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Reasons you need a digital marketing strategy in 2018

Digital Marketing Strategy and why you need it

Digital Marketing Strategy often evokes a feeling of dread when I say it on our courses but my mission in business is to make digital marketing strategy simple – easy to follow and to get marketers to see the value – don’t get me wrong many already do but those tasked with digital planning may not always have come from a background or had professional training on the ‘art of digital plan writing’ which can make it feel quite overwhelming.

I’m not sure even the marketers who are qualified in the ‘art of digital strategy writing’ wake up and relish the thought on embarking on this arduous task but the benefits far outweigh the process.

digital marketing strategy

One of the main issues I see with clients digital marketing is that there is a distinct lack of strategy – the largest proportion, approaching half of businesses (49%) are doing digital marketing, but with no strategy…

Most small businesses focus on increasing revenue (72%), but they also see a great value in establishing new customer relationships (60%), and marketing and advertising (46%). (Business Insider 2017)

Benefits of Digital Marketing Strategy

  1. You have a clear view of the opposition – you can see where your competitors market online and what share they are claiming of traffic
  2. You identify some quick win opportunities to position yourself online
  3. You have a focus that can be broken down in to monthly and ultimately daily tasks
  4. You have a clear grasp of your consumer behaviour
  5. You’ve worked out what yo want to achieve & how to measure it – Businesses with a digital strategy often see far better results through that fact that they monitor and then draw insights from a campaign – real time and make improvements to their approach and see an on-going incremental uplift in leads and conversion

I am often asked what is the most important aspect of digital marketing – what should my digital marketing priorities be?

The honest answer is everything people avoid doing because this has the biggest opportunity to be snapped up- so one clear example is Blogging which is a great task to build into your week – I recommend a 3 times a week because we know as practitioners this is what is takes to stave off competition and also dominate the search results. It also will reap you about 44% more traffic too – not much can beat that return on investment in marketing.

I can assure you though that everyone says – ‘I will work up to that’ or ‘I don’t fancy that’ so they move onto the easier tasks and a common mistake is PPC adverts for a quick win.

The issue with adverts is though you are just renting that position in Google an article is there for life and will stay on the web forever – Oh and most people skip ads to click the first ‘organic’ result (unpaid) and that sweeps up about half of the search traffic for that term – so I know where I would prefer our business be positioned.

So why invest in Digital?

  • 82% of prospects can be reached via social media (InsideView)
  • Over 70% of B2B decision makers use social media to help them decide (Dell)
  • Digital Marketing spend is forecast to reach £240 billion pounds worldwide by 2020 (Forrester)

Why invest in digital marketing training?

Professionally trained marketers can achieve:

  • 44% increase in web traffic through effective blogging and content marketing
  • 60% increase in web sales conversion with a responsive and high converting website
  • 40% increase in sales leads, through improved management and digital lead funnels

Assuming they have a clear strategy in place.

Then consider that the average salary of a Digital Marketer is £37,500 then review the facts about recruiting a new team member and look at that against the cost of training someone in your organisation.

  • New hire productivity <100% for first 5-6 months
  • First 3 months productivity < 50%. This can be a significant drain on your financial resources
  • Eric Koester of MyHighTechStart-Up est. costs of new employee is approximately one and half to three times the cost of their annual wage.
  • So, hiring a new Digital Marketing Specialist could be as high as £112,500
  • Training a member of your current workforce is a significantly lower cost with professional qualifications costing a little over £1,000 – I know I can teach course delegates how to audit and plan and how to actually write a digital marketing strategy in a matter of 2-Day fast track course so I know what option I would go for as a business owner and a marketer.

Why Your Employees Need A Digital Marketing Diploma

Digital marketing incorporates some of the best ways to target and engage your audience. There are many different aspects to digital marketing; social media being one of the most important with users spending up to four hours daily on various platforms. However, there are also other digital marketing activities and elements to consider and the all important question – who manages your digital marketing endeavours.

Digital marketing is not an easy process. For every success story there is also a failure; these can cost businesses significantly.

Those companies who have a qualified digital marketing team are finding their online marketing activities highly successful and are achieving a high return on their investment. Getting the best digital marketing team does take time and each business needs a different digital marketing strategy. Employing someone new to manage your endeavours may provide benefits in the long term but it will take time for the results to be seen.

A more cost effective method could be to train a member of your current team in the principles and implementation of digital marketing. There are several benefits for this compared to hiring new employees. Here are some of the benefits you can expect for training your current employees as to hiring in someone new.

Cost Effectiveness

The average salary of a Digital Marketing Specialist is £37,500. If you were to hire in someone new for the company you can expect that their productivity would be less than 100% for the first 5-6 months. According to research, for the first three months their productivity could be less than 50%. This can be a significant drain on your financial resources.

