What Is Digital Marketing Today?
Digital marketing is a term that is used to describe the marketing of products, services, or brands using digital technologies. While this mainly refers to online marketing today, the likes of display advertising, mobile phones, and other digital mediums fall under this banner as well. In this guide, we will reveal everything that you need to know about digital marketing, including the different strategies used in order to market your business effectively in today’s digital age.
Why is digital marketing today important for businesses?
There are several reasons why digital marketing is important for businesses today. This includes the following:
- Reach people where they are spending their time and money. The latest statistics for 2019 show that the average online user has a minimum of seven social media accounts. If that was not compelling enough, 51 percent of all Instagram users check their accounts every day, as do 76 percent of Facebook users. Social media is where people are today. It is not only where people spend their time, but it is where they are buying and interacting with brands too. In fact, approximately 37 percent of people say that they spend their time interacting with brand content when they are on social media. Plus, 48 percent of people say that they made their last buy online because of an advert they saw on Facebook. These statistics are reason enough to concentrate on digital marketing.
- It’s easy to scale and adapt – There is always going to be initial investment needed to get traffic flowing with any type of marketing. However, the great thing about digital marketing is that you can easily tweak your efforts, scaling and adapting as your company grows.
- Digital marketing is targeted – Another reason why digital marketing plays such a pivotal role today is that it is more targeted than the other advertising mediums that are available to use today. Take magazine ads as a prime example. While there is some targeting, the demographic is huge. For example, you may have an ad posted in a popular fashion magazine. However, the demographic here could be women of a considerably diverse age range, with different educational and social backgrounds. With digital marketing, you can be much more specific than this, really zoning in on your target market base.
- Benefit from advanced analytics – Measuring your digital marketing campaign is something that we will discuss later in this guide. However, it is one of the benefits that is associated with digital marketing. You will be able to learn a lot about your customers and potential customers and how they interact with your brand.
- Digital marketing can be hyper-personalized – People are going to purchase from you if you create content that is highly relevant to them. Using data and the advanced technology that is available today, you will be able to personalize your marketing campaigns. This is an effective way of building loyal relationships.
- Digital marketing gives small businesses the chance to compete – Another reason why digital marketing is important is that it helps to level the playing field for small businesses. You can have a top-ranking position if you perfect your digital marketing strategy.
Search engine Optimisation (SEO)
Now, let’s look at digital marketing in action. First, we have search engine Optimisation, which you will commonly see shortened to SEO. This means optimizing your website and all your online content to try and gain more exposure on the search engine result pages. So, let’s look at the steps that are involved when it comes to this.
First, you need to research and use relevant keywords. When it comes to successful SEO, there is little denying that keywords are the foundation to success. You need to know what your potential customers are searching for. For example, if you’re looking for SEO help, you may search for SEO companies in North London or something along those lines. There are several different strategies that you can use in order to make sure you put together a good selection of keywords. This includes using keyword research tools that are available online, as well as brainstorming potential keywords and searching keywords on Google. Regarding the latter, start to type a key phrase relating to your business in the Google search box, and see the suggestions that appear underneath.
Once you have established a good selection of keywords and phrases for your business, you need to make sure you optimize the page titles and meta descriptions on your website. What you should be doing here is trying to incorporate your keywords but make sure you do so in a natural way. You also need to optimize your page content. This includes structuring your pages properly, using images, body content, and header tags, and weaving your keywords into these, again in a natural way. When people read your text, they should not even realize that there are keywords there, to begin with.
In the former paragraph, we discussed what is known as on-site SEO, i.e. optimizing the elements on your website. However, this is only one half of SEO. You also need to consider off-site SEO, and as you may have guessed, this relates to your presence around the web. There are going to be in many different places where your website is listed online. This includes everything from business directories to social media. You need to make sure all mentions of your business are optimized because search engines will use this when determining how authoritative your website is and how it should rank. Therefore, make sure that all mentions of your business are accurate, especially when it comes to contact information, and ensure that you weave in keywords in a natural manner whenever you can.
Building Relevant Links
Another critical part of SEO is building relevant links. Link building is a vital element when it comes to driving visibility for competitive keywords. Nevertheless, link building has a bit of a negative reputation, and this is because businesses have not been using it properly. You need to focus on quality, not quantity. If you run a cake shop in Birmingham, and you have a link coming into your website from a mechanics website in Newcastle, this is not going to benefit your business in SEO terms. There is no relevance here. You need to make sure that any links pointing to your website come from relevant sites. For example, for a cake shop, you could attempt to get links pointing to your site from wedding and events blogs. You’re looking for sites that are relevant yet are not in direct competition. You also need to make sure that the sites are of high quality and that they get a lot of visitors. If the site in question is very slow to load and has a lot of spam on it, a link back to your site is going to hurt your business rather than enhance it.
