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Go Viral Without Going Viral: A Noob's Guide to Digital Marketing

Go Viral Without Going Viral: A Noob's Guide to Digital Marketing - Get Noticed Online Without Breaking the Bank

With online marketing, it"™s easy to get sucked into the mindset that you need to spend big bucks on flashy ads and lavish campaigns. But going viral doesn"™t have to cost an arm and a leg. With some smart strategies, you can get your brand out there and build an audience without breaking the bank.

The key is focusing your limited resources on high-impact tactics. Forget expensive Super Bowl ads - you need to grab attention through creative and shareable content. According to marketing expert Ryan Robinson, "œGreat content builds trust and loyalty with your audience faster than any other marketing tactic, and it has a longer shelf-life since content lives online indefinitely."

Robinson suggests tapping into trending topics that align with your brand. His client Piggy's Sweets Bakery garnered viral attention when they made a Han Solo cake after the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. While it only cost them the price of ingredients, their artistic creation generated national press and social media buzz.

Contests and giveaways are another way to engage your audience without big advertising dollars. For example, sunglasses brand Shadespeare held an Instagram contest asking people to creatively style their sunglasses. The user-generated content spread organically, giving them valuable exposure. With some clever planning, you can run contests that align with your brand values and identity.

While buying Facebook ads and Google keywords can help, don"™t neglect organic social media marketing. Post regularly, respond to comments, engage followers, and share visual content. If your posts resonate, you can gain loyal fans who will help spread your message. Consistency is key - according to HubSpot, brands that post 16+ times a month on Facebook see higher engagement.

Email marketing is also an economical option. Segment your list for targeted campaigns, offer exclusive deals to subscribers, and share compelling content. Services like MailChimp make campaigns easy to design and track. According to Campaign Monitor, email generates $38 for every $1 spent - the highest ROI of any marketing channel.

Go Viral Without Going Viral: A Noob's Guide to Digital Marketing - Make Content That Spreads

In today's oversaturated digital landscape, creating content that genuinely engages users and gets widely shared is no easy feat. But making viral-worthy content is possible for brands of any size with the right strategy.

First, focus on creating content that sparks an emotional reaction. Play to people's heartstrings with sentimental stories or make them laugh out loud with hilarious videos. Content that evokes a strong positive emotion is primed for sharing. For example, Dove's Real Beauty Sketches campaign showing women describing themselves negatively while a stranger drew them in a more beautiful way struck an inspirational chord. It racked up over 114 million views across YouTube and other channels.

Your content also needs to fill a need or satisfy curiosity. Offer a clever lifehack, share an intriguing factoid, or reveal a never-before-seen perspective. When Wheat Thins created individual Instagram accounts for five of its cracker flavors and had them interact like real people, it piqued interest and got people talking.

Visual content tends to grab attention and travel farther. Include interesting images, eye-catching graphics, or an entertaining video. Yum Brands' Taco Bell boasts one of the most engaging social media presences thanks to its zany animations and videos. These stop scrolling in its tracks.

Collaborating with influencers, celebrities and other brands can also help give your content a signal boost. But make sure partnerships feel natural and not forced. Airbnb's collaboration with Disney offered a contest where winners could stay in a Mickey Mouse-themed unit near Disneyland, which aligned well with both brand images.

While chasing trends may tempted you, don't just create content that's fleetingly topical. Focus on evergreen content that provides value regardless of when users find it. Patagonia's Common Threads blog offers timeless tips on responsible shopping and adopting a low-waste lifestyle.

Go Viral Without Going Viral: A Noob's Guide to Digital Marketing - Leverage Social Media Without Annoying Your Network

Social media is a powerful tool for spreading your brand message, but you have to be careful not to overdo it and irritate your network. The key is finding the right balance between visibility and value.

When used properly, social platforms allow you to build relationships, highlight your expertise, and get discovered by new audiences. But constantly promoting your product and spamming self-serving content will cause followers to tune out.

HubSpot notes that 78% of users say relevant content from brands is useful, but generic promotions feel like clutter. So focus less on the hard sell, and more on sharing truly useful info. Educational content and entertaining videos work better than obvious ads.