Eric Koester of MyHighTechStart-Up estimates that the total costs of hiring a new employee is approximately one and half to three times the cost of their annual wage. Therefore, hiring a new Digital Marketing Specialist could be as high as £112,500.

Training a member of your current workforce is a significantly lower cost with diplomas costing less than £1,000. You’ll also benefit from your staff member having more productivity because they don’t have to go through the on-boarding process a new employee has to. However, there will be some productivity loss as they develop and get used to their new responsibilities.

You’ll also have a limited long term rise in costs; even if you offer your existing employee a pay rise.

Content Is Instantly In The Brand’s Voice

It takes time for a new employee to gain an understanding and appreciation for your brand’s voice. When they start working within your company it is likely the content they develop will lack the experience to portray your brand’s identity.

On the other hand; those who have been with your business for a long time understand the business’ personality intimately. Therefore, they are able to maintain the relationship with your audience better by producing a consistent brand message. This will build trust between you and your audience which is very important in digital marketing for processing new leads and converting them into paying customers.

Current Employees Know What Makes Your Customers Tick

Some of the most profitable online marketing avenues are blogs, social media and email. Creating content for these avenues is very easy; creating content your audience will want to engage with is very difficult.

Whatever method you use to attract your target audience you are likely to rely on keywords and terms. To get the terms right you are going to need to know what your audience are actively searching for.

The majority of internet users don’t search for products directly but rather solutions to problems they are experiencing. For instance: how to fill in a tax form, how to employ a new member of staff, etc. To get the most out of your digital marketing, you need to identify and create content to match this.

A new employee might not have worked in your industry before and therefore will have little understanding about the current needs or problems your customers experience. A new employee would need time to get to know your audience, in order to create the ideal content.

In contrast, an existing employee has interacted with your customers for a long time. Through previous contact, your current staff members will know exactly what the common questions your core audience ask and they are likely to know how to solve them. They can put this to good use in their content and create material which is more tempting for your target audience and yield better results.

Improves Staff Morale

Improving staff morale is beneficial for retention and productivity. One of the best ways of achieving this is to offer your staff opportunities for skill development. The fourth most desired skill in 2013 was digital and online marketing.

Giving your employees these skills will increase their morale, giving you higher productivity and decreasing the likelihood they will leave your organisation.

Digital Marketing Improves Soft Skills

There are many different skills required for digital marketing; not all of these are exclusive to the marketing. Training your staff in this discipline allows you give them a new responsibility and improve their proficiency in other areas of your business.

Here is a list of some of the key soft skills your staff can improve in when they have taken a course in digital marketing:

Communication skills are one of the key requirements employers look for in their staff. Digital marketing is all about delivering the right message to your key audience. By learning the skills and process to talk to your customers, they are also learning the skills to develop better communications with your management team and their peers. Better communications will lead to less confusion and errors being made. This will create a business which is more cost effective.

Writing and editing skills are not often thought of as being a core skill, but more jobs in the current market require staff to complete at least some paperwork. When mistakes are made on paperwork it can be costly for your business. An example of this would the inaccuracies of measurements on the paperwork which cost a French rail network £12.1 billion. An important aspect of digital marketing is ensuring that marketing materials released are free from errors. Digital marketing is another method to train your staff in getting their written work accurate. It can also improve the speed in which they are able to write and edit.

Budgeting is an important skill for any member of your team. Most forms of digital marketing require strong budgeting skills. Pay-per-click is one digital marketing avenue requiring budgeting skills. Daily budget needs to be set and distributed to return the most effective results. If they can learn the necessary skills during their digital marketing diploma they can then employ these in other areas of your business. This will help cut costs and give you better profit margins.

Time management is always difficult; however an individual who manages digital marketing needs to be aware of exactly how long they have to spend on each task. Spending too much time on one task (i.e. social media) is very easy but can be very inefficient and drive costs up. Staff properly trained can learn how to manage their time more effectively and increase their productivity. This can then be implemented in other areas of your business. A more productive workforce will return higher revenues and better profits.

Resourcefulness and creativity are skills required for successful digital marketing. They can also support other business activities. There will be times in your business when you have problems you’ve not experienced before. Traditional and normal crisis management solution might not be able to solve the problem. Having someone who is creative and resourceful can aid your business’ management team to develop solutions for your problems.

Conclusion

Digital marketing is one of the most effective ways for your business to acquire new customers and generate leads and sales. However, it is not an easy process and you need a fully qualified team in order to gain substantial returns on your investment.

Hiring a new employee might seem like a good option but they are likely to cost your business significantly in the hiring process and during their on-boarding process. There would also be concerns they would not be able to match your brand’s voice quick enough and as they continue to create your brand content; your audience may look elsewhere.

However, training your staff to manage your digital marketing activities can be highly successful and not just for your marketing efforts. They can instantly give you a return, speak in your brand’s voice and know exactly what your customers are looking for. They’ll also be more willing to stay with your brand and have a higher productivity as you show your commitment to their professional development.

