What is digital marketing?

Digital marketing is pretty much any form of marketing that involves electronic devices. When you
think about it, digital marketing is just marketing. It’s how today’s businesses are getting their message in front of their best prospects and customers, but using online platforms. 

Whether we like it or not, most purchasing decisions begin online. None more so than now, customers are online: hanging out in social media, staying updated on current affair sites and blogs, and searching online when they have a need for a product or service. Your customers use Google and YouTube and many are now using voice search on their phones so effective digital marketing puts you in those same channels.

Think about the latest thing you looked for and/or bought. Regardless of what it was, you probably began by searching the Internet to see what was available, who provided them, and what your best options were. Your research may have also included by reviews you read, the friends and family you consulted and pricing. 

Talking to your potential customers on digital platforms means you build brand awareness, set yourself as an industry thought leader, and place your business at the forefront when the customer is ready to buy. Not only that, but digital marketing can collect valuable insights into your prospect market, audience behaviours, customer engagement, traffic sources and customer retention. 

What makes up digital marketing

Search engine optimization (SEO). 

SEO is the process of optimising the content you have online. Primarily, this will be a website and/or Blog. Google indexes pages so elements like the technical setup, the content, the URL, the page properties etc all play an influential part in helping your pages appear at the top of a search engine result for a specific set of keyword terms. 

Having a high, organic position in Google is one of the most desirable elements of effective digital marketing. Not only for visibility, brand building etc but effective SEO drives visitors to your site when they’re actually searching for the services and/or products you offer. Recent figures suggest that over 90% of people look for organic positions over paid ads……….

Paid search. 

Paid search, or pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, typically refers to the sponsored result on the top or side of a search engine results page (SERP). These results take the form of pre designed and written ads which charge you for every click. They have the word Ad next to them.

The beauty of paid search is that you can tailor your ads to appear when the desired search terms are entered into Goggle. This means your ads can be shown to prospects seeking something specific. This is called targeting in marketing speak! However, Google ads work very much like a bidding system; the higher your budget, the more change your ad will show and the more chance of getting a click. This is marketing speak is called visibility!

Content marketing. 

Content marketing has become a vital part of digital marketing. If companies can generate authentic, original and educational content consumers using a blog or a video, tag the item correctly and post to a website, channel or Insights platform, Google will be your friend forever! Some staistics indicate that content marketing gets three times more leads than paid search advertising so make the additional effort.

Social media marketing.

Socials have been all the rage for a while now, but……and it’s a big but, just because there are lots of platforms to use and these platforms are primarily free, it doesn’t mean that every company should have a profile on all of them. 

The key to effective social media marketing goes far beyond simply having active social media accounts. These platforms like Twitter come under the heading of social media as you need to create engaging content and interact with people. The more your audience is inspired to engage with you in return and the content you post, the more likely they are to share it. Once shared, your network will expand. 

Social media though, is time consuming so pick the platform that works for you and that is where your market it. Integrate activity with your other marketing efforts and, above all, don’t tell people you are going for a coffee on Twitter!

Email marketing. 

BMC is a massive fan of email marketing. Very much a push strategy as you push out your message to a database and it is still the quickest and most direct way to reach customers with information, updates, offers etc. Your eshot needs to be engaging, relevant, informative, and entertaining and tick the following 5 boxes – be trustworthy, relevant, engaging, consistent and be considered.

Yes, there are huge amounts of junk emails flying about, but these are simply mass market blasts that have no relevance to you. A quality, clean and relevant database of recipient is also vital.

Mobile marketing. 

Much as we all cannot live without our mobile devices, mobile marketing can be deemed as invasive. Think about a ping on your phone; you pick it up and it is a SMS or in app marketing advert. Delete.

Mobile marketing is quite young as a digital marketing platform but it can be effective. Not only that the ability to reach your customers directly on their devices is attractive, especially if your selling actual products, but consider your other digital marketing channels and the offer you make.

A great article that elaborates on this area is from Megan Mars.

Implement Google Adwords into your Digital Marketing activities

Google Adwords

When a company first opens its doors, one of the biggest initial challenges it will face is awareness; the prospective market becoming conscious of you and what you do. Roll back the years and building a brand was a long, slow process that took time, money and a lot of perseverance.

Nowadays, however, the internet has revolutionised how brands, organisations and businesses become visible to their target audience. Digital marketing such as social media platforms, websites, SERPS, influencers etc are all fast and costs effective routes to market, but I want to talk about one particular initiative that should now form a part of your digital marketing strategy – Google ads.

