In the many years of working in this industry, a common question we have experienced from business owners is “where do I start when it comes to digital marketing?” While we can’t answer in detail for every scenario, here we cover the most common options available, these are a great starting point when it comes to promoting your website and driving results.
There is a wide array of platforms from Facebook to Google Ads, techniques from social strategy to technical SEO – it can be somewhat overwhelming, and that’s even before you have looked for a partner to deliver all of this activity.
While there are many advanced techniques, platforms and services you can use – we want to start with the basics in this article to provide a checklist of what we consider to be the essentials to lay the foundations of your online presence.
When it comes to getting your business found online, SEO is an area which traditionally receives a lot of focus. There is a myriad of options available, some of which can require huge investment both in time and cost. There are, however, basics which often get overlooked in the drive to enhance online visibility, these can be distilled down to two key areas, on-site optimisation and offsite activity. Both these channels of activity have the aim of getting your website to appear as high up in search engine results as possible for relevant search terms. The word, ‘relevant’ is vital when discussing SEO. For example, appearing for “Victorian Sinks” could be a much better search term for you than “Sinks” if you only sell Victorian Sinks and you would have a better chance of appearing for “Victorian Sinks” than “Sinks”, because of this you’re more likely to convert visitors when they land on your site as they were looking for “Victorian Sinks”.
On-site or technical SEO should be high up on the priority list when it comes to deciding where to start. The focus here is on your website content and structure, some of which can be controlled from your website’s content management system, depending on the platform your website is built on. Elements that can be controlled from your CMS include metadata and page titles to image sizes and alt-attributes. However, certain on-site areas might require more detailed work, such as ensuring the website is mobile friendly.
Once the foundations are in place from the technical SEO work, a content strategy can be developed to obtain links from other websites – the goal here is to show Google or other search engines that your website has authority in your field. Other relevant websites that link to your website signals that your website is valuable, ultimately helping to improve the positioning in Google search results.
PPC (Pay Per Click) is a way to quickly drive relevant traffic to your website. Rather than the earned traffic you can get by investing in SEO over time, PPC can be set up to pay for traffic to be driven to your website. It allows your website to appear when someone searches for a keyword relating to services offered by your business.
There is often the misconception that PPC is too expensive for a smaller business. This definitely isn’t always the case; it can be quite the opposite. It all starts with looking at what you want to achieve. Starting by setting out your goals, such as the number of enquiries or sales, with this in mind it is possible to estimate the investment you would need to make in order to work towards delivering your goal. Depending on the industry, you could start with a monthly media budget of around £200. The key here is to ensure that PPC is right for your business; the investment you make must give you a positive ROI (return on investment).
Based on the business goals, we’re able to make a recommendation of the PPC budget. For example, if a car dealership wanted to generate 15 enquiries a month and we know that currently, the website converts visitors to enquiries at a rate of 5%, it would take 100 site visitors on average to generate five enquiries. Therefore to achieve 15 enquiries, we would need to drive 300 visitors to the website. If a click for relevant, targeted traffic were to average £1, we would, therefore, be looking at a £300 media spend to achieve 15 enquiries.
After media spend has been estimated, the build and management of the PPC need to be taken into consideration. This fee covers the cost of a PPC professional managing the account and ensuring the media budget is spent effectively and work with you to achieve the results you set out to achieve.
At Black Lab Digital we work with clients with monthly media spend from £200 and over £100,000.
Social media activity is an excellent way for businesses to connect with new and existing customers, increase brand awareness and ultimately increase sales and enquiries. With approximately 44 per cent of the UK population using Facebook more than once a day, it is essential to consider social presence.
Whilst social activity isn’t always a direct driver of enquiries and sales depending on the sector of business you are in – it can play a crucial part in the sales funnel, having a social strategy in place is where we recommend to start. Planning out your content, when to post and which platform to post on can be a daunting task but once this groundwork is in place, it makes the task of planning and creating weekly content much simpler.
In addition to the direct impact of engaging with clients and potential clients, there are also SEO benefits from Social activity.
If you are a business with a physical address, Google My Business should always be one of the first tasks on your list to set up. It costs nothing other than time to set up and allows you to tell Google more about your business, from where you are located precisely to your current contact details. Not only does this information feature prominently (known as the knowledge panel) when a user searches for your business, it also can appear when a user creates a search with geographical intent on Google in what is known as the map pack and in the maps search results.
The basis of the approach with Google My Business is to fill out as much of the content as possible with the goal of letting Google accurately list your business in the right place at the right time. Once all of the applicable fields have been completed, including ensuring images have been uploaded, it is also worth trying to collect reviews from your clients to boost the profile. As the star ratings feature prominently from Google reviews on the Google My Business profile, these appear when a user searches for your business name.
Beyond the basics, the content on your Google My Business profile can be optimised to contain keywords specific to your business. Additional information such as posts can be added to improve the chance of your business appearing on the first page of Google for local searches.
There are a number of options to promote your website, starting with some options that are free and relatively easy to carry out to more involved, strategic methods. We hope that you now have a basic understanding of the key opportunities available – if you would like to understand how we can help you with digital marketing, contact us via our contact form or call 0113 436 0024.