4 Building Blocks of Digital Marketing
Digital marketing has become so much more than just a buzz word. It’s a form of communication, a marketing principle and a cornerstone of many businesses. Most people define digital marketing as the marketing tactics that connect a company to its audience online.
While that definition isn’t necessarily incorrect, it’s not a full picture of its capabilities either. It’s a combination of theology and actionable strategies that combine to give your company a face and name in your community. At a technical level, there are four key components to an effective digital marketing effort.
A website is the base piece of your digital marketing strategy. It’s your little corner of the Internet where you can be selfish and talk about how great you are. It’s where you get to talk about your products or services and the benefits that your business brings to consumers.
It’s great to make a pretty website, but if no one can find it, the effort can be a waste. Consumers are increasingly using smartphones and tablets to find information about businesses and products. Your website has to be built with mobile in mind and cater information to how users want to consume it.
The quote is “Build it and they will come.” In the age of SEO and the Google Algorithm, that just isn’t true. For consumers to find your website, you need to implement a SEO strategy.
Page titles are the text you see in a browser tab. It’s also the title that shows in search engine results. Your titles should match the content of your page, while using keywords that your target audience is searching. This will help search engine crawlers find and catalog your website pages to present to users.
While these descriptions don’t benefit your SEO score, they give consumers a brief taste of what will be on your website. Write them correctly, and users will be more likely to click through to your page and stay there.
Most consumers won’t read every word on your web pages. They will skim the headings and read the sections that most interest them. Search engine crawlers also take note of headings when cataloging your website.
Images can be great for telling your story, but they can also slow down the load time of your website, giving users an excuse to leave, so use them selectively. For the ones that do make the cut, customize the “alt text” of that image so that if those images will not load, your visitors still have an idea of what the image is about. It also tells search engines what the image is.
This is the organization of text in your URL. It’s best to use keywords that describe the content on your page that are separated by a comma. If you have previous websites, it is necessary to add 301 redirects that forward users from your old website to the new one.
A website gives users somewhere to go, and SEO tells them how to get there. Content is what keeps users on your page and what drives your digital marketing strategy. Not only will it help with your SEO efforts, but well-written and timely content will help you attract the right kind of user and then convert that user into a customer.
The easiest way to create and disseminate content is through a blog. The most important part of starting a blog is to stop thinking like a business owner. Users go to blogs looking for answers to their questions. They want relevant and valuable content, not a sales pitch.
Blogs offer you a place to show off your expertise about a specific industry or topic. That doesn’t mean use jargon. That means educate users. Speak to them in a way they will understand. It makes it more likely for them to stay on your page, and will automatically increase your keyword searches.
Many business owners put off starting a blog because they don’t know what to write about. The easiest way to start a successful blogs is to start with the questions you hear most often from prospects about your industry. Write a post answering each of those questions each week for two months. At the end of those two months, look back on the content you created. Were there topics that your consumers really liked or wanted more information on? See if you can expand on those topics. Just remember these key components as you write your content:
Make sure to use compelling titles
Titles are the first thing a user will see when scrolling through your blog. Make sure your titles are engaging enough to make them want to click through and read what you have to say. However, if all you write are click-bait headlines, users will go look for information elsewhere. Your headlines need to be catchy, but also relevant to the content behind them.
Make sure it is easy to understand
Once you get a user to click on your post, you have about five seconds to pique their interest. Users will be more likely to stay on a post that is structured and formatted in a way that is easy to understand. Sub-headings, and bulleted and numbered lists break up long pieces of content to make it easier for users to skim for the information they need.
Images, videos, slide decks or infographics make blog posts more appealing and memorable. Aim to have at least one relevant image per blog post to make your post more visually appealing for your users.
Now you can put your business owner hat back on. What do you want your reader to do with this information now? Do you want them to read another blog post, find out more information about your product or sign up for a free trial? Don’t assume users will naturally want to click around on your website. Tell them what to do next.
Blogs are great for content marketing beginners. Once you have a handle on creating and sharing content, it’s time to move on to more long-form pieces of content—such as white papers, ebooks or reports—that can be gated. These gates help you turn users into leads for your email campaigns. Don’t put any piece of content behind a gate, though. Make sure that the user will find that content worthy of turning over their personal information.
Your content is valuable only when people are looking at it. You can publish content on your blog every day, but that doesn’t guarantee that users will know it’s there. Let your current customers and prospects know about your content. Share it on social media, add it to your email signatures or integrate them to your email campaigns.
You have two choices when you try to share your content; you can post it on your social accounts and ask people to share them, or you can pay to have your content or ads show up in the feeds of a specific target audience. When you pay social media sites to share your content, you will undoubtedly see a spike in reach and engagement. The value of that engagement isn’t as high as if those users had found that information on their own, though.
The best social strategy uses a mix of both tactics to maximize social reach, engagement and value. The ratio of that mix depends on your business objectives, industry and budget. Thus, this strategy should be re-evaluated frequently to ensure you are maximizing your social investment.
With mobile technologies expanding and consumers demanding 24/7 access to relevant information to meet their needs, digital marketing is your way to stay connected to a consumer base that is always on the move.