Digital marketing has come a long way and is constantly evolving. New strategies are emerging all the time and it’s hard to track it all, even for esteemed digital marketers.
Throughout the years, we have been fortunate enough to experience every element of digital marketing in-depth, allowing us to comprehensively understand from a holistic standpoint, how all of the pieces fit together.
And fit together they do. It’s easy to look at each avenue of digital marketing as its own separate entity, however, each element also connects to all of the others.
For example, your website is fundamentally linked to every single element of marketing that you do. With a high-quality website and blog, each article you share on social media will be effective.
At the same time, without social media, your articles will have a hard time gaining the initial traction to rank organically within search engines.
Email marketing functions as another arm of your digital marketing distribution, achieving a similar effect what social media does, but with more control and a higher conversion rate for products and sales.
We can go on, and that’s exactly what we shall do in this comprehensive digital marketing guide for brands and businesses, small or large.
The first element of digital marketing that we’d like to talk to you about, is one of the most overlooked areas, yet it’s importance is not to underestimated as it impacts every single aspect of your business, even those outside of the digital landscape.
That element is branding.
The first stage of developing a strong digital marketing presence, regardless of who you are or what you do, is branding.
Branding isn’t just your logo. It’s much more than that. Everything from your brand’s tone-of-voice, to the colours, fonts, and styling used throughout every aspect of your marketing fits under the umbrella of branding.
Ultimately, branding is all about how your business is perceived by your audience and customers. Like a signature, it’s your unique stamp that leaves an impression and tells a story.
There are millions of businesses that get this vital stage wrong. Instead of spending a lot of time determining the brand identity of their business, they settle quickly on a logo and some colours, before proceeding to other areas of digital marketing that they deem to be more important.
We like to see marketing as a logical progression. You can’t build a great website without a strong brand. You can’t utilise effective SEO & content marketing without a great website. And you can’t effectively run social media without great content.
A weak brand identity has a knock-on effect for every single aspect of marketing, digital or otherwise.
When we decided to create Trendjackers in 2016, we spent months trying to develop our initial brand identity. The name alone took us weeks, and we went through what felt like hundreds of “wrong” names before we landed on Trendjackers.
The logo design took us even longer. We went through numerous mockup sheets containing all sorts of variations and ideas. One of said sheets, you can see below.
Once all of that was finalised, the rest of our digital marketing efforts could begin to take shape in a cohesive way.
With the importance of branding having been established, let’s elaborate on how you can create and maintain an infallible brand identity for your small or large business.
How to create a strong brand identity:
Think about who your audience is. Think about how you want your brand or business to be perceived by your audience. Think about your brand’s personality, as well as the message that you want to convey.
From your conclusions to the above, build a list of name ideas and keep adding to it, whilst removing ideas you don’t like. Ask people what they think about your ideas, ask them what message they think the name conveys. When you’re happy with a name, you can proceed to logo design.
With your brand personality and name identified and confirmed, think about relevant shapes, colours, and fonts. Also, keep in mind the tone-of-voice that you want your business to have.
You should now have enough information to begin designing an effective logo. We recommend that you compile all of the information that you have gathered thus far into a document, and send it to some professional logo designers and branding experts. To find out more regarding the branding services that we offer, visit our branding page.
At this point, you should have a name and logo that communicates the personality of your business. Now it’s time to create a compelling brand narrative.
Let your audience better understand you. By sharing your story, you educate both customers and stakeholders on your goals, objectives, and history.
Is your brand trying to change the world? Create new technology in emerging markets? Or are you simply trying to provide a better double-glazing windows service in the Brentford area? Whatever your objective, weave it into a cohesive story.
After all of that, it’s time for your brand to be reinforced to your audience through multiple consumer touch-points and consistent interactions over time.
By staying consistent you will begin to become recognised by your audience, which can eventually develop into a preference for your brand against competitors.
Having followed those 6 steps, you should have a strong brand identity for your small or large business established. It’s now time for the next stage in your grand digital marketing strategy.
If you imagine the different facets of your marketing as train stations, without a doubt, your website would be London Waterloo.
It’s where everything converges. It’s the hub of every marketing move you make. You’ll link to your website from your social media. You’ll utilise paid advertisements that link to your website. You’ll even include your website URL on business cards and print.
With that in mind, it’s safe to say that the quality of your website is of the utmost importance.
You’d be shocked then, to discover that more than half of small businesses do not have a website at all.
What’s more, 70% of people don’t trust poorly designed websites, and therefore will not buy products from them.
This means that a well-designed and effective website will put your business leaps and bounds ahead of the competition. However, constructing such a website is a monumental task that should be planned thoroughly.
How to design an effective website
Fortunately, you should already have one of the most difficult parts done – your brand identity, by following which you’ll be able to create a design that is both effective and in-line with your branding.
