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May 12, 2020

Digital Marketing Basics

Digital Marketing Basics

Digital Marketing wasn’t invented yesterday; it has been constantly evolving and adapting for over 20 years. Despite this, there is still a lot of confusion around the importance of digital marketing. After all, in today’s world people tend to use digital devices before or instead of visiting a physical store to buy something.

Not knowing your ALT tag from your title tag is nothing to be ashamed of... Digital Marketing comes in many forms and the internet search engines don’t make it intuitive to understand.

That is where digital agencies can help... they will educate you on the basics of digital marketing and how it can help you succeed. The principles are often for an international eCommerce store or a simple blog that supports a family run business.

What is Digital Marketing?

The best way to define digital marketing would be something like:

“Utilising the Internet and Digital Devices for marketing purposes. This comes in many forms including websites, search engines, social media, emails and more.”

There is a myriad of online platforms that allow your marketing to reach hundreds of thousands of people. Something that you just couldn’t do in the pre-internet age.

These platforms all provide analytics, that allow you to learn and adapt your digital marketing strategy and customer targeting instantly. The ability to fully understand the return on investment (ROI) of your marketing effort allows you to experiment, switch off campaigns that don’t work and constantly improve those that do.

Let’s take a look at the different digital marketing disciplines and try and simplify them.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

SEO sounds technical right out of the box! But it really isn’t. This is a set of processes designed to improve the quality of your website as far as the search engines such as Google and Bing are concerned. Helping them to understand the context of your web assets so that they can present them with the highest relevance when searchers enter matching or related keyphrases in the search engine bar.

If the processes are followed you will have a much better chance of increasing the overall natural ranking on search engines such as Google.

Remember. Aside from making a lot of money from advertisers. Google wants to make sure that the results it offers searchers are the most relevant possible. Your SEO strategy needs to have that front and centre of mind if you are going to succeed.

Ranking: The position that your website shows at for a specific keyword search. For instance, P25 means position 25 for the search term being used. This actually equates to page 3 of the search engine results. A place that searchers rarely venture to.

To understand the problem with rankings we should look at a Google search results page.

Natural ranking: These are rankings that are not paid for.

We’ve searched for digital marketing and this is what we get.

About 3,450,000,000 results! That is a lot…

The first four results, the ones sitting ‘above the fold’ or in the users view on desktop and mobile are all paid for ads.

These are followed by a combination of natural ads in P1-4, then there are video links, a few more natural links and then some geographical links, and finally a few more natural links and four more paid ads.

So, it's super important that you’ve done as much as you can to rank well on SEO.

This process when followed successfully gives an organic improvement because you’re not directly paying search engines to appear at the top of page one.

Google uses an extremely complex algorithm to monitor and crawl every website on a regular basis to determine who should rank where on the search pages. With the worst sites being banished to the depths of page 3 or further. The algorithm rigorously combs through sites taking lots of factors into account.

According to reports, there are 1.72 billion websites in the Google index!

The following factors are considered important for natural ranking:

Website Quality:

• Is your website mobile responsive? – This is a big one for 2020! 80% of users used a mobile device to search the internet in 2019

• Is your website user friendly? – Google wants to send its users to the best of the best sites, so it is important your website is easy for visitors to use and navigate.  This is known as user interface design or UI and makes sure that there are no dead ends, broken links, missing menus or buttons and links that are too small to click on mobile devices.

Page Quality:

Do your pages include popular and relevant keywords, internal and external links, alt and title tags on images and links? These are just a few of the key areas to focus on when creating an SEO friendly page on your website as they all help to tell Google about your content and its overall subject context.

Making sure that you do the above well also increases the chance of your content being linked to from external sources, therefore further increasing contextual information to help Google rank your pages better for user searches.

Content Quality:

Be sure to create content that is needed within your industry or vertical and is packed with valuable information and relevant keywords that will help and benefit users to achieve an outcome. You don’t want to throw keywords and blogs together hoping they stick for the sake of it. You need to research the information that your users are looking for and create content that will score highly for matching keywords when your users make those searches.

Don’t forget the popularity of voice search now with tools such as Alexa, Google Home and Siri. Try to add sections to your content designed to answer question-based searches.

