What is Digital Marketing?
Digital Marketing is a term that simply describes all of your online marketing efforts. This includes using digital channels like Google search, social media, email and your website to connect with current and prospective customers.
There are a number of tactics to consider including, your website, online assets like digital advertising, email marketing, online brochures and more. In order to understand what digital marketing is and use it effectively, its helpful to understand which channels your existing and potential customers use and how best to use each asset to achieve your objectives.
Digital Marketing Strategy
Consider what it is you want to achieve, what you want to do and how you’ll to do it. Then set out what you expect to happen, how long it will take, what success looks like and how you plan to measure it. Set some goals. These should be S.M.A.R.T. Simple, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timebound.
Why is Digital Marketing Important?
Increased Brand Awareness
Allow more people to discover your brand, products or services
Gain New Customers
Expose your business to potential customers who haven’t bought from you before and let them know what it is your products and services can do for them.
Grow Existing Business
Customers who have already bought from you are an obvious target for new products and services.
Who Are Your Customers? – Understand Who You are Targeting
It’s important to understand as much as you can about who your customers are. Without this it will be difficult to create the right digital marketing messages that will resonate with them.
The easiest way to approach this is to create some Customer Personas. These are broad general descriptions of who you believe your typical customers are and typically covers:
- Demographics, for example geography, income, level of education, age and sex.
- Their values, opinions, interests, aspirations, attitudes and lifestyles.
- Their purchasing behaviour. This could be available from current or past customer relationships.
- How do they behave? Publicly available reports and data may reveal how people who have bought the products and service you offer behave. This might include how they engage with websites, mobile devices and other media and content.
Think about who your customers are and group them into 3 or 4 categories. Then create a character that represents each giving them a name, a picture, personality and some of their favourite hobbies. Finally, rank them in order of importance.
Personas are growing in popularity because customers increasingly expect a personalised, relevant, experience. As your business changes and grows so will your customer personas so it’s worth revisiting them and keeping them up to date.
Sense Check Your Customer Persona Profiles
Using the personas you’ve prepared answer the following questions to check that they represent who you believe your customers are.
- Define problems your products or services solve. Think about this from the customer’s point of view and picture the perceived value and benefit to the customer.
- What are the key benefits of your products and services? List the benefits that set you apart from your competition. These are the things that make customers choose your products or services over your competitors.
- Identify any other elements of value that only you can provide your customers.
- Now take these answers and create a short statement that covers everything. The result of this should be a unique message that captures everything you want to say.
Track Your Progress – Fine Tune to Maximise Impact
Knowing how you will drive traffic, build brand awareness, and grow your customer base is great but it’s crucial you know how you’ll track progress. This will mean you can adjust and adapt your plan based on performance.
Decide which of the many different things you can measure you want to focus on. For example, if you shared a post with a video you might want to look at how many views the post or video got. Other measures could be the number of likes, comments and shares, clicks on your website or new business leads. It depends on the objective.
What Digital Marketing Tools Can I Use?
The main digital marketing tools are:
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) – Improve Search Ranking
This is a key element of digital marketing. This will determine where your website will appear in organic searches. Its therefore important that it’s optimised in the right way. Good SEO will help improve its ranking in results when people search for terms related to your market.
Given that Google accounts for nearly 90% of the searches on desktop you will want to make sure your site is properly optimised. Search engines use various factors to assess your website including topic and keywords. Relevancy between the search query and the content on a page is a significant factor in determining its ranking.
Google now prioritises mobile over desktop as the majority of us now search on mobile. Its therefore very important that your site performs well on mobile.
On-page SEO – The Right Keywords
This is all about making sure that the keywords you want to rank for correctly describe your business. These keywords should fit well with the content of each page.
Make sure your keywords aren’t hidden or that you have crammed too many of them into your copy. Keyword stuffing can harm your ranking This includes putting them into places where they don’t naturally fit in order to try and rank for those terms.
