No matter how useful your services, how innovative your product, or how unique your business is, it’s not going to succeed unless you have one thing: happy customers. Like every industry, marketing and advertising constantly changes and evolves, from newspaper and radio ads to TV ads and billboards. Today, marketing is digital. And as with all things digital, the options are endless – to the point of becoming overwhelming. Here’s how to evolve your marketing strategy for a digital world, cutting through the flash and fervour to talk about practical online marketing tools and techniques for online advertising in our digital world.
Get to Know Your Customer
Understanding who your ideal customers are and what they need has always been an essential step in successful marketing, and this old-school tactic is even more valuable today in online advertising. Fortunately, it’s also easier than ever to collect data on your target market and build useful customer personas that will guide your digital marketing efforts.
In addition to thinking about your target market’s geographic location, income, age, needs, and challenges, consider where you’ll likely find them on social media, how much time they spend online, and what they use the internet for. For example, 30% of the UK’s female population is on Instagram, with the majority being under 24. TikTok’s majority population in the UK is smartphone users aged 18-24, while Facebook has 307 million monthly active users across Europe, including men and women between 25-34. Social media platforms then allow you to target users on their platforms who share the interests and characteristics of your ideal customers, so the detail and accuracy of your personas are key if you want to maximise the ROI of your efforts.
The more you know about your target market and target customer, the better you can tailor your content and make sure it finds them online.
Build a Business Website
Your website is your flagship store for your online customer base; a digital version of a brick-and-mortar experience. It’s where all the different elements of your online marketing efforts come together, bringing potential customers into your sales funnel.
As such, it should be attractive, informative, fast, and easy to use. While you can go the DIY route, it’s good to remember that this is the first impression every visitor will have of your brand and business, so it needs to have a strong, positive impact. This means using high-quality images, functional forms, SEO-friendly coding, useful features, and effective security. Our web design team has written up a couple of articles on how to get a good quality business website or website redesign, as well as a useful article on how to secure your website properly (LINKS).
Get on Google With Search Engine Optimisation
As the world’s largest search engine, Google should be the first target for your digital marketing strategy. With 87.7% of the market share in the UK and 5.6 billion daily searches worldwide, it’s clear that your business needs to get this search engine on its side. The best way to do it is to work with the Google search algorithm using search engine optimisation (SEO) techniques to get as high up as possible in search engine results pages. This is quite a bit harder than it sounds and you can’t take any shortcuts – Google regularly updates its algorithm to counter any ‘cheats’ and penalise websites that use them, so it’s just not worth it.
Instead, we recommend that you use these tactics to get search engines working for your business:
- Make sure that your website load speed is 2 seconds or less. Bounce rates (people rapidly leaving your website after only seeing one page) increase dramatically with each second that passes. From 2-3 seconds it jumps from 9.6 to 13%, and 32% of visitors will leave if it takes 7 seconds to load.
- Do in-depth keyword research. This is to find the terms that your potential customer base and target market will use to look for products or services like yours. These keywords should be used in your marketing website content in a natural, readable, and relevant way.
- Tailor your metadata. When you type a search query into Google, you get a list of titles and descriptions linked to different pages the search engines feel are relevant to your search. This is the metadata, and each page on your website should have a custom piece of text that contains relevant keywords to boost SEO.
- Make it mobile-friendly – Mobile devices have changed the way we research, shop and browse the internet, and your website must be usable on mobile devices. This year, mobile e-commerce sales are expected to account for an impressive 54% of all online sales around the world. In 2019, one-third of all shopping in the UK was transacted over a mobile device. Without mobile compatibility in your web design, you’re missing out.
Step 4 – Register on Google My Business and Online Business Directories
Online business directories give great SEO exposure and are a quick, simple, and often free way of getting your brand out there and in front of target customers. Your priority should be registering on Google My Business because of the obvious links to the search engine itself. Google My Business pages are free profiles that list your business in search results. The profile is pretty detailed and in addition to your contact details and address, you can list operating hours, add photographs, get reviews, and post information about what your business does. It should be an elevator pitch for your business that helps customers decide you’re the business they’re looking for. You are also given a position on Google Maps, which allows potential customers to click for easy access to directions.
In addition, we recommend that you sign up on other online directories to increase your visibility, creating elevator pitches for directories including Yelp UK, ABC Business Directories, Yell UK, Cylex, and Brownbook. You can also sign up to location-specific and industry-specific directories like All In London or Applegate, the UK Small Business Directory, or TripAdvisor.
When registering, remember to add as much detail and imagery as possible, and to make sure every detail is accurate, with the same address, name, and phone number. Keep a list of the online directories you register on, and update them as your services, products and brand evolves. If you move to a new location, don’t forget to update your details.
Create Your Social Media Pages
Social media has become very business-friendly in recent years, offering free profiles, competitive and highly targeted advertising, and even e-commerce capabilities. And of course, these pages and accounts create more exposure for Google search results too. This makes them one of the most important marketing channels for your business and a key part of your content marketing strategy.
