’re starting out, you may not want to blast your entire marketing or advertising budget on PPC alone.
When you implement simple SEO practices into your website marketing, sure it takes some time to see any worthwhile results. Again, especially if you’re starting out with your website. But the results will be worth the wait. You have to be consistent too.
And the best thing is?
You don’t have to drain your marketing budget on SEO. You can do it yourself for the most part.
Search engine traffic is free, and on top of that, it can last for a very long time if you keep your content fresh and relevant.
If you run a WordPress website, consider installing an SEO plugin. I recommend something like Rank Math SEO for site-wide and on-page precision optimization. This is the plugin I use on FVM.
#4: Guest blogging
Guest blogging is nothing new, I know. And some years ago it was considered to be a very effective way to build backlinks and drive organic traffic.
These days, if you try using guest blogging for link building, and in an unethical way, you could get a nice big slap from Google.
Guest blogging, yet, is still very powerful for:
- Brand promotion and improving authority for your website or blog
- Tapping into a blog’s traffic source and driving readers back to your own website (Kind of works)
- Building relationships with readers from other blogs and communities
I want to stress that brand promotion and credibility go a long way in helping you to establish your website with guest blogging.
I’ve made plenty of new connections and friends through guest blogging on a small number of relevant blogs in the past. So I know it works.
As for getting backlinks and driving referral traffic?
Well, it kind of works. Or at least it used to.
From my own experiences, there would be some blogs that would drive good traffic and some that didn’t.
Check out the graphic below. It was taken from an insightful, data-driven case study article over on BloggerJet by Tim Soulo.
Tim gathered data from some 239 guest posts from around 400 bloggers. He goes on to prove to some degree that guest blogging is not often the best strategy to use for driving referral traffic.
You can check out the post here. It contains some valuable information, tips, and ideas for effective guest blogging too.
#5: List building and email marketing
2019 was one of the best years for FVM (pre-Covid times). I was so fortunate to have worked with some amazing clients. These were folks just like me: Entrepreneurs, personal brand ambassadors, bloggers, etc.
Anyhow, I discovered that numerous of those clients did not have an email list for their business. It was something they had forgotten to do or didn’t think it was that important.
That’s so crazy when I think about it now because an email list is one of the most valuable assets you can have in your business.
I don’t want to sound like a broken record and tell you – hey, man, you’ve got to build your email list, over and over again. You’ve no doubt heard or read this advice a million times already.
Instead, I want to share with your an interesting slide presentation from SalesForce.
Check out this post I wrote over on my blog at Magnet4Blogging where I share a complete guide to building an email list from scratch!
#6: Social media marketing
OK, so I told you not to place all your focus on social media. Now I’m going to tell you not to ignore social media. So, what advice am I going to give you next?
Well, it’s impossible to ignore social media because it’s here to stay for a very long time. The social media landscape, however, is evolving.
As we slowly transition into the web 3.0 environment, and what with the semantic web, AI, decentralization, and the metaverse… who knows what’s in store for social media marketers.
That being said, the sites you need to care about in 2023 for fine-tuning your social media strategies are Instagram, TikTok, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, and Snapchat.
If you’re not using any of these, you need to start thinking of ways to get your business noticed, and in front of your ideal audience, using these platforms.
Easier said than done, right? So how do you do it?
I’ve always believed that the aim of social media is not to be on every single platform on the web. But to be present on the platforms that are working for you right now!
In other words, wherever your audience is engaging with you the most, focus your efforts there.
If people are responding to your content and engagement on Facebook, that’s where you need to be spending most of your time. If it’s Twitter, Pinterest, or LinkedIn, you know what you have to do.
Once again, be where your audience wants to engage with you.
If something isn’t working, for example, you’ve been trying to make Instagram work for your business for months and months, yet nothing is showing for your efforts, then move on. Your audience clearly isn’t on Instagram.
There’s nothing worst than being on social channels that give you nothing back. This is a useless, costly, and time-consuming strategy. Don’t fall into this trap, especially when your ideal audience could be somewhere else entirely.
