Digital Marketing: what is it and why is it important?

DIGITAL MARKETING: WHAT IS IT AND WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?

For those who may not be familiar, digital marketing involves the use of a website and any associated marketing tools in order to promote your business online. Despite such an acceleration in terms of Internet use and the ease with which we now access it, the digital world is still a complete mystery to some and as a result, the importance of digital marketing is all but lost on them. What people seem oblivious to is the fact that digital marketing is so universal in that it gives consumers access to information any time of the day and in any place they may be in the world. Gone are the days when the only message about your business came from you and consisted of only what you wanted your consumers to know. Digital media took over long ago as the ever-growing source of entertainment, world-wide news, retail and even social interaction. Consumers now have access to not only what your company says about itself and its brand but also what the media has to say about it, along with friends, relatives and even peers. What’s more, your potential customers are more likely to believe exactly what everyone else has to say about you and your brand than you yourself. Your customers want to hear from people they trust and the companies that know them. Communication has now become personalised and more relevant with offers being tailored to people’s needs and personal preferences.

Digital marketing and all related channels are hugely important but not to the exclusion of everything else. Yes, you need to know your customers but that’s not enough. You need to make sure you know your customers better than anyone else in order for you to communicate with them more effectively. By communicating with them where, when and exactly how they want, they automatically become much more receptive to the message. In order to do that you need to almost consolidate a view or opinion of your customer’s preferences and expectations and in order to do this you need to gather information from across all channels including web, social media, direct mail, point of sale and mobile. This information can then be used to create, and in some cases anticipate, consistent and coordinated customer experiences that will help to increase your conversion rates. The deeper your insight into your customer’s preferences and behavior runs, the more likely it is that you’ll engage with them in successful and lucrative ways.

Blogs, newsletters and forums are all great ways of informing and engaging your visitors but what about the rest of your target audience that may not be aware of your existence? They need help finding you and search engines will be the first place they choose to look. With the global market drawing over 100 billion searches every single month, search engine optimisation and search engine marketing is now more important than ever before. It’s so important in fact that it’s now a vital part of any digital marketing strategy. While you could indeed learn some basic skills in terms of search engine optimisation (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM), in order to gain optimal results it’s advised you seek the help of professionals. To make things a little clearer we’ve put together some more information on just what digital marketing entails with the aim to provide you with more insight into search engine optimisation and search engine marketing. 

Search engine optimisation

Search engine optimisation, or SEO as it’s otherwise known, is the art of influencing search engines so that you may improve the rankings of a website and secure a top position for it. When carried out effectively, SEO can help to improve the websites rankings as well as boost awareness of the brand and increase high quality website traffic subsequently increasing conversions. In terms of the search engine process, there are four main stages, these include:

·          Planning and analysis – this initial stage will involve both internal and external analysis. A website analysis consists of a comprehensive analysis of the user interface and certain key success factors such as the website’s usability, its functionality and design. A thorough website analysis should go much deeper than user interface. It should look at how the website is helping or indeed hindering the business in terms of reaching its goals. Once these fundamental aspects have been looked at, the next point of call will be to determine the level of SEO and this will include things such as page ranking, the link building strategies in place along with keywords and meta tags. Heading tags, content, images and even website promotion strategies will all be included in the analysis at this stage. The results of such analysis should then be compared to that of your competitor. From this, an overall objective in terms of moving forward can be discussed and recommendations for planning and implementing said plan finalised.

  • Website optimisation – the second stage will involve optimising a number of different areas of the website for their efficiency in terms of SEO. This will include optimising for keywords, meta tags along with website content and imagery once again. You should remove any search engine penalties that might be hindering you and your digital marketing strategy too. When optimising your website you should create some SEO maintenance files i.e. robot.txt files and sitemap.XML files. By creating robot.txt files you ensure sensitive files will be protected from crawling and indexing by the search engines. A sitemap.XML file will provide the search engines with structure for your website. This will assist search engines when determining the relevance of your website for any given search. The final portion of this stage involves creating a Google Analytics account that will help you to monitor all of your website traffic and visitor usage. You’ll also be able to track code of all your pages and your website along with any digital marketing campaigns in order to look at reach and usage. This will all help you to learn more about your website visitors.
  • Link building –this is very important simply because link building will give your website credibility within the search engines. This has been shown to account for around 80% of ranking criteria. The link building process itself will include building forward links, backward links and even reciprocal links between other relevant and well-regarded websites and/or directories. It could even involve writing articles and blog posts in other relevant websites and social networks.
  • Reporting – the last stage in this process includes benchmark reports. These should be produced before beginning the digital marketing campaign as well as throughout the duration of the campaign as this will offer tracking of your progress. Some great examples of reports you should be receiving include page ranking reports, keyword reports and even search engine penalty reports. There are even reports for domain issues, traffic, server types and IP status’. You may also receive website enhancement suggestion reports which should also include helpful suggestions for improving the usability.

