We hear this question often. Unfortunately, there isn’t a magic switch we can flip to turn on a flow of traffic to your site. You may hear people say digital marketing is the answer. What exactly does that mean?
On the surface, digital marketing sounds simple: marketing in its digital form.
But once you dig a little deeper, the complexity of digital marketing starts to come into focus. The goal of marketing has always been to connect with the right audience, in the right place, and at the right time. But digital marketing brings brands into an entirely new arena, redefining traditional boundaries while offering up an exciting realm of opportunities.
Regardless of the type, size, or age of your organization, you’re probably well-aware of the importance of reaching your target audience. After all, it’s that audience where you find the members that support your mission, recommend you to others, and help you expand your reach.
Digital Marketing Crash Course
Digital marketing is the full spectrum of marketing efforts that use the Internet to pinpoint, build, and reach an audience. Using a variety of channels and methods, a well-rounded digital marketing strategy targets both potential and existing members.
Even if you tend to be a traditionalist, if you haven’t yet expanded your strategy to include digital marketing, now is the time. Digital marketing benefits run the gamut from a better return on investment to massive customization capabilities, making it vital for virtually every brand on the planet.
Types of Digital Marketing
Once you expand your marketing strategy to the digital world, you’ll have an impressive lineup of new channels at your fingertips. Ultimately, your strategy will be shaped by the tactics and channels that best suit your unique goals – but there are a handful of foundational types that are nearly always worth considering.
What better way to reach your members than to show up in their email inboxes? With email marketing, you can set up a straightforward and effective line of communication, promoting special events and discounts, highlighting content, and pointing traffic to your website.
Some of the most commonly-used email types are:
- New member welcome emails
- Promotions for members of your loyalty program
- Follow-up emails for site visitors who placed an item in their online cart, downloaded something or completed a form
- Useful content for member nurturing
Email marketing can be a great option because it is relatively low-cost and isn’t subject to the algorithms of Social Networks.
It’s no secret that social media has swept the globe, so it makes sense that it’s also one of the most promising methods for digital marketing. By constructing a strong social media presence, you can increase traffic, generate quality leads, and establish brand awareness. Plus, social media gives you a one-of-a-kind opportunity to tell the story of your brand in a way that genuinely connects with existing and potential members.
There are many different social media channels to choose from, with the most popular being:
Social media is a great way to build and engage directly with your audience. It can be an effective low-cost option to spread your message, but it takes consistent effort to interact with people to make a deep connection.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
When somebody searches for something online, search engine optimization (SEO) is the behind-the-scenes magic that can make your website pop up in the top-ranking results. Using SEO, you can optimize your website and boost its “rank,” directly leading to an increase in the organic traffic arriving on your website.
There are a few different options for utilizing SEO:
- On-page SEO: On-page SEO zeroes in on the content that’s visible to anyone viewing your website. For example, you might place important keywords (words and terms often searched by online users) within the content of a blog post, product page, or another part of your site.
- Off-page SEO: As you’d probably guess, off-page SEO is focused on activity that’s “off” your website’s visible pages. Inbound links, also called backlinks, are one of the key pillars of off-page SEO.
- Technical SEO: CSS file optimization, structured data, and image compression are all technical SEO forms that can kick your website’s loading speed into high gear, which is particularly useful for search engine ranking.
SEO can get complicated, and a full SEO campaign is a lot of work. SEO is a great option if you like to create a lot content.
Inbound Marketing isn’t a specific channel, it is more of a philosophy. The goal of inbound marketing is to attract an audience by being helpful. You provide something of value to your audience, specifically in the form of content that serves their needs, answers key questions, and solves their most pressing problems. An effective inbound marketing campaign will have a mix of SEO, Social Media and Email Marketing.
Common yet effective inbound marketing strategies include:
- High-quality blog posts
- Downloadable offers such as guides and e-books
- Visual content such as webinars and videos
- Interactive content such as surveys
Inbound marketing is a holistic approach to driving traffic to your website. When done right, it is extremely effective, but it can take a lot of time and effort to set up and maintain.
Often referred to as pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, paid ads let you score a coveted top spot on a search engine results page. In return, you pay a fee to the publisher every time someone clicks your link. The most common type of paid ads are the ones you see on Google, though channels such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter are also excellent options for targeting specific users and driving traffic to your website.
You will need to have a clear call to action if you want to get the best return on your investment with paid ads. PPC works well when paired up with an inbound marketing campaign. If an inbound campaign is a fire, PPC can add gas to the flames.
What do we recommend?
So what method is going to give you the best results at driving traffic to your site? Unfortunately, we don’t have a single recommendation. There are a number of factors to consider when choosing the method that will work best for you. We find it is best to start with a goal and then craft a specific strategy that helps reach that goal. When we create a strategy, we consider time and money available, as well as the audience we are trying to reach. Almost all strategies pick and choose a mix of the different options available.
The fun starts when strategy ends. Rolling out your plan and seeing the response you get is a great learning experience. You will see the parts of your strategy that work and other parts that may need adjustment. The key is try new things and see what gets the best response. And keep doing it. Consistency is your friend when it comes to marketing.