Digital Marketing is the online advertising and communication world that exists within the internet. Predominantly, you can access it via digital technologies such as desktops, tablets, and smartphones. The presence of the internet has revolutionised marketing; presenting brands with the opportunity to connect with their audiences online, removing the barriers of globalisation.
Why is Digital Marketing important?
Online search engines (like Google and Bing) are users’ directories to exploring the internet. With so much content available online, search engines filter information based upon a website’s authority. They also identify the relevance of information on sites matching the search term.
Your organisation being visible and accessible online has become essential in the modern world. You may be wondering how to get your organisation displayed on a search engine’s results page, and more importantly how to be displayed as one of the top results. This is when you need to become acquainted with Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) – Organic Search
SEO is the defining factor of whether you are presented within the top 10 search result listings. It is important to consider SEO and the actions you can take in building your digital presence. This can be done organically through actions like applying alt-text, meta descriptions, and header tags to your webpage content. These actions allow search engines to better understand your content, confirming your website’s authority around the searched subject matter. You can further boost your visibility via paid ads across search engines using search engine marketing (SEM).
Search Engine Marketing (SEM) – Paid Search
To maximise your visibility, you can also invest in search engine advertising. This is where SEM comes in. Search engines prioritise their results by relevance according to the searched keywords, however, you can pay for an advertised result to be displayed before any organic result. Search engines (like Google and Bing) offer advertising services based upon a pay-per-click (PPC) platform. PPC is a cost-effective form of advertising as you only pay when a user has clicked on your link. Depending on what you want to target and where your budget lies, it can be used for search engine ads and social media ads.
Where do you begin with Digital Marketing?
So, we understand why digital marketing is important and the key factors to bear in mind when taking your brand online, but how do you do that?
The first step is naming your digital marketing channels and which ones you want to utilise to build your online presence and communicate to audiences. Depending upon the nature of your organisation and its purpose, the typical channels are; website, social media, email, content marketing and search engine marketing.
Whichever route you decide is best for you, there are four pillars to digital marketing which will form your online presence and its engagement. These are branding, content, website, and social media. The setup of these will define your marketing objectives, your online perception, reach, and engagement. Once you have the foundation of each pillar, your organisation will have the digital infrastructure needed to be visible, accessible and tangible.
This is much more than just a logo and a theme. Branding is your recognition within the marketplace, embodying your reputation, character and goals. This is often the first impression to your audience and influences how your organisation is viewed.
You need to understand your market before planning your strategy (whether are starting afresh or building on what you have). Conducting market research will highlight avenues that you may not have considered.
For instance, conducting a PESTLE analysis clarifies macro-environmental factors that will affect your brand within the marketplace. Performing a porter’s analysis offers a framework, enabling you to better determine the competitiveness of the market, drawing from industrial economic factors.
Creating your branding strategy aligns everything within your organisation; who you are, what your purpose is and your goals.
Your content is the extended identity of your brand. The quality of your visual assets and your tone of voice within writing reflects you. Audiences will decide what kind of organisation you are by the quality of the information you deliver. Your content can make the difference in generating marketing qualified leads and converting them into a consumer.
Content marketing is not just about the imagery and writing, it proves a relationship with your audiences, building trust and loyalty in your brand. Whether you offer information through blogs, newsletters or email campaigns, audiences become incentivised in listening and engaging with your content.
Strategizing your content marketing allows you to plan, deliver and measure your content’s success. Highlighting the KPI’s on your deliverables allow you to better understand your audience and creating a content calendar can set organisations apart. Consistency is vital as it highlights the level of quality of your communications and highlights your active engagement.
Your website culminates your digital presence and will be your first touchpoint to audiences looking for you or searching for similar services. When creating your website, it should reflect the intended brand user experience. For instance, Apple embodies personal computing, creativity, and innovation. Their website’s user experience embodies this with rich interactivity coupled with artistic expression. Their purpose is to gently educate users about their products and personal computing capabilities, leading them down the sales funnel of purchasing their products online.
Whether your website is to function as a marketing website that educates users, or as an eCommerce store, designing your user experience around this will help prevent any barriers.
The foundation of a positive performing site is being easily discoverable, having almost an intuitive navigation, and captivating interactivity. It should not be at all associated with being an online document that reads like a pdf, but a digital space to explore and uncover information that is highly valuable to your users.
Since its creation, social media platforms have presented an unprecedented world of digital advertising. These platforms have opened alternative channels of communication between organisations and audiences, for extraordinarily little cost.
Social media has allowed audiences to better understand organisations, enabling them to build more interpersonal relationships with brands. As social media is utilised more and more as a source for content and information, brands can build their own consumer network and better understand their audiences.
These platforms offer analytical data with great depth, educating organisations on their audiences’ demographics, geography, and preferences. The availability of not just data, but the ability to follow users, enables you to monitor their activity, potential buyers and even competition.
When planning a social media strategy for your communications, it is important to define your goal. Whether it be converting followers into website visitors or building engagement on your platform, this is key to measuring your success. Consistently engaging with your audience builds trust and credibility, meaning audiences rely on you for reliable information. As most audiences are active daily, regularly posting develops your familiarity with prospects by staying in their mind more often.
That is up to you.
When developing your digital marketing strategy, it takes trial and error to decide what works for you and your targeted audiences. Moreover, you should aim to be as consistent as possible to build a relationship with your consumers.
Once you have laid the foundations, you can direct your digital strategy to where your organisational goals are. We recommend starting with the core level. From here, it is possible to filter this down into the necessary actions to be taken across each element of your digital strategy.
If you are looking for a guide along the way, you can always schedule a free consultation with Virtual First. We will do everything we can to help you in your digital marketing journey.