Avoid repeatedly posting identical content across every platform. Tailor content for each channel and community. LinkedIn calls for more professional posts while Instagram and TikTok thrive on fun visuals and trends.

While using relevant hashtags helps you get discovered in searches, avoid tag spamming which looks artificial. Sprinkling in some branded hashtags is fine, just don"™t make it the whole post.

Go Viral Without Going Viral: A Noob's Guide to Digital Marketing - Email Marketing 101

Email marketing remains one of the most cost-effective ways to nurture leads and drive conversions, yet it often gets overlooked by digital newcomers in favor of flashier social tactics. But boosting your email strategy should be high on your priority list. Why? Simply put, email boasts impressive ROI. Campaign Monitor indicates that for every $1 spent, email marketing nets an average return of $38 - outperforming social media, SEO, and paid search.

But don't expect instant results. Building an engaged subscriber list that generates revenue takes time and strategy. Start by incentivizing sign-ups with lead magnets like discounts, ebooks or webinars that offer immediate value. Just don't overdo the promotions - Campaign Monitor found that transactional emails like receipts, shipping notices and password resets make up majority of messages, so keep a balance of offers and valuable content.

Segmentation is also key for targeting relevant messages to specific groups. Software company AWeber increased click-through rates 250% by dividing its list based on behaviors like previous downloads. Similarly, fashion brand Venus segmented customers based on purchase history and traits, boosting revenue per email by 760%.

While some companies worry that more frequent emails will annoy subscribers, data shows the opposite. eMarketer found that brands deploying 3 or more campaigns per week enjoyed higher open and click rates. But ensure your increased output provides consistent value.

The most critical factor is continually testing and optimizing your campaigns. Try different subject lines, content formats, call-to-action placements, send times and visual styles to see what resonates best with your audience. Maintain this testing mentality even after finding a groove that works.

Go Viral Without Going Viral: A Noob's Guide to Digital Marketing - Search Engine Optimization Basics

With over 3.5 billion searches a day, search engines like Google are where the majority of website traffic originates. If your brand doesn't rank highly in results for relevant queries, you miss out on tremendous visibility. That's why mastering search engine optimization (SEO) basics is mission-critical.

The goal is to make your pages appealing to search bots so you rank better organically without paying for ads. How do you do this? By optimizing your content and site architecture using key SEO principles:

Relevance - Create content that directly answers the questions your target audience is asking on search engines. Identify those high-value keywords and naturally incorporate them in your copy. But avoid awkward overuse - Google frowns on keyword stuffing.

Authority - The more authoritative your site, the higher it will rank. Authority is built through factors like domain age, quality backlinks from other reputable sites, positive user engagement metrics and expertise/trustworthiness of your content.

Crawlability - Search bots must be able to easily crawl and index your site. That means a clean navigation structure with no roadblocks. Ensure your site has an XML sitemap listing all pages and limit use of images or videos without ALT text descriptions.

Localization - Having a Google My Business listing with your hours, address and contact info helps you rank for local searches. Building location-based citations on sites like Yelp also boosts your local SEO.

Marketer Anita Newton shared, "When I first started my jewelry business, no one could find my site. After a year of honing my SEO strategy, my key terms now rank on page one. My traffic and sales increased so much, I could quit my day job."

Go Viral Without Going Viral: A Noob's Guide to Digital Marketing - Track Your Efforts With Analytics

In the digital realm, data is king. Tracking the performance of your marketing efforts through analytics provides the insights you need to continually refine and optimize your strategy. For newcomers, analytics can seem intimidating. But mastering the basics is essential to amplify your impact online.

Rob Sanders, founder of digital marketing agency Rob Sanders Consulting, emphasizes that you must track ROI from the start. "When I first launched my business, I focused more on vanity metrics like social media followers and website hits. I didn't connect the dots on how those linked to sales. Once I started measuring ROI through Google Analytics, I could clearly see which campaigns were moving the revenue needle and which were wasted spend. My marketing dollars became 10X more effective."

While large enterprises use robust analytics suites, free tools like Google Analytics offer tremendous capability for small businesses. You can connect Analytics to your website, social platforms, email provider and more to collect data in one dashboard. Track standard metrics like website traffic, lead conversions and sales along with engagement on posts. Compare performance across channels to see where your audience most actively interacts.

