Digital Marketing Tips for Emerging Businesses in 2022
As your emerging business begins to gain traction, it’s essential to follow best practices to make a splash in the digital space. We spoke with expert digital marketers on their top digital marketing tips for businesses to implement.
There are those who will tell you that the digital marketing landscape is constantly evolving. And then there are those who will remind you that there are marketing fundamentals that always remain true. And the truth is, they’re both correct.
Digital marketing is a dynamic space and one that rapidly adapts to changes in the way people interact with brands and shop for products or services. Within digital marketing, though, there are key elements and practices that will always be critical to success.
Here we checked in with several digital marketing experts in the UpCity community to compile the tips and digital marketing trends that any emerging business should keep an eye on in 2022 and beyond.
Put your best foot forward—digitally speaking
Many of our experts started with your business’ home base—the website. It may sound like a no-brainer, but the website is the true digital home of your business. No matter how excellent your social media presence and your PPC ads are, consumers still need a great site they can visit to learn more about your company, and the search engines still need a place to direct traffic. If not your site, where will they wind up?
Brenden Hojara, Director of Marketing for Planned Growth, tells us that, “The first step for any new or emerging business is to establish a brand identity online. Once you determine your specific niche it’s time to start creating unique and useful content around that niche. Build a website that establishes your brand and becomes the ‘hub’ for all your content, including a blog where you can post consistent articles that will help answer questions your target audience is asking.”
There were multiple recommendations specific to your business’ website and its importance to the customer experience, including when it comes to prioritizing the site and budgeting for it. “Pay good money towards a website and graphic design,” according to Jacob Perkins, owner of Hen’s Bread Productions. “Then utilize email tools to ensure the best effort is put forward.”
That sentiment was shared by Mike Layer, Founder and CEO at Layer Digital Solutions. “Invest in a professional website that looks great in terms of design and layout, has compelling copy and content that resonates with your target market, and has a seamless user experience.”
Related to this tip about spending for a great website, Nick Herbst, Digital Marketing Consultant and Lisa Mulligan, Search Marketing Account Manager at The Xcite Group, offer an important bit of caution about that process. “Your website should never be held hostage by your agency; you should have 100% ownership of that.” While it’s certainly worth budgeting for the best site you can get, ongoing management and existing design files should absolutely remain the property of your company, and be readily accessible for any changes that may come your way.
Don’t squander easy content marketing opportunities
Your site isn’t the only place your brand will exist or the only component for raising brand awareness, so be sure to build a plan that accounts for everywhere your company needs to be and every place where even basic messaging can help with your optimization and conversion rates.
“Organic traffic strategies like SEO, content marketing, and social media take time but pay off in the long run,” Mike Layer continues, “so don’t wait.” While much of that content marketing material may exist on your site, there are dozens of other outlets to consider for expanding your reach.
“Google My Business (GMB) directly integrates with Google and Google map searches. The more accurate your information, the more likely you are to appear closer to the top,” Dusan Agbaba, CEO of Komdigit Agency, tells us. “Uploading your name, address, and phone numbers (NAP) to business citation sites can help search engines recognize your business as a fully operational entity. And including your business location will be a huge factor in your appearance on a map pack.”
Declan Clifford of LaunchLocal seconded the Google Business Profile recommendation, especially because of the direct impact you can see in metrics. “Start with the end goal in mind. You want more calls? You need to get in front of your ideal prospects when they are searching for the solutions you provide. So set up your Google Business Profile and other free online listings to reflect the services you offer!”
Do your homework (research time)
One of the biggest recommendations for any business looking to launch or improve a real digital marketing strategy in 2022 is to gather as much information as possible about target audiences, business trends (historically and during the pandemic), digital marketing trends, and even new opportunities (such as TikTok, Amazon Alexa, and other voice search tools, artificial intelligence, automation, and so on).
Alex Melen, Co-Founder of SmartSites, puts it quite simply when it comes to online marketing: “Research where your potential customers are. Are they on Tiktok? Or do they skew older and are on Facebook, for example.”
Rae Danielson, Administrative Support Manager and Lead Gen Master of Agency onethree shares, “New businesses should have a clear understanding of their target market and who they are trying to reach with their products and services. Once you have determined this, you have a solid foundation for building a strong social media presence for that following. With this information in mind, your content should be relatable and interesting to the determined market. When you know who you want as your client, you can then advertise with confidence.”
“Spend time researching your target audience, then focus on catering to that audience,” Justin Rissmiller of T&R Solutions tells us. “Then offer helpful tips and tricks for what it is you are offering.”
Jay Vics, Fractional CMO of HowTo.Agency by JVI Mobile also advises, “New businesses need to really avoid running paid traffic ads until they know their specific target audience (customer avatar), and know where in the Customer Journey the intended audience is.”
