The Big 4: The Foundations of Your Digital Marketing Mix
by Erin Kasch
To get your business online, you built a website—but now that you have a site, how do you get people there? And what does it take to turn website visits into phone calls and customers walking through the door? Whether your business is new or well-established, and whether your marketing budget is large or limited, learning about and investing in the right combination of The Big 4 below will lay the foundation for digital success.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
Search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.) crawl your site, read the content there, and process this information with what is known as indexing. They use the data collected to determine how relevant pages on your site may be to terms that users are searching. When your website content is relevant, it is served in the organic search results for a particular query.
To ensure that your website is considered relevant for your target audience and searches, several things should be done to optimize it.
- Write unique title tags and meta data for each page of your site, and make sure these are keyword rich and describe the content on the page. Be sure to follow the suggested character count guidelines.
- Search engines cannot read images, so make sure to provide a descriptive alt tag for each image on the site.
- Develop a content plan to consistently add fresh content to your website built around the keywords you’re targeting.
SEO is an important long-term component for digital success, and it’s important to stay on top of the latest trends and changes.
Local search and a presence on mapping services for Google, Yahoo, and other search engines has become increasingly important in recent years, and you want to make sure your business can be found through these channels. With new search engine functionality, users often utilize search terms like “coffee shop” or “bakery” and rely on map results to bring them the nearest options.
Claiming your local (Google, Yahoo, Bing) directories and updating them with consistent address info, phone numbers, hours, a business description, and categories is paramount. Once this has been completed, these pages can be further enhanced to include photos, videos, and posts. They will also start to collect customer reviews.
Like SEO, local optimization should be an important long-term component of your strategy.
PPC (Pay-Per-Click) Advertising
Search engines’ most popular form of advertising, PPC ads are featured at the top and right-hand side of search results pages, and they usually look similar to organic search results. Ads are displayed based on relevance and keyword targeting, and advertisers only pay when their ad is clicked.
PPC is a quick way to get your business seen by searchers who are likely part of your target market. It’s highly cost effective, and reporting allows you to see exactly where your dollars are being spent.
Based on the level of competition in your industry and your specific goals, PPC can serve as a short term or long-term strategy.
Social Media Marketing
Social media platforms have evolved into business-friendly channels through which to share, interact, and connect with friends and followers in a more relaxed setting. Advertising options are also available for businesses to grow their social communities or promote themselves in a targeted and cost-effective way.
Social media is an inexpensive way for businesses to broaden their digital reach—however, it requires consistent maintenance and monitoring. If you’re ready to commit the time, social can be a great long-term strategy for your business.
Ultimately, the success of your digital marketing efforts will come down to how effectively you use all of the channels above. By casting a wider net, you should be able to attract potential customers in all stages of the conversion funnel, and ensuring that messaging is consistent across the board will help to create the digital customer experience you need to succeed.