Is Digital Marketing Right For Your Business?

March 19th, 2013

by Erica Cullum

PART ONE: Where to Start

Everyday I talk to business owners and marketers that know they should be doing some form of digital marketing, but just don’t know where to begin. If you feel like you want to get into the online advertising arena, but don’t know where to start or feel overwhelmed, fear not. You are most definitely not alone.

My job is to help businesses figure out what digital marketing platforms would be most efficient for their business type and budget. Today it seems that everywhere you turn, digital technology is replacing things as simple as your soda dispenser. My best friends just enrolled their 15 month old into a computer class. Digital is here to stay folks, and it’s only going to become more dominant in our every day lives. It’s in your, and your company’s best interest to embrace and adopt it.

With that said, let me start by saying this: digital marketing IS right for your business. It doesn’t matter what kind of business you run. Digital is a realm where there truly is something for everyone. Lucky for you, you don’t need to keep track of all of the countless digital channels you can reach consumers through … you just need to find a good marketing consultant who can listen to your goals and your challenges and create a customized solution.

So, let’s start with the basics. The first thing you need is a great website. It doesn’t have to be complex or overwhelming, but it is important that you have a web presence. Your website is your online store that is working for you 24/7, worldwide. You need to ensure that it properly reflects your company’s brand and mission in a clear and concise fashion. It should be easy to navigate and compel visitors to take action such as contact you or buy your product or service.  Don’t forget to build a website full of great content that people can view on any type of device. As we continue to grow as an on-the-go society and technology becomes more accessible, you need to make sure your site is responsive for all those smart phone & tablet users!

Once you have a great website, you need to get people to visit it. This isn’t Field of Dreams. If you build it, don’t assume people are just going to start showing up. You need to get the word out that there’s a new site on the web, what it’s about, and why people should visit it. The quickest way to do this is via paid search. Paid search, or PPC (pay per click ads) are a great way to buy your way to the top of the search results. These ads are what show up in the top or the right-hand “sponsored” sections of a Google (or Yahoo!, or Bing) search. They are a great way to connect directly to people who are actively looking for you, your service or a product that you sell. Plus, with the right provider, you’ll be able to glean all kinds of valuable marketing information. For example, here at South Central Media we track and optimize your campaigns based on conversions, such as contact forms and purchases completed, emails sent, and even phone calls to your business! We can also tell you exactly what keywords people are using to find you, which can be a gold mine in your future marketing efforts!

When you’re looking at the long haul, paid search is great, but you also want your site to show up organically, or naturally in search listings. This requires a bit more effort and time and is called Search Engine Optimization, or SEO. This technique actually goes behind the scenes and works on the code of your website (looks scary, right?), among other things. We could go into a lot of depth here, but let’s keep it short and simple. SEO is crucial to your website so that search engines like Google know to show your site when people search for terms that are relevant to you. But it takes a lot of work and expertise to tell that to a robot as huge as Google. So make sure you hire someone who knows what they’re doing. In future blogs, we’ll talk about how to find a great SEO provider.

So we’ve touched on where to begin with digital marketing. It all starts with a great website, because most of your online advertising is going to try to take the customer there. So we want it to be a nice, inviting and informative place. In my next blog, we will delve deeper into more forms of digital marketing and how they can work to help you increase your business. If you just can’t wait that long, feel free to give me a shout or connect with me on LinkedIn!

Filed under: Marketing, Paid Search, SEO | 1 Comment »