Looking to learn some digital marketing basics for your business? Digital Marketing has become a front runner in promoting businesses and organisations online – let’s face it, the average person these days spends a great deal of their time online. And marketing online has huge advantages, in that it can be cheaper and faster than it ever has before.
There are some big drawbacks too – the competition is heavy and the goal posts are moved constantly. But if you can learn the digital marketing basics you’ll be much further ahead of the curve than most.
I’ve laid them bare here and I’d love to know what you think!
Digital Marketing Basics Part 1: Basic Terminology & Definitions
This section covers what digital marketing is – giving you an overview of the different types of digital marketing basics you might want to learn.
What is Digital Marketing?
Digital marketing encompasses any form of marketing you do online – from writing in a blog to posting on Facebook, it’s all digital marketing.
The Different Types of Digital Marketing
There are 9 different types of digital marketing you’ll find today – and they can all work well, depending on how you use them and what type of business you are running.
Here’s a quick run down of the basic digital marketing types you might have heard of:
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Search engine optimisation is a type of digital marketing that’s main goal is to gain traffic to a website through search engines. Tactics have changed over the years, as have the way search engine’s work, but fundamentally SEO companies will be aiming to get their clients website to ‘rank well’ for search terms that will provide their businesses valuable customers.
(Or the good ones will be, anyway.)
Pay Per Click Advertising (PPC)
Pay per click advertising is a type of digital marketing that aims to get traffic to your website, much like SEO, but instead using paid methods. It can be a much faster but more costly method of driving traffic to your website – but can reap serious rewards, especially for a new website.
You have options such as paid search engine ads, but also ads on Facebook, sponsored content on news websites and even banner advertising on other websites (where you can appear in a clickable image on another person’s website).
PR isn’t only a type of digital marketing, but it’s growing to be an ever more important component of any good digital marketing strategy.
Luckily, you can do a lot of your own PR online these days.
The main goal of PR is usually to achieve exposure for your website and business. It could be anything from featuring in a news article online to featuring in a podcast or at an event. The great thing about PR is not only the exposure it can bring, but the reputation that can come with it if you do it well. Reputation can be incredibly important to a lot of marketing strategies, especially online.
Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing can do multiple things for your business, depending on your tactics and investment, but the main goals tend to be to increase awareness of your business, attract new customers and increase the loyalty of your current customer base. It can involve anything from chatting to people on Twitter to posting videos on Facebook and more. It also ties into a few other digital marketing strategies well too.
Content marketing is a combination of SEO, Social Media Marketing & PR; it most often involves attracting traffic to your website using a blog.
The main principles of content marketing are to produce content that first and foremost serves your audience (i.e. your target market) and works to attract target customers to your website and business. It’s incredibly powerful and is insanely good at attracting new customers – but it is also a long-term approach, so don’t expect to see results immediately.
Affiliate marketing involves working with bloggers and influential people in your industry to attract more customers. It’s a clever way of getting more people to help promote your business, without direct, upfront costs. Instead of paying salespeople to bring you leads, you can offer influencers a cut of any profits on sales that you make through them.
Often affiliates will review your products or services and have a link you can track which leads by to your website. Then, if any sale is made through that link, you’ll know that lead came from them and can pay them accordingly.
If you’d like to work on affiliate marketing, you’ll need to be very careful with how you track your sales and ensure all your terms and conditions are properly laid out to avoid being taken advantage of and to ensure you know what to pay any affiliates.
Viral marketing aims to promote your business quickly and to a huge amount of people; often it’s hard to directly incorporate your products or services into a viral campaign, but if you can include your brand and do something incredibly unique, viral marketing can be a seriously effective way to increase exposure to your business.
Viral marketing campaigns may be anything from an event, a video or even a photo – whatever it takes to get shared and viewed a considerable amount online!
Influencer marketing is similar to affiliate marketing, except instead of cutting your profits later, you pay an influencer directly to review/use/wear your product or service. It’s as simple as paying Britney Spears to wear your sunglasses – the idea being that her fans would likely be encouraged to do the same. You can do it on a much smaller scale though and ask an influencer in your industry how much it might be for them to use your service and mention it on their website.
These are “cover all” terms that can be used for any and all of the above; if you see an agency offering these services, it simply means that they offer one or many of the services mentioned above. When trying to decide which agency is right for your business, remember to dig a little deeper and ask them which type of digital marketing methods they use – so you can get an idea of what results you could expect.
