Marketing is a vast landscape of disciplines, practices – and technologies. But there are ten key marketing tactics any business can master with the right help.

Modern marketing is largely defined by digital technology. Even the bits of marketing most people would think are not digital – like print advertising and billboard, for example – are still produced, managed and scheduled with digital technologies. 

And boy are there a lot of technologies! It’s not uncommon to feel like you’re drowning in a constant deluge of options and decisions, changing features and competing priorities. 

It’s all so frustrating. Who has the time to figure out all these digital ins and outs when  your time is much better spent doing whatever it is your business is really about? Yet marketing is essential if you’re going to keep attracting enough people to your business to remain viable.

Thankfully, you don’t need to dedicate your time to researching and implementing the latest tech trends. Instead, it’s more efficient to outsource those areas that aren’t your specialty to a provider or agency that lives and breathes in that particular digital wheelhouse.

There are ten core components of marketing – each with its own digital dos and don’ts, tech trends, established tools and emerging innovations. 

1. The website

If you have a business, you need a website – or some kind of digital presence to build trust and credibility. 

The average person manages so much of their lives online these days, from researching and buying products to booking appointments and accessing services. And so much more. 

Even if you don’t sell products or take bookings online, a website may still be a vital part of your business. In this post-Yellow Pages age, people are far more likely to look up businesses in a search engine. And your business won’t be there to be found without a website.

Plus a website also gives your business legitimacy, showcases previous work and testimonials and provides easy ways for people to contact you.

2. Branding

If your website is the home of your business, your branding is its personality. Your logo, colour choices, imagery, iconography – many of which are generated and maintained digitally – give your brand its all important look and feel.

Having a well-developed brand identity and being consistent with it is crucial for building trust and rapport with your future clients, as well as differentiating yourself from the crowd.

3. Content marketing

Content marketing is all about publishing useful, informative, engaging content designed to attract your target audience and nurture positive relationships with potential customers.

Content marketing is all about what your ideal customer wants to read or hear, rather than what your business wants to say. It gives you a chance to showcase your expertise and authority on a relevant topic. Over time, content marketing allows you to build trust so that when someone is finally in the market for whatever it is you offer, they think of you first.

4. Search engine optimisation (SEO)

Search engine optimisation is the process of optimising your website to give it the best possible chance of appearing prominently in the search engine results for the most relevant search terms a typical customer might use. 

SEO is a constantly shifting discipline, with rules and recommendations that change almost every time Google releases an update. But SEO also remains one of the best ways of ensuring the right people find your website.

5. Search engine marketing (SEM)

While SEO focuses on the main (organic) search results, search engine marketing is about creating and running pay-per-click ad campaigns to run alongside certain search terms and keywords – often those which it isn’t possible or practical to rank organically for.

SEO and SEM are often packaged together because while it can take weeks or months to rank competitively for your ideal keywords, a few well-crafted ad campaigns can start bringing traffic to your site from those same keywords almost immediately. At a cost.

6. Social media marketing

Yes, another three-letter acronym beginning with S. No wonder people get confused. However, unlike SEO and SEM, SMM isn’t about search engines. This time you’re taking your message to where so many people spend their time online – social media.

Social media marketing overlaps with content marketing, in that you’re creating posts – whether text, video, images or audio – to distribute and share your ideas, advice and yes sometimes promotions to your audience. Plus you can also reach a wider, yet more targeted audience through the use of paid ads and sponsored posts.

7. Email marketing

Back in the day, marketers sent out direct mail to your letterbox. (Sure, some still do.) Today, email marketing allows you to scale up that practice far more easily while getting your marketing message into the one space most of us visit at least once per day – the inbox. 

Email marketing has been around for, well, as long as email – long before search engines and social media became de rigueur. Yet email marketing remains among the most popular and consistently successful forms of marketing all these years later, with impressively high conversion rates.

Of course, you first need to build a list of subscribers actively opting in to receive your emails – which takes a bit of time and effort. So email marketing isn’t an overnight strategy for success. But once your list begins to grow, you’re essentially sending your  message to people who’ve signalled an active interest in your brand and/or what you have to say. 

Email marketing is at its most powerful when you embrace the incredible levels of personalisation that are possible with the right technologies. By segmenting your mailing lists according to certain criteria, you can send highly targeted messages and campaigns to those people most likely to be receptive, without bothering all the others who might become frustrated with a stream of irrelevant emails.

8. Automation

As I mentioned at the beginning – modern marketing is a vast – and often confusing – mess of digital technologies. You never just need one technology. You need a whole collection of platforms and apps, databases and systems.

Automations are the hidden cogs that handle the huge task of managing this mess of marketing machinas. You can automate all or part of myriad marketing processes, from simple tasks such as scheduling your social media messages to go out at the optimum time, to more complex interactions between systems – such as syncing data between your customer database and your email marketing tools to trigger automated emails when certain customer actions occur.

Marketing automation not only saves a lot of time and labour, but also improves accuracy and consistency. However, setting up your automations takes careful planning – sometimes requiring detailed technical knowledge to know exactly what is possible – as well as some specialist skills to configure your tasks and connect your systems correctly.

9. Customer experience (CX)

The customer experience (CX) is how a typical person interacts with your business: online, in person, pre-sale and post-sale. CX encompasses everything from ensuring your site is fast and easy to use to insisting on clean uniforms and customer service standards.

Increasingly often, the customer experience may begin online and continue offline in your bricks-and-mortar store – or vice versa. The goal is to create a net positive experience for the customer, no matter when, where or how they interact with your brand. 

In the digital space, CX covers everything from how quickly someone can find the information they’re looking for within a large website, right down to the position and colour of the Buy Now button within a webpage.

Unfortunately, CX often comes up for discussion only when it becomes obvious that the existing customer experience isn’t living up to expectations. But as with most things, it’s far easier (and cheaper) to consider and plan for a great customer experience in the beginning instead of fixing and rebuilding the CX later on.

10. Admin

Okay, admin might not seem like a core marketing component. Just about anything involved with running a business involves admin, not just marketing. But how you handle your admin can still have a massive impact on your approach to marketing– and your results.

Marketing projects are notorious for how many tasks they generate. Even something as simple as a social media post can require someone to write the copy, someone else to create the image, a third person to schedule the post and manage the comments and a manager ensuring each step is completed on time.

Thankfully, we’ve come a long way from spreadsheets and Post-it notes. As technology has transformed the way we work and connect with each other, administrative and project management tools have rapidly evolved to keep up. 

Today, you might manage and delegate marketing tasks in Trello or Asana, Airtable or Monday. There are so many such tools available – each with their own pros and cons. So thoroughly investigate the tools on your shortlist to make sure your final choice supports your ideal workflows without resorting to workarounds to plug the gaps. 

Now that you’ve got a better understanding of some of the big pieces of the marketing puzzle, it’s time to implement them in your own business.