Article written by Rupert Rowe
Digital marketing should already be an essential cog in your marketing machine because whether your goals are generating sales from your Ecommerce website, awareness for your brand or leads for the service you offer, in terms of cost-effectiveness, nothing does it better than digital marketing. Of course I would say that, and here is why….
If you’re still on the fence about whether to invest in digital marketing, this guide should give you a good understand of the origins of digital marketing, the channels available and which ones may be worth it for you. For those familiar with this, feel free to skip over to the trends section.
A lot has changed over the last year or two, with the rise in popularity of voice enabled devices, voice navigation becoming an increasingly used feature in mobile phones, as well as the rise of Internet of Things (IoT); the start of the year is a good time to brush up your digital marketing knowledge and set out a plan for the year ahead.
With so many choices of platform, devices and audiences, it is important to understand the features and benefits of each so you can take an informed decision about where to invest your marketing budget.
The Origins Of Digital Marketing
The term ‘digital marketing’ can be traced back to the early 1990’s when the Archie search engine was created. This indexed FTP files and worked alongside the huge stores of data that companies were collecting, allowing them to track customer information. The result was the ability to target a customer with more relevant marketing material and essentially was the beginning of modern digital marketing.
Competition and increased usage led to an increased use of digital matter which enabled the first clickable banner ad going live; as long ago as 1994. It could be argued that the success of this ad is what drove digital marketing forward. Estimates suggest 44% of the people who saw the ad clicked on it i.e. click-through rate (CTR). Sure, you could make the case that it yielded those high CTRs only because it was a relatively new concept but it was a good metric nevertheless.
Of course digital marketing really started to take off in the 2000’s when the internet started to become more commonplace and not just reserved for the tech-savvy amongst us.
Moreover, the introduction of mobile devices and other ways to access the internet on the move such as tablets (called Personal Digital Assistants back then), over the last 20 years, has driven increased growth and transformation of digital marketing.
Types Of Digital Marketing
There are several different ‘types’ of digital marketing, and by type we’re referring to how it is implemented and the platforms put to use.
Social Media Marketing
Even if you don’t use social media platforms like Facebook or LinkedIn to share information about your business and your products no doubt you’ve heard about advertising on it before. This is a great way to engage with potential customers and promote your products and in terms of maintaining brand loyalty, it is perhaps the most effective way of increasing and maintaining awareness for your business.
But, you do need to choose the right channel for your products / services. Each social media platform has its own features, use-cases and what it can deliver for your business, you just need to choose the one that best suits your objectives.
Not all that you publish as a business will be about sales and neither should it be. You need to publish a lot of useful and informative content online for people to engage with in order for them to find out about you, your services and what you could potentially do for their business. These are all important factors to most potential purchasers. Good quality content will pass on valuable information while engaging with the customer; it needs to be easy to read and appeal to your target audience.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the method by which you rank your page within the first few positions on the search results. You need to choose keywords that are relevant to your business i.e. those likely to generate leads or sales for you and then go about implementing a SEO strategy to promote the content and the website.
The key is to choose the right keywords for your business as this can make or break your SEO campaign.
To make things more complicated there are many different strategies within SEO that will have a huge effect on the campaign’s success.
Get in touch to find out how we can help with your digital marketing campaign
Search Engine Marketing is another way to ensure that you maintain visibility across the various search engines across paid for channels. The pricing models for SEM will vary from one channel to another.
For e.g., in Pay Per Click (PPC) Google is the undisputed leader. When it comes to display marketing aka impressions, which is how often a prospect sees your ad, Facebook leads the way.
Pay Per Click (PPC)
Simply put, PPC marketing is when you pay each time someone clicks on your ad
Compared to SEM which is often based on impressions, PPC costs work on a click basis only and they are therefore generally more conducive if lead generation is your goal.
Another way in which you can increase the awareness for your business and generate more sales is to use affiliate marketing links. In short anyone can list a product that you’re selling on their own site. If they end up selling a product of yours you pay them something. Think of affiliates as your network of sales personnel.
