Another financial year has come and gone, meaning new challenges and opportunities for your business. Whether you’re launching new products, entering new markets, or setting new sales targets, digital marketing can play an important part in helping you realise your business goals. This rings especially true in the age of COVID-19, where consumers have found new ways to shop, socialise, work and stay entertained, with an increased reliance on digital channels. Businesses that have been able to survive and thrive in this uncertain climate, have done so with the help of an online presence.
So if you haven’t refreshed your digital channels in a few years, or if you are yet to establish a digital footprint, now is a great time to do so. Here are a few things to consider as part of your digital transformation:
1. Give your website a refresh.
In this day and age, all businesses need an impactful website. Consumers are increasingly beginning their search for products or services online, even more so since the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Google’s consumer trends report, 81% of consumers surveyed said that they discovered new brands online during the pandemic. This means that having a strong online presence is essential if you want to reach potential customers.
As one of the first touchpoints in a customer’s journey, your website should include easily accessible information about what your business does, its USPs (unique selling points), and all relevant contact/product information. It will also need to provide a seamless user experience to prevent drop-offs and guide users further down the funnel to conversions.
On average, we recommend updating your website design every 2-3 years to stay up to date with technology and search engine requirements. Website content should be updated more frequently, ideally 2-3 times per week, in order to impress both search engines and your customers.
Things to consider:
- Branding – does your website reflect who you are as a business? Does it incorporate your updated logos, brand colour palettes, is content written in an appropriate tone of voice?
- User experience – is it easy for users to find the information they want on your website? Is your navigation streamlined? Are all the key CTAs visible and eye-catching? How long does it take for your page to load? Is the site optimised for mobile?
- CMS (content management system) usability – a great website is updated with new information on a regular basis, this keeps customers in the loop and also shows Google that you have all the right answers to relevant queries (more on this later). Having a CMS (wordpress, shopify, drupal) that you can update as and when you need, without the help of a developer, can save you time and money in the long run.
Start assessing your website by analysing your content, running speed tests, and looking at your latest results in Google Analytics. This should help you get a good idea of what needs to be done. We also recommend engaging a digital agency like Balmer Agency to perform a comprehensive website audit to identify key areas for improvement. Our design, development and content specialists can also action these changes in a timely manner and assist with ongoing maintenance.
2. Rethink your social strategy.
Being active on social media is just the first step on the ladder when it comes to great social media marketing. The social media landscape is constantly changing with the introduction of new platforms, constant algorithm changes, and shifts in user behaviour. To get the most out of your social activity, we recommend reviewing your social strategy to ensure that it takes into account all these changes along with your business goals for the year ahead.
Things to consider:
- Organic metrics – take a look at your organic metrics such as reach, impressions, engagement, and followership. Compare your performance Year on Year, Month on Month, or against industry/competitor benchmarks to get a clear idea of how you are performing.
- Content – the key to successful social media marketing is to post content that is engaging and relevant to your business goals. Evaluate your content based on who your target audience is, what you want them to think, and the actions you want them to take after seeing your posts. For new ideas, take a look at what your competitors and peers are doing, are they using creative formats that you haven’t tried (e.g. carousels, videos)? What are their content genres?
- Paid activity – if your main goal is to generate sales or leads, we highly recommend running a paid campaign alongside your organic activity. Paid campaigns can help you reach new audiences, collect lead information, drive traffic to your site or increase engagement. While you may not have a specific event or product that you want to promote, you could still benefit from a paid campaign especially if your competition is already running one. To find out if they are, visit their Facebook page and click ‘see all’ under the Page Transparency section. Then, you’ll have access to their ad library to view all their current and past paid activity.
In the ideal world, your metrics should improve over time. However, positive trends are increasingly difficult to achieve given the ongoing algorithm changes. If you are struggling to see improvement in specific areas such as your reach, or your engagement rates, you’ll need a tailored approach to get back on track.
If you’re not sure how to evaluate your performance or have difficulty decoding what your metrics mean, the social specialists at Balmer Agency can put together an audit detailing your performance over time, competitor activity, industry trends, along with next steps and recommendations. We can also devise a paid social strategy to give your business an edge over the competition.
3. Invest in SEO/SEM
Like we said before, a website is one of the first touchpoints for potential consumers, but how can you direct them to your website in the first place? The answer is to improve your Search Engine Results Page (SERP) ranking, or more simply put, the order in which you show up on Google search results when people search for terms related to your brand, product or services.
Your SERP ranking has a significant impact on how much traffic your website receives. Research shows that websites with a #1 SERP ranking receive an average CTR (click through rate) of 34.2% decreasing to 17.1% and 11.4% for positions #2 and #3 respectively. Websites ranked #7 have a significantly lower average CTR of 4.1% while websites ranked #10 have a mere 2.6%. A thoughtful SEO strategy can help you start ranking for relevant keywords and queries, and see your website rise up the ranks over time.
Things to consider:
- Keyword research – select the keywords you want to be ranking for. These should be relevant to your brand, products, services, and have a decent enough search volume. You’ll also need to consider the intention of consumers who search for these terms – are they ready to purchase? Competitor research is also recommended to find out which are the most popular and competitive keywords in your industry.
- Optimise your website – is your website optimised for SEO? While this means that your content should be optimised for your chosen keywords, you may also have to make technical tweaks to ensure that it is user and Google friendly. Page load times, mobile friendliness and a variety of other factors can also impact your SERP ranking.
- Backlink strategy – Google is more likely to shine a spotlight on websites that are reputable or trustworthy sources of information. Google determines this by looking at how many other websites link back to your website (backlinks). Build a strong backlink portfolio by reaching out to other reputable websites and asking them to implement a link to your website.
- SEM (search engine marketing) – while paid search campaigns are not a bandage solution (we still recommend organic search strategies for long-term results), they can help give your business the traffic and sales boost that you need. Paid search ads typically appear at the top of SERPs, occupying prime real estate for businesses that want more clicks. A paid search strategy will require keyword research, budget planning, persuasive copywriting and ongoing optimisations to achieve success.
SEO can be a challenge to wrap your head around, especially when it comes to the technical aspects. Balmer Agency performs thorough SEO audits including keyword research, competitor research and technical site audits to inform a holistic SEO strategy. We can also plan for various paid search scenarios based on your budget.
There’s so much to think about when it comes to improving your digital footprint, especially in the COVID-19 climate. For comprehensive audits, effective strategies and ongoing management (yes we can take it all off your hands), speak to Balmer Agency’s team of digital marketing experts today.