If your business doesn’t have a digital marketing strategy, it will never reach its full potential period… “Digital marketing” might sound like a fancy buzzword, but in the simplest terms, it’s just any marketing effort conducted via electronic media. Digital marketing and online marketing are sometimes used as synonyms, however, offline forms of digital marketing (such as radio, TV, and SMS text advertisements) exist as well. The bulk of your digital marketing, though, should be focused on online strategies—especially now that nearly everyone you know spends every waking hour of the day with a smartphone within reach.
Digital marketing in the 21st century revolves around two goals. First, you want to get targeted traffic to land on a specific webpage (or Landing Page). Secondly, once on that page, you want to convince the visitor to take some action (sign up, subscribe, place an order, buy your product, etc). An intelligent and effective digital marketing strategy has many faces. If you can show up in your customer’s email inbox, Instagram feed, Facebook feed, Twitter feed, YouTube subscription page, and Google search results, you have many chances to develop brand awareness and generate new and repeat business.
Online marketing can be broken down into six main traffic sources:
- Content Marketing
- Affiliate Marketing
- Email Marketing
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Social Media Marketing (SMM)
- Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC)
There is some overlap within these categories. For example, content marketing has a huge impact on SEO, and PPC ads can be run on social media platforms. In addition to these, Analytics and Conversion Rate Optimization should go hand-in-hand with your traffic generation efforts. Through analytics, you can use traffic data to study your customers and their habits over time. This allows you to run tests and make adjustments to increase the conversion rate among your visitors.
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Victoria’s Secret to Successful Digital Marketing
Not every traffic source will be relevant for your business. This is where knowing your customers comes into play. One example of a company with very successful digital marketing is Victoria’s Secret.
In the case of Victoria’s Secret, their digital marketing efforts focus on brand awareness, promotions, and product updates. They have no need for the type of SEO or content marketing that involves publishing articles to generate search traffic. They know their customers aren’t interested in reading and sharing lengthy blog posts when the fashion industry is almost entirely visual.
Instead, Victoria’s Secret uses their social media channels to stay fresh on the minds of their customers. In particular, their Instagram account has over 55 million followers and gets updated with fresh content several times per day. While many followers are just there to get a peek at sexy models, a good portion will at some point see a new clothing item that they absolutely MUST have (or MUST buy for their wife or girlfriend).
The style of content marketing used by Victoria’s Secret is to continuously release new products and run temporary special promotions through their online store, always adding new images of their beautiful models in the process. Repeat visitors to their website know that they’re likely to find fresh styles and colors, new sale items, and various free giveaways anytime they visit the site, so it’s always worth checking back in from time to time.
They employ a very strong email marketing strategy as well. Existing customers who have opted-in receive a daily email highlighting a particular sale offer or new product release. And while I don’t have any statistics, I can only assume that the visual appeal of their Angel models leads to a higher than average email open rate.
If you type “Victoria’s Secret” into Google’s search bar, their official site shows up as the top two results. Not only do they hold the number one position for organic search, but their online store always appears right above that as a paid search result. The number of users who click on the paid search result rather than the organic listing right below it must be fairly high. It might seem like a waste of money to pay for all those clicks when they hold the number one organic search spot anyways. But you can be sure they’ve done the math. They track the activity of users arriving through ad clicks, check how many become paying customers, see the average amount they spend, and confirm that the ads pay for themselves.
You may not be in the business of selling lingerie, but you can see from this example how a multi-pronged digital marketing strategy can keep your brand fresh on your customer’s mind and allow more chances to drive and convert new traffic.
Now let’s look closer at the tools in your digital marketing belt.
The key to content marketing is that the content must be relevant to your audience and provide value to them. Use content to tell a story and get your customers engaged. In the case of Victoria’s Secret, they recently used the lead up to the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival to promote a new line of clothing that would appeal to the younger boho crowd Coachella attracts. They even sent a group of their models to the festival to get in on the act, with plenty of images plastered on social media. This kind of content works for them because their brand identity is all about creating a certain image.
For many businesses, the most effective content marketing strategy will be to publish relevant and authoritative blog posts. Of course, you don’t want to just create blog content on random topics. The material needs to have value for your target audience, and it needs to advance your business goals at the same time. Content marketing is intertwined with SEO. You should come up with a content marketing strategy based not only on the information you want to provide your customers, but also based on your knowledge of what information people are searching for. When your content provides answers to the questions people have, with your business positioned as part of the solution to their problem, you can change them from just readers to paying customers.
Another type of content marketing that might be effective for your business or niche is Video Marketing on YouTube. There is some overlap here with Social Media Marketing because YouTube allows you to gather a following through subscribers, as well as the videos getting shared on other platforms. Video Marketing also overlaps with Search Engine Marketing. It’s common for videos to show up mixed in among Google’s organic search results, even when the user isn’t specifically looking for a video. Moreover, YouTube itself is the world’s second largest search engine. It process more searches per month than Yahoo, Bing, Ask, and AOL combined.