The great thing about this approach is that there are no limits to the number of affiliate links you can have and you only pay out after a confirmed sale. This dramatically reduces any risks associated with online marketing campaigns.
The email has been a wonderful invention not just for personal communication everywhere but for marketing purposes too.
In terms of acquisition costs, few platforms can rival the cost-effectiveness of email marketing especially when you’re marketing out to a warm or hot list i.e. your previous or current customers and qualified prospects.
You can use email to market just about anything – a new product or service launch, an event or sale you’re having, updates about the company or simply to stay in top-of-mind of your customers.
The only caveat with email marketing is not to overdo it as it only takes a single click for your audience to have had enough and them abandoning your list.
It may seem old fashioned but advertising on the radio can still work very well for certain types of businesses and offering. A lot of people listen to the radio at some point during the day and often at times when their attention is undivided for example in the car or at work.
SMS messages sent directly to your phone is an established digital marketing technique and works very well for most B2C industries especially those in the restaurant trade and/or offering local services.
WhatsApp is often touted to be the next iteration of SMS marketing but hasn’t quite taken off fully yet but with Mark Zuckerberg planning on integrating Whatsapp, Instagram and Facebook, hopefully this is going to be on the rise, giving businesses yet another way to interact with and market to potential customers.
Prospects For The Digital Landscape In 2019
The traditional way of carrying out digital marketing is via a single channel. This could be something as simple as telling your existing customers to invite their friends to support your business; you could even offer an incentive to ensure people take the right action.
Alternatively you can do what Facebook and several other firms do and invite all your friends for you; you’ve given them permission somewhere in the small print. This is still a single channel approach but a very effective one.
Although this method does still work, it is no longer as effective as an omni-channel approach which as the name suggests, you target users at multiple ‘touch points’ and at different times.
With the myriad of ways consumers now engage with content online, from different devices, starting and stopping and then starting the explorative journey again, building a marketing campaign across multiple channels will dramatically increase a campaigns potency and effectiveness in 2019.
The internet has swollen to such a size that all the digital marketing channels are being flooded by online businesses. In order for you to stand out from the crowd and reach those customers you need to hit all the channels possible.
The types of digital marketing discussed at the start of this guide are all important, but the key here is you can’t target just one of these channels; you need to be utilising as many of them as possible in order to ensure your business is seen and heard as often as possible. This will help to ensure you are the first one they think of when after your specific product; helping to ensure they buy through or from you.
In addition, there are certain trends that are likely to be prevalent all of 2019 so it helps for you to familiarise yourself with these.
Understanding & Utilising Voice Search
It is estimated that by 2020 half of all the searches done on the internet will be by voice search. Searching using voice commands is the natural progression of the smart home systems such as Alexa and Google Home, and the beauty of these devices is that you will be able to find information on what you need while completing other tasks. This is important as most people lead exceptionally hectic lives making anything that saves time a hugely desirable commodity.
This means that you should start thinking about optimising your site for voice searches in order to ensure you are at the top of the page rankings when searches that are displayed may be read out on these devices. This obviously depends on the products you sell as it is widely accepted that repeat buy items are benefited by voice search where as one-offs and unique things will generally remain as they are in terms of search strategy.
The good news is that the tactics you are currently using for SEO and content marketing are still very relevant. In essence the voice search is no different to a typed search the only difference being the length of the search query.
Your website, the amount of time it takes to load, it’s engagement (or lack of it) are all important factors too so here are some things you can do to improve it:
In order to rank high when a voice search is performed you need to have pages that load quickly. You should take a look at each page and remove unnecessary clutter, pieces of code that are weighing the site down, heavy images and anything else unnecessary. The faster your page loads the better.
If your site is not already on HTTPS then you need to incorporate it today! This is essential for SEO and so must be an essential part of your digital marketing campaign in 2019.
It is important to keep your answers short. Users are increasingly asking long questions but want short answers that can be easily digested on the move.
