Are you new to the world of digital marketing? Perhaps you’ve had a website for some time but it’s not really making any money, or you’re launching a new ecommerce website and want to get your ducks in a row? It’s not a difficult process to make some really positive changes for your online business, but you do need to take the time to make sure you’re making the right changes or creating the right content. With this is in mind, we’ve put together a quick online marketing for beginner’s guide. We’ll cover all the key areas of digital marketing: SEO, content marketing, digital PR, paid search and social, so you can rest assured you’re doing some of the basics perfectly.
What is digital marketing?
If you truly are a beginner, we want to make sure you’re clear on what is, and what isn’t, digital marketing. The quick answer is, it’s the promotion of any services or products you’re selling over the internet. Here are some examples of what we mean:
- A blog post or a video which highlights how to use a specific product you sell
- A piece of content that sits alongside a service you sell
- A link to your website from an industry-related publication
- An advert on Google that appears when a user types in a phrase related to your business.
- The number of visitors your website receives from social media.
There are literally hundreds of examples, but these are some of the main ones you will encounter on a daily basis.
For good measure, here are some examples that are NOT digital marketing:
- Shop POS materials that were designed on a Mac using Photoshop
- The banner for a brand at a bus stop or on the side of a bus
- Adverts you see on the television.
Digital marketing is the same as marketing, but it’s approached in a way that when done right, it captures the attention of your online audience, sparks an interest in your brand and persuades them to order your products or services.
How does digital marketing work?
Digital marketing works by tapping into consumers’ needs and wants, and then helping them with those needs and wants. Google, for example, is designed around answering user queries, trying to be as helpful as possible and providing content that best answers whatever question that user has. The key here, is that you want to be one of the top sources of content that Google points users to.
Ultimately, the goal of digital marketing is to place your brand at the forefront of searchers’ minds, whether they’re aware of your products and services or not, and unsurprisingly, you do this through effective digital marketing.
What channels are available to you through digital marketing?
There are so many different avenues you could go down, but generally speaking, you want to be focusing on the search engines, namely Google, social media and PR efforts (gaining links from other websites to your website).
Why bother with digital marketing?
If it’s all new to you, it might sound like a lot of effort, and this can be true if you’re going to get really stuck in. However, the benefits of digital marketing can be immense. It will help increase your brand’s visibility, it will help kickstart sharing your brand, such as on social media, it can convert new buyers into regular customers, and most importantly, it increases your overall chances of conversions. If you dangle your brand in front of 100 people who are genuinely interested in what you have to offer, you’re going to get tonnes more conversions than if you didn’t bother at all. And that’s exactly what we want you to be onboard with digital marketing.
Online marketing for beginners
So now you know the whats and whys, let’s move on the how tos. We’ve cooked up some digital marketing basics for beginners to help you get going and make some positive steps towards improving your website’s ability to attract users, and then help them convert.
SEO for beginners
If you’re interested in getting truly, truly stuck into SEO, we highly recommend you read our comprehensive beginner’s guide to SEO (it’s free). For the purposes of this post, we’ll look at the most important thing to consider…
Keywords, keywords and more keywords
Keywords are how users find your website through search engines. They’re how Google determines what your website content is about, and it’s just one of the many ranking factors that will establish where your website is shown on the results pages. The easiest way to decide what keywords are right for your brand is to think about what you sell. What sort of thing would you type into Google if you were looking for your services, in layman’s terms?
Once you’ve got some ideas down, look to some free tools to see what sort of actual search volume is behind those terms. After all, there’s no point focusing on terms which no one is looking for. We recommend things like Google Keyword Planner, Keyword Surfer, and Answer the Public, but there are lots more. Using these terms within your website copy will help users find your website. Make sure you consider both branded, and non-branded keywords too.
Extra tip: Make sure that each page of your site focuses on a small number of your main keywords. You don’t want to end up with pages competing against each other because you’ve used too many of the same keywords across multiple pages. Keep it focused.
Content marketing for beginners
Content marketing comes hand in hand with SEO, as ultimately you need to get the optimised content on your site before Google has a chance of finding it. So, what’s the best way to do this? You’ll already have your keywords and will have a focus for each page, but the writing element is just as important…
Write for humans
Google’s most recent algorithm update is all about helpful content. It means that website content that’s written for the user and not the search engines is what will have the highest chance of ranking well. More emphasis now leans on creating effective people-first content, so that’s how you need to write. Think about your audience at all times. Ensure your keywords are included within the copy, but also make sure your content flows, your keywords fit nicely within the copy and most important of all, that it answers that keyword query. For example, if you’re writing a blog that focuses on ‘how to paint my kitchen tiles’, you need to make sure there is clear instruction on how to do just that. If you follow these guidelines, you can’t go far wrong!
If you want to get into the nitty gritty of content marketing, we have a free complete guide to content marketing which provides more detail on creating strategies, researching ideas and tonnes more.
Digital PR for beginners
If you’re a digital marketing beginner and want to know more about online PR, in a nutshell, it works to increase your brand visibility through backlinks from other websites to your own website. Backlinks from reputable sources looks great to Google, and can really help boost where your business appears in the search engine results pages (SERPs). But, where do you start with digital PR?
As a beginner to digital marketing, we recommend your first port of call is to:
- Learn and understand what a story is and is not. For example, what is newsworthy in your industry?
- Research the kinds of media you want to get into. This process will help you to figure out what sorts of stories your favourite publications like, what they will run and what they don’t.
- Once you have this information, you can start planning in stories that are more likely to be picked up by your chosen publications.
Have a read of our best digital PR and SEO link building strategies blog post to help inspire ideas on what sorts of digital PR you could get stuck into, and once you’ve got some ideas, here’s how to write a press release. If you’re not sure about PR and want more insight into how it works, what it can do for your business and how you can successfully run campaigns, we offer an online digital PR training course.
Paid Social for beginners
Paid social is a giant. It’s something we’re confident you’re interested in as there’s such a large audience attached to it. So, if you’re new to paid social and you’ve decided which channels are the best fit for your business, here are some handy tips for getting started:
Don’t boost posts
Instead, we recommend promoting existing posts via Facebook Ads manager using a defined goal and audience. This will lead to better results along with data that can be used to remarket later down the line.
Create multiple ads with different variations
What we mean is things such as videos, images, and carousels for each ad set (approx. 4-6 different variations). You can then test them against each other to find out what’s performing better. This will give you a much clearer idea of what direction to move in.
Extra tip: To help you on your way, we’ve put together the top 4 metrics for Facebook Ads which are worth knowing before you get stuck in.
Paid Search for beginners
Similar to paid social, there’s massive potential attached to paid search, if you know what to do. We appreciate it can be overwhelming if you’re new to it, but we’ve sourced a couple of top tips from our in-house experts for beginners to paid search.
Combine locations into one campaign
We recommend combining locations into one campaign rather than splitting out by location. This is because Google’s machine learning will be able to perform better with more data, so bear this in mind when creating campaigns.
Check individual Google Ad strength for optimum performance
Make sure to check your individual Google ad strength and make changes based on what they tell you. If you have any ads with poor ad strength, make changes to the copy to make them more relevant to the keyword or have a look at the final URL and see if you could pick a better landing page for that ad.
We have a number of whitepapers available which explore different elements of paid search, such as ‘the complete guide to Google Tag Manager’, ‘understanding the Google Display Network and remarketing’ and more, so be sure to check these out to give you a good foundation on how paid search works.
If you have any questions, feel free to comment on this post or send us a message on social, our experts are more than happy to help with digital marketing questions.
If you’re based in Hampshire and want to join our free digital marketing community network, you can find out more and sign up here.
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