Finally, the skills that they will learn during a digital marketing diploma can be transferred to other areas of the business. This will make your business sleeker; save you money and improve your profits.

Download a copy of the Diploma in Digital Marketing syllabus or read more about how your business could benefit from enhancing  your teams digital skills through studying a professional marketing qualifications such as the Diploma in Digital Marketing which is accredited by The Chartered Institute of Marketing.

Feel free to air your views and join the discussion below.

Recent Digital Marketing Changes Every Marketer Should Know

Digital Marketing Changes and latest News across your favourite social media channels.

digital marketing The world of digital marketing is a really dynamic one. In order to survive, compete and thrive here – as a digital marketer or as an online entrepreneur – you have to keep yourself updated.

The best way of doing that is to keep track of all the recent changes that happen across multiple platforms in the digital marketing arena. It is important to understand that it includes not only digital marketing in general, but it even expands to social networking websites, online forums, and digital mediums of communication. Moreover, the process of driving traffic visitors and converting those leads is also equally important.

All in all, you always have to be on your toes. In this post, we will mention a few important changes that recently changed how digital marketers should operate. But before we start, there is one more thing that should be mentioned.

Merely tracking the changes and keeping yourself updated may not be enough. You will also have to interpret their practical applications and realise how some of those changes affect your overall digital marketing strategy.

So let’s now see some of the important changes that have recently affected the digital marketing and, in particular, the social media marketing world.

 

Recent Changes in Facebook

When it comes to digital marketing, Facebook is one of those few names that always pop up first.

It is, without any doubt, the giant of social networking channels. And, alongside Twitter, Facebook requires the bulk of your digital marketing efforts and attention.

However, given said that, Facebook keeps experimenting with different things. Be it “the wall” or “the timeline”, digital marketers always face the challenge of being up-to-date.

Recently, Facebook has made a few noticeable changes that directly affect online businesses, brand pages and digital marketers. The death of organic reach has been the biggest one.

Now, there is only a handful of your followers that receive your Facebook updates and notifications. And because of this, digital marketers and online businesses are finding it difficult to reach their target audience on Facebook. But it definitely doesn’t mean that you can’t use this wonderful platform to nurture your existing leads or to even reach new ones. Your strategy just needs a little tweaking.

First of all, you will have to shift your focus to being more active and striking conversations with your target audience. This includes your existing customers as well as the new leads you are trying to capture. Secondly, you might have to spend a few bucks in promoting sponsored ads and posts for reaching new people. This may sound a bit harsh, but that’s the way Facebook is moving towards.

Apart from that, Facebook has also introduced several “Calls-to-Action”. So instead of the generic “click here” button, you can now have different CTAs. Some of the most effectives ones are:

  • Contact Us
  • Book Now
  • Shop Now
  • Sign Up
  • Use App

Last, but definitely not the least, your Facebook strategy should include a definite content marketing plan. By having a separate content marketing strategy just for Facebook, you can reach a lot more people.

 

Recent Changes in Twitter

Twitter is relatively more stable and less-prone to changes than Facebook. However, there have been a few noticeable changes in Twitter that will affect your overall digital marketing and social media marketing strategies.

One of the best changes for community managers, social media managers, and digital marketers in general is the ability to send tweets in direct messages. In my opinion, this will redefine the way Twitter conversations usually work. More specifically, it will be used extensively by online teams that work in collaboration.

Apart from that, Twitter is also working on a more refined algorithm that shows content on your Twitter newsfeed. This new algorithm means that unlike Facebook, you will be able to see content from people you don’t even follow. And if you are promoting an online business or brand, you’d like to think that there will be a lot of people who may get your content even if they aren’t following you.

This is how Twitter officially explains this:

“Additionally, when we identify a Tweet, an account to follow, or other content that’s popular or relevant, we may add it to your timeline. This means you will sometimes see Tweets from accounts you don’t follow. We select each Tweet using a variety of signals, including how popular it is and how people in your network are interacting with it. Our goal is to make your home timeline even more relevant and interesting.”

Before we end this Twitter segment, there is one more change that you should know about … and it’s kind of a big one.

With a new advanced search option, you can now search every tweet from the Twitter archives. And yes, the archives go back to 2006, when Twitter first launched. Moreover, there are several different options in the advanced search menu that can help you find the exact information you are looking for.

 

Recent Changes in LinkedIn

LinkedIn has come a long, long way since it was first launched. In my opinion, it is this platform that recently experienced the most amount of changes.

First of all, LinkedIn has significantly improved the data and statisitics it provides to you. For instance, you now get a richer view and an advanced set of data on “Who’s Viewed Your Profile?”. Moreover, you also get a nice chart with very useful graphics that explain your online activity what kind of an impact it had on your online visibility on LinkedIn.

