Digital Marketing - Getting Found (2 of 4)
Digital Marketing - Getting Found
In last month’s introductory article on digital marketing, I made the point that it is not apanacea or silver bullet that will suddenly replace all traditional marketing initiatives and tools. What it does offer is significant potential for increasing communication and collaboration. This capability coupled with low cost of usage and deployment means that many firms are adopting this approach to improving their engagement with clients and contacts.
The outbound traditional techniques of ‘pushing’ messages through direct mail, newspapers,brochures etc find themselves being supplemented / replaced by a digital approach where the same audience is invited to participate, communicate and engage.
This article looks at the process for ‘getting found’. Under this heading there are 3 distinctand interrelated aspects you need to deliver - Create (Content), Optimise, and Promote.
'If there is any one secret of success, it lies the ability to get the other person's point of viewand see things from his angle as well as your own" Henry Ford. In the today’s digital worldwe refer to WIIFM – the concept remains the same.
CREATE - Content Strategy
Depending on your own firm’s position and focus you may find that some 70% of your traffic is coming from search. There is little point bringing people to your website if there is nothing appealing or compelling to hold them there. So the creation of unique and relevant content is one of the most important (and onerous!) tasks facing any firm. Engagement is no longer about you.
And it has to be content that is compelling for your potential clients if they are going to engage with you. Content is the most important thing on your website – it is that which allows you to stand out from the competition. It is worth the effort to carefully decide what is likely to appeal. Think of the annual rush by legal/accounting firms to have budget updates posted on websites –they are rarely of more than passing interest to contacts who have already been bombarded across all media channels, whereas an online tax calculator might be better, or perhaps an iPhone application.
The difficulty facing everyone developing a content strategy is of course creating contentisn’t easy and it is time consuming. However website content should simply comprise ofcontent that supports key business objectives and or supports you clients objectives - everything else is window dressing. If you undertook a content audit of your own website what % would be fall into the window dressing heading?
When visitors arrive at your website do you show them what they want and make it accessible, or are they more likely arrive at your website to be greeted on your homepage - Welcome to our website and About Us etc. In terms of creating content there is one tool that should not be overlooked that is blogging. Not only your own blog but also active participation in industry blogs to promote visibility of your expertise (this also applies to social media). This brings us on to the next section, which is website optimization.
OPTIMISE - SEO Strategy
Equipped with a compelling website the next step is to decide on your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) strategy. How is the budget to be allocated as between SEO and PPC? Some estimates suggest that PPC garners up to 90% of search Budgets vs.10% for SEO. This can be viewed against a backdrop where only 25% of traffic emanates from PPC but a dominant 75% from SEO.
So why the emphasis on PPC! At one level the answer is easy – PPC delivers instant results and the level of investment is readily measured, plus of course PPC is relatively simple to use. PPC can delivers quick targeted hits within 24 hours of setting up your campaign.
In contrast the efforts to use SEO were hampered by the impression that it was a form of ‘black art’, only practiced by those who inhabited some form of parallel universe! Of coursesome aspects of SEO do remain somewhat of an enigma, and it can take time to understand what works best for your firm, but it nonetheless will prove to be a rewarding approach from a longer-term perspective.
From an SEO perspective there are some simple and important steps you can take to greatly improve the quantity and quality of visitors. Develop a keyword list for your industry and service line, benchmark your keywords against industry and competitor websites - take some time on this, use keyword tools and ensure keywords are appropriately included in the your page content.
Choosing the right keywords is critical to getting found. (Consider using Google Adwords to test keywords). Use appropriate and relevant titles on each page, as they are directly visible in search results (Also consider page headings (H1, H2), good description meta tags - descriptions can be displayed in Google's search results as snippets, and consider you URL naming. Help users understand what your pages are about.
The other SEO requirement to aid search is to consider what search engines prize most highly in terms of page rank - Links! Consider what external links may be referencing your site (you can easily check this on Yahoo.com in the search box type linkdomain:yourdomain - site:yourdomain).
Of course blogs can greatly help with linking and back linking strategies (and of course keyword search). Comment on other blogs in your area/industry and submit articles online. Incorporate your own internal page linking strategy. When linking from page to page ensure to use a text link and use your keywords in the link! This all brings us on the element of getting found, which is promoting the site (from a search perspective).
PROMOTE - Social Media
Social media is a great place to be able to promote and share content. It is also helps your SEO efforts by providing numerous platforms to provide links and posts back to your website/blog etc.
Online marketing is about bringing people to your site. Social media marketing is about going to where contacts/potential clients, already are. The preeminent rise of Facebook asthe ‘go to’ social media hub with 60% of all UK and Irl adults shows the reach and potential.At the outset of this article we suggested content is king, in social media of course the conversation is king – critically it is about interactions and engagement.
Firms have found that social networking sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are great ways to build their brand and promote their content and assist lead generation, driving traffic to their websites and to engage with clients, contacts and prospects alike.
With growing experience and understanding of the merits of different elements of your search strategy the focus can be broadened out to include the concept of Google’s universalsearch, which includes, Maps, Images, Video, YouTube etc. Are you on each of these potential touch points you may wish to consider if you should.
So the process of getting found culminates in a two-way continuous activity of others finding you and you reaching out to them. For your website remember that good noteworthy keyword rich content on with appropriate inbound links and regular updates will give you good chance.
Content is still prized and requires effort, but like all things in life real results require real effort. Your optimisation and social media strategies can greatly assist your efforts to drive quality traffic to your website. The next step is to CONVERT