The Fundamentals of Digital Marketing
Learning the fundamentals of digital marketing can help boost your business and increase your online visibility. Digital marketing encompasses many different angles. Understanding a little about each one can help you decide where you want to focus your attention. It is not necessary to go all-in on every aspect of digital marketing to see success. You may be surprised at how something as simple as optimizing your website for search engines can benefit your business.
As mentioned above, one aspect of digital marketing is search engine optimization or SEO. Other components of digital marketing include website design, content marketing, email marketing, pay-per-click advertising, and social media advertising and marketing. To utilize these different components, you will need to familiarize yourself with various ad platforms, such as Facebook Ads and Google AdWords, social media platforms, such as Twitter, and content management systems like WordPress.
How you implement the fundamentals of digital marketing into your business depends on your knowledge base, whether you have an existing business or are starting a new business, and whether you are doing the work yourself or are hiring an outside agency. Understanding the basics allows you to make informed decisions about your marketing plan.
Your Website is Your Calling Card
Don’t underestimate the importance of a well-designed, responsive website. It is not enough to have your business name parked at an outdated site. Your website needs to be organized, have up-to-date information, and look amazing on both computer and mobile devices. It is also essential that it loads quickly.
Appearance and loading speed aren’t the only things that matter. There are things you can do behind the scenes that boost your website ranking. This is known as search engine optimization. Having a well-optimized site is important because most people never move beyond the first page of search result rankings, and many do not scroll past the initial few offerings.
There are a variety of ways to boost your search engine results. As mentioned above, your website should be fast. If your website doesn’t fully load within 3 seconds, the majority of users will back up and select another result.
It is also crucial that your site is mobile-friendly. You will get many, and perhaps, the majority of users from smartphones and tablets. A site that works great on a desktop but isn’t optimized for mobile is nearly useless.
Security is also important. Whether you have an e-commerce site or not, your site must be secure. Make sure you have a valid SSL for your site. SSL, or Secure Sockets Layer, is a security protocol that relies on encryption. Today most encryption is done through transport layer security (TLS) but the term SSL is still the most commonly used. Talk to your website designer about website security. A secure website is important for your customers, and it also has a positive effect on search engine results.
Another key to creating a website that performs well on search engine rankings is to make the navigation clear. Make sure each page of your website is located in a position that makes sense and that the navigation between pages is easy for users.
Investing time in your website to ensure that it has great visibility on search engine results pages is well spent. This visibility is known as organic search traffic. Organic results is another way of saying unpaid, which is your website position that occurs naturally, without paid ads. It is where your website is located on the results page when someone enters your targeted keywords.
Search Engine Optimization
SEO is an acronym that stands for search engine optimization, which is the process of optimizing your website to get organic traffic. Meaning, if someone searches Google for a keyword (phrase or term) in Google, they find your website.
Finding the right keywords for your business is one of the best ways to bring in organic traffic. Once you have determined what the best keywords are that best fit your business, you need to beat out the competition that is using the same keyword. Once you obtain a first-page placement for a high traffic search term, your website can see a flood of organic traffic. The implementation of the process is one of the biggest wins a business can have. In my opinion, it’s off of the biggest aspects of the fundamentals of digital marketing strategy.
How do you Rank for a Keyword?
There are rumored to be hundreds of different ranking factors that Google uses when deciding what pages deserve to be on the top page. While backlinks from trusted, authority websites on the web have proven to be the most effective, there are many cases where excellent content will rank without backlinks.
Other quick SEO wins include:
- Incorporating the keyword into the URL of your website. When a search engine crawls your page, it’s looking for hints as to what your website or page relates to. Make it easy by spelling out the keyword in the URL and title. You can include the keywords in other ways as well, although it is important not to overdo, or use keyword stuffing. If the search engine believes you are using keyword stuffing, your ranking will suffer.
