Attracting more prospects online with these core aspects of digital marketing
Digital marketing is no longer ‘the next big thing’ or ‘something to get round to’.
It is the current marketing paradigm, and no business can afford to neglect it.
The digital world is however constantly changing, and what worked as part of a digital marketing strategy as recently as last year may well not work today. Similarly, new methods for getting found online are always emerging over the horizon.
Here we’re going to take a look at some of these, and provide some tips to help you make your company’s online presence a digital success story.
Master your website
At the heart of your digital marketing strategy should be your website, and making it work properly should remain the focus of everything you do.
A good website can be broken down into three core components, and here we give the lowdown on the use of each in 2016.
Today your website doesn’t just have to look and feel good. It has to fulfil multiple purposes consistently across a vast range of devices and screens.
According to statistics compiled by Econsultancy, smart phones and tablets accounted for 45% of all e-commerce web traffic in 2015. This means that if your website doesn’t display well on (i.e. is not ‘responsive to) smaller screens, you may well miss out on almost half of your potential sales.
Responsive web design automatically resizes and configures your web content to the size and shape of the screen it is being displayed on, helping to ensure a smooth user-experience across all devices. If you’re unsure how your site is currently displaying and behaving on mobile, take a look at a mobile emulation site like http://www.mobilephoneemulator.com/.
After the appearance and usability of your website, the content you populate it with is the single-most important factor that will attract traffic.
Today, bland, generic content won’t do – you need to offer something more to fight off the considerable competition that exists across all sectors. Having content that is well-written is a no-brainer, but you also need to offer web users something substantial that they can get their teeth into – something that offers value.
Content that offers value is generally a decent length (think 500+words), contains plenty of links and is presented for easy consumption (i.e. broken up with subheaders). Your content must also be zeroed in on the things that are important to your customers – the keywords they’re searching for – and as we can see below, having the right keywords is increasing in importance.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Right now the two most exciting things happening in the world of SEO are semantic search and artificial intelligence.
Semantic search means that the search engine recognises not just the words but the concepts behind searches, and, to some extent, the intent of users.
So if you’re a bit of a medieval history buff and you’re searching for ‘iron maiden’, Google is likely to show you pages about the historical implement rather than the heavy metal band.
The most prominent use of artificial intelligence in search meanwhile is Google’s ‘RankBrain’, which was described as the third most important ranking factor in the search engine’s algorithm by Google’s senior research scientist Greg Corrado last year.
RankBrain uses mathematical datasets known as vectors to effectively guess the best results for words and queries that it hasn’t seen before. According to Google, RankBrain is already processing a ‘very large fraction’ of searches on a daily basis, and this is likely to increase dramatically in the coming years.
So what do these two developments mean for your digital marketing strategy? In essence, that you’re going to have to be as honest, as relevant and as comprehensive in your web marketing as you can.
Google may be getting smarter, but digital marketers shouldn’t see this as a problem – the search engine wants to return the most relevant answers to its users’ queries, and as long you are providing these then you should do just fine.
Use social media the right way
Social media today is much more crowded than it was five years ago, and you really need to do things right to make yourself heard above the din.
Here are a few ideas to help you stand out in 2016:
- Be brand consistent – When posting on social media, ensure that everything you post is aligned with the brand image you convey on your website and through offline channels. This should be true not just of the type of things you say and topics you discuss, but in the ‘tone of voice’ that you use to express these.
- Post regularly, but don’t overload – In order to grow a following and consistently engage with your core audience you should keep a steady flow of posts coming through on your social accounts. Tools like Buffer and Hootsuite make this easier by enabling you to schedule your posts all in one go. It’s important to remember though that if you post incessantly without saying much at all, people will soon get bored/annoyed and unfollow you.
Over on Buffer there’s a good post on how frequently you should post on social media, including 3+ times a day for Twitter, two times per day on Facebook and once a day on LinkedIn.
- Work with algorithms – Because there’s so much content flowing through social media giants, they’ve quite naturally had to develop ways of filtering their content to determine what people see. What this can mean is that even if you’ve got a Facebook page with 10,000 followers, your posts may only be seen by several hundred people. There’s no sure-fire way to increase your reach (other than paying Facebook a nominal amount to ‘boost’ your post) but creating posts with timely themes and keywords can increase their reach dramatically. It’s also worth bearing in mind that your reach is affected by the number of people who ‘like’ or ‘hide’ your posts, so do try to be likeable.
- Be interesting and relevant – Most businesses are on Facebook and Twitter these days. If you want to stand out you need to consider what content you can create which is particularly interesting, useful and unique.
- Drive traffic to your website – Having a social following is great, but if it’s not resulting in more sales or enquiries it may be pointless. Remember to post content which links back to your website.
Harness the power of email marketing
Email marketing is another arrow in your quiver which can be utilised to drive additional traffic to your website, and to generate interest in what you have to offer from those who have already engaged with your brand. Developing a successful email marketing strategy takes time and you should pay attention to metrics like open rates and click-through rates.
If your email marketing campaigns are currently falling flat on their face, look to adjust things like your subject headers, and the style, length and topics of your content. According to statistics compiled by Salesforce, 64% of people open an email because of the subject line, while 84% of consumers open emails from companies.
Again, remember that your main aim here should be to drive traffic back to your website, so include compelling links and calls to action.
Need to know more?
Here we’ve taken a look at some of the biggest factors in play in digital marketing at the moment, but there are many more factors large and small that affect your strategy. If you’d like to know more about the specifics and how they relate to your business’ online strategy, get in touch with C4B Media.