An online presence for businesses has become almost vital to success. Where shops on the high street can attract some footfall from their shop windows, many companies don’t have their location at an advantage, or it is just not useful for their business. With consumers researching information online about services, opening times, price and location, it means you will not be considered if your business is not visible.
So you have made a website or had someone build one for you. You’ve made a great start, and you are now ready to enter the race.
. . . or did you think just being there was enough?
Just like offline marketing, online marketing requires a strategy, effort, and the use of different tools. Some more complicated than others, it depends on your skill level and time how much you can do on your own. In this article, we’ll discuss the different channels of online marketing. With this starter pack, you’ll be able to make informed decisions about your online marketing strategy, whether you go at it on your own or choose to outsource (some of) it.
Organic Search Marketing, or SEO
SEO, or search engine optimisation, is the ways you can improve your site so that it will rank higher in the search engine result pages (SERPs). There are many facets to SEO, such as keyword optimisation and link building. The core thought to get ranked is to focus on your site visitors. Make sure your website and your content are both relevant and of high quality. If you provide screws and nails, make sure you talk about screws and nails on your pages, and not hacksaws or lawnmowers. Make separate pages for your services or products, so that each page targets only one keyword. Instead of having a ‘screws & nails’ page, have on the page all about screws, and one for nails.
This is, of course, a very one-dimensional example. Think about how you can display your service offers on dedicated pages. Not only will you target specific keywords, you will also create space to explain your service offering, so that you can help answer peoples’ questions, and convert them into leads.
If you work within a specific region, you can leverage your business location with local SEO. This type of SEO is based on being relevant only for your local area, so that you do not have to compete on a national level, with a lot more players. Google has their tool to help businesses be visible: the Google My Business listing. Claim your listing and update it to all the latest details. A matching website and Google My Business listing is another signal to Google that you provide specific services in that area. Therefore you will be considered more relevant to show up in search results for that area and service.
Paid Search Marketing, or PPC
While organic rankings are based on your website and are entirely in control of the search engines, there is also a paid option. Paid search marketing, also known as pay-per-click (PPC), relates to the search results seen on top of the page, with the little ‘ad’ marker in front of them. These websites are not ranking because of their quality and relevance to your query, but because they have paid to show for the keywords you used.
Paid for results are more prominently visible in the SERPs, above the organic rankings and Google Maps/Google My Business listings. Though they will cost you money every time someone clicks on them, they will be the most visible to the searcher. With a good description and title, these ads could potentially get you traffic that otherwise could have chosen your competition.
However, paid search marketing is not as straightforward as buying advertising space in a newspaper. There is a process of bidding, and again relevancy plays a role in if Google will show your ad or a competitors’. For more information about paid search we recommend you read the basics of PPC.
Social Media Marketing
Depending on your business, some of your target audience might frequent social media a lot. Including social media in your strategy can then be an excellent way to improve your brand awareness. It is essential that you know what your brand is, your tone of voice, and the type of messages you want to send out. Most importantly is to remember that social media is not an advertising platform – it is a social platform. Your message should not just be about you, but instead be relevant for your audience. Reply to comments, interact with your audience. Would you want to communicate with someone who only talks about themselves; whether you wanted to hear it or not?
Think of your brand as a person, and how your target audience can build a relationship with your brand. A social media strategy will help you what content to post, how to interact and how to measure results. You can read more about how to successfully use social media in our five ways to maximise your social media article.
Lastly, don’t just start on social because “it’s a thing”. Research where your audience is most active and what content they like to consume. Also look at your content offering, and what social platform is best suited. Longform articles are easily linked on Twitter, but if you have a highly visual product, Instagram would be a much better choice. Start small, and use your more comprehensive strategy to grow and nourish one platform, before you move on to add others.
Here are some further helpful articles:
Digital Marketing Strategy
With your knowledge about the tools mentioned above, you can start thinking about a digital marketing strategy. Just like in offline marketing, you will need to think of how you want to approach specific audiences, with what content, and via what channel. We don’t want you to lose sight of your end goal after all these short introductions, so get started on your digital marketing strategy with these foundations.
If you feel like digital marketing is not your cup of tea, or you don’t have the time or the resources to do it yourself, get in touch with us. We have experience in an extensive array of online marketing channels, and we gladly help your business in getting the most out of its online presence.