Know your market.

Your marketing strategy will never be successful if you do not have a clearly defined audience. Before you spend a dime on marketing, figure out your target market first. There’s no need to pay top dollar to hire a fancy market research firm. If you know your product, you should be able to figure out your market yourself. For example, who will be most interested in your product? Men or women? What is their age group? What are your customer’s interests? What is their likely financial situation?



Once you have a thorough profile of your customer, determining how and where to reach them is much easier. This step may take awhile, and that’s OK. If you start marketing before you have a clear customer profile though, you will likely be wasting your dollars in places that will never reach your customer. Just because Pinterest is growing rapidly, doesn’t mean your audience is the one making it grow.

Set and reset goals.

Determine what you are looking to gain from online marketing. Increased awareness? Increased revenue? You will probably have multiple goals, but keep track of what they are so you can measure your success. When you reach your initial goals, set new goals so your company can continue to improve.


Set a budget.

Now that you know who your target market is and have set goals, plan your budget accordingly. The good thing about online marketing is that you can be successful even when on a tight budget. A lot of platforms are available at no charge. However, sticking solely with free forms of online marketing might not be the best strategy for your company. Carefully determine what outlets are most necessary for your product and be willing to spend some money to get results. 


Brand yourself.

Set yourself apart from the competition. There are thousands of companies trying to sell products on the Internet. Thus, you need to make your brand unforgettable. This begins with your website. Your domain name should be your company’s name if at all possible. If there are other companies online with names similar to yours, you may even want to consider changing your name to one that will not be easily confused with another product. Acquiring a domain name has a fee involved, but using a hosting service is very affordable even for the smallest budgets.

The way you want your brand to be viewed by customers is really up to you. But once you figure it out be consistent and stick with it. Having a professional website and a strong social media presence is important here, but you should also take the time to interact with potential customers and build relationships with them. The main cost involved in this step is just the man hours put into the process, which will drastically be reduced when you’ve established your brand.


Search engine optimization.

When someone enters a search query into a search engine about something relevant to your company, obviously you want to be one of the first results displayed. So how do you make this happen? Essentially, you need to make your website more appealing to search engines. Do this by using keywords that are commonly searched, backlinking your site, customizing the headline and description, etc.

SEO can admittedly be a complicated and time consuming process, however the time needs to be spent here to ensure your website is getting found. Your best bet is usually going to be spending a bit more of your budget and hiring the right people to do the proper research. At Ciplex, we stress the importance of not including keywords to simply rank your site, but using the terms your audience is looking for. That is what will get you the highest conversion rates.

Digital marketing can be cost-effective, but to make it really efficient, consider these trends that are likely to dominate.

Marketing in this era is a brutal dog-eat-dog world, but there just isn’t any dearth of opportunities. There are many vistas and glittering stars for consumers to turn their eyes to. So how do you get them hooked to yours or even glance at what you’re presenting? Tons of smart thinking and keeping abreast of current and future technologies and platforms is the key to successfully market your or your client’s products and expertise.

Digital marketing has no boundaries. It encompasses devices such as smartphones, tablets, laptops, game consoles, televisions, digital billboards, and media such as social media, SEO (search engine optimization), videos, content, email and lots more. Digital marketing can be cost-effective, but to make it really efficient here are five trends that are likely to rule the roost in 2014.

1. Location-based Marketing


If there’s one dominating trend to pinpoint in 2014, it almost surely is location-based marketing. This makes use of GPS technology to deliver multimedia content tailored to the geographical location straight to the potential customer’s mobile device. This helps to cater more specifically to users’ needs, and both marketers and consumers are expecting more of this in 2014. Already there are social apps including Ban.jo, Path, and Foursquare that provide vital consumer data.

91 percent of adult mobile phone owners have their devices within arm's reach 24/7 and location-based marketing could exploit this massively. Furthermore, tools such as Google Wallet are being perfected, which will enable people to buy with their credit card right from their smartphone. The NFC (near field communication) technology in Google Wallet, which allows users to make secure payments, is only set to get more popular and better. Businesses are sure to capitalize on this.

