What's the most effective digital marketing strategy?

 

Chances are, if you're reading this then you want to learn more about digital marketing or you're considering ways to grow your business online. Perhaps, you are looking for the most effective digital marketing strategy that will get you the most bang for your buck.

 

Well, you've come to the right place because today we will explore the various forms of digital marketing strategies used, the pros and cons and the return on investment of each to uncover the most effective digital marketing strategy for your business.

 

 

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Digital Marketing Strategies Review

 

When we say digital marketing, we are generally referring to marketing that are not delivered via traditional channels such as TV, radio and print. Digital marketing or online marketing includes all marketing strategies that are delivered online through search engines, websites, social media and email.

 

While this article covers all aspects of digital marketing to find the most effective digital marketing strategy, you will find that it focuses heavily on SEO or Search Engine Optimisation.

 

This is because SEO is the backbone of which all other digital marketing (with the exception of paid search) are based on.

 

Search engines are now fast becoming an indispensable part of our lives. SEO is what gets you found when a customer search for you on search engines such as Google and Bing.

 

The most effective digital marketing strategy revolves around SEO.

 

Digital marketing vs Traditional marketing

Traditional marketing such as broadcast, magazines, newspapers and direct mail while proving effective in the past are fast becoming obsolete.

 

digital marketing vs traditional marketing

 

The main drawbacks of traditional marketing are:

Little to no interaction with audience

Traditional marketing provides a one way communication to clients with little to no interaction. Digital marketing on the other hand allows users to easily communicate with each other and your business through forums, social media, and comments section on your blog etc…

 

Higher Cost

Most traditional marketing have an expiry date such that newspaper, broadcast, and radio ads only shows for period of time. It's a right place at the right time strategy and if your client missed it then you're short on luck and have to run another campaign.

 

'Traditional marketing is a right place at the right time strategy '

 

Digital marketing on the other hand tend to be more proactive and long lasting. Your website is there 24/7, your PPC campaign only incur a cost once your clients clicks on your ad and your content will always be at the forefront when your customer searches for your services provided you have good SEO.  

 

Difficult to track

Can you tell if your customer opens a mail or hears your ad on the radio or watches your commercial on TV? Traditional marketing is difficult to track and without tracking data, how can you measure the results and improve on it?

 

Digital marketing on the other hand provides numerous tracking stats that can provide the upperhand on how to promote to your customers.

 

For instance, through Google Ads you can see how many people clicks on your ad, the time, location, gender and age of the person who clicked on your ad. These are vital information for your company to know because the more you learn about your customers, the easier it is to target them for awareness or sales campaigns.

 

As you can see, digital marketing have many advantages over traditional marketing. However, traditional marketing can still provide good results and brand awareness in many scenarios such as for local businesses servicing a certain geographical area.

 

SEO Review

SEO is one of the key strategies if you want organic or non-paid traffic to your website. It is the glue that gels together digital marketing activities such as website optimisation, content marketing and email marketing.

 

Bare in mind that SEO is a form of website marketing in that the chief aim of the campaign is to direct your potential customers to your website.

 

Essentially, SEO is utilising techniques that rank your website higher than your competitor when you clients search for your services or products on a search engine.

 

google seo vs google ads

 

Needless to say, SEO plays a integral part of all your digital marketing efforts as it's a direct, non-invasive form of marketing where your customers come to you for your products and services.

 

The advantage of SEO is the constant stream of prequalified clients that comes through your website without having to pay for it.  

 

SEO is what is considered a semi-permanent marketing strategy because the amount of time your website stay on the top of the search rankings often do not drastically change unless it's due to blackhat SEO.

 

The downside also is that it can take some time depending on your competitors and the industry you're in to rank on the first page for the search terms you desire.

 

Pros

Your clients come to your for your services and products

Pre-qualified clients

You don't have to pay for traffic to your website

Higher conversion rate due to pre-qualified leads

Long term benefits

Establishes authority as you show up on the first page search results

The most effective digital marketing strategy revolves around SEO

 

Cons

May take some time to see results from a few months to a year depending on level of competition

 

Website Optimisation

Having a website nowadays is a no brainer. What many business don't realise is that having a website is just the beginning. Unless you're an established brick and mortar business, having a brand new website is unlikely to bring in a lot of traffic.

