Our Guide to Digital Marketing

13 minute read

Inventive's Guide to Digital Marketing

Let me take you on a journey, through the world of modern day marketing. Get ready to begin your adventure, capitalising on all the potential that’s lurking on the web exploring creative new avenues along the way. Ready? Set, go!

Digital Marketing is a brave new world, that's high-paced and ever-changing. Marketers should expect to evolve tried and tested methods regularly due to how fast the digital world moves. Research is our weapon of choice in the digital world and is crucial to every endeavour. 

Table of Contents 

  1. Email Marketing
  2. Search Engine Optimisation
  3. Pay-Per Click and S.E.M
  4. Social Media Marketing
  5. Content Marketing
  6. Conversion Rate Optimisation
  7. Analytics
  8. Summary

Pre-Digital Marketing Guidance

Digital Marketing calls upon a variety of different skills throughout each job, I personally have Moz, Hootsuite and Google Search Console on speed dial. With that said, it's worth mentioning that digital marketers should have a brief understanding of the following: 

Copywriting for the Web 

Copywriting is such an important skill to have, it opens you up to a whole new world allowing you to really develop how you type. Along the way, you'll learn how each word you type out will have an effect on the conversion rate of your campaigns. 

Professional sounding copy will be used throughout all areas of digital marketing, whether you're writing ad-copy for Google AdWords and S.E.M campaigns, or blog posts for a content marketing campaign - The copywriting opportunities are endless. 

I've found the best way to improve your writing skills is to read other authors work; whether that's a book, or an advert on search engines. For a more hands-on approach, practice always makes perfect so why not dive straight in?

Learn the basics of HTML 

HTML, (Hypertext Markup Language), is the standard language for basic web pages and at first glance, it may look like the most complicated thing in the world, but, if you don't have the luxury of sharing an office with a web developer, it would suggest getting a solid understanding of the language. 

Digital Marketers use HTML mostly when dealing with S.E.O as it relies heavily on supplying the right language to search engines in order to rank better, however, marketers may use HTML when working on improving a websites conversion rate. There's a variety of ways to learn HTML, for example, Lynda's HTML Essential Training Course is a perfect overview of HTML which will have you typing away in no-time or learn HTML with Codecademy's Interactive Courses which have you actively writing and learning the hypertext markup language as you go. 

I found that conventions also helped increase my understanding of HTML. Learning more about a subject  is easier when there's a group of you doing it at once! Check out our blog on when Inventive went to Generate London - The Web Developers Conference. 

Ready to get started? 

The above are only recommendations, and with the right resources marketers may be able to dive right in, but from my experience it's best to learn the tricks of the trade to make yourself a more versatile marketer. 

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Digital Marketing at Inventive - Matt's Guide to Digital Marketing

What is Email Marketing?

Email marketing is the bread and butter of lead generation and customer retention, using email service providers (ESPS) like MailChimp, marketers can send Emails to customers showing off the latest deals and offers, right when they want it.

According to MailChimp “Potential customers are 5.2 times more likely to buy something when you send them a new subscriber email” – MailChimp 2017.

What can email marketing do for me?

Email marketing helps businesses reach out to their customers on a personal level, whilst not seeming intrusive or annoying - granted email marketing done wrong without market research is the most annoying thing in the world.

Email marketing should be a two-way conversation, and with email automation setup correctly it can be. For example, imagine a small online shopfront asks customers to sign-up to their email-marketing list. Once the shopfront has built up a large list they can then track users whom abandon items in their basket and send them a friendly reminder to prompt them to pick up where they left off - "Have you forgot about your items? Here's your basket to pick you up where you left off"

As well as having a great automation system, marketers can send regular emails to customers to help keep them retained and feel valued. Imagine a holiday campsite has a large email marketing list, they could send out useful information about what's happening at the campsite, local events and last-minute bookings available, perhaps tempting the customer to return to their website and book a new holiday.  

Email marketing rumours...

I've heard rumors since early 2017 that email marketing is on the decline and isn't effective anymore. Let me tell you, this is not true. For starters, email marketing still has one of the highest returns on investments of all channels of communications:

Did you know: Email Marketing has a median R.O.I of 122%, 4x higher than other marketing formats, including social - DMA and Demand Metric

Along with having a insanely high R.O.I, it's been said by HubSpot that 86% of working professionals prefer to use email as their main channel of communication, making email marketing great for B2B communications. 

Email clients like Gmail and Microsoft Outlook are also advancing, allowing email designs to be powered by HTML5, extending the current functionality of email marketing: This allows for exciting new email designs which could include gifs! 

How do I start email marketing? 

First pick your email service providers, as mentioned previously we like MailChimp as we like it's transparency and positivity. Once you've picked your ESP, it's time to start collecting email addresses. A great way to start doing this is to embed a signup form onto your website and offer something in return for a signup; "Join our email list and we'll send you our top-secret pie recipe, absolutely free!".