The results that can be achieved by SEO aren’t permanent however and should be treated as an ongoing process. Fine-tuning of your SEO should be carried out regularly.

Search engine marketing

Search engine marketing or SEM helps to promote websites by increasing their visibility in terms of search engine results pages. It does so by using a combination of SEO, paid placement, paid inclusion and contextual advertising. SEM offers those with a smaller budget a less costly alternative to traditional marketing media. There are four main stages involved with the search engine marketing process and they include:

  • Planning and analysis – the first stage within the SEM process requires some rather in-depth research of the organisation itself along with any competitors and your target audience. Some advanced keyword research should be carried out so the most descriptive terms can be identified. From this, an overview of the website and business objectives can be produced with reports and recommendations for planning and anything that may need to be implemented.
  • Creating the ad campaign – the key to getting your target audience to move through to your website is to create an intriguing and relevant campaign. It must be creative, consisting of relevant and appealing content. Creating a successful ad campaign includes keyword selection and optimisation and this includes identifying negative keywords.
  • Managing the ad campaign – to make sure you see the best results from your ad campaign, you must test and track the campaign. Evaluate it on a continual basis and include monitoring of your competition. Look at campaigns to help increase your conversion rates along with keyword grouping. Campaigns should be fine-tuned continuously and click fraud should also be looked at regularly to help prevent unwanted negative results.
  • Reporting – the last stage of SEM should be benchmark reporting. Once again this should be produced prior to the digital marketing campaign beginning as well as throughout in order to provide up to date results on progress. Ad group, URL and digital marketing campaign performance reports should all be provided along with overall account reports. You may even take advantage of the information gathered from demographic, geographic and search query performance reports.

If you’d like more information on digital marketing and just how our expert team here at Wecan Media can help you and your website then contact us today. Here at our web design and SEO agency, we’ll help create the best possible digital marketing strategy for your website and catapult you to the top of Google.

Reference - http://www.onlinemarketing.ie/soma-blog/importance-digital-marketing-business/

Reference - http://searchengineland.com/guide/what-is-seo


How to create the perfect content marketing plan

How to create the perfect content marketing plan

Content marketing is a hugely important aspect for any online website and for it to be successful you must have a plan in place that ensures your content marketing strategy can support your particular goals. Content marketing isn’t just important; it’s central to your online success and for a number of reasons too. Firstly, shareable content will help create more awareness of your brand. It does this by allowing readers to engage and share your content via their social media accounts for example.

They can also choose to share it via email or even word-of-mouth. It’s important to remember that absolutely everyone is an influencer in this day and age. Your content will also help toward your SEO goals too. Google made content the king when it came to websites and it still is, very much so. Ultimately, being found relies on your website content. You may not be aware that content also helps drive purchases too.

As a visitor to your website, we base our decisions on online content for any online and offline purchases. User generated content will also help drive purchases too. Marketing and buyer behaviour has changed hugely and we now reference a much wider opinion about products and services whether that’s on our own websites, blogs or social networks and buyers will dig out this content when making their purchase decisions. Content, on whatever platform, can help to drive a number of purchases which is why it’s such an integral part of any website. Here we offer our very own expert tips on creating the ideal content marketing plan.