 

To bring in traffic you will need your website optimised.

 

Website Design and Optimisation play a vital part in improving your website's ranking on search engines.

 

A good website will provide its visitors with the ultimate user experience. It will be clean and fast to load on all devices and it will contain useful information good enough to be shared.

 

Website optimisation can be classified as on-page and off-page. On-page optimisation deals with technical optimisation such as loading speed, keywords and meta tags etc… Off-page is getting backlinks from highly relevant industry related outlets.

 

Content and inbound links are two of the most important factors for search engine ranking success.

 

An ideal website provides the destination in which all other marketing efforts should be funneled through. This is because a website provides many flexible ways to convert a client whether it is through an awareness, research or sales program that other channels may not be able to.

 

The most effective digital marketing strategy will be involve an SEO optimised website. 

 

website in digital marketing

 

You have absolute control over your own website.

Per Per Click Advertising Review

PPC or Pay Per Click advertising also known as Search Engine Marketing is paying every time someone clicks on your ad and for your ad to appear on the top of search results.

 

PPC is ideal if you want immediate results because your campaign can be up and running within a couple of hours.

 

Naturally, Google Ads is the most prominent platform for PPC due to the huge market share of Google. For new PPC customers, we recommend that you skip Google Adwords Express and instead use traditional Google Ads (previously known as Google Adwords) as this allows better targeting options. Beware though, that if you're relatively new to Google Ads, it can run through your budget very quickly. So it's ideal to to learn the mistakes you're making on Google Ads as to get the most return for your ad spending.

 

For long term sustainability, it is a good strategy to incorporate both SEO and PPC. One for long term growth and the other for immediate leads to fill your pipeline. For that, PPC would be one of if not the most effective digital marketing strategy for immediate results.

 

Pros

Almost immediate results

Reach a large number of people quickly

Track-able data

Re-marketing can cross promote products and services to existing clients

 

Cons

Can waste a lot of money if you don't know what you're doing

Having to pay to stay on stop

People are more likely to click on organic results than PPC ads

Content Marketing

Content marketing is using content through blog or articles to promote brand awareness for your business.

 

As awareness is at the top of the sales funnel, content marketing should focus on providing in-depth content that helps a visitor make a decision or learn more about a subject. It is used as lead generation and rarely to sell a product or service.

 

Due to Google penalising thin content, an article or blog should be well written, easy to read and provide in-depth content.

 

Articles that are ranked on the first page of search engines are typically over 1500 words long. However, it is important to note that the length of an article is not what gets you ranked. It is how well written your article is and if it answers the searchers query.

 

Promotion of content marketing will be the most effective where your ideal customers hang out be it social media, email or through public forums or third party blogs.

 

Pros

Good way to raise awareness and generate leads

Easier to target long-tailed keywords

Good way to showcase know your business or personal style

Provide authority on a subject matter

 

Cons

Can take time for it to be effective

Writing in-depth content that is SEO optimised will require help from a good copywriter

Email Marketing

Email marketing allows you to keep in touch with your users every time you have something to say. Be it a weekly newsletter or special promotion, email marketing gets your message out there to people who are already interested in your services or products.  

 

Email marketing is a direct, one on one approach and provides one of the highest engagement rates out there and also one of the highest return on investments for your marketing dollar. For that, email marketing is one most effective digital marketing strategy if you want a low cost marketing solution.

 

For email marketing to work, you have to send relevant information to our clients. Information that they cannot ignore otherwise you're just one of the many email spammers out there with little or no value to give to your clients.

 

'Send emails that your clients cannot ignore '

 

Tip:

Two of the best ways to encourage subscribers to your email marketing list is to give exclusive discounts or freebies to new users. This can be a 20% one time code or a free ebook with some nice tips and tricks.