Digital Marketing Basics Part 2: Fundamental Goals & Mind Shifts
The fundamentals might sound boring – but without these mind shifts, you could seriously struggle to get anywhere with your online marketing – no matter how many books or guides you read on digital marketing basics.
The Fundamentals Behind Digital Marketing Basics
Before I go any deeper into digital marketing basics in general, I thought it was incredibly important that you at least get an understanding of the fundamentals behind any form of digital marketing that you do, or marketing in general in this day and age. Without understanding the reasons behind the methods we choose, it can be seriously hard to know when you’re doing to right thing and when you’re completely off track.
Whether you’re marketing online or off, it’s important to be realistic with yourself and ensure you give your target market a positive experience. Give them a reason to come to your website. Give them a reason to buy from you. Give them a reason to come back.
Focus on them above all, and you’ll be much more successful than a majority of businesses out there.
Wherever you’re marketing, on your website, on social media, in a news article, remember to ask yourself “why”.
Always be reviewing your efforts and asking yourself “why” would someone who’s never met you (as is often the case online), do what you’re asking them to do?
Whether it’s read an article, sign up to your email list, click on your link over others in search engine results – if you can get down to the “why” and answer it, you’re on a good track.
Secondly – always be thinking in terms of what your customers want over what you want.
The old “the customers always right” saying can be true – as long as you’re focussing on the customers you really want. Your business isn’t about you; it’s about them. Ultimately, they’ll make or break your business.
That doesn’t mean you need to give all your products away for free. But it means when you’re deciding on your message, deciding the content you should write, deciding on what to pitch to a journalist – think in terms of what your customer wants to see. What they most want to find out – and what their other options are when they’re looking for similar content. You need to make sure your marketing is the best option for your target customer – and that it’s really obvious to them.
Now that I’ve covered these important fundamental digital marketing basics – we can move onto the fun stuff!
Digital Marketing Basics Part 3: Important Basic Tactics
I thought it was important that you learn some digital marketing basics that could get you off your feet and going today – so here’s some interesting tips and tactics you might like to learn.
Social Media Basics
Social media can be a complete minefield – but when you’re starting out, there are a couple of things I’d recommend:
- Focus on one type of social media at a time (i.e. Twitter or Facebook or LinkedIn etc). Trying to focus on too many at once usually means you’ll spread your efforts too thinly, get overwhelmed with trying to manage it all, and end up not being successful on any (and kind of falling out of love with the whole thing).
- Focus on getting really good results from just that platform – test out different kinds of content and see what gets you the best results from that platform – and don’t move onto trying the next until you’ve seen some great results.
- Use the 80/20 rule – 80% of what you do on social media should be entirely focussed on delivering value to your audience in some way – whether it’s sharing interesting guides, or entertaining videos, it should be entirely non-promotional. Only 20% of the time should your social media posts be promotional. You’re unlikely to ever attract a good number of customers if you’re just an online advert – no one wants to follow an online advert.
- Be social. It surprises me still how many businesses get onto social media and simply blast out messages without getting involved in conversation. The best way to build up your customer base is to listen to their needs and to build better relationships with them – which starts by talking to them in the first place. Any chance you get to personally connect with your target market, you should grab with both hands!
For more information on social media marketing, here’s a collection of 54 expert social media tactics.
When you’re creating content, whether it’s your sales page on your website or a blog article, remember to focus in on what your customer wants (as mentioned in the fundamentals).
Here’s a few tips on ensuring you create some good content that will help your digital marketing efforts:
- Deliver real value – focus on delivering value to your customers, whether you think they’ll find your content funny, interesting or educational – it needs to be something worth their time reading. If it’s not – don’t put it online.
- Edit for search engines – although Google has made huge strides, it still is not a real human – it uses calculations to figure out what your content is about. If you’re hoping to rank well for “dog groomer Glasgow”, make sure those words are in your content, in your URL and in your page title at very least. To find out what else you can do to edit your content for SEO, you can claim your free guide here.
- Calls to action – whatever you do, don’t forget to add a call to action to your content. It might seem obvious, but simply highlighting either “buy now” or “sign up”, will result in more people taking that action.
- Don’t be bland – if you get too wrapped up in trying to please everyone, your content will likely end up being really bland – which usually results in attracting no one. Be yourself, give your content personality, and you’re much more likely to attract people to it.
