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  • Writer's pictureLee Sheller

An Understanding of Digital Marketing

The face of marketing has changed, and now there seems to be a distinction between marketing, and “online marketing.” No longer is marketing limited to its traditional ways, now in the digital age we are privileged to many tools and strategies that can dramatically change how businesses encounter success. While the online marketing beast can seem complex, we will provide you with an introduction to digital marketing that will help clear the haze and bring conceptual clarity on how this stuff actually works.

It All Starts with a Website

In the digital marketing world, your website is equivalent of your physical location for your business, it’s where people go to check you out and possibly buy from you. With traditional marketing, all of your billboards, flyers and other print ads are meant to send people to your physical store. In the online marketing world, all of your Facebook ads, Google ads and other digital ads are meant to send people to your website.

Not only do you need to have a website, but you need to have a good one, or at least one that represents your products/services adequately. With so much competition online your website must be aesthetically pleasing and functional, that means colorful and clear images, great spacing, keyword rich category content, ease of navigation, transparency, and more.

There are many important things that go into developing and designing a great website, but because this is a digital marketing overview and not a blog on websites, just know your website needs to look cool and people need to be able to contact you on it.

Some people feel that a Facebook page can supplement a website as it contains most all the information needed to represent your brand, be contacted, and generate leads. I admit you can accomplish a lot with just a Facebook page, and this may be a good strategy in limited circumstances, but when you’re ready to take your business to the next level and tap into the online marketplace, a website is a must in today’s world.

A good website can work wonders, and with a little help from SEM strategies you can get people visiting your website for free. That means brand awareness, lead generation, and possible sales all for free; however, that’s only after you become an authority online.

One of the main reasons the internet and online marketing alike are so appealing to many people, is because once you get people going to your website (especially if you’re selling a product online) lead generation and sales can come without any of the work.

Yes, that means no more prospecting, no more customer service, no more …. work? Tis’ a beautiful thought, one that made Timothy Ferris wildly wealthy and successful from his book “The 4-Hour Work Week.”

Get People to Your Website

The only reason we have a website in the first place is to convert traffic on your website into leads and sales; however, the only way to get leads and sales is if we have traffic (i.e. users on your website) in the first place, so let’s talk about how to get traffic. We promote our website through Search Engine Marketing (SEM), and there are many forms of SEM, but we will talk about “big 3” if you will, which are Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Social Media Marketing, and Pay-Per-Click (PPC) campaigns.

Search Engine Optimization

SEO is comprised of two different categories, on-page SEO and off-page SEO. On-page SEO is basically all about the optimizing certain parts of your website on the backend technical side, while off-page basically means getting people to “link” to your website, and we will explain linking below. Both are imperative to a successful campaign, and while search engine optimization is a long-term investment that be a slow process, it is well worth it once you’re on that first page of google for a few different keywords.

On-Page SEO — We can spend all day talking about all of the different variables with on-page SEO, but because this is a digital marketing overview we will just list a few so you can get an idea. Updating your H1 tags, meta descriptions, alt text for images and much more will help Search Engines like Google update your rank for certain keywords. So, if your trying to get on the first page of Google for the keyword “window repair” or any other keyword, SEO will help you do that.

Google (and all other search engines) have “crawlers” that read websites differently that humans do. They read the coding, and so by updating many variables on your website such as the H1 Tags we can help these crawlers read your website. When these crawlers read your website, and determine you have useful information for the user, then they will automatically update your rank online.

H1 Tags – Typically the enlarged bold header on a page

Meta Description – The description of your business in 160 characters or less, only shows in organic search results.

Alt text – Updating your alt text on your images can provide SEO increase overnight, and can get your pictures on your website onto Google Images for certain keywords.

Off-Page SEO — This is when other websites “link” to your website which helps build you as an authority online. When more websites let you link up, this tells Google that you are becoming an authority online which helps your organic search rankings. The strategy with linking is as follows, essentially if you can get 10 people to view your blog on your website per day, then it might be advantageous to “link” up with a more authoritative website that can post that same blog and get 20 people to view your blog. “Linking” up with other websites is done exactly how it sounds, by building relationships with network owners and giving them great content for a win-win situation.

Social Media Marketing

Some people will call this section “content marketing,” “native marketing,” or categorize it under “pay-per-click” marketing, but to keep things simple in this introduction to digital marketing, let’s just wrap up everything into the umbrella of Social Media Marketing.

Basically, in social media marketing you need two things, 1) epic content (blogs, pictures, videos, etc.) that people want to like, comment, and share on 2) once you get some good content, run some ads using your pay-per-click strategies to target more people to see that content.

What started as a social network has become one of the most useful marketing tools ever invented. Now, with advanced targeting strategies and conversion tracking the game has changed forever, and social media marketing can be an incredible asset for driving traffic to your website and creating sales. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, SnapChat, and more are all great tools for your business to grow.

Pay-Per-Click (PPC)

This is a method of marketing where you pay a predetermined amount every time someone’s “clicks” on your ad, so when they say pay-per-click they are being literal. Some examples of PPC marketing include Google AdWords, Bing Ads, Facebook Ads, Instagram Ads, and more. Google has become the most popular form of PPC, in fact the term paid search (which is the same as pay-per-click) has almost become synonymous with Google AdWords.

An effective pay-per-click strategy can do many things for your business, and ultimately there are two steps running a successful PPC campaign. First you need to build out an account that is tailored to your audience, and has great structure throughout so that people are engaging with your ads. Then once your ads are running, you have to manage and optimize the account based on the data shown.

So that’s it, I hope this digital marketing overview was able to give you a better understanding of how this beast operates. There are many things we didn’t cover, but ultimately it comes down to this, get a good website and use a little SEM to get people to by your product or service.

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