What Is Digital Marketing?
by Ryan Ragland
What is digital marketing?
I participate in a lot of networking events and mixers. I feel it’s a good way to get out and connect with other business owners in an area. I enjoy meeting new people and finding out about their businesses. I enjoy referring business to people who I think do good work. Most of all, I enjoy drinking in a suit. Don’t judge, some people build model planes, I prefer to dress up and mingle. There is one thing about going to these events that I do not enjoy, however, and that is that by the end of the night, I’ve been asked a half a dozen times: “What is digital marketing? What exactly does your company do?”
I find the fact that so many business owners ask this question very disturbing. These are people are actively engaged in enterprise. Doctors, dentists, realtors; industries where one would assume that the proprietor would understand the necessity of marketing in the digital world. People very seldom drive by a business and become a client. They search the web, read reviews, visit social media pages and ask friends and family before choosing someone to do business with.
It’s your responsibility as a business owner to know and understand what digital marketing is and how to effectively market your business online. Digital marketing is not a buzzword to sound fancy in meetings or an automatic tool to find customers. It is a skill set that, when applied properly, will help you grow your business and become more visible in your market.
You need a website. Seriously.
Go to a networking event in your area, I encourage it. Find out how many people in your area or in your industry have websites. You’ll be shocked, I certainly was. Several owners of companies simply do not have websites, and the majority of those who did didn’t have very good ones. Drag and drop or DIY websites have a tendency to look very unprofessional and have severely limited functionality. Remember the old saying “you get what you pay for”? Well, your website is not an exception to that rule. If you’re in business, your business needs a website; it’s as simple as that. Yes, even if you don’t sell online. Your website is a direct reflection of your business. Would you expect clients to do business with you in a rundown dilapidated office? Me either.
Now that you have a website, you can begin to market your services, digitally.
Search Engine Optimization – SEO
Beware with this one, there are a ton of agencies out there in the world that will promise you the moon, charge you to the moon and back, and deliver very little, if anything. Search engine optimization is when a person or agency works with and on your website to drive organic traffic through search engines. It is a primary function of keywords: if you are a dentist in San Diego, you want your practice to be the first (or one of the first) listings on a search results page. When someone types “Dentist San Diego” into a search engine such as Google or Yahoo, the search engine will parse millions of pages on the web to find relevant results. The higher your site’s relevance, the higher you’ll rank. Your website is tweaked and optimized to achieve higher relevance scores for various keywords that consumers use to find what you offer. Again, use caution, there are several companies that use very unethical methods for achieving results for their clients. Eventually, it will come back to hurt you. Use a reputable firm who knows what they are doing.
On-Page or Conversion Optimization
Once you have driven a visitor to your site, your next step is to streamline the process on your site to compel a visitor to complete a desired event or conversion. If you want the visitor to make a purchase, what is the checkout process like? Is it easy to follow and intuitive? With the complete overstimulation of the human mind in our modern times, it has become very difficult to keep anyone’s focus for long. You need to optimize your website’s conversion funnel to make it simple and efficient to your desired end event, like someone purchasing something or entering their information to generate a new lead. You need to optimize your web pages to share the right message and information to keep visitors moving towards your conversion goal.
No, I don’t mean like copyrighting a work of art, I mean actually writing an article or piece of information that is relevant to your visitor and your end goal. Take this article for example. I am writing this to help explain what digital marketing is and why your business needs it. It’s relevant and useful, and hopefully, in the end, it will convert you into a lead for our business as you come to realize the breadth of tools available through RedSix to help grow your business through digital marketing. You’ll contact our firm and say “wow, I read your article and saw the opportunity, I just need someone to help me!” Writing and disseminating content relevant to your target client is a great way to demonstrate your value as a business. Consistency is key. Share your expertise or skill and people will seek you out for it.
Social media has taken over the world. There are a multitude of platforms to choose from, each with their respective pros and cons. What business owners fail to do is research. Social media platforms can be a very powerful marketing tool, but you need to understand which platforms a particular demographic utilizes most, and why they use it more as opposed to others. You can not just throw an ad for your product or service up on every platform for everyone to see and hope it works (well, you actually can do this, but it would be foolish and expensive). You need to target very specifically who you want to see your ad, and why you want them to see it. For example, if I am a travel agent promoting spring break deals for college kids, I would probably choose to spend my ad budget on SnapChat as opposed to LinkedIn.
Analytics are how a digital marketing specialist is able to comprehensively detail how well a campaign is doing online. It helps determine who is looking at your site or advertisements, where they are coming from, what they view the most, and how long they stay on your site. For instance, in relation to your conversion optimization, here at RedSix, we analyze the behavior or every single visit to your site. We look for things like what paths were taken to reach a conversion event; where clients are bouncing (leaving your site without completing a conversion event) from, how long they stay, how many visits on average it takes for a visitor to complete a conversion task, and so on. Solid and in-depth analytics help fine tune and maximize your conversion efforts and the efficiency of a campaign.
Pay Per Click Advertising
Pay per click advertising, also known as PPC or Search Engine Marketing campaigns are paid advertising campaigns through search engines. You can optimize your page for certain keywords so that your site ranks high, but if you want to be found higher and more often, you have to pay per click. Every search engine has tools and campaign management software that you can utilize to create, monitor, and analyze your digital marketing efforts. It works kind of like an auction, where you set a budget and are charged when someone clicks on your ad in search engine results or across their ad network. Imagine you go to a news website, and on the side of the page is an ad that is relevant to you. Usually, it’s something you were recently thinking of or searching and you think that Siri is a spy, but this is actually a targeting/retargeting campaign displaying through an ad network. We’ll cover that in a later post. PPC campaigns can be very expensive, but a good marketing agency, through deep analytics, will ensure you see a proper return on investment, and be continuously working to decrease your CPC (cost per click).
So, what is digital marketing?
There is a lot to digital marketing, and it requires constant reconfiguring and monitoring. That doesn’t mean that you can’t do it yourself, but you’ll usually get a lot more return on investment by hiring a professional firm to handle it for you. You opened your business to do what you’re good at and passionate about. If that was digital marketing, you’d have opened a digital marketing firm as opposed to what you’re doing. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that’s is too expensive, or that you hired someone and didn’t achieve the results you were looking for. Well if you feel either of those sentiments I can assure you that you partnered with the wrong firm. A good marketing firm should make you money, not cost you money.
If you’re interested in digital marketing services, RedSix Digital offers free and confidential strategy calls. Request a call and see how we can grow together.
Ryan Ragland is the Managing Director of RedSix Digital, a Web Design and Digital Marketing Agency based in Las Vegas, Nevada. Ryan has spent several years creating custom websites and digital marketing strategies for businesses of all sizes in all industries around the globe. You can follow RedSix on Instagram @RedSixDigital or visit RedSixDigital.com
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