Tips to create the ideal content marketing plan

  • Conduct audits – you should conduct an audit of your messages and compare them with your competition. This will help map out your messages and positioning. How much of this is topical and how much exactly can you use to drive the market and media with new ideas and different angles?
  • Get input from the top – by speaking to the guys at the top of your company, you can see which are the very relevant topics that you might already be on the way to owning. Are there any big statements or calls to action? There’ll no doubt be plenty if you look for them and plant some ideas yourself. When doing this, make sure you go equipped with the relevant questions too.
  • What about your customer’s viewpoint? – any content marketing strategy should be for the customers so ask yourself this, are you thinking from outside of the company’s view point? It doesn’t matter what channel you’re using, you should consider new pieces of content and look at just how segmented your plan needs to be. Look at what groups are living in your database, such as age differences, gender etc and ask yourself if they want different pieces of content?
  • Content first and channel second – now that you’ve got your content (good quality content at that), you can now start looking at your distribution methods. All of your campaigns must be optimised for outbound marketing automation programmes as well as inbound PR and social media activities. You’ll also need to consider your social media channels and decide what types of content will work on which social media channel. Look at the channels your competitors are using to deliver their content and take a leaf out of their book. It may sound a little lazy but it’s a great way of augmenting your list and ensuring you aren’t missing anything.
  • Regional differences – you must ask yourself what regions you need to consider as well as asking yourself whether specific regions need specific content created for them.
  • Campaign timing - when it comes to campaign timing you need to think about the outside world a little. Are there events on the calendar or in the industry that will act as milestones or relevant points that’ll take your content even further? This works both ways too, are there any events that are worth avoiding incase they drown out your content and sink it completely? Your campaigns will be PR led however the more that everything can happen harmoniously together, the stronger your momentum will be.
  • Map campaigns – along with using pen, paper and spreadsheets, you’re eventually going to want a visual representation of just how your campaigns will flow. This is where mapping and flowcharts will come in. Content wheels have been created in the past that determine the content by channel, event, product launch, customer segment and month. You can do just the same in a much easier format by using a matrix via Excel. The spreadsheet will have rows specifying content type and delivery along with channels and these will provide essential information.
  • Share the plan…sort of – of course you need to share the content marketing plan once you’ve written it but don’t allow it to become fodder for everyone to have a say. Someone must be in charge and have the last word simply because everyone will want to have an input creating what’s known as ‘Frankencontent’ (far too much input and watering down of the originally strong message). You’ll also want to keep it open for comments for a limited amount of time in order to prevent delays. Far too often a piece of content gets delayed and by the time it’s actually approved it’s no longer topical.
  • Set KPIs and benchmarks – you should at first begin with existing metrics from previous campaigns. This will allow you to measure healthy progress. If you aren’t able to do this then you should take some industry standard benchmarks and simply measure against them.

For more information or for help creating your perfect content marketing plan, then simply contact us today.


Website Conversion rates explained

WEBSITE CONVERSION RATES EXPLAINED

Website Conversion rates are something you’ll hear being discussed quite often when it comes to websites and website design but if you aren’t familiar with the digital world then it can all sound a little foreign. To shine some light on this often confusing topic, we delve into the world of conversion rates and conversion rate optimisation. Let’s start by defining conversion.

When we discuss conversion, we’re talking about a visitor to your website that carries out a desired action but what does that look like exactly? Well, this could be anything ranging from signing up to your email newsletter or creating an account with a login and password. It could also incorporate making a purchase or downloading an app. Whatever the intention is for your visitors, then that action is what you’ll measure and what you’ll look at to optimise.

This is where conversion rate optimisation comes in to play. Conversion rate optimisation (CRO) is a somewhat structured and systematic approach when it comes to improving the performance of your website.

The direction and approach you take can be informed by insights that relate specifically to analytics as well as user feedback. These will all be defined by your website’s unique objectives to take the traffic you already have and expand on it further. Many people often mistake conversion rate optimisation for strategies based on guesses or simply what everyone else is doing at the time. CRO is about quality, not quantity so it’s important to note that getting more users is indeed a great thing but getting more users regardless of quality or engagement is not the way to go.

When conversion rates are discussed, there are a few key terms you’ll no doubt hear. These key terms below are concepts and ideas that’ll come up continually so it’s a good idea to make yourself familiar with them and keep yourself one step ahead of the game.

Call to Action

This is a primary button or link within the user interface that requests the user takes a specific action leading to or in the very least towards, a conversion. This could be anything from a ‘buy now’ button or a ‘sign up’ button or even a ‘download’ link.

Conversion Funnel

This is the primary pathway or flow that visitors will follow to complete a conversion. A great example of this would on Amazon where it begins with Home page > search results page > product page > check out.

