Once upon a time, an ad in the local newspaper or a simple leaflet campaign would lead to a boost in brand visibility and an increase in sales. Nowadays, however, using traditional methods alone doesn’t have the same impact on most businesses.
It’s mainly because people aren’t reading local newspapers, looking at billboards and filtering through leaflets like they once did. Their eyes are now on the screen. The screen of their mobile, tablet or computer that is. Look around you - where are people looking on trains, buses, while walking down the street? Their phones, right?
We live in a digital age now, and businesses who don’t embrace this will be left lagging behind. Taking advantage of online channels through digital marketing can be incredibly powerful and drive some impressive results.
Being able to target by very specific demographics has opened up realms of new possibilities for businesses. If you’re not yet properly acquainted with digital marketing and how it can help your business, then read on - this article is for you.
I. Get your SEO nailed
First things first, if you want to be discoverable online you’ll need to have a good presence on search engines. Now that most people hop straight on Google when they have a query, it’s important that your business is easily discoverable.
SEO (search engine optimization) can sometimes be seen as a form of cloak and dark dagger art that only certain people can do. But that’s just not true. With a few simple tweaks and changes, you could get your site ranking in no time.
Here are some key areas to focus on:
Optimize your site contentAlways put yourself in the customer’s shoes with this one. Think about what they’re likely to type into Google when looking for the type of product or service you offer. This could be anything from ‘Solicitors in Manchester’ to ‘Backpacks for hiking and fell running.’ Does your site contain the relevant keywords? If not, refresh your content so that it does.
Get bloggingIf you don’t already blog, then now’s the time to start. Not only does this help set you apart in your industry, but it also provides fresh and useful content on your website which Google loves!
Title TagsThis is how search engines read and rank your site pages. It’s the text that appears in the top bar of your browser and describes the content of each page. Be sure to make them concise yet accurate - you only have 55 characters.
Get your meta descriptions rightA meta description is a short text that appears under websites on Google. They help a user to determine whether your site is relevant to what they’re looking for. Have a look at yours and make sure they are descriptive and accurately represent your pages.
Just be mindful that SEO is a constantly changing field. Google updates its algorithms on a regular basis, so it’s important to stay up-to-date with this. It’s also key that you understand best practice and don’t break any rules - Google has really clamped down on this in recent years. To keep up to date, Moz is an excellent resource.
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II. Create a style guide
So many businesses fail to do this, and it’s such a simple fix. A style guide helps to ensure that all of your online communications, be it a tweet or email, have a consistent tone of voice. Brands that fail to do this come across as confusing and to be frank - a bit all over the place.
For example, if you have a few people doing your marketing, 55-year-old Bob’s tweets are going to sound different from 18-year-old Tina’s, right? It’s therefore important that you’re all on the same page and communicating as a brand, not as individuals.
To do this, you’ll need to create a style guide which should take into account everything from your social media goals to terminology and tone of voice. To help, here are some great tips from Hootsuite.
III. Get your social media strategy sorted
Social media is key to the success of plenty of businesses nowadays. By offering an intimate and immediate way to connect with customers and potential prospects, it enables businesses to show a more human side. It also allows them to target users based on interests and done well can lead to a dramatic increase in website traffic and leads.
Unfortunately, there are plenty of businesses that set up social media accounts for the sake of it and end up leaving them dormant. This is actually worse than having no presence at all. When you set up a profile, make sure you have a clear plan. Remember not to spread yourself too thin and concentrate on one or two platforms, to begin with.
Think about how you want to use social media and the ways in which you’d like to interact with users. Have a look at what your competitors are doing to see what works and what doesn’t. This will also help you to generate different techniques to set you apart from the competition.
Once you have an idea about what you want to post, you’ll need to set up a plan breaking down when you plan to post. This won’t take long and will ensure that your social media efforts remain consistent. Check out this great resource on how to put a content plan together.
Email is one of the longest running digital marketing techniques which still reaps impressive rewards for businesses. It’s cheap and when done well can deliver excellent ROI.
It is important, however, that you take a certain approach to email and avoid appearing spammy at all costs. Think about how many emails you receive on a daily basis. How many of them do you pay real attention to? Some just go straight in the bin, right? So many businesses use email, so it’s important that you take the necessary steps to really stand out. Here are a few tips:
- Be personal: The great thing about email is that you can contact an individual personally. So why waste this opportunity with a blanket email campaign that you ‘hope’ will appeal to them? Take advantage of the details you have about their demographic, past purchases and interests to really strike a chord.
- Offer value: Show the recipient that you’re trying to help solve a problem that they may have or provide a reward for their valued business. This will be sure to set your emails apart.
- Get your timing right: There’s a fine balance with timing when it comes to emailing. Too often and people will get annoyed and unsubscribe so make sure you don’t overdo it.
When you plan any email marketing campaign, it’s important that you’re clear on your goals and key measurables. They will help you to understand what works for you to build on in the future. Here’s a helpful article on ways to increase your sales and ensure your marketing is targeted.
Just be mindful of the data protection changes which are going to be rolled out shortly under GDPR to make sure your email plan is above board.
To sum up
Digital marketing has opened up a whole host of new possibilities. It’s made marketing far more accessible and cost-effective than ever before. By embracing each channel and trying out new things, you’ll be able to gain an understanding as to what works for your business. Once you do, you’ll reap the rewards and see a some real, measurable results.