For many brands today, digital marketing typically plays a major part in their overall marketing strategy.
Consumers and businesses alike are almost always online and on the go – and brands have quickly learnt that it’s essential to be able to reach customers, no matter where they are or no matter the time of day.
That’s why digital marketing has become an essential part of any successful marketing strategy.
However, one issue faced by brands big and small is that the ever-changing digital landscape can quickly become overwhelming. Trying to keep up to date with the latest developments across a wide range of digital platforms and disciplines including search engine optimisation (SEO), Pay Per Click (PPC), Social Media, and design/development can be daunting and for small marketing teams, it can be virtually impossible to keep up.
So, how do brands tackle the issues around the ever-changing digital landscape and how can a solid digital marketing strategy help brands large and small to gain more visibility?
What is a digital marketing strategy?
According to Hubspot, “a digital marketing strategy helps your business achieve specific digital goals through carefully selected online marketing channels such as paid, earned, and owned media.”
As with any marketing strategy, it’s important to understand the difference between a tactic and a strategy.
A strategy is an achievable and focused set of steps used to help you reach a specific goal and is typically made up of three parts:
- Diagnose the challenge
- Create a guiding policy to deal with the challenge
- Create a set of targeted action necessary to accomplish the policy
Tactics are the specific actions you choose to take throughout your strategy to help you reach your end goal.
These tactics will usually be applied across a wide range of digital channels and platforms and would commonly include SEO, paid advertising, social media, and video content.
How SEO can build brand visibility
One of the pillars of a strong digital strategy is SEO.
Search engine optimisation is the process of improving your site to increase its visibility for relevant searches. The better visibility your pages have in search results, the more likely you are to garner attention and attract prospective and existing customers to your business.
SEO is typically made up of two elements: technical and content.
The usual starting point of any new SEO activity is to conduct a full audit of the technical set up of your website as well as analysing the content that is displayed both on the pages themselves, but also in the meta fields such as page titles, meta descriptions and schema markup.
Off the back of these audits, you may then feed in tactics to your digital strategy to help to improve your overall organic visibility. These tactics might include:
- Carrying out keyword research to identify new opportunities
- Optimising page titles and meta descriptions
- Updating product descriptions to incorporate newly identified keywords
- Writing blog posts to improve your overall topical relevance for a particular area of your business
- Adding schema markup to relevant pages
- Improving page speed
- Adding internal links to key areas of the website
When done well, SEO can add real value to your business and is often seen as a long term strategy. Unlike paid advertising, where your visibility stops once you stop paying, once you have established a strong foundation for SEO, you can continue to rank well for specific keywords without paying and without the need to do much additional work to maintain those rankings.
Search engine optimisation is an in-depth field and whilst there are some things you can do by yourself, you may need to either employ a specialist digital marketing person or work with an external agency in order to improve your organic performance.
How paid search can improve your brand’s visibility
A quick tactic often deployed by startups to generate brand visibility is paid advertising. This can be done through a number of channels including Google AdWords, display advertising and social media advertising.
Where PPC differs from SEO is that the results of a paid campaign are immediate. As soon as you start to pay for ads for a specific keyword or you undertake a retargeting campaign, people start to see your brand online and can then choose whether they interact with those ads.
SEO can take much longer to deliver results with optimisation work taking as long as 6-12 months to yield results.
Paid is a great way for your business to target keywords that you do not currently rank for organically and to gain visibility within the search engines. There is still a reliance on you creating quality content on the pages that you are linking from your ads. Google has a quality score rating for your landing pages and this impacts your click-through rate and your ability to rank in the top positions within the ad space, however, if you are already optimising your pages for SEO, then the likelihood is that they will also be well optimised for paid search, so your SEO and paid work should go hand in hand.
Design and development is important
In order for your digital marketing strategy to be effective, you need to ensure you are providing a high-quality user experience once people click through to your website or visit one of your social media platforms.
When undertaking an SEO audit, one of the elements that is often considered is the technical set up of the website as well as the user experience as these can heavily impact your ability to rank well.
Many of the world’s leading websites have invested heavily in design and development in order to deliver the best possible experience for visitors.
Building a new website, or even updating an existing site falls into two phases: design and development. The first stage is design. Taking inspiration from some of the world’s leading websites such as Coca-Cola, Netflix and Betway, a website design should be clean and clear. A popular trend amongst leading websites is for a lot of ‘white space’ and a reduction of clutter, using bright colours such as red or green to highlight key information and calls to action.
The second phase of a website build is development. A developer will take the design and build this using HTML and it’s at this stage when you should start to consider SEO enhancements including keyword optimisation and schema markup in order to help you to rank for the most relevant keywords to your business.
Your website is often the first point of contact a prospective customer will have with your brand and therefore it is an essential part of any digital marketing strategy.
How social fits into your digital marketing strategy
Social media is the third element of a typical digital marketing strategy and is there to support your efforts to drive more traffic to your website. In more recent years, social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram have enabled businesses to use the platform to sell directly to customers, however, a typical path to conversion will still involve customers visiting your website.
Where social media comes into its own is in helping to raise the overall visibility of your brand. Whether it’s organic or paid, social media platforms open up the opportunities to reach out to a huge prospective audience of customers and when done well, a strong social media strategy can really help to support your overall digital marketing strategy.