Split Testing

This is the testing of two different versions of a page or interface element in which both are compared against each other. Each element or page is measured in terms of effectiveness and then compared with each other. This could be something as simple as measuring the effectiveness of a red button against a green button.

Multivariate Testing

This is the testing of multiple variations of a number of different page elements in several different combinations. This is all in order to determine the best performing elements in the best performing combinations. A good example of this would be a multivariate landing test in which many variations of the picture, copy and calls to action are tested in a number of combinations to find the best performing variation.

In order to gauge your current rate of conversion you’ll of course have to measure a number of different things. This will help to identify trouble spots and design a course of action. These statistics can all be found using Google Analytics or other such analytic services. The numbers that are critical when it comes to CRO can be found below.

  1. Your total conversions is quite simply the number of people that have done whatever is defined as converting i.e. email newsletter or making a purchase etc.
  2. To get the conversion rate itself you need to divide the total number of conversions by the number of visitors to your website i.e. a website with 10,000 visitors and 100 conversions has a 1% conversion rate.

It’s also incredibly important when discussing conversion rates that you look at how long people are spending on your website along with which pages are being visited. Looking at things like bounce rates, exit rates and engagement metrics is the first step when it comes to making sense of your conversion rate.

Bounce Rate

Bounce rate refers to the percentage of people that leave once they’ve viewed a single page. Therefore it’s easy to understand that a high bounce rate isn’t a positive thing. It signifies that for whatever reason, people simply aren’t finding what they’re looking for and are leaving quickly.

Exit Rate

There can also be a specific exit rate for each individual page. This is the percentage of people that leave once they’ve viewed that particular page. Exit rates allow you to find out what users view specifically before moving on. Discovering a high exit rate on a particular page can be somewhat of a red flag.

Average Time on Website

The average time that your users spend on your website gives you a general idea of how long people are hanging around for. A high bounce rate generally correlates with a low average time on the website as visitors aren’t sticking around long enough to do what you want them to do.

Average Page Views

Average page views is an engagement metric that shows you just how many pages the average visitor rifles through before leaving. More page views can either indicate engagement or a lack of clarity in the conversion funnel if there’s no conversion to speak of.

Hopefully this has explained conversion rates a little further or in the very least, brought them to your attention. If you think conversion rate optimisation could be the key to improving your business then contact us today. Here at Wecan Media, our team of experts can explain the next vital steps for you to take and turn your website’s conversion rates around for the better. 


The many business benefits of adding Live Chat to your website

The many business benefits of adding Live Chat to your website

There’s absolutely no doubt that the Internet and increasing ease with which we access it, has changed the way we conduct business. Many moons ago a business would open a shop front and put adverts into the local paper and radio. They then waited for the local customers to want or need whatever they had to offer. Today however the survival of a business is no longer dependent on the local people as, thanks to the Internet, it has a worldwide audience for its products and services.

Worldwide competition

In theory it sounds pretty great doesn’t it but we simply can’t forget that with that worldwide audience comes the dreaded worldwide competition too. Competition is unfortunately no longer localised and this is why it’s so important that a business knows exactly what its customers want and need. More importantly the business needs to make sure it delivers it quickly and more efficiently than anyone else. This of course can be pretty tough especially when you aren’t face to face with them. You may well have a fantastic looking website up and running that has decent usability, design and brilliant content for products or services which are in high demand but today however, that’s simply not enough. Today you need something that really differentiates your business and makes it stand out from the crowd. This may sound like the impossible by here at Wecan Media, we have the perfect solution and it’s known as live chat.

In this fast paced and complex world, each and every lead is valuable stuff and there’s not a single doubt that visitors to your website are the perfect sales leads. If you think about it, the visitors are indeed in the right place at the right time looking for exactly what you have to offer. Every time one such visitor leaves however is a business opportunity lost, so why leave your home page unattended?

44% of customers online have had important questions answered via live chat whilst in the middle of an online purchase

Recent studies have shown that an amazing 44% of customers online have had important questions answered via live chat whilst in the middle of an online purchase and would consider this to be one of the most important features a website can offer. With live chat software you can reach your customers at their time of need and offer a personal and immediate service that they’d expect to get in a physical shop.

