The Beginners Guide to Digital Marketing

Marketing has changed so much in recent years. Previously it was good enough to just take out an advert in the local newspaper, have a commercial play on local radio, or even do mailshots to your customers. In recent times it was even enough to buy a cheap website, stuff it full of keywords related to your business and hopefully get some traction.

That’s no longer good enough. Marketing has changed more in the past few years than it ever did before, and we’re now in the age of Digital.

But where do you start? The world of Digital and connectivity can be scary; There’s so many things and buzzwords out there; Facebook, Google, TikTok, Instagram, Pinterest, Reddit, SERPs, PPC, and more, that it’s easy to get overwhelmed with choice.

Our beginners guide will help you understand the basic elements that make up Digital Marketing

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What is Digital Marketing?

Simply put, it’s marketing your products & services using the internet or Digital media. Generally the term ‘Digital marketing’ covers all the different tactics and strategies used to Market as well as the channels used. That includes tactics that include reaching customers through online marketing such as on the Internet through Desktop & Mobile as well as Social media; Facebook etc. This can be as simple as running adverts on Google, putting out a Twitter Tweet, or as advanced as running a Programmatic display campaign using your CRM.

With all the different definitions and websites out there it can get a bit overwhelming. Knowing where to begin, what would work best, and coupled with the fact that new companies are coming in all the time and it’s a fast moving world. But rest assured, there are a number of core techniques that you should know. Namely, Why your business needs Digital Marketing, and what are the key components of a successful digital marketing strategy

 

Why do you need Digital Marketing?

There are lots of benefits for Digital marketing over traditional channels, and not all of them involve a large investment. The key elements to know are:

  • Your customers are spending more and more time online

On average, people spend 3 hours per day online, whilst over 45% of the world’s population use Social media in some form. That’s an enormous audience that’s sure to encompass many of your potential customers. Traditional forms of media such as Live TV, Radio, and Print media are dropping off as people become more and more savvy. As such it’s vitally important that you maintain a presence where your target audience is

  • Your competition is using it

Almost 80% of small businesses use Social media in their marketing strategy. That’s alongside those who maintain a website or run Digital Advertising. The fundamentals are easy to grasp and allow for changes to be made very quickly to react to the market. If you don’t have a presence in these times, then you risk losing out to the competition

  • You can promote your business to a larger audience

You are no longer limited to your local geographic area. In the past you may have only been able to get in front of people through a local paper or physically sending out mailers. But now you can have an immediate presence to a global audience. This can really help your business grow as you can reach people further afield and turn them into customers.

  • You can target to a relevant audience

Many may worry about targeting a global audience, but rather, there are lots of controls that mean you can narrow the reach of your activity to a more specific audience.

You could control the audience down to a Geographical postcode, their age & gender, If they’ve been to your website before, or even if they have specific interests; All based around their browsing history.

Knowing all this means you can target only the people who you know are more likely to become customers, rather than worry about appearing irrelevant and wasting money.

  • You can track performance extremely closely

Most platforms offer integrated tracking tools, whilst general tools such as Google Analytics offer easy integration. All of these help to show exactly how your activity is performing; How many visitors it’s driven, how they have interacted with your site, and even how many sales & revenue they have generated.

Knowing all this means you can run a lot of tests and know almost real-time what is and isn’t working as well as work out how the performance meets your business objectives. This helps to give you enormous control over which platforms to focus on and how much budget to invest and where, as well as knowing what kind of messaging or targeting should be used; something almost unheard of with traditional marketing.

  • It doesn’t have to cost the earth

A lot of platforms are free to use; You can setup a Facebook page or Twitter account to get visitors, and you can even make use of Search Engine Optimisation techniques to get traffic to your website for free.

If you do want to use Paid advertising, such as Google AdWords ‘pay per click’, then there is often no minimum spend, so you can use a test & learn approach to see how it performs before committing to any more budget, reducing the potential of any wasted spend.

