This article is a guest post by Pursuit Consulting Corps member and digital marketing expert Erin Sendor.
According to Google, “88% of consumers who search for a type of local business on a mobile device call or go to that business within 24 hours.”
Digital marketing offers businesses of all sizes an important, real-time way to reach target customers where they are today, and cost-effectively drive results to help grow the business.
It includes any marketing efforts delivered through online channels, including social media, search engines, email, websites, mobile applications, or any other new digital channel.
From appearing in the top Google search results to posting a relevant social media update, marketing online is designed to place your products or services in front of your target audience at the right moment. Most importantly, digital marketing help you provide clear communication and excellent customer service, with a distinct call-to-action to drive business.
Let’s take a look at the different aspect of digital marketing.
Content and email marketing
There’s a common saying in digital marketing that “content is king.”
Well-timed placement and promotion of quality content, through email or other platforms, has the potential to provide useful information to generate leads and convert customers, while creating a meaningful, long-lasting connection to your brand. Content includes anything from images and videos to in-depth blog posts and infographics.
Share a mix of creative content, storytelling, and promotional offers to continually provide value and connect with your audience. This can include content that entertains and informs your audience, as well as branded content, such as showcasing your services in action, or featuring the benefits and uses of your products.
Think about how your content strategy can answer questions or respond to the needs or wants of your customers and audience.
Social media offers real-time communication and significant potential reach in a place where your customer base typically spends a large amount of time. Top social media platforms include Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Depending on your audience, certain platforms should receive more focus, such as using Instagram for highly visual products or services, and LinkedIn for B2B businesses.
With social media, the key is to be “social” in an on-brand way and connect within your targeted audience. Through organic posts and paid campaigns, add value to your online community through an informative, engaging content strategy, and an updated presence.
Be sure to use relevant hashtags for your industry and community, as well as location tagging.
Pay Per Click (PPC) is a strategy to deliver ads to targeted users and paying to drive traffic to your website or another action. This is most commonly done through Google Ads or paid social media campaigns.
Based on relevant keywords and audiences, PPC offers a highly targeted approach to boost brand awareness, drive web traffic to your website, and increase sales.
Search Engine Optimization
Another major acronym in the digital marketing space is SEO, or Search Engine Optimization. On the flipside of PPC, SEO is the practice of improving your website to increase rankings on search engines and increase traffic to your website.
For better or worse, your website’s rankings are constantly fluctuating based on many factors, and in the case of Google, there are 200 ever-changing ranking factors. A few of these key ranking factors include keywords, mobile experience, page speed, domain authority, and linking factors.
To improve your website’s rankings, focusing on SEO is critical in the short-term and long-term. One major tactic is on page SEO, which means optimizing page content for both search engines and website visitors. This includes incorporating top keywords and internal linking throughout your website. Other tactics include off page SEO, which involves gaining relevant links to your website from other websites and more technical SEO tactics.
Based on all these components, search engines will determine your site’s relevance and authority. For geographically focused businesses, it’s important to optimize your website with local SEO to ensure a more targeted web presence.
Online business listings, local citations, and review sites
Online reviews are essentially a digital form of “word of mouth.” For better or worse, customer reviews and testimonials can be a key decision-maker in choosing your business over another.
Whether your industry is B2C or B2B, your business will benefit from creating and updating a Google My Business profile. Especially for potential customers in the research phase, or who might be searching directly for your business, Google tends to have the highest visibility.
These local citations are another off page SEO tactic, as they also point to your website.
Reviews may also appear on your Facebook profile, as well as other online listings and review sites, including Yelp, TripAdvisor, and other industry-specific platforms. It’s important to respond to all reviews attentively and professionally.
As with any other customer-facing platforms, be sure to maintain updated information pertinent to your business, including contact information, location, hours, and any other ways customers respond.
Digital Public Relations
Featured in the news? Press coverage online boosts your overall marketing strategy. Digital PR includes online coverage from earned media, such as mentions in digital newspapers and publications. Building links from media sites, blogs, or other authoritative sites is another great way to boost SEO.
As with any marketing-related effort, your focus should be on a measurable return on investment. While certain marketing campaigns are more difficult to quantify, such as those raising brand awareness, digital marketing is one the easiest ways to gain a noticeable benefit. Through platforms such as Google Analytics, businesses can gain greater insights into the online customer journey, such as the source where customers arrived on your website.
Get started on building your brand with these digital marketing basics
With a strong strategy and a regularly updated online presence, these various digital marketing channels work together to help build your brand awareness, reach more potential customers, and boost sales.