Digital marketing is the promotion of brands, products, and services using the internet and technology as a medium for advertising. Digital marketing includes various different forms of online communications including search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing, pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, and content marketing which alone comprises multiple different categories. Familiar forms of content marketing that you may have seen include general website page content, blogging, promotional videos, email marketing, podcasting, etc. Essentially, all promotion for a business done online is related to digital marketing in one way or another.
Search Engine Optimization
SEO for Digital Marketing
Search Engine Optimization, or SEO for short, is the process used to enhance website pages and content for search engines to read in their algorithms. Websites that are easy for a search engine to read are “rewarded” with a higher position for a particular search query. Websites that are hard to read and interpret receive the opposite treatment, a low position within a given set of search engine result pages (SERPs.) Driving the content displayed for a set of SERPs are the keywords that the end user enters into their search. Keywords and website speed are what we care about when performing SEO.
Importance of Keywords
Whenever SEO is discussed, keywords are almost always going to be included in the conversation. When a user submits a search into a search engine, let’s say Google for example, Google will read the search, it’s algorithm will then run through every website ranking for that keyword that was included in the user’s original query. We use keywords even when we don’t realize it. Looking for any service “near me” is a keyword, Google is able to identify your location and provide a response that gives you almost exactly what you are looking for. This is where the power lies in keywords: providing people exactly what they are looking for. Becoming specific and concise with keyword choices tells Google, who then tells the user what that specific website page is going to provide. Choosing keywords that make sense to the product you sell, that are searched often, and that are actually achievable to rank for is essential when performing SEO. For instance, a website optimized for “business marketing” has hundreds of thousands of websites competing for that same exact keyword. One of the tricks of the trade is to add a local tag to a keyword, in our example it would be “business marketing fuquay”, now Google has narrowed the search down to the local Fuquay-Varina, NC area and finds websites
that are ranking for “business marketing.” I could go on regarding the importance of keywords, but for the sake of brevity know that keywords are what help users find your website, products, and services when using a search engine.
Website Speed’s Effect on Digital Marketing
Search engines also care a lot about site speed, in fact more than most think. Keywords are the number one priority for SEO, but site speed is a close second. Search engines, again using Google as an example, want the very best experiences for their users. Lightning fast websites that provide the content the user needs is top priority. To improve website speed, optimizing images, minifying code, externally hosting videos, and reducing redirects are great places to start. If your website is using WordPress, or a similar content management system, many plugins are available to assist with these fixes.
Digital Marketing with SEO
The technical aspect of SEO is great to learn about, but for most businesses simply understanding how SEO influences digital marketing is most important. In short, SEO allows for users to find your business for exactly what your business wants to be found for. Selecting a target audience and identifying the keywords they are searching for then sets your business directly in line with their consumer desires. There are tons of tools out there such as Moz Keyword Explorer or SEMRush Keyword Research that help identify what keywords your target audience is searching for. Many of these tools will also provide strategies to effectively rank for particular keywords. Another great tool worth mentioning that is popular among the WordPress community is Yoast SEO. Yoast uses the keywords you enter from tools such as Moz and provides instant feedback on a webpage’s content. Simply remembering that proper SEO puts your business in front of its target audience is most important when understanding the value of SEO in digital marketing.
Social Media Marketing
Learning how to market on social media is one of the most effective digital marketing strategies. Social media marketing, sometimes called social media advertising, has the ability to single-handedly scale a business online. As the name sounds, a company’s social media profiles should be used to help advertise, promote, and provide to their respective target audience.
Give, Give, Give, then Ask
Many businesses follow a “give, give, give, then task” approach to advertising on social media. In this model, the business simply provides to its target audience, asking for nothing in return. The business seeks to provide value and gain the trust of potential customers, but little should be done to call these prospects to action. Social media should be kept as one of the broadest layers of your business’ marketing funnel, and be primarily used to raise brand awareness. In the “give, give, give, then ask” approach, social media handles the majority of giving. Whether it be through informative Instagram carousels, or a product giveaway on Facebook, the whole goal is to provide free value. When prospects become interested in your business, that’s when businesses are given the opportunity to ask. Whether to ask what their needs are, what service they are interested in, or what product they believe will benefit them best, a business must first show that they can be of value before any monetary exchange is made.
Social Media for Digital Marketing
Social media is an effective asset in a digital marketing campaign as it helps in building brand awareness. Before a company is able to make a sale, wouldn’t it make sense that customers need to be able to find said company first? To grow brand awareness consistently valuable posts are requisite. Social media profiles need to be constantly updated, managed, and interacted with. Comments, likes, and follows need to be measured and addressed to show that your business is active on the varying social media available. Many businesses will opt to hire a social media marketer as they are experts in developing a brand voice and creating posts that are incredibly valuable.
Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is a relatively simple method in digital marketing. Essentially, rather than seeking organic traffic with pure SEO, businesses can supplement their effort with PPC advertising on the various search engines. How it works in layman’s terms is businesses optimize their PPC campaigns to rank for particular keywords, in turn these businesses appear in designated positions reserved for only PPC connected URLs. These positions tend to be at the very top or very bottom of the first SERP and help drive traffic to a particular website.
