One of my favorite quotes growing up was: “Wherever there is a will, there is a way.” That quote has helped me navigate some tricky situations in life. The same will be true when we recover from this coronavirus pandemic that has gripped the world.
I can’t predict the future. However, I have a hunch that small business owners, artists, performers, and others will return to a new economy that emphasizes a need to maintain a robust digital presence.
According to Statista, Internet penetration has reached 59%+ worldwide, up from 35% in 2013. Now is the ideal time to fully grasp the scope and scale of digital marketing. You can reach out to 4 billion+ internet users through digital media alone. In a time in which our economy has reached a standstill, companies such as Amazon are STILL hiring. Traditional media channels like cable TV, flyers, radio, physical banners, etc. are ok, but have become increasingly less of a factor when it comes to consumer decision making.
- Digital Marketing vs. Traditional Marketing
- Core Components of Digital Marketing
- Your Digital Presence
- Digital Marketing Channels
- Organic vs. Paid
- The Digital Media Mix
- Guiding Principles of Digital Marketing
- Goals and Objectives
- Analytics & Measurement
- The Conversion Funnel
- Calls to Action
- Digital Marketing Technology
- Understanding the URL
- Tracking Website Visits
Digital Marketing vs. Traditional Marketing
Marketing can be a daunting task. Marketing is about leveraging the right kind of marketing techniques to reach your target audience and convert them into leads or customers. Traditional marketing can serve this purpose. However, in practice, traditional marketing falls embarrassingly short.
Traditional marketing can come in the form of print, broadcast, direct mail, phone, and outdoor marketing tactics. These forms of communication have their place and are still useful in many instances. But digital marketing has far-reaching benefits that go beyond just checking a checkbox in your marketing plan.
Digital marketing has far-reaching benefits that go beyond just checking a checkbox in your marketing plan.
Engagement: When you sit in front of the television, are you engaging with commercials, or are you silently waiting for them to end, taking care of a few things before your program starts up again?
One thing is for sure; it’s not the former. You may even be annoyed by this experience. Youtube has found a market for people who are more than willing to pay NOT to see commercials. Engagement matters. Digital marketing allows you to engage with your audience and move them to take immediate action, even if that action is clicking on a few links. When we are engaged, we tend to remember. Just ask any popular professor.
Timing: Digital marketing captures people at the moment. The time is right, and attention is fleeting. Digital marketing allows people to decide in that exact moment of truth.
Convenience: This is more of an advantage for your consumers and not necessarily for marketers. Placing your consumers at ease when making a buying decision can significantly increase the chances of them making a purchase. Porn is a billion-dollar industry, yet, you’re not going to hear people brag about their porn search history. Porn is an extreme example. It is only one of the many industries that people only feel comfortable consuming their products or services in the comfort of their own homes.
Flexibility: Once printed or aired, an offline advertisement cannot be changed. You can’t modify your message no matter what changes with your sales, inventory, or mistakes. Digital marketing posts, ads, and other messages can be adjusted, amended, and optimized. They can be adjusted based on performance, time-sensitive events, changing budgets, and last-minute updates.
Measurement: Measurement is one of the most compelling reasons to use digital marketing. With measurement, you can tie your ad performance directly back to your business or project’s bottom line.
There is no guessing how many people saw the ad, clicked on the ad, or took the exact action you needed them to take. The number of metrics you can track are limitless.
Targeting: Marketers have dreamed of marketing directly to their exact audience. Well, they need not look further. Digital marketing allows you to target exactly who you need to target and exclude others. Effective targeting saves time, money, and energy when getting your message out. Furthermore, you protect your brand by not serving messages to people who are not interested in what you have to offer.
Costs: The problem with traditional marketing usually stems from costs. You are paying for something that has little flexibility, measurement, and control over targeting. You can directly correlate the costs of your digital marketing efforts to how effective they are in not only reaching people but on how effective they are at getting people to take the actions you need to take OR better yet, the exact revenue your campaigns are bringing in. Costs can be controlled and reduced without compromising quality with digital marketing.
Reach: Traditional marketing and advertising can only reach a limited amount of users. Super Bowl commercials don’t have the ring to them in the board room as they have had in the past. This shift in focus is directly related to the reach of digital. Depending on what mediums you use, you can reach the same amount of people as a Super Bowl ad with a fraction of the costs.
Core Components of Digital Marketing
Most businesses have no idea that their troubles could be quickly alleviated by investing in a reliable digital marketing program. Not only will they find solutions that fit their budget, but I seen the payoffs exceed my client’s wildest expectations.
You can look at the digital world as a world on its own, sort of like the movie Ready Player One. Your website, social channels, and other channels and content all exist in this world as neighborhoods, shopping malls, and centers of commerce. Let’s review each area with a little more depth.
Your Digital Presence
- Your Website – Your website has a purpose. But if it doesn’t, I can help you access what type of website you have. Websites fall into three broad categories, lead generation, eCommerce, or brand awareness. I explain this with a little more depth in my post, Types of Websites. Knowing your website’s purpose will guide you through your digital journey, establish your brand’s tone, and help access if you are meeting your organization’s goals. Your website is also your storefront or home online. It’s where you invite customers and entertain guests. It’s the most representative aspect of who you are or what your organization stands for.
Your blog serves the same purpose, but it’s more for your guests than for you or your organization. One of the most prevalent activities online is to make sure your blog is updated with fresh content on a routine basis and sharing that content across the website.
- Your Social Accounts – Social media websites such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, Snapchat, and Pinterest are the social areas of the digital world. They are your digital coffee shops, bars, clubs, malls, and convention centers. These are the primary areas where you meet people and exchange ideas, information, and inspiration. Remember, just like the real world, there are some people out there who woke up on the wrong side of the bed. Don’t let the haters get to you! I like to refer back to one of my favorite blog pieces from Tim Ferriss: 7 Great Principles for Dealing with Haters.
- Online Listings & Links – Online listings such as Google My Business or Yelp are crucial to brick and mortar businesses. Think of listings and links to your website as your website’s popularity online. The only difference is that you have a little more control over your reputation, popularity, and demand online. The more you use the digital marketing principles below to grow your brand, the more you’ll start popping up consistently across all web.
- Search Engines – Search engines are the doorways of the Internet. Unfortunately for its competitors, as of April 2020, just under 92% of users use the Google search engine for their search queries. Bing and Yahoo account for the remaining 8%. Search engines have four jobs, crawling web pages, indexing those web pages, ranking those web pages, and serving those web pages when a user searches for them. Picture the search engine as the town square.
The search engine is a pivotal point in the marketing journey since search queries tell us exactly what people are interested in with other key indicators such as user location, time, and device. My digital marketing career started with my discovery of Google Trends. I invite you to take a look.
Digital Marketing Channels
When we talk about digital marketing, we are often referring to a particular set of channels and their corresponding skillsets. Chances are, you won’t need them all, but you will need to understand the underlying principles that govern them. These channels are digital analytics, search engine marketing, social media marketing, search engine optimization, email marketing, display advertising, and content marketing. Each avenue brings with it it’s own set of challenges, rewards, methods of execution. These channels are different, but all operate under the same underlying principles that make them more effective than your run of the meal marketing tactics.
There are various ways to classify these channels based on how you are evaluating your business needs. In most instances, your digital marketing efforts will correlate to your marketing initiatives, with each channel corresponding to its particular skillset. You want to search Google Ads, then you need a Paid Search Manager, likewise with a Social Media Manager. This perspective is also useful for managers you manage the day to day channels of digital marketing.
- Digital Analytics
- Search Engine Marketing (SEM, PPC, Paid Search, Paid Media)
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO, Organic Search)
- Social Media Marketing
- Content Marketing
- Marketing Automation (Email Marketing)
- Display Advertising
Digital Analytics – Digital analytics is the ongoing act of collecting, measuring, and analyzing qualitative and quantitative data and using that to optimize or enhance your overall business and marketing operations. Digital analytics is the backbone of digital marketing based solely on the fact that measurement is such an essential piece of digital marketing.
As your journey into digital marketing grows, you’ll find that there is no shortage of online data. Data is continuously being accumulated from websites, search engines, mobile applications, sale applications, and marketing channels. Finding insights into this data is no easy task. Digital analysts and data scientists are some of the most sought after professionals in the industry.
Search Engine Marketing – Search engine marketing is the marketing of your products or services using paid ads that appear on the search engine results page when a keyword you are bid on is searched. These ads correlate to search engine searches. This profession or skill has many other common names such as search marketing, pay-per-click (PPC), cost-per-click (CPC), and paid search. It’s also good to understand that occasionally people refer to ALL online advertising as search engine marketing. By definition, this is incorrect since social advertising and display advertising doesn’t occur on a search engine.
“Paid media” is a term used to ALL aspects of online advertising, such as social advertising and display advertising. We’ll discuss the classification of these channels later.
Search Engine Optimization – Search engine optimization or SEO is one of the most fundamental tasks in digital marketing. It’s the process of improving your website’s organic ranking on the search engine results page. The work of SEO consists of helping the search engine find and understand your site and then assisting users in using your website.
Search engine optimizers meet these goals with technical SEO strategies, link building, and content marketing. Content Marketing and SEO intersect because your SEO strategy should directly influence your content marketing strategy. For a more in-depth outline of SEO you can read The Invaluable Art of SEO.
Social Media Marketing – Social media marketing is criminally underutilized by many brands. Marketing on social sites is treated like the red-headed stepchild because social media is often viewed as child’s play. What many don’t know is that major Fortune 500 companies have been taking advantage of social media for years, spending upwards of billions on social.
I managed millions in Facebook Ad spend with large clients driving leads 45 years old and up. But the most important thing to know is that you can serve ads for your business or brand for as little as $5 a day. There are countless other reasons not to ignore social, even if you arent using social ads. Social media works seamlessly with SEO and content marketing to drive traffic to your site.
The major social media players are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube, Linkedin, Pinterest, Snapchat, and TikTok. Keep in mind two points:
- Social media marketing consists of organic posting AND serving highly targeted social ads. Both work hand and hand to drive traffic to your site.
- Facebook, by far, has the most robust targeting system of any paid media platform on the market. You will not find another advertising platform that correlates to marketing personas AND has the type of reach Facebook has.
Content Marketing – Content marketing consists of creating and distributing content online to attract and retain website traffic and an audience online. Content marketing can include any type of content deemed valuable to the user. This includes, but is not limited to, blogs, infographics, quizzes, ebooks, webinars, podcasts, and videos.
Content marketing often seeps into other marketing channels as content can be viewed as anything created for the purposes of marketing a brand. And if it’s not attributed to other channels, it’s at the very least essential for any dangerous social media strategy. Social media marketing, content marketing, and SEO work seamlessly together to enhance your digital presence.
Marketing Automation – Marketing automation refers to the process of leveraging software to deliver personalized messages to your target market. The message sent to everyone differs depending on a range of factors, such as past interactions, spending habits, and other factors.
Marketing automation can be a complicated topic because there are so many ways you can automate various marketing tasks. When done correctly, marketing automation can be immensely helpful for sales and marketing teams looking to achieve a range of goals and objectives.
Email marketing is the most prevalent form of marketing automation because it gives you the most bang for your buck. Email is the most direct and personal digital channel in which you can engage your customers. So much, so that email lists are considered precious assets of a company upon evaluation.
Display Advertising – Display advertising is the billboard ads of the digital world. They consist of images, animated images, videos, graphics, and other rich media that show up on websites and social media platforms. Display ads like billboards are derived with the intention of creating visibility online.
One of the key differences between creating a billboard and serving banner ads is that you can access accurate data as to how many people have viewed your ad and how did they engage with your ads. The two of the most common metrics used with display ads are “impressions” and “reach.” Your reach is the number of people who have seen your advertisement or content. An impression is counted every time your ad or content is displayed.
Organic vs. Paid
The Organic/Paid model can be thought of like the difference between marketing online and advertising online. Marketing, from a high level, can be considered as aligning a brand, product, or service with a target demographic. Advertising is the act of bringing awareness to a brand, product, or service.
The lines are blurred when it comes to digital marketing. “Marketing” is in the name, but digital marketing is composed of equal parts marketing and advertising. The tactic of serving ads online is essentially marketing because you are aligning your brand, product, or service with a specific target demographic.
What’s more, is that when you advertise online, you are given more data to analyze than both organic and offline marketing tactics. We can go a bit deeper and distinguish these two groups by push or pull marketing tactics. Although the lines are blurry, in general, you want to think of organic digital marketing as making your home more attractive to visitors while paid is actively inviting people to your home.
- Organic (Marketing)
- Search Engine Optimization
- Content Marketing
- Marketing Automation/Email Marketing
- Social Media Marketing
- Paid (Advertising)
- Search Engine Marketing
- Social Media Advertising
- Display Advertising
The Digital Media Mix
When it is time to evaluate your business’s assets, you can view your digital marketing efforts as forms of digital media. The word “media” simply means a form of mass communication. With that in mind, we can look at our channels as valuable assets to a business’s bottom line.
For example, when I was in the market to purchase online businesses, the number of followers and likes the business’s social media accounts owned was a critical factor in pricing the company. This works the same for companies that have massive email lists. Email lists can be a highly valued asset, especially in the eyes of potential investors. I like to name this “digital marketing statement” as “Digital Media.”
- Earned Media: viral marketing, social sharing, lore, fanfiction.
- Content Ecosystem
- Social Media
- Paid Media: all forms of PAID online advertising and media buying in which clicks and impressions are paid for.
- Paid Search
- Paid Social
- Display Advertising
- Paid Influencers
- Display Advertising
- Owned Media: Media produced by an organization
- Social Channels
Guiding Principles of Digital Marketing
How do you know if you are doing digital, right? What are some things to consider? Digital marketing can be tricky because of the plethora of ways to achieve your goals. There are so many options when it comes to marketing in the digital space nowadays. So, what are some of the basics you need to know? Below are the building blocks of digital marketing. Keep these points in mind, and you will master any digital marketing endeavor.
We need to identify our audience, niche, or target demographic before we can start marketing. If you’ve been in business for a while, you likely already have this information. If you don’t, start by thinking about who would make an ideal customer of yours. What industry do they work in? How old are they? Where are they located? Think about this and figure out what your ideal audience, niche, or target demographic looks like. Some right questions to get you started are:
In a nutshell, the three targeting buckets you need to think about are demographics, interests, and behaviors of your customers. With search engine optimization and marketing, you can use these audiences to develop keywords that either describe them as individuals or are used by your audience to find your business.
Remember, one of the core advantages of digital marketing is the ability to utilize marketing personas and targeting them in the form of audiences. Once you have an audience in mind, digital marketing gets a lot easier and more straightforward. Most digital marketing channels allow you to target with precision, which means it’s essential to have this information on hand before you get started.
Most audiences can be created just by determining the demographic, behaviors and interests of your potential customers, clients or leads.
Now it’s time to home in on your audience. Segmentation of your audience allows you to create tailor-made messages specific to a group’s particular needs. Let’s say your audience consists of women, age 24 -35, interested in new productivity tools. You can segment this group by location, interest in specific tools, or even by the pages on your website this audience visits. The options are endless.
Segmenting your audience also plays a vital role in optimizing your campaigns for effectiveness and efficiencies. Most online platforms and channels reward you for creating messages that are relevant to their users. Relevance is everything. The more relevant your message, the less you have to pay when it comes to search engine marketing and other forms of paid media. Google also rewards relevance by delivering your website to users using search terms that relate to your site. Segmenting your audiences allows you to communicate with your customers at the right time and place.
Types of Segmentation Strategies: There are many ways to segment your audience to get an even more targeted ad or message out to people. You can segment based on:
- Demographic: Wherein you segment into characteristics, such as age, income, household size, marital status, etc.
- Behavioral: Segmentation based on the consumer’s consumption patterns throughout history.
- Interests: Targeting based on interests, hobbies, or affinities.
- Retargeting: wherein you target people who have visited your Website or specific pages on your Website in the past.
- Location: Segmentation of consumers into specific geographic areas.
- Data: First-party or third-party data collected from an ideal audience to segment based on a custom set of real-time information.
- Placements: Most publishers allow you to target people based on where they spend the most time online. This could be FB newsfeed, Instagram, a particular website, or an inventory of sites.
- Keywords: Search engines drive the majority of online traffic, so it makes sense that segmenting your audience by search queries is crucial to your business’s success.
As you can see, there are many ways to segment your audience — allowing you to customize your ad and message better to suit their unique desires.
Once you have completed segmenting your audiences, it’s time to target them. The way you target your audience depends heavily on what platform you are using. Regardless of the platform, you can separate your segments into two forms of targeting.
- User-attribute targeting allows you to serve ads to people based on demographics, interests, behaviors, locations, and other identifying information that can be used to classify a user or user intent. Keep in mind that “behaviors” in this context refers mostly to offline behaviors since online behaviors are used to create inventories that are used in inventory targeting.
- Inventory targeting enables you to serve ads on specific websites based on what your audience frequents or enjoys. This type of targeting includes targeting based on keywords and placements. Usually, this is an indirect causality of online behaviors that can be packaged and sold to marketers. Inventory targeting is the basic idea behind paid search advertising (search query data is ever-changing. However, it is still based on online user behavior on the Google search engine results page) display and programmatic advertising. When you target users on Facebook newsfeed, you are targeting Facebook’s inventory of users on the Facebook newsfeed.
Targeting Best Practices: When it comes to targeting, some best practices are commonly recommended and should be followed.
- Don’t be too specific: You don’t want to hyper-target to the point where you’re leaving solid prospects out of your advertising efforts.
- Use multiple fronts: You don’t want to target on one social media platform and nowhere else exclusively. Try to expand your horizon and use numerous fronts.
- Refer to past analytics: Refer to previous analytics and learn from what worked and what didn’t work.
- Watch your frequency: Most platforms allow you to cap your frequency, so you’re not overexposing your ad to specific people. Try to place the cap around 3.
- A/B test as often as possible: A/B testing is a best practice for a good reason. You can try out different messages, images, etc. on the same ad to see what works best.
4. Goals and Objectives
Your digital marketing goals and objectives should be specific and measurable. Also, you should review industry benchmarks to see how you’re doing against the competition.
To take full advantage of goals, objectives, you’ll need to rethink how you view goals. Most people find it easier to solve problems than to set and pursue goals. You’ll need a little bit of both if you are to run an effective digital marketing campaign. Notice I said effective and not perfect. You will, without a doubt, run into many digital marketing issues, especially technical issues.
To traverse the digital world of problems, you’ll need to be able to evaluate the severity of issues and prioritize them based on your goals. This is why goals are so important. Without them, you will get lost in the hundreds of options, features, bells, and whistles of your marketing platform; worst yet, you will find yourself chasing the latest digital fad, downloading Tick Tok when you should be posting on Instagram. Let’s first define your goals and objectives.
5. Analytics and Measurement
The true value of digital marketing is analytics and measurement. With digital marketing, we know exactly how our efforts are paying off almost immediately, and with great detail. Without measurement, we would not have the ability to understand precisely how we can improve performance over time. There would be little difference between digital and traditional marketing.
When you post a post to Facebook, you know exactly how many people saw the post, how many people engaged with the post, and how many people clicked on the post and went to your website. But this is only the beginning. The amount of data you can accumulate is endless. Organizations no longer are at the mercy of ad agencies with compelling pitches. Digital analytics is a booming profession for a reason.
6. The Conversion Funnel
There are three main areas of the conversion funnel to pay attention to — brand awareness, engagement, and, ultimately, conversion. You want to build brand awareness, so people know who your company is and what you provide. Ideally, you’ll become a trusted resource for advice, guidance, and overall information relevant to your niche. Next, you want to increase engagement, so you know people are starting to trust your company. And lastly, you’ll want to convert as many people as possible.
- Awareness – People are becoming aware of your brand for the first time. Examples of digital marketing tactics that drive awareness are FB brand awareness, reach and engagement campaigns, display advertising, and serving paid search ads using broad keywords.
- Interest – These people have seen your brand. Now it’s time for you to get them excited about your brand. It’s like finding someone you want to meet, meeting them, and now it’s on you to them a reason to hang out with you. This is where you show them how cool you are. Video and social ads highlighting aspects of your brand you would like to highlight to help drive interest in your campaigns.
- Consideration – At the consideration stage, your potential customers are engaged with your site, ads, emails are social channels. They are considering your product or services. Video ads highlighting the features and benefits of your products and services are great for increasing consideration.
- Evaluation – This is the last stage in the customer journey and the digital marketing funnel before the actual conversion. This is the Zero Moment of Truth, as defined by Google. Great examples of reaching potential customers at this stage are paid search ads for event tickets, airline tickets, local restaurants and bars, and any other product you sell online.
- Conversion – Here is where customers make the final purchase or take the action you would like them to take. Many marketers fail at converting customers because they create campaigns in a silo with the sole purpose of driving conversions WITHOUT driving them done the funnel.
7. Calls to Action
Your call-to-action or “CTA” is a piece of content designed to prompt an immediate response from the user. Usually, CTAs are a string of words, a banner, a button, or a verbal ask to take action. You’ll see CTA’s everywhere online. Unlike life, everyone online has a purpose, whether they know it or not. Those who use CTA’s know their purpose. Know your purpose.
Your landing page can be immaculate, intuitive, and mobile-friendly, but if the call-to-action at the end doesn’t work, then you aren’t going to see results. The call-to-action, or CTA, is a button, text, or link that you use to drive potential customers to a desired next step, such as filling out a lead form or downloading a resource.
Sharing is caring. If you share it, they will come. Ok, I’m done with the corny one-liners, but I hope you get the point. Sharing is at the core of most online activities, especially organic. Think about it. When we write blogs, we are sharing our idea and expertise. When we post on social media, we are sharing thoughts and ideas with the expectation of engagement or feedback. It can be a double-edged sword, but the more quality information you share freely, the more search engines and social networks reward your efforts.
Sharing is the essence of everything we do. Sharing quality content online will jump start your marketing efforts quicker than any other tactic.
Creative people thrive when they can produce meaningful content that can share and inspire others, garner attention, engagement, and start conversations. The end goal is to have media that’s strong and engaging enough to convert a prospect into a follower, lead, sub, or customer. Thankfully there is a wide range of mediums to share.
The right wording can make or break a sale. It’s all about having an excellent copy that sells whatever you’re offering or sharing. Your message is more than what you say. It includes how you say it, the emotion or information you want to covey, and the action you want them to take. Remember CTA’s we discussed early? Never forget the CTA. With digital marketing, your message should ALWAYS be RELEVANT.
The days of placing something online and saying you want to communicate to “everyone” are gone. If your audience is everyone, your audience is no one.
Would you go out on your front porch and just yell some random statement at the top of your voice? No? Don’t do it here. Relevancy is so important because people online have a short attention span, and even if they were leisurely browsing, the amount of competition for their attention is astronomical. This is why understanding your audience, segmenting the audience, adequately targeting your audience, and finally optimizing your campaigns are so essential to success online.
Messaging Your Audience
- Understanding Your Audience: Driving the point home here. You have to clear on the specific audience you’re speaking too. You can’t please everyone at the same time, find your audience, understand their personas. More importantly, understand your audience’s pain points and find out what motivates them, why would they want what you’re offering.
- Segmenting Your Audience: By segmenting your audience, you can communicate with them based on intent, device, location, time, interests, and other factors. For example, let say you sell backpacks to college students. You have a pretty good idea of who your audience is.
You can take this further by segmenting your audience based on how far they live from a college campus, based on back to school trends or based on the type of backpacks you have in stock.
You could create messaging that creates a sense of urgency for those preparing for going back to school with exclusive offers.
- Targeting Your Audience: Earlier we discussed, user-attribute targeting and inventory targeting. This is essential because it influences what type of message you want to convey. With user-attribute targeting, you are targeting people based on their attributes.
An example of this targeting type is running Facebook Ads targeting people based on demographic information. Your message can be tailored to that demographic. Maybe have African Americans in the creative if you are serving ads to that demographic.
With inventory targeting, you want to create messaging that prioritizes where you are targeting the audience. For example, if you are serving back to school ads for backpacks on the Google Display Network, then you want to keep in mind that these are ads being served on websites that may be related to going back to school products. Demographics takes a back seat here as you want to create messaging that emphasizes the actual backpack as a desirable item along with other products on the real website.
- Optimizing Campaigns: Optimizing your campaigns involves making data-driven decisions to improve messaging so that you can be more relevant, thereby getting more of your desired outcomes.
This applies to any digital initiative. For example, you just started a YouTube channel to drive more website visits and the objective of subs to your YouTube channel. You learn very quickly after doing a few videos that are asking viewers to subscribe to your channel (CTA) has a direct impact upon increasing subs.
This is a simple example of optimizing your efforts. Another example of optimizing your efforts via messaging would be to create IG posts that communicate a sense of awareness of those suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic if your organization heads up charitable causes.
Digital marketing is data-driven. With that in mind, there are specific phrases or patterns of speech that have proven to garner higher than standard action than everyday speech. These words and phrases are qualifiers, modifiers, prepositional phrases, and “power words.” They are good to keep in mind when writing headlines on social media, blog titles, email subject lines, or ad copy.
- Qualifiers/Intensifiers: essential, top, best, worst, finest, sharpest, heaviest, etc. These are words that separate you, your product, or what you are discussing from the competition.
- Modifiers: These are usually numbers or words that restrict or add to the sense of a head noun. Example: “Top 10 Worst Ideas” or “The Only Place to Find the Best Wine in Chicago.”
- Prepositional Phrase: this Phrase brings everything together.
- Power Words: These words have proven to be effective at grabbing people’s attention and generating engagement online. Techniques, Tactics, Discover, Easy, Secret, Simple, Instant, Now, Access, Maximize, Grow, and Learn.
The Landing Page
The landing page is a web page created for specific digital marketing or advertising campaign. This is where the visitor “lands” after they click on a link in an ad, email, or post on social media. The landing page differentiates itself from other pages because it is specially designed for a single goal or purpose. The essential components of a landing page are it’s headline, body, and CTA.
- Headlines: Headlines should be attention-grabbing and state exactly what’s in it for the user. By using the communication pointers above, you can easily pull them right in to explore more of what you have to share. Most campaigns focus on a pain point or something that is more urgent. A little dash of hyperbole helps here as well.
- Body: The body of a message is the meat of the matter. The body text expands on the headline and lays out your message and why it’s vital to the visitor. Many landing pages list benefits as sub-heads or bullet points. Bullet points are fantastic because they can be skimmed quickly. If you are selling a product or service, then the landing page is where you outline your features and benefits. I personally like to focus on the benefits.
When crafting great digital messaging, it’s good to remember features are cool things about what you are offering, while benefits are all the great things your offer will do for people.
- CTA: Your CTA (Call-To-Action) is the action you want the user to take. The number of people who take this desired action is called your “conversions.” You’ll often see CTAs that reads “Submit” or “Sign Up” or “Subscribe.” Going back to benefit-driven messaging, testing has shown that benefit verbiage has shown to perform better when you include a benefit within your CTA.
For a lot of people, the term “ad” has terrible connotations and is met with a degree of skepticism. This is understandable. Few people really like ads. In the context of digital marketing, this term ads refers to any paid message. If you understand the components listed above, you’ll also rely heavily on building audiences, segmenting those audiences, and targeting them correctly. Following these rules will make sure that everyone who sees your message is at least not annoyed, and the message is slightly relevant.
Digital Ads follow a structure similar to that of landing pages. Ads usually contain a headline, description text, visible URL, and a CTA. However, it’s important to note that display URLs are an essential component of ads. They communicate to the user what they are getting into once they click your ads.
Here are a few essential tips for your online messaging:
- Keep your landing page clear and easy to navigate. You don’t want visitors to get confused about where to click.
- Keep your ad copy clear and concise. You want visitors to know exactly what you provide and what they should do to act.
- Keep your emails optimized to convert. Direct your visitors to a landing page whenever possible to reinforce the email’s message.
- Keep a consistent message throughout the conversion funnel.
Optimization is the process of making changes to your campaigns to increase performance, thereby making them more effective and efficient. Mainly, you want to use all the analytics you have access to, to figure out what’s working, what’s not working, and where to improve. This is where the system comes into play. Routine optimization of your campaigns is critical to you reaching your goals. For the most part, advertisers have the following purposes when it comes to optimization:
- Analysis: Improving the creative, placements, audiences, location, and other targeted efforts to reduce waste and increase the bottom line.
- Tasks: Schedule and consistent optimization tasks to ensure no stone goes unturned.
- Alerts: Make sure they are alerted with various metrics, settings, goals, or milestones are reached. This reduces the workload.
- Testing: Ongoing testing to make certain assumptions and biases are addressed. A/B test to change one variable, such as copy, while keeping everything else the same.
- Reporting: Routine reporting ensures that you are aware of what’s going on. Data is everything. Regular reports keep you updated, so you don’t get blindsided by internal and external changes.
Digital Marketing Technology
Next, it’s essential to understand the technologies behind digital marketing. If you are a marketing manager or director, you may not be in the weeds of managing campaigns, but you’ll want to have a clear understanding of the necessary technology used to power your efforts, especially when you’re communicating your efforts to your team, superiors or other stakeholders.
Understanding the URL
The URL or “Uniform Resource Locator” is used by web browsers to retrieve any published resource online. Surprisingly, not many people understand the elements of the URL, and they work to serve web pages. Let’s review the core parts of the URL.
- Scheme: The scheme is the “HTTP” part of the URL. The scheme can be “HTTP” (without SSL) or HTTPS (with SSL). It is succeeded by a colon and two forward slashes. HTTP is an acronym for “Hypertext Transfer Protocol.” “HTTPS” is a more secure version of HTTP and is the standard for websites today.
- Domain Name: the portion of the URL we remember also referred to as the web address.
- Path: The specific address of a file that identifies the file’s located on the webserver. For smaller websites, a file name is /blog/. You can usually understand something about a website’s architecture based on the paths in the URL.
- Extension or Top Level Domain: The .com, .edu, or .co.uk portion of the URL is the extension or top-level domain. This gives the user information about the website. The common “.com” extension indicates the site is for commercial use while a “.edu” denotes an educational website. We are slowly running out of “.com” addresses for the most common phrases, so there are many alternatives coming into play.
- Parameter: Parameters are query strings that define specific values to send to analytics reporting software. Parameters are essential to digital marketing since they are one of the factors used to identify traffic to your website. All queries, such as UTM parameters, start with a question mark. We’ll discuss UTM parameters in detail below.
- Anchor tag (#): Anchor tags are used in URL’s to point to a specific part or element within a page. They are also used within the URL of some content management systems. Anchor tags are often known to break UTM parameters if not placed after the UTM parameter.
Tracking Website Visits
- UTM Parameters: UTM parameters are the basic building blocks of campaign tracking. UTM parameters are the core components of digital marketing campaign tracking. They are essential for reporting the success of social, paid search, email, and other digital marketing efforts. Below are the elements of the URL/UTM setup.
When users click on a link with added parameters, the Google Analytics tracking code will extract the information from the link and associate that user and their behavior with your marketing campaign. That way, you can know which people came to your site through your various marketing activities.
Five different campaign tags help you identify specific information about your campaign traffic. Medium, Source, and Campaign are required campaign tags. You can also add tags for Content and Term.
You can download a UTM Setup Template and Guide for assistance with using UTM’s.
- Cookies: When a user browses a website, a text file is sent from that website and stored in their web browser. This text file is called a cookie. The cookie is then later retrieved it for any numerous tasks such as remembering login information or saving their preferences.
These cookies are used by digital analytics and marketing programs such as Google Analytics to record information about their activity on your website. As with all tracking methods, this information is sent in the form of datasets, not personally identifiable information.
- Persistent IDs: Persistent IDs are identifiers that can provide a single view of a user across devices. The “client ID” is one of the most used ID’s as it is used by Google Analytics.
If a user logs in to a social media account or email account and remains logged-in, then they can be recognized wherever they are on the web or mobile. So for marketers, this means better data. Persistent ID’s are slowly replacing cookies since users are deleting and blocking cookies.
Tracking Pixels: Pixels are small dots of light that when combine to form an image on your computer, smartphone, or tablet screen. An image created by pixels is called a raster image and can be edited pixel-by-pixel using computer programs like Painter and Photoshop.
Tracking pixels are transparent or camouflaged pixels added to the HTML code of your website or email to track user behavior. Once a user visits the web page or opens an email, the browser processes or “fires” the pixel and sends information back to a dedicated server. The “firing” of a tracking pixel is the browser processing the pixel. Tracking pixels are purposefully hidden in the background of a web page or email so that they aren’t part of the user’s experience.
The most common platforms that use tracking pixels are Google Ads and Facebook Ads. One of the first actions you take when setting up one of these ads accounts is to take their respective pixels and add them to your website or landing pages. Below are some of the information that can be acquired by using tracking pixels. The list below is by no means exhaustive.
- Number of website visitors
- Conversions (User actions you set as goals for your digital marketing campaigns)
- IP Addresses (used for location and Internet Service Provider (ISP) information
- User Browser (Chrome, Firefox, etc.)
- Device Type and screen size of the device used (Mobile, Desktop, Tablet)
- Operating System of visit (iOS, Android, Windows, etc.)
- Referring website or online property (The last place the user visited before visiting your site)