- Keep a clear goal in mind – without a focused goal for your content it can be really hard to achieve anything; so before you write your content ask yourself who it’s for and what you want them to do. That way, if you run into any hard decisions later, you can simply ask yourself if it’s in line with that goal – if it’s not, it’s out.
- Don’t panic about grammar, spelling or not being a good writer. Firstly, when people read on the internet, they’re not looking for essay perfect writing (unless they’re employing you to write legal contracts). Instead, focus on writing how you might talk. It can help to attract more readers – and puts less pressure on you panicking about getting it wrong. Don’t forget – all writers make mistakes – one minor grammar error in a published article will be much more effective at drawing in customers than not publishing any articles at all.
- Also – here’s an amazing secretweapon that will save you loads of editing time – Grammarly is a quick and easy tool you can use to edit your work, not just for spelling but for grammar too, and it will even help to suggest different words or sayings that might sound better. Plus – it’s free, so you’ve not got anything to lose!
For more information on how to create great content, here’s a 30 tip guide on how to write a good blog post.
Link Building Basics
Building links is seriously important if you want to rank well in search engines. You have to be careful though – building the wrong links can result in damaging your sites chances at getting traffic.
Here’s a few basics you’ll want to know about building links to your website:
- “Backlinks” are the most important links your website needs – a backlink is simply any link that points to your website from another website
- There are 2 types of backlink; “no follow” and “follow”. “No follow” links basically pass on no SEO value; these will be from sites such as Facebook as well as links in comments you leave on other websites. Follow links pass on SEO value – but not all are created equally.
- Domain Authority is incredibly important – the most effective backlink you can get will be from a website that has a high “domain authority”. You can check the domain authority using free tools like the Mozbar.
- Industry links are very important too – although domain authority is important, having links from related website’s in your field is also a really strong signal to Google that your website is authoritative in that field – and can result in a serious boost in traffic.
- Remember to keep in mind the website owners own goals and needs when reaching out for backlinks – what’s in it for them? If you can offer something they want in return for the link, you’re much more likely to get one.
Here’s a guide on how to increase the number of backlinks to your website.
Conversion Optimisation Basics
Conversion optimisation is about making your website the best it can be at “converting” website visitors into sales and leads for your business (or achieving whatever other goal you set out for your site).
When you’re trying to optimise your website for more sales you should focus on the following:
- Simple, clear first impressions – your website needs to very quickly convey to a new visitor what you do and more importantly – how it benefits them. You have about 15 seconds or less to convince a visitor to stick around on your website; so make sure they can quickly tell if your website is right for them. Cut out any industry terminology that will baffle a customer and cut to the simple stuff on your home page.
- Benefits before features – similar to what I’ve said above, highlight the benefits before the features of your products or services. Try to paint a picture of the end goal people will get when they buy from your business – for example, if you were selling diet pills, you’d highlight the future thinner, successful “them” in your content and imagery – not the multiple organic, scientific chemicals that will get them there. That can come later.
- Evidence & trust – you need to build someone’s trust in your business before they’ll hand you any details over, nevermind money. And this is true especially online. You can do this by showing certifications, but also highlighting reviews and testimonials from real people – and even adding video of your business to show another level of authenticity.
- Simplicity – you need to make it as simple as possible for people to contact you, leave their email address or whatever else you’re looking to do online. The easier you make the process of getting in touch, the more people you will reach. Don’t add too many form fields, and give people the option to email or call at least so they can pick the contact method that suits them best.
- Addressing objections and concerns – what are the common objections or concerns people have about your product or service? Try to highlight these and address these queries in your content. For example, if people are too nervous to pay online – can you offer a different payment method? If people aren’t sure if your product will fit them – can you offer free returns? Addressing these kinds of concerns in your content can seriously help increase your conversion rates.
Sign up to the POP content email list for more on conversion optimisation (and more digital marketing basics) – there’ll be a post on this one out soon!
It’s incredibly important that you know some digital marketing basics before trying to tackle marketing online for your own business. If you have any questions that weren’t covered in this guide – or if you’d like more detail on something that isn’t covered – I’d love to hear from you. Either send me a question through the POP Content contact form here or leave a comment below.
I hope I’ve helped you learn the digital marketing basics – and good luck with all your future marketing efforts.