2020 was a very challenging year for everyone, with Covid-19 causing the global economy to plummet. As a result, brick-and-mortar companies and businesses with a limited online presence had to seriously consider their digital marketing strategy.
However, many businesses jumped on the bandwagon without carefully planning out their strategy. So, they ended up blowing their budget on driving traffic through ads without first building a solid foundation—an optimized website.
Now is the time, more than ever, to master your digital marketing strategy to get your business in front of more eyes. But strap yourself in for a journey rather than a two-stop trip—digital marketing is not a one-off effort, but rather an ongoing objective that needs daily monitoring.
So, what steps should you take to get your digital marketing campaign off the ground?
1. Highly Optimized, Mobile-Friendly, Scalable Online Environment
I could’ve simply said that you need a website, but what you need is an online environment that is secure, has a clear structure and works fast.
Here are three vitally important things any modern website needs:
• Speed: Create a clear site structure so that people can quickly find what they need. And with Google confirming that Core Web Vitals will be ranking signals in May 2021, you must pay extra attention to how users experience the speed, responsiveness and visual stability of your site’s pages.
• Mobile-Friendliness: Desktop searches fell behind mobile back in 2017, with over 55% of global web traffic now falling on mobile devices. Moreover, mobile is no longer a growing trend, but the norm, especially in Asia, Africa and Latin America. If your website isn’t optimized for mobile, don’t even think about going online.
• Security: Web security is critical in preventing hackers and cyber-thieves from getting access to sensitive data, including that of your users. Without a proactive security strategy and an HTTPS connection, businesses risk the development of malware attacks and attacks on other sites, networks and so on.
Search engine optimization (SEO) isn’t easy, but it’s essential when it comes to digital marketing. Don’t think that a set-it-and-forget-it approach will work here. You need to be consistent so that potential customers can always find your website for relevant searches.
2. Get On Google My Business
Another way to help customers find you is through Google My Business (GMB).
Google My Business puts your details where potential customers can find them more easily. It also puts your business on Google Maps where it can be reviewed. This can also ensure your business is ranking on the map alongside other similar businesses, giving you a massive boost in visibility, thanks to the Google Local Pack. Optimizing a GMB account is trickier than it looks to begin with. But there are plenty of sources online that provide extensive guides on this topic.
3. Social Media Profiles And Activity
Besides being on Google, you need to actively engage your audience on social media. Think of the difference between eating at a chain restaurant or at a small local one. You never see chefs at restaurant chains, but at your local diner, if a chef talks to you, you find out more about the place and the ingredients used, and unless the food’s awful, you’re likely to spread the word and go back. As a small business, this is the approach you need to take on social networks: Actually talk to and engage with your customers.
Learn what social media platform is popular among your potential customers and get on it too. The most obvious option, Facebook, even has tools for promoting business pages to segmented audiences. If your clients use Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram, expand your presence there too. This is something business owners may need help with, as the most effective way to grow an audience on social media is to consistently create and publish interesting, engaging content.
4. Figure Out What’s Right For Your Business: SEO Or PPC
Before making a decision, assess your financial capabilities and understand if you need to go for search engine optimization, pay-per-click advertising or both at the same time.
SEO and PPC are both digital marketing strategies that ultimately get your site to appear on Google page one. But to yield positive results, both strategies need a lot of expertise, tech knowledge and a marketing budget.
PPC is perfect for quick sales if you have a new website that isn’t performing well in organic search, if you think you have a great product/service and want to test it out or if you have reasonable profit margins.
On the flip side, SEO is what you need if you’re looking for long-term growth and can afford to invest in it, if you want to build up your brand over time or if you want to optimize your marketing costs.
Unlike with paid advertising, once you start ranking at the top of Google searches using SEO, you’ll start driving high-quality traffic to your business at no cost. In PPC, you won’t get any clicks if you don’t regularly fork over a small fortune.
Alternatively, you can choose to do SEO and PPC at the same time. This totally depends on your opportunities.
Everything covered here is fundamental to boosting your business’s online visibility. For businesses new to digital marketing, these steps may feel huge to begin with, but once you get the hang of it, it will seem as natural as wearing a seatbelt in a car. With the right set of tools—a well-optimized website, a Google My Business account, an active social media presence and constantly-published engaging content—you can drive web traffic, generate new sales and even get customers to fall in love with your brand.
Feature Image Credit: getty
Co-Founder & CEO at SE Ranking, Serial Investor, IT Entrepreneur with 10+ years of experience in marketing and software development. Read Valery Kurilov’s full executive profile here.