Today, the competition in business is ruthless and without being prominent in the digital marketing sphere, your brand might as well not exist. You can no longer hide in the shadows of the old traditional business methods that were once successful. Regardless of your brand, you need to take the necessary steps to digitise your business.
The focus is now on social media, video, paid search advertising, voice search and visual content in general. It’s the only way you will be able to successfully compete with other online businesses within your niche. If you have a sound digital marketing strategy in place, you stand a better chance to attract more prospects who could turn into loyal customers.
Why Digital Marketing?
In today’s tech-savvy world, nearly every small, medium or large business is in the digital space. More and more people are using the internet to find what they are looking for whether it’s food, clothing, cars, computers, toys or anything you can think of.
If you really want to survive in the modern business world or create better branding for your company, it’s time to get digital. You need to know how and where to target online customers and all that is possible with an effective digital marketing plan. Here, we’ve highlighted several digital marketing tips that could help every business owner take their brand forward.
Invest In A Professional Website And Blog
Let’s get real for a second, it is 2020 and you really should have a fully optimised mobile-friendly website. If you don’t, how are people going to find you online? It’s simple really; a website, an active blog and social media presence will help potential customers easily find your brand.
A website is a perfect platform to list your products and services along with prices and special offers. You can link all of this to related blog articles or your social media channels, for example. You can also set up an online store through your website with easy check-outs, automated follow-up emails and shopping cart abandonment.
Blogging has become an essential part of online success as it helps businesses with branding building and lead generation.
Recommended: ‘Why Blogging Is Important For Business’
Create Quality, Relevant Content
A blog is only as good as the content and it matters greatly for SEO and building an online identity. The same applies to content on your web pages, email communications and social media posts. Any brand wanting to grow its business and convert leads into customers should build relationships with its target audience.
For a consistently good brand image, you must put in the extra effort and develop a strong content marketing strategy. Knowing who you are targeting is a vital step in understanding the type of content that will appeal to them. Ask them what their main struggles or challenges are and you’d be surprised how many content ideas you can come up with.
Want to give your content marketing strategy the type of boost it needs? Then you need to read this article with loads of helpful tips and ideas.
Perform Competitor Research And Analysis
Whether you’re a local or international business, you will have competitors vying for the attention of potential leads. If you really want to be successful, not only do you need to research your prospects but also your competitors.
Why is this important? By analysing your competition, you will get an idea of what they are doing well, what they aren’t doing and perhaps where you can improve upon for your own benefit. Look at the design and content of their website, their blogs and how they post on social media.
In addition, there is a variety of SEO tools that can help you identify the keywords they are targeting for organic traffic and for online advertising. Of course, it goes without saying that you should never copy your competitors but rather find a way of doing what they are doing but just better.
Always Go Local First
Did you know that 86% of people look up the location of a business on Google Maps? (Source: Junto, 2019). With that in mind, you’d be silly not to focus on going local first. This involves doing a few things right that will help your business rank for local searches on Google.
There are several free facilities like Google Maps, Google Business Profile and even Yahoo Local which are some of the easiest and most effective at improving your search engine profile. Google even displays a map and corresponding businesses as part of their local results. Do your job right and you could appear near the top of the page with very little investment.
Digital Marketing And Local SEO
Local SEO focuses on optimising your website so it can be found in local search results. It’s a strategic process that puts emphasis on optimising local brick-and-mortar businesses. It involves SEO-friendly content, on-page SEO and link building among others. Put plainly, local search success is achieved by using terms or keywords that people type into a search engine. Examples include:
- Pizza restaurants near me
- Doctors near me
- Plumbers near me
- Lawyers in [city name]
- Digital marketing agencies in [city name]
Local businesses that want more visibility and feet through the door should focus on being part of the ‘local pack’ or ‘3-pack’. This is essentially the block of three businesses listed below the map in Google search results.
How To Rank In The 3-Pack
You can’t specifically optimise for the Google 3-Pack as businesses that appear there are dependent on location. That means the Google results will change depending on where the person is located when conducting the search.
What you can do, though, is optimise your web presence in such a way that it will improve your chances of appearing in the 3-Pack when it comes up for a search applicable to your business and location.
- Make sure your GMB listings are up to date
- Ask customers to leave online Google reviews
- Acquire locally relevant links to boost visibility, i.e. sponsoring local non-profits and events
- Generate standard backlinks to increase organic rankings
- Build a strong social media presence to establish yourself as a local business with loyal followers
- Make sure the listings on your website and other online platforms are accurate and consistent. This includes the business name, address, email and contact numbers
Using Google ads is possibly one of the best digital marketing tips for small businesses. With growing competition, it’s often challenging to consistently rank organically within the top 10 search results. Of course, SEO takes time whereas traffic from online ads is instant.
