WHAT SUCCESSFUL DIGITAL MARKETING IS MADE OF?
Businesses should recognize that the Basics of Marketing still applies to Digital Marketing. That is, there must be a Marketing Plan that details each Marketing Strategy and Tactic with clear Marketing Objectives for each, and how to achieve each objective.
The entire online marketing can be simple to complex, depending on what are the business goals, how fast to get to each goal, what are the funds available for each, and how the company designs it. A company can start with a Simple Marketing Plan, and as it receives feedback and data, the business can add or remove options. Alternatively, when the budget allows, the choice is to have as many suitable and appropriate marketing strategies as possible, and add or remove when there is a need. If a business is not able to determine accurately on which part of its Digital Marketing is really not working, then issues may arise.
For many businesses nowadays, having effective Internet Marketing is a major plus and can also be very challenging. However, there are elements of Digital Marketing that are not and should not be easily discarded or even ignored. These are the most basic and also most important parts of Online Marketing.
Well-Built and Functional Website Design
These days, one cannot do business without a website. It is akin to the store front of your business on the World Wide Web. The design of your website becomes an important component of your Digital Marketing Strategy.
They say that First Impressions Last. And you should make a Great and Lasting first impression because in this fickle and fast online world, you rarely get a second chance after that. Think carefully on the entire design, especially User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX). Look at the design as a whole, and consider how the eyes of the people visiting your website will move across the screen, and what draws their attention.
Each button should be clearly displayed, and the link should direct your visitors to where they intend to be and have the information they want to know.
Tip: Be Careful of Broken Links!
If any parts of your website is not working, it may cause frustration to visitors, and chances are they will leave your site. Check for Broken Links regularly, and fix them immediately!
Your website should also be neat; the less clutter, the better. Remove buttons that are not necessary or place them under tabs. Place information on your homepage that are concise but still informative. Make sure you feature more of your business than other ads. Ads are great since you also get to promote other businesses, but having too many can make your site look spammy. Consumers will also feel agitated if they accidentally click on an ad instead of a button or tab in your site.
These are just some of the points to note with regards to Website Design and Development. There is a lot of ground to cover, and it would be more suited to be an entire article on its own or spread over a few articles. Watch for more articles that I will be writing soon about this.
Mobile Ready Website
Mobile phones today are no longer just for calling or sending text messages. They have become devices to take photos and videos, check emails, and even surf the Internet. As such, it is just common sense to make your website Mobile Ready so that visitors, who can be your client or potential client, can access your site even when they are on the go, and using their smartphones or mobile devices such as the tablet.
A more pertinent reason is because on 21 April, 2015, Google rolled out their mobile-friendly update (also known as Mobilegeddon), and released this statement:
Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.
So what does that mean for your website? Simply, it means that if your site is not optimized for mobile devices, you will see your rank drop in search results, and a significant decrease in mobile traffic from Google Search to your website. It is well known that most people do not read beyond the 1st Page of Search Engine Results Pages. This will mean that chances of people discovering your business will be lower, you will get less traffic to your website, fewer leads, and ultimately this will affect sales.
Now, more than ever, it has become very important for you to make sure that your website is Mobile Friendly. And how to find out if your website is mobile-friendly? Google provides a very simple and easy to use tool to test if your website is mobile-friendly. Go to Google’s Mobile Friendly Test.
Enter your website’s url and click ‘Analyze’. The tool will analyze your website. If your website is Mobile Friendly, there will be a message to inform you that all is well. But if your website is Not Mobile Friendly, then there will be a list of issues for you to work on.
Organic SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
It is very gratifying to see your business on the first pages of Search Engine Results Pages, also known as SERPs. More importantly, it helps to increase Brand Awareness, drives more traffic to your website, and increase leads that can results in a boost in sales. For example, back in 2014, I used SEO to Rank a Digital Marketing Agency on the First Page of Google and other search engines. Before the site was on First Page, there were only one or two emails or calls per week. After it reached the First Page, there were at least five emails and calls per day. Each was an opportunity that grew the business.
Of course to reach the First Page was not easy. It required a lot of time and effort. It is achieved with Organic SEO, which means that you use Search Engine Optimization techniques and tactics, such as On Page SEO and Off Page SEO, to cause the ranking of your website to increase naturally.
The first thing you need to do is to do Keyword Research, and find the main keyword phrase that you want to rank your website for. Then do On Page SEO that includes optimizing your Title Tags, Meta Descriptions, Headers, Image Alt Tags, and more. Off Page SEO will require more work as it is creating mentions of your website on other websites by creating backlinks, listing on directories, social signals, and more.
