Posted on January 30, 2018 by
Whether you’re new to digital marketing or an old hat, you’re probably looking for that next tip, trick, or strategy to give your business the edge. If so, you’ve come to the right place.
So what is it?
I asked myself that question. What’s something a business – any business – can do to gain a leg up? I had a few ideas, but I wanted to see what others thought, too. So I asked.
I narrowed all the feedback down into two categories: digital marketing tips everyone should be following, and – what will give you the edge – digital marketing tips most people don’t know about. All are listed below.
7 Digital Marketing Tips Everyone Should Be Following
Before we dig into the juicy stuff, make sure all your bases are covered. In 2018, these seven factors set the stage for your digital marketing.
1. Mobile Optimized Website
70% of internet traffic worldwide comes from mobile devices. It’s important that all those mobile viewers have a good experience when they make it to your site. Accordingly, your website needs to be:
- Responsive to various device sizes
- Super fast
- And easy to navigate
If it is, you’ll bring in more traffic and earn more customers. If not, your digital marketing will suffer. For more details, review this guide: A Definitive Guide to Mobile SEO in 2018
2. Analytics, Website Traffic Tracking
How many people view your website every day, and what are they doing when they get there? You have to answer these questions (and others) to do well online.
Analytics software, like Google Analytics, will help you. You can even use a pre-made Google Analytics dashboard to start tracking viewers and make answering these questions easy.
3. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Basics
SEO is what enables a website to show up in search results on Google, Bing, and other search engines. The higher you rank in those results, the more traffic you’ll get, and the better your business will be.
PC: Advanced Web Ranking
So how do you rank higher? There’s a lot to SEO, but three things stand out.
Indexing and Meta
Search engines constantly “crawl” web pages, scanning each page to see how relevant and helpful it could be to searchers. They use this information to determine where pages should rank.
Uploading a sitemap to Google Search Console and Bing Places makes it easier for search engines to crawl your pages. Customizing each page’s meta (page title, meta description, page content, and page headers) to the keyword or phrase you want to rank for shows search engines how relevant and helpful each pages is.
When a page on another website has a link to a page on your website, it’s called a “backlink.” Backlinks are crucial to SEO, because they help search engines gauge how trustworthy and reputable your site is.
If a lot of good sites link to yours, it suggests your site is also good, so search engines rank it higher. If a lot of bad sites link to yours, it suggests your site is also bad, so they rank it lower. As Stephen Gibson, founder of Vyteo, says:
“Articles that link to your domain are the main factor in increasing your own site’s rankings. By promoting them, commenting on, citing, and linking back to them, you can significantly increase their value.”
In short, getting and promoting backlinks from reputable sites is perhaps the best thing you can do for your digital marketing. For more details, view this guide: How to Get High Quality Backlinks from Top Websites
Getting and promoting backlinks from reputable sites is perhaps the best thing you can do for your digital marketing.
About half of consumers expect a webpage to load within two seconds. If you don’t meet these expectations, you will lose viewers and drop in search rankings. As Sandra Bach of Greenback, Inc. says:
“Because faster page loading results in more frequent and longer visits to a given website, page loading time can indirectly affect rankings in search engines.”
So how can you improve?
Collin Slattery, founder of Taikun Inc., says:
“Generally, making big improvements is relatively easy. Losslessly compressing images can take out a lot of bloat. Moving to a much faster server environment like Amazon Web Services can also help.”
For more info, check your website speed using Google or Pingdom. Both will show you where you stand, and give you detailed recommendations on how to improve.
4. Content Marketing (Blogging)
Key to winning online is creating great content (blog posts, videos, infographics, etc.) that answers your target customers’ questions. For details on how to create great content, view this guide: How to Create Content That Actually Increases Organic Traffic
One great piece of content can also be used several ways to bring in more traffic. As Richard Howe of Colour Rich explains:
“With just a few hours’ work, an old but popular blog post can be converted into a slideshow, white paper, video, or infographic. They can also be uploaded to file sharing sites like YouTube, Slideshare, or Visual.ly.”
To get the most bang for your content marketing buck, create something really excellent and then convert it into multiple forms (preferably targeting slightly different keyword phrases).
Key to winning online is creating great content that answers your target customers’ questions.
5. Online Reviews
What people say about your business online has a massive impact on your digital marketing (and your bottom line). A lot of great reviews will make it easy for you to get more customers, while even one bad review might turn people away.
