A Basic Guide To Digital Marketing

Digital marketing is a catch-all term which describes many forms of online marketing, social media marketing, mobile applications, email, or any other form of new digital marketing channel. It can be any form of marketing involving an electronic device such as a desktop computer, mobile phone or smart tablet; it isn’t necessarily limited to one type of marketing such as generating organic traffic or content marketing.

Your digital marketing strategy could take in several different techniques such as paid search, PPC, Google Ads, or local SEO; you may choose to use an online marketing agency for advice on the complexities of SEO, keywords, Google Analytics, Pay Per Click, and ways to optimise your page load speed and improve search engine optimisation for your landing page. But if you want to build traffic and improve sales, it’s essential to have a digital marketing plan in place.

Among the advantages of digital marketing are the fact that even small businesses generating their  own content can take advantage of digital marketing services to build a digital marketing strategy; read this guide to digital marketing and you will soon be a master of Google, improve your CPC (cost per click) and  understand all the advantages of digital marketing.

What Is Digital Marketing?

Now that everyone spends most of their time looking at digital devices, practically all significant marketing effort goes into online. Traditional media such as outdoor billboards, broadcast TV and radio can’t compete when their audience is being taken away by digital devices.

SEO guru Neil Patel explains in his guide to digital marketing that there are seven basic forms of digital marketing:

  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Search engine marketing (SEM)
  • Content marketing (CM)
  • Social Media Marketing (SMM)
  • Pay-per-click advertising (PPC)
  • Affiliate marketing (AM)
  • Email marketing (EM)

But what is the basic advantage of these forms of digital marketing services over traditional forms? The answer is that they can be targeted at a specific audience. Billboards, TV and radio take a scattergun approach, aiming wide and hoping to reach the right sort of consumer; with digital marketing, either the consumer is actively looking for the type of advert served up, or the advertising can be tailored towards them by analysing their previous search history and website visits.

Using a search engine such as Google, a customer will search for certain keywords, depending on what product or service they need; rather than relying on organic traffic, a digital marketing plan will use search engine optimisation to position your website on a search engine results page, and Pay Per Click or some other form of paid search to guide the customer to your landing page.

Whether you run an international operation or are one of the small businesses interested mainly in local SEO, tools such as Google Analytics and Google Search Console will help you to drive traffic to your website and improve sales. By using social media and compiling an email list you can take advantage of returning customers, and using content marketing through a blog you can build your brand image and develop an online marketing strategy.

So let’s have a look at how digital marketing works.

How Does Digital Marketing Work?

At the centre of any digital marketing plan is likely to be your company website. Think of it as your top salesman, delivering your potential customer’s first impression of your brand, and hopefully converting visitors who have found your site using a search engine into paying customers. 

Much of your digital marketing strategy will be aimed at driving customers to your website, to get more information or to buy your products or services. For that reason, everything about your website from the page load speed to the design must be calculated to give the  best impression of your company. According to Adobe, 38 percent of people will stop engaging with a website if they find the content or layout to be unattractive.

It’s also important to make your website easy to navigate, and to create a clear pathway from the landing page to checkout. You may decide to use a digital marketing agency for advice on subjects such as Search Engine Optimisation to get a better ranking for your website, how to improve your content, and other advantages of digital marketing. If you’re interested in hiring a digital marketing agency for your business then please get in touch with our team today!

It’s particularly important to optimise your website for mobile use. For some types of business, such as takeaway food chains, most successful searches will be local and using a mobile device. It’s common for websites which are not mobile friendly to have a bounce rate of 50 percent or more – that means more than half the customers finding the website’s landing page click back off it and don’t look any further into the site. It’s possible that they find want they want immediately – such as a phone number or location – but if they’re clicking off just because the site is not mobile friendly, your website could be losing a lot of business.  

Digital marketing services can show you ways to make your website more effective, how to use tools such as Google Search Console and Google Analytics to improve your SEO, how PPC can pay off if you bid on the right keywords, how Google Ads can benefit your business, and how to improve your CPC so that digital marketing really works for you. 

What Are The Benefits Of Digital Marketing?

