A website can’t survive in a vacuum. If no one sees what a site can offer it will never be profitable – regardless of how great it is.
That’s where Digital Marketing, or internet marketing, comes into play. There are a variety of different approaches, and we list some on our Digital Marketing page, but that doesn’t really do the term justice. It’s a fast paced, multi-faceted industry that aims to market a brand or product online. There many different techniques and approaches marketers use but they all aim to accomplish the same goal – Get More Traffic
In this blog series we’re going to explain a bit about how the industry works and take a look at a few different aspects of Digital Marketing so that you can make more informed decisions about marketing your small business online.
Let’s start with some background information.
Tracking and reporting is an integral part of the work in this industry, but it can be tough for results to show and it doesn’t often happen overnight. It can take anywhere from 2 weeks to 6 months for a website to create a steady flow of traffic from a variety of sources and to see the difference. Without the right reporting processes take even longer to see what’s been accomplished. Tracking a campaign’s success and behavior allows for a safeguard to prevent a spiral of bad strategy and content. Being able to prove if something works or not allows for strategic readjustments – and a strong data analysis provides reassurance.
Search Engine Optimization in particular takes about 30 days at minimum for results to show because there are many different factors involved with ranking a website. Keeping track of all of these moving parts means there’s always something new that can be optimized, tested, or redesigned. Online work doesn’t exactly ‘stop’ and it makes having the patience to see what’s working and what’s not vital to the success of a campaign.
Now, let’s take a closer look at the industry itself.
The primary goal of digital marketing is to increase the likelihood of being found by the ideal customer, which is accomplished by increasing traffic – especially targeted traffic. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways. Common services offered by a Digital Marketing agency include:
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Local Search Marketing
- Pay Per Click (PPC)
- Social Media Management
- Content Marketing services
- Email Marketing
- Online Reputation Management
Each of these services represents a different pillar of a strong Digital Marketing campaign.
It can help to think of each different service as a unique platform that presents your message in front of an exponentially more people per platform. These platforms or ‘funnels’ can be better than others for particular brands or products, but in the end, each service aims to encourage users to visit a specific site, despite where they started. Tactics like being active on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest engage users in a totally different way than AdWords does. Optimizing for search engines increases relevancy for a search in Google, Bing, or Yahoo!, whereas Local Search is primarily for highlighting a brick & mortar business in a particular town or area of operation. Email marketing can be is one of the best possible ways to stay in contact with users, both for trouble shooting and to alert for sales promotions. Content marketing is a great way to assert authority within a niche by demonstrating knowledge of the topic by way of informative writings, graphics, and videos. Each of these are very effective when utilized properly for a brand, but marketing on the wrong channel for a brand/product means a lot of work for very little, if any, gain in digital standings. A good campaign doesn’t rely on one particular method for any long period of time. It utilizes several elements to create a vibrant, dynamic, experience that the user will be excited to share with their friends and family.
A Look At The Services
SEO (Search Engine Optimization):
Title Tags & Meta Descriptions – just two parts of SEO
Search Engine Optimization is both a mindset to approach Digital Marketing as well as a service. A strong digital campaign uses long-term SEO techniques as the foundation for all other aspects, as SEO is the art of strategically gaining traffic through particular keywords. It begins with researching and implementing frequently used keywords and phrases throughout a site. These words and phrases are at the core of what any business actually is. Identifying and using them to an advantage allows for increased ability to communicate with customers, because you’re doing so in their language.
It can take awhile to get results for several reasons.
The first is the sheer scale of factors that can and cannot influence rankings on search engines like Google, Bing, or Yahoo!. These companies are intentionally silent as to what the specific ranking factors actually are. As far as SEOs can tell there are around 200 different signals that Google takes into account when bringing up ‘the best match’ for a query. The end user may never see many of these elements. SEO factors are divided into two categories – on page and off page elements.
On page factors consist of things in your actual website. Aspects like written content with well researched words & phrases, properly compressed images and videos, whether or not there is a blog full of informative, relevant content, the loading speed of the site, meta tags, site architecture, how user friendly the site is, etc. Basically, on page SEO mostly consists of everything a user can read or see and optimizing it for both speed and quality.
Off-site factors primarily refer to activities like link building. Basically, whenever a website receives a link from another (preferably more authoritative) website then it receives a small boost in credibility. Each link, essentially, acts as a vote for a site. When a bunch of websites from a particular topic are all found to be sending links to one site in particular, most search engines assume that the site receiving the links is an authority on that topic. There are a lot of questionable practices within link building that can lead to negative consequences, so it’s best to leave that to an expert.
Other off page factors can include incoming traffic from social media networks and content distribution and promotion. There are also many third party websites automatically generated for small businesses that have been designed to host reviews. Claiming and properly filling out these review sites can have a positive effect.
One last thing we’d like to cover is how sketchy the industry can be. There are a lot of companies who will promise to get you Ranked #1 on Google, but the honest truth is that while they may not be lying, the definitely may not be telling the truth. No one owns Google, and to make a guarantee like that is not something that can be readily accomplished. If they’re insistent, there’s a good chances they’re using questionable tactics and should probably be avoided.
In our next post we’ll be taking a look at some more specific aspects of Digital Marketing. We’re going to examine Local Search Marketing, PPC, and Social Media Management. Make sure you check back in later this month!
If you have any comments or questions feel free to contact us.
Thank you for reading!