You should perform a voice search on some of your keywords regularly to see how high you rank and what pages are linked; this will help you to improve your marketing focus. It is important to remember that people will phrase the same question differently; you need to infer the intent of a question not the literal response.
Getting good quality of traffic to your website is only half the job. You need to make sure that the website is doing the best it can to convert those visitors. and , it doesn’t matter whether you have a Shopify powered website you use to generate sales or a WordPress site to generate leads leads – having an engaging website is a must.
Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) – The Facts
Most marketing people don’t like to think about the conversion rate; after all marketing is about making people aware of your brand and getting them to visit your site. However as wonderful as it would be to have 1 million followers this is not much use if none of them are purchasing your products.
You must consider how to maximise your conversion rates. Whilst there are several great guides on this subject online, this section is about giving you a basic understanding of CRO and making your website more ‘conversion-friendly’.
The first step is to establish where the majority of your customers are coming from. You’ll probably find that an increasing share is coming via mobile devices. If your site is not optimised for mobile devices then you are going to lose conversions; people need to be able to see all the relevant information without having to scroll left and right continuously.
Your site needs to look good on a mobile device, be fast and be exceptionally easy to navigate – this is where my friends in UX come in. The longer a visitor spends on the site the more likely they are to become a customer. Don’t forget that people do still access websites on laptops and desktops, the screens are different sizes and your page needs to adapt to all of these sizes effortlessly and instantly. If you have an eCommerce website then simple things like showing when an item is out of stock will help customers not to waste time and help prevent them from leaving your site annoyed.
It’s also a good idea to create several mock sites and test them for conversion rates. This can help you to find the design that works best for converting visitors into customers. You can then change your official site to match.
Another key point is to answer the question of “why should I buy from you?” This is actually more important than what you are selling! Once people have connected to you and believe in your brand you’ll be able to guide them through purchasing your product. You can do this by making it instantly very clear what you do and what your values are.
You can do this with a prominent image and simple slogan. Although it’s simple, it will improve your conversion rate.
Conversion optimisation is intricately linked with leverage funnels. This is actually true for many of your digital marketing strategies and the reason why it can appear so complicated. A leverage funnel is the process of gently guiding the customer from their first awareness of you down to their ultimate purchase.
Not every customer will complete all the stages, hence the potential customer numbers will diminish creating the effect of a standard funnel. Getting this process right will help to ensure the maximum number of visitors possible will end up purchasing from your site.
The first stage is to identify the need. You’ve made the product but you need to let everyone know that they need it. This can be achieved through content marketing, SEO and social media, by illustrating your product and demonstrating its value, you’ll create a need for it.
Next you need to proceed to the second stage of the funnel, this is where potential customers will search for information regarding the product they now know they need. 70% of people will use a search engine to find out more info; you need to have your keyword orientated content ready to help them realise that you are offering the best product for their needs.
Stage three involves checking out the competition. This is when you need to have something unique on offer, whether it be an introductory discount or some other sweetener. If you’ve done these stages correctly the visitor will see your product as the logical choice and proceed to purchase.
At this stage you can attempt to up-sell a better version of your product or even use a down-sale to encourage the purchase. In addition you can link to other relevant products and increase your income via cross sales.
It is important to record the data from each customer, you will want to confirm the lifetime value of your best customers and offer them extra incentives as they past certain thresholds; this will help them to stay loyal.
People may tell you that content marketing is on the decline as more people use alternative ways to find the answers they need.
In fact the real threat to content marketing is the number of posts on the internet, all saying similar things. You need to design content that is unique, memorable and most of all, easy to read.
Content marketing remains one of the best ways to get your site established and known; with the right content and links you can build a good reputation. To do this you need to develop your content marketing plan today.
As mentioned all content should be original but it should also be relevant to the visitor. It can be difficult to make content personal but it is important as this will increase your conversion numbers.
Alongside this, some links to local and even national leaders of your industry will help to establish your reputation and advocate your brand. This will help you to get the visitors and conversions you need to stay competitive in 2019.
