Digital Marketing Strategy (2016) is a guide to effective marketing in the digital age. From content marketing to social media and SEO, it offers a whistle-stop tour of the latest techniques and developments in this fast-moving and exciting domain.
About the author
Simon Kingsnorth is a speaker, consultant, and author, as well as CEO of Simon Kingsnorth Consulting. His areas of expertise include SEO, paid search, and social media, and he’s also the author of The Digital Marketing Handbook.
You may create a new kind of relationship with your customers through social media:
Whether or not your company has a social media presence, one thing is almost certain: at least some of your customers do. According to a study conducted by We Are Social in 2015, approximately 3 billion individuals use the internet worldwide, with two-thirds of them using social media. Your consumers are almost certainly among them.
It’s difficult to rationalize not having at least some social media presence in this day and age for that reason alone. It’s critical to be where your customers are, which may entail joining Facebook and Instagram.
However, you can’t just use your standard marketing strategies to contact these platforms. There are a few characteristics that distinguish social media from other types of digital marketing.
Marketers, digital or otherwise, are no strangers to attempting to persuade potential clients. Social media, on the other hand, is unique in that it allows businesses to be affected. Rather than being a one-sided monologue, social media transforms marketing into a continuous discussion, presenting firms with both opportunities and problems.
KLM, a Dutch airline, has firsthand experience with this. When the Dutch soccer team eliminated Mexico from the World Cup, and KLM celebrated by tweeting “Adios Amigos,” the outcry was swift: almost 70% of the 90,000 comments were unfavorable.
KLM, on the other hand, quickly improved its social media profile. It made a point of publicly responding to every social media question and concern, no matter how harsh. It also cut its average social media response time in half to only 22 minutes!
KLM’s narrative is a corporation learning from its mistakes and realizing that social media is a place where businesses should listen as much as they communicate. It’s also a story about how crucial it is to cultivate the correct social media presence.
It would help if you kept your social media persona consistent rather than changing your brand’s identity to fit the network. That means that if you want to portray yourself as a compassionate and customer-focused airline, you should do so on social media as well — instead of taunting disappointed soccer fans!
Think up your keywords carefully:
It’s impossible to avoid the field of SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, as a digital marketer. SEO starts to matter — a lot – as soon as you create any form of online presence, from a website to a social media profile.
The goal of SEO is rather simple: to get your website a prominent position in search results. It’s the digital counterpart of getting a high-traffic location: visibility is desirable because increased visibility often leads to increased revenue.
The majority of SEO now relies on a single search engine – Google, the Goliath of search. And among the numerous aspects that go into a strong SEO plan, one keeps popping up: keyword selection.
The main point here is to think about your keywords extremely carefully.
The concept of keyword selection is very straightforward: determining which search terms you want to boost your exposure for. What words would entice a potential customer to visit your company? Which one should you concentrate on?
Try not to be overly ambitious when you ask yourself these questions. Although stating that you want to be the number-one result for “pizza in New York” may sound passionate, it’s best to be realistic. Instead, concentrate on a specialty, such as being among the top results for a specific borough or Neapolitan-style pizzas.
Starting with audience personas is the greatest method to choose which keywords to target. Put another way, create profiles for the customers you want to attract and figure out what words they’ll use. Consider how old they are, how much money they make, and what they value in their purchases.
If you’re targeting a time-pressed population, such as working mothers with young children, you might want to include terms like now and fast in your keywords. Consider using phrases like inexpensive or sale if you’re targeting cash-strapped kids.
To put it another way, figure out what your target market wants and needs, and then base your keyword selection on that.
SEO takes into account the site hierarchy, content, and mobile optimization:
So far, we’ve discussed how to pick keywords. But, in today’s world, that’s far from all there is to SEO.
However, SEO used to be rather simple in the early days of the internet. It was simple to improve your position in Google’s results back then: if you were dedicated enough, you could create hidden material loaded with keyword repeats and achieve a top spot.
Things have changed since then. Google utilizes complicated algorithms to rank websites in their search results, taking into account factors such as the number of times others link to your page, the quality of the sites that link to you, and the number of time visitors spends on your site. But that’s not all; there are a few additional considerations to be made as well.
The hierarchy of your website is an important part of its structure. In practice, this implies that surfing your website should be simple and logical, with larger pages giving way to smaller ones as you proceed.
If you see your site as a flow chart, a page about England should be placed above a page about London specifically, just as a page about fruit should be placed above a page about tangerines.
Furthermore, your URLs should be straightforward to understand for Google: rather than combining arbitrary characters and numbers, make sure your URLs contain actual words that correspond to the page’s content.
When it comes to SEO, it’s not only about the structure of your site; it’s also about the content. One of the most crucial things to remember is that if your website replicates information from other websites, Google will penalize you: just like teachers during finals, Google despises plagiarism.
On the other hand, the algorithm will reward you if you include genuinely informative content – especially if it’s popular and referenced elsewhere on the internet.