Apart from that, one of the best recent changes by LinkedIn is its redesigned blogging interface. LinkedIn has been very active in transforming itself to become an authoritative platform of publishing blog posts and sharing insights. The new, redesigned blogging interface is really helpful in that regard. It is expected that more and more digital marketers, online businesses and freelancers will be using it with great benefits.

Moreover, there have been many numerous changes that can help you make your profile more credible and complete. From recommendations to endorsements, and from completed projects to portfolio items, there are a lot of things you can do with LinkedIn now-a-days.

 

Digital Marketing in 2015

Earlier, we discussed some of the recent changes in the social media marketing world. On the other hand, digital marketing in general is also going undergoing a change. 2015 is going to be an important year for digital marketers, and if you haven’t evaluated your digital marketing strategy yet, it is high time that you do it.

We’ve already discussed some of the most important digital marketing trends and predictions for 2015 in one of our previous posts. It is highly recommended that you read it. But in a nutshell, here are a few really important points:

  • Social media marketing is going to be more important than ever.
  • Online businesses will focus more on analytics and conversion optimisation.
  • Mobile devices, smartphones and tablets will become the primary way of surfing the web. Your entire online marketing strategy will base around mobile devices and their usage.
  • Email marketing will remain as the most important and effective medium of online marketing.

 

Final Words

Digital marketing is one of the most dynamic fields you will ever come across. There are so many things that require you immediate attention. Multiple social media websites, forums, introduction of new software and apps, analytics tools, digital marketing tactics and strategies, and a constant introduction of new devices, like mobile devices, smartphones, tablets, mobile watches, etc. are some of the many things you should be aware of.

Some of the changes that I mentioned in this article are really important, and they even might change the way your digital marketing plans have worked till now.

But there is no reason to worry. Embrace these changes, keep your eyes open for the new one, and stay tuned to learn more about digital marketing and how to make your online business successful.

Make sure you sign up to receive our blog via email (Just enter your email in the right sidebar) – We release regular bulletins to keep our subscribers up to date and ahead of the game covering all aspects of digital and social media marketing. The best bit is we do all the research into trends and predictions and alert you to the latest news and new features and tools that every digital marketer needs.

If you are looking to develop your digital marketing skills then check out our Chartered Institute of Marketing accredited Diploma in Digital Marketing – Get a professional – academic qualification is as little as 12 weeks from only £79 a month – Alternatively get certified in social media or digital marketing and attend a face-to-face course in our London or Manchester venues or join one of our online courses.

Are Your Social Media & Digital Marketing Efforts in Vain?

Digital marketing can be a tough nut to crack. After all, almost every online business uses digital marketing to some extent. But how many of them actually succeed in that?

I don’t think I need to give you an answer. You already know that.

digital marketing

There are many reasons why a business’s digital marketing plan fails, and I’ll get into that later in this article. But for now, let’s discuss some of the more basic issues. Let’s start from scratch.

 

Do Your Digital Marketing Efforts Have a Return?

First of all, it is important to determine whether your digital marketing efforts are worth it. Because if are not getting enough return on your investment, there is no point whatsoever, right?

So let’s make things clear. Your online business might be having a tough time with digital marketing and social media marketing, but it doesn’t mean that you should stop spending your time, efforts and resources in it.

Building a strong online presence can be really tough in such a highly competitive world. It often takes time and a whole lot of dedication, skills and commitment. But in the end, especially if you do it the right way – which we are going to discuss soon – it all pays.

 

Top Reasons Why Your Digital Marketing Strategy is Failing

It seems like a very bold claim. But if you are still with me, reading this article, you know that there is something fundamentally wrong with your digital marketing strategy. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be reading it in the first place.

So before we go into the nitty gritty details, let’s analyse some of the top reasons why most of the digital marketing strategies fall flat on their faces. If you, too, are struggling with your digital marketing and social media marketing efforts, you might find one or more reasons of your failure here.

 

1. Weak Substance

None of your social media marketing or content marketing efforts will have any sort of an impact if the substance if weak.

You have more competitors than you think. And in the online business world, you can’t have great results with mediocre content, social media efforts, or email marketing campaigns.

An effective digital marketing plan requires a lot of meaty and high-quality substance.

 

2. No Frequency

Another reason why many digital marketing plans fail is that they don’t have any fixed frequency.

It is important to realise that you are marketing to real people – and it really doesn’t matter if it’s online. Your customers are real, they have feelings and emotions, and they want to connect with your business. But most importantly, they want to feel that they can rely on it.

If you have a business blog where you publish 1 high-quality post per week, your readers know what to expect from you.

On the other hand, if your competitor’s business blog publishes 4 posts and one week and then doesn’t get active for the next 3 months, their customers won’t rely on such an online presence.

All in all, frequency is really important in the digital marketing world. And most of the businesses that fail to capitalise on their digital marketing efforts, usually don’t deem frequency as an important factor.