A recent research study by Forrester found that 71 percent of consumers start their buying journey on search engines like Google. One of the benefits of digital marketing is that there are many free tools you can use to improve your site’s SEO, drive customer engagement, and reduce your CPC.

Search engine optimization, the process of optimizing your site’s content so it appeals to search engines, increases your visibility in your target market by improving your ranking on the search engine results page (SERP). This in turn generates more organic traffic to your website.

One of the benefits of a good digital marketing plan is that the leads it generates are of good quality; SEO plays an important part here by reaching those online who are most likely to be interested in your products or services, because they are searching for relevant keywords.

Google Analytics, a free tracking tool offered by Google, shows you how visitors use your website. It will give you data how many users visit your website, where they come from, which device they are using, and a lot more.

Digital marketing, unlike other conventional forms of marketing, allows you to measure if your strategy is working, divide users into different segments by age, gender, country, device, and so on, and optimise your website pages to boost conversions. All this can be done with minimum expense, using Google Analytics.

Another benefit of digital marketing is that it allows you to build your brand through inexpensive methods such as content marketing. Content marketing is when you create assets aimed at attracting and retaining your target customers. Content such as a blog post, podcast, infographic, e-book, feature or video can generate brand awareness, increase site traffic, and help retain customers.

A comprehensive guide to digital marketing would also have to cover the benefits of using social media. 

Most brands use social media marketing as part of their online marketing campaigns. The strategy is normally to guide customers to your website. Social media marketing, involving channels such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Pinterest, lets you engage with your customers to increase brand awareness and generate more and better leads, and hence sales.

 Social media is an effective channel for online marketing because it will support your other digital marketing plans. You could, for instance, develop an eBook dealing with your target audience’s problems, promote the eBook through social media, and drive traffic to your landing page to download it. The content of the  eBook can then be used piece by piece for future social media posts.

Does Your Business Have a Digital Presence?

So, your company has a website. Good for you, you have taken the first step into online marketing. But probably every one of your competitor companies also has a website, so what makes yours stand out? When a potential customer uses a search engine to look for a product or service, does your website come top of the search engine results page? Are you relying on organic traffic, or are you taking advice from a digital marketing agency, and making the most of SEO digital marketing, paid search, Pay Per Click,  an all the other tools of an online marketing strategy?

Let’s summarise the major elements of an online marketing strategy, and the sort of digital marketing services you need to use as part of your overall strategy. 

  • SEO

Search Engine Optimisation is one of the essential tools to make sure that your website is rated as relevant and useful by search engines such as Google.

There are three major elements to SEO digital marketing (local SEO uses the same techniques but with the specific aim of generating local traffic).

1. On-site Optimization. This is all about the content, structure, and layout of your site. Search engines crawl your site to understand what it’s about and how authoritative it is, and rank your pages accordingly. Elements such as page title tags, page meta-description, site navigation, internal linking, URLs, unique content, page load speed and site security all contribute to your website ranking.

2. Content quality. Having a regular flow of high-quality new content, checked for relevance, accuracy and readability, works well for Google indexing and improves your position in search rankings. If your features are frequently linked to and shared, this will also benefit you.

3. Authority Building. The relationship you build with other sites and platforms, and the quality of websites from which you have external links, improve your perceived authority, and make your website rank higher in search engines. Bad links, to irrelevant, spammy, or fake sites will earn you a penalty, so should be avoided. Tactics you can use to build genuine links include guest posting, social media syndication, and influencer marketing – but you have to have the quality content first.

  • Content Marketing

Content marketing is the use of quality content to build a ‘story’ around your company, products or services. By creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to a clearly-defined audience, you can attract and retain customers and drive profitable customer interaction.

Content marketing requires a commitment to quality and consistency – for instance if you are producing a newsletter or digital magazine for your audience, it should be distributed on a regular basis, say weekly or monthly. By showing that you care about your audience, you build a relationship of trust. The Content Marketing Institute gives the following tip for developing a content marketing strategy: “Your strategy should outline your key business and customer needs, and how your content efforts will address them.”

  • Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing depends very much on an understanding of the types of people likely to use different platforms.

Facebook marketing can be successful for local businesses such as restaurants, hotels, and entertainment outlets. You can set up your own Facebook shop and sell directly from the site.

Instagram is image led, so it’s ideal for posting high-quality product photography of the sort enjoyed by millennials.

Twitter is text-led and serves both consumer and business customers. It’s ideal for informing and engaging with your brand’s customers, and for posting industry news and updates.  LinkedIn serves business professionals, and is a good way of linking to other professionals and sharing industry information and educational resources.

  • PPC

Pay Per Click, though it costs you money initially, is a valuable addition to an organic traffic campaign. Google Ads, the most popular and effective type of PPC ads, will help your business appear high on search engine results pages, and can offer quicker results than an SEO-driven campaign. So long as you are sure that the leads you get from PPC are being converted into profitable sales, PPC is a worthwhile option.

  • Email Marketing

Branding your emails when you communicate with potential customers is an inexpensive and effective way to maximise the potential of your marketing emails. Your mails should support your campaign goals, whether to promote a special event or offer, increase brand awareness or establish industry leadership. While email marketing is not normally used to  generate new leads, online marketing services would tell you it is valuable in nurturing existing leads and encouraging customer retention. According to eMarketer, almost 80 percent of retail professionals say that email marketing is one of their favourite methods for improving customer retention.

  • Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing involves getting your products or services recommended on popular blogs, vlogs, Instagram accounts, YouTube channels and so on. You may offer free samples or trials in return for a review, or you may pay the host site each time they direct someone to your website to make a sale. Positive referrals from trusted bloggers and thought leaders are valuable digital marketing assets in a world where online influencers are increasingly important, and an online marketing agency will help you to develop these links.

How Can Digital Marketing Increase Sales?

In the next part of this guide to digital marketing we’re going to discuss how digital marketing can increase sales, and what tools you are going to use to do it.

Though it is worth spending money on digital marketing services, the great thing about digital marketing is that many of the best tools you need are free, or will give you a free trial. Then you can decide which ones suit you and your business before committing to a purchase or subscription.

We’ll list just 10 of the top digital marketing tools you can use to increase sales. 

  1. Google Analytics

A free website tracking tool which gives you information on key metrics such as pageviews, unique visitors, top referring channels, conversion rate, average time on site, bounce rate and more. You can use Google Analytics to create custom reports and detailed statistics, in enough detail for most small businesses; if you need more detail there’s a professional paid version, Google Analytics 360.  

  • Buzzsumo

A content research tool which identifies top-performing content in your industry based on social shares, and can be used to identify useful influencers, measure the success of your competitors’ content marketing strategies, and set up alerts for content from your industry

  • Campaign Monitor

An email marketing tool offering design, writing, and delivery functions, including successful example templates, a drag-and-drop editor, sign-up forms and features to monitor subscribers’ activity.

  • MailChimp

Affordable email marketing software (actually free up to 2,00 subscribers or 12,000 emails per month) with facilities to create advertisements, landing pages and newsletters, retarget customers with information collected by Google and Facebook ads, and quickly create automated messages such as birthday greetings, welcome letters, and cart abandonment emails.

  • LeadPages

A landing page design package with templates for landing pages and checkout pages, popup ad functions, A/B testing to check which page elements work best, and web page hosting services.

  • Hootsuite

A free social media listening tool covering multiple social networks, including Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, WordPress, Foursquare and Google+. Features social media management functions including weekly reports, search term monitoring, and RSS feed posting to social networks.

  •  Ahrefs

A digital marketing tool with website auditing, keyword research and tracking, backlink profile monitoring, and a keyword explorer so you can research thousands of keyword ideas.

  • Answer the Public

A free keyword research tool which gives long-tail variations of keywords your audience is searching for, helping you to generate content ideas. It presents visual maps of popular search phrases categorised as prepositions, comparisons, sorted alphabetically and so on.  

