The Internet has completely revolutionised the way that many businesses operate. It has changed how they advertise, sell products, perform market research, find employees, provide customer support and much more.
The Internet has also helped businesses reach new markets. Businesses of any size can reach customers on the other side of the planet with a well-made website or social media campaign. This rapid expansion of markets has seen many startups become multi-million dollar success stories in a few short years.
To really get the most of the Internet, businesses have to develop a set of effective digital marketing strategies. They are online marketing techniques that your business can use to gain more customers, build brand awareness, cultivate leads, and much more.
One of the most important digital marketing strategies is Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). It is aimed at increasing the visibility of your web properties in the search engine rankings of websites like Google.
For business owners not familiar with digital marketing or SEO, all of this lingo can be a little confusing! This article will demystify digital marketing and SEO, then explain why they should be critical components of your business plan.
How Does Digital Marketing Work?
Digital marketing refers to a group of online marketing techniques. Businesses can pick and choose from these techniques, developing a strategy that meets their requirements. The most commonly used digital marketing strategies include:
Business owners can work with a digital marketing consultant to develop a bespoke strategy that matches their business objectives.
How Does Search Engine Optimisation Work?
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is one of the most common terms you will hear when discussing digital marketing. Although it sounds complex, it really isn’t. SEO involves sending signals to search engines, showing them that your pages are worth including in search engine results.
You are ‘proving’ to Google that your site is valuable for people using their search engine. Once you prove the value of your website, Google will reward you with a high ranking that produces a lot of visitors!
So, how do your ensure website is valuable? Search engines want to rank websites that are high-quality, trustworthy and have authority. In simple terms, that means:
Search engines like Google actually use extremely complex algorithms to determine a website’s quality, trustworthiness, and authority. That’s why businesses usually turn to SEO professionals to optimise their website and fulfil the ranking criteria that search engines apply. Some of the techniques that SEO professionals use include:
Why Does Digital Marketing and Search Engine Optimisation Matter?
Here are a few of the reasons why digital marketing and search engine optimisation are absolutely crucial for your business:
We hope you enjoyed reading Marketing Strategy and SEO: How It Works and Why It Matters? If you want to discuss how to use digital marketing or social media effectively for your business, please contact us today!
To be creative and successful at social media you need to follow some guiding principles, a lot of people jump straight into social without any planning, and find out very quickly that it’s not working for them. Clients come to me and say ‘I want to do social media better’ or ‘social media isn’t working’ or ‘I don’t find the time to do social media constantly’. This is all too common the result of poor planning.
Understanding the brand voice is fundamental in making social media meet your goals. One of the first things we do at Start Marketing is to understand the business from the inside out, what makes it unique and what’s it’s personality. Look at the business as if it were a person, are they funny or serious, friendly or formal, this really helps you shape the tone of voice.
What are the key objectives of the business and how can social media help achieve these goals? If you are looking to branch out to a new audience or have new insight into your existing audience behaviours and want to tap into it, it’s important to share these with your agency. Knowing the objectives allows you to measure your success on social.
Research what the trending topics in your industry and follow the thought leaders to understand what people are engaging with. Then plan your content topics into an editorial calendar, considering carefully which social channels you think are best for your brand and how many you can manage effectively – don’t try to do them all. Once you have your topics think of a witty and engaging headline, often top 5 or top 10’s are popular as the reader expects it to be quick and easy to read.
An image can speak a thousand words. A striking image and witty headline can grab attention from the reader and help you stand out of the crowd. You can use gifs, infographics, memes to mix it up a bit. Use video too as this can be an effective and engaging way of conveying information, even better live video is becoming increasing popular if there is a way you can make this work for your brand.
Try to come up with fresh, new and innovative ideas and build mini campaigns around the year. Think if what you are writing will make a difference, will your reader find it interesting or helpful? Have a look at some successful social campaigns and think about why you think they were successful – most of the time it will be because it is different, clever, original and most importantly – planned!
At this time of year there are so many articles and blogs detailing the top trends to watch out for in the new year, it makes it hard to actually wade through them and focus on what’s important for your business.
We have done the hard work for you and found the 3 most important trends you as a small business or start-up should worry about this year. So forget reading the rest, just read this one.
I’m sure you are aware that social media is imperative for businesses these days, no matter the size or stature of the company, customers want to see an active presence on sites such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
As a start-up business social media can seem a little intimidating. How are you ever going to stand out from the crowd amongst a sea of hundreds and thousands of other, similar companies within your industry? And can it actually help you to achieve your goals?
Prior to going live on social media it is a good idea to jot down a list of objectives that you hope to achieve with this marketing channel. From improving customer service, to increasing discussion about your brand or product, there aren’t really any wrong answers. Within this strategy it’s also really important to plan what social media channels you’re going to use. Not all social media is right for all businesses. Some companies that are very visual (e.g. food and fashion) will benefit more from platforms such as Pinterest and Instagram whereas some will struggle to populate those channels. Once you have the channels you want to be active in then you can create a content calendar so you know what you are going to be posting or tweeting about in advance, this can be built around campaigns and events.
