It’s crucial for your business, and everyone is doing it. But where should you start? What does it mean exactly? You know it’s not like traditional marketing, but how is it different?
The principles of human psychology haven’t changed, but the methods, channels, and devices have radically transformed in the past two decades.
Consumer habits have shifted, and with a more informed, tech-savvy customer on the other side of the screen, digital marketing is key to keeping your business relevant in the online world.
How does one keep up with digital advertising trends? Where should you start?
Let’s rewind a little bit. In this article, we’ll explore the basics of digital marketing together, so you can truly understand if a digital marketing strategy is right for your business, and take full advantage of the tools that the internet offers.
So, What Is Digital Marketing?
In a nutshell, digital marketing is the promotion of products or services using digital channels such as search engines, websites, email, apps, and social networks using internet-enabled devices.
There are different strategies that you can utilize:
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Paid Search Ads / Pay-per-click Advertising (PPC)
- Display Ads, Remarketing and Programmatic
- Social Media Marketing – Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, etc.
- Content Marketing – Blogs, Articles, White Papers, Video, etc.
- Email Marketing
Let’s Talk Data
- 67% of the buyer’s journey is now digital
- 42% of buyers use a mobile device during a B2B purchasing process
- 48% of buyers are millennial, and growing
- 76% of people who search for something nearby on a smartphone will visit a business within one day.
Countless data proves that the sales process has evolved, the way your potential customers find you has changed, and how they interact with your business is also different today.
Grow Your Business – Referrals Aren’t Enough
How do you handle your sales process? Do you have a team dedicated to growing the company? Are you using traditional media channels? Do you rely on referrals?
Depending on what industry you are in, referrals might be seen as the best way to expand your business. If you are in that boat, it makes sense. And although the power of referrals is undeniable, it also presents several obstacles that are hard to ignore:
- Not consistent – No steady flow of leads
- No control over the type of leads
- Difficult to expand into new markets or cross-sell services
- No data to help make decisions or improvements to your marketing strategy
But what if we told you that you can potentially reach 10, 100, or 1,000 times more people through digital marketing? The internet gives you the chance to broaden your clientele by numbers you can’t even imagine!
It might sound hard to believe, and you could object, for example, that your B2B customers aren’t looking for your services online.
Okay, I know at this point there are few of you reading this that are saying to yourself, “We are a B2B business, our customers aren’t looking for us on Google,” or you think digital marketing can’t help you for [insert reason here].
Sure, it might be easier to sell baby clothes direct to consumers through an online store than it is to sell gear manufacturing services to giant port authorities. But here’s the catch, digital marketing has many components and channels. Not all strategies serve every business, but there is something that will work for yours.
The fact that you don’t have an online store or might happen to be in manufacturing doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of the opportunities the Internet offers.
Do you really think your potential customers aren’t going to the internet to find whatever it is they are looking for? Do you also understand that decision-makers in companies are getting younger and younger which means pretty soon these decision-makers will be people who grew up with a mobile device and Google at their fingertips from the day they could walk?
If you are not preparing to serve these people, then you will be left behind.
It doesn’t matter if you are selling items through an online store or selling industrial B2B manufacturing services; there is a digital strategy that can help your business grow.
Check out some related case studies.
Hold That Thought: The Importance of Having a Good Website
Before we continue to talk about digital marketing strategies, we need to pause and stress how important it is to have a responsive, clear, and easy to navigate website before trying to drive new customers to it.
Main elements of a good website design you must have:
- Responsive design – Does your site gives the user a good experience on all devices?
- Clear messaging – Focus on your Unique Value Proposition (UVP) and/or benefits of your service
- Clear Call to Action (CTA) – What action do you want a user to take once they reach your website?
- Easy to navigate with good category structure – Don’t make them think!
Your website is where you want to drive the people who find you through ads or search engine organic results. Not having all these elements in place could cost you a lot of money.
Did you know it only takes someone a fraction of a second to judge your site? Our (human) brain reacts and processes information before we’re even conscious of what we’re really looking at.
The instinctive response to a poorly designed, unclear, or slow website is to close it and move on.
No matter how experienced, professional, or successful you are in ̈real life ̈, if your website is not easy to navigate, crystal clear about what you offer, and fast, you will most likely lose that customer. Do you know how easy it is to just close a tab on your browser?
Make sure you are set up for success with a modern, optimized, and responsive website that will make people want to learn more about you, instead of leaving.
Learn The Jargon
Information is abundant when it comes to digital marketing, entire books have been dedicated to the ins and outs of this type of advertising. With new terms coming up every day, understanding the popular digital marketing slang will help you navigate this world with ease. From here on, we’ll focus on two concepts that you’ve probably already heard of, and are indispensable at this initial stage: Pay-Per-Click (PPC) and Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
PPC & SEO – The Basics
Let’s go back to that Google results page. In general, when you search for any kind of product or service, the first thing you’ll see are a couple of results that contain a little square with the word ¨Ad¨, like this:
But if you scroll down, you’ll see what’s called organic results*. These are the websites or pages that Google identifies as the most accurate to your search query:
*organic results are not paid.
