Digital marketing was long thought of as the direction that the marketing world would head in the future. This is no longer the case: the future is now. Say goodbye to the days when billboards, television commercials, and banners on the side of a public bus were the top advertising options; say hello to the days where marketing that makes use of computers, cellphones, and tablets is king.

As an analytical individual with a background in economics, I’ve found that one of the main benefits of using digital marketing is that it is very measurable. Calculating the return on investment (ROI) of your marketing efforts allows you to know exactly where you should be spending your advertising dollars. This enables you to see what strategies are working in real time and allows you to adapt your strategy accordingly.

Let’s take a look at five ways to quickly establish a strong digital marketing presence for your business.

1. Search Engine Optimization

There are those who look past the paid search ads on the search engine results page (SERPs) and look directly at the organic listings when performing online searches. They know the listings at the top of the page have been paid for, and they trust that their search engine is showing them the most relevant information in the section that does not have advertising dollars tied to it. In order to ensure your site shows up here, you need to focus on Search Engine Optimization, most commonly referred to as “SEO.” The key to successful SEO is not to rely on the black hat tactics (keyword stuffing, invisible text, etc.) that might have worked back in the early days of searching. The search engines have caught on and the algorithms have been adjusted to weed out those who try to skirt the rules. Go about your SEO the right way: offer real value with your site. Providing quality and relevant content is a great place to start.
 
2. Paid Search
 

While SEO is certainly important, it can take time to get your site to show up at the top of the SERPs. Paid search, on the other hand, can be effective immediately. It consistently drives relevant traffic to your website through targeted ads. There are two major players in the paid search world:

Google Adwords

If you are looking to get leads or drive traffic to your site, what better way than to show up at the very top of the Google SERP? With two-thirds of the search market share, Adwords is the top dog of the paid search world.

Bing Ads

Bing Ads, which also includes Yahoo! Search, may not have as large of a reach as Google does, but at around 30% of the search market share, it simply cannot be ignored. In our experience, the Yahoo! Bing Network has less competition, which leads to much lower cost-per-clicks.

3. Facebook Ads

Facebook has more than 1 billion users who build very detailed profiles of themselves. Advertising on Facebook allows you to target a very specific portion of that audience and market to them. Whether you are looking for individuals in a particular area, of a certain age or gender, or those who have an interest in something related to your offering, Facebook’s custom audience targeting offers many different segments that allow you to reach your target market.

4. Social Media

Establishing a social media presence beyond paid ads is an excellent way to get your company noticed. If you do not yet have at the very least a Facebook and Twitter account set up for your business, go do that right now. Engage with those who are interested in what you do. Interact with your target audience. Tell your business story, show off your company culture, and display your brand’s personality.

5. Email

Email marketing is an art. It’s not just sending out an “email blast” or “spamming” – at least, not if you want to do it successfully. With an average ROI of 4,300% if developed the right way, the ROI of a well-planned email marketing strategy is second to none.

If you are looking to throw your hat into the digital marketing ring, some combination of these five methods is an excellent place to start. If you are looking for guidance to get started or to help find that right combination for your business, we would love to help!

 

Social media is constantly evolving and is becoming the backbone to many companies’ marketing efforts. Social media allows a company to engage with consumers and to show not tell their followers what their brand has to offer them. It’s on these networks that companies can put their best foot forward and stand out amongst their competitors.

However, in order for the latter to happen, your brand has to come to battle equipped with a social plan and strategy for each specific social media platform.

Today, in particular, we want to “pin” down some tips on how to use Pinterest to your advantage.

Before we share our Pinterest tips, let’s take a quick overview of this social network. In short, Pinterest allows its users to visually share and uncover new interests by “pinning,” otherwise known as sharing, videos, and images to their own boards (a collection of “pins” that usually fit into a common theme).

So, without further ado, here are five Pinterest tips to benefit your business:

Credibility

Pinterest is a great outlet for businesses to use because it gives them a chance to show their credibility and expertise in their specific industries. Let’s say that you own a coffee shop and you create a Pinterest board that features coffee inspirations. Not only could this type of board attract possible new customers, it also has the potential to increase your credibility as a business. Your boards can increase your value to future customers, as well as existing customers.

Visibility

At its core, Pinterest is a visually stimulating site, and each category, whether its fashion, food or home décor, offers the user what seems to be an endless scrolling experience of engaging images and videos. Well, there is more than what meets the eye with those pins. In fact, from a business standpoint, Pinterest can provide your brand with more back-links, which are hyperlinks from one page to another. In this case, the back-link would be to your website. Back-links are a key SEO ranking signal that will, in turn, better your company’s visibility.

