Once upon a time, it was possible to do business without worrying about the internet. Small and large businesses did just fine before the internet came along. And even after the internet went mainstream, some mom-and-pop shops were able to hang onto their customer base without much of a web presence. They could count on being seen on Main Street or being found in the Yellow Pages. People shopped online, sure, but they didn’t use the internet to find their brick-and-mortar stores.
Then local searches came along and grew more powerful and more popular. Online review sites appeared, too, and began to direct consumer traffic in the real world. Online shopping is up, and service-based businesses have shifted to the internet. These days, a business that doesn’t have the right kind of web presence and digital marketing are pretty much doomed.
But digital marketing still isn’t something that many business owners understand. Here are a few key concepts that all business owners should be familiar with.
Search engine optimization
Digital marketing isn’t just about old-school marketing techniques like advertisements. Digital marketing encompasses pretty much everything about your business’ web presence, including how well your website and social media pages do in search engines.
Virtually everyone uses search engines — including your customers. All businesses need to pay attention to how they rank on the search engine results pages (SERPs) that Google and other big search engines use.
Search engine optimization, or SEO, is about making your web presence as appealing as possible to search engines and to the mysterious algorithms that they use to generate search results. When you make search engines happy, you move up the SERP and are discovered by more customers. Think of it as the online equivalent to getting a prime location or improving your signage.
So how do you get found online? For starters, you can keep your web presence fresh by continuously publishing new content. Posting the right kind of content in a company blog can boost your SEO, keep customers engaged, and give you something to share on social media.
Having a good content strategy means having great content creators and planning content ahead of time, explain the experts at Straight Marketing LLC, a respected digital marketing firm. And this doesn’t mean that you’re supposed to become a blogger — just as with SEO and other forms of digital marketing, content creation is something that you can and should rely on the pros for.
There are lots of new and exciting ways to get noticed on the internet, but that doesn’t mean that there’s no place for more traditional sorts of advertising. Just as you might want a billboard that overlooks a road many of your customers travel on, you’ll want to have clickable banner ads in places on the internet that your customers frequent.
Pay-per-click (PPC) ads make sense because they are cost-effective: you’re paying for the times when the advertisement works and the potential customer clicks on it. PPC ads are available on major search engines, too, so you may be able to get noticed by searching customers even if your business isn’t faring as well on the SERP as you’d like — though, of course, you shouldn’t substitute one digital marketing strategy for the other! Both SEO and PPC marketing should be a part of your strategy.
Digital marketing can look confusing at a glance. After all, it’s full of acronyms and tech-speak. But, at its core, digital marketing is simply about using the internet to do all the things you’d want marketing to do in the real world, which is advertised to customers and make your business easy to find.