The use of traditional advertising through channels such as magazine features and billboards has seen a gradual decline in recent years, as more and more businesses are opting for online advertising. But just what is digital marketing? This simple question can bring back some complex answers, so we’ll provide you with a breakdown of what you need to know.
Essentially, digital marketing is any form of marketing that involves electronic devices. Many people assume that digital marketing is limited to social media advertising but this is far from the case. Used on some of the largest online platforms such as Google, Facebook (and other social channels) and Bing, popular digital marketing services include search engine optimisation (SEO), pay per click advertising (PPC) and, the previously mentioned, social media advertising.
What Are The Benefits of Digital Marketing?
The most fundamental benefit of digital marketing has to be the sheer impact that it can have on driving new customers to your business. Many people overlook online advertising in favour of traditional, but there is a huge audience you can potentially be missing out on by not having a website or by failing to have any form of online presence. Digital marketing allows you to utilise your website to its best potential and can, therefore, drive more customers to your business, leading to more sales.
Another huge advantage of online advertising has to be the overwhelming amount of data that is at your disposal. Through the use of a range of analytical data, you can precisely monitor how successful your digital marketing campaign is performing, you can see how many people have viewed your ad, have clicked through your advert and even gone on to convert as a result of your ad. Whereas, with traditional advertising, it would be impossible to track all of this data, making it hard to measure your return on investment.
What Are The Main Digital Marketing Channels?
Digital marketing incorporates a broad spectrum of different channels, all of which have their own unique benefits. We will talk through the most popular digital marketing channels below:
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
According to Marketo, 67% of users who conduct Google searches will only click on the first 5 results on page 1 of the search results and 71% of users will only click on page one of the search results. Therefore, if you’re not on page one of Google, for your business’s products and services (in your local area) then you could be missing out on a huge percentage of potential customers. It is important that you take the steps to give your website the best chance to appear on the results pages related to your business.
That’s where search engine optimisation comes in. SEO aims to maximise your website’s potential. It helps to generate more customers for your business by increasing the number of visitors, perfecting the user experience and expanding your brand across the web. The use of off-site (other websites) and on-site (your website) tasks ensure your brand awareness, image and message are consistent on all online platforms.
In order to feature prominently in the search results, you will need to optimise your site for a number of “ranking factors” (things Google looks for). Good SEO practices ensure your site meets the requirements of these ranking factors, giving it the highest chance of ranking as possible.
Pay-Per-Click (PPC) is an extremely popular digital marketing channel that allows advertisers to appear on page 1 of search engines in the ‘Ad’ section and only have to pay a fee when someone clicks on their advert. Advertisers bid for ad placement in search engines, allowing them to appear much higher in search results, therefore, having the potential to reach masses of new paid visitors. Google Ads is without a doubt the largest PPC platform in the world and is responsible for a whopping $27.25 billion (85.5%) of Google’s annual revenue!
There are alternative methods of paying when it comes to Google Ads, Cost-Per-Click being the most common and accurate to measure. However, you can opt for Cost-Per-Acquisition which is effectively the process of paying only once a customer commits a certain action An example of this could be that you want more customers to fill out a contact form, therefore, you will only pay once this action is completed by a customer from your ads. Another possible bid strategy is Cost-Per-Thousand Impressions (CPM). This is more effective for businesses that prioritise quantity over quality, perhaps you are taking a shotgun approach purely to get your brand name out there. So you will essentially only pay Google every time your ad has been seen 1000 times.
Before starting your Google Ads campaign, you will first need to carry out research into the keywords and geographical location you wish to target. Each individual keyword has an average bid value, this will fluctuate based on the competitiveness of the keyword as well as the monthly search volume. In addition to this, you can then target specific areas with your adverts, this is especially useful if you are a local business looking to advertise on search engines for users around your surrounding areas. The main benefit of Google Ads is the fact that you can ‘cheat’ your way to the top of page 1 of Google, providing that you have a high-quality landing page that is relevant, as well as adverts that meet Google’s strict quality score requirements and the money to invest.
Social Media Marketing
Over the last 15 years, we have seen a dramatic rise in the impact social media platforms have on society and within our own personal lives. They have created an online environment that enables individuals, businesses and even political organisations to communicate easily and effectively. Through social media channels, such as Facebook and Twitter, businesses can now reach their target markets through social media advertisements.
One form of social media advertising is through Facebook. With more than 25% of the world’s population actively using Facebook, there is a huge potential for your business to reach its target market. One of the advantages of using social ads, on Facebook and other platforms, is the demographic targeting features they offer. This ensures that your ads only show to the type of person that you are looking to target.
Social media platforms are also an excellent way to respond to customer enquiries, some platforms also allow for company reviews. Meaning that building a reliable brand reputation is fundamental, responding to reviews (both positive and negative) is a great way of managing your public image, showing potential customers that you can offer an effective solution to customers that may have had a negative experience.
The concept of email marketing has been actually been around for over 40 years, with the surge in popularity arising in the mid-to-late 90’s with the introduction of Hotmail. We’ve all received a newsletter or a sales promotion email from a company at some point in our lives. No matter how frustrating or boring they may sometimes be, there’s a reason that businesses continue to pump money into email marketing… because it works.
Email marketing can be the perfect way to update customers on your recent business activity, giving them featured products that are available in a sale. In addition to this, you can include an exclusive discount code within the email, allowing you to easily track the success of the campaign as every time someone uses that code, you’ll know they have come directly from the newsletter. The key advantage of email marketing is that it is a cheap and effective way to reach already customers that are engaged with the company (as they are either previous customers or people that have signed up for email communications).
Is Digital Marketing Right For Me?
The vast majority of businesses can benefit from digital marketing activities, regardless of whether you are a small to medium sized business or a national corporation. If you already have a website, it’s important that you are keeping up-to-date with the latest trends within the industry. The latest priority being mobile-first indexing from Google. This essentially means that any website that isn’t mobile-friendly (optimised for mobile devices) will be penalised by Google and this will be detrimental to your keyword rankings. If you’re unsure of what would be best for your business then speak to a digital marketing specialist.
If you are interested in generating more customers and improving the online visibility of your business, then please feel free to get in touch using the form below or on 01455 367 100.