getting started with digital marketing

Getting started with Digital Marketing for your local business

I just think, before you start, you should know some foundational ideas which is why I started this blog and newsletter. Thanks for being apart!

Todd E Jones – thta’s me 🙂

So, here is where you are in your business.

You have been running your business for a while now, right?

You have seen some growth, put in place some processes, you have some raving reviews from customers, and now someone is whispering in your ear, “you need to do digital marketing.” 

Chances are, that means they want you to buy their services.

And hey, digital marketing is a great way to efficiently add to your business.

It’s a win/win really.

I just think, before you start, you should know some foundational ideas which is why I started this blog and newsletter.

Thanks for being apart!

Me thankful for you!

How does someone define digital marketing?

I’m not sure how you define it, and I’m not really sure how others do. It really doesn’t matter because we will all say something a bit differently.

By now, you know I have a philosophy and a way that I look at digital marketing.

I think digital marketing starts with your home base, your website, and your email list, and uses other “digital” channels to funnel leads to your home base.

But, for the sake of hearing someone else’s definition, here is a paragraph from American Marketing Association:

“In a nutshell, digital marketing refers to any marketing methods conducted through electronic devices which utilize some form of a computer. This includes online marketing efforts conducted on the internet. In the process of conducting digital marketing, a business might leverage websites, search engines, blogs, social media, video, email, and similar channels to reach customers.”

American Marketing Association

I cannot disagree with the specifics of this definition, but I think it fails to provide context.

Here is another definition from Mailchimp and its pretty good too:

“Digital marketing, also called online marketing, is the promotion of brands to connect with potential customers using the internet and other forms of digital communication. This includes not only email, social media, and web-based advertising, but also text and multimedia messages as a marketing channel.

“Essentially, if a marketing campaign involves digital communication, it’s digital marketing.”

Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

Getting started: Caveats

Before you get started, I think there are some caveats to keep in mind.


  1. Digital Marketing is not doing traditional marketing online (see earlier
  2. Even though it’s digital, it is still about relationships (respond/reply/answer)
  3. Make sure you secure your home base (website & email list)
  4. Never build on rented land or “put all your eggs in one basket” (Facebook, social media)
Gold 5 Illustration
Photo by Miguel Á. Padriñán from Pexels

Getting started: 5 steps

To get started using digital marketing in your business, I am going to outline 5 steps. 

True, there is an investment to make in digital marketing. It will either cost time or money. 

However, before you start investing in social media management, or paid online advertising, or other paid channels, I think you need to do some basic things. 

This will help you set your foundation that you can then you use to build on. It will make your digital marketing efforts much more efficient.

Ready to get started?

1) Get your Google My Business (now called Google Business Profile)

Person Using Macbook Air
Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

Sign up for Google Business Profile here

This puts your business on Google Maps (visibility) and makes it easier for local customers to find you. It’s a huge part of local search engine optimization efforts.

Read Local SEO and Why it’s Important to YOUR business

Connects you with Google. The easiest way for your business to communicate with Google is through a Google Business Profile.

Gives all the pertinent info about your business. Google Business Profile is free. It allows you to include all of your pertinent business information such as hours, reviews, pictures, website, contact information, various categories such as “women-owned” and much more. 

Read how to set up a Google Business Profile

2) Build a website 

Silver Laptop Computer Beside White Smartphone on Brown Wooden Table
Photo by Tranmautritam from Pexels

If you haven’t already done so, build a website. In 2021 there are a plethora of website builders available including Squarespace, Wix, Weebly, Webflow, WordPress, and many more.

I am a long-time user and advocate for WordPress, but there are many that allow business owners to take a DIY (do it yourself) approach.

The hardest part will likely be the content (or website copy) you add to the pages.

You will need a Home page, About page, Contact page, and a Services page at the very least.

On your About page, you want to tell some of your story. I actually created a package of worksheets to help people write their website copy [Website Copy Framework]. You can purchase a package and book a coaching call if you would like more help.

If you would like to create a WordPress website, you can take advantage of the turnkey offer by Launch Engine to get your website up and running within a couple of weeks.

3) Launch an email newsletter


Remember a few weeks ago when Facebook went down for almost an entire day? It wasn’t just Facebook but Instagram and Whatsapp. This is the danger of using social media to run the entirety of your online business. 

You need a home base that includes your website and your email list.

There are a number of email software companies (ie. MailChimp) where you can start a free account. At the very least you can send an email once per month letting your subscribers know what’s going on. 

You will need to have a form on your website in which to sign up subscribers. Explain they will receive news and tips. Email newsletters have a high Return on Investment and it is a direct link from customers and those interested in your company.

Email stats from Hubspot

Forget those Constant Contact commercials. Go with either MailChimp or Mailerlite to get started.

4) Use social media smartly 

When you use social media, don’t treat it as a license to blast a company-centered message across multiple platforms. That just doesn’t work on social media. People will tune that out right away.

Reply and respond. Remember social media is a two-way street. Create good, relevant content that leads people to your home base (website; email list). Promote various types of company content there. Social media can become an effective content distribution platform.

Also, spend time promoting by others you are connected with other businesses. It does build some goodwill. 

You might consider using something like Hootsuite to create scheduled posts. 

5) Create original content

Creating original content is the one place where you can completely differentiate yourself from your competition. I often see local businesses sharing something from an industry source or another publication. But, what if you created your own content? 

What if you created good, solid, original content that gives a lot of great value? 

And then you shared it everywhere?

Share to your email newsletter. Share to your blog and your social media platforms. Share it with other communities you are a part of.

Nope, it’s not easy. In fact, you may have to hire someone to help you create that content. 

Not doing so, you will never know the impact that may have on your business.

You are the expert in your industry! Use that expertise. Create a video, create an article, or a podcast or hundreds of other types of content.

The good thing is, once you create the content, you can use it to remix into other types of content to distribute in other arenas.

Not sure what to create? Zazzle Media has you covered with 101 different types of content.

Wrapping it up

Getting started with digital marketing is not complicated. It can be, however, easy to get caught up in shiny objects.

Once you have the foundations down, you can proceed further and invest more.

And with all marketing, knowing your customers is a crucial piece of the process.

Need help? Want to chat about digital marketing?

Feel free to drop me a line.

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