Things are not like they used to be, particularly when it comes to technology. In as little as a decade’s time, technology has evolved from radio to television, from landlines to cell phones, and from desktops to laptops. For some, change is hard. For others, change is welcomed with open arms. Either way, one thing has remained constant – we adapt. Both people and technology follow the same path: the older generations grow up, reference the past, and evolve or adapt to the current environment. Today, we’ll take a look at an area that’s constantly moving to match the future – digital marketing.
At CQL, we make it a priority to not only keep up with current digital marketing trends, but to stay ahead with ongoing education, training courses, and hands-on experience. After all, both ecommerce and digital marketing are always evolving, and adapting is a must to stay competitive in an industry that demands constant attention and optimization.
In keeping up with “the times,” there are some things that remain a constant in the digital marketing space – the types of digital marketing. Below, I will outline the five main types of digital marketing, how they have evolved, and why they remain a staple in the digital ecosystem today.
1: Search Engine Optimization
SEO is an integral part of building a solid digital marketing strategy. Without a good SEO approach, your website’s reach, search effectiveness, and overall content strategy will be virtually useless. Increasing your website’s online presence through SEO increases the chances of your site being ranked higher in search results.
An effective SEO strategy encompasses more than just keeping your content fresh and creating a site that is navigable with an outstanding UX and UI structure. Here are a few ways to be proactive about your site’s SEO method:
Improving link structure (SEO): Websites consist of two link structures: internal and external. An internal link is any link from one page on your website to another page on your website. An external link is any link that points to a target page on another domain.
Search engines crawl these links to better find content on your site, navigate the site’s structure, and develop the site’s overall value. It’s important that these links are properly formatted, and do not come to a dead end. This helps ensure they are more accessible to crawlers that improve your Google search ranking.
Want to know more about SEO in the digital marketing space? Check out our blog, “SEO in Ecommerce and How to Do it Right”.
Keywords: Keywords are terms or phrases you want your site to be found or searched under. These keywords are not only included in your site’s metadata, title tags, and H1’s, but also in your content. Creating secondary keyword targets increases your site’s search results, resulting in a higher ranking and more qualified traffic to your site. You want to make sure your keywords reflect your brand’s products, offerings, and/or services.
User Interface Design: Indexing your site for optimal search is important to not only increase your searchability but to also lead your users to the intended searched term or phrase. An effective UI strategy ensures your site is organized, scannable, and contains the best possible structure for converting visitors to customers.
For more on an effective UI strategy that supports your SEO effort, read our webinar recap on “Search Optimization Strategies to Increase Conversions”.
While there is much more involved in creating a solid SEO foundation to get your site noticed, the information shared above will aid in creating an improved SEO strategy and helping you reach your digital marketing goals.
2: Pay-per-Click (PPC)
The SEO efforts outlined above could greatly improve your site’s organic search, which means users come to your site through a targeted search that leads them to your site through an algorithm. Although this traffic is vital in getting your site seen, there is another type of search that allows you to target your audience even further – paid search generated through pay-per-click (PPC) efforts.
PPC increases traffic to your site through paid efforts, like Google Ads. Unlike organic traffic, with PPC, you pay for results. Sounds intimidating, right? Don’t worry, you can tailor your ads by targeting location, keywords (services, products, content, etc.), and your ideal budget. When it comes to building a PPC strategy and directing traffic to your site through paid search, you are in complete control of your investment.
For more on increasing your PPC with Google ads, read our article on “What You Should Know Before Launching into the Google Ads Space”.
3: Email Marketing
Email has come a long way. After evolving from simply sending a flyer email to a single list to custom formatting, personalized segmentation, A/B testing, and automation, it’s safe to say email marketing is a powerful tool. With regard to user data privacy, the possibilities are almost limitless when it comes to email marketing.
With a well-thought-out email strategy and execution, you can convert buyers into loyal customers who keep coming back to your website. Here are a few examples of how to retain and build your email list so that you increase traffic and conversions.
Automated email marketing: Just like it sounds, automated email marketing is, well… automated. More specifically, it’s the act of sending out emails to a list(s) based on a schedule or triggers that you choose. This form of email marketing makes it easier for the user to send targeted emails that trigger an action by the receiver’s actions (such as opening, clicking, or ignoring an email).