 

3. Lack of Resources and/or Skills

One of the major reasons why digital marketing strategies fail is because most online businesses don’t have sufficient resources and skills related to it.

There is a huge digital marketing skills gap in the industry, and this often becomes a big problem in implementing digital marketing plans.

The following chart will give you a brief glimpse on this very important problem.

Digital Marketing Skills

If your online business doesn’t have sufficient resources, talent and skills in the digital marketing niche, it may become one of the major reasons why your marketing strategy doesn’t work.

 

4. Failing to Monitor Your Digital Marketing Progress

Failing to monitor your digital marketing progress – with analytics tools and software – is another reason why it isn’t working for you.

The Online Marketing Institute did a research and interviewed 747 marketing executives about the digital marketing skills they deem as most important. 76% of those surveyed agreed that analytical skills are the most important one in the digital marketing world.

It is there for a reason. Tracking every inch of your progress is absolutely crucial. Moreover, a person with good analytical skills can easily determine important trends and signals and use them to improve your digital marketing plan.

 

5. No Correlation with Overall Business Goals

This is kind of a big one.

As a matter of fact, in my opinion, it is the biggest reason why most businesses fail when it comes to digital marketing, and why they fail to experience a good return on their investment.

It is important to understand that a good digital marketing plan accentuates and helps your overall business goals. Therefore, it is absolutely crucial that both these things – your digital marketing plan and your business objectives – work simultaneously and in similar directions.

 

A Streamlined Process for Better Rewards in the Digital Marketing World

If you have really understood the above reasons why digital marketing strategies fail, you already know what would work.

There should be a streamlined process that has multiple efficient qualities and that leads to better results and ROI.

Moreover, it really doesn’t matter if you are planning for an entire digital marketing campaign, or a more categorised social media marketing, content marketing or email marketing strategies. This works for everything.

For most businesses, the goals are actually pretty simple and straight-forward. Professionals and business executives divide into the following:

  • Increase customer base
  • Improve purchase frequency
  • Increase average order value

Once you identify these business goals, all of your digital marketing efforts should be in pursuit of those objectives. And while doing that, you need to take into account your business’s KPI (key performance indicators) and other digital metrics and analytics that will help you understand and expand your business in the online world.

Apart from monitoring and tracking your digital marketing analytics, you will also have to consider the resources, talent and skills you have in the digital marketing department. Moreover, don’t forget to consider some of the other important factors that we discussed, e.g. the substance and quality of your blog posts, marketing emails, social media posts and other related stuff, the frequency of your marketing content, and the skills and talent you have in the digital marketing sector of your business.

 

Final Words

Let me end this post on a very bold claim.

None of your digital marketing and social media marketing efforts will ever be wasted, if you do them with the right attitude and mindset. Digital marketing is the best way to move forward. Your business must have an online presence and digital marketing is the way to let it gain more exposure, credibility and visibility. Most importantly, digital marketing is what helps you in your overall business goals.

Want to learn more then subscribe to our blog to receive regular digital marketing tips and free resources – If you want to really ramp up your knowledge why not try one of our online or face-to-face digital marketing courses accredited by The Chartered Institute of Marketing.

 

How SEO Can Benefit Your Business

SEO report image

SEO can increase your the online awareness for your brand.
Image courtesy of tiramisustudio at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Up to 80% of all your traffic can be generated from search engines. The position your website has achieved on the search ranks also makes a huge difference. If your website is listed at position 10 on the first page, it can have approximately one tenth of the traffic a website listed at the top receives. This makes optimising your business website for search engines a priority.

There are many different aspects to consider when you are creating a strategy for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). It is not just what goes onto your page which counts; but how your business interacts on social media, your page load time and what links you attract online.

This guide will give you detailed information on what is SEO, how it can benefit your business and some tips.

What Is Search Engine Optimisation?

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the process of making your website match certain criteria search engines use to rank pages. A highly optimised site will appear very high on the search results for specific terms.

Search engines have gone to great lengths to refine their ranking algorithms to determine what order pages should be displayed in. There are numerous different factors in the page rank, with Google reported to use over 200 factors in their ranking algorithms.

One of the major problems for website owners is there are various algorithms to conform to with each one relating to a different search engine. Typically it is advisable to concentrate your efforts on Google, who has the market share of approximately 65-70%. Bing is the next largest used search engine, but only has about 15-20% of the market share.

Google is regularly performing updates on their algorithms to prevent black hat SEO from manipulating their search results.

What Is Black Hat SEO?

Black hat SEO is the process where a website owner will use unethical means to obtain a better PageRank. In the past this has included using keyword stuffing and link farms. Over several updates, Google and other search engines have reduced the effect these techniques have. However, every day new black hat techniques are being implemented to manipulate the search engines.