 

Tip 2:

Always have a link back to your website for email marketing campaigns. This give your website a boost in traffic every time you do an email blast and is good for SEO.

 

Pros

One of the highest ROIs for your budgeting dollar

Reach your customers directly

Cost effective

 

Cons

Need to build up your email database which can take time for new businesses

Need a consistent approach

Will require consistently good content otherwise you risk getting your emails flagged as spam

 

Social Media Marketing

With so many social media channels available today, you have to really think about where your ideal customers hang out. For sexy and glamorous products, Instagram is a good platform. For selling to businesses, LinkedIn may be a better option.

 

Social media marketing works best as a tool for sharing information and as a customer service hub.

 

It is important to note that most people visit social media sites to be entertained so keep your content light and entertaining. Align yourself with partners who share your believes, values and company image. It is not a place to constantly flog your products or services.

 

Social media marketing provides social proof but it can also backfire on you if you do not look after it daily.

It is better to focus on one or two social media platforms than be on all of them but not engaging your clients.

 

Pros

Can be used as customer service tools

Can be easily shared

Great content can go viral

Large user base

Are good for products and services with lots of great photos

 

Cons

Not as trackable

More followers do not necessarily translate to more sales

Is time consuming

Can be easily ignored

Can backfire if not looked after properly

 

What's the most effective digital marketing strategy for your business

While there are no one size fits all approach in digital marketing strategies there are some that work better than others depending on the industry your business is in.

 

As highlighted above, all digital marketing strategies have different advantages and disadvantages.

 

For instance, businesses that sell 'sexy' products such as hotel destinations, fashion or photography services, social media marketing and display search marketing can work to your favour as they are more visual.

 

For traditional products, businesses that sell to other businesses or one that solves a problem then content marketing and SEO can be used effectively to target what your customers are searching for online.

 

The below chart shows the general ROI for various marketing activities ( and therefore should be used as a guideline only) (source: nielsen report https://www.nielsen.com/ )

 

marketing channels ROI compared

 

As can be seen, digital marketing generally have a higher return on investment than traditional marketing. Out of all digital marketing channels, the highest average ROI are from email marketing, SEO, content marketing and paid ads as seen below (Source: Econsultancy: Email Marketing census, 2015). On paper email marketing is the most effective digital marketing strategy.

 

digital  marketing channel with best ROI

Summary

After all this, what exactly is the most effective digital strategy of all? If we had to choose one, it would be email marketing due to its low cost, high return on investment nature but email marketing by itself is not enough. 

 

In a perfect world, one digital marketing strategy will work flawlessly across all businesses and industries, but in reality there is no one size fits all approach.

 

The most effective digital marketing strategy will often depend on the industry and the stage of the buyer’s journey.  

 

Due to this and digital marketing strategies getting more complex over time, you will often find that an integrated approach works best.

 

Be where your clients like to hang out and providing them with the best possible service and support is how you can raise awareness and increase sales.

What to expect during the first few months of SEO is a common question we get asked daily.

 

You’ve read our how to find the best seo agency ultimate guide, worked through its checklist and have chosen the best seo agency. You’ve established contact and worked with your SEO agency to identify the best plan of attack. You are excited and is prepared for the bombardment of phone calls and emails coming your way and then… nothing.

 

You wonder if you’ve done anything wrong or even if Google is broken? Rest assured, you haven’t done anything wrong and Google is definitely not broken. In this guide, we will explain what is normal and what you should expect within the first few months of using SEO.

 

 

Does SEO Work?

Firstly, let me say that one month of SEO without seeing tangible results is completely normal. Depending on the competitiveness of your keywords and industry, it can take one month to a couple of months before you start seeing results. If you have talked to your SEO agency thoroughly, chances are they would’ve told you the same thing.

 

SEO works but only if it’s done right. The best practices and SEO ranking factors are constantly evolving so what worked before may not be working now.  

 

Below are the most important major Google algorithm updates so far and a brief overview. They are what constitutes to good SEO according to Google themselves.

