Digital marketing allows businesses of all sizes to generate huge amounts of exposure, interest, leads and sales. When implemented correctly, it offers a huge potential return, on a relatively small investment – allowing even the smallest of businesses to ditch their underdog status, and compete with industry-leaders.
If you’re looking to kick-start your online presence, it’s important that you understand the component parts of digital marketing – SEO, Content Marketing, SMM, Email, Design, Branding and Analysis –and, most importantly of all, the strategy that ties them together.
Before anyone can buy your products, they first have to find your website. Search engines, like Google, Bing and Yahoo!, represent the first port of call for your prospective customers. Visitors type their questions and queries into the search engine, and the most relevant, helpful and trusted webpages are shown in response. Google alone sees 12.5 billion searches each month, from 1.2 billion unique visitors – and with 33% of all search engine traffic going to the top–listed pages in Google, search engines offer an incredible opportunity to drive visitors to your website.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of making your business visible in these search engines. Whilst the determining factors that influence search engine ranking are shrouded in secrecy, there are a few crucial metrics that have a definite impact on your website rank:
- Keywords – the relevance of your website text to chosen search terms
- Backlinks – the number of external hyperlinks to your website
- Popularity – your website’s traffic and engagement
Further Reading: Moz’s Beginners Guide to SEO
Most website visitors aren’t looking to buy a specific product – they’re looking for information, to help them understand their problems, and identify the best products to solve them with. Filling your website exclusively with product information, testimonials and reviews will attract only those people who already want your products – but to attract new customers, you have to create problem-solving content.
Content marketing allows you to populate your website with relevant, helpful content, and actively attract visitors to your site. You can pre-empt the needs of your prospective customer, answer their questions and ingratiate them with your business. You add value to the visitor experience, and in turn, receive more value back – in the form of increased sales revenue.
This style of marketing relies on the creation of valuable content – and do that, you need to understand:
- Buyer Personas – Your target audience, and their demographic information
- Pain Points – The problems and issues that motivate your buyer personas
- Content Types – The type of content that will best address their pain point. Blog posts, guides, Whitepapers, eBooks, webinars, and YouTube videos are all content.
- Distribution Channels – What’s the best way to reach your target audience? SEO? SMM? Email?
Further Reading: KISSMetric’s Beginner’s Guide to Content Marketing
Social media sites allow people to network with friends, family, colleagues and peers – but they also allow your business to build a relevant and engaged following of prospective customers. By sharing your helpful content across different social media channels, you attract people with an interest in your advice, industry and products.
With so many social media channels available, it’s crucial to avoid spreading your efforts too thin. Your Social Media Marketing (SMM) strategy should focus on the networks that are most relevant to your target audience, and engage with them in a helpful, genuine way.
Further Reading: Getting Started with Social Media
Seized by Sean Ellis in 2010, the term Growth Hacking means a set of web marketing strategies designed to grow a company faster by acquiring more users. Generally speaking, Growth Hacking strategies are particularly recommended for startups, but the truth is that any business, small, medium or large, can use Growth Hacker to improve sales.
Your digital brand allows your business to stand-out from your competitors, and creates a personal, identifiable style to unite all of your digital marketing efforts. Your strategy needs to address the visual elements of branding, from color schemes to logos, but it also needs to address your digital identity. Your business needs to develop a personality, and a tone of voice through which you can talk directly to your visitors, in terms they’ll understand.
Website Design and Mobile
Your website design is crucial to the conversion of your traffic and leads. Every element of your site needs to work together, to direct the flow of user attention and engagement from page to checkout. Website traffic is worthless without conversion, and developing a design strategy is paramount. In particular, it’s crucial to focus on:
- Choosing the right WordPress Themes and Plugins
- Landing Page Design – Specialized webpages designed to encourage your visitor to take a particular course of action.
- Calls-to-Action – Your desired course of customer action, from email subscription to product purchase.
Smartphones and tablets are driving increasing amounts of traffic to mobile-savvy websites, with mobile traffic up almost 200% since 2010. Mobile devices have a variety of different screen sizes, resolutions, operating systems and browsers, and your standard website won’t function the same on a desktop as it would a tablet. To get the most out of the mobile market, you need to develop a mobile-responsive website, short-form content, specialized CTAs – and a strategy to tie it all together.
Email marketing often evokes images of bought mailing-lists and junk folders, heaving with spam. Thankfully though, with a bit of intelligent strategy, email marketing can allow your business to engage with leads in a personal and productive way. Whether it’s a newsletter, blog summary or special offer, you should treat your emails as an extension of your content marketing – laden with strategy, targeting and opt-in marketing.
Further Reading: A Beginner’s Guide to Successful Email Marketing
With so many strategies paramount to digital marketing success, it can be hard to determine which areas need refining, and which channels are thriving. Analysis of your strategy is crucial, and periodic measurement of KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) will allow you to judge the success of your marketing efforts, and the efficacy of your strategy.
Successful digital marketing isn’t just reliant on understanding these tactics – it’s reliant on properly coordinating them, and tying each of these elements together with a cohesive digital marketing strategy. No one element is more important than another; and the success of each tactic is inextricably linked to the success of the others.
To learn more about digital marketing strategy, why not check out my digital training sessions? I cover every aspect of digital marketing success – from WordPress 101, to advanced website monetization – and I’ll show you how to create an effective strategy to tie it all together!