The world is changing and businesses have to change with it. Everyone knows this is the new landscape that we have to work with, but does the change have to be so distinct from traditional business practice?
There is an argument to be made that the old way of doing things still has currency. Particularly in the case of certain businesses whose consumer base is defined to the baby boomer generation, they do not have the affiliation culturally with digitised content that is commonplace for 2018.
So what are the disadvantages of centering your entire marketing efforts to the digital world? Let us explore them right here.
Education for Uninitiated
Whether you examine this talking point from the perspective of the consumer or even the business manager and staff, online digital marketing is a vast exercise that takes time to learn and appreciate. Should you have a limited interaction with platforms like Google, Facebook and YouTube, then the idea of brand marketing in the context of digital promotion is completely foreign. That is even before you attempt to involve yourself in the analytical side of the practice.
Less Tangible Benefits
It might be a prehistoric viewpoint, but non-digital advertising has an authenticity to it that can be hard to replicate online. From flyers to billboards and sponsored events, the old school method of meeting, greeting and getting a brand name visible out there in the local community is a benefit not to be ignored. A digital advertising spot can have cut-through, but nothing compared to a positive on the ground interaction.
Less Real Time Communication
When questions and queries have to be answered by the consumer, there will usually be a couple of different options at their disposal. One might be the phone line, another could be a shop front with an employee at the desk. For the digital world, customer service can be a hit and miss enterprise where emails and Facebook messages can take days or even weeks to be replied.
Requires Long-Term Investment
Digital marketing is far from a one-size-fits-all endeavour. It takes months and years before a framework can be established, a fact that should be pause for thought but something that is rarely considered for businesses that simply throw their hat in the ring without understanding the investment required. Half-hearted efforts are littered across the web and sticking to a traditional model on the ground can sometimes be a better bet if there is not the expertise or resources to execute a digital campaign correctly.
The modern commerce landscape is filled with different strategies and modes of operation. That is ideal because no one business should be exactly the same.
One of the great dividing factors centres around the digital vs. the traditional forms of marketing. From online video to website optimisation on one side to posters, television spots and newspaper advertisements on the other, certain business owners will be split on the merits of digitised marketing.
Here we will outline the major benefits of opting for this model.
Software programs such as Google Analytics and Facebook Insights offer digital marketers a way and means of understanding their efforts with far more efficiency than their counterparts. For a promotional push, you can gauge in real time how many impressions, clicks and cut-through a campaign managed. The alternative will see some new customers come through the doors, but was that via a billboard on the highway? Was it via a radio spot or simply word of mouth? That doubt creates problems because it clouds your judgment and offers less clarity as a result.
Long-Term Cost Efficiency
It might take some trial and error to begin your digital marketing journey, but the long-term financial benefits are there for all to see. While competitors throw their money at print advertising and commercial spots in magazines and newspapers, your SEO (search engine optimisation) and PPC (pay-per click) endeavours can reach a targeted demographic that will only be relying on online platforms more and more as each year passes by. That trend doesn’t require a doctorate to comprehend, but to act and execute a campaign that captures that traffic is something else altogether.
Ease of Entry and Flexibility
Starting a digital marketing strategy can be done by amateurs and professionals alike. From kicking off a Facebook page to owning a domain name and getting content produced for a select market, the scale and pricing is controlled completely on your own terms. This will extend to the flexibility that derives with digital options. If you have a new product on the market or a new message to broadcast to the populous out there, then that can be achieved with the flick of a switch. Try and do the same thing with a big billboard, television commercial or magazine advertisement and the details become a lot more complicated. Adapting on the go is one of the great advantages of going digital for any brand.
Search engine optimisation (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) are terms that are thrown around digital circles a lot these days. While there is much overlap between the two fields, they are not one and the same.
Both will be important for businesses and brands that need to improve their visibility and an understanding of their role is vital in scoring a leg up over the competition. Yet to achieve those lofty goals and targets, it is worthwhile examining what each practice consists of, understanding their similarities, differences and relationship to one and other.
Platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn are often tied into SEO campaigns and exist under that banner. However, in the purist sense of the word, social media marketing really is the domain of SEM specialists when we factor in the paid element of the promotional push. From an organic standpoint where content is published and links are produced, social media is a boost to SEO efforts, but when posts are artificially promoted and broadcast on people’s timelines, they become part of a wider SEM strategy.
The inclusion of pay-per click advertising is something that is totally foreign to organic search engine optimisation techniques, both logistically and philosophically. Here is where SEM becomes a broader church that incorporates all elements that can be considered online marketing endeavours. It is seen as a major player in online performance as it allows users to target their demographics much more surgically than simple SEO efforts. While that will score traffic in the long-term, it is that injection of targeted advertising through Google Adwords and Facebook advertisement spots that really begins to generate momentum for a brand.
If we were to conduct a construct of what SEO and SEM would be, then SEO would be a category under the field of SEM. That is how vast search engine marketing is when we factor in all of the elements discussed. Needless to say these are terms that should not be bandied about together haphazardly because they are two distinct disciplines all unto themselves.
Companies that begin a process of building their online portfolio should see their work through the prism of SEM rather than SEO as it incorporates the PPC world, mobile, social media and anything else that helps this cause. Yet the greatest asset any SEM professional can have is a working knowledge of an SEO campaign and how to execute that, paying off more than any other technique in the long-term.