You ever buy something at your favorite store and an hour later you receive an email about that purchase? That’s automated email marketing. In digital marketing, this is a great tool to have in your toolbox. In turn, you build a relationship based on your user’s interest, which increases your chances of not only become loyal to your brand but to keep them coming back for more.
A/B testing: When it comes to crafting a unique message to a list or segment of your customer base, you may be wondering, what reaches them? Do they open my email because the subject line is direct or because it’s enticing? With A/B testing, you can cut the questions and go right to the answers.
With most ESPs (email service providers) you can split a segment or list in half and test subject lines, images, and even content to see what the receiver is most likely to respond to or “take action.” After 24 hours from the send time, you will have a better understanding of what that selection of people prefers. Then, going forward, you know how best to communicate that selection when it comes to your brand.
Content: Have you ever heard the phrase, “content is king”? The proverbial saying comes from the notion that interesting, relevant, and high-quality content contributes greatly to a business’ success. When it comes to email marketing, knowing your audience is key. Your emails should include learned content that is relevant to your receivers, which is something user data can assist with. Most ESPs record open rates, bounce rates, time of day opened, CTRs (click-through rates), and much more. This data should be used to best determine what content is reaching your users.
From there, you can craft curated content that can be targeted to the receiver. The more successful your content, the more conversions, and traffic that is directed to your website.
4: Social Media Marketing
With social media marketing, there is organic traffic and paid traffic, and both are important in their own right. Let’s take a look below at how each one works and how it can benefit your digital marketing strategy.
Organic social: Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and more offer an additional channel for you to promote your brand and reach your consumer/follower base.
With organic social media, you promote your business through posting engaging content (images, videos, promotions, etc.) and cross-promoting posts (tagging partners, adding locations, attaching emotions, etc.). Through this form of digital marketing, you can interact with your users directly (answering questions, asking questions, offering assistance, etc.) all while getting your brand in front of them.
Paid social: To elevate your brand’s reach and get in front of more consumers on your social channels, taking advantage of paid social media is a viable solution. Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn are a few examples of social platforms that offer a paid social media service. With paid social media, you have the ability to target user interests, education, location, and even a lookalike audience (new people interested in your business based on similar interests). This form of digital marketing expands your brand to audiences that may not have known about your business before, but are now.
Used together, both organic and paid social media can increase not only your web traffic but also your conversion rate. You are getting your products, services, and brand in front of more NEW users and these users are connecting with you in more places than your website.
5: Content Marketing
Encompassing all of the above is one key element – content. Remember that phrase I said earlier, “content is king”? Well, that still stands. Month-to-month, your business is creating, executing, and sharing content through email, social media, paid ads, and updating website copy, images, and videos. All of this content is part of a larger picture – a library of sorts to your brand that builds a story for who and what your business is. Content marketing is taking all of these tools and generating new and relevant content that reaches your audience, with the hopes of converting them from observers to followers and shoppers to buyers.
To help with curating content that best suits your business, it’s important to know your brand’s messaging style (casual or formal), mission (core values and boundaries), and style guide (design parameters). It’s also good to build connections and follow your business partners, customers’ loyalty-base, and even competitors on your social media channels.
Stay in the know with industry, ecommerce, and digital marketing news through blogs, webinars, and podcasts to stay ahead on relevant industry actions. After all, content marketing is about the long game and it’s always changing. Staying informed will only build your content library and create a more solid digital marketing foundation for years to come.
Analytics Applies to all Digital Marketing Initiatives
The five integral parts of digital marketing outlined above do not foster an effective strategy if they stand alone – they need to work together. When they work together, you are provided with a better understanding of your consumer’s needs and wants. As they say, “the data speaks for itself”.
Tools such as Google Data Studio, Google Analytics, Crazy Egg, SEM Rush, and more provide analytical information a business should want to know about their customers and users. Listen to the data and adjust your digital marketing strategy accordingly. If you are pushing content that is not relevant or inducing action from your users, it’s time to change things up. If you are receiving a large, positive response from your content, then you know what to focus on. A lot lies in the data.
For more digital marketing insights or for help understanding how an effective digital marketing strategy could benefit your business, contact us today. We’ll have an expert at the ready to assist you with your digital marketing questions and needs.