 

Fred

Date: March, 2017

Overview: Thin content penalty update

 

Websites content are not ranked based on quantity but on quality. This updates means that websites that has a large number of affiliate products and ads (where the website receives a commission from traffic or sales generated from its referrals ) will be negatively affected. If your site do sell affiliate products, make sure to include plenty of high quality information on the pages as well.

 

Possum

Date: September, 2016

Overview: Localisation update

 

Emphasis on importance of local business optimisation which means the closer you are to a business, the most likely their results will come up in your search if all things equal. This means if you are only servicing local clients, always include your NAP (Name, Address, Location) on your relevant pages.

 

RankBrain

Date: October, 2015

 

Overview: Shallow content, poor user interface penalties update

RankBrain is part of the overall Hummingbird search algorithm that uses computer learning to better understand the meaning and intent behind each search.

 

While Google didn’t straight out say how to optimize RankBrain, many sources speculate it to be the importance of the overall user experience.

 

For content websites this means getting to know the true intent behind your users and write in a way that compels them to click, read and share that info. This means placing emphasis in topics rather than keywords to provide high engagement rates.

 

Emphasise on topics rather than keywords.

 

Mobile Optimisation

Date: April, 2015

 

Overview: Sites that are not mobile optimized are affected. Google ensures websites that are mobile friendly are ranked at the top of mobile search results. Mobile speed and usability are two factors you should focus on. Since mobile search had already overtaken desktop PC search, making sure your website is mobile friendly is a must.

 

Pigeon

Date: July, 2014

 

Overview: This algorithm updates places the importance of a user’s location and its connection to local search to the local algorithm and its core algorithm whereby traditional SEO ranking factors are now used to rank local results.  

For businesses serving local clients, this means to optimize your website for local search. Including your websites on relevant local business directories and related publications can send a strong signal.

 

Hummingbird

Date: August, 2013

 

Overview: Hummingbird is a major algorithm update that places emphasis on a user’s true intent as opposed to individual search terms. This means while keywords are still important, Google makes it possible for a page to rank on a query even if it doesn’t contain the exact keywords the user entered into the search engine.

 

This update further penalises websites that uses keywords stuffing rather than high quality content.

 

Penguin

Date: April, 2012

 

Overview: Spammy and irrelevant inbound links are penalised. As also are anchor text over optimisation.

 

Link value are now based on quality and not quantity. You should link to industry related, relevant and highly authoritative websites. For inbound links pointing back to your website it is good practice to use optimized anchor text (or exact match) sparingly and mix it with your brand name and naked URL. If your use of anchor text is natural and helps your client to gain more insight or provide assistance, you don’t need to overthink about what to put.

 

Panda

Date: April, 2012

 

Overview: Keyword stuffing, low quality content, duplicate content websites are affected

 

Panda assigns a quality score to web pages that is used as a ranking factor. Avoiding duplicate content, low quality content and keyword stuffing on your website and you will not be affected or penalised.

 

Google updates their algorithm hundreds of times a year and most of them are kept secret from the public. Some of the most important updates over the years include introducing machine learning algorithms to detect relevance, usability, mobile-friendliness and website security.

google algorithm updates

 

How Do You Prevent Google From Penalising Existing SEO?

 

You can’t. Nobody can tell what plans Google has next to their algorithm but to lessen the chances of an upcoming penalty and a good general thumb of rule is that good SEO will always be focused on how you can help your target audience better.

 

You want to make your visitors have the easier and best user experience possible and add rich-detailed content that helps your visitors make a decision or solve a problem, educate or entertain them so they will share your content. Write for your readers not search engines.

 

When will Google change their rankings algorithm no one knows but as long as you have your client’s best interest in mind, you won’t have to worry.

 

As long as you have your client’s best interest in mind, you won’t have to worry.

 

Bad SEO Can Actually Harm Your Rankings

If done incorrectly, SEO can actually harm your rankings.

