This is a LIVE GUIDE to help you work out what to include in your online marketing strategy. Over time I’ll add relevant links, ensuring the information is current and strategy/methods, best practice. Comment and let me know if you have any queries or would simply like me to expand on anything.
Social Media is just one method of Digital Marketing, an umbrella term for your online marketing activities designed to connect with clients and prospects. Other digital channels include websites, search engines and email. This guide is to help business owners understand some of the terminology, marketing methods and relevant research and statistics that influence marketing trends and best practices I might advise.
What is Alt-text? Alt-text or alternative text is the information given for an image on a website that tells viewers the contents of that image. This is inserted into the HTML of a page and helps screen reading tools for the visually impaired to describe what is in the image.
Why is alt-text important? Alternative text also helps viewers to know what the image should be if a page fails to load properly. This is important for search engine optimisation (SEO) as it helps to improve user experience and accessibility as well as providing more accurate relevance for your content to search engines, helping to drive more traffic to your website.
Analytics is the systematic analysis of data/statistics. Google Analytics is a tool commonly used by business owners to measure advertising ROI as well as tracking Flash, video, and social networking sites and applications. Familiarising yourself with your analytics gives you the tools to better understand your customers.
Marketing automation tools (Customer Relationship Management) such as Hubspot, help automate, streamline, and measure your marketing tasks. They also help with marketing workflows such as sending out automated emails, scheduling social media posts, and developing dedicated landing pages.
And this is just the start of it… Blogging and posting relevant content will help gain visibility for your brand. You will increase traffic to your website and to your services, using keywords, titles and meta descriptions. Every new blog post adds a new page to your website, which helps with SEO because it gives Google a reason to re-crawl your website and find new content to index. So if you’re not already blogging…
These are becoming ever more prominent, you have Alexa right? Perhaps Siri as well! An Internet (or web) bot, is a software application that performs an automated task over the Internet. It might perform a search, tell you the weather, set an alarm as well as a miriad of other tasks. The point is, the user doesn’t need to come into contact with a human.
The percentage of people who land on a website page and leave without clicking anything or visiting any other pages on the site. A high website bounce rate may cause poor conversion rates as visitors to the website will not be browsing for long enough to engage with the content or convert by purchasing a product/service. (Related: e-amail bounce rate.)
This could well literally mean YOU if you are a one man band. It’s an intangible concept that helps people identify with an individual, company, product or service.
Your fans, the people who promote your offering by good old word of mouth. This is a really important part of your strategy and you need to get it right because people talk and they trust the opinions of others. You can leverage this by spending some time walking in the shoes of your customer’s and putting a system in place that rewards their loyalty and maximises positive feedback.
Also called a brand style guide, are essentially the HOW TO communicate your brand. Effective guidelines will set out all of the visual details, as well as rules on the tone of voice and messaging.
Cohesion is key here. Whether you’re introducing a new product, expanding your services or simply wanting to attract new clients, a cohesive marketing campaign will not only do the trick but will also increase your branding. You want to present a marketing campaign that matches all your marketing media, so if you’re doing a direct mail marketing campaign, make sure your website also reflects and features your direct mail piece’s products or services. Without a fully functional marketing campaign in place, your business will suffer, culminating in wasted time, money, resources, and effort.
You know what they are but do you know why you need to do them? All great case studies start with research. Ask your customers to fill out a short form designed to highlight how you helped them reach their goals. Make sure the form is designed to provoke specific results. You can help them justify the time you’re asking them to spend by explaining that a case study will increase their brand awareness as well as yours. Done properly, an effective case study will build trust and reach a wider audience for both of you.
A conversion is where an online visitor responds to a call to action on a website/landing pages or social media channels. This metric doesn’t necessarily indicate a sale, it can mean that people are engaged and interested in content or a call to action.
CPC (Cost per click)
It usually refers to paid digital advertising such as display ads or Google and Facebook targeting. This is the cost you pay for every click through to your website using PPC (Pay per click) advertising. CPC varies between industries but a CPC strategy will ensure that you are not overspending on campaigns. It will also ensure that the return you receive on your campaign outweighs the spend. (Related: ROI Return On Investment)
Content curation is about finding great content and presenting it to your social media followers in a way that adds value.Content curation is a valuable strategy for all content marketers. More than simply re-sharing content, curation is a way to provide extra value to your followers while highlighting your own industry expertise.
How do you manage it? First of all, you make sure that you are collecting the relevant data for your brand.
Even with the growth of social media and content marketing, email is still one of the most effective ways to market digitally to your database of clients and prospects on a regular basis. Email has grown into a complex and sophisticated tool where 82 percent of consumers open emails from companies, according to Litmus.
