digital marketing initiatives
Even great, well executed ideas need publicity to get the word out. Fortunately there are a lot of options and techniques available to help you actively promote your website. Digital Marmalade can help guide and support you with whichever digital marketing initiatives you choose to implement.
Natural search, sometimes termed 'Organic' search is the most important way of driving potential customers to your website, in particular Google searches. The techniques for optimising your website for search engines fall into the following three distinct categories:
The build, structure and mark-up of the site itself
A good web design company should ALWAYS build websites that are well structured both architecturally and within the HTML in a manner that allows search engines to easily index the key information (see our whitepaper on Search Engine Optimisation).
The optimisation of the content to match relevant customer searches
This technique is a bit more tricky and can require a significant investment of time. The key is put yourself in your target visitors' shoes. What information are they interested in and as such what would they type into a search engine to find that information (there are many online tools like Google Adwords to help with this). Once you have identified the right key words and phrases work them into page titles and content whilst at the same time ensuring it's still relevant, unique, and engaging. If you do this well then, over time your site will shoot up rankings. SEO experts have the tools and experience to identify trends that your customers are searching for and will keep on top of changes to the search engine rules.
The quality of external links coming to your website
Google and other search engines not only attempt to link search terms to relevant content, they also try to evaluate the quality of those links. A predominate method of doing this is in assessing the number and quality of the sites linking to your web pages. With this in mind its very important to encourage relevant links to your site either through creating great content (industry insights, news, humour); offering incentives to other site owners to link to yours; and having an active presence on other sites (directories, blogs, social media platforms).
Paid for search
For quick results, you can bid on certain keywords and phrases. When these are searched for your entry appears in the result listings with a short description. This technique is a great way to drive highly targeted traffic to your site or campaign and nicely complements search engine optimisation and natural search. But it's not risk free as you can waste a lot of money driving the wrong type of traffic to your website.
Fortunately it is scalable and testable. Google Analytics allows you to track the performance of key words to see what's working with regards increasing both visitors and converting them. Armed with this information you can refine your campaigns accordingly. Make sure you write descriptions that people would like to click on and when they do make the landing page relevant with clear calls to action. The process is not rocket science, you can do it yourself but that will only get you to a certain level, after which you will need to bring in the experts who will produce better results and save you time and money in the long run.
Paid for search is a great way to drive highly targeted traffic to your website or marketing campaign
Another good solution for targeting users against their profiles and interests is to place adverts on other websites. It can be expensive, but it's still cheaper then offline equivalents, with the added benefit of performance based payment models i.e. you pay when users click on your ads or through other performance metrics. The two common methods of placing ads are:
Use an ad exchange network such as double-click
Ad exchange networks allow you to bid for online ad space, and they provide good performance & user profile reporting allowing you to optimise your campaigns to improve your targeting.
Approach website owners directly
Directly placing adverts on sites gives you the opportunity to take premium space but you'll usually have to pay for privilege.
For best results make sure your ads are compelling with precise messaging and highly creative execution, so they stand out from the rest. Again, ensure they link to appropriate landing pages that relate to your ad message and have clear calls to action. Track performance and react appropriately, it's all about constant improvements.
Email marketing has great potential, if executed right, and can be one of the most effective forms of online marketing. If done badly, you can damage your brand and be viewed as a spammer. Here's some pointers to help you achieve successful email campaigns:
- Build a list of prospective customers from your existing contacts, ensuring the data you have is up-to-date
- Add an email address capture mechanism to your website (sign-up to our email newsletters), be sure to gain genuine opt-in
- If possible try to segment your data by interests, age, geography, buying habits or other relevant information (you can capture this during the sign-up process)
- If you buy in a mailing list make sure it's the right audience, up-to-date and follows data protection legislation
- If you have managed to segment your email database and have built a picture of your contacts then you should target and tailor relevant content to each group
- Devise a content strategy updating your subscribers on promotions, new products, company news, industry insights etc.
- Implement strong creative ideas around your campaign and introduce images and video if possible
- Include a short attention grabbing email subject lines
- Provide a facility to allow recipients to respond to email campaigns; ask for views on a subject, ask them to vote in polls, provide a game to play etc.
- Give them a reason to dig deeper into your website and provide relevant landing pages with clear calls to action
Sending and monitoring emails
- When sending bulk emails it's probably best to use an email provider. They are cheap and provide great tracking reports detailing information about delivery rates, open rates, click-through rates etc.
- Send your emails at the best time (research shows 3-5pm or surprisingly 9-10am are good times for business to business emails and between 7-10pm are good for consumer emails)
- Measure and analyse your campaigns - identify what works and what doesn't - use this information to keep improve your next email shot
The Marmalade Suite - Email Campaign Manager allows you to easily design and content manage multiple email campaigns. It integrates seamlessly with your preferred email provider and their tracking reports. Why not get in contact for a demo?
Email marketing has great potential, if executed right, and can be one of the most effective forms of online marketing.
Blogging can be a very effective marketing tool, but it can also be very time consuming and is not for every business. You need to have something interesting to say and you need to say well and on a frequent basis.
Again, start with a content strategy. Identify the type of readers you would like, and then ask yourself what information would they be interested in, what they care about and if they are likely to actually read blogs. Read other people's blogs within your industry and get a feel for what topics people are writing about and in particular which are generating a lot of comments. Once you have a feel for this then identify the topics you are in a position to write intelligently about. High quality blogs with keywords & relevant links to your website will help push your site up the search engines.
As with most online marketing activity content is king, but with blogging you need to take a slightly different angle as you need to write in the manner of a 2 way conversation. Be yourself, keep it informal but professional, write with passion and personality and you'll soon establish credibility and build up a following. Communicate openly about what your business is doing; write about industry news, hot topics, innovations, techniques and opinion. Don't be afraid to create a healthy debate, in fact encourage it. Try to give people a reason to interact with your blog, be controversial, included polls and allow people to comment and rate your posts. Ideally you should be looking at blogging at least five pieces per month. This can be very time consuming so it might be a good idea to share the burden with a wider team.
Finally be patient!
If blogging is about two way conversations then social media is about creating a community around your brand to interact with
Getting your social media campaign right can be the holy grail of online marketing as it could go viral and reach millions. Get it wrong and it could badly damage your brand. There are loads of social media platforms available and the number of people using these sites is vast and growing. If blogging is about 2 way conversations then social media is about creating a community around your brand to interact with. People join social media sites to discuss a common interest, share ideas or connect with friends and create networks, so they are highly engaged and receptive.
It's common to start out with an objective to 'go viral', but be realistic, it's not an easy goal to achieve. Most of the time a successful social media presence takes planning and time to achieve. Pick a suitable platform, and then take the time to watch, listen and learn about how other brands are behaving. Establish what works positively. Play around with the technology and discover what is possible. Identify your specific objectives and plan for how to achieve them. Don't blatantly advertise your products or services instead focus on adding genuine value to your followers. Social media is about respecting your customers; listening to their issues and solving problems; taking suggestions and utilising ideas. If you do this correctly you will gradually build a community of people to interact with, who can help you create a buzz around new initiatives within their own network. Social Media is an ideal way for your marketing department to find out what people are saying about your brand and it provides a great platform for publically addressing any issues that may arise.