As we know, digital marketing has gone from being a specialist approach for innovative companies to being a vital part of any marketing strategy and today businesses of all shapes and sizes, from start-ups to huge international brands, are turning to Google ads to target potential customers directly via what they are searching for.

Fact. Google is the most widely used search engine fielding more than 3.5 billion search queries every single day and it offers advertisers access to an unprecedented and unequalled potential audience of users who are actively looking for goods and services. But……with these sorts of numbers and a global platform, using Google effectively is definitely a specialist skill.

Having an SEO strategy, no matter how large your business is, is vital, but getting to the Holy Grail position of page 1 organically takes time and not all businesses have that luxury.

Fact. Google ads are faster than organic SEO. In fact, this is arguably the biggest advantage of using Google adwords to reach your audience. Yes, there is leg work required to research, write (and/or design) the ads, create a bidding strategy and implementing, but the campaigns can be launched pretty much immediately….and you only pay if people click your ads!

What PPC do I do?

Google’s advertising initiatives are split across two main networks – the Search network, and the Display network. The Search network encompasses the entirety of the Google as a search engine, and advertisers can bid on millions of keywords and phrases to target prospective customers.

The Google Display Network, which offers advertisers more visual ads such as banners, spans approximately 98% of the World Wide Web, making it a great choice for advertisers who want to accomplish marketing goals that aren’t necessarily as conversion-driven as those of PPC ads, such as raising brand awareness on a large scale using banner ads.

Yes, but why launch a google adwords campaign?

In a nutshell, Google Adwords is an effective way to drive traffic from the search engine through to your website. Google plays a vital role in increasing the reach of your marketing campaign and adwords can get your company or product there quickly. Adwords however, is an auction so the more budget you have, the more your ads will show.

Google does have support on offer and can talk you through how to set up adwords, but……I very much feel that it is very much worth hiring an independent expert to research keywords and then set up a search ad campaigns. Ongoing, campaigns also need monitoring and optimising to make sure that you are getting the best bang for your buck.

How do I make my digital marketing effective?

I talked recently about marketing in the current climate, the recent social media Digital Marketingand online search trends as well as some suggestions for your marketing in a video on our Facebook page.

Adding to the video, here are 3 action points you could and should be looking at to make your marketing more effective:

  1. They will help you understand exactly how this time is impacting on them and may well give you an insight into what you should be talking to similar prospects about. Become a problem solver!
  2. If your customer wants to press pause, make sure they have a reason not too and try and put in a mechanism that plans them taking things further with you. There should be a benefit for them that isn’t just cheaper pricing.
  3. Create a sales message that is actually engaging. So much scrolling and page turning is done these days (or “scan reading”) making your message very easy to skip past. Make people stop and look!

In a digital era, where almost everyone is digitally enabled, you want to ride with the wave and not against it. Most businesses have come to realise the power that digital marketing holds and they have at least put their toes in the water. Digital marketing is all about boosting your footprint and then maintaining that profile and position while you grow your brand.

A digital marketing strategy allows businesses to have direction; it allows organisations to know their market share, and hopefully gain a competitive edge. Getting the plan of attack right is important and that why you should work with an expert who has proven experience in marketing.

Why pay for a marketing agency?

A digital marketing agency really should have a number of potential marketing plans based on the budget and the objectives of its clients. Sit down (or Zoom!) with a marketing expert, discuss objectives which are realistic, play to strengths and invest for the future. It isn’t a coincidence that the biggest spenders are the most successful companies!

For an SME, it is likely that your marketing budget will be small, but make sure you have one. Look at the potential cost per lead and conversion and work out what sort of budget you can afford.

Digital marketing can give countless options and usually is a cost friendly and result-oriented route to market.

 

Digital Marketing or Traditional Marketing.

These days, the business owner needs to consider a lot when creating their perfect marketing mix. For example, do they focus resources on traditional or digital marketing…or both? Each company is different so some would benefit more from one type of marketing than another. But, why are these two types of marketing considered separately? What’s the difference between digital marketing and traditional marketing, and how does it change your marketing mix?

Digital
Digital marketing is any type of marketing using digital means. It includes channels like social media, websites, search engine marketing, online advertising and more.

Traditional
Traditional marketing usually includes all forms of tangible and physical marketing (business cards, posters, brochures, advertisements, posters, word of mouth, radio commercials, and more. Television ads are also predominantly considered part of traditional marketing.