Creating video content is one way to put yourself in from of many more eyes. You could be in possession of the best solution to someone’s problem, but unless you make a video and post it to YouTube, you’ll never be visible to a large sector of the population who prefers to digest info in the video format. Even if your company is in what you’d consider a boring niche, it should be possible to create some informative videos that can answer questions people may be searching for. There’s no such thing as too nerdy or technical for YouTube. The platform is filled with lessons and tutorials of every sort, not to mention all those new gadget unboxing videos.
Affiliate marketing is where you offer a reward for others who direct converting traffic your way. Probably the best-known affiliate program is the Amazon Associates program, which pays a commission to website owners when someone clicks an affiliate link to Amazon.com on their site and then makes a purchase.
While this is the biggest example, many smaller businesses run affiliate programs too. Since you only pay out to your affiliates when a conversion has been made, it can be a great way to attract more customers. All you need to do is set up a tracking system and give a unique code to each affiliate so they get credit for the visitors they send you. Then of course you need a payment system so your affiliates can receive their rewards. Affiliate marketing might not make sense for every type of business, but it can work for many.
If you’re sick and tired of sign-up forms popping up out of nowhere when you try to read an article, you can blame it on the success of email marketing. The one thing nearly every blog and online business has in common is that they try to develop an email list. Some will just ask if you want to sign-up for their newsletter, others will bait you by giving away something for free (an ebook, access to restricted content, etc), and everyone else will get your email at the time of making a purchase.
Your email marketing strategy will vary a lot depending on the nature of your business. If you just want readers to keep coming back to your blog, then it makes sense to send out a weekly newsletter highlighting your latest posts. For an online retailer, your emails are going to be focused on introducing new products to existing customers and tempting them with special promotions to generate repeat business. You could also make use of sophisticated email marketing software to run targeted campaigns with a goal of convincing your audience to take a specific action such as signing up for a course, buying your product, attending an event, or whatever the case might be.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is an incredibly huge topic, and it’s one that is constantly in flux. Google never stops tweaking their search algorithm, and they never publicly reveal the full details of it. This leaves SEOs to constantly evaluate and adjust their strategies. Some of the basics, however, don’t change much. If you think about the purpose of a search engine, you can see that their goal should be to provide the best relevant content in response to the searcher’s inquiry. It should be obvious from this that content marketing is going to be a cornerstone of your SEO strategy.
Any SEO plan needs to involve research and analysis. You have to start by knowing what is possible and what is impossible. For example, nothing you do will ever give you the number one position in organic search results for “Victoria’s Secret”. That spot is locked up. However you might be able to land the top spot for the long-tail search phrase “Why do Victoria’s Secret stores in Thailand not sell bras?” if you wrote a quality article on that topic, optimized by good use of titles, headers, relevant text, images, etc. Of course, it might be a rather useless exercise if nobody is actually searching on Google for that information. So your content strategy ideally should target certain keywords or phrases that people are using, and for which you could hope to appear on the first page of results with some effort.
The other major part of SEO involves building backlinks to your content. Search engines have little choice but to incorporate backlinks into their algorithm. The reasoning is that important webpages should naturally have more external sites referencing and linking to their material. There was a time when you could rank a website simply by pointing tons of spammy links at it, but those days are long over. In today’s environment, Google pays close attention to the quality and relevancy of a website’s backlink profile. There are many strategies for acquiring backlinks (such as guest-blogging, press releases, directory submissions, syndication, etc), but some of the best quality backlinks are still those that come organically by creating top-notch content that others want to share.
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Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing has exploded in the past few years. Just think about how much time people spend on their phones playing around on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Most of these platforms now allow advertisers to place PPC ads that show up as posts in the home feed of highly targeted audience members. The most effective social media marketing, however, is that which invites interaction. User generated content, such as comments, reviews, hashtags, and photos of your business are some of the most persuasive materials for other potential customers.
Social validation is a well-known psychological phenomena—as is its polar opposite, Empty Restaurant Syndrome. When someone walks into a restaurant and doesn’t find any other diners there, they get a feeling that something is wrong with the place and turn around to dine elsewhere. How many times have you avoided booking a hotel simply because it had a lack of reviews? On the other hand, how many times have you tried out a particular cafe or restaurant just because it was ranked near the top in TripAdvisor for that particular city?
Looking back at our example with Victoria’s Secret, we can see that they’re very active on social media. Each photo they post on Instagram generates hundreds of comments and hundreds of thousands more likes. Many of the comments express desire to buy the products featured (“Want it so bad please…”, “I want it”, etc). We can also see that the official account admin doesn’t simply post the photo, but they also take an active part in replying to comments. In the comments to one of their posts shown below, we can see they gave one follower a “thumbs up” and “kissy face” emoji response to a positive comment. It may seem quite silly to us, but it probably made that person’s day.
