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.
Marketing strategies that move you out of the water into the sky, and keep you happily flapping your wings in formation to your destination of success?
When you consider the goose as he takes off into flight, flapping and slapping the water, running along on webbed feet in an attempt to lift off into the wild blue yonder, you might see yourself as a business startup. I know, I did. I struggled for the longest time to figure out how to flap my wings with marketing and bring in enough buying clients to move my business off center. Then it happened. Like magic, the clients began to arrive at my door.
If you’re not a bird watcher, you may have missed snow geese flying south each winter in V formation. But having grown up in the cross hairs of goose hunters, I learned to watch for the signs of their arrival. What a magnificent time for a drive to the lakes… During the day, when goose hunters were likely resting up for their early morning hunts, we would take off for the lakes and watch the geese. Snow Geese are predominantly white, with magnificent wide wings that catch the air in flight. They fly with a mix of systematic flapping and lunging forward to push the current.
After thirty plus years of watching them, it isn’t hard to connect the dots between the persistence of the snow goose and workable marketing strategies. I’ll share my insights.
1 – Geese know a good market when they see one.
Every year, as they head south for the winter, Snow Geese find their way back to the lakes and fields of southeastern Colorado where they know they’ll find good water and plenty of food for their trip. They lounge around on early ice pads, dip into the water for bugs and minnows a plenty, and fly to nearby fields to graze until their bellies are full. Then, they rest for the trip.
Finding a good market means knowing what you need. Your business needs buyers that are hungry for what you offer. Once you know your product or service is viable, valuable, and desired, the only thing left to do is offer it up to the right market of buyers. Taking your products to the right buyers and fulfilling those needs is key to making bank. Marketing strategies include a good buyer market.
2 – Geese return to the same market year after year.
Geese come back year after year. Some brilliant scientists and observers tagged some of the geese with little wristlets on their legs and started following their migration. Once they arrive in an area, they return to that area year after year for the same resource.
Residual markets are important to your professional and business success. Once you find the right market, it’s important that you keep going back year after year, to be sure that market remains yours. Find ways to check back with your customers, because they may not remember your name. Call them. Return and offer any new products or services. Make sure they know you’re still available to serve them. Marketing strategies include repeat buyers.
3 – Geese never leave stragglers behind.
When you watch geese lift off, you’ll notice some of the younger, stronger geese always stay behind to make sure the whole flock is in flight, before they take off. And they circle. Their V formation begins as they lift off, and they circle the area until all geese are in flight. Then they take off in the direction of their chosen path.
In business, you reach out and connect. You network to bring in all of your market share. Invite referrals. Talk to people and share what you have. Invite them to visit your website. Ask them to try your products. Offer your services to everyone in your market, because if you’re not serving them, they miss out on the opportunity. Be sure you don’t leave stragglers behind. The best marketing strategies keep track of buyer markets.
4 – Geese take turns leading the flock.
The V formation of flying allows geese to naturally rotate out the lead birds. Flying is hard work, and remember I said their flight is a combination of systematic flapping and lunging? That lead bird is breaking the way for the flock, and when he tires, someone else steps up and takes the lead.
When you’re watching a larger flock of geese, sometimes you’ll see three or four V formations within the same flock. That’s because there are leaders at different levels. The larger the flock, the more V-Leaders you’ll see.
As a professional marketer, you’ll need to rely on others occasionally to get the job done, or to learn new processes. Like geese, we can’t always be leaders, sometimes we need to step back and follow. Don’t be afraid to fall into line behind another strong leader occasionally. You’ll be ready to take the lead again when it’s your turn. Marketing strategies have room for both leading and following.
5 – Geese are strong and capable, resilient even.
That lead goose has to be able to withstand wind and air turbulents, and strong enough to keep moving forward, even through storms. He has to know the direction they’re traveling and be able to maintain good speed. Last I knew, geese don’t have GPS, but they do have great memories, because like I said before – they always return to the same locations. They’re strong and capable of battling winds and nature to get where they need to go.
Mother nature isn’t always kind, she occasionally sends them on their way, and greets them with a storm before they arrive. Geese weather the storms well.