Email marketing is, simply put, marketing that your business or organisation sends out to prospective customers through email. The aim of this could be more visitors to your website, or it could be to encourage more purchases on products you would like to push.
Email marketing is an incredibly useful tool for Digital Marketers as you have an audience who have already shown interest in your brand by signing up and are more likely to interact because of this.
E-mail bounce rate
This is a measurement of emails that are not delivered to a recipient. This could be because the email entered is incorrect or out of date. There are two types of email bounces. Hard and soft bounces which means that the email has bounced for either permanent reasons (a hard bounce) or temporary reasons (a soft bounce).
Millions of people use Facebook every day. It is one of the main social media platforms and a great way to build a brand image, with important interactions with your consumer base. Facebook advertising can tap into this key audience using your target demographics to achieve your digital marketing goals.
The purchase funnel is also referred to as the customer funnel, the marketing funnel, the sales funnel or the conversion funnel. The funnel is a consumer-focused marketing model to illustrate the theoretical customer journey toward purchasing a product or service.
With digital marketing, the traditional stages of the funnel have changed. What used to be a linear conversion process is now termed ‘the messy middle’, a complicated process that can start and stop in various parts of the funnel.
In order to measure your digital marketing performance, you need to set goals. Your goals should be SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, results-focused, and time-bound. Your goals should cover a range of different measures to help you set, review and manage your performance across all of your digital marketing activities. Goals could be to increase organic search traffic year on year. Or it could be to increase your click-through rate on social ads. Or improve email open rates by ten per cent per quarter.
Google Analytics is Google’s own platform for measuring website traffic and conversions. It is an extremely useful tool for Digital Marketers as it can track how users interact with your site, where they came from and where they leave your website. Google Analytics contains a number of stats that are important KPIs for your site.
Google Trends is a really effective way to measure search patterns for terms and topics related to your brand and audience. No need to reinvent the wheel here, Business Insider already wrote this great guide.
No digital marketing guide would be complete without mentioning hashtags. Widely used on social platforms to enable conversations, gather information and opinions, they’re the difference between showing up for an audience and not. Including the use of hashtags in your overall strategy helps keep your content in the spotlight, boosting engagement and interactions with your brand. For example, you might have found me because I posted using #BusinessTips.
Your hook is how you bring people to your website, tempt them to consume the content and persuade them to click on your call to action. Examples of great hooks are special offers, loyalty cards, discount vouchers, competitions, free downloads and consultations. Done properly, once someone takes the hook, you’ll have permission to follow up with them and let them know what else might be useful to them.
Visual content that can communicate a bigger idea. Examples might be competition guidelines, how-to guides and data visuals.
Interactive content might include tactics like online surveys, calculators, interactive videos and infographics that engage participants in an activity such as answering questions, making choices, and exploring scenarios. Overall, this type of content tends to be more memorable and or emotive because it provides the participants with answers or results. Interactive content can help to improve the level of user experience on your website and other channels.
Keyword research is an important aspect of any digital marketing/search engine optimization (SEO) campaign. Search engines help users find content based on links and keywords. To make it easier for your targets to find the content you need to understand what SEO keywords you want to rank for with search engines. Also, make sure you put the keywords in the title, URL, and headings of your content. Don’t overuse keywords, often referred to as ‘keyword stuffing’.
KPIs (Key Performance Indicators)
The main ways of tracking your digital marketing campaigns. These could be things such as the number of quality leads in the sales funnel or the number of weekly sessions on your website. The trick is to have a responsive campaign so that it’s clear to read the results depending on the activity. Helping you to know what works and what doesn’t.
A single-page website designed to receive traffic from different sources. It prompts the user to take action such as download a document, sign up for a newsletter, offer or join a group. Traffic could be directed via PPC, email or social media, among other digital marketing methods. A properly optimised landing page can boost conversions dramatically and is a powerful tool. There are two types of landing pages: lead generation and click-through landing pages.
“You can’t manage what you don’t measure,” says the old management adage. In digital marketing, it’s important to measure and track the performance of your marketing efforts. These metrics could include cost per lead per channel and conversion rates for sales or leads.
Metadata is data on your website that explains all of the other data for the page. Your page metadata includes the page title and meta description, a short description of what your page contains. Search engines such as Google use this information to figure out what your page is about so that it can display the correct results on a search engine results page.
Native advertising is an umbrella term to label advertisements that are content-led. They are featured on a website alongside other non-paid editorial content in the form of an article or video. One of the best examples of native advertising is BuzzFeed. Others consider media advertising on social media channels such as Facebook and Instagram as native advertising.
