Few worlds change as rapidly as digital marketing. And with so many channels and platforms to put your message on, it’s tricky to find out how to move the needle for your business. Maybe you’ve trial-and-errored things: a little Facebook campaign here, a little print advertising there. But that method can take ages, giving your competitors time to catch you. On the other hand, there are some timeless methods that companies are using to stay ahead of the game while getting their message out online. A focused digital marketing plan can do wonders for your business, but it helps to understand what it involves first!
Before unlocking the secrets of digital marketing, here’s a little sample of what we’re dishing out in this guide:
- Audience deep-dives (market research, targeted content, and the secrets to engaging your audience)
- The world of marketing agencies (and finding the one for you)
- The power of great design (and how to nail a great logo or new website)
- Social media and paid advertising (finally get noticed on the socials)
- SEO (the secret sauce for higher page ranking on Google)
Let’s get to it.
What Is Digital Marketing Anyway?
Digital marketing is the online reach of your brand. It can coincide with print advertising (think magazines, billboards, or print brochures), but it targets audiences in a much more specific and data-informed way.
Digital marketing encompasses websites, emails/newsletters, blogs, content creation, pay-per-click advertising, social media management, keyword strategy, website design and layout, and more. It’s a bucket term for specific and strategic activities that help get your business closer to its goals. Think of digital marketing as a multi-tool you can use to hone in on the specific demographic, region, or interest of the people you want to reach through the power of analytics.
Audience Deep Dives: Reading The Room With Analytics
We’ve got a ton of thoughts on how to formulate a smart strategy that energizes and resonates with your market. But first and most importantly, don’t mistake your audience for you! Not everyone thinks, speaks, or hangs out in the same places as you online. And so understanding your audience on a deep level, who they are, where they are, and what they want, requires more than surface-level research.
Enter: buyer personas. Buyer personas help us grasp specific audience insights.
This might be your first time hearing the term, but a buyer persona is a practical tool marketers use to create a real-world audience profile. This is done using data points gathered from research on consumer behaviors through your website and drilling down to the specifics of your ideal customer subset.
Instead of that shot-in-the-dark moment when you create something and just hope it resonates with your brand, a buyer persona focuses on who you’re talking to specifically with your marketing. Here are just a few of the things a digital marketing agency will include in a buyer persona:
- The age, gender, location, and geographic area of your ideal buyer
- Spending habits, preferences, life stage, and consumption habits
- Places they hang out online (apps, types of content they prefer, etc.)
- Their biggest frustrations or problems you could help them solve
- Adjacent brands they enjoy to yours
If you’ve never used a buyer persona, it might be time to start! This handy little marketing tool is packaged as part of our brand strategy process at Savy. Need help speaking to your audience more clearly or directly? More audience insights could change the way you do business this year.
Further Reading on Audience-Led Insights…
On Choosing The Right Digital Marketing Agency
One of our client’s top complaints about wearing the marketing hat is how long it takes away from their core business activities. They want to focus on running their business, not worrying about the latest Google ranking algorithm or knowing if their ad spend is on track.
Well, here’s the great news: you don’t need to balance all of those competing priorities at once. This is what a digital marketing agency is made to do! We act on your behalf as a plug-and-play marketing team.
Drawing upon the countless years of experience in your industry (and like-minded clients we already serve in that industry) we take notes on your business, outlining goals and what strategies we know will help get you there. Thanks to a solid data foundation based on research, keywords, and our SEO wizardry, we can help your brand achieve lift-off in your desired areas. This could mean meeting performance goals, increasing new business leads, or getting more local brand recognition.
But choosing the right agency can be tricky.
In the agency scene, personalities and specialties are diverse, so not everyone will be a fit. If you can think of hiring a digital marketing agency as you would any other hire, the same general principles apply.
- Do they have a step-by-step plan to get me where I need to go?
- Are they easy to work with, collaborate with, and communicate with?
- Do they have a portfolio with past clients in my same industry and
- do those clients speak highly of them?
In addition to these thoughts, it might help to notice specialties. For example, not all digital marketing specialists are full-service design and creative agencies. Some focus only on social media, while others are geniuses at building custom websites and gathering talents across specialties, from web designers to data nerds to sales-focused copywriters. Ultimately, it’s all about identifying your needs and finding the perfect agency based on your highest priorities.
Further Reading on Digital Marketing Agencies…
Why Great Design Makes A Big Difference For Your Brand
You heard it here first: design matters in the digital marketing space. Audiences globally are moving toward more image-driven storytelling. Video podcasts, Reels, and animated graphics mean one thing: audiences want the message, and they want it in a visual format.