White Hat or Black
Hopefully, you now have a good understanding of the different steps and approaches when it comes to effective search engine Optimisation. Nevertheless, one thing you do need to recognize is the importance of using white hat techniques and staying away from black hat techniques. You may be wondering what this means. Well, white hate techniques are those that are in accordance with the terms and conditions that Google and other search engines have implemented. Black hat techniques breach these terms and they involve trying to manipulate the search engine result pages. Examples of this include stuffing keywords into your content, duplicating content, and using white text to hide keywords on your page. These sorts of approaches are only going to result in you being demoted by Google in the end, and so it is not worth the risk, as this is very difficult to come back from. Instead, you need to focus on building your search engine ranking in a manner that is natural and organic. This will not deliver results overnight, but it will deliver results that are sustainable, ensuring that you only ever move up the search engine result pages and that you do not make a sudden move downwards.
SEO and UX
A lot of people mistakenly believe that SEO (search engine optimization) is just about incorporating relevant keywords into content and link building. While these are two key strategies, there are a lot of other factors that are considered by search engines when ranking a website. Areas of user experience (UX) have been incorporated into SEO.
Is your website easy to navigate and quick to load? Do you have exciting content that makes users engaged and excites them, so they wish to stay on your site? Is your site mobile-friendly? Is it secure and fast?
These are all the factors that Google and other search engines consider when figuring out how to rank your site. So, let’s look at how user experience and SEO are a match made in heaven.
Why UX is vital for SEO
Over the years, Google has changed considerably. Google updates its algorithms to make sure users get the best possible results. Every update that is made by Google is geared towards ensuring the results are as user-friendly and user-focused as possible. There have been a lot of SERP changes, for example, rich snippets and the knowledge panel. This displays just how critical user experience is to search engines like Google. Looking at Rank Brain helps you to understand this better.
Introduced in 2015, Rank Brain has deemed the third most important factor in figuring out a website’s SEO value. Only content and links were deemed higher. Rank Brain is driven by behavioral metrics, including organic CTR, pages per session, dwell time, and bounce rate. These metrics are going to tell Google whether your website provides an enjoyable experience for users.
If someone visits your site several times and they spend a lot of time on there, and they move through your website easily, this tells Google that you are providing people with great user experience. This will cause your ranking to improve. On the other hand, if your website takes a long time to load, people leave as soon as they enter it, and they return to the search result pages, this indicates that they did not find what they needed. This can cause your ranking to drop.
UX and SEO share common goals
Another reason why SEO and UX are a match made in heaven is that they share common goals. Search engines have moved away from just ranking for search terms. Today, they look to answer people’s queries. This is where UX and SEO begin interacting. They both want to provide the user with the correct information and help them to complete their tasks. SEO leads an individual to the content they require. Once they end up on a webpage, UX answers the queries.
Vital SEO practices that influence UX
It is vital to know the common SEO practices that influence UX:
- Mobile-friendliness is critical.
- Page speed is also imperative.
- Both headings and image tags are important.
- It’s advisable to craft content over 600 words, as it ensures it is in-depth and answers user questions.
How to get the user experience right
Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of the relationship between UX and SEO. Below, we are going to finish by providing you with some vital tips on how to get the user experience right.
• Align your UX and SEO strategies – This is the first step that you need to take. Your strategies should not be operating on their own. They need to be integrated. After all, one of the key goals of your website should be to generate more leads and a greater number of conversions. Both SEO and UX play a vital role in achieving this objective but they must be working together in order to achieve this.
• Concentrate on web designs that fit the principles of SEO –This includes crafting content that resonates with both search engines and visitors, maximizing H1 and H2 titles, optimizing menu names and functionalities, creating a clear navigation path, and focused product names and descriptions.
• Invest in responsive web design – Aside from the tips that have already been mentioned, it is important to make sure that your website is responsive. More people are using their mobile phones for browsing the Internet. Because of this, you need to make sure that your website works perfectly on smaller devices. It needs to be visible, easy to operate, and everything must function properly. There is nothing worse than entering a website on your mobile phone and having to scroll excessively and deal with layouts that have gone wrong.
• Simplify navigation – When it comes to user experience, website navigation is imperative, and so it is also vital when it comes to your search engine ranking. Your homepage must have easy and clear navigation. People should be able to use your website without even thinking about it. They should not even need to think about where to go next. Including a sitemap on your website is a successful technique for assisting Google when it comes to index your pages and understand your website.
• Focus on quality – Last but not least, when determining whether your website is of high quality, navigation is not the only factor that is going to be considered. Other factors that will be considered included page speed, page layout, internal link structure, content relevance, and content originality.
Create a blog
As a blogger, writing an interesting and original blog post is only half of the challenge. You then need to proofread it and optimize it, as well as marketing it effectively too. If your blog posts aren’t being viewed as much as you had hoped, it could be because you are getting one of these critical elements wrong. Read on to discover the various reasons why people aren’t reading your blog posts.
You don’t give other kinds of content a chance – Firstly, while your everyday blog article with a featured image is your bread and butter, you need to explore different content types that will appeal to various readers. For example, you can make your content more shareable on platforms like Instagram and Pinterest if you use infographics.
