In the not so distant past, this would have been unimaginable. Cost and access were major barriers to advertising. Therefore, the marketing benefits of advertising were limited to those who had large enough marketing budgets to afford both the product costs and advertising costs, TV ads for instance.
The digital world transformed online marketing, with the four key benefits focusing on reach, target market precision, direct communication, and cost.
To get the most benefit from digital marketing, you really need a website. While people have been successful with just a platform page. However, if you only have a platform page, you limit the options available to you.
First, and foremost, a website is a communications tool. For most, it is the end point for all of their digital marketing efforts. Therefore, we need to make sure that it communicates well.
Communication is something that we all do. However, some are inherently better at it than others. Fortunately, there are some basic web design principles you can use to ensure that it highlights your key points in the proper order.
Users want a site that is fast, intuitive and responsive. Users care about finding the right information 7 times more than do aesthetics.
This does not mean that we should have an unattractive site, but it means that we should use our knowledge of design best practices to ensure the most important and salient information is clear and easy to find.
Data suggests we should shoot for a targeted load speed on mobile of under 3 seconds. However, some argue for under 1 second. We care because mobile has become the dominant device for accessing the web. If you are too slow, you close yourself off to a large part of your audience.
Now that we covered some key points in web design, we are ready to discuss the benefits of digital marketing to marketers large and small.
There are 3.5 Billion searches per day, according to Internet Live Stats. To put this into some perspective, that nearly half the total global population. Estimates vary, but the average person conducts three or four searches per day.
The sheer volume of searches speaks to its reach and frequency. Customers interact with search every day. This highlights the importance of ranking well so that your products or services appear on the first search engine results page (SERP).
Almost 90% of all search volume goes to the sites listed on 1st SERP. In that same study, roughly 30% went to top position and nearly two-thirds to the top 5. This speaks to the benefit of search engine optimization (SEO) so clearly.
Even with the best SEO, it’s unlikely to make the top spot for multiple keywords (KW) or phrases. However, it is important to try to land in the best position possible. We cover the basics of SEO best practices in our Simple Easy Guide to SEO ebook.
As we just covered, ranking in the top spots across all the keywords and phrases that apply to your business is extremely difficult to impossible for most. Paid search and other pay per click (PPC) platforms is like the VIP entrance to a crowded venue. It lets us skip the line.
Like buying a VIP ticket, it costs money for that privilege. The average cost per click (CPC) varies by industry. This chart from WordStream provides some perspective on the range of possible pricing.
Just because you pay for a KW does not automatically mean that you will get it. The easiest way to think about SEO and PPC is to consider the goals of the platform.
Google, for instance, wants happy searchers, which means they want users who find the information that they want on the first click. This is how Google came to dominate the search industry. They focused on relevance.
Happy searchers are more likely to become cheerful prospects or happy customers. In this way, we have aligned goals. Therefore, we should place a premium on relevance. Relevant ads, pages, landing pages, etc. are weighted more highly in both paid search and SEO.
It is important to remember that it’s not how relevant we think it is. It is how relevant the searcher does. We consider our work more relevant that our audience may. This is to be expected.
This all goes back to communication is a messy business. A good digital marketing strategy helps you to understand the needs of your customers better and the language they used to talk about them, so you can communicate better in your digital marketing campaigns.
Social media is under a lot of scrutiny these days because of how successful it has been in allowing reach and direct access to your audience with no filters.
Marketing is built on the same principle that social media is. Humans group with others who hold similar beliefs and attitudes. In marketing, we call it segmentation.
Before social media, segmentation was clumsy because there was not as much personal data available. Social media improved segmentation by orders of magnitude. By leveraging social networks, postings, and other data, we could narrow our target audience and reach them with precision.
Like any tool, it can be used constructively or destructively. As such, I think we will experience a trend towards less targeting ability than more.
Social differs from search in several ways. However, the clearest difference is that social media is passive. You go there to be informed, entertained, reply, etc. rather than with a specific question in mind.
In speaking about this difference, it is helpful to think of an interaction with a customer in phases. Typically, this is called the sales funnel. While the sales funnel doesn’t exactly mirror actual life, it is a helpful organizing principle. The classic sales funnel has 3 parts:
Intercepting a customer on a social media platform differs from search. With search, you are dealing with the top of the funnel (TOF), which focuses on awareness. Depending on how complex a sales process you have, you may have all funnels on social. However, for most, social is a TOF tactic.
In search, however, you engage or intercept consumers in the latter part of the TOF, but more than likely in the middle (MOF) or bottom of the funnel (BOF). Unless you already have a strong web presence, in organic search it will be hard to rank for short keywords or short phrases. The longer phrases are more specific and tend to MOF or BOF.
The genuine beauty of social media as a form of marketing is that it allows you to communicate with your customers or potential customers directly. It is relatively inexpensive and a great way to raise awareness. Through your posts, it allows your potential customers to learn about who you are and what you do, without investing much effort. It also helps keep you top of mind with current or lapsed customers.
Since most of the prospects at this stage are unlikely to go further, social is the low-cost way to manage them. You can manage those who convert to leads more personally with other tools, while you are not spending a great deal in time or money on those who never convert.
It may seem odd to discuss Email with Chatbots together, but they both could share one thing in common, a real, richer dialog with a consumer.
Nearly nine out of every ten marketers use email marketing to distribute content organically (content marketing). 81% of small businesses rely on email as their primary customer acquisition channel, and 80% for retention. - Oberlo
The last and most important point regarding email is list building. This should go without saying. Never buy a list. The only way to get these types of ROI is from an organically built list. Emails have the best conversion rates and are very cost effective.
Natural language processing has revolutionized the capabilities of bots to communicate more naturally. Bots are cheap and simple ways to help with customer service and conversion. They can be as simple or as complex as your path to purchase.
Voice is likely the future of search, and therefore, some voice enabled search may become commonplace in the future. Having a bot that can process both text and voice queries is an excellent investment if you decide to build a bot.
In closing, I would like to leave you with these digital marketing benefits:
ProStrategix has been recognized by Design Rush as on of the Top Digital Agencies in New York.
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Brian Cairns, CEO of Prostrategix Consulting. Over 25 years of business experience as a corporate executive, entrepreneur, and small business owner. For more information, please visit my LinkenIn profile
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