 

What are the basic elements of Digital Marketing?

Understand what each of the elements are and how they can be utilised is key for knowing how to plan out your Digital Marketing strategy.

Within each of these, there are a lot of different elements, but understanding the basic components and how you can use this will help to plan out your strategy.

Overall, it is worth knowing that there is no one definitive strategy for using Digital marketing. What works for one business may not work for another so it is important to understand what you can utilise and have a plan to test these elements out.

The core components are:

 

  • Website Design

This is the face of your business and reflects your brand. A clear structure, concise information and content are key to help build your brand.

The website should be an extension of your brand, whilst giving a mix between design and functionality. It should be straightforward for a new user to navigate your site and understand exactly what you do, as well as convert when possible. This could involve completing a contact form or making a purchase.

With Smartphone use overtaking desktop, consider a responsive design to make this mobile friendly, whilst having a fast loading time is key to stop potential customers from getting frustrated, as well as being one of the key signals that Google looks for when ranking your website.

 

  • Search Engine Optimisation

This impacts how your website appears on search engine results page. If you can get Google to rank your website highly for a specific keyword or phrase (“Organic rankings”), then this can bring in an enormous amount of traffic to your site at no cost.

There are lots of different techniques to know but these all breakdown to a few elements:

  • On-page SEO: crafting your pages to make sure that they reflect the right content such as having text around specific key phrases. Making sure the pages aren’t too image heavy, plus using the right formatting such as H1 tags for headers and having proper META descriptions & titles.
  • Technical SEO: Not readily seen by the user, this involves making sure elements such as redirects work, having an up to date Robots.txt file (The file that tells search engines what pages they can and cannot look at; useful for pushing specific content and excluding elements like a contact form), and having a navigable menu
  • Off-page SEO: This is basically telling Google what others think about your website by building authority: If Google can see that others are linking to your site for specific key phrases, and you’ve had mentions, then it can tell that you have some authority.

Focusing on ensuring your website is setup properly and work towards relevant key phrases and try and? build up this authority, and over time you can start ranking Organically. It’s not a fast process; Even the best laid out SEO plans can take months to have results, but think of this as an investment in the future performance of your website

 

  • Social Media

Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram let you create content and get this out to an audience very quickly. It’s one of the best ways to start off Digital Marketing as it is very straightforward to understand the basics. The core platforms to consider are:

Facebook makes your brand discoverable and offers an easy way to put up content, images, and video.

Instagram is best for a visual business with high-quality images great for engaging with your audience.

Twitter offers the ability to quickly post a snapshot of content, as well as capture similar audiences. You can also utilise Hashtags for your industry to appear against searches and get more users.

One of the most powerful aspects of Social media is that you can choose your audience; going after locations, interests, and demographics.

The other benefit of Social media is that it is a 2-way communication tool; As well as promoting your business to customers, they can get in touch with you to ask questions or provide feedback. It’s vitally important to monitor this closely and engage with your customers in a positive light, to minimise any negative impact to your business.

A good Social media strategy should involve having a profile that outlines your core business ideals, then start creating engaging content for your users. This could be updates about your products & services, or any external factors that could have relevancy for your business; If you run a business selling hand-made jewellery, then consider creating posts for Valentines Day, Christmas, Anniversaries & birthdays.

 

  • Email Marketing

Having been around for years, over 80% of businesses still use email marketing as this is proven to continue to work. It has become more competitive; having to fight against newsletters and spam bots, but making high quality engaging emails that stand out is key to making this channel work.

Rather than bombarding your customer database with emails, try to understand the psychology of your customers and what you are trying to achieve. You want to hit the right mix of having emails that have a good engagement rate, rather than sending out too many emails that could just result in users unsubscribing and harming your brand

 

  • Content Marketing

This is creating good content for your audience that is high quality and engaging. It should be seen as building up authority about your brand with good content, so that when the time is right to make a purchase, this audience knows your brand and has some loyalty.

