Digital Marketing, What is it?
Unless you have been living under a rock (literally), it’s impossible not to have some awareness regarding online or digital marketing. The frontiers that this area of expertise has surpassed in more recent times has been incredible. But what does it imply in terms of enhancing your commercial activity and harnessing those opportunities to reach your customers, with the resources that you have? This is a very multi-layered field so rather than over-complicate matters, let’s start with the basics…
First and foremost, it should discuss either your existing or proposed website design. This in turn, may (or may not include) some additional functions to allow customers to purchase goods/services thus making it an e-commerce site. Your digital plan will also have to discuss and determine how you are going to promote your site and subsequently your business. There are lots of ways to achieve this as well, through both traditional offline means as well as social media channels, Google My Business, e-mail communication and paid advertising (PPC). Lastly, for the purposes of this conversation, there is a common thread that should consistent throughout and that is Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) which will also influence content management strategy.
There are some things that are typically non-negotiable. Having a website these days is pretty much expected. While it does require some effort, it does allow you to update material on a regular basis to ensure that you maintain the interest of your audience. Don’t forget that this content can also be shared across your chosen platforms and you don’t have to consistently create new content.
We all understand that time is a precious commodity especially for smaller businesses so we have prepared an infographic that summarises the steps to create a digital marketing plan which is included below. For a more detailed description and explanation please read on…
Digital Marketing Plan [Infographic]
Content is generally the ‘be all and end all’ of increasing engagement with your audience. After all you would never publish a website made up of a series of blank pages, right? The value of taking time to prepare your own content, or hire someone to create copy is absolutely crucial to your entire digital marketing plan and campaign.
The key to writing quality content is to be true to yourself because:
- It will come more naturally.
- Spoiler alert! Customers (and especially loyal ones) are more inclined to purchase from companies that they can trust and believe in. So whatever you do, be authentic.
It is also important to remember that your material should be:
- Funny or a combination.
As discussed, whether it’s for site pages, blog articles or social media posts, you want to produce top content that visitors and prospects can relate to on lots of levels. This will improve the share-ability potential and the chance of being acknowledged favourably by Google for producing fresh material.
Content itself can take different formats too, for example, images, infographics, e-books and videos so play around with all of the above options to see what is the best fit for who you are communicating with and what their consumption behaviour is like.
The fundamental premise of having a website is to ensure that you drive traffic to it. In order to successfully attract visitors your site needs to meet a number of criteria:
- Ease of navigation. In an age where time is critical, no-one wants (or has the patience) to search through reams of information to find what they are looking for so make sure that each page and the layout are simple and convenient.
- AMP or Accelerated Mobile Pages are absolutely critical. According to Statistica, approx. 62.9% of the world’s population own a mobile. In addition, users are expected to exceed 5 billion at the end of 2019. you don’t need to be a mathematician to understand that there is a massive audience, including yours, that is viewing content on their mobile devices. Google has acknowledged this trend quite a while ago and will penalise companies that don’t have a mobile friendly website. Therefore, improve your potential to rank better by having a mobile responsive site.
- Calls to Action or CTAs are prompts that will either direct your audience to further information thus leading them along the sales funnel or alternatively to instigate immediate behaviour such as encouraging them to call or send an email. A phone number should therefore be optimised in such a way so that once the button is tapped it will connect to you. Other buttons can include links directly to your company email address, contact page or alternative relevant pages.
- Knowledge base or FAQs are a great way to answer people’s queries and it is also a smart way to publish optimised content. More and more individuals are looking for accurate responses to particular questions. Make a list of the most commonly asked questions related to your business and create individual content around these. Again, make sure that it is appropriately optimised so that you can better your chances for ranking more favourably.
Social Media Strategy
The key to deciding which social media channels are for you requires an understanding of who your customers are and how are they spending their time, especially when they are shopping. There is no point pushing material down your Twitter feed if the majority of your audience are spotty teenagers who are found in their droves on Snapchat.
To give you a little bit of an insight, here are some statistics that offer an overview of current trends in relation to social media:
- It is estimated that the number of active users of social media networks will be 2.77 billion globally in 2019. In 2017, this figure was 2.46 billion and it is expected to reach 3.02 billion by 2021 (Statistica, 2019).
- Facebook remains the most popular social channel, with 2.38 billion monthly users recorderd for the first quarter of 2019 (Statistica, 2019).
- 1.1 billion users each month are on Instagram while it attracts 500 million users daily (Hootsuite, 2019).
- In the first quarter of 2019, Snapchat attracted 190 million users each day. In the US, this is the equivalent of 90% of 13-24 year olds and 75% of 13-34 years (Zephoria, 2019).
- In terms of Twitter, the number of active monthly users is in the region of 330 million (Statistica, 2019).
- For business-to-business, LinkedIn provides access to the largest network of professionals globally, with 610 million users across 200 countries (LinkedIn).
As discussed previously, it is equally important when you are communicating on social media, to know your brand. This is part of your unique identity, not only should this be apparent in the vocabulary you use but can also apply to other aspects such as a colour scheme and how you present yourself. The overarching aim is that your customers will be able to identify your brand no matter where your profile is because it is consistent across all channels and media.
It is worth noting again that you need to spend time thinking about the type of content that you intend to publish. Viewers will turn off if they feel that they are being constantly bombarded by overly sales posts. Learn more about their behaviour and publish a range of material. According to a survey carried out by Ipsos:
- 61% of those interviewed were more likely to share ‘interesting’ content.
- 43% would share if the content was considered to be important.
- 43% would have a tendency to share something deemed to be ‘funny’ (WordPress, April 2019)
All you got to do now is work out what exactly your audience defines as ‘interesting’, ‘important’ and ‘funny’ content.
No discussion on a digital marketing plan for small to medium sized businesses is complete without stressing how essential it is to carry out some form of analytics. This can be as in-depth as you want and boy is there plenty to digest. But even looking the basics such as the profile of your audience will provide valuable data regarding the type of people who are interacting with your business…and you might be surprised so it is really worthwhile delving into the actual facts rather than making assumptions as the effectiveness of your entire strategy is dependent on this information.
If you haven’t done so already sign up for Google Analytics as this will provide access to key data such as the above as well as onsite visitor behaviour and overall performance. ake improvements.
In terms of social media channels such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter, there are insight features that will also offer complimentary data that you can integrate into you digital marketing plan and strategy. This data will demonstrate how followers interact with your posts, what works and where you can make improvements.
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