As a result of social interaction, the company’s followers don’t simply feel like isolated customers, but rather that they’re part of a trending community. Of course, not every business is going to produce viral content as easily as pictures of gorgeous models in skimpy clothing. You may have to get creative if your company is in a “boring” industry.
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Pay-per-click advertising can be very effective if done correctly. When not done correctly, however, it’s possible to blow through a huge budget in a short amount of time with little result. Let’s focus on Google Adwords as it’s the single largest PPC platform in the world. The idea is simple: millions of people use Google’s search engine to find what they’re looking for on the web each day. In addition to organically generated results that Google determines with their search algorithm, they also allow advertisers to bid on paid search results to be displayed when certain keywords are searched for.
The two biggest mistakes that newbies to Google Adwords make are to set up their campaign for keywords that aren’t specific enough and a match type that is too broad. It causes them to waste money paying for the clicks of web visitors who won’t find what they were looking for on their site.
A winning PPC campaign is built on Keyword Research and Campaign Management.
PPC Keyword Research
Keyword research must be done before starting a campaign, but it’s also a good idea to continually refine your list of keywords based on fresh data. Above all, your keywords need to be highly relevant to your business. When someone clicks on your ad, it needs to be because your website can provide value based on a close match with their specific search query. Your keyword list should also include many long-tail keywords that don’t have as much search volume per term, but are narrowed down and specifically related to your content. All together, long-tail keywords make up the bulk of searches.
Victoria’s Secret always seems to get the top paid search listing for the exact keyword phrase “Victoria’s Secret” precisely because nobody else is outbidding them for that spot. Anyone who did would be wasting their money because the user is looking for that specific brand and they wouldn’t stay on a website that didn’t provide it. Competing lingerie companies need to focus their Adwords budgets on bidding for searches of long-tail keyword terms for specific types of garments instead. As you can see in the screenshot below, Victoria’s Secret wins the number one position in the organic search results for “satin cami pajama set”, but another company is spending money to show up above them as a paid search result. Someone looking for this type of product may not care so much about the brand, and will gladly buy from them. Their spending on the Adwords campaign is then justified for this long-tail phrase.
PPC Campaign Management
In order to succeed over time, a PPC campaign needs continual analysis and optimization. Campaign management should involve adding new keywords to your list and adding negative keywords that you don’t want to match with. For example, competing brands might put “Victoria’s Secret” into their negative keyword list to avoid matching for long-tail searches in which they would only disappoint anyone clicking through who was hunting for a specific brand. As you can see in the screenshot below, not only are there no paid search results for the long-tail phrase “Victoria’s Secret satin cami pajama set”, but the official Victoria’s Secret website gets all of the top 5 organic search results. That indicates that Google as well knows this search term is so specific that it would be a mistake to send the user elsewhere.
An important part of refining any PPC campaign is split testing. You can improve the performance of your campaign over time by running different keywords in two different groups and tracking which give the best results. Split testing or A/B Testing should be applied to every aspect of your PPC campaign. You can test out different ad copy with the same keyword group, and you can test changes to your landing page. The important thing to remember when conducting A/B Testing is to only change one variable at a time. If you make multiple changes at once, you’ll never know which factor caused the difference in the results.
In addition, The data collected from running Google Adwords PPC campaigns will give you a competitive advantage with you SEO and help you laser target your organic search audience. A good Digital Marketing strategy should always run Google Adwords and SEO concurrently.
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Conversion Rate Optimization
As mentioned before, Conversion Rate Optimization works together with Analytics to identify the behavior of your website visitors and then fine-tune their experience to improve upon the number that convert into paying customers. One of the main strategies used is A/B Testing as this will give you concrete data to work with. You can objectively determine if various changes increase or decrease the conversion rate among your visitors. There are many aspects to your website or landing page that you can test out. The text and images you display to the visitor are obvious choices for testing, but there are also many other things you can check such as the location, color, and size of buttons, the size of your text font and width of text container, color of text links, location of the menu, etc.
You may be surprised to find out that an uglier page design can actually convert better than a flashy one. Image sliders, videos, and animation might look cool, but if these all distract your visitor from clicking your call-to-action button it makes them worthless. A/B Testing gives you a scientific way to evaluate seemingly subjective design changes. This makes it a highly critical tool in boosting your website’s performance, and ultimately your business.
Outsourcing Digital Marketing in Thailand
As you can see, digital marketing is a large and complex topic. You may feel that you don’t have the resources to take on the task. But in reality, you can’t afford NOT to implement a digital marketing strategy. When everyone is on the web, successful online marketing is critical to the future of your business. If you’re afraid that hiring digital marketing professionals is beyond your budget, you’ll be happy to learn that many digital marketing services can be outsourced to our team in Thailand for more competitive rates than what an agency in LA, London or Sydney might charge. To find out more about hiring professionals in Bangkok or Chiang Mai for your SEO, Social Media Marketing, PPC Advertising, and other digital marketing needs, please fill out Iglu’s contact form.
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