Finally, Google prioritizes mobile-friendly websites in search results for searches conducted on mobile devices. It’s simple to take advantage of this: optimize your website for mobile browsing and get the rewards of higher visitors.
Paid search is a straightforward and appealing digital marketing strategy:
Search engine optimization (SEO) isn’t the only strategy to enhance the amount of traffic your website receives from search engines like Google. There’s an easier method to become more well-known, but it’ll cost you money. Paid search is what it’s called, and it’s quite self-explanatory.
When you search for “hotels in Havana” on Google and see a few advertisements at the top of the page, you know the businesses use paid search. In other words, businesses pay Google to promote their websites when relevant terms are typed into Google.
Paid search is appealing for a variety of reasons. To begin with, you only pay when your ad is clicked, not when it is viewed. Second, launching a paid search campaign is a breeze.
You may use all of the same ideas to paid search that you would to SEO keywords, such as creating client profiles without being excessively ambitious. Just as with SEO, it’s critical to pick your fights when it comes to paid search: the cost per click for high-demand terms like “online casino” would be prohibitively expensive for most small firms.
It’s also worth mentioning that the term “paid search” does not cover everything. That’s because the prominence of your advertising is determined by more than just money. Google also calculates a quality score to each ad based on characteristics such as how frequently users click on it, how relevant it is, and how long you’ve been advertising with Google.
You can outrank a competitor who is ready to pay more per click if your quality score is high enough.
It’s critical to keep an eye on your campaign’s metrics and analytics if you want to pay search to succeed for you. Calculate the results to see which ads are the most effective, which cost more than they’re worth, and which you should tweak and relaunch.
Paid search, unlike SEO, has a cost, but it can be a very effective digital marketing strategy when utilized correctly.
Personalization is effective, yet it has drawbacks:
Facebook was hit with a worldwide outcry in 2014 after it was revealed that it had exposed unwary users to a hidden psychological experiment: it had discreetly modified user news feeds, curating the information they saw to change their mood.
When Facebook looked at the posts of those same users, it discovered that the experiment had been a success: exposing people to curated content might affect their emotional states. However, the experiment was a resounding failure in terms of marketing and reputation: a poll published by the Guardian, a British newspaper, revealed that 84 percent of respondents had lost faith in the social network due to the scandal.
Effective personalization was demonstrated by Facebook’s ability to alter the content of each newsfeed and then track the effects on users. This doesn’t have to be weird, and it can be beneficial.
The majority of recent advancements in personalization have occurred in the behavioral personalization branch. Essentially, this implies that clients are targeted with adverts tailored to them based on their previous online activities.
Opening an email, viewing specific portions of a store, or simply engaging with online information are examples of these acts. As a result of behavioral customization, digital marketing may achieve a level of relevance that has never been seen before.
Gone are when spam emails were generic and meaningless; now, every ad can be personalized to a user’s specific interests and habits. To put it another way, marketing is poised to become significantly more effective with the introduction of tailored advertising.
However, there is a catch. Not everyone is pleased with the amount of personal information that is stored online. People are concerned about the security of their personal information, and they wonder if it is in their best interests to enable tech corporations to collect so much data on them.
The more precise and successful customization we seek, the more data we’ll need. However, as we collect more data, people’s fears about their privacy grow. The field of behavioral personalization will have to adjust as new regulations arise in the coming years that impose increasingly strict constraints on how corporations gather and maintain user data.
Content marketing has the potential to change the game:
In the realm of digital marketing, the term “content” is frequently used. Despite its importance, it’s a word that can be used to describe just about anything. Blog articles, videos, reports, podcasts, and other forms of content all fall under the content umbrella.
So, what is content, exactly? In a nutshell, it’s advertising that aims to capture the attention of potential buyers. It is often less direct than traditional advertising and aims to draw clients’ attention softer, more engaging, and less direct.
So, what’s the deal with content? Let’s take a look at a real-world example: a brilliant content marketing strategy that helped Hertz Car Rental, a well-known multinational firm, fend off competitors. Hertz is one of the world’s largest automobile rental firms, but it has been under pressure from low-cost competitors in recent years, particularly when it comes to holiday rentals.
Hertz commissioned a paper outlining tactics it could use to retain its market dominance to keep its competitors at bay. Surprisingly, content marketing was to play a significant role in its strategy.
Why? According to the analysis, Hertz was significantly failing in terms of the content is published online. This was true of its functional material, which includes things like product descriptions and user reviews that aren’t particularly interesting and its engaging content, which includes things like articles and videos meant to stimulate customer interest and get people talking.
Hertz’s SEO success was hurt by its lackluster and underpowered content strategy, especially for specialized search terms like “vehicle rental in Naples.” However, the corporation was adamant about rectifying the situation.
The firm’s new strategy did not take any shortcuts. It created almost 11,000 pages of useful and entertaining content, focusing on niches where its competitors were gaining strength.
Hertz saw significant revenue growth across the six European markets it targeted in the campaign, as well as significant gains in its ranks for localized search phrases.
In addition to the tools we’ve just explored, content marketing is a valuable addition to any digital marketer’s toolkit.