There are many ways that you can create content: Blog posts, Newsletters, whitepapers, case studies, infographics, webinars and more.

Whenever you create content, you want to be seen as an authority on the subject so that when users go online to research products & services they see your brand. Many competitors will be doing this, so it is vital to have good strong content to build on this.

This can be further seen when looking at the research funnel: Users may be at different stages of the buying journey, so you want to ensure that there is content from research, down to purchase, and even to after-sales.

The key element is that you want to be visible for consumers; During the research and then the purchasing phase. You need to be seen to be relevant and an authority, and creating good, engaging content will help you capture this traffic over your competitors.

 

  • Paid Search

This can come under many different categories: Pay-per-click, Display advertising, Video advertising, Advertorials. Each have pros and cons, but the biggest traffic driver is pay per click, or PPC for short.

This is when you specify a list of keywords that you want to show up for on the search engine, and write some adverts to show up. Then when someone types in the keyword and clicks on your ad, you only pay for that click.

Whilst you do have to spend money to get traffic, PPC has some great benefits for capturing traffic:

  • You only show up for the traffic that you want, helping to get quality traffic. By targeting only specific markets, demographics, and keywords, you avoid misplaced marketing activity
  • Users who are searching for the keywords, are already engaged, so they are in-market for your products & services
  • It can be very quick to adjust; You can create new ads and keywords to go live within 20 minutes, great for a fast-moving, tactical industry
  • It’s fully trackable; you can see exactly how much each keyword has spent, and how they have interacted with your website and how many sales they have generated. This helps to make it easier to decide where to push and pull back budget and activity
  • You can try and capture unconverted users; most platforms offer a remarketing option which target or exclude users who have been to your website or are on your databases. This is perfect for trying to get these users to covert or pushing new products or offers to them

 

PPC can be in many different formats; Text ads, Display ads, or Video Ads. Text ads only show up on the search results page but benefit from a highly engaged audience.

Display ads show up on websites when the user is browsing. These take the form of image ads and can include animation or short snippets of video. These make them more visually engaging for the user. These can be set to show up on relevant websites for your products & services, or instead, show up for your relevant audience across different websites.

It should be noted through that as they show up on websites as users are browsing they don’t receive the same volume of clicks as text ads do, but instead they are great for reaching a wide audience and building up brand awareness.

Video ads offer a highly visual format that can really engage with customers. These can show up on YouTube before relevant videos and offer a chance for the user to click through to visit your website.

Video ads benefit from offering sound and visuals, though these can have high costs for production and marketing budgets, so need to be carefully considered when planning your marketing strategy.

Whatever format of Paid search you choose, it is perfect for quickly getting your brand in front of customers when they are engaged and allows you to track them fully through the journey. A good PPC strategy can work by focusing on different keywords at different stages of the funnel to bring users to your site ready to research and convert.

 

In Summary

As you can see there are a lot of different types of Digital marketing out there that all offer different things. However, one thing they all do is work together to bring a better experience for the user. If you want to do PPC advertising, then you need to make sure you have a good website for them to visit whilst having strong engaging content in place.

The main challenge for businesses is that Digital marketing is a multi-faceted approach with lots of different elements. You need to have skill and experience in each area to do a full strategy. This can be done over time; Start with the basics and build up your knowledge ready for the next level.

In the fast-moving world of Digital Marketing, ensure that you keep up to date with all the latest developments and how they could impact your business. Our blog and newsletter will have tips and tricks that can help, whilst we also recommend keeping an eye on Industry news and even setting up Google alerts for your brand and industry to keep fully informed of the news.

Hopefully you now have a good understanding of all the different elements that make up Digital marketing and understand the basics, and feel better equipped to think about your Digital Marketing. However if you do want to learn more then why not get in touch today and see how we can help your business grow with Digital Marketing

 

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