When it’s time to take the plunge ensuring you have key imagery ready for each of the platforms is key. A bright, eye-catching logo and cover image are so important, particularly for Twitter and Facebook, as the lack of either can give a bad impression to prospective customers. Ensuring that all the imagery is branded is a great way of maintaining consistency and uniformity amongst your social media pages, however this isn’t imperative.
The information you display on your social media pages is entirely up to you, however, the more details about your business that you share, the better. Make sure you display your website URL, a short blurb about your business, your location and your contact information. All of these little information nuggets help build up trust with your prospective customers.
Having an open line of communication with your current customer base and/or prospective future clients is why so many businesses find social media so important for them. Utilising these platforms can also save you a lot of money in regard to a full-time customer service role. Pretty much everyone has access to Facebook these days, and it’s generally their first port of call when they’ve had an overly bad or good experience with a business. So, it’s recommended that you keep a frequent eye on your platforms to pick up any comments, whether they are positive or negative, so you can reply in a timely manner.
Don’t get stuck in a rut when it comes to social media for your company. Make sure you review your strategy on a regular basis, keeping an eye out for developments on each of the platforms that you use, so that you can utilise these advancements. Also, as your business grows, so too will your requirements when it comes to social media. What channels you may have initially disregarded, you may find use for as your company grows.
Most of all, don’t be afraid to experiment. As a start-up, the early stages are all a big learning process, and that counts for social media marketing too, and, you only truly grow by making mistakes and learning from them.
Ask any small business owner how important marketing is and they will likely agree that it’s one of the most important keys to a successful SME. But in the day-to-day reality of management it’s often one of the first things to be overlooked or have resource cut from, particularly when on a tight budget.
But whatever the status of your marketing initiative, there are a few essentials that you cannot afford to skimp on, so here are three Marketing Musts to ensure your SME has the best chance of success.
Your Website is your Window
Despite the old saying, books are statistically always judged by their covers within the first 8 seconds of seeing them. The same is true for your website, the single most important touchpoint for SME’s. You need to showcase your offer quickly, cleanly and memorably before the potential customer changes browser tabs and you’ve lost them.
There is of course no one size fits all solution for how best to do this, and different market categories have different norms and conventions that need to be conformed to or, in some cases, disrupted. Knowing the competitive landscape is important here, so take the time to research what the other guys are doing and ensure you stay ahead of the curve. Free analytics tools can show you engagement metrics with you pages and content, so you can really get a handle on what works and what doesn’t.
And with 27% of ecommerce sales coming from tablet and mobile, ensuring your site is optimised for these devices is essential.
When looking for inspiration for website design, do what all great advertisers do and steal! Awards bodies like http://www.webaward.org/ have a back catalogue of past winners so you can see how other small business have cut through with creativity.
Strengthen your SEO & PPC
Having a beautiful website of course, is useless if no one can find it. While you can use available marketing budget to boost your findability with PPC (and make sure you take advantage of free credits when you do), as a standard you should be ensuring your touchpoints are optimised to ensure they are discoverable by the major search engines.
For your website, there is a lot that goes into this, ranging from optimizing your social channels, to optimizing the content on your site so that your snippets (the little bit of blurb you see with search results) are the most clickable they can be. But as a general principle you want to ensure that your site is delivering against user needs and ensuring your page content delivers against the most common search queries, which can be achieved with search engine optimisation (SEO).
For local business that rely on footfall, there are other important discoverability touchpoints in Maps services and review sites like Yelp. Ensuring your listings on these sites are up to date, with the correct contact information, opening hours etc is crucial to capture people using local search. Something that seems simple but is disproportionately effective are photos – having lots of up to date, high quality pics of your business and product makes you look as good as you can do to potential visitors.
Streamline your Social
Every Facebook user knows that social is important, and marketers often sound like cracked records for going on about the various different social platforms and the need to be utilising them at every opportunity. However, for small businesses this approach really needs to be scaleable, as unlike big brands with content teams they likely won’t have the resources to be active on every social network.
It really important therefore to find the platforms that can really work hardest for you. Facebook is still a standard, but with Twitter’s numbers dwindling there is good reason to question if you need to supply real time information. Similarly, platforms like Snapchat offer a great way to connect with and engage an audience, but with over 50% of UK users being under 24, it could well not be right for your audience. For some businesses such as Food or Fashion, a visual presence will be essential so Instagram or Pinterest should be considered as a primary platform. And with the rise of livestreaming apps like periscope, consider how you could use this for some interesting content like a live q&a, product unveiling or grand opening.
With any network you might want to use, ensure your content is authentic to you and is right for the platform, and, with video, not too long (don’t forget - most users click away from a video within the first 6 seconds!).