“Digital marketing” is a term that keeps evolving. While it may seem new, it goes back to the early 1990s. At that time, companies started posting banners on their sites. Then Yahoo, one of the first major search engines, took this to a much more formal level, allowing companies to post banners on their website. Doing so created a whole new form of advertising.
Today, digital marketing is much more than just placing and clicking on banners on websites. Yes, banners are still found and still useful, but digital marketing also includes social media postings, videos on company websites and different video platforms, email newsletters, content marketing, and other tactics. The key goals of all these digital marketing strategies are the following:
· Improving the search engine optimization (SEO) of a company website
· Brand awareness
· Connecting with current customers to build brand loyalty
· Connecting with prospective customers to begin the sales funnel
· Sales and conversions. Visitors see your content, in one form or another, and soon purchase your products or services.
Before starting a digital marketing program, there are some steps that must be taken. First and foremost, determine their goals. For instance:
· Are you looking for more customers and sales?
· Are you looking for customers in a new area or new industry?
· Are you primarily interested in people knowing about your company and it’s services? Non-profits often fit into this category.
· Are you interested in improving your site’s search engine optimization (SEO)?
· Taking this a step further, are you interested in making the first page on search engines?
If you are looking for new customers, but your site is not coming up in search engines, then your website is not working for you. Further, if your company name is coming up in search results, but you are not listed on the first page, it still may not be working for you. According to Moz, a leading SEO company, 71 percent to as high as 91 percent of all searches never go beyond the first page.
Beginning the Digital Marketing Process
So, for those organizations deciding to venture forward and take the next step in the digital marketing revolution, before doing so, they may need to ask themselves a few more questions. Among them are the following:
Who are your key competitors?
Research who your key competitors are and then see if they are employing digital marketing strategies. If so, what are they doing that you believe might be helpful for your company? There is no harm in replicating what a competitor is doing, but trying and improving on what they are doing.
Who are your current customers?
Our facility service provider, for instance, found that most of their clients were architectural and design firms. Wanting more of these types of clients, they focused their digital marketing efforts on those sites frequented by people in these industries.
What digital marketing strategies should we do first?
In most cases, the first step is to develop a blog or a content marketing program. This can open doors to many opportunities. For instance, content from blogs can then be spread around the Internet, posted on all types of social media sites. With links going back to your company site, prospective customers now have the opportunity to learn more about your company and your services, resulting in a potential customer contacting you.
Which platforms should we use?
Immediately, most people think of Facebook and Twitter. However, if yours is a B2B focused organization, these platforms may not be the best. LinkedIn is far more effective as a B2B marketing platform. Plus, it allows users to now only post items, but publish articles. Published articles in LinkedIn do get picked up in search engines and can be very powerful.
These are just some of the things to consider about digital marketing.
More may develop as you get involved with it. For most marketers, however, the most important thing is to get involved with digital marketing. Even with all the “noise,” it has created, it is still proving to be one of the most effective marketing tools we have.