Digital marketing beyond SEO has become overwhelming. And it seems to be evolving at an accelerated rate. Even experts in the field find themselves scrambling just to keep up with the latest paradigm shifts, theories, and industry reports. So when you talk about digital marketing beyond SEO, what does the average business owner need to know?
Where there used to be a standard stepping-stone process for digital marketing, today’s agencies are blurring the lines between one tactic and another, overlapping them as they push the limits of conventional thinking.
Why Do I Need Digital Marketing?
Many business owners today wonder “Why do I need to waste money on a digital marketing plan?”
In the 1990s (and into the early 2000s) business owners were asking “Why do I need a website?”
In 2015 they are asking “Why do I need a branded mobile app?”
In the pre-digital world, if you had a business in the basement of a building, wouldn’t you put a sign out front and get listed in the hyellow Pages?
Bruce T. Dugan, CEO Inicia Incorporaated
That is your answer because whatever you spent setting up your business, you should preferably have a budget three times that for marketing.
The Internet has made the world more competitive than ever before. And when you consider that as long ago as 2013 seventy percent (70%) of all local searches were done on smartphones, you begin to recognize the power of technology since the invention of the Smartphone. And Social Media has expanded exponentially in the same way and can now be considered the strongest vehicle to gain and share reviews — or n other words, the digital version of word-of-mouth.
Consumers can now find what they want when they want it — and find it on the spur of the moment. This is great for businesses, especially local businesses … provided that they are not invisible online.
The difficulty for many is while they may know some of the components of digital marketing, that does not constitute a marketing plan.
SEO is not unto itself a marketing plan, minor are ads, they are just marketing tactics. There are many different ways to deploy digital marketing and new ones are being developed all the time with new algorithm shifts.
A marketing plan begins with a ‘brand bible’ — this is the document that defines your company identity. and develops a consistent narrative across all mediums, including your website copy, blog articles, social media pages and posts, location-based directories, newsletters, and promotions, and are all figured into an editorial calendar.
Keyword research is still important, as is optimization. But while that is the jump-off point, content — as well as an off-site promotion — is the sustaining energy that drives an SEO campaign.
Digital Marketing Beyond SEO
But there are many other components to digital marketing, and some of the most commonly known include:
Search Engine Optimization — to raise the website ranking in search
Social media marketing — to attract and engage existing and potential customers
Advertising — text and display ads in search, blogs, and social media
But a good digital marketing plan also includes:
Content development & management (text, creatives, video, surveys, newsletter)
Lead capture strategies and tools, including website entry & exit surveys
Social media management tools
SEO management tools (ranking reports, site health metrics, etc)
Analytic tools, reporting, and analysis
Should I Outsource Digital Marketing?
Many business owners, whether they decide to jump into digital marketing by outsourcing social media management, or hiring an expert in-house (or locally). or try to do it themselves, tend to do so without a plan. For example, many business owners build social media pages and start posting., hoping that it will capture someone’s attention They wait, and wait, and wait, and then wonder why nothing is happening. The answer is that there was no plan. Before you can apply the basic stages of the sales funnel to potential customers — Awareness, Interest, Evaluation, and Action –, you first have to establish how you’re going to stimulate customers to take that journey, what the signposts along that journey will say, and how you’re going to organize and manage it all, including inquires.
What Does Outsourcing Digital Maertkring Cost?
If you do decide to outsource, the pricing can range from as low as $30 per hour — if you use someone offshore, — to $150 per hour in the United States and parts of Europe. Incognito Worldwide provides digital marketing services at a flat monthly (we do have hourly rates as low as $35 an hour) and we’re recommended in this DesignRush article for outsourcing social media management and listed 11th on that page. But they have many vendors for anywhere in the country, for example, if you wanted to find Top SEO Companies in North Dakota.
However, where they recommend Buffer and Hootsuite to companies that want to manage their own social media pages, we recommend eClincher, and for SEO, we recommend DiiB. And if you’re doing your in-house digital marketing, you certainly want to automate the management of the 70+ local-based directories. that can all be synced into one dashboard.
Reputation management can also be synced into a single dashboard so that you can monitor reviews in real-time, monitor trends, and respond. Reviews are a major driving force that inspires people to buy from well-reviewed companies. Ask about the reputation management tool.
However, a Digital Agency is just that, digital, which is why at Incognito Worldwide we can service customers anywhere in the world as if they were next door.
How Long Do Results Take for Digital Marketing?
Digital marketing overall is typically a slow-roast process, as opposed to the quick-grill results that some digital marketing components alone can offer. For example, an ad will get immediate results while SEO could take months to gain traction; ads however will stop working the second you stop paying for them while SEO lingers out there and gains strength and presence over time. Years ago just deploying good on-site optimization and/or backlinking of a site could jump to the top of search rankings. Today, the competition is fierce, and often you find yourself jocking for a position — with it changing daily — against competitors.
Digital ads can get quick results, but you need to know (or learn) how to set them up correctly to be effective. You need the creative graphics for the ads, and the taglines, and you should – in most cases – have landing pages so you can A/B test different campaigns and track conversions.
Most every digital marketing component now overlaps with every other, so when you hire someone to do SEO, they had better be able to develop content (and the content strategy), build landing pages, and understand the psychology of social media. No single component of digital marketing seems to have the stand-alone impact it once did. It requires a multi-tiered marketing plan.
Confused yet? Fret not. As a business owner you only need to answer two questions:
What do I want to achieve through a digital marketing campaign? For example, do you want to raise brand awareness for a new company or product? Or is it sales and revenue you seek?
What is my budget, and for how long can I sustain it?
Armed with these answers you’re ready to begin. Remember that old saying that tends to ring true most of the time … You get what you pay for. In today’s marketplace price should not be the driving factor. They should be who can get you the results you seek. If you do decide to go it alone, there are a few tools you should consider subscribing to automate the process and save you lots of time. Also, with accessibility becoming the new frontier to mitigate legal liability, consider making your site accessible to the disabled (to be in compliance with ADA (American Disability Act), and also tap into 155 of the population previously excluded online).