The internet has expanded how businesses connect with customers. In the past, marketers pushed messages out into the world.
Companies promoted slogans and taglines through TV, radio and print. (Think, “Where’s the beef?” “Just Do It” and “Good to the Last Drop.”) Consumers based purchasing decisions on information received from commercials, packaging, and print ads. It was a one-way relationship where businesses spoke AT people in an outbound approach.
While TV, radio and print still have their place in the marketing landscape, today’s digital channels allow businesses to speak WITH people in genuine, two-way conversations. The internet is a vast store of data, experiences and know-how where consumers actively research, read reviews, compare prices and look for deals. They sign up for emails and newsletters to stay up to date on topics that interest them. They like, tweet, share, and comment about products, services and experiences. In the process, they listen to and value the opinions of others.
Consumer opinions through word of mouth have always been important. Now, the internet is like a megaphone that breaks new barriers through digital communication. Consumers are often in charge of what’s being said about you, and their audience can include hundreds, thousands and even millions of people.
Digital marketing is how you join the conversation, inform your customers, and influence brand perception.
Digital marketing is the business of connecting with customers where they live, work and play on the internet. It is a complex web of channels, platforms and opportunities where brands, services and experiences vie to capture the limited attention of prospective customers in efforts to build their brand, capture leads, generate sales and create community.
Digital marketing gets information into the hands of consumers when and how they want it. It builds a two-way relationship, engaging potential customers long before their purchase and allowing a business to empower customers to make informed decisions. Even at its most basic level, digital marketing can be done well by using content and branding to shape customer opinions and drive engagement.
For those who value making decisions based on data, digital marketing provides unique possibilities for targeting, budgeting and ensuring ROI that meets business goals. Data empowers businesses to accurately assess acquisition costs for leads and online sales generation. Data allows decision makers to step on the gas when opportunities present themselves and slow down or stop when response rates aren’t what was envisioned.
Digital marketing also allows brands and businesses to retain customers by building relationships and creating a sense of community. This can be achieved through efforts as easy as creating a Facebook page where a restaurant shares its day-to-day activities with people who enjoy their food. Community is built every day online through Twitter, LinkedIn, other social media channels, and apps.
While digital communication opens many roads, it doesn’t necessarily replace the face-to-face encounters that benefit certain types of business. Instead, it opens doors to potential customers who may never have otherwise been found. Digital marketing also provides unique opportunities to retain customers and fans by forming communities where businesses can promote events such as seminars, meet-and-greets, speaker lunches, and open houses. Regularly connecting on LinkedIn, Facebook and other social media channels keeps your existing community intact, reaches new audiences, and improves brand perception.
Quality digital marketing strategies include striving to reach your audiences through appropriate media channels. Not every channel is right for every business. We assess where you currently are with your digital footprint and compare it to where you’d like to go.
Collectively, we design the right mix of channels, content creation and cost investment to meet your business goals. Just as every brand is unique, every brand’s online journey is highly individualized.
Search engine marketing (SEM) describes a spectrum of online strategies designed to connect you with your customers to:
Search engine marketing includes tactics such as search engine optimization, local search, and pay-per-click advertising. It provides indispensable opportunities for brands and businesses to connect with fans, leads and customers.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the term given to efforts to improve a website’s ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs). Google never fully reveals all the factors it considers or how its algorithms work. Experience and a continuing desire to understand the ever-changing world of search allow us to help customers perform well in SERPs using a variety of techniques.
As Searchmetrics’ recent study shows, many factors contribute to which content reaches the top of SERPs. It is complex and requires a long-term strategy to achieve lasting success. Sound difficult? Yes, in some cases. But many businesses achieve great success using SEO. In our experience, it is always a wise investment. A page that costs two thousand dollars to create can be worth tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars annually when it reaches the top of Google’s SERPs.
The SEO practices above refer to organic broad-based searches. Local search refers to strategies that help your business get found on a local level. In one study, 89% of people said they search for a local business on their smartphones once a week or more while 58% search daily.
Local business listings used to be shown 3, 5 or 7 at a time in SERPs. Now, Google shows only three. Fewer competitive sites means the top three sites get a bigger chunk of the traffic.
Local search efforts are also becoming increasingly influenced by location data and intent. “Near me” and “I want to go to…” searches are increasing dramatically. Each of these micro-moments is a critical opportunity for businesses to engage with customers at the right time for maximum impact.
Local search also includes strategies that involve maps, directories and apps. These continue to expand the possibilities for businesses that want to compete in the digital world.
While organic SEO and local search can take months and years to pay off, pay-per-click (PPC) or “paid search” advertising is a fast way to increase traffic to your website. In paid search, advertisers pay to have ads appear on: (1) websites, (2) at the top of the SERPs of Google, Bing and Yahoo, and (3) on social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
Pay-per-click advertising is a powerful channel for just about every business to reach target audiences. The analytics available are robust and streamline digital marketing campaigns. Ads can be targeted to reach specific demographics at all times of the day or night.
PPC allows businesses of all sizes to compete on an even playing field that is big enough for all. PPC serves as a salesperson on staff who works 24/7, without breaks, acting as a technological explorer who discovers opportunities in areas ordinary people can’t reach. PPC can generate a huge ROI, and we believe 100% in its power to aid businesses.
Digital marketing is a growing world full of big possibilities. It offers scalable, cost-effective, data-driven opportunities that get results. Whether you’re looking for another agency to partner with, or are interested in stepping into one or more of the available channels, we’re here to help.