As Nick Leffler, owner of Exprance, says:
“[Reviews are] social proof for your business that others will pay attention to. If you have solid reviews and people are happy with you, then why wouldn’t a new customer be happy with you also?”
Great online reviews, particularly on Google, help improve your SEO, too. For more details, view our guide: How to Get More 5-Star Online Reviews.
6. Google, Bing, and Other Online Listings
Online listings verify that your business is reputable while also giving you valuable backlinks. At a minimum, you should list your business on Google My Business, Bing Places, and Facebook. Depending on what you do, other listings might also apply.
Generally, the more places your business is listed, the better. You can use a tool like Yext to easily create and manage multiple listings, or search the web for listings relevant to your industry.
Roughly 20% of emails are opened (30% if you’re really good), but emails are normally easy to get and cheap to send. So sending newsletters, confirmations, promotions, and other types of emails normally brings a strong return on investment.
For more details, view this guide: How to Create Content Subscribers Actually Want in Their Inboxes
18 Digital Marketing Tips Most People Don’t Know About
Some of the digital marketing tips below are more general, and some are rather specific. Either way, most people aren’t using them yet, which gives you an edge. So enjoy this gold mine.
1. Add value first, sell later.
There’s a lot of bad marketing out there, and relatively little value. People don’t go online to be pitched, but to learn and discover. If you teach and solve problems for your customers, they will trust you and be happy to work with you.
Alexandra Bohigian of Enola Labs explains:
“It is easy to want to go in for the sale, lead, conversion, etc. immediately on each marketing initiative. However, it is often a better idea to provide something of actual value first to nurture the lead, and then ask for something at a later time.
“By providing something that is purely of value (a white paper, useful or entertaining blog post, podcast, etc.) and less about selling something, your audience will most likely pay more attention to your brand in the long term.”
If you teach and solve problems for your customers, they will trust you and be happy to work with you.
2. Reverse Google Image search, reach out for credit.
Once you upload something to the internet, others can find and use it. This can be great for your business, especially if people give you credit. But how can you know when someone uses your stuff if they don’t tell you?
With images, it’s easy. As Gregory Golinski of YourParkingSpace explains:
“Do a Google reverse image search to find websites that use your images, and ask them to credit you if they [haven’t already]. It’s a great link building strategy.
Right Click on an image from your website in your Chrome browser, and select Search Google for Image. The search results will display all occurrences of your image online. When you see that a website uses one of your images without crediting you, you can ask them to mention you, and to link back to your website.”
3. Forget volume, look at intent.
Keyword research is vital to digital marketing. If you don’t know what people are searching for, how can you be found? The goal, however, is not just to learn what people are typing into Google.
What matters is that you understand what people are trying to find – their motivation for the search. When you understand that, then you can tailor your keyword choices and your content to be most effective.
As Anthony Tourville of Bartlett Interactive says:
“After you find what could be a great keyword, you don’t need fancy software to tell you what a searcher’s intent is. Simply search for the keyword yourself, and note what is already ranking.
“Are there a lot of ads, blog posts, products, etc.? You can find out what the intent of this keyword’s search is, because what is currently ranking is already popular with people searching for the term.”
What matters is that you understand what people are trying to find – their motivation for the search.
4. Track inbound calls.
Generally, someone calling your business is a notable event, especially if they’re calling as a potential customer. But do you know how those callers found you?
Dmitri Tymos, owner of LearnZilla, recommends using Google’s tools for tracking mobile viewers who call you. Here’s a guide for call tracking with Adwords, and another for conversion tracking in Analytics.
Justin Knott of Intrepy Healthcare Marketing suggests:
“Utilize a call tracking software such as CallRail for user traffic sources (organic search, social media platforms, pay per click campaigns, etc.), geographical location, phone number, and more.
“This is invaluable information. Knowing who called, how they made it to your website, and what specific marketing initiative it is credited to are critical for optimizing your strategy.”
5. Properly optimize (and index) your images.
Search engines like Google go through the same “crawling” process with images that they go through with everything else online. This can be a huge asset.
Take it from Sarah Nelson of Staylisted:
“Instead of uploading images to your website or listings as ‘image205.png,’ you should rename them to a keyword that your business wants to target, such as ‘plumbing contractor phoenix.’