Creativity

When creating your boards, be sure to come up with a creative and catchy title. To go back to the coffee shop example, you wouldn’t want to create a board that was blandly titled, “Coffee.” That’s why it’s a great idea to think outside of the coffee pot and create more robust titles that will draw users into clicking through your boards.

Pin-ability

“Pin It.” This is a great tool to add to the content on your website. The “Pin It” icon encourages consumers to actively engage with your company’s content. I’ve talked about social icons before, and this icon falls into the same category because it allows users to share content from your site to their Pinterest boards. Not only does that give your brand visibility, it also gives your company a gauge of what type of content is resonating with your audience.

Regularity

Consistency is key when it comes to maintaining your boards. Creating a pinning schedule is a great way to help keep you on track when it comes to updating your boards on a regular basis. By doing so, it will keep your presence on Pinterest known. Take the time to scour the site and look at popular pins in your industry to get a better idea of what type of content your audience is favoring. From there, you can better choose what type of images and videos to pin to your boards in order to create traction around your profile. Sticking to a pre-determined schedule is a great way to stay on the consumer’s radar and to keep your thumb on the pulse of the industry.

Though Pinterest might not be suitable for every company out there, if you feel that you can create boards and fill them with interesting, relevant content, odds are, Pinterest is a great asset to add to your marketing strategy!

If you don’t have your business on Google+ yet, now might be the perfect time. Google recently introduced another update to their search algorithm that aims to make local searches more relevant and helpful than ever before. So if you want to increase your chances of appearing higher in the SERPs, it’s a good idea to get yourself on their maps and social media platform. Like it or not, Google represents the majority of local search traffic, and their algorithm will give you a nice pat on the back for doing things their way.

Enter Google+ Business. It’s marketed as a way to engage your customers, but it has a definite impact on whether or not your business ranks during a local search query (for now, anyway; the algorithms are constantly changing, but that’s a topic for another blog post). Business Pages are designed to be the Yellow Pages of Google, complete with basic business information, customer reviews, and other content that can appear in SERPs even when your main website wouldn’t.

Don’t know how to set up a page? It’s easy!

Creating a Page

It’s free to join and list your business on Google+, but first, you need a Gmail account. Even if you have a personal e-mail through Gmail, it’s best to create another account solely for your business.

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Next, go to google.com/business and click on “get your page.” There are a few different options here: storefront, service area, or brand; choose the one that’s relevant to you.

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When you’re taken to the map screen, enter your full business address into the text box in the top left-hand corner of the screen.

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A lot of times, Google is aware of your business and will be able to provide your existing street address. If you see your business’s current data, click on it. If, however, your business data does not appear after entering the full address, click, “No, these are not my businesses,” and a new set of text boxes will appear where you can fill in your business information.

Verifying Your Business

This is probably the most important step you can take with Google+ Business, because if you don’t verify, your page won’t go public. Verifying ensures no one but you can claim your business. To prove to Google that you are, in fact, the owner of your business, you have to obtain a unique code to complete the process. Google does this via postcard.

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To get the postcard, continue through the prompts after you’ve entered your address and click “Mail me my code.” This signals Google to send out the postcard, which should arrive in 1-2 weeks. Be warned, though: sometimes it takes longer, and sometimes you have to request a postcard more than once. (Word on the street is that we had to request a postcard four times for one client to get verified. It’s Google’s world, and we’re just living in it.)

You can skip this step and verify later if you want, but since there’s a chance for delay, it’s best to request that postcard sent as soon as possible.

While you wait with bated breath, you can get to work setting up that page. You’ll need:

Basic Information: Provide accurate business hours, your address, contact information, and business categories. Google uses categories to index these pages, so choose wisely. Since you can only pick from their pre-populated options, pay attention as you’re typing—relevant categories you may not have thought of could pop up. You can put in as many categories as you’d like, but you should absolutely list a minimum of one, or else Google has no way of knowing what kind of business you have!

An Introduction: Use some of that keyword research data (because you did some keyword research, right?) to craft a conversational description of your business and services. It’s the perfect opportunity to showcase your personality as a business, so take some time here and think about how you want your potential customers to perceive you.

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Some Photos: To further personalize your page, you can add a cover photo and a profile photo. A cover photo is the largest photo on the page, and it would be the perfect place for a group picture of your staff, the exterior of your store, or an example of your product. The profile photo, on the other hand, would be great for a logo! For more detailed information on photos sizes, visit Google’s support center.

Additional Administrators: You don’t have to be the only one that manages your Google+ Business account. You can add any other administrators you’d like as long as they have a Gmail account, too. One caveat: If they’re admins, keep in mind that they will also be able to make changes to your page.

Google will let you know how complete your profile is, so keep checking the status bar. Until you get your business verified, you’ll only be able to get 90% completion. Potential customers won’t be able to see anything you post yet, so this is a great opportunity to start crafting a content strategy while you wait for that postcard!