You should never attempt to use black hat techniques for several reasons. Firstly, if caught by Google you will be penalised. This could result in your page being dropped further in the rankings than it would be if you used just white hat techniques. Alternatively, Google could remove your website from the listings completely. With so much traffic from Google and other search engines this could limit your business’ growth.

Secondly, black hat techniques tend to force your website up in irrelevant searches. This can damage your reputation online. One avenue your site could be ‘named and shamed’ on is social media. With word of mouth being such an effective marketing tool, this could damage your long-term reputation and prospects.

What Matters On SEO?

Google and other search engines keep exactly what factors are included in their ranking secret. However, there are certain elements experts know will provide a good rank. Here is a list of those factors and how best to optimise them.

Keywords: Keywords have always been a major factor in SEO and the ranking of a webpage. There are different areas where the keyword for your page needs to be inserted. Firstly it needs to be contained in the page’s title and some of any subtitles on the page. Secondly, you need to include the keyword in the page’s URL and in the meta description. For your URL, don’t use underscores to separate words. Search engines see this as a connection rather than a separator of words; instead use a hyphen.

Finally you’ll want to include the keyword within the body of your content. Creating a keyword density of between 2 and 4% is often recommended for Google. You’ll also want to use a key phrase rather than a keyword. A key phrase will give you more chance to be shown up in various search queries and more users are using long string searches than single words.

Images: While the search engine can’t tell what your image is, the tags for your images are highly important when it comes to your SEO. Ensure your keyword is in the alt description, title, caption and description of your image.

It is also best to optimise your image. There are many different tools available to do this online including WP Smush.it if you are using WordPress. This will help increase your page speed which is an important factor in search engine ranking.

Page Speed: In addition to the optimising of images there are many different things you can do to optimise your websites page speed, the time it takes to load on a browser. Optimising this will not only increase your ranking but also improve customer experiences. It is stated that if it takes longer than 4 seconds to load your site, at least 25% of your customers will abandon your site.

Some of the important aspects of page speed include:

  • Removing query strings from static resources.
  • Minifying JavaScript and CSS.
  • Leveraging browser caching.
  • Minifying HTML.

To know exactly what your website needs you can run several free tests online. The best options are Google’s Insights and GTmetrix. The latter of these options also offers a free detailed report on how you can improve your website’s speed.

Linking: This is one of the most widely known elements of SEO. To benefit you must create several inbound links from authority sites. To obtain these links create relationships and ask the website owner if you can guest post on their blog. This strategy will establish back links to your site. Don’t be determined to build too many links. If you have too many you can suffer from penalties as Google might see this as link spam.

Social Media: This is becoming a big factor when it comes to SEO. Bing uses Facebook interactions to rank sites and Google uses its own platform for the same function. Google is also reported to use Twitter to index pages faster. In addition, YouTube is an important social media platform, with videos having a high preference and prominence on Google’s search rankings. Therefore, it is very important you maintain a strong social media presence across several platforms.

Publishing record: Google likes to reward businesses who regularly publish new content. The more content you publish; the higher in the rankings your site will go. Google also considers quality of the content and is investing significantly into creating algorithms to identify the quality of the writing and usefulness of the content.

Your content should be unique and not copied. Google punishes websites with copied content severely and it can be a struggle to reclaim lost ground once this has happened.

What Is The Best Strategy?

The best strategy is always to start with the fundamentals of SEO. Your first action is to start a blog which publishes high quality content with an optimal keyword density. Include at least one image in the copy which has had its tags optimised. Aim for at least three main keywords on your site and several subsidiary ones. Think carefully about what your target audience will be searching for and use that as the basis for your keywords.

From there you can start to improve your website’s speed. Start by optimising your images so they take up the least space. The best format for images is jpeg as it takes up less memory and therefore less time to download. To help you know what areas you need to improve use the Google Insights and GTMetrix test to analyse your sites. Both indicate what components of your site you can improve for a faster load time, although GTMetrix does offer a more detailed report.

After this, seek to create some guest posts. Tweak Your Biz is a great site to contribute to if you are looking for business clients. They have a large established mailing list, social media following and are readily accepting good writers for their site. Alternatively, you might want to look further afield and ask for blogging opportunities at authority sites within your own industry.

Finally start a social media campaign. Be sure to allow visitors to share your content with their peers with social media buttons on your blog posts. This will help with the page rank. Remember each social media platform has its own unique etiquette. Follow those for the best results.

Conclusion

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is an important aspect of your digital marketing campaigns. Without it you will not appear highly on search results and can lose up to 80% of your traffic. This can have serious ramifications for your revenues and profit.

Start building a quality SEO profile by mixing together the important elements that both increase the usefulness of your website’s content and the speed that content loads. If you can provide regular valuable content on a regular basis you will rank highly.

So what now? feel free to join the conversation and ask any questions or post comments about this article – We are here to help!

