In order to find the best digital marketing agency, first, we need to understand “what is digital marketing”, “will digital marketing benefit your business” and answer the question “how do I get more leads for my business?” – which should be the purpose of any marketing.
What is a Digital Marketing Agency?
The dictionary definition of Digital marketing is the marketing of products or services using digital technologies, mainly on the internet, but also including mobile phones, display advertising, and any other digital medium. So simple to summarise in one sentence, yet it can be a complicated process to get right and to ensure that all of your digital marketing is working together, not as silo activities. This is where the expertise and experience of the best digital marketing agencies can be hugely beneficial.
Traditional advertising, newspapers and paper directories, such as Yellow Pages, are increasingly less effective for businesses. Whilst a few years ago people would go to a computer to search for a product or service, nowadays people are connected to the internet all day, every day and “live online”. Looking for information, a product or service is as quick and simple as searching on a laptop or computer at work or picking up their mobile telephone or tablet. Digital marketing focuses on getting your information, products and services in front of people when they are looking online. The best digital agencies understand the buying process of your products and services and ensure that your information is prominent to the potential customer at the appropriate time. In the digital marketing world, the various stages of the buying process i.e. research, consideration and purchase are called “micro-moments” and the very best digital marketing agency will present the relevant information, service or product at the targeted time in the buying process.
Whilst some digital marketing agencies will also create and manage traditional advertising or business marketing, such as newspaper advertising, specialist digital marketing agencies will concentrate on online marketing as opposed to “marketing companies” who commonly concentrate on TV, radio and print marketing.
Regardless if your business is business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-consumer (B2C), digital marketing can be a fast, often instant, and reliable way of getting leads into your business and driving up revenue. The very best digital marketing agencies will manage all of the digital advertising based on return on investment (ROI) ensuring the leads generated are at a cost that makes business sense and increases profit levels. Digital marketing will benefit your business and answers the question “how do I get more leads for my business”?
Digital marketing, sometimes referred to as website marketing, can be broken down into a number of important features and services:
Search engine optimisation, most commonly abbreviated to “SEO”, is the process of getting your website found on search engines like Google when people make a search relevant to your business, services or products.
Regardless if your website is e-Commerce or selling services it will drive leads and sales into your business if it is found for the search terms people use (often referred to as “keywords”) to look for them in Google.
SEO requires experience and understanding of how Google reads your website. What messages and information you want Google to read for a webpage or website and knowing where to place that information so search engines can find it. A good SEO company will have a proven track record of ranking websites high in the search results.
SEO works best when the proven methods of obtaining rankings are applied in conjunction with latest trends that are driving traffic. An example of this is the “near me” phenomenon, which has seen a 150% growth in the last 12 months, where mobile phone users are adding “near me” to their search query i.e. “SEO Company near me”. These customers are looking to buy and buy from a local service or product supplier.
Although SEO can be a stand-alone service, it is most effective when combined with PPC, social media and reputation marketing. SEO is also the cornerstone of effective PPC, social media and reputation management campaigns.
Pay Per Click
Pay Per Click (PPC) often referred to as “Google Advertising” or “online advertising” is where you position adverts at the top of the search results for specific search terms. These search terms can be the words people use when in the “research” phase of making a purchase or targeted at the “buying keywords” when potential customers are looking to buy.
Although your advert, depending on your budget, can be shown every time a search is made, you only pay when an internet user clicks on your advert and is taken to your website or calls you direct from the search results page meaning you only pay when you get a click from a potential customer hence the name for this form of marketing of Pay Per Click (often abbreviated to PPC).
How much you pay for each click is determined by a few factors. The “cost per click” (abbreviated to CPC) is determined by the quality and relevancy of the advert to the search term being used and the relevancy of the page on your website that the potential customer land on. These factors contribute to your overall “quality score”. The higher your quality score, the less you pay per click and less you pay per lead into your business.
In the UK, Google has the vast majority of search traffic and most of your budget should be placed their, however, you will not want to miss the smaller, yet still considerable potential for customers from search engines like Microsoft’s Bing platform, and a small part of the budget should be allocated to other search engines. Also, the very best PPC management companies will also discuss spreading your PPC budget over a number of campaigns aimed at different parts of the customer journey. A small part of the budget should be allocated to the research stage of the buying process when people are using broad search terms to find information, a small part of the budget when people are searching for yours, your competitors or market leaders company name. The majority of the budget when potential customers are using search terms directly related to making a purchase and lastly, a small part of the budget to re-market (show your advertising to people who have shown an interest in your services or products by visiting your website) to capture and drive up conversions from the customers previously advertised too.
The best PPC Agency will be a Google Premier Partner. A Google Premier Partner status indicates that the company has a proven track record in delivering high-quality campaigns, which generate good competitive/low CPC’s and deliver high and positive ROI’s. The very best PPC agency will have a robust PPC management process in place to quickly react and capitalise on changes in the PPC campaigns of your competitors.
Unlike SEO, that can take some time to be fully effective, Pay Per Click is instant in the fact that as soon as your campaigns are live they can be generating leads for your business.
PPC is highly effective when carried out in unison with SEO. A well-optimised website will improve the quality score of your Google advertising campaigns resulting in a reduced “cost per click” meaning you get more leads for your budget.
Social Media Marketing
Social Media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are now legitimate places for a business to attract leads. Facebook has over 38 MILLION active and regular users in the UK and the number is anticipated to rise to over 42 MILLION by 2020. Regardless if your business sells to consumers or other businesses, your potential customers are on Facebook and using it often.
Facebook is excellent at raising awareness during the customers “research” stage, reminding them of your services or products during the “consideration” stage and putting your specific products in front of potential customers at the “buying” stage. With such a large audience and the flexibility to target customers throughout the buying process, Facebook can be a good avenue to generate leads and sales and to deliver a great return on investment.
A good digital marketing agency will have a proven track record in delivering highly effective Facebook advertising campaigns. The very best digital marketing agencies will be able to demonstrate the conversion rate and cost per lead of your social media marketing.
Again, social media marketing and specifically Facebook marketing can be carried out as a stand-alone activity however it works so much better when combined with SEO and/or PPC. When a potential customer visits your website their computer is marked as having visited. This then allows you to target the user of that computer, who has shown an interest in your products or services.
When considering making a purchase, a potential customer will scour the internet to find feedback and reviews from previous customers. Your online marketing and sales can live or die by the reviews for your business, services or products. Ensuring that positive reviews are easy to find and that any negative feedback is managed well, can be a huge benefit to your conversion rate.
Digital marketing companies call this “reputation management” or “online reputation management” however, in reality, it is creating systems to generate customer reviews and customer feedback ensuing positive customer satisfaction is captured and easy to find for potential customers.
Many businesses are concerned with allowing the public the ability to openly provide feedback. You cannot please all of the people all of the time, and companies worry that a bad review will have a negative impact on their business. Firstly, if someone is determined to leave a bad review for your business they will find a platform to do so and there are 1000’s of platforms to choose from. It is better to have control of where customers are encouraged to leave a review. Secondly, a poor or bad review, if managed well, can be a positive for your business. Engaging with a bad review highlights that you care about feedback and subsequently, you care about your customers. One well managed bad review can be as good for your business ten good reviews.
A good digital marketing company will use one of the handful of recognised review platform and provide the tools and means of allowing you to capture, manage and respond to customer reviews.