Testing is also a big part of that research, and it’s strongly recommended by Argona Partners CEO Jeremy Imlach. “Once you understand your ideal customer, you can focus on testing which digital channels are the best in order to capture that target audience. You don’t want to waste time and effort developing content for the hottest new platform if your ideal customers are not there. However, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t TEST new channels. Because marketing is all about hypothesizing and testing.”
Mothershed Design Co. Co-Owner Meg Mothershed also knows that the importance of testing can’t be overstated. “My biggest tip to new and emerging businesses when it comes to digital marketing is to test, test, and test some more. Don’t just try one avenue and give up if it doesn’t work. It’s crucial to experiment with different methods and avenues in order to discover what resonates with your audience and through which channels.”
Hear From Industry Experts
Read the latest tips, research, best practices, and insights from our community of expert B2B service providers.
Don’t try to do everything or be everywhere all at the same time
“You’ve got to crawl before you can walk,” as the saying goes, and many of our experts cautioned against diving headfirst into every digital marketing option and task at once. In this case, “everything” can cover social media platforms, search engine advertising, the latest marketing trends, developing dozens of customer personas, adopting every marketing automation tool, and beyond.
Channing Muller at DCM Communications puts significant emphasis on this tip: “You don’t have to do all the marketing channels (Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Email, Ads, etc). You need to find the ones where your target audience spends time and join them. Find out where your audience is and show up there.”
“Digital marketing can be a powerful tool for new and emerging businesses,” according to Colton De Vos, Marketing Specialist at Resolute Technology Solutions. “It can also be very costly and time-consuming if not focused appropriately. The first step I’d suggest is to establish a strong digital presence with a website, social media channels, and actively participating in relevant online communities.”
Of course, you don’t want to get mired down in trying to choose the perfect place to start, either. “Get started! Any action is better than no action,” Declan Clifford of LaunchLocal reminds us. “Beyond that, consult with a professional who has proven results that can show you a roadmap to success for your company online.”
Dan Kobler, Partner of Campfire Digital also emphasizes the importance of focusing on simple digital marketing tasks when just starting out in your business for maximum productivity. “Start small. Don’t try to do everything at once. Focus on a few simple tasks to get started and add as you go. Avoid spreading yourself too thin. If you try to do too much (especially with the demands of a new business), you’ll wind up doing nothing well and getting burnt out.”
“Avoid expecting results instantly, keep a reasonable 45-90 day period to judge a campaign’s final output. Do not keep your data in split SILO’s or owners, have a central repository to track each channel and compare,” Ashwin Thapliyal, Marketing Lead of Exemplifi emphasized.
Focus on your brand and keep building
In addition to his tips about research, T&R Solutions’ Justin Rissmiller also reiterated that your brand is perhaps the most important part of any marketing efforts, including digital marketing. “Identify and solidify your brand. Make it easy to recognize, but also one that sits well in the minds of your target audience.”
Mackierah McKie, Creative Director at Fourth of August Creative, also made sure to bring up the importance of your brand as part of your complete marketing strategy. “Really look at the full picture of your brand/company. Make sure that you have a detailed plan including a funnel and an optimized website only after you have thoroughly discovered all of your brand’s key components.”
When it comes to getting your brand out there, Colton De Vos at Resolute Technology Solutions offers a few recommendations that you might not have thought of. “To kickstart your brand visibility, reach out to your local chamber of commerce, industry groups, and other potential partners to see if you can host a co-branded event, podcast, webinar, or some form of knowledge sharing,” he says. “This way you can demonstrate your knowledge in a given area, leverage your partner’s audience, and give new customers a first glimpse at your business without investing heavily in advertising.”
Many More Digital Marketing Trends to Consider
Obviously, there are many, many more tips, tricks, and recommendations to consider for your marketing campaigns, but the advice here from some of our experts is a great place to start when planning for your emerging business.
Denny Kurien, Founder and Creative Director at Rayvn Design, laid out a list of some key tips that others didn’t mention, including: “1. Research competitors & differentiate yourself with strong positioning; 2. Consider Google ads for your small business; 3. Create professional visual content; 4. Develop email marketing; 5. Focus on primary social media marketing channels (LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook).”
And some of these recommendations will differ depending on your goals and your business model. Is eCommerce the key to your company’s approach? Are you primarily operating in the B2B space, and if so, how do you want to utilize LinkedIn, and what constitutes quality content for that outlet? But from search engine optimization to new marketing trends, you can see that the majority of these digital marketing tips apply to all areas of marketing, branding, and messaging for your small business. And when it comes to finding digital marketing experts who can help you keep these tips in mind as you plan and build your marketing efforts, your best starting point is right here on UpCity.