Essential Skills Of A Digital Marketers

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Digital marketing skills are very important for the success of your career

The digital marketing industry is one that requires significant skills. Previously we have reported on the digital marketing skills gap across the UK, Ireland and even in the US. Studies have shown that only 1 in 5 digital marketing employees have the qualifications and skills to effectively do their job.

For some businesses this is a massive problem and it is costing them heavily. According to some figures, the UK is losing £2 billion annually from the lack of digital marketing skills.

To combat this there is only one option: to train current and future staff in the required skills necessary to fulfil their jobs. Because there is going to be a high demand for those with the skills in the short term; there is a need to concentrate on the essential skills first before moving on to a broader range of skills.

Each position within the career path of a digital marketing professional will require different set of core skills. At the entry-level of the career path, employees will need to possess more ‘frontline’ skills that can help an organisation to implement campaigns. However, those looking to secure senior positions will be looking at more management, organisation and strategic skills.

So what are the essential digital marketing skills required for different positions?

Digital Marketing Executive

A digital marketing executive is the likely entry point for most in the industry. From here, successful employees can move on to specialise in a certain niche area of the digital marketing industry as they progress through their career. Alternatively, they could wait and move directly into more senior positions.

Digital marketing executives have a wide range of responsibilities. Therefore, those who want to apply for these roles need to have a broad range of skills. Social media is one of the most highly sought after as businesses can gain a significant amount of customer information and generate leads from this marketing avenue. Research has also shown that there is a 27% skill gap between those who possess such skills and the demand for those individuals. Learning Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn best practices can therefore offer you a good chance of securing your first position.

Those entering the digital marketing industry should also look at their writing skills. The majority of digital marketing tasks centres on creating content whether that is blog, email or social media copy. This is why many of those who enter the digital marketing industry have a humanities based education (i.e. English, Business, etc).

Content is essential for establishing authority within your industry and supporting your company’s lead generation activities. Therefore, having strong writing skills can provide the best return for your employer.

There are several courses out there which can support digital marketing with these skills. For instance, there is the Online Writing For The Web Course and the Online Social Media Training course. Both of these will improve the chances that you can secure a job within the industry.

In addition to these implementation skills, many businesses are also demanding that their new employees have soft skills. Nine out of ten job failures are because of bad attitude or behaviour. Soft skills include communications and flexibility. These can’t be easily taught; however, it is essential that you try to obtain these skills.

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Obtaining digital skills help you climb the career ladder

Digital Marketing Manager

A digital marketing manager is often the next stage on the career path, unless you want to go down a specialised route. To achieve a manager’s position it would be highly useful if you can obtain a Digital Marketing Diploma. Taking one of these courses needn’t take an excessive amount of time and some can be completed within 6 months.

Adding a diploma to your list of qualifications will support the general effectiveness of your team management. As you will likely be leading a team with a wide range disciplines and personalities, good employee management skills are required. Part of these management skills should also be how to develop a strategic marketing plan.

To help develop these strategic marketing plans, you may find it beneficial to learn more disciplines such as PPC and SEO. Having an understanding of these areas will greatly benefit you and your employer as they have a clear understanding of the needs and abilities of each marketing platform at their disposal. This knowledge can then be utilised to align all the digital marketing efforts of your business.

Finally, good management teams need to be able to analyse the results of the campaigns they are managing. Data analysis is actually one of the common skills missing from digital marketing. According research there is a 37% data analysis skill shortage yet 76% of marketers believe this is one of the most important skills to have. Improving your analytical skills can give you a real edge when it comes to applying for any digital marketing positions.

Chief Technology Officer

The final step in the digital marketing career is to become the chief technology officer. This is where a lot of the physical work is no longer part of your daily routine. Instead there is a focus on the developing of plans to improve the awareness of the brand online and the financial management of the department.

Again strong analytical skills are required in this job role as is knowledge of some of the latest technological advances. For instance, you should know about and have an understanding of the emerging mobile marketing practices. However, this is again a very common area missing from many employees with some companies reporting that 29% of their employees lack this skill and knowledge.

With the rise of mobile internet browsing, emails being opened on mobile devices and mobile shopping, it is important that if you are looking to gain as much knowledge as possible about this platform. Then you can look for ways to implement it within your company’s marketing strategy.

Finally, as a CTO, you will be required to attend meetings and give presentations to other senior members and staff in your department. There are several skills required for this including: public speaking and motivation. Without these you will not be able to convince those you are speaking to that you are providing the right information or your plans should be followed.

How Can Businesses Support Their Employee’s Career Growth And Benefit?

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Training helps you improve your digital skills set.

Businesses should play a key role in the training of digital marketing employees. There are many options available for businesses that are both highly effective at teaching the core and peripheral skills of the employees and are cost-effective.

For instance, providing the business’ employees with a professional qualification such as a diploma can cost as little as £79 a month per employee. This will provide staff with the knowledge to implement best practices into the campaigns they are managing that will result in a better return on investment.

