Updated: Apr 14
It’s no longer enough to rely on traditional forms of advertising or word-of-mouth. In order to compete in today’s world, businesses need to embrace digital forms of promotion. It’s the best way to reach your customers where they already are: online.
Of course, business owners aren’t always experts in online marketing -- nor should they be expected to be. However, you’ll want to have a basic understanding of what to include in strategy.
When it comes to digital marketing, the different techniques you use will ideally complement one another. You’ll strengthen your strategy by taking a holistic approach. With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at just five digital marketing tactics that will work together to maximize your success.
Digital advertising plays a crucial role in virtually every digital marketing strategy. The type of ads might differ depending on goals and budget, but there’s no denying that the right kind of online ads can increase brand visibility, drive traffic to your site, and increase sales.
There are a number of options that allow you to advertise online, including Google Ads (which follow a text-only, pay-per-click model), social media ads (like those you might see on Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn), and display ads (which include images and can appear on any number of different websites). You could also boost social media posts, try video ads, or specifically focus on mobile ads.
No matter which type of ads you choose, you’ll want to make sure that you’re targeting the right audience. This is usually done through filtration or through keyword selection. Digital ads can be a great choice if you’re trying to drive traffic to a newer site or you’re promoting something special, but they can also be a good way to maintain brand awareness. They can be ideal for a short-term boost as well as a long-term strategy, making them essential when marketing your business.
Search engine optimization, or SEO, plays a vital role in marketing during the digital age. SEO refers to a number of different techniques that can allow your website to be more readily found online. The goal is to have the link to your site displayed prominently in relevant search results pages, as this can encourage more organic traffic and improve the overall perception of your brand.
Here’s why this matters: the earlier your site appears in search results, the more likely it is that web users will click on the link. While the first organic result that shows up in Google search results has a click-through rate of 28.5%, the CTR decreases significantly from there. A site that appears in the second position in search results has a 15% CTR, while the 10th position -- the last on the first page of SERPs -- has only a 2.5% CTR. If you want to drive traffic to your site, you’ll want to include SEO in your marketing plans.
Your SEO strategy will likely be comprised of several different tactics that work in tandem to boost your presence online. On-site SEO, specifically, refers to optimizations you can make on your own website to help Google understand what you do and what you can offer to your audience.
Along with technical SEO improvements you can make to the back end of your site, you can also optimize for pertinent search terms in your web copy and blog posts. Conducting keyword research is important here, as that will determine the kinds of optimizations you’ll make in title tags, meta descriptions, and other content throughout your site.
Of course, creating valuable content is also key; if you don’t provide useful information for web visitors, your optimizations won’t matter. To ensure your SEO strategy drives results, you’ll need to invest time and effort into site improvements, content creation, and other on-site optimizations.
This is meant to be a long-term strategy, which means you won’t see results right away. But over time, you’ll be able to drive traffic, conversions, and improved perception with help from SEO.
If you run a small business, in particular, local listings should also be included in your marketing plans. Local listings directories can be helpful tools in helping customers find your business more easily online.
Directories include sites like Yelp, Angie’s List, the Better Business Bureau, Yahoo! Local, Google My Business, and even platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn. By listing some basic information for your business such as your name, address, and phone number (also referred to as its NAP), you can show up more readily in relevant searches.
It’s essential that your listings be consistent and accurate across all platforms. Google won’t be as inclined to recommend businesses with inconsistent listings (as they’re confusing for customers and for search engines), so you’ll want to pay attention to detail when filling in this information. When applicable (like with the Google My Business platform), you can even optimize for search engines and update customers with regular posts. Some will even allow customers to leave reviews, which can further boost your visibility and reputation.
Using local listings platforms and posting on social media can help with your off-site SEO and overall web presence. Link-building is another important component of off-site SEO that can allow your brand to be seen as more authoritative by Google.
When a reputable website publishes a link to your business’s website, that signals to search engines that your website is deserving of positive attention. It’s essentially like giving your site an endorsement. And while you might naturally receive some backlinks from other sites, you’ll probably have to seek out opportunities in order to improve your site’s backlink profile and domain rating.
Guest blogging -- providing unique content to another website with a link back to your own -- can be one way to accomplish this. You can also forge relationships with businesses in your area or make contributions to industry publications. While this can take some time and effort, it’s worth doing in order to ensure search engines see your site as trustworthy and valuable.
Part of your digital marketing strategy should include managing the reputation you’ve worked so hard to build. That might sound simple, but it can actually be pretty challenging when there’s so much information to be found online. One scathing review or inflammatory article can derail a lot of your marketing efforts, so you’ll want to devote some resources to reputation management.
At a minimum, you’ll want to focus on generating and responding to reviews on various platforms like Facebook, Yelp, and Google My Business (as well as other relevant sites for your industry). Asking customers for a review -- and responding to all reviews in a way that aligns with your business’s values -- can allow customers to view your brand as more trustworthy and worthwhile.
Reputation management can also involve publishing new content and using SEO principles to “push down” negative search results. Since most people pay attention to the first page of results, you can protect your brand by improving SEO for the pages you want the public to see. In so doing, you’ll make it less likely for them to be influenced by anything negative posted elsewhere.
Clearly, your digital marketing efforts will be strongest when you use techniques that work together. Since over 25% of web users will click the very first result that shows up in SERPs, it makes sense that you’d want to create a strong strategy. With these techniques in mind, you can create a holistic strategy that addresses most of what Google wants to see.
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