07 Nov Part 1: Fundamentals of Digital Marketing
This blog is the first in a five-part series all about digital marketing. In this post, we’ll look at the main elements that make up all of the pieces of a well-rounded approach to digital marketing.
Digital marketing is an ever-changing landscape that requires a lot of time and attention. There are so many moving parts, it can become really easy to quickly feel totally overwhelmed and at odds with the whole process. Having a strong online presence and therefore a good digital marketing strategy is crucial to any business these days. We’ll look at how to create your own digital marketing strategy in another post, but for now let’s look at what exactly digital marketing includes.
Do I need to do digital marketing?
Now more than ever, the vast majority of the population is online. Currently in the UK, 75% of people access the internet every single day. Can you afford to let those connections and marketing opportunities pass you by? You want your brand to be front of mind for your consumers, and to do this you want to be online engaging with them. Chances are that most of your competitors are online too, and if you want to measure up against them you’ll need to have a strong online presence yourself.
How much digital marketing you do is completely up to you, but a strong strategy will include a little bit of all of the elements we’re about to look at. Effective digital marketing isn’t so much about putting all of your eggs in one basket (like spending all of your budget boosting posts on social media), but rather about being consistent, engaging with your audience, and building awareness over time. So ideally you’ll spend time growing your channels organically, as well as allocating some budget to paid ads. Some aspects of these elements will show quick and high engagement rates and ROI, while others will pay off in the longer term. I’ll go into each of these elements in more depth in separate posts, but for now let’s take a look at each aspect of digital marketing and what they mean.
What does digital marketing include?
SEO stands for ‘search engine optimisation’, which is your website’s rankings within search engines such as Google. Everyone wants to be on page 1! And there are lots of ways you can work on your SEO. You can make a good effort when your site is being built to make sure your whole site is optimised for SEO, and you can also work on this on an ongoing basis as well. I really like this article for explaining some of the main SEO terms you’ll come across such as keywords, meta descriptions and alt text. People are realising more and more that, to show up close to the top of Google’s results, you need to invest in some good SEO work to make this happen. You should invest in a solution at least as a one-off to optimise your website, and ideally also on an ongoing basis if you want to keep improving with your rankings.
SEM stands for ‘search engine marketing’, which consist of paid ads on search engines. These are the paid/sponsored ads you’ll see at the very top of search engine result pages. The most common of these is Google AdWords, which allows you to set up paid campaigns based on certain keywords people are searching for. SEM can sometimes give quicker results than more long term SEO work, but isn’t always better. They require a lot of work to set up and to tweak on an ongoing basis, and depending on your niche your CPC (cost per click) can be high. There is much debate about how many people actually click through on paid results vs organic, and I like this article as well as this one to consider a few different views.
SMM stands for ‘social media marketing’. Put simply, social media marketing is increasing your brand awareness, spreading your reach and gaining new customers through social media channels. The most popular social media channels include:
Each of these social channels are different to each other, and they all have their own uses. As with all of these elements, social media can take up a lot of time. Not only do you need to create worthwhile content to post on a regular basis, there are now also many ‘live’ elements that are very popular within these social channels such as Facebook Live and Instagram Stories. Ideally, you’ll not only be posting out content but also spending time at least once a day engaging with your followers. Social media isn’t only about conversions, it’s about creating an online community with your consumers to engage with them and help increase your brand awareness. Of course, one of your goals in marketing on social media channels may be to increase conversions, but I don’t believe this should be the end goal of the entire reason you are active on your social media channels. There is so much content and information out there for people to consume these days; you should want to connect with your followers and provide solutions to problems they have, not just post out fluffy content and never look in on your social streams or engage with people.
4) Display advertising
Display advertising is the use of visual display ads which are mostly banners and images. These are placed across webpages, and are based on the demographics you want your ads to be served to. Users click on your ad and are taken through to your landing page, which then hopefully results into a conversion. Check this out to get a more thorough understanding of the various kinds of display advertising, and look at its different aspects in more depth such as retargeting and the importance of a good landing page for your ads.
5) Content marketing
A popular saying in the digital world right now sums this one up well: ‘Content is king’. Essentially, content marketing is the creation of content to be used across your online channels. Pieces of content you can produce include:
Content marketing is essential to digital marketing as it goes hand in hand with so many other aspects such as social media marketing and SEO. Without content, brands wouldn’t have many useful or interesting posts to share on social media or in email newsletters. Also, having ongoing and consistent content creation is essential to good SEO practices. Stop and think about how many articles, videos, lists, how-to’s and podcasts you consume in a day, never mind a whole week. Content is king because it’s everywhere, and with 84% of people in the UK accessing the internet on a regular basis, it’s really no surprise that it’s so important.
6) Email marketing
Last but certainly not least, we have email marketing. Email marketing is used by brands to communicate with their audience. There has been more emphasis in the digital world as of late about just how important building your email list is. Think about it for a minute; how often do you quickly sift through your email inbox throughout the day? Do you check your emails more consistently than your social media, or maybe even take a social media break here or there for a day or two? With all of the social media algorithms, it’s easy to miss posts by brands that you maybe even love and engage with; do you ever sometimes go days or weeks without seeing any of their posts as they slip further and further from your mind?
Put in perspective, emails are the easiest way to directly reach your audience. The people on your mailing list have actually taken the time to type in their email address for you and say ‘yes! I want you to contact me!’, which means they’re most likely already interested in your service or product and think you have something of value to offer them. I’m not saying you should take advantage of your audience by sending tons of emails filled with coupon codes hoping for sales; you need to respect them and understand that they’ve trusted you with their email address. Send something of value! Give them a reason to look for your emails; exclusive free whitepapers, first dibs on any new offers you launch, or easy access to free ebooks. For the purpose of this post, it simply bears thinking about that
emails have a click through rate of 3.57%, while with Facebook you can expect a click through rate of about 0.07%. If you’re not building your email list, chances are you’re missing out!
So where do I start?
Looking at all of these different elements of digital marketing can be intimidating, if not totally overwhelming. For now, I suggest even doing a bit of research and reading into what might be the best for your own brand or business, and deciding where might be a good place to start. You certainly don’t need to do all of these from the outset, but it has to be said that the best marketing approach is a well-rounded one. You won’t build an authentic and fan-filled social media following by simply putting money behind ads without taking the time to engage regularly on your channels, and you won’t keep your audience on your mailing list by sending an email every single day with content that isn’t that valuable to them.
You can do as many aspects of digital marketing yourself as you want or have time to do, but the truth is that digital marketing, if done well, is very time consuming. There are many ways you can manage digital marketing on your own, but if you need help with your digital marketing strategy and execution then drop me a line! We can have a chat and see what you’re interested in, what problems you face regularly with your online presence, and how I can help take some (or all of) your workload off your hands. I build tailored digital marketing solutions for each of my clients, so this enables you to choose as many aspects of the digital services I offer that you require.
Up next: best practice and pointers for SEO, SEM and display advertising
Keep an eye out or sign up to my mailing list to get the next part in this series delivered straight to your inbox, where we’ll delve further into all things search engine optimisation, search engine marketing and display advertising. As always, I welcome your comments and questions in the field below!