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.



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



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.



Almost immediate results

Reach a large number of people quickly

Track-able data

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



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.



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



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 '



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.



One of the highest ROIs for your budgeting dollar

Reach your customers directly

Cost effective



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.



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



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


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.

Google Ads sucks! That is the conclusion you've came to after weeks of using the pay per click advertising platform with little to nothing to show for it.


It's not hard to see why Google Ads (or Google Adwords as it's formally known) can suck for many new or even experienced business owners but the most likely reason to why Google Ads suck is that you're doing it wrong.


Truth is, some of the largest companies in the world are spending millions of dollars per month on Google Ads. Will they be spending that much if it's not working?


While it can be comforting to know other people are on the same boat as you, this article will not dwell on the negatives but instead will try to highlight the main culprits on why you're getting little to no results on the world's largest Search Engine Marketing platform.


Below are the main reasons why you are not getting the results you're after while using Google Ad:



*** BONUS – This is quite a lengthy article. If you're short on time, you can download a pdf summary of this article for use or print later. Just fill in your name and email address below: 


google adwords express

You're using AdWords Express 

Google Ads wants you to set up your campaign as quickly as possible that's why when you're first setting up your campaign it streamlines your process through Google Adwords Express.


*** Note: Check out Google Ads vs Adwords Express  for a more comprehensive comparison.


Adwords Express is an automated approach by Google to gain you the most exposure and clicks as possible.


'But why is that a bad thing?' I hear you ask.


In marketing terms, this means Google optimises your campaign to get the most impressions and clicks but NOT conversions! Conversions are what gets you sales not impressions and clicks.


How does Adwords Express do this?


Adword Express makes it so everything is broad matched from the get-go. Broad match In layman terms will have Google Ads match you with the widest possible of keyword variations.


For instance, if you sell only Nike shoes and you have 'shoes' as a broad match, you may have your ad show up for 'Adidas shoes' or 'shoe reviews'.


When someone clicks on your ad, they'll see only Nike shoes and leave which means you are wasting serious money on ineffective clicks.


Which leads us to:.


You Haven't Done Your Research

Research, specifically keywords research is not something you do in Google Ads if you're just starting out but it is arguably the most important step.


Consider the following interchangeable search terms:


Pre-owned cars

Used cars


Below are the comparative average monthly searches and top of page bids.


google ads keyword research differences


One has lower cost and much much more searches per month than the other but they both mean the same thing (at least in your eyes). However, your potentially customers sees things a little differently.


If you're serious about Google Ads, you really need to be obsessive about what keywords your clients are using – don't just assume.


Your Actual Google Ads Ad Sucks

Your Google Ads ad is what is shown when your potential client searches for one of your keywords. As such it should be used to:


  1. Highlight your product and its features
  2. Draw them in or entice them to take action


If you're just starting out or have a limited budget you want to be as focused as you can. This means having all the keywords in your Ad title. For instance, if a person is searching for 'cheap flights Japan', which of the below ads do you think they will click on:


google ads compared


That's right, a vast majority will click on the 2nd ad (in green) because it contains the exact keywords they're searching for. Furthermore, they have an exact pricing on their ad – they're not afraid to put it out there.


The first ad is probably as plain as you can get in terms of ad headlines. Nothing in the ad (apart from Japan flight) tells me it will have what I'm looking for which is 'cheap flights'.


People by nature wants the path of least resistance. If the ad headline doesn't grab you in and tempt you to find out more, they will most likely go with the alternative.


By going with the alternative, your click through rate will decrease which means their ad will end up costing more per click in the long run.


The second ad also has Ad extensions that are proven to increase CTR.


Google Ad Extensions are designed to improve your CTR by including additional persuasive information on your ad such as location, telephone number, sitelinks, and reviews etc…



If your ad advertising cheap flights to Japan, when a person clicks on the ad, it better contain what they're searching for otherwise they will click out of it leading you to lose money on that click.


A relevant ad and landing page decreases bounce rate and Google use it as an important metric to determine the quality score of ad.


Quality Score

The Quality Score of an ad determines the cost of your bid and its ad rank.

If you have a low quality score you will need to bid more to be given the same ad rank as one that has a higher quality score as demonstrated by the below formula:


Ad Rank = CPC BID x Quality Score


By improving your quality score, you end up paying less for the same ad rank.


Ad Extensions

Ad extensions can help with better CTR and conversion. If you're not using extensions, then you are missing out on some of the perks that comes along with it.


Barrier of Entry

If you find many people click on your ads but aren't buying then you may need to add a barrier of entry to weed out your non ideal clients to save them from depleting your ad budget. For instance, if you only sell upscale products then it may be a good idea to list the pricing of your product to prevent everyone from clicking on your ad. Likewise, if your product is catered to a certain gender or demographic then it would be a wise decision to list them on your ad as well.