“This isn’t a magic fix that’s going to instantly make your business rank on the front page, but now your images will be indexed as those keywords and tied to your business.”
Most content management systems (like WordPress or Wix) also provide an “Alt Text” section for images that can be put to similar use.
6. Host an Ask Me Anything (AMA) event.
If you’re a business owner or someone with a lot of industry experience, you can take advantage of AMA events. Several platforms offer versions of them, from Quora to Twitter to Growthhackers and more. You could even host an AMA on your own website using a webinar tool.
These events give viewers, potential customers, and everyday people the chance to pick your brain, which is a great opportunity for you to provide value (see point 1). Adam Raja of Atlantic.net particularly likes them, saying:
“We successfully ran a Reddit AMA last month and had one of our managing consultants on hand to answer questions about [our industry]. The user engagement was phenomenal, and we were able to get a ton of exposure.”
7. Send texts for reviews.
About 20% of emails are opened, while 99% of texts are read (usually within just a few minutes). Links inside texts also get about a 36% click through rate. Because of this, and other reasons, texts are great for getting more online reviews.
Related: 73 Texting Statistics That Answer All Your Questions
Take it from Doug Darroch, founder of 21st Renaissance:
“We have had a lot of success sending texts to customers that do not respond to or open a couple of emails. After two emails are never opened, we send a text asking for an online review. This has been working extremely well for our clients that want to improve their local SEO.”
Sidebar: Text Request makes it easy to send and manage texts asking for online reviews, among other things. You can even start texting with your current business number.
8. Use Adwords’ heat map script.
Few businesses get the most out of Adwords and other PPC tools. One reason why is they don’t dig into the data.
Adwords scripts will help you fix this with detailed reporting on what works and when, along with what doesn’t. Wes Marsh at Solodev explains:
“The heat map script makes it a lot easier to see data patterns, and heat maps are a great way to gain insight into how website visitors behave on your website.
The script takes the metrics of your choice, totals them from each hour of the day, and places the results in a Google spreadsheet. You can get helpful insights as to which hour of the day you receive the most impressions, conversions, and clicks on your ads. Then adjust your bids accordingly to maximize performance.”
For more details, view this guide: Getting Started with Adwords Scripts
9. Retarget viewers after they leave your site.
You probably spend a lot of time and effort driving traffic to your website. But what do you do with all the people who come to your site and leave without converting?
Well, you can use services like Adroll or a Facebook pixel to show those “lost” viewers ads across the web to bring them back to your site – a process known as retargeting. Daniel Powers of Utzy Naturals suggests:
“Many times a marketing campaign will be designed to initially get people to take notice of a business. While that is important, it is crucial to follow up after that ad with another ad. Repetition is key, especially when it comes to getting people to pick up the phone and call you, or drive to your business, etc.”
For more details on retargeting, view this guide: Ultimate Guide to Retargeting Ads
10. Show ads sequentially.
It can be difficult to offer value or a compelling call-to-action in the space of an online ad. But what if you could show your targets a series of ads in a specific order so that your message comes through loud and clear?
That’s what sequential targeting can do for you, as Thomas Pan of Phil.us explains:
“When focusing on reach and frequency to a specific audience, you can leverage [Facebook’s] sequential targeting feature, which allows you to deliver up to 50 ads in a set order. This helps build a narrative of your company and products for your customers, increasing their likelihood to consider and covert.”
Sequential targeting is a feature on many advertising platforms.
11. Find lookalike audiences.
You’ve got your current customers, and you want more people just like them. Right? The question is, how do you find those people?
This will help you get more customers, and has other benefits, too, as Mark Rogers of Carney explains:
“Facebook [and others] use machine learning to identify potential customers who are similar to your current customers. It will then show your ads to those people. It’s a great way to get a really high relevance score on your ad, and therefore reduce your cost per click.”
12. Start using Google My Business messaging.
A Google listing is a staple of digital marketing, and now viewers can message (text) your business directly from it. Since most web traffic is mobile and most people want to message a business, this is a great way to generate more leads from search.
As Cheryl Friedenberg of High Key Impact says:
“Just as you can call or click on a website through Google, customers can now chat with you to find out pertinent business information that may help their purchase decisions. Go to the Google My Business page for your business, and click Messaging on the left side menu. You have to add a [textable] phone number to be verified by Google. Then your customers can message away!”