Being a business owner requires you to be strong and capable. Keep learning. Keep growing. Keep up your strength and abilities to get things done. Don’t hesitate to ask for help – mentors are plenty – and everyone needs sustenance to keep going. Marketing strategies must be resilient.
6 – Geese encourage each other always.
All that honking you hear when a flock of geese fly over, is encouragement. They’re encouraging each other to keep flying. Now, those of us who know geese, understand that it’s generally a noise geese make when they lunge forward, because they’re exerting a tremendous amount of effort. But the honking encourages other geese to keep lunging too. The longer they’re in flight, the more they honk.
However, here’s a point you need to know. When the leader is at the point of the V, he doesn’t honk. When he takes the lead, he isn’t honking, he’s flying. The other geese keep honking to encourage and motivate him to keep flying.
Encouragement can take you where you need to be. Seriously. More often than not, when I feel like I can’t get through the day, all it takes is a little encouragement to go on. As a leader, it’s your job to listen and know where you’re taking your team. You don’t have to talk all the time, sometimes you need to listen.
In my hometown, there’s a group called Honkers. They’re part of the local Chamber of Commerce and they recognize new business owners and show up to HONK them. They promote new business owners and invite them to join the Chamber. It’s a great way to acknowledge, support, and encourage business owners.
Marketing strategies that work best encourage others.
7 – Geese mate for life.
Geese pick a mate and mate for life. They travel with their mate, raise geese with their mate, and their flocks are made up of matched pairs. Except when they aren’t.
I’m sure there’s an animal lover somewhere who will be offended by this, but geese are food. Hunters hunt food. And the key here is that sometimes geese lose their mates. Whether it’s to a hunter or a storm, the result is the same, and one goose goes on alone with the flock.
They take flight and fly away.
All this to point out that in business, we often have struggles. We lose our business partner, or a business, and we must carry on. We have to step up and over, and take flight. I’m not going to tell you it’s easy, but I will tell you that it’s easier if you’ve built a tribe of support to surround you, and you can lean on your leaders and those around you to motivate you and keep you using your marketing strategies and building your business.
Marketing strategies can help you overcome the worst business disaster, and are considerate of your personal life events. They don’t end when things get rough, the best ones are designed with support systems to help you through.
Beginners wonder if it’s possible, and skeptics declare the expense and efficient prices of affiliate marketing potentially lowers the bar for online marketing. Yet, the question remains: Are Affiliate Marketers in High Demand? However, there is an excellent reason affiliate marketing has actually experienced consistent growth throughout the ups and downs of online marketing — it works. Affiliate marketing has now become a reliable source of sales for a large range of marketers.
Affiliate marketing developed from the early years when some touted it as the future of online advertising, and others claimed it was the downfall of the medium. It’s now a sophisticated avenue which creates anywhere from 5 to 25% of online sales for a number of the world’s biggest brand names.
The idea of a wide-open affiliate program with a unchecked and unlimited number of affiliates is a thing of the past. Nearly all online marketers concur that affiliates add value to an online marketing effort, however the program needs to be tailored to fulfill the online marketer’s goals. Affiliates are the real step-children of internet marketing. They rely on tried and tested techniques for developing sales and marketing websites or items online. Lots of e-commerce sites owe a lot to affiliate marketing methods– namely Amazon.com and CDNOW’s WebBuy system. This is an extremely effective way to produce brand awareness and generate leads and company.
In the early days of the internet (around late 1994) the majority of online merchants made usage of a Cost-Per-Click system (known as CPC or CPM). The affiliate made money from every click to the merchant’s site generated from the affiliate’s website. 80% of affiliate marketing is now on a cost-per-sale basis, where the affiliate receives a commission for every real sale produced on the merchant’s website. At least 19% of online marketing is on a cost-per-action basis, where the affiliate receives a revenue-share if the individual referred from their website in fact registers or subscribes with the merchant’s website.
Affiliates did not bring an end to other, higher priced forms of online media marketing. The success of their endeavours in providing sales cost effectively by method of a pay-for-performance design led the way for other types of performance-based advertising, such as CPA-based search and portal marketing, to produce approval among direct online marketers. Affiliate marketing has actually developed, with marketers and affiliates ending up being more sophisticated and programs more integrated with other kinds of online marketing.