Call to Action Incentive

What do you want your customer to do when they reach your landing page? Do you want them to sign up, call your business or download a document?


Incentive for call to action that works well include a free consultation or product or a discount.


Your intention on the landing page should be either:

  1. Get your client to follow through or
  2. Leave your website.


There is no step 3.


You're not A/B Split testing

Split testing in short allows you to see what works and what doesn't.


People are motivated by different reasons to buy. Some by features, others by price or fear of missing out . By not testing your ads to include different motives and wording variations, you risk missing out on a certain demographic of your buyers.


google ads ab split testing


You're Not Segmenting Your Services or Product Categories

Segmenting your Google Ad to your services and product categories tailors your ad to what your clients are searching for.


Without segmentation, your ads become a big messy pile and you burn through your ad budget on irrelevant or ineffective ads.


As a general rule, at the minimum you should have a different product group for each major service or product category you're providing.


So as an example for a photo studio that provides weddings, engagements, and family photography, they should have a different ad group and keywords for each major category.


For a computer shop that provides hardware sales, installation, and cloud based services then there should be ad group for each of the major services etc…


Below is the absolute minimum you should do to segment your Google Ads campaign. Obviously if you have the time and budget then adding and testing more ads and landing pages will help you find the best ads to increase CTR and conversion and subsequently decrease cost of your campaign.


google ads segmentation


Your Google Ads Landing Page Sucks

Your landing page is the page a visitor visits when they click on your ad.


For Google Ad beginners, chances are they will point the landing page to their home page.


And then they wonder why Google Ads is not working.


Your potential clients who are the closest to buying an item will often search for terms that very specific. By not having a landing page tailored specifically to them, you risk them clicking out of your ad before they even find your product or service.


Ideally, you want separate landing pages on each Ad Group or Services at the very least.


You're Not Using It Long Enough

When you're starting out in Google Ads, we recommend at least one month(ideally two) of testing to tweak the results and lower your cost per click.


The reason it takes this long is due to the law of averages. Your industry may be particularly slow for one particular month due to your ideal clients away for industry specific holidays, financial or business reasons etc..


By testing for more than one month, you will begin to see the average result of what your Google Ads campaign will look like..


One of the main reasons of not testing long enough or giving up early is due to budget constraints as we will discuss below:


Your Budget is Too Small

We get many calls from clients who received a promotion offer of $100 credit to spend on Google Ads and not having results call us for suggestions.   


With only $100 you could potentially use up that credit in 10 clicks or less (depending on what keywords you're targeting). That's far too little to see the average results of a Google Ads campaign.


Think of any business online or brick and mortar store. Out of 10 people who walks into your store, how many actually walk in and buy an item? This should be the same scenario with your ads campaign. Your ads bring them to your business but not every single one of them will buy.

Added to it are the many mistakes you see in this article and you can see why it can take a moderate budget to fine tune everything to make it work.


As a guideline, $1000 should be the minimum for testing even if you've avoided every mistake as mentioned in this article.


If you do not set aside even that then Google Ads may not be the platform you want to use.


You're Not Reviewing and Optimising Your Google Ad Campaign

Google Ads is not a set and forget type of thing. You need to constantly keep a tab on it otherwise you will end up paying more for low quality ads, revenue draining bad keywords and low conversion which can hamper your business opportunities and bottom line.


Let's demonstrate this with a scenario:


Suppose you are currently paying $3 for every click of your ad. By optimising your ad, landing page and improving your quality score you know you could be paying $2 per click. Now $1 difference might not seem much but consider a $1000 monthly budget and the difference is between 333 and 500 clicks! Over the course of a year and that's 4000 clicks compared to 6000 clicks – a 50% difference! Imagine what those 50% could do for your business if even some of them are converted to paying customers.


That is without even optimising conversion rate and weeding out negative keywords!


By not optimising your ads and weeding out bad keywords and ads constantly, you will never have it run at its optimum.


Your Products and Services are not Suitable for Google Ads

We admit, Google Ads is not for everyone. There are some industries and products that are simply not worth the time and effort with Google Ads. They include industries that are ultra competitive and have low profit margins.


Other industries that violate Google Ads terms of use such as the adult industry, Tobacco and gambling industry in some countries are also not suitable.



Google Ads can be a difficult platform for new users and mistakes are easily made. However, given enough time to learn and test your ad campaigns, it can provide a powerful source of leads and revenue stream to your business.


When you're not getting good results through Google Ads, it's usually a combination of the above mistakes. However, Google Ads is a level playing field for everyone so even if you've come to the party late, you're not at a disadvantage unlike something like SEO.


Remember that Google Ads is not a set and forget solution. You need to be constantly testing and optimising your ads campaign in order to get the most out of every dollar spent.


By spending more time on research and refining your ads, landing page, and testing and optimising constantly, you will find your Google ads will begin to suck less and give you the results and return on investment you desire.