Keeping up with today’s marketing challenges is tough. There is a lot of information to process and examine before formulating a strategy, plus many startups and small businesses have limited budgets. They have to focus on the most cost-effective marketing channels to see positive results.

So as a marketer or aspiring entrepreneur, where should you focus? Here are a few tips to maximize your reach through digital marketing.

1. Know your audience and competitors 

This is the cardinal rule of marketing. Without knowing your audience, you can't effectively speak to them or grab their attention (What are they interested in? What are they looking for, and where do they go to find it?). In-depth knowledge of your target audience allows you to pinpoint your strategy for the people who are most likely to purchase your product, and most willing to contact you directly. 

So how do you get to know your customers? 

Step 1: Start with the data that you already have (past surveys and Google Analytics) Also, hold interviews with the major stakeholders to better understand what they like about your organization.

Step 2: Once you have enough data, it’s time to create an audience profile worksheet.

Step 3: After you’ve created an audience profile, use it as the basis for each and every decision. This will ensure your organization remains customer-centric

Also, whether you’re a small business or an established brand, you have to keep an eye on what your competitors are doing. By analyzing your competitors, you can future-proof your business and have an idea of what’s in store. Analyze at least five close competitors in your industry. 

Keep these points in mind when conducting competitor analysis:

  • What potential threats do your competitors pose?
  • What opportunities do they create for you?
  • Which mediums do they use to market their product or service?
  • Are they doing content marketing, and how successful are they? What topics do they cover?
  • Which keywords do they use? Tools like SEMRush, SuggestMtrx, and SEOchat can help you determine top competitor keywords. 

2. Define an engagement strategy 

According to a survey of marketers conducted by, most respondents want to improve customer engagement and brand building by providing a positive experience — they're just not sure how to do it. This is where you have to rely on the data you’ve collected on your customers and competitors to formulate an engagement strategy backed by data (see point 1).  

  • Identify the channels (Facebook, Google+) your customers are active on
  • Target those channels and attract customers with relevant content and positive customer reviews (social proof)
  • Use to increase brand engagement
  • Connect with customers by responding to comments, queries and requests
  • Surprise customers by sending them coupons and other incentives on their birthday or holidays
  • Develop an omni-channel user experience

3. Retain current customers 

82% of companies agree that retaining customers is cheaper than acquiring new ones. The moment you see churn numbers start to rise, take steps to find out where the problem lies. 

Some questions to investigate: has your customer left you for a competitor? Are your communications no longer personalized? Or does your product no longer meet their needs? You need to know these answers to retain your customers. 

4. Focus on search engine optimization 

Well executed SEO can bring in a tremendous amount of traffic to your website. According to Social Media Today, 57% of B2B marketers say SEO has the biggest impact on lead generation. But optimizing your website isn't easy, and it requires time and patience. 

Tips for optimizing your website:

  • Learn how search engine spiders work
  • Before you write content, do some research on keywords and build your material around them
  • Perform A/B tests on your headlines and website copy 
  • Update content on a regular basis
  • Share and promote your website address
  • Include a targeted call-to-action on each page of your website
  • Use Google speed insights to improve your site's user experience

Have you wondered how much business you’ll be losing by not having your site optimized for mobile users? Well, the answer is A LOT. The number of smartphone users worldwide is expected to grow to 4.77 billion in 2017 — and those numbers will continue to skyrocket in the coming years. So don’t forget to optimize your content, website, and apps for mobile users. 

SEO will also lead to improvements in your content marketing results, since you can focus on creating articles, eBooks, and infographics that potential customers are most interested in reading — and can easily find. Knowing exactly what keywords and topics customers are looking for makes it easier to provide targeted, discoverable content. 

5. Start promoting your brand on social media

Social networking sites are a great way to help you stay connected with existing customers, and will encourage you to seek out potential customers. 

For instance, let’s say you’ve recently opened a coffee shop. Using geo search, you can find people who have tweeted about coffee close to your location, and then reach out and offer them a coupon to try your coffee.

Apart from the points mentioned above, here a few other areas to concentrate on:

  • Vary your content types, including videos, Slideshares, and infographics.
  • Enforce a multi-channel digital marketing campaign with the help of tools like Pardot, Eloqua,and Bizible
  • Include social media buttons on each page of your website
  • Use email campaigns to nurture leads
  • Offering solutions, education, and entertainment matters. Providing value to customers is the best way to engage and connect.
  • Once you have generated leads, learn to manage them efficiently with tools like Integrate, Pipedrive, and ProsperWorks
  • If you are promoting your brand on multiple channels, be consistent across them all. 
  • Instead of trying to do everything, focus your digital marketing resources on excelling in a few key areas. 

Success in marketing means you never stop learning, keeping up with the latest trends, and above all, listening to your audience. You can read about digital marketing until your eyes cross, but at the end of the day, there is no better guide than dialing in to your customers. 

Author Bio: Sandra Christie, a writer for @IdigicNet, has several published articles about social media that talk about general improvement of your social feed, and get more brand presence using it.