You probably won’t find it surprising to learn that video content is becoming increasingly popular. Videos can help a subject to seem more entertaining as well as allowing potential customers to feel like they are connecting with a real person in a more interactive and visual way.
Videos need to be short and informative but they are also a great way of showcasing a specific product. However, remember it’s a video so you need to treat it like a mini-film and create a storyline that shows the value of a product without needing to feature the product too much.
This will appeal to the emotional side of a potential buyer and increase your conversion rate. Don’t forget many visitors will only stay on your site for approximately 10 seconds; your video needs to get straight to the point!
If you can get someone to forget reality for a minute and make them laugh then your video is sure to gain more traction. Tagging it across different channels as much as possible will help it to be seen which in turn will increase the likelihood of it turning up in organic results.
Finally consider adding podcasts to your digital marketing strategy. A whopping 45% of podcast listeners have a household income above $75,000; that’s a lucrative market you want to be accessing.
A podcast can be listened to in the car, while working, cooking or even when doing the gardening. This means people can be finding out more about what you have to offer when they wouldn’t normally have the time to be surfing the internet.
The great thing about a podcast is that your latest podcast will be made available, via applications such as iTunes, without you needing to do anything. Your customers can access you without any effort and all you need is a script and somewhere to record it; the script doesn’t even have to be rigid.
You can also add advertisements into your podcast breaks which are surprisingly effective at creating sales.
The Bottom Line
Digital marketing in 2019 is set to become even more competitive as more and more businesses began to abandon traditional forms of advertising in favour of going digital.
Looking at the types of marketing in this article and the trends that are likely to prevail in 2019 can leave you feeling a little disorientated; but it doesn’t have to. By creating a plan you can tackle each of these elements one step at a time; ultimately creating and applying the perfect digital marketing plan for 2019. Of course, if you’re unsure in any way or need some extra guidance then you can simply ask for the advice and support you need.
It’s great to have someone there to help you, try us out today to see just how much we can benefit you!
Those words were uttered by the famous Peter Drucker during the direct marketing days and well before digital marketing became omnipresent. However, his quote is perhaps now even more relevant (anyone try to measure the success of a leaflet drop campaign?).
Google Ads can be an invaluable Pay Per Click (PPC) tool to help your business generate more leads and sales and one of the reason for its ubiquitous presence is just how well it can work when you know what you’re doing.
However, the very reason that has made it so popular is also the same reason it has made it an incredibly competitive digital marketing channel and a very easy way to lose money if you can’t accurately track how well your PPC campaign is paying off.
Enter conversion tracking.
Ultimately you want to track not just the obvious conversion action such as a sale but also secondary call-to-actions such as enquiries, downloading a promo code, newsletter signups and others applicable to your business as many times, secondary/sub goals could, in fact, turn into your primary one(s).
The benefits of having conversion tracking in place should be self-explanatory but here are a few to motivate you:
Get qualitative data
Conversion tracking allows you to deep-dive into your campaign data and get various insights which you could use for other marketing efforts. For example, once you know which keywords are driving leads and sales and which ones simply result in tire-kickers, you can use this valuable piece of information when formulating your SEO strategy.
As importantly, you can begin fine-tuning your campaign, lowering your bids or pausing nonperforming keywords altogether focusing as much as possible on the keywords likely to positively impact your bottom line.
Another example is getting to understand your audience and buying habits better. For example, by looking at your conversions on a device-level, you can get insights such as what device your customers use to buy from and then lowering your bids on devices that are least profitable.
Sell more! Ultimately, the purpose of a Google Ads campaign for most small businesses is going to be sales (not brand awareness).
If you find that your Google Ads is working relatively well (think good Quality Scores, high click-through rates, low Cost Per Clicks) but it isn’t resulting in the expected ROI, there’s a good chance that your website or landing pages are the bottleneck.