What are no-follow links? No-follow links are links that have a ”no follow” HTML tag attached to them. This tells crawlers from search engines not to follow them. These can be useful for things such as comment threads on blogs to prevent spam.
Optimization is the process of improving the marketing efforts of your company. In digital marketing, it is optimizing content, landing pages, emails, applications, web browsers, mobile devices, and ads to increase traffic, clicks, and conversions. Optimization has become required for successful digital marketers.
Organic traffic is any search traffic to your website that is not the result of paid advertising. Organic traffic is important because it can continue bringing traffic into your site long after you have created the content, without a continuous cost to you. As a key part of your digital marketing strategy, organic traffic helps to build up domain authority and consumer’s trust in your brand.
Pay per click (PPC)
PPC is a model of digital marketing where advertisers pay a fee for a click. Each time an ad is clicked on it takes users to your specific landing page, you are charged a specific rate per click. PPC is a way of buying visits to your websites instead of earning them organically with non-paid clicks. Search engine advertising or search engine marketing such as Google AdWords or Bing Ads is one of the most popular forms of pay per click.
Your quality score is a metric used by search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo that measures the quality and relevance of your ads and keywords. This can influence the cost of your CPC advertising which in turn can affect your ROI for your digital marketing efforts.
The best digital marketing is where your digital presence is used to answer your client or potential client’s questions. When you use search using Google or Bing, you are looking for answers to a specific question. By answering questions about how your company can help people, search engines will serve up your content to people looking for answers to those questions.
Or retargeting is a form of digital advertising that uses cookie-based technology to anonymously follow your audience around the web. The cookie helps marketers target users through paid search/ display ads as they visit other websites. This can help to keep your company top of mind. Just 2 per cent of web traffic converts on the first visit so remarketing is a tool to help companies reach users who don’t convert immediately.
ROI – Return On Investment
Aims to measure the returns of particular marketing efforts in terms of how much revenue is brought in compared to their cost. Without this knowledge, a business owner will never fully understand which marketing tasks are working and which are not. Resulting in a spray and pray approach which can lead to the dreaded feast and famine cycle.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. The process of optimising your website and content in order to rank in search engine results pages and increase organic traffic to websites. This excludes traffic gained by paid advertisements.
Your digital marketing strategy is a plan of action based on your specific goals, targets, budget, and timeframe. One of your goals may be to generate ten per cent more traffic to your website this year compared to last year. According to Smart Insights, 46 per cent of companies don’t even have a digital marketing strategy, but it’s worth making the effort because it will help you with budgeting and decision making.
Make sure you are using the right skill sets. If you need to employ the help of specialists in specific areas, make sure they have a broad understanding of the digital marketing landscape and how different areas interlink.
Tone of voice
A tracking code is something that is appended to your URL in order to track user activity through that link. It can track things such as where the person came from or whether they met conversion goals.
A way of defining how many different people have visited your website as a separate measurement to the total number of visitors. This is because the total number may contain people who have visited your website multiple times, bumping up the total numbers. This can give you a sense of the total size of your audience.
User Experience (UX)
The impression a user is left with, having come into contact with your brand online. It’s hugely important in developing your digital marketing strategy.
Fictional characters based on research to help you understand your users needs, experiences, behaviours and goals. Here is a great guide to building them for your brand.
Viral content is content that rapidly spreads across the internet. This could be through shares on social media channels or multiple links to a piece of content. A common form of this is a meme as this is a very ‘shareable’ piece of content.
According to Kiss Metrics content with relevant images gets 94 per cent more views than content without. People engage better with visual content, be it images, videos, infographics or animated GIFs. Visuals are crucial to how your brand story is communicated.
A web crawler (or spider), is an online bot that crawls your website through links to index it on Google and other search engines.
Your website reflects your brand and offers high-quality unique content. It should be a seamless experience, logical and easy to navigate. Read how to make your website more effective. Your home page should act as your front door and content pages should tell a story. Your website is critical because all of your other digital marketing activities should lead your users back to your website for conversion.
The X-factor is a special quality, essential for success and difficult to describe.
A text file that details all of the URLs on your website. This acts as a navigator for your website pages and ensures that Google is able to crawl and index them logically.
The most popular YouTube channels have more than 28.4 million subscribers, a giant market for those advertising on the platform. In combination with Google Ads, YouTube Advertising allows you to target the people you want to reach through various criteria and allows for a range of ad types depending on your needs. In some cases, you will only be charged when someone shows interest in your ad, for example by watching it for more than 30 seconds or clicking a call to action.
Sometimes it pays to take a different approach. Just because everyone is doing something doesn’t always mean that you should too. Equally, staying on your toes and thinking about what’s next for your targets will help you to do what is relevant for them and not just follow the crowd.