Search engine optimisation (SEO) is a practice that has extended from the power and reach that Google can boast. Part science and part art form, this activity has branched out to become an integral part of the modern marketing endeavour.
Yet the very nature of this discipline makes it an evolving organism that is never static and always adapting to the habits of the consumer. Here is where technology plays a pivotal role in its development. It also gives us a gauge as to what to expect in the near future beyond 2018.
Technology and SEO will be forever linked and here is why the two are so compatible.
Wider Access To WiFi, 4G & Cloud Technologies
The reality is that society has a greater capacity now to tap into technologies that connect to the internet. In years gone by it would be a home or office modem that gave users the opportunity to tap into the world wide web, now that is essentially open to the community at large so long as they have a device to utilise. From WiFi to the cloud and 4G networks that are operational across city centres, suburban and rural areas, there has never been a better time to be online and searching.
Reliance On Search Engine Power
Not only do search engines like Google give us the ability to search what we want, they also not guide us as to what we want to search. This little advantage courtesy of the related search term bar and autocorrect field has since transitioned to a reliance on this powerful algorithm whereby consumers are handing back the initiative to these enterprises. Perhaps it is unhealthy, but our addiction to digital technology has branched out the SEO practice to incorporate a broader searching spectrum for keywords and phrases.
With the iPhone, Samsung and Blackberry smartphones venturing further into the marketplace to become mainstream, the manner in which we search and the data we are looking for has changed. That desire to have instantaneous product information and opening hours on our mobile has shifted the priority for Google who has forced businesses to have these categories broadcast through their platform.
Local SEO is a practice all unto itself and a direct result of the boom in the smartphone market. By 2019 the domestic use of mobile devices is expected to soar past the 20 million mark, a statistic that ensures optimisers must cater to active smartphone users.
By its very nature, SEO is a practice that will always be on the move. New technologies are introduced every year and the way in which people interact with search engines will be altering even faster. Google’s algorithms merely reflect the internet habits of society after all.
So what have been the landmark events in technology that has flicked the switch on search engine optimisation? There have been macro and mico examples throughout recent history, yet there is a handful that standout as major events. Since these took place, nothing has been the same for online marketers.
There is no doubt that Google’s expansion of their operating model has shifted how the platform works for the end user. What started out as a means to search for links and data on words and phrases has blossomed to be an enterprise of truly global reach. With that growth has come a capacity to instigate and extrapolate search terms related to one and other, image and video inclusion, local listings, advertisements and more. Each category is fluctuating by the minute as Google’s system adapts to technology and the end user.
Video has proven itself to be the most powerful media outlet anywhere on the web. Next to static images and text that struggles to gain the same cut-through, video is the tool for the modern marketer. This has affected how SEO professionals go about their business because they have the ability to tie in their campaign to YouTube videos that are simple to integrate on websites, emails and social media accounts. From the URL to the headline, meta tags and descriptions, YouTube’s operating system makes it simple to transition the same principles across to the online video world.
Search engine traffic is no longer an exercise conducted purely from a big, hefty desktop at the office. It is on the train, on a bus, in a taxi, during dinner or walking down the street. Smartphones have changed the game for SEO professionals who must change their perception and execution of an optimisation endeavour.
Now that smartphones, tablets and virtual assistant machines have the ability for the user to conduct a search simply by making an audio request, the SEO practice has become more conversational as a result. Phrases that begin with “how did this start” or “where can I find” are commonplace to the point where web content has to cater to this new normal.
Search engine optimisation (SEO) can be a daunting process from the outside looking in. Should you be uninitiated to the science behind elevating a website to the top of the web rankings, then it can appear to be a practice that takes years to master.
Here is where many third party companies step into the breach to take this burden away from various enterprises. However, there are a few basic principles at play that can see your own ranking rise up the results without having to invest thousands of dollars of revenue.
The ease of the YouTube application is handy for a number of reasons, but it should not be seen as just a luxury item. Video is head and shoulders the greatest means of attracting new traffic and keeping their attention, so tapping into short videos that are either entertaining, instructional or both will be a great means of driving your ranking. Google perceives video as a major element to boosting a site’s optimisation capabilities, so utilise it for your niche.
Speed Wins The Day
To be a genuinely optimised website, you have to be running an efficient machine. Think of this department like any quality mechanic would for a car – the parts all have to be in working order and it has to run when the driver puts the foot down. Speed ensures that content is not overloaded and helps a consumer base that is demanding given a shorter attention span.
Maintain Regular Content
Whilst there is a need to focus on quality over quantity in this new SEO era, there is no doubt that the best operators in the business are those that can keep the numbers ticking over. Even on those slow Wednesday afternoons in the middle of the year when news and announcements are lagging, it is paramount to continue a content strategy that sees your website tick over. This informs the search engines that you are active and provides value for the end user.
Have contacts within your own niche? Do you enjoy a fruitful partnership with other brands or peers online? Leverage that network because the more backlinks you can generate from others on the web that have some authority, then that will help your cause and inform Google that you are worthy of a higher rating. Social media also happens to be a great source for backlink generation, but the best results derive from other websites who reference your brand and include your URL.