As a business owner, you can use paid advertising to put your web pages at the top of Google results. This will help with generating web traffic which is mostly qualified leads who often end up becoming paid customers. PPC can help you earn money in a much short space of time than organic SEO.
It’s not as easy as it sounds though as you need to conduct extensive research in terms of your niche, competitors, targeted audience and specific keywords you want to rank for. This is where the money element comes in as you essentially pay Google to display your pages higher in search results.
Example Of Using Google Ads
Let’s suppose you are a restaurant and want more customers to frequent your establishment. Now, you need to target certain keywords in Google search such as “restaurants near me”, “restaurants in Gloucester” or “cheap takeaways in Chicago Gloucester”. Think like a potential customer and use your competitors as a gauge to find the most relevant search phrases.
If people search for something related to your targeted keywords, your business should appear at the top as a Google advertisement. This way you can attract more customers without working too hard on SEO although optimising your content for organic traffic is still absolutely essential.
Typically, ads on Google have a better conversion rate than Facebook and other platforms but the big drawback is that the cost depends on the keywords you are targeting. If you are targeting a highly competitive keyword, your ad will cost a heck of a lot more.
Even with the recent data privacy issues and bad publicity, Facebook remains the world’s largest social media platform. Most people have a Facebook account and more businesses are also using it to their advantage. Considering there are around 2.45 billion active Facebook users, it’s likely that a large percentage of your target audience will be there.
The secret behind Facebook marketing is in the advertising methods and the powerful algorithms which work tirelessly behind the scenes to help brands reach customers. Today, the focus is on setting up a Facebook business page, and running Facebook ads and sponsored posts.
It’s mostly more affordable than Google Ads where you can start an ad campaign for less than $10. Of course, the results will reflect the initial ad budget but it’s a powerful way, nonetheless, to get your brand in front of your customers.
Want to learn more about Facebook Ads?
Digital Marketing And Social Media
Social media has become a major player in digital marketing as so many people use it daily. If you really want to grow your business online, you must choose the right platforms for your brand and be active.
Social media can help your business connect with new prospects who may later become paying customers. However, don’t try and maximise every available platform; rather start with the more popular ones such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn.
Ultimately, the choice of social media channel will largely depend on your business and the type of people you want to engage with. Instead of spreading yourself thin across all platforms, focus on two or three and create compelling content and actively engage with your online community.
Recommended: ‘Using Social Media To Boost Your SEO’
Digital Marketing And The Power Of Emails
With the right advice and implementation, email marketing still offers exceptional flexibility and value. You can tailor your strategy to reach specific segments of your target audience and do so seamlessly. This is largely thanks to marketing automation and email marketing platforms such as HubSpot, MailChimp, SharpSpring and EngageBay.
Just as you do with content for blogs and social media, you need to determine what your target audience wants to know. Sending monthly newsletters is no longer a viable option as you need to provide true value. Email design also plays an important role and should be short, interesting, value-adding and relevant with a clear call-to-action and subject line.
Recommended: ‘The Secret Formula To Email Marketing Success’
According to HubSpot, 87% of businesses used video as a marketing tool in 2019 which is more than in previous years. Most visitors spend an average of 15 seconds or less on a page before clicking away. That means ads have even less time to make an impact on prospective buyers. Using videos will deliver a much higher response rate and create better-informed customers.
More people are watching videos on websites and social media and for good reason. Here are some of the benefits of including video in your digital marketing strategy:
- Videos provide instantaneous gratification
- Videos are considered far more superior and productive for optimising content for search engines
- With businesses focusing on creating paying customers, videos can help as they have a higher conversion rate
- Adding videos to your digital marketing strategy can help raise the profile of your brand on your website, blog and social media
Is An Integrated Marketing Approach Still Viable?
While many believe that traditional marketing is dead, it actually still has a place. There are still many people who don’t like opening emails with promotional content and prefer opening envelopes or brochures when going through their mail.
Yes, it’s not always practical or financially viable, but some companies still use this technique. It makes some sense though as printed materials with a company logo, for example, is easier recognizable than an email blast subject line that may come across as ‘salesy’ or ‘spammy’.
Truth is, whether you’re doing traditional or digital marketing, an integrated approach is often recommended. This way you can ensure a consistent, seamless and multi-dimensional brand experience by combining print, television, radio and billboards with social media, email marketing and PPC among others.
Related article: ‘How To Combine Digital And Traditional Marketing’
Looking For A Professional Digital Marketing Agency?
Business owners need to think long and hard about how they want to expand their business now and in the future. With technology advancing and the world becoming increasingly digital, businesses must be easy to find online. For the best results in your marketing efforts, we suggest keeping these digital marketing tips close at hand.
A professional digital marketing agency like WSI eMarketing can help improve your online profile and create a brand that will leave a lasting impression. With local and international digital marketing experience, WSI can help your brand find success online.