Perplexed by digital marketing?

Emma  Pawling
posted by Emma
Perplexed by digital marketing?

The world of digital marketing can be confusing with its acronyms and ever changing definitions.  So, if you don’t know your SERPs (search engine results pages) from your PPC (pay per click) or your SEO (search engine optimisation) from your content marketing, we’ve put together this simple guide to help you understand what’s going on.

Digital marketing is a term that refers to the promotion of brands via electronic media. It’s how a brand uses its social media profiles, websites and mobile apps to promote itself, its products and its services.

Businesses choose to market themselves via various types of digital media that can be split as follows:

Email marketing

You’re probably fairly familiar with email marketing – it’s those emails that keep popping into your inbox trying to sell you something.  But it’s not as simple as getting hold of a few email addresses and jotting a few lines down on an email, hitting send and keeping your fingers crossed.  

Proper email marketing that gets results is done by specialists in this field who segment their audience to ensure every email is relevant to the group that they’re sending to. They ensure the data they’re sending to is clean, up-to-date and relevant.  They’ll engage the services of a graphic designer and a copywriter to ensure the email is visually appealing and informative in evoke a positive reaction.  Once the email is sent, they don’t stop there, they use analytics software to track the performance of the email so they can see who has opened it and who has clicked on the links through the website to find out more.  They may also use heat maps, which track the percentage of people who have interacted with different parts of a webpage.

Lead generation

As the term suggests, lead generation is all about generating leads for your business which you can then convert into sales opportunities.  Often linked to email marketing, lead generation is all about creating excitement and interest in a product and then following it up with a telephone call to turn that interest into a sales opportunity.  For example, a business may use email marketing to promote their product or service, then using analytics software, they can identify who on their mailing is most interested and then call these interested parties to build more of a rapport and elicit a sale.

Display advertising

Display ads are part of the paid area of digital marketing. They are image and, increasingly, audio or video-­led adverts that pop up on web pages and often stay there a while. They can be effective but need to be used carefully – you don’t want to annoy your customers.

Social media marketing

There are two ways in which brand use social media to market themselves – paid and organic. Paid marketing on social media includes Facebook promoted posts and ads. Facebook can be very effective as you can be very specific with your targeting as it allows you to choose who sees your ads or promoted posts on their news feed based on their age, gender and interests.

Organic marketing on social media simply means posting an update to your existing social audience or followers on your company Facebook page or twitter account. It’s free so is highly beneficial but certain social platforms are now starting to limit your organic reach i.e. the number of people that see your post.  For example, rather than displaying all posts chronologically, Facebook now gives each story a score based on users’ previous interactions, the format of the post and its age. There’s no secret when it comes to improving organic reach, but it is possible to improve your score by publishing content that adds value for the reader and includes an image or a video.

Twitter is also mixing it up having recently announced changes to let users choose whether they want to see chronological posts or the “best” i.e. posts with lots of likes and re-tweets from people they follow. Improving your organic reach comes down to posting content that attracts engagement from your audience, which means posts that entertain, inform or add value.

Content marketing

The content in content marketing can take many forms – text, images, video – but its where you place it that’s key.   You can use paid for media such as display ads, social media ads, Google ads, earned media (relationships you build with others who help promote your content) and owned media (your website, app and social media accounts).

In order to understand it better, a hairdresser may use a visual channel such as Instagram or Pinterest to promote their business, or a video to show potential customers how to create the perfect chignon. A blog post might work better for a insurance company who may produce detailed guides on the types of insurance cover a business may need. They would then post these on networks such as Facebook or Twitter.

Search engine optimisation

SEO is often the most misunderstood element of digital marketing.  It’s basically optimising your site to rank as highly as possible in the search engines.  When it’s determining where to rank your site, Google takes into a huge number of factors, including site speed, backlinks (links pointing to your site form other websites), social media signals and site usability.

The sheer number of factors Google considers for site ranking goes some way to illustrate how complex the art of SEO really is.  The key in securing good search engine rankings for your website is a well-structured, user-friendly website with high quality, regularly updated content.

However, you can guarantee that you appear on the first page of a search engine’s results for search terms or keywords that are relevant to your business by implenting a PPC or pay-per-click advertising campaign. As part of a PPC campaign, an advert for your website is placed in the top premium positions of the organic / natural listings on a search engine. Unlike SEO, PPC is instantaneous and is based on an auction payment model, where you pay the search engine each time someone clicks on your advert and comes through to your website. Be warned, it can be risky to go it alone if you only have a basic understanding of how it works. Poor campaign management can lead to you spending a fortune and having no sales to show for it. It pays to use the experts!

As a leading digital marketing agency based on the South Coast, b4b have a team of marketing experts who are specialists in their chosen field.  To learn more about how our expert services can help grow your business, please contact us on 01202 684400 today. 

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