You’ll also have to consider the goals of your business, and the requirements of your customers. Is your website going to sell products online? Will you include a free-trial of your product for customers to try? Does your website need a live-chat function to provide help and support? Write down everything that your website needs and collate it into a document.
By combining your pre-established brand identity along with your business and customer requirements, you have a website specification. You then have to decide whether you’re going to try and build the website yourself, or whether to pay some professional website designers to do it for you.
Unless you’re a website designer by trade, we would absolutely recommend the latter, bias or not!
There are many reasons why a professionally designed website is favourable. The obvious ones are:
- Bespoke design that is visually pleasing
- Built to achieve your specific goals
- Fully mobile-responsive
- Optimised to load fast
- Adheres to the latest SEO practices
Before/After of the Korea Foods website (drag the black circle)
Stanford University created The Web Credibility Project that consists of a set of guidelines which generally determine how credible and effective a website is. These guidelines are:
- Make it easy to verify the accuracy of the information on your site.
- Show that there’s a real organization behind your site.
- Highlight the expertise in your organization and in the content and services you provide.
- Show that honest and trustworthy people stand behind your site.
- Make it easy to contact you.
- Design your site so it looks professional (or is appropriate for your purpose).
- Make your site easy to use — and useful.
- Update your site’s content often (at least show it’s been reviewed recently).
- Use restraint with any promotional content (e.g., ads, offers).
- Avoid errors of all types, no matter how small they seem.
Adhering to that list of criteria, in addition to following your brand identity, business goals and customer requirements, should result in a hyper-effective website that will serve as the foundation of your marketing efforts long into the future.
Among the most important of those efforts, is Content Marketing, which very much goes hand-in-hand with SEO (search engine optimisation).
Content Marketing & SEO
Once your website is in good shape, you’ll then need to begin driving traffic to it. This is where Content Marketing & SEO start to play an important role.
Content Marketing takes its shape primarily in the form of blogging. Each article that you write, so long as it’s high-quality and comprehensive, will rank for relevant search engine queries. It’s for this reason that we typically talk about Content Marketing and SEO together.
To learn more, read our in-depth guide on how to use content marketing to increase your website traffic.
Despite lots of talk in the marketing world about the benefits of driving traffic to your site by social media, organic search still remains one of the most important channels for digital marketers because 70-90% of all online traffic originates from search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc).
Trendjackers One Year Traffic Source Distribution (%)
When a user goes to one of these search engines and enters a keyword or question, Google/Yahoo/Bing references their database of indexed pages to provide them with the most relevant result.
Search relevance is determined by a number of factors that we won’t explain in-depth within this article. Ultimately, the main reason why your pages appear in the search results is due to Google’s algorithms having determined that your content will more accurately match the searcher intent than your competitors.
This means that content is the main and primary reason why people will visit your website, making it your most powerful marketing weapon, if utilised effectively.
If you are still not convinced that Content Marketing & SEO can be your most powerful marketing weapon, consider the fact that creating regular content for your site will benefit you in the following ways:
- Raise Brand Awareness
- Increase your credibility
- Grow your authority
- Solve your customers problems
- Grow organic search traffic
- Increase Domain Authority
- Increase the time users spend on your site
- Allow customers to gain a deeper understanding of your core ethos and values
With those perks highlighted, it’s obvious to see why content marketing has become so popular over the course of the last decade. That said, the vast majority of businesses are still not utilising it! That gives you yet another opportunity to get ahead of the competition.
Want to learn more? Find out what we discovered after a year of blogging.
Content marketing shouldn’t be mistaken for being easy, however. When it comes to actually producing content for your business, you must ask yourself the following questions:
- What content makes sense for my business to write about?
- Who is the target audience for my brand’s content?
- What problems can my content solve for my target audience?
- What format should my content take? Video, Article, Infographics?
- What tone of voice will be used in my content to best represent my brand?
- Do we have the skills in-house to create professional web content?
- If we are working with an external production agency, do they understand our brand?
Having answered the above, you can begin to formulate content ideas and commit to a schedule of regular publishing. It’s important not to overextend yourself in content production and put out too much content in one go . It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
Let’s say that you’ve now created and published some articles. By themselves, they aren’t going to go anywhere fast, and that’s where Social Media Marketing comes in.
Social Media Marketing
When it comes to social media marketing, we’ve mentioned before that organic reach on Facebook has dwindled rapidly over the years, with one report citing that organic page reach for brands sits at a meager 2% of their overall audience on average.
In recent times, we’ve seen Facebook-esque news feed optimisation rolled out across other channels such as Instagram, Youtube, and LinkedIn.
However, In defence of the social networks, it makes sense that these algorithms are in place due to the vast amount of content posted on these channels every single day.
If it wasn’t for news feed optimisation, your Facebook timeline would be a mess, and it would be much harder for users to find the content they actually care about.