Sharing my social media strategy
My social media marketing strategy is simple. I focus on two primary platforms, YouTube and Instagram. Everything else comes second, even Facebook. You have to find what works best for your business and put all your chips in.
Book recommendation: If you want to learn how to make the most of social media for marketing your business, I urge you to check out this amazing book on Amazon. This is one that I have on my shelf and one that I refer to often.
#7: Content marketing
Content marketing is a powerful strategy used by millions of marketers. So, what is content marketing exactly?
In a nutshell, content marketing is the process of creating content that is useful, relevant, and compelling. The content has to be good enough to attract and convert prospects into customers.
The content can be in written contextual form, it can be in audio, or in video.
Here is a list of mediums you can use for your content creation including publishing platforms –
- Videos for YouTube and Social Media
- Audiobooks and podcasts
- eBooks and white papers
- Webinars and Livestream video
- Presentations and other visual content
- Blog posts
- Social media content
- Print publication
If you’re interested in learning what a content marketer is actually responsible for, I recommend you check out this post over on CopyBlogger.
The most important thing to remember with content marketing is that you’re not trying to sell anything. No sales pitches whatsoever.
But rather, you’re trying to provide value and resources. By doing so you educate and inspire your customers to take action. Hopefully, that action will lead them down your marketing funnel.
Content marketing is actually fun to do and the great thing about it is that you can measure what’s working and what isn’t.
#8: Outreach and influencer marketing
Influencer marketing is a tactic, again, that hasn’t been around for very long.
Its growth in popularity has been phenomenal in the digital marketing world. And when done right, influencer marketing can be very effective for any type of business.
So, what is this influence marketing exactly?
According to this source: Influencer marketing is a type of marketing that focuses on using key leaders to drive your brand’s message to the larger market.
Rather than marketing directly to a large group of consumers, you instead inspire/hire/pay influencers to get the word out for you.
Still unsure what all this means?
It means using industry leaders and established experts to catapult your message about your business, products, and services to a wider audience.
Here are some useful tools to help you with your influencer marketing and outreach campaigns –
- BuzzSumo Influencers
Ninja Outreach(Influential blogger outreach, recommended)
- Mention (Identify the most important people talking about your business)
#9: Adding your business to Google Maps
So, if you have a local business you’d like to increase visibility online, the most basic thing you can do is to add your business to Google Maps.
This can be achieved through Google My Business (Previously known as Google Places).
With your business visible in Google Maps, your customers can find you, and even leave valuable feedback about your business. This will help you to boost trust, and credibility and attract even more customers.
#10: Use Pay Per Click
I couldn’t leave PPC out because it’s a great strategy for businesses when the time is right.
Again, if you’re starting out with your business, don’t be tempted to blow your entire marketing or advertising budget on PPC. Especially if you don’t know what you’re doing.
OK, so PPC is one of the quickest but not the most cost-effective ways to get traffic to your website.
If you’re smart about it, you can create a very specific and compelling offer. As long as your ad content is good and in line with your marketing goal, you can use targeted PPC ads to get people flocking to your offer.
I would not recommend you start using PPC with the mindset that you’re going to convert cold prospects into buyers directly. It doesn’t quite work that way with PPC.
I would recommend, however, that you use PPC to build your customer base. You can do this by offering a valuable incentive that is in line with your business offerings.
For instance, you can use PPC to grow your email list. You can then think of ways in which to convert your email list prospects into buyers later on.
Check out this book on Amazon if you need an introduction to Pay Per Click. It’s a fantastic read.
It’s a wrap!
So, there you have it. 10 best digital marketing ideas and tactics to grow your business in 2023 and hopefully beyond.
I want you to remember that internet marketing doesn’t have to be costly, nor does it have to be a complex minefield.
All the strategies I’ve outlined above can be cost-effective. Make sure you plan before executing any tactic and you’ll successfully grow your business online.
I want to wish you the very best of luck.