Analytics empowers you to experiment. Try tweaking your email send time, headline formulas, image styles, calls to action and other variables. See which iterations spur the most clicks. Run A/B tests on landing pages to determine which layout and copy resonates stronger. Let data guide you toward higher performance.

Brian Dean of Backlinko used analytics to increase his site's organic traffic by 155,000 visitors per month. By poring through Google Analytics, he learned which content got the most social shares and backlinks. He then created similar high-performing content and got recurring traffic surges.

Go Viral Without Going Viral: A Noob's Guide to Digital Marketing - Choose One Platform and Master It

With so many social platforms competing for attention, it"™s tempting to spread yourself too thin in an attempt to have a presence everywhere. But trying to maintain active accounts on every site often leads to mediocre results across the board. That"™s why it"™s smarter to pick one platform that aligns best with your brand and goals, then really focus on optimizing your presence there.

Choosing the right platform means selecting the one where your target audience is most active and engaged. Study user demographics and behaviors on each site. Where do they spend time and what type of content and conversations happen there? For example, LinkedIn skews toward a professional audience while TikTok captures a Gen Z crowd. Make sure your brand has appeal to the platform"™s core users.

Once you select your platform, create content specifically tailored to its format, style and community. Fashion retailer ModCloth drives engagement on Instagram using visually striking photos and captions wrapped in their quirky brand voice. Nonprofit Charity:Water relies on compelling storytelling and videos on YouTube to connect donors to its mission.

Build a consistent posting strategy and focus on quality over quantity of content. While the algorithm on your platform of choice rewards regular posting, you need substance behind your output. According to Social Pilot, inconsistent posting leads to a 60% drop in engagement. Staying active with valuable content keeps you top of mind.

Interact with other accounts and creators through likes, comments and shares. Being a thoughtful member of the community forges connections. For example, Whole Foods builds loyalty and buzz by sharing user-generated content on Instagram. This makes followers feel recognized.

Measure what engages your audience using built-in analytics. HubSpot notes that likes, shares, clicks, comments and other interactions vary by platform. TikTok values views, Facebook prioritizes Reactions, and Twitter focuses on retweets. Study your metrics and offer more of what resonates.

Consider going all in as an influencer on one platform like comedian Humor And The News did with Twitter. He focused efforts there to build his follower base faster instead of dividing time across sites. Choose a specialty rather than diluting your impact.

Go Viral Without Going Viral: A Noob's Guide to Digital Marketing - Always Be Testing

In the fast-paced digital landscape, standing still means falling behind. To keep up with ever-shifting consumer interests and platform algorithms, brands must continually test and optimize their marketing. The key is developing an agile mindset focused on improvement through ongoing experimentation.

Rica Barakat, VP of Growth Marketing at online retailer Faire, stresses the need to bake testing into your regular workflows. "œWe"™re always testing new content formats, headlines, visuals, and timing in our email and social campaigns. Out of five tests, maybe only two will be clear winners. But those incremental gains compound over time into major lifts."

For example, Faire tested sending their promotional emails on Sundays rather than Tuesdays. The small change boosted click-through rates by 43% and revenue per email by 29%. They also regularly test video content against static images. A product demo video increased social engagement on one post by 350% over an image. By testing two to three times a week, they maximize results.

B2B SaaS company LeadGenius highlights the importance of continually optimizing your website and landing pages. They use split testing software to try variations like different headlines, value propositions, gated content offers, and call-to-action wording and placement. Product Marketing Manager Jennifer Casale explains, "œOur control version of a high-traffic landing page had a 2.8% trial sign-up rate. Through ongoing tests over two months, we increased the rate to 4.3%. That small gain has significantly accelerated our lead pipeline."

For e-commerce brands, testing visual content like product images and videos can pay big dividends. When outdoor retailer Moosejaw tested product videos against traditional static catalog shots, the videos drove a 488% increase in click-through-rate from product listings to purchase pages.

Of course, testing works across platforms. SEO agency PageTraffic frequently tests Facebook ad variations including different creatives, copy, call-to-action design, and target audience parameters. because the algorithm rewards higher-performing ads with lower costs. They also test blog post titles and meta descriptions to identify which drive the most organic search clicks.

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