- Reduce popups and advertising. User experience is essential, so make sure you have a fast loading website that people will spend time on. Annoying sites that people click away from having been corrected to poor search results
- Your web page title is a great place also to include your keyword. The title tag is what you see on the search engine result page, the hyperlink that you click on. Integrating your keyword into the title tag, in a way that makes sense, will boost your search engine results. The tag should be less than 70 characters to ensure it isn’t cut off in the listing.
- You can also include the keyword in your meta description, which is a short (3 lines or less) description that is shown under the title on the search engine results page. The meta description should be less than 155 characters, make sense, be easy to skim, and include at least one keyword. Including keywords in your content, particularly in headings, will also boost your search engine results.
Great SEO sources for those looking to get started in SEO include:
- Moz – Backed by the largest community of SEOs on the planet, Moz builds tools that make SEO, inbound marketing, link building, and content marketing easy.
- Ahrefs – Audit your website, explore competitors, research keywords & backlinks – all in one place. Powered by seriously big data & trusted by top SEOs.
- Backlinko – It’s time to get backlinks that make a difference. Backlinko is the place for next-level SEO training and link building strategies.
Social media platforms are not just spaces to waste your time. They can be a great way to build name recognition and find new customers. They are also great at building confidence in your brand and providing relevant updates to existing customers.
There are many different types of social media, and each has benefits and drawbacks. It makes sense to claim all relevant social media channels, such as Facebook and Instagram, for your business, whether you decide to focus on integrating digital marketing with them or not. This prevents another company, perhaps one with a similar name, or worse, your competition, from claiming the page before you do.
Once you have your social media pages set up, you want to integrate some form of social media management. There are management platforms that allow you to manage all of your profiles, such as Twitter, Facebook, and Linked In, through one system. These management systems also streamline handling online interactions.
Email Marketing Works
While social media is popular, email marketing is the preferred method of communication for the majority of online consumers. A strong email marketing campaign has a high return on investment.
Email marketing only works if your emails are opened and read. Don’t fall into the trap of bombing your email list with emails, as that is the quickest way to have people unsubscribe. Instead, create emails that have value, so your targeted customers will open them, and include an offer that encourages them to click.
Pay-per-click advertising is the opposite of organic advertising. With pay-per-click, you place ads on a pay-per-click platform, such as Facebook or Google. You only pay for your ad when someone clicks on it. The fact that consumers have chosen to click on your ad means they are qualified and interested in your product. This means you are only paying for qualified leads.
You choose where your ads are displayed, such as the audience and specific search phrases they appear for, which allows you to target who sees your ads easily. You can also see how your ads perform in real-time, making it easy to adjust your marketing strategy.
Why Content Marketing Adds Value
Content marketing appeals to many businesses because it doesn’t feel like traditional advertising. You are providing relevant, useful information to your audience. Providing value, rather than inundating viewers with ads, boosts consumer trust, and encourages readers to take action.
The fundamentals of digital marketing strategy includes a variety of materials. You can post to a blog, provide a regular email newsletter, offer case studies and white pages, imbed videos and webinars, offer free e-books for download, and more. The key to a strong content marketing strategy is to provide relevant information that provides value. The information is not salesy. It can be challenging to see how this is part of a digital marketing strategy, but it is. A strong content marketing strategy builds relationships and improves website ranking.
A successful digital marketing strategy is made up of multiple components. Building a strong Instagram following is not enough to sustain a company, but it can be a great tool for building an email list. Once you have that email list, sending out regular, but not too frequent, emails that feature quality, valuable information that is not overly sales-oriented, with an occasional call-to-action, can help you grow your business.
Making sense of the many facets of digital marketing and how they work together is not easy, but it is simple. Once you start improving your site, implementing quality keywords, adding original content, and cleaning up your social media channels, you will see what works and what doesn’t. Modify, analyze, and never stop working on adding value. The digital landscape is always changing, and you need to pay attention if you hope to keep up.