Despite significant changes to the way social media networks display content to users, it’s still incredibly important to consider social media as part of your overall digital marketing strategy for the following reasons:
Gives your brand/business a voice
Far more than just a platform for users to connect with friends and family, social media has become a network for customers to seek businesses in order to reach out directly.
Social Media has given customers a place to rave about the brands they love and complain about the ones they loathe. That said, this goes both ways. Brands and businesses now have an online voice, which they can use to their great advantage.
There are many benefits that come with having an online voice. Firstly, businesses can connect with their customers on a much more personal level. This, when done correctly, increases brand trust, which in-turn brings its own benefits.
Products can also be promoted and advertised through social media platforms, driving sales directly. This can be a treacherous path if it isn’t walked with care.
We recommend reading Gary Vaynerchuk’s book, Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook, to learn about the ratio of giving vs taking when it comes to social media marketing.
Related: check out our article on Gary Vaynerchuk’s $1.80 Instagram Strategy.
Social proof builds credibility
One of the core benefits of maintaining an active presence on social media is establishing brand credibility. It has been reported that 59% of customers visit a local business’ Facebook page before making a purchase.
Additionally, 41% of customers perceive other customer reviews on a company’s social media page as a sign of trust, further reinforcing the point that establishing a strong level of social proof can increase the perceived legitimacy of your brand.
Social media as a distribution channel for content
Due to the real-time nature of social media, when you create a new piece of content and share it, your audience will be able to see it instantly.
Because of this, its more effective for generating short-term hype than organic search, which can be incredibly useful when promoting a time-sensitive offer.
In addition to that, social media can also serve as a launch pad for the content you created with the intention of ranking organically within the search engines.
By sharing a high-quality article on social media, the traffic on said article can help to signal the importance of it, which will help it rank faster and more prominently.
What’s more, some of your readers from social media may decide to share or reference your article. These are other factors that help to enhance your organic search engine rank.
The best way to distribute your content via social media is to create a posting schedule and stick to it. Take the opportunity to share your own content, amongst content that you’ve found on other social media pages or websites.
Tip: because traffic is reduced across social platforms at different times, try to re-share your content across different days in order to reach different members of your audience and maximize your reach.
Paid social media advertising
One of the most powerful aspects of social media right now are the paid advertising options that are available to brands and businesses. These allow for precision targeting of customer profiles and user demographics that are tailored directly to your brand.
With paid social ads, you can collect new business leads, target customers within your local area, or even run dynamic ads that optimise themselves towards those who have already expressed interest in your business.
The paid advertising component of social media is currently one of the most effective tools available to marketers, however, the platform can initially be confusing to the uninitiated.
To find out more about how paid advertising can work for your social media channels, or if you are looking to get ahead with your social media accounts, check out our social media management page, or request a free social media audit.
Email marketing is more personal and follows similar principles to social media marketing. You’ll have an easier time getting users to convert, as they have already expressed interest by joining your email marketing list.
Unlike social media marketing however, with email marketing you have complete control over your content distribution. This is because the social media networks (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc) reprise the role of middlemen, controlling who can/cannot see your content.
You know for certain that when you send out an email marketing campaign, the people on your email marketing list will get that email in their inbox almost instantaneously, no questions asked. This grants you an amount of security and predictability that no other method of digital marketing can provide.
Going back to the social media marketing comparison however, the Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook concept (giving more value than you take) applies to email marketing as well.
You don’t want to bombard your subscribers with product after product, and sale after sale. Value still needs to be offered, otherwise, you risk your customers unsubscribing and leaving with a negative disposition to your future marketing efforts.
What constitutes as giving value though? Well, the most prominent way of giving value to your subscribers is via your content marketing. Each article that you craft, in addition to being syndicated on your social media channels, can and should also be shared via your email marketing campaigns.
Yet again, this works both ways as it provides that initial boost to your article and increases the chances of it being shared and referenced. We cannot stress enough how important it is for you to work on your organic traffic sources!
Later down the line when you’re receiving thousands of website visitors each day from search engines alone, you’ll be thankful for all of the hard work you put in to reach that point.
Back to the topic at hand, we have previously written an article that contains 4 tips for more effective email marketing campaigns. Well worth reading if you’re about to set up and execute you own campaign.
If you managed to read through this entire article, we applaud and thank you!
Whilst this guide was quite extensive, it is by no means the entire picture. The world of digital marketing is always changing and has an extensive history, the likes of which we could hope to cover in a single piece.
Bearing that in mind, we do frequently post new articles about the various happenings within the world of marketing, all of which can be found on our blog. Check back every now and then to see if any of our latest content takes your fancy.
We also share our content, in addition to other interesting pieces that we find, on our social media channels. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram to be kept in the loop.
Finally, if you found this guide useful, please give it a share (you can use the social icons below), and if you have anything to add or critique, leave us a comment down below and get the conversation started!