Social media can work wonders, but it is not the sole pathway to digital domination.
To really get on top in the online space and create a successful business, all channels need to work hand in hand to form a complete picture. For example, for a strong online presence, you need a great website, SEO, Adwords, email marketing as well as fantastic social media. You also need a thorough understanding of the ‘digital marketing funnel.’
Understand the Marketing Funnel
A digital marketing funnel (image source: Studio Culture) represents the buyer journey - a customer either follows through the steps as their interest in your products or services increases or, they exit the funnel at the point they lose interest. Businesses should aim to increase the number of prospective customers that enter through the top of their funnel (‘awareness’) and decrease the amount that exits the funnel at any point. To do this, businesses need a strategy for each stage of the marketing funnel and an awareness of what goes into a thorough marketing plan.
For example, you can consider the following channels for the marketing funnel:
- Awareness (social media)
- Consideration (website, SEO, content and AdWords)
- Conversion (email marketing, website, landing pages)
- Loyalty (remarketing/retargeting, rewards programs)
- Advocacy (social media)
Digital marketing is a challenging, ever-changing beast, but you can tame it - you just need the right tools. For a complete digital marketing strategy, you need to employ a multifaceted approach that includes the following measures:
Build Your Advertising Strategy Around Google AdWords
Business owners, especially those starting new enterprises, are often afraid to invest money on measures that don’t guarantee immediate success.
In the digital marketing world, there is really no safer bet than a Google AdWords campaign to get your business off the ground. The short-term ROI may surprise you. Google AdWords is a flexible and scalable platform for targeting prospective customers - you can target specific users based on their location, device or website usage. Budgets can be controlled based on daily usage or clicks for certain keywords.
There’s a reason that the pay-per-click platform is hugely successful - it delivers results, and it provides a quality return on investment in the right hands. Programs such as Google Analytics can clearly express to you what is working and what is falling short in your AdWords campaign - you aren’t locked into payment plans if the results are unsatisfactory.
To get the most out of Adwords, you cannot underestimate the importance of optimised landing pages. You’ve done the hard yards in getting prospective customers to click on your Google listing - if the landing page they view isn’t responsive or doesn’t provide the information they want, you won’t be able to convert their click into results for your business.
Understand the Potential of Search Engine Optimisation
Search Engine Optimisation is often misunderstood or dismissed by businesses, and even those who are committed to the concept often don’t know where to start.
SEO really isn’t complicated - in short, it’s the act of optimising your online content in an effort to make it rank as high as possible when keywords are searched. To get the most out of SEO, you need to use blog posts and articles to promote your business.
Optimisation guru Neil Patel calls great content ‘the starting point for any successful SEO effort and online business’. By creating quality links and effectively using keywords in your content, you create new traffic for your website - by crafting relevant, useful blog posts on the subject in question, you can turn that new traffic into customers.
Hubspot research found that 72% of online marketers consider quality content creation to be their best tactic when it comes to SEO. For those looking to develop a successful digital marketing strategy, the lesson is clear - start creating content.
Get Yourself a Modern, Mobile Friendly Website
The day of mobile websites being an afterthought are well and truly over. Speed, detail and responsiveness are imperative in mobile websites as we head into 2018.
It is estimated that around 60% of Google searches are currently carried out using a mobile device, with most searches undertaken at home or in office. Smartphones are no longer just for convenience on the go - for many users, the smartphone is their primary access point for the Internet.
2018 will surely see the integration of the mobile-first index. This means that Google algorithms will start ranking based on the mobile version of a website’s content. For this reason, if your mobile website is a watered-down version of your desktop website, you’re going to need to rethink your strategy going forward.
Stick with Email Marketing - It Works for a Reason!
All of us have been annoyed from time to time by email marketing - derivative, relentless messaging can wear you down and damage your connection with a business or service.
In the right hands, email marketing can be a wonderful way to connect with those who have shown an interest in your service. Email marketing has been on an upward trajectory for some time - studies conducted on customer acquisition rates due to email marketing found that rates quadrupled between 2010 and 2013, and numbers have kept progressing since then.
For small-business owners or those starting up an enterprise, email marketing is almost a prerequisite - it allows you to establish a rapport with your customer base for very little financial outlay, and is a proven method to deliver conversion. It’s also customisable, as you can segment your mailing list depending on personal information you have about them, and deliver different marketing campaigns accordingly.
Measurable, inexpensive and effective - what’s not to like?
Choose the Right People to Execute Your Digital Marketing Strategy
Remember that the digital world moves at an accelerating pace - adopting a wide-ranging approach to marketing will give you the best possible chance to connect with all facets of your target market. Pay attention to how your customers engage with your business online - if they don’t like what you’re doing, they’re sure to vote with their wallet.
David Bobis is the Head of Digital Marketing at Studio Culture, a digital marketing agency specialising in SEO, social media marketing, web design/development and more.