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October 25, 2013

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An Introduction to Digital Marketing

Digital marketing is something that has become important to every business that has an online presence.

In fact, having a website, with a blog and social presence is something that’s becoming increasingly important to every business.

This is especially true as the UK continues its love affair with e-commerce and businesses that ignore the internet do so at their peril. In order to compete these days, the internet is becoming vital, especially since mobile internet users continue to increase at an astounding rate.

Savvy companies know this and have a digital marketing plan already in place. But for younger businesses, or those that haven’t yet ventured fully into the world of online technology, it can be slightly confusing knowing where to start.

First steps

As with all business processes, the secret to a good online campaign is in the planning. This means identifying your audience, creating a buyer persona and tailoring content that they will want to engage with. If you already have a website, but it’s not performing well then consider:

Your brand persona

What do you want your brand to say about you? This means looking at style, tone, logos and colours that will be used across all of your online marketing efforts.

The blog

This should be industry led and reflect your brand and should not be overtly ‘salesy’. Aim at getting the blog to promote you as an expert in your field and a thought leader. Remember that blogs should be highly targeted, extremely well-written and give the audience something useful, educational, or emotive.

SEO

Ensure that your site is also well written, easy to read and uses short sentences and paragraphs so that it can be easily scanned. Keywords can be used but should be kept to a minimum and you should have a logical design that is easy to navigate, as well as a site map created for search engines.

Social media

Plugins should be created for social media sites for sharing and following; social signals have become a key metric in search engine ranking algorithms.

A social presence is a must for all businesses and at the very least, you should use all of the major networks.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • YouTube
  • SlideShare

You can also use Instagram for sharing images and it’s worth looking for social networks that are just for your niche. These can be very valuable in terms of networking and can help you to build a reputation as a thought leader.

It’s important that you consider the resources that you have for this. Despite what you may have read, social media is completely provable when it comes to ROI, and you would be foolish to discount such a powerful marketing tool.

With regards to social and your content (blogs, articles, reports, eBooks, infographics etc.) it’s worth thinking about hiring professionals to do all of this for you. This is because unless you have dedicated members of staff to allocate all of the content creation and social media management to, then it may get neglected, which could sound the death knell for your company.

The biggest mistake companies make when it comes to social media and content is that they set it up, start with a flurry of activity and then forget all about it once other things come up. Bearing this in mind, hire someone with social media management skills and a professional content writer to get the best results.

Content sharing and creation

So you’ve decided on the kind of content you’re going to be sharing. Ideally this should be a good mix of different types of media such as:

  • Blogs
  • News
  • Articles
  • Photos
  • Graphics
  • Video
  • Webinars
  • Presentations
  • White papers

Some of these may be out of your budget range, such as white papers, which tend to cost close to £1000 per piece, depending on length and subject. However, a regular blog is a must and so is news, social updates and images. The latter should be highly interesting or amusing for the best results as people tend to engage with things that speak to their emotions.

It’s vital that this content is shared around your social media platforms, which should be updated at least 3 times per day. Currently, one of the biggest traffic and engagement drivers is SlideShare, as these are simple to digest presentations where the information can be taken in easily with imagery included.

Email marketing & SEO

This shouldn’t be discounted despite many feeling that email is old fashioned, it’s not. Modern email marketing should be as personalised as possible but this isn’t essential, suffice to say that it remains one of the most effective digital marketing resources and so a monthly newsletter is advisable. As far as SEO goes, some guest posting on good quality, relevant to your industry sites is always a good idea and still has plenty of life in it as a link building technique. However, bear in mind that you can’t buy links, they should never be in a promotional post and they should be closely related to your industry.

For as long as SEO has been around there have been people predicting its demise, so I shouldn’t pay any attention to the many media scare stories that tend to crop up regularly. If anything, SEO is once more moving back firmly into the realms of the professional as ‘black hat’ tactics fail in the wake of Google’s recent updates.

That’s not to say that there’s not still the odd charlatan out there, but this is certainly reducing now and the quality of the web is rising. If in doubt, never trust anyone who says that they can get you to the top of Google’s rankings as this is something that only Google themselves can actually promise.

Whilst this is an overview of the blanket term ‘digital marketing’, we will be publishing a series of posts that properly drill down each aspect to it, so make sure you check back often!

THE word in professional, persuasive, digital writing. Specialists in writing, tweeting and social sharing for businesses across the globe.

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