What is Digital Marketing?

Digital marketing is the promotion of products or brands via one or more forms of electronic media. A digital marketer is someone who focuses on customer acquisition and who has a passion for increasing conversions. Digital marketers drive new customer growth through the creation and hands-on execution of strategies across multiple channels like the website, social media, and paid advertising.

The best digital marketers are the ones who focus on the customer. Why not focus on the company? Because the more the digital marketer knows about the customer, the more successful the conversions will be. The best digital marketers become an expert on their customers.

Digital marketers work with a variety of marketing channels, which means they not only have to manage multiple platforms, but also relationships with internal staff and external agencies.

The best digital marketer is a results-oriented person who has the analytical skills to break down complex problems, creativity to identify and develop new, scalable programs, and the skills to lead rigorous testing, measurement and iteration to improve results continuously. So what skills are needed?

Digital Marketing Skills

  • Self-management – be able to manage your day-to-day tasks in order to achieve long-term and short-term goals.
  • Communication – sounds cliche, but here it’s important. Things need documented and communicated constantly.
  • Business analysis – the ability to distill information and present it in a way that other people understand it.
  • Domain knowledge – analytics, email marketing, paid advertising, retargeting, SEO, direct mail, video, and podcasting.
  • Curiosity – seek out and test innovative opportunities to expand visibility and customer acquisition through new channels.
  • Leadership – be able to lead a small team to help meet acquisition objectives by hiring, training, inspiring, and coaching.
  • Vendor management – be able to manage relationships with external agencies who specialize in various marketing domains.
  • Agile/Lean – a person of continuous optimization who develops and implements a strong framework for iterative testing.
  • Planning – be able to develop and manage long-term plans to meet long and short-term business objectives.
  • Technology – digital marketing and technology are inescapably intertwined. Be able to support the marketing technology.
  • Excel – you must have the ability to turn empirical data into insightful, strategic decisions for decision makers.
  • Strategy – the ability to think strategically and plan the overall direction of the company’s marketing strategy.
  • Google Analytics – you must understand how to read and interpret web analytics and testing/optimization techniques.

Using the skills above you will be able to develop and execute the marketing strategy to meet the goals established for your company regardless of the budgeting constraints. You will perform weekly, monthly, and quarterly analysis reports across all marketing channels, which will report on your progress towards the stated goals. Are you up for the challenge? I am.

My name is Erich Stauffer and I’m a digital marketer who is passionate about customers, conversions, and collaboration. One of my favorite things to do is to “check my stats”, which means logging into the e-commerce dashboard and Google Analytics to review conversions. I’ve managed Google Adwords, Twitter and Facebook ads, and helped run and train teams of other marketing specialists.

I love to document what I do, which means I’m either updating a spreadsheet, an Evernote note, or a Dropbox folder. When new staff are brought on board, I’m the guy who trains them how to use the marketing systems and when there is new marketing technology, I’m the one trying it out. I love marketingtechnology, and how it all works together. That is what I’m passionate about and that’s how I can help.

How can I help you with your digital marketing needs?

Affiliate Marketing with Mini-Sites

Andrew Hansen says he maintains 20 mini-sites that make anywhere from $300 to $3000 a month and together they make him “5 figures a month”. Lets assume that one site is making $300 and one is making $3000 and “5 figures” means $10K a month. That would mean that the other 18 sites would be making $373 on average a month or to put it another way, all 20 sites are averaging $500 a month (this is where averages really skew things).

In order to do this, Andrew follows a fairly easy process:

1. Find high traffic keywords with low competition that is something he can sell – this is a ‘go with the flow’ method where you go where everyone already is searching for something they want, but they can’t find it – and then sell it to them.
A. Use Wordtracker’s keyword tool and search for “does work” to find things that people say works or other phrases like this
B. Determine if any of the keyword results are products that you could sell as an affiliate
C. Use the normal due diligence to vett a keyword and competition.
2. Write 5-10 pages of original content and then build up to 10-20 pages AND backlink OVER TIME.
A. The 5-10 pages includes the home page (1), which should have no ads ‘above the fold’, the about page (2) – which should be a sales page as well, and 3 to 8 articles to begin (3-10). They should all contain original content and each page should be backlinked to, not just the home page.
B. Post one more article a week and backlink to the new article each week until you have 5 to 10 more articles (5 to 10 weeks). This does two things: matches what Google expects as far as backlink growth and site growth AND shows Google that your site is growing and therefore can be trusted.
Ideas for the about page: use this area to write about things like “how [your product] works” – stuff that isn’t sales keywords, but can grab traffic. You can also write about secondary (cousin) keywords here by saying how your product is like this other product and if you monitor your analytics you might see a desire for one of those other products, which could become another site for you.