When you create the right content, structure the right way, your indexing improves, your rankings get better and your traffic grows. This is natural SEO and Google will reward you.

Social Media

Social platforms are an integral part of any Digital Marketing strategy in 2020. Social Media allows you to connect with hundreds of thousands of people on an international scale, 24 hours, 7 days a week, 365 days of the year!

Some of the key sites you should look to take advantage of are:

• YouTube
• Pinterest

Give us a follow while you’re there :)

All of these sites boast huge userbases and all have their own unique features; -

Facebook – This is the biggest platform by far! Facebook has more than 2.45 billion monthly active users. Because of this Facebook gives you the ability to reach a lot of people on a more informal and personal level.

Twitter – This is a very unique platform that is quite hard to crack with typical content methods. Twitter is all about talking. It is more about engaging with users, creating and joining in on trends and less about sharing your own content. It's popular with journalists, politicians and famous personalities.

Instagram – A picture tells a thousand words. Instagram is the biggest photo-sharing platform in the world, allowing you to showcase your incredible snaps. The key with Instagram is to share pictures that standout and not the standard product images from your website and to get involved with hashtags that are relevant to your brand.

LinkedIn – For the professional. LinkedIn is geared towards professionals. It allows you to network and build your professional portfolio. This platform is a bit more of a niche when compared to other social platforms as it’s so B2B orientated, but you can find success on a B2C level as well!  The platform allows you to generate content directly, link to eternal content and use hashtags to add relevancy.

YouTube – This is the biggest video sharing platform on the internet with 1 billion hours of YouTube videos being watched a day (More than Netflix and Facebook video combined!) YouTube is perfect for sharing pretty much any video idea you have because you can bet there is probably an audience for it. You can also buy advertising on this channel to promote your brand in video pre-rolls.

Pinterest – This is another platform that provides an unrivalled service. Pinterest is all about sharing to a community of people actively looking for inspiration, products and services they’re interested in. Pinterest is now the third-largest social network in the US overtaking Snapchat.

The majority of Social platforms offer users in-depth analytics which allows you to constantly adapt and learn. It also plays a part in other Marketing Strategies like Paid Advertising and Content Marketing.

Paid Advertising

Paid Advertising comes in different forms, but the main two and probably the most important strategies you should look at utilising are Google Ads and Social Ads. By focusing your time and budget on these two areas you’ll unlock the ability to advertise your website and services on the front page of the biggest search engine and directly to users on social platforms.

Both platforms offer unique services that allow you to promote your company. Different industries see success in different areas. For Example: As a Consultancy company Google Shopping Ads won’t be available to you, but you will likely have success with LinkedIn ads, so the main aim with paid advertisement is finding the best platform and to identify an ad strategy that you can measure and refine over time.

Google's platform is called Google Adwords and comprises 4 main categories:

• Search Ads – Reach people who are looking for your products and services
• Display Ads – Re-market to customers across the web with your products and services
• Video & YouTube Ads – Promote your products and services on video pre-rolls or banners
• Mobile Ads – Connect with your prospects on the go

These are the 4 key areas that allow you to find customers wherever they are online. These then break down even further – For Example in the Search Ads category you can utilise Shopping Ads.

We’ve provided clients with notable success using Google Shopping Ads, for example, the SME online retailer Bay House Aromatics.

This client has well priced high-quality products which allowed us to build out campaigns on Google Shopping accompanied with a standard responsive Google Adwords campaign. The campaigns combined are returning an overall ROI of 1:38 for the client. That’s £38 realised for every £1 spent!

Most of the main social media sites also provide an extremely smart advertising platform allowing you to reach people directly. As we highlighted above each social media platform offers a unique type of audience in which you can pinpoint by using different interests and shopping interests.

What to watch out for with Online Paid Advertising

The biggest mistake we see when clients try to do their own paid search advertising is a misunderstanding of keyword frequency and cost.

If we had a pound for every client that told us Adwords is too expensive and doesn’t provide a return we’d be rich. Sadly, Google gets rich for this very reason. Clients don’t drill down into the detail before hitting the go button.

