Digital marketing is defined as the marketing activities which are carried out online, which includes; social media, websites and email marketing amongst others.
It is important to carefully research and consider the online marketing options which are available to your business, because the most relevant channels for each business will be different.
More often that not your target market will already be online; whether they are using social media or networking sites or using search engines (e.g Google) to find the products or services that your business offers.
Businesses that can be found at the very time when prospective customers are looking for the products or services that your business offers, are more likely to generate hotter leads and fundamentally more business. Ranking high in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) for your chosen keywords is one excellent way of placing your business before the consumer when they request it. A consistent presence on social media and email marketing campaigns are another way of staying at the forefront of your prospects minds.
Successful digital marketing strategies involve identification of the most relevant digital marketing channels for your business and the adoption of strong content strategies for each channel. Your traditional marketing techniques/avenues should complement your digital marketing campaigns and vice versa.
Integrated digital marketing strategies is the key to successful marketing that produces real, tangible results. Simple techniques such as including the links to the relevant landing pages on your website on your posters and flyer's and email campaigns can help drive that all important traffic to your website and increase online reach.
Setting up a basic business profile on social media sites is free but many offer 'premium' services for a monthly fee; i.e. LinkedIn offer a Premium Account service whereby for a monthly fee you can send messages to those contacts who are outside of your 'network' - thus offering the opportunity to contact prospects who you would not otherwise have access to.
These extended services, whilst offering excellent opportunities to connect with prospects, are generally only worth paying extra for once you have a solid, focused marketing plan in place.
There are many providers of email marketing software, which not only enable you to create branded email campaigns but also the ability to monitor the impact and reach of the campaigns. Such email marketing software providers often adopt the "Freemium" business model (tiered pricing starting at zero cost - and increasing to a set amount, depending on usage.) This can be a significant advantage for small to medium businesses who wish to trial such channels and experiment before fully committing and making an investment.
Optimising your website so that it can easily be found by search engines can be achieved organically through the creation of useful, keyword optimised content or by paying to appear at the top of search engine listings using Google Adwords. Google Adwords is essentially an auction, where companies bid upon the keywords that they wish to rank highly for. The most popular words e.g. "shoes" carry a far higher cost-per-click than those long tail, specialist phrases such as "digital marketing, Bath".
It is therefore essential that Ad campaigns are well planned out and continuously monitored and amended if necessary to ensure that the optimum target audience is reached.
The most significant investments with digital marketing is time and resources. Commitment to and understanding of the medium is essential and this involves a significant dedication of time and resources. Whether carried out in-house or out-sourced it is likely that the marketing role will be a full time position for the first few months; because this is when the majority of research and assessment of the target market is carried out. Costs can be cut if the marketing is carried out in-house by a member of the team who already has knowledge about the target market.
The use of consultants and agencies are an option. The advantages are that they often offer a full services approach and have a broad range of experience in the field. The main disadvantage of agencies is the cost and that they often work on a project basis and therefore the skills, knowledge and expertise learned through the course of the project are not imparted to the business paying for the services.
Social media is the collective name for social networking sites (e.g. Facebook and Twitter) and other peer-to-peer sharing sites (e.g. Flickr, YouTube and Pinterest).
The core philosophy behind social media is peer-to-peer sharing. Sharing experiences, products, memories, views and opinions. This desire to share can extend to companies' and organisations. The key factor in users of such sites sharing companies' updates is engaging, interesting and useful content. The burden is therefore on companies to produce high value content which users would want to share.
In marketing terms, social media is used as the modern-day equivalent of word-of-mouth marketing but at an exceptionally quicker speed.
Benefits for businesses that choose to use social media are;
Merely having a presence on social media is not enough. A digital marketing strategy which has clear marketing objectives which are aligned to the corporate objectives is essential for success.
It is common for businesses to underestimate the planning, strategy and time and financial resources that are required in order to create a successful online strategy and realise the full potential of the Online marketplace. It is an investment of time and therefore money; which is an often overlooked aspect. The same planning and organisation should go into your social media strategy as would be put into a new product launch.
Whilst acquiring the skills and knowledge to become an expert in social media and digital marketing through independent research and experience is very rewarding, getting to grips with the nuances and integration of all the media can be time consuming. And to that end it is worth investing in a training course from a consultant who has worked with similar businesses and organisations to your own on digital marketing projects and can provide an overview of the field and insight into the most suited channels to your business.
A CMS or Content Management System is a software program which enables easy maintenance and updating of a website; which is essential for creating fresh content, an important factor for ranking highly in search engine results pages and increasing visitor traffic.
There are many free Content Management Systems available today, most of which come with endless features; which can provide your site with a professional, finish without significant investment.
Search Engine Optimisation or "SEO" is the process of creating a website which ranks highly in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).
Techniques adopted for SEO purposes include;
The most common reason for businesses believing that digital marketing is not relevant to them is that they do not sell their products or services online. This is based on the preconception that websites are primarily for e-commerce, or only useful if a business involves some element of online selling.
When the function of a website is viewed as selling the business as a brand, including brand values and personality; all of which a customer buys into then, an online presence can begin to be seen as important and a necessity.
The majority of consumers 'Google' a product or service before buying online or from the high street, so in order for customers to be aware of the existence of your company, it is necessary to have an online presence.