In a State of Content Marketing 2023 Global Report by SemRush, short-form video ranked as the top performing content format for marketing, and it’s no surprise. Most of us use it on a daily basis, whether we are learning a new skill or researching a product we want to buy.
And even if you don’t have a consumer product to show off with a flashy video, you can still communicate a lot with fresh colors and a good stylistic choice for your logo or marketing collateral. And while all of these decisions may seem small, design is the nonverbal communication to your audience that you’re professional and put together as a brand.
Creating a consistent look and feel for your business is the underlying goal of most design projects. And this extends as far as website design, user experience, social media presence, and logo.
So if it’s time to refresh that logo, change your color palette to something more modern, or include more infographics or animations to convey information, there are hundreds of ways a great designer can help!
Further Reading on Finding a Great Web/Logo Designer…
Finding Your Social Media or Paid Advertising Guru
So maybe you feel it’s important to fire up your social media presence to get noticed as a brand, but you can’t decide what platforms or types of advertising will get you closer to your goals. We get it. You want to spend your money in ways that count and don’t have much time or patience to infuse cash into a misguided strategy.
But before the tips and tricks come out, first things first. Where is your audience hanging out? And what actions do you want them to take once you find them? Getting clear on your goals helps a lot before bringing someone on board for social media or paid advertising.
Remember that marketing is never a one-size-fits-all strategy.
What works well for some businesses (TikTok) may not work for others. Marketing is a multi-tool. If one strategy or platform doesn’t fit, try a different approach!
A good digital marketing strategy informed by data is flexible and can pivot based on your learnings. Everything is an opportunity to learn. This applies to seeing what organic posts get the most traction before you pay to boost them on Instagram, Facebook, or LinkedIn. This also means paying attention to click-through rates, time spent on your website, and focusing on what aspects of your business or product your customer is interested in.
Here’s just a sampling of what to look for when you choose a digital marketing agency to jumpstart your social media/paid advertising strategy:
- Their use and understanding of different types of paid ads (pay-per-click, display ads, video, remarketing campaigns, etc.)
- How they present the analytics/learnings. What does the data say? Are they tracking your KPIs effectively? How do you know if the campaign is succeeding?
- The “Call-To-Action” for your audience is clear and identifiable before campaigns launch (and you have guidance on how to test their effectiveness)
- Landing pages are built with the capability to track conversions
- Search Engine Optimization is woven into your larger marketing strategy
Further Reading on Social Media/Paid Ads…
SEO: The Slow and Steady Champion of Every Digital Marketing Strategy
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was SEO. For those new to “search engine optimization,” it’s not writing for bots and algorithms. It’s about paying attention to how users search online and using their queries to get your brand in front of them.
It may not sound as flashy or immediate as paid advertising, but keywords have a lot to do with how you show up online and to whom. Google has some general rules called algorithms that govern how businesses should use keywords to rank higher in organic searches. And a good digital marketing agency has consistent guidelines for what the algorithm likes.
Here are a few pointers we know right off the bat for how to improve your SEO ranking according to Google:
- Backlinks (or other sites linking to your site as authoritative on a topic) are a win in Google’s book to boost SEO rankings
- Updating your on-website content frequently (no one likes stumbling across outdated information online)
- Meta-data (those little text boxes asking for a description of your blog in a few sentences that contain keyword-rich info)
- Alternative text descriptions (alt tags) on the images on your website
While SEO will not be an overnight success story for your business, it’s one of the most effective things you can do now to rank higher in searches over time. Chipping away at a stack of keywords your audience and competitors use or find relevant when searching for products or services online will help you stay top-of-mind and top-of-the-stack with online searchers.
This may include taking a second look at the terms you use on your blog, website copy, internal links, and metadata to improve your site’s visibility. But if you’re tempted to think it’s all about metadata and keywords, think again!
Google’s algorithm is smart and getting smarter every day. This means it’s intelligent to pick up on content written exclusively for search engines that are not very friendly or digestible for real people. So writing in a way your audience likes or your brand actually sounds is a very important part of your SEO strategy. Because, in the end, your audience is the best judge of whether the content works or not!
If you need more information on how to get familiar with the wonderful world of writing SEO-rich content, and developing a keyword monitoring strategy, check out our resources on the topic or reach out to start a conversation about SEO marketing.
Further Reading on SEO…
Find Out What A Digital Marketing Agency Can Do For Your Business
You’re just one step away from more people finding out about your business. Whether through a Google search, a paid advertising campaign, or somewhere in between, the power of digital marketing is yours for the taking. But if you find you need a little help navigating this world, Savy is here to help. As a full-service digital and design agency, we’re ready to help you launch your next great idea.
Ready to start a conversation with a digital marketing expert? Let us know how we can help.