Digital Marketing for Beginners – It will probably come as no surprise to you that in a recent survey of UK consumers, nearly half buy something online at least once a week. The growth in the use of the ‘net is not slowing down. Connectivity reigns supreme, with smartphones, tablets and internet enabled TVs becoming ubiquitous. There are very few retailers who do not have an internet presence. Many now rely on the internet for their business and revenue streams.
However, certain sectors od industry and commerce have taken longer to adapt. It’s true of those where there has been a long history of business, such as rhe automotive industry – an industry that has long been based on personal relationships and hard copy posters and advertisements. Whether you are starting a new business or trying to drag a long-standing one in to the digital age, here are some of the key terms you will come across, and will need to grip and understand, on your journey to become established and successful in e-commerce.
First off you must have a high quality, user-friendly and effective website for consumers and potential customers to visit. How do you attract people there? Come on down and take a bow, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)!
To ensure your site can be easily found through search engines such as Dogpile, Ask Jeeves, Bing or the all-powerful Google SEO can be used. SEO is a process of improving visibility of a website in search engines, via ‘natural’ or ‘unpaid’ search results. SEO looks at what terms people search for and optimises a website plus its content to increase its relevance to the keywords that individuals are searching on most frequently. Browsers will then list your site on pages when consumers put in their keywords. The better your SEO, the more relevant your content is to their keywords, the higher up the rankings your company will appear. The object is to be on the first page and as high up that page as possible. Few people bother to search beyond the first two or three pages following a search.
One way to boost SEO rankings is to closely match words on your website with those a potential customer will use when searching for a product or service online. These words are known as ‘keywords’ and they must be specific and chosen carefully. Too many keywords will dilute their significance and the impact on your search ranking. Always include relevant keywords in the title of the website as well as in description tags. That’s because these are the first places the search engine will scan prior to indexing results and ranking them on its search pages. Therefore including the most relevant keywords to your business will boost your online visibility through search engines and ultimately attract more visitors to the site.
We mustn’t forget social media. Social media allows two-way communication between sellers’ brands and interested parties in the market. Love it or loathe it, you cannot ignore it. It will not go away. You must use it. With search engines such as Google and Bing tracking social media activity, a strong social media presence can promote your website’s visibility by supporting your SEO. The two most popular platforms for businesses to consider are Facebook and Twitter:
Facebook enables users to connect and publicly/privately share information with the people in their network. Products can connect visitors’ Facebook profiles to their company sites. This allows them to share and engage with website content, seamlessly. Your company can also develop relationships with followers or ‘fans’ so that they can become advocates for your business. A lot cheaper than engaging publicity staff!
Twitter allows users to broadcast their messages (‘tweets’) and interact with a wider audience through a maximum of 140 characters per tweet. Twitter permits businesses to participate in and listen to the public conversations people are having, either about them or about the wider industry. With high direct referral rates to blogs, news sites and company websites, it is vital to not just have a presence, but to actively and aggressively engage with the community on Twitter.
Finally, there’s pay per click. Pay per click (PPC) is a method of paying for responses from search engines or social networks, where advertisers pay publishers for each click an advert receives. PPC will drive traffic to your website by placing display advertisements on key segments of a site or hyperlinks to you site on top of keywords. PPC is more expensive than SEO, but can be very effective if your banners and ads are visible on high-traffic sites.