Sidebar: With Text Request, you can start texting with your current business number, and use that number for Google My Business messaging. Visit our Landline Texting page to check your number, and view our guide: How to Add Text Messaging to Your Google My Business Listing.
13. Promote your content beside better ranking content.
It can be difficult to get one of your pages ranked at the top of search results, but it can be easy to display your content at the bottom of an article that does rank at the top.
You can do this using the “sponsored content” sections at the bottom of articles on reputable sites. As Ian Wright, founder of British Business Energy, explains:
“It is so easy and cheap to get started with native advertising [platforms] such as Taboola or Outbrain. These are the ads that appear at the bottom of most newspaper websites [and other publishers] that look like articles. If you target the right ad at the right audience, you can get as good quality traffic as Google or Facebook at half the cost or less.”
14. Send out local beacon notifications.
Depending on your business, you might rely on foot traffic. Or maybe you have an event going on that you want part of the community to know about.
You can use beacon notifications (also called “nearby notifications”) to get your message, promotion, or coupon, out to the smartphones of people in a nearby area.
Steve de Mamiel, author of The Mongrel Method, explains:
“Beacons are a simple technology. All they do is push out a Bluetooth signal. The smart bit is what the phone does with the signal [turning it into a push notification]. It’s a great way to know who might just need a final incentive to buy. They are also great at attracting customers.”
For more info, view this guide: Getting Started with Beacon Notifications
15. “Like” your competitors’ bad reviews.
Anytime a competitor gets a bad review, it’s probably a good day. The question is: How can you take advantage of that bad review without being a jerk?
Brett Downes of Ghost Marketing recommends “liking” these bad reviews on Facebook and Twitter, saying:
“The person doesn’t have many notifications, so they will notice our, or our client’s, ‘like.’ Then, seeing we are in the same niche, they will more often than not check out our website. Obviously they are currently not happy with the service they are getting, and are much more likely to source alternatives. We’d never bad mouth a competitor, that is poor form. But a subtle ‘like’ can and does do wonders.”
16. Take over Google’s featured snippets.
You might have noticed that when you search on Google, there is sometimes a large article preview shown before the standard title and meta listings. It’s great for your brand (and potentially your traffic) to get in these previews, called “featured snippets.”
You don’t control who or what gets shown (Google does), but there is a lot you can do to turn the odds in your favor. According to Zak Cole of Apposite Technologies:
“First, find a keyword your site is ranking for on the first page. Then figure out how to provide a definition for that keyword. Ideally, this definition is around 50 words. You can also cross reference a site called answerthepublic.com, which will provide you with a list of common questions people ask based on that keyword.”
For more details, view this guide: How to Optimize for Google’s Featured Snippets to Build More Traffic
17. Get more leads with a Click-to-Text button.
Most website traffic comes from mobile devices, and texting is the most used feature on a mobile phone (even more than the internet). So it makes sense that people should be able to text your business straight from your website.
That’s what Click-to-Text does.
People come to your website, click a button, and send you a text. Now your business has the best way to reach a new lead (cell phone number), and an easy reason to follow up with that lead (addressing their question or comment).
Click-to-Text can be added to your website in multiple ways, and to your Google business listing, Adwords ads, and Instagram profile. For more details, view our Click-to-Text page.
18. Replace your competitors’ dead links with your own links.
Backlinks are critical to digital marketing, but occasionally these links stop working. It could be due to a URL change, a business shutting down, or another reason.
Whatever the case, it means there’s a website now linking to a page that no longer exists. When this happens to one of your competitors’ backlinks, it creates an opportunity.
Using tools like Ahrefs or Majestic to find these opportunities, Izaak Crook of App Institute explains:
“Essentially, the idea is to find competitor domains [or pages] that are no longer in use.”
Then you can reach out to let the sites linking to those pages know, and offer a similar page on your site as a replacement.
“It helps both parties. They don’t want dead links on their site. It’s a bad user experience. Meanwhile, you get a free backlink with fairly little effort. We scaled this effectively in our marketing team and built a bunch of high quality links. Awesome!”
Now put them to use.
There are a lot of opportunities in digital marketing, and these tips are but a small (albeit useful) sample of all that’s available.
Make sure you’re following the fundamentals listed above. Then pick a tip or two from the list to add into your arsenal. Repeat that step every so often, and you’ll be off to the races!