Can I Compare Digital and Traditional Marketing?
You can’t directly compare one to the other or say that one is better than the other. Instead, you have to look at some of the individual aspects of each and how it could benefit your marketing.
For example, marketing generally needs to produce measurable results. While both types of marketing can provide data, digital marketing can provide those metrics in real time. This means you won’t have to wait for a whole month to find out a new ad isn’t working well, and you can make more instantaneous changes. A good example of this is Google AdWords.

Similarly no type of marketing is more effective than the other all of the time. But, you need to choose the right type of marketing for your demographics, business type, industry, etc. For example, businesses whose main customer base is aged above 30 years should probably not focus on social media marketing on platforms like Twitter, Instagram, or Snapchat. These are not ideal for reaching their target audience, so they just wouldn’t be as effective as traditional marketing.

You should never assume one type of marketing will work for every business. There are some marketing elements that are useful for most businesses, such as websites, but they can’t be universally proclaimed as the best way to do marketing! After all, just having a website isn’t enough. It needs to set out your stall correctly, have a good customer experience and, above all, be findable in Google.

In general, digital marketing campaigns are less expensive than traditional marketing. This doesn’t necessarily yield a higher ROI, though the low cost is usually attractive to businesses. For example email marketing to a subscriber database or advertising on Facebook or the Google networks. Just like anything else, digital marketing must be done right in order to give an ROI.

In terms of who your marketing efforts can reach, digital marketing has a clear advantage. Not only can you reach a wide range of people, but you can also choose to reach out to a very narrow group of carefully selected people. For example, you can put your ads only in front of select groups of people with specific browsing or purchasing habits. This is especially true with targeted ads on Facebook selling a product or service direct to a customer.

Traditional marketing still holds a slight advantage when it comes to local marketing. It is simpler to get the word out about your business locally using some fairly inexpensive forms of traditional marketing. Digital marketing can be targeted to a local area, but it must be done precisely to be effective, whereas traditional marketing like advertising in local magazines can easily be locally focused. 

Traditional marketing campaigns that use tangible materials have the distinct advantage of longevity over digital marketing campaigns. People will sometimes hold onto business cards, flyers, and other physical items for days, months, or even years. It is difficult for people to keep hold of any digital marketing products, even though things like emails can be saved indefinitely in an inbox.

Hard copies can be particularly effective at keeping a business in the view of the customer. It can also lead to greater brand recall benefits long after the campaign is over. Digital marketing ends the moment the campaign is over, and it is immensely difficult to keep in the view of the customer afterward.

Traditional marketing struggles to create engagement and interaction with customers. It is generally a way to broadcast information, but it often fails to bring in new information about your customers. This is strength of digital marketing, as it’s much easier to create a direct interaction with people at any time.

Both digital and traditional marketing have their strengths and weaknesses, but elements of both should be considered for the strongest marketing mix. You shouldn’t simply ignore one altogether and embrace the other, as this may not lead to the best marketing strategy for your business. Focus on what will work best for your business specifically without trying too hard to be everything to everyone.

Digital Marketing. How do I do this?

Sometimes it’s impossible to decipher the wood from the trees when it comes to developing a digital marketing strategy. There are so many online platforms available these days and the vast majority are free to configure making each one saturated with millions of companies “shouting” online.

Similarly, some companies quickly configure accounts on platforms like Twitter just to be “on there.” They then do nothing with them and subsequently have accounts with no activity, no interaction and no real point. This actually damages a companies’ marketing rather than supports it as there is nothing worse than looking at a time line to discover that the last tweet or blog update was in 2016!

Putting together an effective digital marketing strategy is a common challenge since many businesses know how vital digital and mobile channels actually are for acquiring and retaining customers. But they don’t seem to have a plan to how they intend to engage with their suspects and prospects or even a plan as to what content to use, when or even on which platform.

I also think there can be a fear that a massive strategy report is required which then requires a huge execution budget, but we believe that lean planning works best. Start with a separate digital marketing plan defining what you want to say, why and to whom. i.e do you want to enhance your “digital footprint” and sector credibility, raise awareness or target specific search terms and drive more traffic to your website.

Either way, begin with some R&D to find out which platforms your competitors are using and what are they saying. Look at what content are they posting. Similarly, research whether they are running Google adwords and if so, what terms do they target.

Then talk to your clients. What platforms do they use? If you are an SME, Twitter is a good platform to use to market your business. If you sell to consumers, then Facebook will be key and you may well consider implementing Facebook ads.

You need to make the case for an investment in digital marketing and then create an integrated digital plan which is part of the overall marketing plan – digital should be fully aligned and becomes part of business objectives.