 

Anything that provides no value to your customer but rather is artificially used to ‘beat the system’ or machines including:

 

  • Keyword stuffing – over use of keywords in content
  • Link farming – obtaining links from link farms
  • Cloaking – hiding content in a webpage
  • Re-directs – redirecting to unrelated webpage
  • Scraped content – scraping and duplicating content from other websites
  • Participating in affiliate programs without adding value – directly linking to affiliate sales pages without providing anything useful to visitors
  • General black hat SEO

 

A more detailed list can be seen at the Google webmaster guidelines page.

google rankings drop

 

Why Does SEO Take So Long?

 

Short answer: It doesn’t. Long answer: it depends on how competitive your keywords are. SEO doesn’t take long if you have a unique company name or product.

 

For example, if you specialise in selling ‘’purple running shoes with polka dots’’, chances will be high that you will rank higher and faster on Google for those terms than just normal ‘’running shoes”.   

 

On average, the top 10 search results are websites that are 2-3 years old with good SEO. There is only a 22% chance that a website that was created within a year to be in the top 10 results. The hard fact is: the odds are stacked against you.

 

For anyone new to SEO, I would suggest they see an online presence as a reflection of a brick and mortar store..

 

Think how long an established business took to get there. Think how much effort it took them to get there. It should be said that SEO is a reflection of that but in the online world.

 

You will need to build your reputation as a provider of excellent content and service day in day out. That’s what SEO is. It’s not a set it and forget it strategy and there are no free passes.

 

SEO is not a set and forget marketing strategy and there are no free passes.

 

First Few Months of SEO Expectations

 

1st MONTH SEO Results Expectations

Depending if you have existing SEO, this month is about laying the fundamentals and establishing a marketing plan. Researching competitors, keywords and auditing your current website for quick technical fixes are some of the main activities.

 

If your website has bad SEO then this month will also be dedicated to correcting it.

 

On-page SEO optimisation is implemented here and also internal linking and creation of important core service and product pages.

 

Your website or business name should be on Search engines now for new companies however, gaining a ranking increase for key terms here is unlikely unless in a niche industry.

 

2nd Month SEO Results Expectations

This month will be focused on creating good, in-depth content. If your website is new then this entire month will be dedicated to creating a few highly detailed articles to pitch to industry related sites for backlinks, share with your existing email database, blogs, via social media or other paid channels.

 

Finally, some easy to reach link sources such as from previous customers, competitors, vendors, and local niche directories are obtained.

 

Gaining a rank increase this month is unlikely unless in a niche industry. If you’re in a not so competitive industry then you ‘may’ see some results from the technical optimisation done in the previous month.

 

3rd Month SEO Results Expectations

This month will be focused on link building from the research that was done in previous months. Inbound links is one of the main factors when determining website rank. Further content creation and promotion are completed as well.

 

You may start to see some results if you started some easy link building in the first two months.

 

4th – 6th Month SEO Results Expectations

This period is when you should start to see the fruits of your labour as link building results begin to show after 2-3 months.

 

Further optimisation is done after the first few months of SEO as well as maintenance and discovering new opportunities.

Once again it will depend on your keywords and your competitor’s existing SEO profile to see how high your website ranks. However, it often this period that clients will realise the potential of good SEO.

 

It is worth noting that while it takes 4-6 months to see some tangible results of SEO, that continual efforts are further rewarded. 

 

If immediate results are what you’re after then SEO may not be the best platform for you. Try other platforms such as Google Ads Pay Per Click Advertising. However, when SEO works, it leaves PPC in the dust because of the amount of sustained opportunities and leads it generates for your business month in month out without having to pay a monthly fee.

 

Summary

During the first few months of SEO, you can expect to see a number of changes to your rankings and website.

 

SEO is essentially outranking your competitors so your results will vary greatly depending on your existing competition and industry.

 

There’s no magical button that you can push and no one can put a date on when you will be be ranked #1 for your website’s main keywords.

 

Think of SEO as going to the gym or losing weight. If you follow good guidelines, put in the effort day in day out you will see results gradually and that may or may not happen during the first few months of SEO.