The 10 most important areas of digital marketing

Having spent a lot of time over the last few years doing online competitor analysis for various industries I have started to see some patterns. The big boys, who are making all the money, are hugely active and they generally follow the same activities.

Below I have outlined the main 10 areas of the most successful online marketing campaigns:

1. Content

Google has orchestrated a large shift in the way in which most marketers use their content. They have placed a big emphasis on great, original and valuable content rewarding participants with large amounts of traffic and higher search rankings.

Google want their users to find useful content, that is their main aim. This has seen a huge increase in the importance of having some form of blog, article list or news feed within most websites with the newly created content becoming a carrot for luring new people in. Once you have lured a visitor with your great, wise and informative content you then want a method for converting these visitors into buyers which is generally an advert for a great offer or a data capture form for some more valuable content that they cannot resist.

Make it unique, make it useful and share it!

Many businesses are assuming the position of teacher and sharing content which aims to educate the reader. This both creates valuable content and elevates the creator to a position of high expertise.


2. Email

Email has had its share of bad press in terms of the part it plays in the marketing process but lets not underestimate the part it can play however as it is still one of the strong arms of most marketing strategies.

An email is a great way of reaching out to someone in order to pull them back in to a landing page or position on your website where you may display a tool for converting the user into a client.

The email may well be a teaser of the content you are creating for your blog sent out each time your blog is updated or it may be strategic offers aimed at enticing your users in to buy again.

The two strong parts to it are that people rarely change their email address and it is a very non-intrusive way to reach out to people.


3. Affiliate

Wouldn’t it be great if there was a network of people ready to advertise and sell your products for you? Oh wait …….there is?

There are loads of platforms like Affiliate Window who have small blogs through to huge discount portals all ready to advertise your products and services in return for a commission on a sale.

The upside is that you can grow fast off the back of the network you choose without a huge risk in terms of advertising spend but the downsides are that you are reliant on others sending you traffic and your returns are cut down due to the outlay in commissions.


4. Pay-per-click

Pay-per-click is a great way to get visible fast. Just as it says on the tin you are paying for a click, the click in this instance is in essence a visitor to your website or landing page. Generally this is much preferred to paying per display of your ad as it is closer to an actual conversion but often still very far off.

The biggest player in this field is Google Adwords, with their adverts clocking up millions of clicks every day. These can be found either at the top, across the right hand side or along the bottom of the search results.

Google Adwords work on a bidding basis with the more in demand search phrases costing sometimes a considerable amount of money. Another key factor is content relevance to search term, Google want their users to get to the right content, if you send them to highly relevant content you will be rewarded with cheaper click costs.

A lot of the Social Media channels offer similar advertising solutions with the ability to highly target your audiences based on ages, sex, location and so on….


5. Pay-per-view

Working on similar principles as pay-per-click but the big difference is that you aren’t paying for a click of a URL but paying for a view of a video.

Youtube is the largest player in this area giving their advertisers plenty of options in terms of targetting. Key selling points are that it is generally less competitive than Pay-per-click due to the entry cost of creating a video and you only pay for views which haven’t been skipped near the beginning.


6. Retargeting

Ever viewed an item of clothing on a website that you like only to find that it stalks you wherever you go on the internet? … got retargeted!

Services like Adchoices, Dispop or Adroll allow you to advertise on their network of advertiser websites in a way where they can track your users movements and then display dynamic adverts based on pages they viewed on your website.

This allows you to display warm adverts as you know the user is interested in your products already as opposed to displaying adverts to colder leads who have never shown an interest in your products or services.


7. Reputation

Online reputation management is huge in terms of giving your clients and especially new clients confidence when they are looking at buying from you.

How can you be seen as reputable when you are just starting out? or for large businesses how can you demonstrate that people love your website without adding a potentially biased review?

Well you can use a service like TrustPilot, they are a third party platform who provide the functionality required for people to leave trustworthy reviews. They are a huge recognisable brand and are seen to give a huge boost in buyer confidence for many sites.

Looking for ways to boost your conversion rates? It may be worth a try.


8. Social Media

Which business hasn’t got a social media presence these days? Not many companies dare miss out although many of them have accounts with no real strategy for use.

Does every business need to be social? I wouldn’t say so but there is a huge amount of good traffic to be stolen if you do. Could you imagine creating a social following around a funeral parlour?

Most businesses have a two pronged objective for this, firstly growing a following. Get some numbers, build an audience. Secondly is to send that audience back to your website where you have your client snatching conversion machine.

In other words most companies see their websites as the place for converting their potential clients into actual clients and so generate a plan to push traffic from their social media platforms back to landing pages and highly optimised conversion pages.


9. SEO

Search engine optimisation is still important with link building still seen as an important aspect of securing long term organic traffic. The basic principle to this is that a link on another website acts as a recommendation, the more links you have on different websites the more popular or trusted your website or domain is seen to be. The search engines give you a rank for how reputable your domain is deemed to be and then use that as a factor (one of many) when working out who should be shown first.

The same rules of optimising page speeds, removing duplicate content and writing correct HTML still stand but maybe play a lesser role than the older days of traffic generation.

Generally this is seen as the longer strategy but the one that will bring the biggest rewards in the future.

10. Mobile

If you read any form of web browsing stats you will see the huge importance mobile is having on the web and this continues into marketing. Not only does your search engine optimisation rely in part on having a mobile version but users who are presented with non-mobile optimised content when viewing from their smart phone exit as fast as they arrive.
Google give preference to websites who display a different view of their content for mobile users as they want their visitors to have a good experience wherever they send them.

This doesn’t mean you have to have a completely new mobile version of your website as responsive design allows you to design your website in a way that different sized screens are presented with slightly different views in order to fill the screen in the best way.