When creating your social media pages, first target the most effective social media platforms for your brand and audience rather than trying to do them all. Facebook and Instagram are great social platforms for B2C businesses, for example, while LinkedIn remains a powerful B2B marketing and networking event space.
Social platforms are very powerful marketing tools and should be treated as the brand awareness and engagement powerhouses that they are. After all, almost one-quarter of shoppers in the UK are using social media to search for new products and businesses, especially in the valuable 18-34 year age group. Even in B2B, e-commerce is thriving, with £159.3 billion in sales in 2019 despite only 11% of B2B businesses having online retail capabilities.
Use top quality images, post regular content that your audience finds useful, and actively engage with your prospective customers with comments, competitions, discounts and more on your social platforms. For social media marketing to be successful, brands need to be engaging, consistent, and responsive on social media platforms – and while it is exceptionally cost-effective for a limited budget, the time you need to put into keeping this presence alive and driving conversions should be considered. Fortunately, there are digital agencies that specialise in full-time social media management, from content planning and development to posts and more.
Start the Organic SEO Journey
Using the keywords researched for the buyer personas and website content, businesses can craft bespoke content for their brand to publish online. This has the effect of regularly updating your website with new, quality content (an SEO ranking signal for Google’s search engine) and creating content that users can find in search results pages that will help drive organic traffic.
Organic SEO starts with your website design process. The text content of the website should be informative, in line with your brand, and contain target keywords that will help the search algorithm link your content with a search query. To add these keywords takes some copywriting skill, and you should avoid overdoing it, as ‘keyword stuffing’ can carry penalties for your SEO.
After your website has been launched, you can further your organic SEO strategy by launching and running a blog, which forms another marketing channel for your brand. This will be where you publish regular articles (blog posts) that are relevant to your products and services. Rather than being hard-sell brochures, these blog posts should help your customer base overcome a challenge relevant to your offering. If you run an eco-friendly appliances business, for example, you can write blogs on climate change, how to save energy in your home or business or various green upgrades for homes. The key to generating quality organic traffic through this content marketing strategy is to show a genuine interest in helping your prospective customers, building trust factors and goodwill.
With organic SEO, it’s important not to expect instant results from your blog posts. This is a slow and steady way to build your brand’s visibility and authority, and with evergreen, high-quality content, it creates a lasting effect online, creating multiple streams to drive website traffic over the long term.
Run Google Ads
Yes, it’s Google again! This time, we’re looking at paid search in the form of the most popular pay-per-click (PPC) ads – Google Ads. This should be implemented as a partner to organic SEO, driving immediate high rankings on Google search results for ads to complement the long-term benefits of organic SEO rankings on web content.
When you search on Google, you’ll get a number of results marked Ad at the top of the page. These are ad spots you buy from Google. You make the content (which should use your keywords again) and list the ad, and you get put at the top of search results pages for the keywords you bid on. Keywords vary in price, and you pay according to how many people click through to your website page, so it’s important to research this marketing budget thoroughly to get the most affordable but still effective advertising.
Despite this, it is still a very cost-effective marketing tool – far more affordable than prime time slots and with millions more in guaranteed traffic, making it ideal for limited budgets. Google also regularly adds features and extras to help make these ads more rewarding for businesses and customers, with advanced ad targeting, mobile ad placement, and video ads as well as performance analytics to track your results.
Track Digital Marketing Performance
Nothing speaks as powerfully as good numbers, and that’s where measuring the ROI on your digital marketing campaigns is essential. You want to know who is coming to your website, where they are coming from, their online behaviour, what content they liked (and what they didn’t), and whether your marketing efforts are getting conversions.
Regular monthly reports will help you refine future campaigns, pivot to new marketing opportunities, and develop more of the content your customers love. So, how do you generate them and what do they mean?
We recommend that you use Google Analytics (which is free) to monitor website activity, as it has great features and reporting mechanisms to capture a wide range of key metrics.
Some metrics to monitor on Google Analytics include:
- Bounce rate – The percentage of people who leave after only seeing one page.
- The ratio of new to returning visitors – Measuring campaign effectiveness and customer loyalty.
- Average session duration – How long a potential customer spent on your website.
- Average pages per session – How many pages a visitor tends to view before leaving.
- Organic vs. paid sessions – Tracking if your visitors arrived from organic SEO or paid ads.
- Goal conversion rate – Number of potential customers signing up for an account or email lists, making a sale, downloading a piece of content, or even visiting a set number of pages. You can set your goals according to what you want your website to achieve.
Let Us Help You Get to Grips with All Things Digital
At Yellowball, we want to bring your brand to the world – showcasing your offering online and building your business the future success it deserves. As a multi-award-winning digital marketing agency, we have the talent, expertise, and resources to take your business forward in the digital age, driving meaningful results through proven, market-leading search engine optimisation, web design, email marketing, content marketing, and social media marketing strategies. Let’s bring more happy customers to your door, get in touch with us here.