If you own a business or are heavily invested in one, you want to know how to grow your business, right? One sure way to see growth, no matter what kind of business you’re a part of, is through a digital marketing strategy.

Digital marketing is a crucial element for businesses today to stand out against competitors.

Companies spent, on average, 25% of total marketing budgets on digital in 2014. That figure is projected to jump to 75% within the next five years.

Establishing an online presence for your business tells people who you are. It’s the kind of advertising you want to have for your company because it is the most cost-effective. It can transform your business and take it to the next level.

What other marketing allows you to spread your brand name everywhere at once or meet your customers where they are (like a mom out for the day with her kids, looking for a good place to eat; or a student studying at a cafe, who decides to take a break and do some shopping online)? No longer do you have to wait and hope customers stumble across your billboard or commercial. Through paid advertising, off-site promotion, search engine optimization and the use of a good website, you can find your customers and bring them to you. And let’s not forget tracking. You can see what’s working in your digital marketing strategy and what’s not so you aren’t throwing away money.

Still not convinced digital marketing is the way to go? Here are some digital marketing stats you need to know.

5 Most Important Elements to Grow Your Business Online

As you research digital marketing, you’ll find a long list of strategies to choose from. However, there are a few foundational strategies–5 we’ll talk about–to grow your business online. These include: a high-quality website, search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing (SMM), pay-per-click advertising (PPC) and tracking.

We’ll cover each of these in-depth within this blog series, but below is a first look at each and why they are so important to your digital marketing strategy.

A High-Quality Website

Establishing a high-quality website for your business is crucial for an online presence. Sure, you can use social media to establish your brand online, but a website is what will really make your business stand out among the crowd.

A website will also create a better user experience for your customers. They’ll learn more about you, your services, the cost, and be much more inclined to exchange their money for your product or service than a competitor who only put in part of the work to establish themselves on the Web.

Keep in mind that any website won’t do. Throwing up a quick website isn’t enough anymore, as some companies do. There are rules and guidelines to follow if you really want your website to be successful. Not to mention, there are so many active websites online today. Having a good website can help you keep customers instead of sending them to your competitors.

According to a 2012 Mobile User Survey Keynote, 94% of people cited Web design as the reason they mistrusted or rejected a website.

In this blog series, we’ll talk about what you should aim for with the creation of your websi te and how to keep up with it over time.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Just like you can’t catch any fish with your new fishing rod if you don’t have any bait, your website can’t be found online if you don’t utilize SEO.

Search Engine Optimization is what gets your website seen on the Web. Let’s say you own a shoe store. If you want your shoe store’s website to appear in the search results when someone searches for, “New running shoes,” you need to optimize your website accordingly.

There are over 200 different parameters that Google looks at when determining where to place your company’s pages in the search engines and the way in which they judge these parameters is frequently changing.

The rules of SEO are ever-changing. Staying up-to-date with Google’s Guidelines and best practices can help you rank well in the search engines and attract new customers to your business.

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We’ll go through some ways to do that in the coming weeks.

Off-Site Promotion

When you think of digital marketing, social media marketing may be a strategy you’re most familiar with. Businesses use social media marketing a lot, and for good reason. Think about how many times you got on social media just this morning.

People use social media to connect and be entertained. Businesses must intersect with this motive–they must also seek to connect and entertain.

Businesses are capitalizing on these tools because of their overwhelming popularity, and there are a lot to choose from–each more common among different generations. There is more to social media than Facebook and Linked In these days. There is also: Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, Reddit and countless others.

Throughout this series, we’ll discuss best social media marketing strategies–what to post/what not to post–and who to market to by network. If you’re expecting to reach Baby Boomers or Gen-Xers on Snapchat and Instagram, for example, you’ll be sorely disappointed. Those generations are better marketed to on channels like Facebook and Linked In.

Along with social media marketing, we’ll also touch on reputation management. Reviews are a powerful thing and very common on the Web. Today, reviews can make or break your business, so monitoring what is being said about your business online is important for its success.

According to Yelp, 65% of consumers are reading between 2-10 reviews when researching local businesses. Furthermore, 72% of consumers give the same weight to online reviews as they do to personal recommendations.



Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC)

While Pay-Per-Click Advertising requires a financial investment on your part, the ROI may just convince you to give this a try. It is one of the best and quickest returns on investment of nearly any online advertising channel.

With these advertisements, your company can show at the top of the page in the search engines and you have the ability to track just about anything you want.

You can track how many people see your ad, how many people clicked on the ad, what they did after they clicked on your ad, if they bought your product, etc. You can also target your customers by demographic and location.

You want your ads to appear where your customers are. You have the ability with geo-targeting to even exclude zip codes where you may not find your ideal clientele.

We’ll go more in-depth on this tactic throughout this series.

Tracking

This is the final foundational digital marketing strategy we’ll cover in this blog series. Tracking is so important. You could think you’re doing everything right, but not reap any results. The use of tracking helps you see what’s working and what’s not working so you can make sure you are utilizing your digital marketing platforms the very best way for your business.

The greatest part is that when you see something isn’t working for your business, a quick shift and you’re back in the game.

You can’t do that with billboard and commercial advertising!

The first step to measuring ROI is great tracking.



Stay tuned for our 6-part series on How to Grow Your Business Online.