Ideas for Blog Posts

If you have multiple affiliate vendors then you could make a post for each such as “Top 10 [Products] at Wal-Mart.com” and “Top 10 [Products] at Amazon” and on down the line. For products that overlap, you could compare affiliates and get paid either way, for example, “Compare [Product] at Wal-Mart.com to Amazon – Which is Cheaper, Faster, and Has a better Refund”. Basically what you want to do is mix and match, compare and contrast. Another example is to make categories that Amazon or Wal-Mart aren’t willing to do. For example, the retailer might just have a category for flashlights, but you run a flashlight mini-site so you have posts about LED flash lights, camping lights, pocket lights, and hand-crank lights.

Oh, I forgot to mention that Andrew’s goal is not to just earn money – he says there are easier ways to make more money. What he’s interested in is the amount of money he can make for the least amount of work because what he is interested in is traveling. Affiliate marketing allows him to travel one week a month so in essence he makes at least $10K a month by only working 3 of those weeks finding good keyword, low competition niches, developing original content, and backlinking it. That’s essentially what I’d like to do both with product marketing and app development. I like the freedom and the work-to-income ratio it has the possiblity to provide.

I believe that I can do this by pursuing a profession in Internet marketing and app development, which is a field of digital content creation and marketing that I call “niche publishing.”

Niche publishing has a lifestyle that can free me from the burdens (security) of a 8-5, office job and a traditional ‘boss’. Even self-employed service businesses like computer repair or web design involve bosses – the customer. Although niche publishing has customers, they are much more passive.

Digital content has the advantage of ‘build it and forget it’, ‘asset building’, and ‘multiple streams of income’, which service industries and typical 8-5 jobs do not provide. Imagine if every report or function you built at your 8-5 job would continue to pay you money over time and the more things you made for your job, the more money you made over time. That’s how Internet marketing and app development can work.

Affiliate Marketing in Indianapolis

I’ve written about my meetup experiences here in the past so those who read my website may know I’m a member of the Indianapolis Affiliate Meetup hosted by Affiliate Summit. In the last meeting, I spoke about how to get started in affiliate marketing, but I was feeling bad because my site about nook covers was not doing so hot. Now part of this because demand in general was down, but part of it was because of duplication of content, Google put me in the sandbox for three months. The good news is I’m out now and the site is performing better, which makes me feel better about being an Indianapolis web designer and Internet marketer.

This morning I met a lady at the Carmel, Indiana BNI chapter who was interested in creating affiliate marketing relationships with local vendors so I invited her to the Indianapolis Affiliate Summit meeting. She didn’t know about it and was excited to come. The group has a good mix of seasoned affiliate marketers, those learning about it for the first time, and those with other related skill sets like copyrighting, authors, and web designers. There was also interest from a printing company out of Kokomo that has recently opened up an Indianapolis office in Fletcher Park near the old Indianapolis airport.

The last Affiliate Summit meeting was about how to start an Internet marketing business where I went through the 6 steps to making money online, but I didn’t go into how to find a niche or keyword metrics for success.  The next meeting will be about the Internet tax looming in Indiana and what we can do to stop it. We’re meeting at Buca di Beppo in Castleton and although most meetups don’t require you to buy food, the arrangement we made with the restaurant requires each person to pay $12 for a meal. This is not the norm, but if you’re coming for the first time this month, know what to expect.

Thanks to Affiliate Summit for the free pass to Affiliate Summit West 2012 in Las Vegas. I can’t wait to learn more about Affiliate Marketing, but in the mean time, I’m watching Affiliate Summit videos with Blake from Blaze Communications in Carmel, Indiana. Blake runs Blaze Communications as a creative marketing firm and BS&T as a business strategy and technology forum in Carmel. The BS&T forum has a sub-group of member who also attend the affiliate marketing group in Indianapolis, which is how I first met Blake. Thanks to Blake for sharing the DVDs he won from Affiliate Summit.