Digital Marketing with PPC
PPC is a great option for the businesses that can afford it. Cost-per-click (CPC) can become quite costly for more general, highly trafficked keywords. In terms of digital marketing, PPC should be used to kickstart SEO or boost efforts, but is rarely sustainable to rely solely on, especially at a medium to small business level.
Content marketing is a multifaceted term that encompasses many different parts of digital marketing. Content marketing includes general website page content, blogging, promotional videos, email marketing, podcasting, etc. In general, content marketing is the material that the end user engages with. Content marketing is arguably the most effective form of digital marketing there is, however it does not come easy and must be done meticulously.
Web Page Text Content
Web page text content carries two purposes: to inform a site visitor what they need to know while also helping that particular web page rank for a set keyword. Text content needs to be clear, sensible, and highlight the products or services that a business is best known for.
Populating a blog on a consistent basis is great for establishing trust as well as continuing a brand’s SEO effort. Blogs serve as a medium to position a brand as the industry expert. Potential customers want to hire the best they can afford, and a blog is a great way for a business to act as its own testimonial. Blogs are powerful additions to supplement alongside a strong portfolio to show the work or product that your business produces, while also teaching how your business does it. Digital marketing and blogging go hand and hand, site visitors are compelled to a brand as a result of a business “showing what it knows” in a friendly to read format.
Promotional Videos and Podcasts
Videos and podcasts help appeal to a wider audience. Many potential customers are not inclined to solely read text, therefore providing visual and auditory experiences increase the likelihood of creating a connection to a particular consumer. Business promotional videos have become increasingly popular in being used as hero content that appears above the fold. This is a great way to catch the attention of a site visitor as the second a business’ website loads, they are instantly being provided content that is dynamic and engaging. Content marketing in the form of video and podcasting is best used for appealing to larger audiences and ensuring that existing text content doesn’t get stale.
Email marketing helps businesses connect to their audience on a mass or individual scale. Email marketing is most commonly seen in the forms of a newsletter sign up, or free giveaway of an item that requires for an email to be entered. In examples such as these, companies are mainly seeking to build their mailing list in order to maintain customer connections. A short email sent to a mailing list recipient helps ensure that a business is not left forgotten. Some of the most popular mailing list tools include Mailchimp and ActiveCampaign. To help prevent recipients ignoring blast emails, having a designer create an interactive design with appropriate branding and even animation will instantly make blast emails stand out from the traditional text format. Maintaining customer connections and prospecting new leads is where the strength of email marketing lies in the digital marketing landscape.
Email marketing also opens the opportunity for lead nurturing emails. Through a consistent campaign that identifies with consumer pain points, you’ll likely find great success with this form of digital marketing.
Benefits of Digital Marketing
The benefits of digital marketing, especially in comparison to traditional marketing, are numerous. Digital marketing provides for the ability to hand select target audiences, advertise more efficiently, outcompete bigger names in the business, and campaigns tend to generate impressive amounts of ROI.
Target Specific Audiences
Arguably one of the most desirable characteristics of digital marketing is the ability to target specific audiences. When performing search engine optimization, social media marketing, or really any other form of digital marketing, businesses are able to develop an appeal to the audience they want engaged with their product or services. Digital marketing is incredibly powerful in this manner as time and money is only invested into prospects of genuine interest.
Digital marketing is undoubtedly the most efficient way for most businesses to reach their target audience. Businesses can pinpoint their audiences needs and desires, then provide a solution to said needs and desires within an instant. Traditional marketing requires time to be invested in finding physical mediums for advertising and working with multiple different businesses to get advertisements displayed on places such as billboards and magazines. Digital marketing removes these barriers, and instead allows for more time to be spent on crafting effective ads than can be posted within an instant. Digital marketing is the new standard business advertising.
Outcompete Big Names
Prior to digital marketing, it was hard for smaller businesses to earn their own reputation, especially when an industry giant could be seen on almost every billboard for miles. Using effective digital marketing strategy, small businesses have the possibility to rank higher for appealing keywords and grow their social media channels faster than the big businesses. Digital marketing helps provide fair grounding for every business to establish themselves.
Generate Jaw-Dropping ROI
For those uncertain, ROI is a business term coined for return-on-investment. Digital marketing, when done right, can generate an incredible amount of ROI, especially given how cost effective it really is. Due to time and effort being spent solely on strategy development, digital marketing tends to come at a much more affordable cost than traditional advertising. Scenarios such as television advertisement that ranges into the tens of thousands, compared to an Instagram carousel that ranges in the hundreds is where this huge price gap is seen. Both advertisements are effective and will generate ROI, however the Instagram carousel was dramatically cheaper, and is more personalized to the audience it reaches. When done right, digital marketing can turn around a business for the better.
Digital marketing is one of the most powerful tools that businesses today have in their arsenal. An incredible amount of people engage with the internet on a daily basis, and meeting this prospectable audience online is widely considered the best way to connect. Digital marketing is effective for businesses who seek to make a lasting impression on their customers by staying engaged with their target audience. If you’re still not entirely up to challenge that is digital marketing we can help. Check out our digital marketing consultant services as well as our latest guide on digital strategy consulting.