2. Social Media Diversification


It’s no longer only Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn. Though these are the most popular, networks such as Pinterest, Google+, and Instagram are on the surge too. While 93 percent of marketers have claimed that social media is an integral part of their marketing in 2013, the number of visitors to these social networks will increase further next year. This means more and more marketers are capitalizing on this and will focus more on in 2014. They will seek to establish a significant presence for themselves in the aforementioned networks to build their brand and connect with potential customers.

Paid advertising will also increase, particularly on Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. Social signals have proved to be important for search rankings and building reputation, so it’s only a matter of time before businesses think of not only Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Google+ but also Instagram, Pinterest and smaller networks such as these that are each carving a unique niche for themselves.

3. Content Curation


There are many content discovery apps available including Flipboard, Pulse, Foodspotting, and Fancy that help users to tweak the feeds by merchants and businesses according to their contexts and interests. Data is filtered and customized information platforms are curated by users according to their needs. This is set to become another important trend in 2014 and provide potential customers with greater engagement with the business. Marketers can increase the relevancy of their marketing since users can arrange the posted content according to what suits them. Pinterest is the one website that comes to mind, considering its amazing curation possibilities. But it isn’t the only one – List.ly and Quora are the other websites that help users arrange and aggregate data.

4. More Video Marketing


Videos can convey a message ten times more powerfully than text content, though persuasive content is in a much higher league. Video marketing is already popular but it will get more so in 2014. Vine is a service that allows marketers six seconds of time within which they need to market their product through a video. Vine is set to grow massively in popularity among marketers next year. You’ve got YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter to capitalize on and Instagram and Snapchat also have video options in their app. Videos are also increasingly being watched on mobile devices and that’s a potent competition, able to instantly alter user behavior.

5. Remarketing or Ad Re-targeting


Marketers looking to convert web traffic are turning to remarketing. First time visitors to business websites mostly do not become customers. It’s estimated that first visits only result in 2 percent of the conversions. Retargeting is therefore emerging as a very essential element of digital marketing. Remarketing basically helps marketers target potential customers who visited their site but failed to convert. It helps them display their products or services on websites they may potentially visit. AdRoll is a remarketing service and its popularity is proved by the fact that it has received the accolade of being one of the fastest growing businesses in the world. Marketers could also begin using Google Remarketing. This is a great way to attract potential buyers. Visits that do not end up being converted don’t need to be forgotten. You can target them again.

There you go! These are the most probable trends 2014 will witness in digital marketing, but by no means the only ones. This is a dynamic field and new trends keep developing every now and then.

To Conclude

The rising importance of Google+ is something really worth watching out for. Google has been trying everything in the book to make its social network a household name. Though it hasn’t got to the level of Facebook, it’s being embraced by more and more marketers and consumers. Marketing messages too need to get smarter and more simplistic and is something we’re sure to see being employed by businesses in 2014. This works because it takes into account the fact that consumers are overloaded with information. Digital marketing can only succeed when it freely accommodates new technologies and approaches and, most importantly, puts the priority on user needs.

Digital marketing is essential in today's world. With both competitors and potential customers constantly online, digital marketing is the only way to stay ahead. When you're a small business owner the online world can seem intimidating. Here is a list of five simple digital marketing strategies that any business owner can implement to help their business grow.

1. Setting a Goal: You're looking for ways to help your small business grow. You might want more customers, more recognition or maybe you're looking to get ahead of the competition. Whatever the case may be, starting with a solid goal in mind greatly increases your chances of success. Digital marketing is a great way for small businesses to prosper, but going into the process blindly can leave you with a jumbled mess. A lot of strategy and precision goes into digital marketing and having a goal helps you know what to focus on.

2. Creating a Marketing Funnel: The most successful businesses have an effective marketing funnel in place. A marketing funnel is when you map out a customer's journey from when a customer is a complete stranger to when they become a lead, and then put certain strategies in place that will encourage them to move through this funnel. Things like lead magnets, calls to action, opt-ins and offers are all effective pieces of a funnel. You can think of a marketing funnel in four parts: Awareness, Interest, Desire, and Action.