The idea of a wide-open affiliate program with an endless number of affiliates is a thing of the past. The success of the affiliate marketing in delivering sales successfully by method of a pay-for-performance design paved the method for other types of performance-based advertising, such as CPA-based search and portal advertising, to create acceptance among direct online marketers. Affiliate Marketers are now more sophisticated and marketing programs are more incorporated with other forms of online marketing.
However much I love Harry Potter, I have to tell you this:
I did not go to Hogwarts.
And, as far as I’m aware, neither has any other direct-response copywriter on the planet. (Although as a “muggle”, I guess I wouldn’t know, would I?)
Anyway, you’re probably thinking, “Tom, why on earth are you saying this? What’s this got to do with copywriting? I don’t see the link… ”
Well, my fellow muggle friend, let me be your Professor today and explain:
See, so many entrepreneurs and internet marketers think that us copywriters can polish a turd. In other words, they think we’re capable of turning a rubbish offer that nobody wants into a big fat pay day.
Sorry to bring bad news, but we can’t.
Because there are certain things that, when it comes to selling your products and services, are far more important than your copy. (Which, by the way, is why I see myself as a marketing strategist who specializes in writing copy, as opposed to just being a copywriter.)
So, what are these “far more important” things than your copy?
Well, there’s two.
First, there’s your offer.
See, if you haven’t got an offer which gets people foaming at the mouth when they hear about it, then the first thing you need to do is make sure you change the offer. At the very least, you need to tweak it so it’s more attractive.
How do you do this?
* Add in bonuses
* Offer a bargain price
* Improve your product or service so people get greater benefits from using it
* Admit to yourself that your current offer is about as attractive as a pig, and change your entire offer
Copywriters aren’t wizards.
We can’t make your prospects think your offer is amazing if it’s not.
And, talking of prospects, now’s the perfect time to tell you about the second thing that’s far more important than your copy…
Here’s the truth:
You could have a great offer in place…
You could hire a first-class copywriter…
But if you’re putting that offer in front of a list of people who have no interest in it, then it’s not gonna sell.
For example, you could have the best “How To Knit Like A Pro” manual in the world. It could be super slick. Full of easy-step-by-step instructions and a DVD as a bonus. And heck, you could be offering this for just $7.
Now, a woman in her 70s might be jumping with glee at this offer.
She’s perhaps knitted all her life as a hobby, but has always felt her work hasn’t been amazing. And since she’s a bit bored these days, she’d love spending time taking her knitting skills to the next level, so she can make better clothes for her young grandkids.
Yet if you put this same offer in front of a mum in her early 30s, you’re not gonna get much of a response. Most mums in their 30s don’t tend to knit. So it would be stupid to put this offer in front of them.
Luckily nowadays, it’s not that hard to make sure you’re targeting the right list. Facebook ads make this pretty damn simple, for instance.
But still, you always need to be aware of who you’re putting your offer in front of.
Anyway, as you see, these are both things that are more important than your copy.
And unless you hire Harry Potter to write for you, then there’s nothing you can do to overcome a shitty offer that’s put in front of the wrong list.
(And it’s a big “however”… )
When you do have these two things in place, that’s when a great copywriter can make you money…
Lots and lots of money.
A great copywriter can turn you’re already-good offer into an offer that’s sexier than Scarlett Johansson.
Anyway, I did say “great” copywriter on purpose.
If you hire a cheap copywriter then you’re more than likely gonna get “cheap” results.
So if you haven’t got the money to spend on a great one, then you’re better off learning how to write copy yourself.
But, when you have five-figures plus to spend on a copywriter, providing you have a sexy offer in place and you’re targeting a receptive list, then that is where you can make big money…
Big, big money.
PS- For the record, I believe everyone should learn how to write copy.
And, yes, that includes even those people who hire a copywriter all the time.
Because it then means you can properly judge the quality of your copywriter’s work.
Yet if you’ve never studied it before, how do you know what’s good and what isn’t?