Most online advertising platforms rely heavily on keywords, they are the key (Pun intended) to reach the right audience. By going deep and building a comprehensive keyword strategy both your Paid Ads and SEO will thrive over time.

It’s also important to note that ‘longtail’ keywords are an effective way of reaching users and are more likely to convert.

For example, If you provide online courses for Social Media you wouldn’t use “Social Media Marketing” as your keyphrase as it would be very broad (returning a lot of searchers) and there is a risk that it would get a lot of irrelevant clicks (that you have to pay for).

A common misconception with these broad search terms is that brand owners think that traffic is the golden bullet. These search terms often drive a lot of traffic. But that traffic is not relevant converting traffic, so it costs too much and that puts the brand off online advertising.

You will see less traffic, but more relevant converting traffic when using the ‘longtail’  For example; “Online Social Media Training For Facebook Advertising” despite having a smaller monthly search volume, it will be more specific to your brand which will improve Ad quality score and send users who’re actively looking for this type of service.

Did you know?

Internet traffic funnelled through pay-per-click advertisements bring up to 50% more lead conversions than natural organic web traffic.

But, If you structure a landing page on your website to match this keyphrase, it's very likely that it will score well in the natural search rankings too.

Email marketing

Email marketing has been a valuable marketing method for the longest of time. In fact, the first email used for marketing was sent in 1978! This is an important way of building relationships with potential leads to current and past customers. This is because of the direct connection an email can provide by reaching a user’s inbox.

For this reason, we call email marketing ‘push marketing’ as opposed to other forms of digital marketing which are known as ‘pull marketing’.

When used in the right way Email Marketing can be an extremely effective way of increasing conversions. In fact, it’s been proven that email often generates the highest level of ROI of any digital marketing channel.

We see high levels of success with a number of clients, Fellows Auctioneers for example. With the help of Star Digital, we have worked together to build a comprehensive strategy that segments visitors into categories to match their interests. By doing this we can advertise products and services to people who are actually interested at the right time. This allows us to personalise a user’s experience and in return increase the retention scores and lifetime value (LTV) of each visitor.

Credit: Fellows.co.uk

With e-commerce providers such as Shopify, you can also utilise the power of Abandoned Cart Emails. These allow you to connect with website visitors who have failed to checkout. These can be extremely effective in upping order completions.

Abandoned Cart Emails don’t have to be overly complicated; you’re simply reminding a recent visitor that they’ve left the checkout. It’s easy to configure these emails to incorporate additional incentives such as free shipping or an exclusive discount to complete the sale. In 2019 it was reported that in many cases Shopify Abandonment Emails boosted merchant sale completions by 40%!

Credit: https://www.shopify.co.uk/blog/abandoned-cart-emails

We’re Shopify Plus Partners, so if you need further advice on Abandonment Emails on Shopify then please give us a call {Insert link to call

Did you know?

Hubspot claims that emails can generate $38 for every $1 spent!

Content Marketing

Another form of marketing ultimately related to SEO is the process of creating quality content that is for a targeted online audience; this includes social media posts, blogs, videos, podcasting, Infographics and emails.

The list of qualifying channels is daunting, but if you follow the process of properly planning, creating, distributing, sharing and publishing content you will be using a content marketing strategy.

The key to building quality content requires you to answer 3 qualifying questions:

• Is it valuable?
• Is it relevant?
• Is it consistent?

By answering these questions you’re on your way to creating content that can help your business:

• Rank on search engines
• Improve brand awareness
• Boost sales
• Connect with your audience
• Engage future prospects and customers

Content Marketing is an effective way of boosting your brand and growing your audience.

At Star Digital we work with clients to create content strategies and utilise AI to serve up relevant related content to users when they arrive on your website.

We also know how to engage online and offline publishers to advertise and share the content we’ve created. Utilising an outreach and content marketing strategy can be a great way of exposing your brand to an untapped audience.

As well as the benefits of growing your brand, creating an optimised content marketing and outreach plan will also improve your website’s SEO. Valuable and relevant content that is updated consistently is a big plus in Google’s eye; it tells them you’re a website that offers information that will improve and enrich their users experience.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss digital marketing services, please get in touch.

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