There’s a quote from the 1989 movie ‘Field of Dreams’ that goes ‘Build it and they will come’. Unfortunately, that is the attitude many business owners have about their digital marketing once they have a website live and online. They are under the misconception that by having a website, flocks of customers are going to come knocking on their home page door. They couldn’t be more wrong.

This is not to say you shouldn’t have a website. Of course, you should. But its mere presence means nothing if you don’t back it up with a properly thought out digital marketing plan.

Your marketing plan doesn’t have to be particularly complicated, as there are few basic strategies which can be implemented to make the most of what the internet can offer in terms of traffic and potential customers.

The first action must be the creation of an email subscriber system. If you did nothing else this action alone can, not only be the foundation of your online business, it can be the catalyst for its success. There have been hundreds of online millionaires created purely down to the fact that they have a list of email subscribers, and they market to that list effectively.

To entice someone to give you their email address, you need to create a giveaway such as a report, a video, a free trial or even a discount voucher. The visitor to your site enters their email in a small form on your homepage, and once they do so, their free gift is emailed to them. Thereafter, you can send emails to your subscriber which should be a mix of useful information and promotions.

Another part of your digital marketing strategy should be setting up a blog as part of your website. A blog is basically an online journal which you use to write short articles relating to your business and the niche it is in. Tips, advice, company news, product reviews and promotions can all be posted on your blog. Not only will visitors find these interesting, but the content on your blog will help your website’s ranking in the search engines.

Other simple ways to market your business for free on the internet are participating in forums that relate to your niche, using social media such as Facebook or Twitter, and posting comments on other blogs which link to your website. There are countless other free ways you can use, with the only hurdle being how much time you have to implement them all.

The alternative to free is, of course, paid marketing. This can accelerate your website traffic and thus your number of customers very quickly. It will cost money but if you have the budget available then it can be a good way to boost your business in the beginning.

Paid advertising on Facebook and Google are two of the best-known ways, but you can also pay for adverts in other business’s emails to their subscribers, display ads, retargeting ads plus you could pay an SEO expert to make sure your website is fully optimised for Google and the other search engines.