Once you've built up your first email marketing list, start sending emails: Make sure the emails you are sending are what your audeicne signed up to receive, or else they'll just unsubscribe! The more value you can offer to your customers via email marketing, the more likely you are to retain them.

After you've sent your first email, make sure to review it's statistics, for example with MailChimp, you can track clicks, views and bounces along with other metrics. Ask yourself some questions: "Are the recipients doing what I want them to do?", "Are the recipients unsubscribing after receiving this email?", "Did I send this email at the best time?": The questions you could ask are endless.

What is Search Engine Optimisation?

SEO or search engine optimisation is the process of optimising your website to match Google’s algorithm’s so your website shows up in response to certain keywords - (Other search engines are available). A keyword is any word or phrase you would search into Google, for example "How do I do Search Engine Optimisation?", the keyword phrase there is "Search Engine Optimisation". The more optimised your site, the higher up a search engine you'll feature. 

"Spiders" from search engines will "crawl" your website, looking for key information regarding how to rank your website. By optimising these key areas on your websites, you can influence what the "spiders" rank your website for. There are two sides of optimising your website for search, first there's on-page ranking factors which refer to everything happening on your website, and secondly there's off-page ranking factors which include everything surrounding your website.

There are many ways to optimise your website if I were to list them all I would have a million-word essay on "How to SEO", luckily Moz has some great guides including this On-Page Ranking Factors Guide.

How can I optimise my On-Page SEO Factors? 

On-page SEO relies on the digital marketer optimising a websites on-page factors to involve keywords and appropriate character lengths. There's a variety of on-page SEO factors available to optimise, some of these include: 

  • Page Title - Found in your browsers tab, this field should include up to 70 characters of keyword rich information. 

  • Meta-Description - This is the description found on your listing on a search engine: This should contain up to 300 characters of keyword rich information with calls-to-action to click through to your website. 

  • Heading Structure - Headings (<H1> to <H6>) are important for spiders to understand quickly what your page is about. Optimise them to contain crucial keywords. 

  • User-friendly URLS - Google has recently favoured user-friendly URLS that are easy to read.&

  • Image Alt-Text - This is a blurb behind a picture that allows spiders and screen-readers for the visually impaired to understand what an image is regarding

  • Keyword Density - You should have a keyword density of 3% on each page. It is worth noting that content should be easy to read and knowledgeable as Google prefers this and penalises "keyword stuffing".

How can I optimise my Off-Page SEO Factors?

This is aspects that happen mostly off your site. It relies on other websites linking you, writing articles on you and being linked from reputable directories. The digital marketer should look at expanding the amount of reputable backlinks they've collected before strategising how to get more. This can be achieved in a number of different ways including guest blogging and simply just reaching out to them. 

It's worth noting that paid links do not work. Google released an update in the previous years, pleasantly named after a penguin, that penalises websites that have a negative, spammy backlinking structure i.e. paying an irrelevant website to link to you. Marketers should check that backlinks are relevant and disavow backlinks that are irrelevant to avoid being penalised. This can be achieved by assessing the websites referral traffic via Google Analytics.  

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Digital Marketing at Inventive - Matt's Guide to Digital Marketing

What is PPC and S.E.M?

Search engine marketing and Pay per click are methods of boosting your ranking on search engines by paying per click. Google AdWords is a popular platform for this. 

As the name pay per click (PPC) suggests, you'll get charged per click to feature at the top of search engine results. For example, if you wanted to rank highly for the term “Digital Marketing Firm”, every click may cost you £5, or it may cost you £0.10p. Google decides this on how relevant your ad copy is, and how relevant the landing page is. If you’re relevant, your campaigns will be cheaper, if you’re not so relevant, you may not even be eligible to rank for the requested term. 

Did you know: 86% of consumers use the internet to find a local business - Search Engine Land 

With Google AdWords, you also have to choice to make visual display ads which are hosted on Google’s Display Network, which includes popular sites like Blogger and Youtube as well as thousands of partnering websites across the internet. Display advertisements allow marketers to leverage eye-catching imagery and HTML5 powered moving advertisements. Experienced digital marketers can add a retargeting code to their website, then once a user triggers that code they will be targeted by advertisements from you wherever they go.

Learning Google AdWords may look complex at the beginning, but thankfully, Google has published an interactive learning platform called Google Academy which will guide you through the basic steps of learning PPC and SEM. Alternatively, for a more hands on approach, simply create an account with Google AdWords and begin to make mock advertisements: presuming you do not supply any payment information this will all be free. 

What is Social Media Marketing?

With thousands of customers at the end of your fingertips, what’s not to love about social media? Interesting content, competitions and pictures can all drive clicks to your website, and best of all, it’s mostly free, neat! 

Social Media allows you to actually talk with your customers, so it's important that the social media manager of each operation knows how to handle all feedback including the negative - never react inappropriately or you'll have a PR nightmare on your hands!

When you first begin your account, no matter what social media you're using, you'll need a strategy in place to make sure your account gains some traction. Popular platforms like Facebook and Twitter both have advertising platforms of which you can run brand awareness campaigns to help your account take-off. 

