Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last decade, chances are you already know how critical digital marketing is for a business. Consumers are spending more and more time on smartphones every day and traditional offline advertising is becoming less and less cost effective.
Yet so many business owners fail to take advantage of the opportunity that digital marketing affords them. Or they simply don’t have the time or energy to learn. So, we thought we’d put together a little digital marketing primer for those of you who are venturing into the world of business ownership.
Why You Need Digital First
Some have been resistant to this massive shift in the marketing status quo. They continue to believe that they can be successful with traditional advertising and bricks and mortar stores. And to an extent they’re right. You don’t NEED to have a digital presence. But they also don’t realise how many potential customers they’re missing out on by staying offline.
The thing is, a business can advertise all it wants through traditional advertising avenues, but the customer will almost always go straight online to check out the website after they see an ad. All that money spent on a huge bus ad could be all for naught if the customer doesn’t like what they’re seeing online.
Some business owners haven’t realised how crucial it is that they build a strong website. They assume that having a website that customers can access is good enough. But it really isn’t. Just like any physical product we use, if it doesn’t please the customer by having a strong UX/UI, chances are the customer will leave the site pretty quickly.
There’s a developing ‘science’ around how customers interact with websites known as UX/UI. You can read up on our breakdown here.
Consider your website to be the bread of the sandwich that is your digital presence. Just as you don’t have a sandwich without bread, you don’t have a digital presence without a website. Everything else, the Facebook page, the Twitter account, the Pinterest page, are essentially useless without a website as the foundation of your digital presence. Get that right first, then worry about everything else.
But you probably already knew that. So, let’s get on to the stuff that you might not yet know about.
Google – The Centre of the Internet
Seeing as we pretty much Google every little query we have these days, you’d think that every business owners understands how powerful Google can be for a business. But it’s astounding to see how many business owners haven’t even set up Google My Business. It’s a simple tool that helps businesses manage their online presence in Google Search and Maps. If you don’t know what we’re talking about, you definitely need to set it up. It’s completely free and easy to use.
When it comes to Google Search and other search engines, there are a key advertising avenues you can use to boost your website visitors. Pay-Per-Click Ads are quite popular, as they allow you to accurately evaluate the cost of your advertising. Google AdWords and Bing both use this simple model. Your ads are charged on a per click rate (generally a few dollars per click). Alternatively, you can use Google Search Ads, which show up next to search results when a user types in a query. You can identify these by the little ‘AD’ tag next to the search result.
But for long term success on search engines, you need to utilise Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). As any SEO guru will tell you, SEO relates to the things you do within and around your website to help boost its ranking when a user Google a certain phrase. A strong SEO presence means you appear at or near the top of the results of the first page.
No one outside of Google knows exactly how the Google algorithm works. But we generally know what is helpful to your ranking and what isn’t.
For some businesses, a strong website and search engine advertising may be enough. For others, they may need to dive into the chaotic world of social media advertising. That includes Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and everything in between. There are a seemingly endless number of platforms you can use. Yet the primary objective will almost always be the same, creating a sales funnel to drive traffic to your website.
There are plenty of other reasons to be active on social media of course. It’s a way to engage directly with your customers; get feedback and test ideas. And it’s also a great way to show that you’re an active business in the first place. Some users will assume that a business has shut down or is barely operating if they see a Facebook page that hasn’t posted in years.
Each platform has its own operating guidelines in a sense, which we won’t go into too much detail of. The good news, is that there’s plenty of information available online on how to use different social media platforms to your advantage. And just like search engines, the best approach is to use both paid advertising and organic content advertising.
The Whole Package
This won’t be the last you hear from us on digital marketing. We’re pretty damn passionate about it. But we wanted to just give you a quick primer on each different area of marketing. Stay tuned for future posts on more specific digital marketing tools, as well as a discussion on whether it’s best to take on the journey yourself or use an agency.
Just remember, when it comes to digital marketing, it all starts and ends with your website. Get that right first, then worry about the rest.
And if you’re having trouble with it, we’re just a phone call away!