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