Off-page SEO – Connections to Other Sites & Pages
This refers to connections you’ve established outside of your own website. These are usually described as backlinks. These have a significant impact your rankings within search engine results.
Ensuring that your site performs well here means improving search engine and user perception of its popularity, relevance, trustworthiness, and authority. The way to achieve this is by establishing connections with other reputable internet pages, sites and people. Quality links promote your site and effectively validate the quality of your content.
Experts believe that the relevance, trustworthiness, and authority that effective off-page SEO affords a website still play a major part in the ability of a page or site to rank well.
Customer Experience – Useful Content & information
Your website should provide your customers with useful information and helpful content and should be a place where your customers want to go to buy your products and services. Ultimately you want visitors to your site to complete an enquiry form and convert into leads.
Remember, Google is now prioritising mobile over desktop so make sure your website functions well on mobile.
Paid Search Advertising – Rank Higher in Organic Searches
A well optimised website, (SEO), helps you rank higher in organic searches. Another way to rank higher in organic searches is by using paid search ads. These ads use specific keywords that you or your ads partner select that are relevant to your brand or service.
Each time someone clicks on your ads you pay for that click which is why these are known as PPC or pay-per-click. Getting your ad to appear on the first page for example involves winning an automated auction. This takes into account the price-per-click you bid for each keyword, as well as the SEO quality of your site.
Common phrases and words like Marketing or Digital Marketing for example are typically expensive as they are very popular. Try and find what are called longer tail keywords. As the name suggests are longer phrases which usually carry less search volume but are also normally less competitive in terms of cost and difficulty to rank for.
Display Advertising – Get In Front of Potential Buyers
Display advertising can be a good way to get your brand in front of potential buyers when they’re browsing their most popular sites.
You can buy display ads through platforms like Google or Bing. These search engines use data on people’s recent search and click history to automatically determine which adverts to show them.
The most common type of display ad is the banner ad within a website. People searching for a specific product or service click on a website and your advert is displayed alongside the content on the page.
Sponsored Social Posts – Spread The Word
In order to successfully use this method, you will need to have already established a strong social media presence. Assuming you already have a good presence then you can pay to promote your most popular brand content to attract new users and followers.
It’s important to identify the networks that your target audience uses. Your buyer personas should help with this. For example, you may find that most of your target audience use Facebook every day. If so, this is where you will want to focus your marketing resources.
If you are going to spend money promoting your content, then it’s always a good idea to test a few times in order to make sure everything is optimised. Your post might be about a new offer or it may just be aimed at attracting website visitors.
Email Marketing – Build Relationships
Email still has a place in the digital marketing mix and is a great way of keeping in touch with your customers and followers.
This could be messages about new products or services. This could be in the form of a newsletter with the aim of increasing brand awareness and driving more website traffic. Other reasons to remind customers about your products and services include seasonal emails, Christmas or birthday emails, exclusive offers and special offers.
It’s important to make sure that your digital marketing activities are set up to make it as easy as possible for potential customers to provide their details. Creating a simple but effective landing page to collect information is a great way of building your customer list.
Advocacy Marketing – Make Your Best Customers Advocates
These Days people are far less trusting of businesses. However, we all trust word of mouth recommendations from our friends, family, partners and work colleagues. We are also often influenced by reviews. Believe it or not, even a bad review is considered better than no reviews.
One way of improving the trust people have in your business is turn your happiest customers into promoters and advocates for your brand. The easiest way to do this is simple by asking them to leave a review.
Surveys are another way of identifying your happiest customers. Ask them how likely they would be to recommend your product or service to someone else. Contact those who respond positively and ask them if they will leave you a review about their experience with your company.
Think about how customers perceive your business and aim to deliver a better customer experience through every element of digital marketing you undertake.
Consider how customers are finding you and the best way for you to engage with them to turn them into advocates for your brand.
As people we trust our friends, family, colleagues and will often act on recommendations they make. Think about how you can use your digital marketing activities to turn strangers into customers who will happily act as supporters of your business and products.