Business owners have been marketing their products to consumers for hundreds of years.
And they’re still going strong:
The notion of a fool-proof marketing strategy that hoists sales through the roof is the holy grail of business owners the world over.
But in an age when technology is hallowed, it is digital marketing that is increasingly the focus of just about every company in the world.
In essence the rules haven’t changed. The trader (no matter how big or small we will still call them ‘traders’) has in mind to entice a passer-by to stop and look at what products are on sale in the hope that once they see the product – and know that they can’t possibly live without it – they will buy it.
This process of generating leads and enticing them through your sales funnel thereafter is a fundamental principle of good digital marketing, since it is this conversion of the possible into the probable that is crucial to the survival of a business.
As you may expect, digital marketing is a way of trading by use of the internet. As such it describes the processes of our internet-based selling. Whether we access the net through a PC, tablet or mobile phone it is to the internet that we head to find our customers.
We’ve filtered the bilge to bring you the top ten most commonly asked questions about digital marketing.
1. When do I see results from my SEO strategy?
A tough question to answer, but we’ll try our best.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation, but do you know what it means to your business? Or how it can help your cause? Or how best it should be applied?
If you’ve been in this game for a while you will know that central to the principle of SEO is the ranking (and, if you’re doing correctly, the ongoing improvement of said ranking) of your business’ brand.
SEO serves two main purposes:
- To assist with a website’s relevant indexing, thus enabling a search engine such as Google to find and to deliver the site according to search parameters, and
- To demonstrate relevance, popularity and reputational content and, in doing so, promote the website as one of proper reputation and fine standing.
But SEO is ongoing.
Unfortunately, there is no definite digital marketing answer to the question of how long it takes to ‘work’ because in theory the work never stops. Though we will say you should start to see an impact from your efforts in 6-12 months.
SEO strategies are ones that must be sustained, added to, tweaked, reviewed, reinstated and discarded…
You get the message.
2. Why should I blog?
Because, in short, it is self-generated and controllable content.
To include a blog on your website is all the rage these days inasmuch as a well-written blog defines your business as reputable. And, because Google places a great deal of emphasis on brand signals, a reputable business gets ranked better in their search engine than one with a poor reputation.
Within your blog posts you – as the owner of the business – should decide what to write about. Consequently, you can beef up your blog posts with whatever temptations you wish. To distribute marketing content to a wider audience (140 million people read blogs in the United States alone according to webimax.com) there is no better way than by regular blogging.
But make sure it is well written! Your blog post is a means to extol the virtues of your business. It must be authoritative and appealing in order to deliver an experience your readers keep coming back for.
3. How does organic ranking differ from paid traffic?
Visitors that have reached your page by an organic method have done so because your SEO strategy is working. Users need no longer search for your business name verbatim or for your specific industry provisions in order to find you.
Organic ranking is affected by brand recognition, brand awareness and online popularity. To improve your standing organically takes time and patience. It often comes as a result of traditional marketing measures and the optimising of user-time by your enhancement of the trustworthiness of your site.
Paid traffic (via channels such as Google ads, Facebook ads, YouTube ads and so on) is a more immediate means of promotion of your brand name, products and/or services.
One of the more popular ones is AdWords which is an advertising platform hosted by Google from which businesses run ads for their sites. In the olden days a town crier would have been an equivalent measure!
Your ads will appear on the top or side bars of a results page (and usually above the companies that have succeeded organically). After all, Google relies on revenue from ads to make profit, so it only makes sense that they place ad results above the organic listings.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean you should prioritise paid traffic over organic, since organic is likely to provide your site with more targeted users. And don’t forget, paying for traffic doesn’t always mean you’re profitably paying for traffic.
4. What does lead generation mean?
Let’s step back in time once more to answer this one.
Remember, business owners have been trying to entice people to buy their products for a long, long time. Before money was even thought of traders would barter with different products and would accept payment with material goods that would prove useful to their everyday existence.
No matter how they got their custom the process was – and still is – simply one of appealing to a possible consumer and generating leads.
To engage someone with your brand is the first step. Irrespective of whether a person has considered previously the worth of your product, everyone is a potential customer.
Lead generation is about enticement to view a product (or service) more closely. The closer they get the more chance there is for you to interact with them.
In the age of digital marketing, lead generation involves the collection of prospective customer contact info (such as their name and email). And once your business acquires these valuable contacts you can then reach out with email marketing, product videos, etc. and draw in the customer.
