The components of a digital marketing plan
Nowadays we tend to see an increasingly number of cases when digital marketing is replacing traditional methods of promoting a business such as the above-the-line methods like TV, radio, newspaper or outdoor advertising. All marketing departments set aside a budget especially for Internet marketing activities such as SEO, SEM and SMM or e-mail campaigns, knowing that more and more of their audience can be reached online. Also, because they see these channels are actually paying off and worth investing in. Would you like to increase your return-of-investment, starting right now? Then keep reading!
I am sure that by now you know how important it is to build a professional website for your business. It is definitely worth investing in creating a great online presentation for your company but the key is to help it reach the exact people who would be interested in what you have to offer. And this is where online advertising enters the picture. You will find below the most important components of an online marketing strategy and how to use them in order to reach the level of awareness your company needs in order to increase sales and its number of clients.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an increasingly popular method in which all online businesses today invest a lot of effort hoping to appear on the first page of various search engines for certain queries. SEO practically means optimizing your website so that when someone from your target audience searches online for your products or services, he/she must find yours before those of your competitors. This used to be easy back in the days when Google wasn’t releasing penalties and punishing algorithms on a regular basis. Webmasters used to stuff their content with as many keywords as possible and list their websites in questionable quality directories. But nowadays you have to make sure your site provides your visitors with valuable information in order to make sure it will also be placed on a top position in the search results pages. We highly recommend using the services of a specialist in this matter since mistakes can cost you your entire site and all the money you have invested in it so far. SEO is a long term investment in your brand and your business so we recommend you start as fast as possible.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is a fast and easy way to target your audience across various search engines like Google, Yahoo or Bing. Google AdWords is the most popular and complex type of search engine advertising. Business owners can target their audience when they search for their products or services (Google Search Network) or when browsing through their favorite blogs or sites (Google Display Network). Ads within AdWords search campaigns will appear on top and on the side of the results page, therefore offering a privileged position for website owners whose sites did not (yet) rose to the first positions through SEO efforts. SEM is an immediate way of bringing interested traffic to your site, but it represents a short term investment: when the budget is finished so is the exposure.
Social Media Marketing (SMM) is a method used for a different different purpose: it can and will bring traffic to your site and in some cases it can also help your SEO efforts but its main goal it to create a relaxed and casual place where companies, brands or public figures can communicate in a friendly manner with their followers. Once you build an audience on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr or whichever social media channel your customers are using, you can of course, use it to promote products, services and special offers. However you must pay attention to the fact that if you only use it for advertisement purposes and your followers do not feel they receive a benefit by being in touch with you, they will soon leave your page. Use your efforts to really engage with your audience and your social media accounts will become your business assets. This is one of the few methods in which if you choose to invest a drop of effort and imagination, can bring small businesses comparable results to those of large companies.
E-mail marketing is a method that lost some of its popularity in the last years because clients tend to be overwhelmed by the abundance of outbound methods directed against them. Unlike SEO for example, that uses “pull” tactics in order to draw customers towards the company, newslettering has a “push“ character, a strategy that directs the offer towards them, and therefore considered by many very invasive. However the benefits of this method are undeniable: it can facilitate a direct and personalized communication with your target audience and you have the complete control over the message they receive. This is why the expertise of an online marketer is always required when starting an emailing campaign.
Affiliate marketing includes all strategic partnerships between an advertiser and an affiliate site, which is supposed to direct interested traffic towards the advertiser’s website. This usually happens through a banner placed on the affiliate site and the advertiser can either pay a price every click on the banner (CPC) or a price per a thousand impressions (CPM-number of times the banner is displayed). If the affiliate site is renowned and has a recognized authority in its domain, the banner also work as a recommendation. This is a method with a rising degree of popularity because it is very effective for both parts if they are a part of the same market niche: the advertiser receives interested traffic and the affiliate website owner receives the respective incentive.
One last piece of advice: no matter which are the channels you choose to promote your business through, you must take into consideration the fact the message you send must be about your customers, and not about your company. They will not be interested in hearing about how great is your product or what a complex service you offer unless they feel they will receive some sort of benefit from spending time to read about your business or browse your site. Address to them in an easy to understand manner and always enhance their benefits from working with you.
All these major components must be blended into an integrated and targeted digital marketing plan. If you need any help with it we would be happy to help. If you have any questions or would like to work with us, please feel free to contact us. Let’s see how we can help your business grow!