Once you have an audience, the cost goes down. The marketer can then organically communicate with their audience, posting content-rich posts that they want to see. The goal of social medias should be to drive traffic to key areas like your website or shopfront and never the other way around (unless your social media is your money maker). 

Social Media is always growing & developing...

Part of the digital marketers job is to stay up to date with all the changes each social media may make, a great way to stay up to date is by using a social media management system, such as HootSuite - allowing you to manage all of your social medias at once. Facebook has recently rolled out an algorithm change early 2018 giving priority to posts that are driving engagement and shunning those pages that are fearlessly posting hard-sale tactics daily. At this point, it's worth mentioning that as much as each social media is different, their norms and values stay the same: Viewers will only follow you if you are sharing content they want to see, not if you're trying to push sales at every chance you can. 

What is Content Marketing?

Content marketing is releasing fresh content on your website in the form of a blog, news or any other platform (i.e. video, podcast etc...). Content marketing can be used by marketers for a number of reasons, some of which include: user retention, turning potential-leads into buyers and increasing inbound traffic. 

How does content work with a businesses marketing mix?

To retain users, the digital marketer should actively release content that explains more and more about the product it's describing or location it's set in. For example, if a company is having a swimming pool extension, the content marketer may choose to update it's audience regarding the progress on the pool. This in turn will help retain users and potentially boost sales in the future.

Content marketing helps turn potential leads into buyers in a number of ways, the most common way of doing this is hosting content that is knowledgeable, by doing this, the potential lead will know that the product/company that they're looking into knows what they are doing and feels more confident to turn into a buyer. 

The more a content marketers writes about. the more keywords that website may trigger, hence increasing inbound traffic: For example, imagine a company branches out and begins to market a new product, they then can write more and more about that product which may trigger more keywords in Google's search, which in turn helps them to rise up Google's search engine resulting in more potential traffic.  

How to make sure your content marketing campaigns gain traction... 

Simply releasing your content marketing efforts isn't enough for it to be merited useful, a distribution strategy should also be through up and implemented for it to be leveraged as a useful piece of content, there's a number of ways you can do this:

Content can be shared across your social media platforms: this is a good form of distribution because not only are you sharing quality content that your followers may want to view, but also you're helping to bring users from your social channels to your website. 

If content you are releasing is quality and holds a positive reputation, other content creators and industry-professionals may also link off to it as a useful piece of information in their content campaigns. They would do this out of a mutual interest of making their own efforts look un-biased as well as trying to leverage your contents current positive reputation. 

An alternative method of gaining inbound traffic through your content marketing efforts is S.E.O, if the content your making triggers keywords it may appear in search engine results and help bring in traffic organically. It is worth noting that you should never write for S.E.O as it can make your content look "robotic", which Google also penalises - again, over search engines are available. 

What is Conversion Rate Optimsation?

Conversion rate optimisation is a science and works hand in hand with analytics. Digital marketers should review how the current website is working and if it's achieving it's goals and if it's not, how can it. A websites goals can be polarised into two categories of conversion, micro conversions and macro conversions. Micro-conversions are the smaller goals like email sign-ups that don't typically make a company money whereas macro-conversions are goals like selling a product. 

Examples of Macro-Conversions...

  • Phone calls through your website -
    Marketers should be prepared to track this with a Google Forwarding Phone Number.
     
  • Contact us Form Filled Out -
    Marketers can track how well forms are preforming and make adjustments accordingly. 
     
  • Making a Purchase on a Shopfront -
    Marketers should also track if products are selling, when they sell the most and how to sell more

Examples of Micro-Conversions...

  • Subscribes to a service -
    Marketers can track how well a subscription service is performing and make adjustments accordingly. 
     
  • Subscribes to an email marketing list -
    Marketers can track how well email marketing campaigns are performing.
     
  • Adding a product to a cart -
    Abandon rates should be tracked along with ways to avoid this happening. 

By adjusting simple things such as positioning of forms, colours of calls-to-action buttons or split A/B testing of product layouts, digital marketers can draw conclusions as to what works for them and what doesn't, and from this trail and error, the best conversion rate possible should be drawn out. 

What is Analytics?

Google Analytics is a marketers best friend, and rightly so. The modern digital marketer should be able to use analytics to make quick changes to their products, which should ultimately boost their efforts. Using analytics programs, we can track key metrics such as how long users are spending on a site, what they're doing and how they found the website which in turn helps marketers know where to focus their efforts. 

Social Media's that are linked to a business account will also have access to their respective analytics platform to track how well engagement efforts are doing. Using this data the marketer and content creator can improve on their efforts and potentially increase their social presence. 

In Summary...

If you made it this far: Well done! You must be truly committed to improving your knowledge-base of digital marketing and all it's different avenues. There's loads more to learn and due to the speed of which digital marketing progresses, there's always more to learn. If you would like to start a digital marketing project with inventive, please do not hesitate to get in contact and we'll be more than happy to talk through your requirements. 

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By Matt on 5 June, 2018