You write to promote – Readers are always going to put their gains first. This is something you need to know as a blogger. Unless you make it, evident what is in it for the reader, you will lose their interest, and you will lose it quickly. The occasional promotion is acceptable but providing valuable content should always be your focus.
You don’t have an editorial calendar – There are two reasons why an editorial calendar is a necessity. Firstly, it makes sure you do not run out of exciting topics to cover. Secondly, it ensures you publish your posts at times whereby your target audience is most active.
You have overlooked on-page SEO – Everything on your website needs to be optimized. This includes everything from your images to your URL.
Your links are not relevant – Gone are the days whereby link building was all about quantity. Quality is the name of the game today. If you run a blog providing career advice, links to procurement job recruitment websites and CV building websites will work perfectly. However, if you link to something completely irrelevant, and you don’t have a good reason for it, for example, you link to a website that provides baking recipes or a site providing advice on how to save money, then you’re not link building effectively and this is not going to do anything for your visibility or viewer levels.
Your content does not match your brand identity – Before you start writing, you need to decide about the tone you are going to take. Do you want your blog to be humorous and relatable? Or, do you want it to have a professional and serious tone? It is vital to determine this beforehand so that you can make sure your blog is consistent throughout and that it matches your brand identity.
If any of the factors that have been mentioned above sound like they could apply to your blog post, use the advice that has been provided to improve your blog posts and your readership levels. A few small changes can go a very long way.
Social proof In Digital Marketing Today
There are several different approaches that can be used in order to increase conversions with social proof. So, let’s look at some of them in further detail…
- Positive reviews – There is only one place to begin, and this is with positive reviews. You are going to be more likely to secure purchases if you have lots of great reviews about your products and service. There have been several different studies that have shown just how critical online reviews are. In one study, Bright Local concluded that 88 percent of consumers trust online feedback as much as they do personal recommendations. Moreover, the survey found that most people tend to look at two or three review sites before they make their final decision about a business. This means that putting your eggs into one basket is something you should never do when it comes to reviews. If you receive negative reviews, this is an opportunity for you to display exceptional customer service by trying to solve the problem. Try to find a resolution. A lot of loyal customers have started from this.
- Recognition and awards – People want to purchase items from brands they can trust. However, simply telling people that your business is a trustworthy one is not going to be enough. You need to show that this is the case. One of the best ways to validate your brand is by receiving an award. This is because another party has given your business a stamp of approval. The more recognizable and prestigious the source of the award, the more valuable it is going to be in terms of social proof.
- Customer or user count – This is something that McDonald’s has used to good effect. Their marketing often includes the phrase “over 99 billion served” – showing just how many people have eaten their food. This is something you can use on your website by displaying how many people have purchased a certain product or bought from your website.
- Social media following – Building your social media following is also good when it comes to social proof. Of course, relying on the number of social media followers you have in terms of ultimate success is not advisable. However, social media is important, as people like to follow the crowd. If they see a successful account on Twitter, for instance, and a lot of people are following the account and interacting with it, they are going to be more likely to do the same. This will enable you to reach more people and it makes your online presence more dominant.
- Endorsements from online influencers – This is a form of marketing that has become exceptionally popular over the last year or so. Consumers trust public opinion and earned media more than brands themselves. You may think that influencer marketing is difficult, but you don’t need to go for celebrities for it to be successful. You simply need to choose someone who can relate to your audience, for example, it may be an industry professional or it could be someone who has appeared on reality TV or it could be simply Insta-famous.
- Customer testimonials – Finally, customer testimonials present an effective method of social proof. After all, simply saying that your product is effective is not going to be enough to convince people to purchase it. What will compel people, however, is seeing that someone else has used your product and that it has worked. This is what customer testimonials do. The health and fitness industry is a great example of where customer testimonials work well, as you can see weight loss images.
Measuring your digital marketing efforts
The final piece of the puzzle is to make sure you measure your digital marketing today’s efforts effectively. After all, you are never going to be able to move your business forward if you do not know how you are performing at present. So, let’s look at the different steps you need to take in order to measure your marketing efforts. The first thing you need to do is identify and set your business objectives. You should then identify and set targets for all these different objectives. Once you have done this, identify target segments to focus on and establish your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Some examples of KPIs include conversion rates, average stay per visit, and traffic sources. You should then identify targets for your success indicators and select and use a good analytics platform. There are lots of different options, from Moz to Google Analytics. Finally, you need to continue to assess the results and make sure that you execute real-time improvements based on them. Remember, digital marketing is not a one-time thing; you are going to need to continue to evaluate the performance of your efforts all the time so that you can make the necessary changes.
Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of what digital marketing is and the different strategies that are available. It is not hard to see why digital marketing is critical for all companies today. It does not matter how big or small your business is or what industry you operate in; it is imperative that you dedicate some of your time and resources to moving up the search engine result pages and building a dominant online presence.