5. What is keyword research?
Because keyword research matters to Google it should matter to you too.
Without taking the time to identify the short- and long-tail keywords potential customers generally include in their searches, you’re unlikely to succeed in your digital marketing efforts.
If you don’t use valid and well-considered keywords in your content, Google is likely to consider your website to be generic, non-targeted and unspecific. And as a result your reputation, no matter how great it is among your local community, will perish online.
Specifically targeted and well-considered keywords are a cornerstone to success on Google, and the search engine behemoth will then consider your site to be active, meaningful and reputable.
Therefore, to know what words and phrases your target audience is using to search for your products and services is vitally important. Doing so will also provide you with an insight into what words your competitor is using in their SEO strategy in order to plump up their ranking.
6. Is video production part of digital marketing?
Video promotion is a growing arm of digital marketing because consumers wholeheartedly love it. As a result of its popularity, video marketing can dramatically increase visitor numbers.
If we’re being blunt, video is something that should already be a part of your arsenal of SEO techniques. And if it isn’t, it should most certainly be one of your highest priorities.
People watch an average of 1 billion hours of video content on YouTube every single day. Its use to your marketing strategy is as a flexible and engaging content format easily shareable across multiple platforms.
To make your own short video presentation is extremely worthwhile but be sure that you do the background work on the promotion and be sure that it is of worthy quality. The problem with video marketing is seen through the amount of substandard videos currently in circulation.
7. Can Google really penalise a website?
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that Google is some lumbering dinosaur with poor eyesight and dull reactions. Google is switched on, and these days it is more switched on than ever.
If you indulge in ‘black-hat’ practices you will, sooner or later, be penalised. Black-hat marketing defines techniques and tactics focussed on the manipulation of search engines rather than the appeal of the human interface.
Some black-hat techniques include keyword stuffing, duplicating content, poor or irrelevant linking and over-linking, among other things.
Stick to white-hat tactics that need not be so aggressive to achieve results. Doing so will allow you to maintain the integrity of your website and stay within a search engine’s terms of service.
Simple as that.
8. What are metatags?
Metatags (and a variety of metatag called meta-descriptions) refer to background HTML text that describes your website and summarizes the purpose of your business.
Metatags are used by search engines in their indexing of your business. They are not as purposeful to the rankings as keywords are, but they still serve a valuable purpose of identifying your business.
If you were to take a look at the HTML coding of your website (you can do this by right-clicking on any part of a website and selecting ‘view page source’ or by pressing Ctrl + U) you would see a section that usually falls beneath the heading ‘<!– META DATA –>’.
It is here that you (or your web developer) will enter such information about your company that will assist in a customer’s search.
Or, if you operate your website using WordPress, plugins like SEO Yoast provide very easy access to meta description in particular.
9. Can web design affect SEO?
In a word: Yes.
Web design directly affects the way users interact with your site, and since Google now places such a significant emphasis on user experience (UX), the design and functionality of your site is hugely important. If a website is short on appeal, clunky to use or and generally dulls the user experience, then it will sink from view.
Websites must be designed with the following in mind…
A website that is optimised for the user will climb the ranks of Google. In other words, a website designed around an intuitive ease of operation, navigation, understanding, and that is fast to load is the one that will enhance a user’s experience.
Conversely, a website that is slow, muddled, illogical and confusing to the eye will not reap the same reward.
After all, how can your visitors become even potential clients if they’re unable to find what they need or if they’re forced to wait more than a few seconds to discover something about your company? They’ll just head to one of your competitors who do have a sleek and fast-loading site.
10. Can I increase website visitor numbers straight away?
It is possible to artificially inflate visitor numbers. But to employ techniques to generate an immediate rush of visitors should not take the place of the overarching need of the business to organically develop its reputation.
One such technique is the deployment of social media interaction. Including links to your website in your Twitter, Facebook and Instagram posts is proven to entice visitors to find out more about your products and services.
Talk online about your promotions, freebies and time-limited offers in order to urge potential customers to your site.
Doing so too often will render the technique useless after a while since your visitors will become wise to the tactic.
Digital marketing is not a complicated notion.
It involves the combination of the techniques of traditional marketing with web-savviness. The clarity of your message and the timing of your promotions are important aspects of interaction with online clients, especially in a marketplace full of competitors.
It will not do to fill your website with keywords and hope for the best; nor is it useful to your reputation to employ black-hat aggression. In order to solidify your place as a reputable company – and to show Google just how reputable you are – you need simply to be transparent and authoritative.