How to Succeed in Digital Marketing: A Foolproof Guide

Future Proof Your Digital Marketing in 2020 and Beyond

Digital marketing is one of the most competitive and fastest-changing industry out there. If you don’t keep up with the changes, you could end up getting left behind. That’s why it’s important for people in the industry, including me, to continuously learn new things and keep up-to-date on whatever is happening.

For anyone who has some basic understanding of digital marketing, you would have noticed that it is a very broad field. There are different areas that you need to address:

That’s just some that come to mind right now. Then, if you dive deeper into each of those areas, you’ll find a whole other world. For example, in social media alone you’d have different platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. For advertising, you have the traditional PPC from Google or Bing Ads, but you also have social advertising — which is advertising on social media sites. But I digress.

As you will find out below, these different other areas of digital marketing won’t matter if you don’t have the main building blocks set up properly. Let’s go into the 3 digital marketing fundamentals you need to get right first.

#1 Your Website Needs to Have a Great User Experience

The first thing you need to get right is to have a website with great user experience.

No, I’m not talking about fancy animations or images or even design. I’m talking about your website speed. When people visit your website, the first thing that they experience is how fast — or slow — your website loads.

Don’t know if your website is fast or slow? Here’s a simple way to find out:

  1. Open this page on a new tab (Google PageSpeed Insights)
  2. Enter your Website URL
  3. Take a look at the results

Chances are your website is either in the red or orange zone. What does that mean? You have a terribly slow website.

The opportunity there is you can speed up your website easily.

With Google giving all of us a pre-notice saying that they will be including the Core Web Vitals in their Page Experience Ranking Signal early next year, it’s even more paramount that you fix your slow website.

Why Should You Fix Website Speed Before Anything Else

Your website is the hub of all your online activities. It’s the place where people search for information about you, learn more about the business, and if you sell something, the place where people buy.

Sure, you can do all those in other channels like social media. But your website is the only online property where you have complete control over -from the layout, design, the copy, and everything else.

Here’s something I often hear…

We don’t need a website. We’re awesome.

And if you think you can still get away without a website, think again.

Here are some facts around websites:

  • 30% of consumers won’t consider a business without a website. Ouch!
  • 97% of consumers go online to find and research local businesses.
  • 75% of people have judged a company’s credibility based on its website design

Creating a website for your business — no matter how small — is important if you want to even be considered relevant.

Look at it this way.

Imagine you are running a marathon. To even participate in the marathon, you need to have registered and bought a race kit. That’s the same thing with a website. To be qualified to join the race, you need a website.

A fast website puts you in front. Now, a marathon is typically an endurance race, so whether you start at the front or at the back doesn’t matter that much. But all things being equal, if you are in the front, you have higher chances of winning that being at the back.

Suggested Reading

Don’t know where to start? Here are some basic resources that you can read:

Photo by ROBIN WORRALL on Unsplash

#2 You Should Have High-Quality Content That People Love to Read

The next thing you need to address if you want to succeed in digital marketing is to create high-quality content.

What do I mean by high-quality content?

There’s really not much of a consensus open this topic since it’s very subjective. But here’s a quick and dirty:

  • Rank high on Google and other search engines
  • You get a good amount of traffic from it
  • People engage via comments and re-share them

So here’s a simplistic answer: if your users/target audience is reading your content, that’s high quality. If they don’t, or you find that people only linger at your 2,500-word posts for 10 seconds, that is a sign of poor content.

If you really want to dive deeper, here’s a 168-page document known as Google’s Quality Rater Guidelines.

Why Should You Create Content Before Anything Else

Your website will have many pages. Depending on the industry, your website will generally have the following types of pages:

  • General website pages — these are your homepage, about us, etc. It lists basic information about you and the business, your value proposition, etc.
  • Product pages — if you’re selling, these are your products, its variants, and categories. Each page typically includes information about the item, stock availability, buy buttons, etc.
  • Resources — These are resources your users will find valuable. They can be white papers or eBooks, videos, knowledge bases, etc.
  • Blog pages — these are the posts you create where you can show your thought leadership and demonstrate that you know what you’re doing. Generally speaking, these types of content tend to rank higher on Google.
  • Landing Pages — these pages are where people give their contact information in exchange for something valuable to them. It can be as simple as a contact us page, or a dedicated landing page for events or webinars.

As mentioned above, most content that you see on search engines fall under the blog pages. Unless, of course, you are searching for specific products or brands.

The 5 Stages of Awareness tells us that the brand-related/company-related searches are smaller compared to generic queries. For example, searching for “royal canin dog food” is much smaller than “dog food.” That’s the same thing with you and your brand.

If you don’t create content that adds value to the lives of your customers, you will only appear online for brand-related searches. That means you are limiting your potential.

So, start creating content. Today.

Suggested Reading

Don’t know how to get started with content? Here are some resources you can read to get started:

#3 Make Sure Other People Find You

The last thing you need to work on is making sure that other people find you.

There are other technical aspects that you need to consider here, but that’s for another time.

What I mean by this is simply distributing your content on every channel you have as a business/brand. That includes your social media accounts, email list, other platforms like Medium and LinkedIn, etc.

Remember what I said above? If no one is reading your content, that means it’s low quality. But you won’t really know if people don’t read your content unless you share it with the public.

If you don’t take the time to distribute your content, then no one will find it. With over a 1.5 billion other websites, you have got to make sure you distribute the content you created.

Why Should You Fix This Before Anything Else

The underlying reason why you should distribute your content is to get found. If you look at the technical aspect of SEO and how websites rank, it’s generally because of backlinks — links from other websites pointing to yours.

There are a lot of factors to consider there and will probably take hours to explain them all. That’s why I started with sharing your content to as many channels as you can.

Because all things being equal…

  • if you have a fast website, and
  • you have great content

…people will be willing to read and share your content.

That just exponentially increases your reach. Now, imagine if hundreds of people re-share your content on their social media accounts? What if they get picked up by other websites and referenced your website/content in their own content?

That’s the power of distribution.

So don’t stop at speeding up your website.

Don’t stop at writing content.

Take the time to distribute it well.

Suggested Reading

Here are some resources you can read to get started with distribution:

Over to You

Think of digital marketing as the human body. It’s made up of different systems that are interconnected to one another. If one part is hurting, it’s “easy” to focus on relieving that pain with a short-term fix. But to prevent it from happening again, you have to consider a lot of other factors. That’s why with health, you should focus on overall wellness, not just one part.

That’s the same thing with digital marketing. You can fix your sales and traffic problem by throwing in some money for ads. But once you stop, everything will drop again. And you’re back to where you started.

If you want to succeed in digital marketing, focus on building a great foundation first. Make sure you have a fast website, create exceptional content, and continuously distribute your content so others can find it. Do these three things and you’ll start seeing results.

Want to learn more about how you can use digital marketing to grow your business? Then you might enjoy being part of my email list.

Originally published at https://ariel-lim.com on March 5, 2020.

Marketer, freelancer, husband | The Startup, Better Marketing, The Ascent, PGSG | Find out how I grew my organic traffic by 110% in 5 mo: https://bit.ly/3fpilkW

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