READ THIS FIRST
In this article, we go over a few realistic expectations of digital marketing but nothing specific for your personal business. If you would like us to give you a full overview for your specific circumstance scroll to the bottom of this post, fill out the short form and we'll give you a customised and unique roadmap. No charge 😉👌
The Reality Of Digital Marketing Introduction.
So there’s this guy on Fiverr.com who can get you the top position on Google for any keyword for a one-off payment of £5. Then there is another guy in an office somewhere that will charge you £1,000 for a short conversation where he tells you you’ve got 2 years and £500,000 of SEO budget to get the top position.
Something isn’t right somewhere. 😒
So what’s the reality of digital marketing?
Unfortunately, most areas of digital marketing are shrouded in smoke and mirrors and it can be hard to know what’s what. For every hard-working marketer or web designer out there, there is another selling fresh air or out-of-date services. Because of this, we find it extremely important to ensure our clients have a clear understanding of what is what.
We’d like to extend that understanding to this guide and give you an outline of the reality of digital marketing. If you are unsure of what to expect from your digital marketing efforts this page will put you in a better position to point your efforts and budget in the right direction.
Let’s start bluntly by saying you can forget secret formulas, SEO loopholes or get rich quick schemes. Any business that sells products or services can make a huge success on the internet. That is a genuine fact. But like anything in life, it doesn’t just happen all on its own or with minimum input.
Web Design & Your Website.
Your main website – in most cases – is your main web property and the home of your products, services and landing pages. It’s the end of the funnel of all your online marketing efforts.
Your website is your best sales rep. Your Sunday best. Your best foot forward. It is the place your potential customers often expect to be the best representation of your company, products and services online. If you are taking digital marketing seriously you should be taking your website seriously.
The DIY Website Appraoch
You can get a professional-looking website from somewhere like Wix for next to nothing. Cheap and quick to setup. You can do it yourself or have someone creative have a bash for you. It’s relatively easy to get a nice basic result with Wix and similar DIY web-builder services.
The downfall is that you have a small level of control. Especially with SEO. Sure there are a few in-built settings but nothing that is going to make your website a really competitive performer.
The Professional Website Approach
Once you venture past the DIY website builders you have the option of professional web design services. Basic websites that suit the average local business tend to start around £300 and range up to £1000.
As with all things you get what you pay for. Always read the finer details. The more expensive websites often have advanced additions that really won’t do you any harm. On-page SEO, hosting, daily backups, Google Map Pack setup, plus an endless list of options will all be bolted-on in varying degrees.
Shop around. 👍
A note on purchasing a website
Before you buy any website though, there’s one important consideration that everyone must take into account.
I often compare buying websites to buying cars. Both websites and cars suffer the same fundamental problem. No matter how much money you spend to actually own one, they are pretty much useless if you don’t know how to drive or have anyone to drive it.
Buying your website really is just the tip of the iceberg. To quote the beginning of this section your website “is the end of the funnel of all your online marketing efforts”.
If you’re about to buy a website you might be thinking “I’m not bothered about marketing yet. I just want to be there if someone searches for me!”. And it’s a fair thing to want.
As long as you are aware. A website without at least the basic Google business setup or some initial SEO or marketing push beyond the actual purchase of the website has very little chance of having any business impact in any way at all. All we’re saying is don’t blame the web designer a few months down the line when you feel like the website is completely pointless.
This is something I point out to all our web design clients. Even if it means we lose the client. I’d rather lose a client than just take a payment knowing full well the client’s expectations aren’t realistic. Again we are back to the Reality of Digital Marketing!
When you’re buying your website just make sure you shop around. You want good looking designs, responsive capability and a company that understands fast page loads are essential. Look for web design companies that provide at least some level of SEO optimisation as standard. You definitely want to use a company that has some sort of stated customer support system in place. Can you call them and speak to someone?
And always remember, your website is just the tip of the iceberg. Like a car, it won’t do much if it isn’t driven. 😉
The single most overlooked area of website design is conversion strategy.
Conversion strategy is the art of getting your website visitors to do something. It might be to contact you or buy a product.
Usually judged by a percentage is isnt uncommon for a conversion rate to be less than 1%. That means for every 100 website visitors less than 1 convert into a lead, client or customer.
On the flipside, a good conversion rate is around 5% or higher with some landing pages being so well crafted to earn as much a 30% plus.
Think about that for a second. If you currently have a conversion rate of 1% then simple conversion strategies could probably increase that rate to 5%. That is 5 times more customers and clients with your existing traffic. No extra marketing and no extra SEO budget required.
Most websites follow the basic format of “Home page, about us, shop and products, contact us” and maybe a few other pages.
It simply doesn’t work. Every business, product and service solves it’s own pain points. Each have their own benefits for the customer. There is simply no one-size-fits-all approach.
If your website is following basic principles you are using the one-size-fits-all approach and likely losing out on huge amounts of online income.
You need to implement relevant calls-to-action, strategic navigation and most of all, well-crafted landing pages.
And once that is implemented, you need a solid ongoing split testing strategy so you see what works and craft even more conversions.
If you would like more information on conversion strategy we have a great guide on conversion strategy here.
Social Media Marketing.
A strong reality of digital marketing Social Media Marketing is a huge subject that you can no longer avoid. Each social media network has its own format, rules, nuances, and types of audience. They also mostly all have their own advertising systems with their own targeting methods.
Different social media networks are more suited to some business types than others. LinkedIn is the obvious choice for B2B networking. Facebook is the obvious choice for, well, everything really. We go deeper into the differences between the major social networks in this part of the guide.
Social Media Marketing is one area where the DIY approach is more common than others. This is usually because everyone already uses social media and feels familiar and comfortable at giving it a shot. Unfortunately, it often results in disappointment.
Social media usage from a consumer point of view isn’t anything like social media usage from a business point of view. It’s a genuinely complex area. The DIY approach can be successful, don’t get us wrong, we’re just saying that you should approach it with an expectation of having to go through a few learning curves and be realistic about what you can actually do and the reality of digital marketing for business.
If you just set up a page, share it with your direct friends and start posting some links you will quickly feel underwhelmed. Our guide to social media is a good place to start if you want to avoid these pitfalls.
Search Engine Optimisation.
Search Engine Optimisation is a service rather than a product. All things being normal a brand new business can expect a period of 2 to 3 months before long-tail keywords start to bubble to the top, and even then there are a lot of factors that can make the journey go either way.
Every single keyword you target has its own individual challenge. It’s own competing companies. How easy an individual keyword will be to target comes down to several factors. The main factor being the competition. A keyword with low competition is going to be much easier to target than keywords that already have hundreds of businesses competing for them.
The best bet with SEO is to look at it as a marathon and expect a year or two to get the absolute top results. This might sound like a lot of time and commitment but if you are serious about dominating the web this – ultimately – is how it’s done.
Many business owners are put off by SEO simply because of the long-term nature of it. It is understandable but we can’t recommend enough taking SEO seriously. The fruits of a successful SEO campaign cannot be overestimated.
Digital marketing is a complex animal and the overall approach to the structure of your campaigns must be carefully tailored to each business.
Almost all areas can be done on a DIY level but you have to accept a lot of learning curves, resources and experimenting before you really crack it. That’s the reality of digital marketing.