By making improvements to the pages to which you’re directing your traffic, not only can you ultimately sell more but it would also have a positive long-term impact on all other digital marketing channels where you’re using the same landing pages.
Improve your marketing ROI
Whilst Google Ads is an incredibly effective source of lead-generation, your return from your ad spend will vary greatly depending on myriad factors such as how competitive your industry is, the quality and buyer-intent of your chosen keywords, how well your campaign is set up and much more.
By looking at your lead and sales acquisition costs on a channel basis, you can decide where your marketing budget is best spent and tweak your allocation accordingly.
Not only will it enable you to find out exactly how much you’re spending to acquire each customer through your Google Ads campaign but also help you make strategic decisions when deploying multiple marketing channels such as which one is more cost-effective and therefore to focus on more.
Hopefully, now that you’re convinced about the importance of conversion tracking here’s how to get started…..
Setting up Conversion Tracking
Ultimately, the Conversions view on your Google Ads should look like this, with multiple goals and events having been configured.
You’ll find an informative guide on how to set it up on Google Ads’s official resource but here’s an overview:
- Head over to the Conversions section of your Google Ads
- You’ll be presented with a range of options for setting up conversions. Unless you’re selling a mobile app, you will want to select the other ones.
If you already have goals set up in Google Analytics then click on the Import option and you will be able to import your GA goals into Google Ads without having to set them up again
For new installs, select the Website option and you will be able to all configure conversion actions that apply.
The Phone Calls tracking is an incredibly important and useful feature which allows you to track conversions that originated via the phone. Whilst this may be less important for eCommerce websites, it is a good idea to have all of these in place.
Head over to this guide on the official Google Ads website for more on how to set up conversion tracking via phone calls
Here’s a simple guide on what to enter as values when defining each conversion:
If you’re using an eCommerce website powered by Shopify, WordPress WooCommerce or another popular shopping cart plugin, it is fairly easy to setup conversion tracking for your primary call-to-actions via Google Analytics.
Head over to the eCommerce section on the admin section of your GA profile and enable eCommerce tracking.
In most cases, you won’t need to do much else and once you import these goals into your Google Ads campaign, you can even see exactly which products you sold, their total value, how much spent to generate that sale and a host of other KPIs.
TIP: Whilst you’re in GA, it’s a good idea to switch on eCommerce search tracking so you can also see what products your users are searching for.
For advanced marketers and eCommerce businesses, there are some other KPIs you may wish to track to get a more insightful view into your campaign performance and ROI:
- Conversion by traffic source: Where are your converting customers coming from? Once you combine this with the cost per acquisition of each sale, you can use this data to determine where you should be investing in driving traffic
- Conversion of new vs. returning visitors: Segment conversions of new visitors vs. returning visitors. Conversions for returning visitors are traditionally higher.
- Secondary conversion to first: By looking at conversions by each call-to-actions, you can determine how valuable secondary conversion actions are (e.g. what % of newsletter signups convert into a sale ultimately)
- Profit: What remains after you subtract the cost of running the store and all marketing expenses (don’t forget to take into account what you pay your eCommerce marketing agency)?
And, that sums up how to set up conversion tracking.
As always, if you need help at any stage or want to know how to setup Google Adss or conversion tracking for your own site, feel free to get in touch with Diffusion Digital and we’ll be happy to help.
Each time you place a Google search you are essentially asking for a recommended list of websites relevant to the nature of your search. To be able to serve up these recommended results Google has to crawl billions of web pages, determine their purpose, rate their quality and then rank them within its index.
As of 2017 there are at least 200 known factors that influence this ranking process. Here are some of the main factors that influence how Google rates the content on your website.
Your content needs to be original and distinct from similar content available elsewhere online; otherwise it runs the risk of being flagged as duplicate content.
A common misconception of duplicate content is that Google will punish you with a penalty, but if that were the case wouldn’t there only be one recipe for pancakes available online?
Instead, Google will simply rank the page it considers to be the best quality and the duplicates of it will be given less weight in the search results.