As mentioned, this part of the Digital Marketing will require a lot of time and effort. And it is worth it when you see the returns. You will not see it immediately. But if you are doing your business for the long haul, then you will appreciate SEO Strategy as it is a long term strategy for long term results.
Engaging and Shareable Content Marketing
Content is King. And Content Marketing may seem easy, but it is not. Content is not just producing articles or news about your business; it is also be about being informative, engaging and shareable. It should also have keywords that will be easier to find through search engines and will appear on organic searches.
According to a study made by business2community.com, while less than 10% of their respondents say that content marketing is not helping their businesses grow, on the same study, 73% claims of having improved brand awareness and 64% on increased traffic due to their content marketing efforts. This goes to show that engaging and shareable content marketing can create better opportunities for companies.
Another importance of Content is that recent Google Updates now view content as an important ranking factor. Google and other search engines love fresh content. So it is ideal to continually create fresh content for Content Marketing. Make sure you create not just quantity but more importantly Quality Content.
Active Social Media
In a September 2013 article by Jayson DeMers for Forbes Magazine, he commented that:
Investment in Social Media Will Become a Necessity, Not a Luxury
Social media has become a part of many company’s Digital Marketing Strategy. It helps them connect to a vast number of consumers in a matter of seconds. The feedback of consumers can be assessed through their posts in social media such as Twitter and Facebook.
Sharing contents and answering your consumers’ concerns through your social media accounts indicate how proactive you are in reaching for your consumers. In a study made by IDG or International Data Group in December 2012, 95% of consumers are using social media, with 44% indicating their purchase is affected by the product’s exposure in social media. This shows how significant social media exposure is for businesses, big or small.
In addition, there is something called Social Signals. There is a bit of debate regarding this. Some SEO experts have said that Social Signals play a part in SEO, and help a site to rank better. Some disagree. Google is not giving any clear answers on this. To me, I believe Social Signals do help with a site’s ranking. So, to me, a business must be active on social media. It is not a luxury. It has become a necessity.
Organized Email Marketing
Let’s face it. Email is here to stay.
When Internet came onto the scene, everyone loved emails. There was a kind of thrill receiving emails, and a voice that said “You’ve Got Mail!” But then, in time, people started to receive more and more emails. There were those from people they trusted. And then there were those that were spams and scams. People began to wonder if emails would die a slow death?
It did not.
Today, Exact Target reported that there are more than 3.2 billion email accounts in the world, 95% of online consumers use email and, 91% check their email at least once a day. That includes me.
Email marketing is now more effective than social media (for customer acquisition). It is economic and cost effective, personable, customizable, actionable, measurable, and the best part – it can be accessed almost anywhere now that we can read emails on mobile devices.
Yet, emails can become a bother to a consumer, especially when it is not sent in an orderly manner and the contents have no significance with the business. Have a schedule on the emails you will send to your consumers and remind them of how great your business is without exaggerating. Make sure that you send information that is relevant to your business, products or services and will also be useful on their end. Your email recipients will appreciate it more, and may even share about your company and your products or services.
* Tip: An area to look at – SMS Marketing. This is growing, and will get bigger in 2017, and beyond.
Marketing analytics is a crucial part of your Online Marketing Strategy. This will determine your company’s standing, how well your Internet Marketing efforts are affecting your business’ sales and what can be lacking. Efficient Analytics can help your business have a solid solution in the issues you encounter and what steps you need to take next.
Take the following as an example:
The image above displays the analytics for an ECommerce Store, particularly for a month, and for the channels that the traffic was coming from to their site. In a nutshell, the figures highlighted in red circles on the first row proved that Organic Search drove the highest amount of traffic, new visitors and conversion rate while having Low Bounce Rate. The average session per visitor was the 2nd highest, after the traffic from Social Media (see row 6, 4:53, circled in red).
I won’t elaborate more here, as I will be doing that in another future blog post. But basically, the above analytics helped the ECommerce Store to realize that their SEO and Social Media Strategies are driving traffic to their site, and converting well. Understanding that, they can now fine-tune their digital marketing strategy to focus and spend more on SEO and Social Media to grow their business. Another viewpoint is that their Email Marketing is weak. And if that is a strategy they like to improve upon, then they need to create a better strategy, and have better tactics for this.
Having all these elements mentioned above working harmoniously for your Digital Marketing will definitely lead your company to a better future. At the very least, an edge over your competitors, especially those who lack strong Online Marketing or any at all. Start on these elements and work your way up. Invest on your Internet Marketing needs wisely. Getting help from Digital Marketing Professionals will be a better move if you need any help with your next move in your Digital Marketing Strategy.