  • Google PageSpeed Insights

One of the factors known to affect page ranking in Google’s algorithm is page speed. Google PageSpeed Insights reports on the performance of each URL, including desktop and mobile device comparisons, and gives a list of suggestions for improvements to boost your organic rankings.

  1. Google Search Console

We make no excuses for including another Google tool, because they’re mainly free and most are digital marketing essentials. Google Search Console helps you to measure your site’s organic traffic and SEO performance, highlights key issues which could prevent you from ranking higher, and allows you to submit content and sitemaps to Google for faster crawling. Essentially it helps marketers to see how Google’s spiders view their web pages, and gives them guidance on appropriate optimisation.

With the aid of these tools and many others, your digital marketing campaign will be able to drive leads to your website, close sales and improve brand loyalty and customer retention.

Why Digital Marketing Is Important For Small Business

The great thing about SEO digital marketing for small businesses is that it acts as an equaliser – no matter than your competitors are bigger, have deeper pockets, and can afford to reach out to customers through traditional methods like TV, radio and billboards, using digital marketing you can compete for the same market. A new business may use print ads, open air signs or local mailouts to attract customers, but in the end, only digital marketing offers the potential of expanding your customer base and growing sales without unreasonable marketing costs.

Another of the advantages of digital marketing is that it helps you to reach an enormous audience in a way which is both affordable and measurable. If you need to reach an international market you can, but if it’s not relevant, you can tailor your digital marketing to be local only; and if you don’t have time to manage your own digital marketing campaigns, you can employ online marketing services.

And, in the end, even a small business may have to use digital marketing services, because competing businesses will do, and potential customers will expect your business to have a professional-looking online presence.  Whether they are looking for information about your products or services, or they want to check what other customers say about your company, your business may not be taken seriously if potential customers cannot find an online presence.

For all those reasons, it’s not only important for a small business to use digital marketing, it’s essential for you to keep an eye on what your competitors are doing in the market. Is their website better designed than yours, is product selection and ordering quicker, are their social media sites better at driving business to their websites, do they use media such as blogs or videos that you don’t?

How do your competitors promote their brand message, and what makes their offering unique? Do they engage better with the audience than you do, and is there anything you should be doing better?

Digital marketing, through a website, social media, email or any other method, is a way for your business to be open to new customers even when it’s closed – you could find customers who are too far away to get to you physically, yet still form relationships with them, respond to their comments and build a long-term relationship. No matter the size of your business, digital marketing opens up new worlds of opportunity and business success.

How a Digital Marketing Agency Works

How does a digital marketing agency work? Of course, that’s one of those ‘how long is a piece of string?’ questions. The answer varies depending on the situation. Acting as a guide to digital marketing demands mastery of all sorts of skills and solutions, but the best sort of digital marketing agency will build a complete understanding of your products, business and existing marketing strategy before suggesting a selection of digital marketing services, from SEO to Pay Per Click.

The first step for an online marketing agency would probably be to design or redesign your website. This will involve both the graphic elements, the content, and the SEO aspects. 

The development team’s job in online marketing services is to make sure your website runs on all forms of desktop and mobile browsers, and to test and maintain your website. This quality analysis task also involves regular checking of images, links, loading times and so on.

A digital marketing agency will also help you to develop your social media, placing adverts or links to generate clicks to your website and ultimately increase sales. 

So the team at a digital marketing agency could well include designers, developers, SEO agents, analytics experts, content writers, sales and audit analyst and others, all essentially working to promote your business. The aim of the whole collaborative process is to improve your brand recognition, encourage customer engagement and drive revenue through selected audiences.

One2One Digital can help with all your digital marketing and web development requirements. One2One Digital has a highly qualified team of trained specialists in digital marketing, PPC, website design services, SEO, website security, email marketing, WordPress, HTML coding, CMS, paid search marketing, Google Ads, content marketing, digital strategy and social media, and can work with you to develop your ideas and build a digital marketing campaign perfect for your business.

One2One Digital is a leading digital marketing agency in London, offering the easiest and most cost-effective way to guarantee that digital marketing works for you. Get in touch today to find out about our latest digital marketing management services, web design services, email marketing services, and what a digital marketing campaign can do for your business.