Correct Use of Heading Tags
Heading tags, commonly known as H tags, are used to break apart content into a logical hierarchy – much like the contents section in a book.
Google uses these tags to follow the structure of your content and understand which parts are more important or relevant than others.
As a general rule of thumb the main title of your page should be a H1 and your content should be broken up using H2 subheadings.
H3’s and H4’s can then be used for less important subheadings, such as titling separate columns of links within your footer.
Where possible your H tags should include words and phrases related to the subject of your page.
Minimum Word Count of 300 Words
Google uses an algorithm called Panda to find websites with thin content – generally accepted to be pages with less than 2-300 words of unique content.
Any less than this and you run the risk of ranking lower than more in-depth pages due to your content being too short to offer any significant value to a searcher.
Worse still, if thin content pages on your website are very similar in terms of style and layout, they could potentially be mistaken for duplicates of each other.
Image ALT Tags
Visually impaired users often use devices known as screen readers to describe the contents of a web page to them as they browse.
The screen reader is able to dictate text to the user, but is unable to ‘see’ images like a human would, relying instead on an alternative text description (alt text) being added to describe the image.
Google looks favourably on pages that cater to visually impaired users as it shows that the website cares about the experience of all its users.
The internet is like a popularity contest where each link placed to another website is considered to be a vote of confidence in their favour.
The more people that link to your website, the higher your domain authority will be. This authority is generally accepted to be a score of how well a website is doing – because if your website was that bad why would anyone be linking to it?
If you are placing links within your content to other websites, it’s worth making sure that you are happy to be associating yourself with them.
Additionally it’s important to make sure that none of your external links are broken as this can imply that your content is outdated or poorly researched.
So in Conclusion
If you want to get the best possible results with your content then always write original, engaging and useful material.
If you get that right then you’ll keep both your visitors and the Google bot happy.
Do you need help with optimising your website? Read more here about Search Engine Optimisation and how you can organically drive more quality traffic to your site.
Google Analytics (GA) is something that most of people have heard of, some have integrated with their website, but few know exactly what it does and just how it can transform your business from a digital perspective.
Visitors to your website will come from various places – a search engine, an advert, an email link etc. Knowing what the main sources of traffic are gives you insight to the strength of your SEO, your ad campaigns and other incoming links. If, for example, you are running an ad campaign, you can track how much traffic has been generated through these ads, as well as other specifics such as keyword usage and day part peaks, all of which can be analysed for optimisation purposes.
One of the most important reports in GA is the keywords report. Keywords are vital to figuring out how your search traffic is finding your site. It is possible to see what words / terms, used in searches, have resulted in the most traffic. This info can be used to modify the content on the site for SEO purposes and can inform you as to which key words you should be targeting for ad campaigns.
Knowing the profiles and behaviours of visitors to your website is extremely useful. With GA you can find out geographically where the traffic is coming from, age and gender information, and visitor behaviours such as what devices they are using (desktop, mobile, tablet etc.) and whether they are new or returning visitors. This data can help you adapt your web site and shape your marketing activity to best meet the needs of your visitors.
Page Popularity & Bounce Rate
You can track average time spent on pages and bounce rates, giving you insight to which parts of the site are most popular and where there are bottlenecks. A high bounce rate (when a user leaves your website having visited just one page) indicates that the visitors are not finding the information they want or are struggling to navigate through the site. Understanding as to where this is happening allows you to modify the content and structure the site to help reduce these rates and therefore increase engagement.
GA is completely free of charge and offers just as many, if not even more, functionalities than most of the other paying tools on the market.
GA is a great tool for increasing the effectiveness of your online presence, no matter what the size or nature of your business is. Outlined in this article are just some of the main things that you can do with GA. There are many other functions on offer in GA, including social and email reporting, sub domain management and revenue tracking, making it a seriously powerful marketing tool that should not be overlooked.
We have a dedicated team at Diffusion to support our clients with the set up and on-going management of GA, as part of our website build offering. Please do get in touch if you would like to find out more.