Digital marketing is all about competition; a limited amount of screen space means that advertisers are forced to outperform each other in order to reach their audience.
So a fully effective digital marketing strategy requires a mix of tactics, from pay-per-click advertising and SEO to social media; and all must properly funded, planned and, above all, balanced against one another.
Dividing your digital marketing budget
How should you divide your marketing spend? According to the latest analysis, digital marketing accounts for one third of most business’ advertising spending, with half of this being spent on SEO and around a third on display ads. The remaining 17% is divided between mobile (10%) and social media (7%), though spending is likely to increase on both these platforms.
Total spending on digital marketing is set to increase drastically, too, with a third of marketers predicting that digital marketing will account for 75% of their marketing budget within 5 years.
Search engine optimisation (SEO)
SEO determines how well your website performs; it accounts for half of most digital marketing budgets because it has such a huge impact on your overall web performance. And, because Google’s search algorithms are being constantly updated, SEO is a full-time job, not a one-off spot fix.
You can make a preliminary check on your website’s health without having to spend money; use tools like Pingdom to test your site’s load speed and have an expert conduct a free SEO audit on your domain to get an idea of what you stand to gain from SEO investment. Of course, SEO alone isn’t enough to reach your audience; you need an effective advertising campaign to deliver your content to consumers.
PPC advertising is very different from SEO in that the results are immediate; a strategic PPC campaign can help you consistently rank at the top of search results, and there are a variety of metrics that can be tested and refined in order to deliver healthy returns. PPC should be employed to push certain promotions, or to rank highly for less competitive terms in order to gain the maximum benefit for minimal cost.
The exception to this is fast-expanding businesses; PPC marketing is a great way to boost awareness of your brand and reach an audience quickly. If you’re going down this route, maximise your Return on AdWords Spend by ensuring your website is fully optimised for both SEO and conversions.
93% of B2B marketers now use content marketing in one form or another, with companies investing more time and money in producing high-quality content to engage consumers. Content marketing is an efficient way to reach customers, but it relies on being effectively "seeded" within blogs and websites to be productive:
So quality counts but distribution is also critical. The good news about content marketing is that it relies on "earned media" for distribution - once the content is created, it will be shared by viewers at no additional cost to you, benefiting from the perceived increase in trustworthiness that good quality content can achieve. With content marketing, you only have to pay to create the content, not to market it; a coherent social media strategy will amplify your content’s reach.
Social media is a fantastic tool for increasing brand awareness and consumer engagement, but it requires substantial investment to fully realise its potential. Success calls for regular activity and quality content production, so although the accounts themselves are free you’ll need to make room in your budget to maximise their effectiveness.
A productive digital marketing strategy requires co-ordination; successful businesses will have a well-optimised website connected to active social media, using quality content to drive user interaction and PPC campaigns to boost awareness. Each marketing tactic boosts the effectiveness of others; and the result is that the total is far greater than the sum of its parts.
Copyright © 2016 Thomas Coppen, UK director, Keel Over Marketing.