The advantages of live chat regarding customer services are pretty clear but what about in terms of sales? Sales are the ultimate goal of every single business and this is where live chat can be used for generating leads and increasing conversion. When it comes to increasing conversion rates, it does this by offering the customer the live assistance needed to help them through the order process. This in turn helps to eliminate bounces away from the website and makes sure the order process gets completed. Live chat can also help to boost the average order value too. It does this simply by engaging with customers. By talking to them and getting to understand their needs, the employee is then in a perfect position to make personal recommendations for more products. Studies have shown that on average, chatters will spend around 55% more than non-chatters.

Helps reduce abandonment on product or sales pages

Live chat can also help reduce abandonment on product or sales pages by providing more support. One of the main reasons for a high bounce rate on any website is a distinct lack of support. As we stated before, you may have an awesome website but it doesn’t mean that everyone will be able to find what they’re looking for which is where live chat can help. By being there to offer immediate assistance and answer any questions or queries they may have, you make them less likely to leave the website.

Live chat is the obvious addition to the telephone

Live chat is now the obvious addition to any mail and telephone services you may already provide for a high quality customer service. Many studies have shown a hugely positive influence in terms of adding a live chat solution to a homepage and the results are often much stronger than many would first assume with the majority insisting it not only improves the shopping experience but the motivation to purchase too. On average, around 45% of online customers find online support a huge leverage for the website and this value can be seen by the average sales numbers for those that have it and those who don’t.

Website visitors that chat, buy

With visitors that chat being three times more likely to buy compared to those who don’t, the question really is why would you not have it? With your live chat you’ll be adding a personal and more human touch to the online shopping experience and for many customers, having that someone there can help give the final encouragement they need during the final stages. For many businesses this is an outstanding bonus. Live chat is also great for providing additional advantages for communications, especially when it comes to making initial business contacts. Live chat is even now seen as a much easier communication tool than mail or telephone simply because it’s instant, it’s informal and it’s also completely anonymous. In the world of today, access to information is expected instantly so give it to them with the help of live chat.

If you’d like more information on live chat and just how it can help your website then contact us today. Here at Wecan Media, we’ll bring your website up to speed and performing exactly how it should. 


Simple strategies that can help grow your business from our expert digital marketing agency in Manchester

SIMPLE STRATEGIES THAT CAN HELP GROW YOUR BUSINESS FROM OUR EXPERT DIGITAL MARKETING AGENCY IN MANCHESTER

Digital marketing is absolutely essential in today’s world with both competitors and potential customers going online, it’s the only way to stay ahead. When you’re a small business the online world can seem intimidating. To ease it a little here are a few marketing strategies that any business owner can implement to help their business grow, from our very own experts here at our digital marketing agency in Manchester.

Setting a goal

You might want more customers, more recognition or maybe you’re simply looking to get ahead of your competition. Whatever it is, starting with a solid goal will increase your chances of success. Digital marketing is especially great for small businesses but going into the process blindly can leave you with a bit of a mess. This is where help from our web design agency in Manchester can prove vital.

Create a marketing funnel

Successful businesses have effective marketing funnels in place. This is where you map out the customers journey from when they’re a complete stranger all the way through to becoming a lead. It’s at this point that you can then put strategies in place to move them along the funnel. Having an effective funnel won’t just get you more leads but it’ll help you turn those leads into customers and quite possibly repeat customers. Elements of a marketing funnel can seem a lot to put together, which is why it’s best left to experts such as our digital marketing agency based in Manchester.

Develop calls-to-action

This is where an image or text is used to prompt visitors to take action such as subscribing to a newsletter, viewing a webinar or requesting a demo product. CTA’s can direct people to landing pages where you can collect information in exchange for a valuable marketing offer. Effective CTA’s will inevitably result in more leads and conversions for your website. In order to create a lot of visitor-to-lead conversion opportunities then a lot of CTA’s need to be created. Distribute them across your web presence and optimise them.

Driving traffic

In order for there to be people to drive through your marketing funnel there needs to be traffic on the website. There are a variety of ways you can drive traffic to your website such as with quality content. You can also use a keyword strategy too by inserting related keywords into the content. This will help the content and website show up more in search results.

For more information on how to use these simple marketing strategies then contact us here at Wecan Media direct. Our digital marketing agency in Manchester will make a huge difference to your online presence and help your business grow.


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