A lot of businesses are curious about expanding their digital reach and connecting with more customers. But many are uncertain as to how to go about it online. There are so many options and so many different opinions on which is the best way to go. So what is the most effective way of marketing your business online?
That’s a very tough question to answer without knowing about your business, your brand and your customers. Every business is different. The short answer is that most businesses will benefit from using a combination of all digital marketing options. You business is unique and so will require a unique digital marketing strategy.
Here is an overview of the main forms of digital marketing right now. Some you might be familiar with and some you might not.
Search and Display Advertising – Often Called PPC
PPC advertising is one of the quickest ways to begin advertising online. The principle is really simple too: you create adverts and as soon as they are approved they are displayed all around the world on your chosen network. For most new advertisers this is usually the Search Network or the Display Network with Google.
Every time somebody clicks on your advert you pay. Google are the big boys in this field. They offer PPC advertising both on the search results pages (Search Network) and via banner adverts (Display Network) on millions of other websites.
The great thing about PPC advertising is that you can drill down to find your perfect audience. You can choose to only advertise within a certain area, country, time of day, type of website but also by the search terms people use. The options for targeting are mind boggling. Creating a successful campaign takes a considerable amount of skill.
Have you ever wondered how much those top ads in Google cost? Well, it all depends on the competition. Prices can be well over $100 per click in competitive markets but many businesses will pay well below $1 per click.
Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing is all about marketing via social media platforms. Right now the major platforms are Twitter, Facebook and Google +.
Social media marketing is going to be massive. I’ve been saying it for a while and I’ll continue to say it. Why? Just think about it. People are literally living on social media sites like Facebook.
Social media sites are collecting huge amounts of data on their users. People are telling us what they like, what they don’t like, what they care about, who they are friends with, what they bought last week etc. This sort of information is very, very valuable for marketers.
Social Media marketing comes in two forms.
Organic Social Marketing
Organic social marketing is all about advertising via content and interaction with people. Sharing articles, running promotions, answering questions and creating viral content all come under this umbrella.
Paid Social Marketing
All the major social networks offer you the opportunity to pay to advertise. Usually this is on a Pay-Per-Click model similar to Google’s Adwords.
Both paid and organic social media marketing campaigns can be very successful.
A few years ago many of us working in the industry were quite certain email marketing was dead. The old way of blasting out articles and special offers every couple of weeks was no longer working. People were simply bored of having their email boxes rammed with marketing newsletters every time they opened their accounts.
Click-through rates were poor both because of competition and phishing. I would even go so far as to argue that some email marketing campaigns were damaging the reputation of some businesses. Then two wonderful things happened.
1. Everyone went out to buy a Smartphone
It’s hard to find someone without a smartphone nowadays. Most of the time these devices have at least one email app installed and are connected to 3g, 4g or wireless. So people are now reading their emails a lot more frequently than they used to. That means that your marketing message is much more likely to be read. It also means that you can deliver your message to your target audience at a specific time.
2. Behavioural Email Marketing Became Affordable
A lot of us have experienced behavioural email marketing without probably realising it. For example: you go to Amazon and add some items to your basket. Then you decide not to purchase them for whatever reason. Two days after the event Amazon sends you an email reminding you that you have the items in your basket. This is behavioural email marketing. And highly effective it can be too! People take a lot more notice of these kinds of emails.
These kinds of campaigns are nowadays a lot cheaper to set up. It’s not just the likes of Amazon who can afford to do this. Medium sized businesses can benefit from using behavioural email marketing too.
SEO – Search Marketing
SEO is all about pushing your website up the search results. Have you have ever wondered why your competitors are coming out on the top of Google? It’s because their website is better optimised for search.
Some elements of SEO are very simple and some are very complicated. It requires dedication and perseverance but the rewards can be astonishing. The top three organic results in Google bag most of the business. SEO is a long term marketing strategy though and you do not get overnight success.
A lot of people do not think of video marketing as a potential way to connect with their target audience. But video marketing is massive. An interesting fact I always tell people is that Youtube is the second biggest search engine in the world after Google! People are using it more and more to find the answers to their queries and this trend is set to continue. I believe that in the future video will overtake conventional search.
Even as things stand right now, just take a look at the number of times even the most boring of videos are watched on Youtube. It’s astonishing that more businesses are not taking advantage of this medium.
There are two ways to go about video marketing with Youtube. The best way is to create some really useful videos that your potential audience might find valuable and then just upload them. Give people a really good tutorial. Let them know you’re an expert in your field. Give them some advice. Show them how to do something. Solve their problems. Entertain them at the same time and they will begin to love you.
You can also pay to promote your video if it is struggling to find the right audience. If you’ve done your research at the start and produced your video to a high standard this should not be necessary though.
This is a grey area of digital marketing which isn’t talked about that often. I’ll happily talk about it openly with anybody. It goes like this. As a business you have a reputation online. People talk about you. Often they do this when you do something wrong. If a lot of people do this it will damage your reputation. On the other hand people sometimes say nice things. This obviously helps your reputation.
Many businesses pay for someone to “manage” their reputation. Usually you don’t ask too many questions as to how they do it but it doesn’t usually take a genius to figure out what they do.
The digital marketing strategy you need will depend very much on your business and your target audience. At Liquid we offer many forms of digital marketing including SEO, PPC Advertising and social media marketing.