Awareness: The potential customer is aware of your product or service. They're still a stranger, but they've come to your website for a reason. They're looking for something they need. At this stage you want to attract the customer by showing them that you have something they're looking for. Use a lead magnet or call-to-action to give the customer a valuable resource related to your product or service (i.e: what they need) in exchange for more information about them like their email address, phone number, profession and current needs. Find out who they are and why they came to your website.
Interest: They are actively expressing interest in a certain type of your products or services. At this point you've given them some information and they're interested in what you have to say or the services you provide. You've used your lead magnet or CTA in stage one to gather more information about them. At this stage it's a good idea to supply them with further information that is more tailored to their specific needs. Showing them that you not only took the time to get to know them, but also have something that's specific to their needs will show that you're attentive to and care about your customer's wants and needs.
Desire: They've taken an interest in a specific product or service. Now that you've supplied them with information specific to what they're looking for, they've found a product or service you provide that might be a good fit for them. Invite them to schedule a consultation using an email or a call-to-action. At this stage you want to tell them more about the product or service they're interested in. Show them why they need it and exactly how it will benefit them.
Action: Taking the next step towards purchasing. This is when you're able to turn your potential customer into a lead. You've given them valuable information, shown them you pay attention to your customer's needs, and shown them that you have something they need that will benefit them. All that's left is discussing things like price, payment and other aspects of your product or service that are relevant to a buyer.
Having an effective marketing funnel won't just get you more leads, it can also help you turn leads into repeat buyers. If the customer has a good experience they might return to purchase from you again or even tell others they know about your business. The elements of a marketing funnel can seem like a lot to put together, but they're simple concepts when broken down. You'll see that numbers 3,4 and 5 help to break down and explain the different aspects of having a marketing funnel in place on your site and how to put together some of the most important pieces of it.

3. Developing a call-to-action: We talked about using a call-to-action in the second step as a part of your marketing funnel, but what is a call-to-action exactly? A call-to-action (CTA) is an image or text that prompts visitors to take action, such as subscribe to a newsletter, view a webinar or request a product demo. CTAs should direct people to landing pages, where you can collect visitors' contact information in exchange for a valuable marketing offer. In that sense, an effective CTA results in more leads and conversions for your website. This path, from a click on a CTA to a landing page, illustrates the much desired process of lead generation. In order to increase visitor-to-lead conversion opportunities, you need to create a lot of calls-to-action, distribute them across your web presence and optimize them. A good CTA should be attention grabbing and help lead a potential customer further into your marketing funnel.

4. Creating an Effective Lead Magnet: A lead magnet can be used alone or along with a CTA. This will also be used either within your marketing funnel or as a way to drive potential customers into your funnel. Supply them with something relevant to your product or service that they want. Use your offers as a way to gather more information about a potential buyer while driving them further into your funnel at the same time. This brings them closer to becoming an actual quality lead who will spend money on your product or service. The idea behind a lead magnet is to trade information. You supply something like a free download of a white paper, but in order to complete the download the individual has to fill out a form that will provide you with more information about them. You'll use the information you gather to interact with them more as they progress through your funnel.

5. Driving Traffic: In order for there to be people to drive into your marketing funnel, there first has to be traffic on your website. There a variety of ways you can drive traffic to your website. Here are a few of the ones I recommend:

Quality Content: Use content such as blog posts, press releases and articles on authority websites. Insert links to various places on your website within this content to build your brand name through exposure and drive traffic to your website.
Keyword Strategy: Inserting related keywords into content will help your content and website show up in more search results, this leads to higher volumes of web traffic.
Website Optimization: Ensuring that your website is optimized and functioning at it's best is essential. People don't want to visit a website that doesn't work properly.
Social Media: Use engaging social media posts to attract more traffic to your site. Using pictures, video, and other relevant media will help your posts get more engagement.

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