Results from Search Engine Optimization (SEO) are free, but due to Google’s ever-changing algorithms, this strategy requires constant monitoring and optimization for you to get high-quality results.
On the contrary, PPC stands for pay-per-click, a model in which advertisers pay a fee each time a user clicks on their ad.
Both strategies are equally important and could lead to great results when combined depending on your goals.
They are not interchangeable; many variables and techniques go into each strategy. The key is that with PPC, you can see results immediately, while SEO is a long-term process.
A good SEO plan can have everlasting positive effects on your online presence, but it takes time to unfold.
As SEO expert Stephan Spencer explained: SEO is like site fitness. Regular exercise leads to continuous improvement and lifelong health, same happens with SEO.
The more you optimize your site to serve your audience smoothly and accurately, the more you’ll get rewarded by the Search Engines and show up in the result pages.
4 Pro Tips For SEO
90% of searchers haven’t made their mind up about a brand before starting their search. This sounds like an opportunity for whoever gets there first, right? Here are a few tips to help you get started on your journey to page one of Google:
- Write really good content – Write for humans. Ask yourself: is this relevant? Does it serve a purpose for the user? Does it answer questions? Is it information the user needs and or wants? Use words your customers would use.
- Use descriptive page titles, headlines and meta descriptions – Meta descriptions help the user learn a little more about that page before clicking on it. Make your result stand out – have a good description that explains what info the user will get on the page and include your USP. Pro tip: If you have a WordPress site – use Yoast plugin.
- Performance – Google wants its users to have the best experience possible. If your website loads fast and runs smoothly on any device, you will rank higher than slow, hard to navigate, non-responsive websites. Check if you site is responsive.
- Security – Make sure your site is secured by getting an SSL Certificate (easy way to know is to check if your site starts with https://). Here is a great free SSL service that can help you.
The Value of Reviews
Reviews have become a fundamental part of the online experience and one of the main reasons why someone will choose one product or service over another.
Why are they important?
- Helps with Local SEO
- Improves click-through rates
- Social Proof – buyers need validation from their industry peers before taking action
As I briefly mentioned before, pay-per-click is a model in which advertisers pay a fee each time a user clicks on their ad. Advertisers identify the keywords they want to bid on, decide how much money they want to spend, and create keyword groups that will be paired with their ads. Those who are willing to bid or pay more to show up for a certain keyword will likely rank higher in the search results.
With PPC, you are buying visits to your site instead of earning them organically. Or, in other words, you are paying to be first in line (top of page one on Google) in order to attract the right customers for your business.
How To Succeed on PPC
- Determine which keywords you want to show up for
- Set the price you are willing to “Pay-Per-Click” – This is your “Bid”
- Your Ad Rank will determine your placement and cost
4 Tips for Successful Search Ads
64.6% of people click on Google Ads when they are looking to buy an item online. Make sure you follow these steps when creating your ads:
- Keyword research: Use keyword tools to understand trends, metrics, competitiveness and search volume of the keywords you want to rank for. Tools like Adword Keyword Planner or Ubersuggest will help you!
- Research your competitors and be better: Google your competitors, check what comes up when you type the product or service that you offer. Figure out in what ways you stand out and differentiate yourself.
- Write compelling ad copy with a clear Call To Action(CTA): Make your copy simple and to the point (you don’t have much space). Include your value proposition and a clear CTA, that way your potential customers will know what steps to take next (visit your website or landing page). Make sure you incorporate an emotional trigger or sense of urgency.
- Lead them to a welcoming, optimized landing page: A landing page is a standalone web page where the user “lands” after clicking an ad, a promotion, or a link in a search results page. They lead customers to a specific product or service, and they exist for serving a single and highly-focused purpose. Make sure your landing page matches your ad for better conversion rates.
Is It Working?
Both PPC and SEO are strategies that have to be constantly monitored and optimized. Algorithms change, ads lose relevance, and keeping them up to date is key to a successful digital marketing campaign.
- Set and review goals in Google Analytics
- Determine which search terms people are actually using to find you (Google Ads / Search Console)
- Start testing
- Let the data guide your decisions
Top 5 Things To Remember When Creating a Digital Marketing Strategy
- Use the FREE tools Google provides
- Make sure your website and landing pages are set up for success
- Provide visitors with a message of what you do and how you can help them
- Make sure your ads and landing pages are relevant
- Don’t set-it and forget it! Nurture your digital marketing strategy
Digital marketing is a powerful, multi-dimensional set of instruments that can help you grow your business online. In today’s world we have unprecedented access to accurate data to help shape our judgments and make better marketing decisions.
We know it can be intimidating; there’s so much to learn! But dedicating the time to understand why it’s important will ultimately help you save money, become more efficient, and open new opportunities for your business.
Want more? Check out this resource video: