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digital marketing explosionWhat is Digital Marketing? And more importantly, why is it important for your business?

Most people are familiar with the term ‘internet marketing.’ For most it represents advertising and marketing activities as seen through search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo!. People also related the term to email marketing, PPC and other display advertising, such as website banners. In short the term ‘internet marketing’ has become a bit of a catch all term. But it doesn’t catch everything though.

Digital Explosion

The numerous ways the average person can be presented with some form of information or promotional material far exceeds the bounds of a term as simple as ‘internet marketing.’ This is where the term ‘Digital Marketing’ enters the fray.

Have you ever considered the actual number of ways you can get a message across to your potential customer base? Start by considering how people now ‘consume’ information and the devices they use or are exposed to that deliver that information:

  • Laptops
  • Desktops
  • Tablets
  • Smartphones
  • Wearable Devices
  • Cloud Based Services
  • Digital Billboards
  • Game Consoles
  • Digital Radio
  • Digital TV
 

Each one of these translates in to information delivery in a particular format. This is important to note because how receptive your audience is to your message critically depends on how they receive it and if it’s in a format suited for the device they’re using.

Digital marketing covers all these and all the different applications one uses to deliver information in a useable format through these devices: email, video, augmented reality, websites, applications, podcasts, games, text messages, etc.

Thinking About Your Business

With this in mind here’s a couple of questions for you:

  • How do you currently promote your business?
  • How many of these media types and delivery methods do you actively consider?
  • When was the last time you considered or spoke about your business as a ‘Digital Brand?

Depending on the nature of your business, each one of these will have varying degrees of relevance and some not at all relevant. Some require you to consider your potential customer base in a different light. Game consoles for instance. Many businesses may not even think about advertising opportunities presented by console based games or even online games. But stop and think for a minute about the audience demographics, what they are doing and what messaging they are susceptible to during game time. Think also about how well the games industry breaks our specific demographics too.

It may be obvious to many that they need to be doing some ‘internet marketing.’ However, when you consider what ‘Digital Marketing’ is and the opportunities it creates, some entirely new, many businesses haven’t even started to scratch the surface.

Back to the list of questions presented earlier. The first two may be obvious to most, even if the depth of their consideration isn’t. The third though is often overlooked and today, particularly for ‘local companies’, that’s a big mistake.

By ‘local company’ I am referring to small and medium sized businesses, typically with less than 100 or so employees that predominantly generate income by serving a specific geographic location. Local may mean ‘Watford' or 'London.' So it could be quite extensive. The key though is that the businesses serves a location. For instance, Occam Digital is a local company providing digital marketing services in Watford. And so our goal is, not surprisingly, to rank well for that term and build our brand with local companies, even though we have an established international client base.

Digital ‘Pull’ vs Digital ‘Push’

Getting your business’s message out effectively requires clever and considered use of each of the methods mentioned earlier. Much of this can be considered ‘push’ marketing. This is where you deliberately target your audience and send them promotions or display them through paid media (PPC, banners, etc). Push marketing is often unsolicited although ‘opt in’ promotions are entirely possible by virtue of the venue targeted - Facebook for instance.

Digital ‘pull’ marketing is in a constant state of flux. This is largely due to the venues that consumers actively seek out information on. Consider, for a moment, consumer behavior when deciding to purchase a new car or even an old one, or maybe going on holiday or just looking for a local tradesman. The first thing around 80% of consumers do is hit the web. For around 80% of those that means Google.

Getting your business to feature prominently in Google on a ‘pull marketing’ basis, i.e. showing up in ‘organic,’ non-paid search results, is, quite frankly, beyond the capabilities of many businesses on their own. It needn't be though.

Uninterested Panda UpdateThe Digital Zoo

If you follow Google at all, you’ll probably have heard about it’s frequent algorithm updates and heard stories of how devastating these have been to some online businesses. The major updates even have cute names, like ‘Panda’ and ‘Penguin.’ For some though, their results are less than cute.

I feel these names are entirely appropriate. Penguins live in an environment under threat and the coincidentally Penguin updates threaten the web environment for certain types of online practices. Pandas are an endangered species, on the brink of extinction and Panda updates threaten extinction to sites that don’t deliver quality experiences to their visitors.

In this environment getting your site to command top search positions for keywords that matter to your business is about as difficult as getting a Panda to mate! Unless of course you know what you are doing.

This is where businesses, in many respects, need to go back to basics - the Brand.

The Digital Brand - Local Basics

It’s really really hard to deliver a quality experience to a potential customer if they can’t relate to your business in some manner. Google understands this very well; everything they do, believe and are recognized for is represented by their Brand.

Over the years there has been many ways you can ‘manipulate' search engines like Google in to promoting a site that is essentially 'worthless.' Many have been used for cheap promotions, scams and even affiliate sites. Slowly but surely, these tricks have been eliminated through the updates and the sites using them, relegated. Why? Because they hurt Google’s brand image, and waste a lot of people’s time.

To command a top search engine ranking today and more so tomorrow means you need to focus more on the experience you deliver to your audience. Much more than spending time finding links, publishing spun articles (they still work though) or constantly tweaking your keywords. It means delivering rich content, authoritative content, content that provides real value to people. Content people want to link to naturally. Of course you still need to know how to promote your online content.

It requires that a business engage with its audience, becoming a social participant in the conversations related to their product, service or industry. In short, all the things that relate directly to your Brand and the identity you promote through it. If you want to see radically new ways businesses are exploring consumer engagement, look no further than the field of 'augmented reality.'

Digital Brand Marketing

It’s too easy for smaller businesses, actually, even quite large businesses, to forget that they are a Brand first. Where climbing the leader board of search is concerned, this has to change.

From a search perspective, and for smaller businesses particularly for local search, building a strong local brand through digital marketing, is going to get the attention of your target audience, create some buzz and help you develop a profitable following. Ironically, if you did nothing else and just did this well, Google will pick up on your business without you having to think much about it.


A strong local brand that actively engages its audience socially as well as through other digital marketing techniques can compete head on with top brands in local search results and win.

If you want to develop your local brand through digital marketing, feel free to pick up the phone and call 0330 111 4281 or email us to discuss what we can do to help you. There's always something new to consider where your local digital marketing and brand is concerned. 

 

Written by Robin Brown

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