Everything is on the internet these days. Gone are the days when people would search for a business in a local phone book or the Friday Ad. The internet has given people access to so much information that you must make a lot of noise to get noticed. If you’ll allow me to labour the metaphor, digital marketing is the megaphone that you shout into to get yourself heard over a crowd. So, what’s involved in it?
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
SEO is the art (and believe me, it is an art not a science) of pushing your website to the top of search engine result pages (SERPs). Google are very tight-lipped about how their search algorithm works and make regular updates to it, so SEO techniques are constantly evolving. It’s thought that around 75% of people won’t look past the first SERP when searching for answers, so it’s crucial to keep on top of your SEO.
Maximising the effectiveness of your SEO will mean:
- Making sure that every page on your site has a good human-readable title and description that accurately conveys the content included. It’s important to include keywords here that your target customers will search for.
- Building a URL structure on your site that search engines can use to determine what a page is about.
- Including backlinks to other pages on your site. Blogs are great for this – the more organic links there are both on and to your pages, the further up the rankings you will go. Linking to Wikipedia articles in a blog post for example is a great place to start.
While SEO is an incredibly useful tool, its effectiveness is limited by the amount of content you have on your site. You’ll find that if you’re not regularly adding content and links to your site that you’ll start to slip down the rankings.
If you’ve just re-designed your site, it will take a while for your SEO to kick in and drive natural traffic to your site. This is where pay-per-click (PPC) advertising comes in. Google Adwords and Facebook advertising are the two most commonly used PPC products. Thanks to Google and Facebook’s massive hoards of data, they can very accurately display your ads to your target audience. PPC is particularly useful at the start of a long campaign where you’re looking to very quickly create brand awareness. Its usefulness drops off somewhat once your own SEO and social media presence takes off and starts driving traffic to your site, but for many businesses PPC is instrumental in creating sales.
As I’m sure you know, social media is an excellent way to engage directly with your customers. As many as 70% of people use social media for customer service – whether that’s to complain or just to ask a simple question, it’s a brilliant opportunity to engage publicly and positively with your customers and really show them that you care.
Your social media presence is essentially your ‘boots on the ground’ when looking for feedback from customers. Responding to feedback, both positive and negative, is perhaps the most important element here. The main aim of social media is to create awareness of your brand, so engage positively with your leads to drive them towards your products.
Long form content
A regularly updated blog is perhaps the biggest driver of SEO – it gives businesses an opportunity to push their site up SERPs by including keywords and phrases on as many pages as possible. It’s important not to overdo this, however. Google is getting very good at identifying ‘keyword stuffing’, so you need to integrate your keywords carefully into your content.
This is an excellent way to capture the “How do I…” and “What is…” searches. After newspapers, blogs are the most trusted source of information, so use your blog to inform people. As an example, if your business sells IT support and services, you might want to write guides on common tasks you get asked about. Not only will this create more links from SERPs to your site, but it will increase confidence in your brand among your customers.
In our next article we will look over a few more elements of a digital marketing campaign to complete our walk through the ins and outs of a digital marketing campaign.
Have we piqued your interest? Feel free to give us a call for a friendly chat about all your web design or digital marketing needs.