In addition, businesses should consider offering their staff highly effective coaching and mentoring services. These are perfect for businesses that have very specific objectives that they want to meet as the service can be tailored to those.

The coaching is a short-term option that often lasts between one and three months. It focuses on teaching the employee the key competencies they need to perform better in their position and return the best results for the business. This is the perfect option for those who have a team that is relatively new to digital marketing and need to be trained from scratch.

However, the major benefit of coaching is that it can quickly and inexpensively raise the level of talent within the organisation and allow the staff to implement successful campaigns during their training.

Mentoring is the longer option and concentrates more on the building of skills that staff already possess. This is perfect for those who have already got some of the basic skills or qualifications needed for the digital marketing industry.

It is also a good product for those who are running campaigns continuously and might need ad-hoc support as they come across problems. Those who have been mentored have seen a vast improvement in the results of their online marketing campaigns.

Conclusion

Digital marketing skills are varied and require a significant number of technical skills such as writing, social media, mobile marketing, etc as well as soft skills like leadership, communication and flexibility. Many of these skills can be trained very easily and quickly.

If you are looking to get your first step up on the digital marketing career ladder there are many options available. You could start with courses designed to enhance your knowledge of a specific digital marketing skill or you can earn yourself a professional qualification such as a Diploma which can be completed within six months of starting.

Taking one of these courses will allow you to be seen as a frontrunner for any job you apply for as there is a general lack in digital marketing skills in the current marketplace.

If you are a business looking to gain more from your online marketing efforts then you need to consider looking at training your staff. Providing a professional qualification is neither expensive nor disruptive to your business. For just £79 per month per employee you can provide them with a Diploma or you can provide them with further opportunities to upgrade their skills with coaching and mentoring.

Whatever option you choose, you will see a marked improvement in the skills, productivity and results of your online marketing department.

Digital Marketing Salaries 2014

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How much compensation do those in the digital marketing industry earn?

The salaries of those working within the digital marketing industry are a key indicator at how the industry as a whole is performing. If digital salaries are increasing then the demand for those with digital marketing skills is high while the supply of qualified individuals is low. In contrast, a dip in the average salary can demonstrate there are more digital marketers than positions available.

According to research from various sources, there is cause for hope within the UK with wages and the demand for jobs on the rise. In this article, we look at the key statistics and what they can mean for you.

The Current Status Of The Digital Jobs Market

The unemployment rate can suggest what the salary trend is. As the rate of unemployment decreases, there is less competition for the available jobs and this increases the amount employers are willing to pay to attract talent.

This month the UK recorded its lowest unemployment rate for six years. This has continued the decline seen over the last few months.

At the same time the number of jobs being advertised has increased. London has one of the fastest growing tech industries in Europe and 27% of all generated jobs in the capitol are in the tech industry. Comparing vacancies from 2013 to now, there has been a 37.4% increase in the number of advertised digital marketing roles online.

These figures alone wouldn’t mean that salaries would increase within the industry. One of the other factors that would contribute to a rise in salaries is the demand for such jobs. Indeed tracks the number of candidates actively looking for jobs within most industries. The data provided by the site demonstrates there has been a general increase in the number of active candidates but it is not as significant as the jump in the number of jobs available.

These statistics together will tend to lead to an increase in the digital marketing salaries. The rise in salaries might also be linked to the opinions of senior managers within the industry. Some believe that recent salary pressures during the recession have lowered the loyalty of employees and may have forced qualified marketers to seek greater compensation for their skills. The rise in salaries could be an effort from businesses to compensate for this trend.

What Are Different Digital Marketing Positions Being Paid?

The roles being advertised within the digital marketing industry is diverse and represent all levels of the staff structure. In September 2014, there were more Digital Marketing Manager positions advertised than any other job position. The average salary for these positions was £43,744. Marketing Executives were also a highly sought after and their expected salaries averaged £28,578.

For comparison, account manager positions within agencies had an average salary expectation of £35,582.

All of these positions’ expected salaries are higher than the national average (£26,500). However, the national average does include many of the wealthiest individuals; if the top earners were excluded from the average, the figure would drop to £16,640.

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An increase in the rate of digital marketing pay is evident

There has also been evidence of a high increase in the rate of pay for digital marketing professionals. In the past year, the average digital marketing salary has increased by £789. This is higher in comparison to the rest of the UK where the average wage increase is just £582.

These salaries are not mirrored in the US.

In the US, executive employees are often paid between $100,000 (£60,000) and $280,000 (£168,000). The highest paid creative digital marketing employees, web designers, can often earn between $65,000 (£39,000) and $110,000 (£66,000).

According to a recent report by Mondo, a proof-reader has the lowest salary expectations within the US. They can earn between $35,000 (£21,000) and $60,000 (£36,000). These figures are narrower than in the UK, where the lowest paid proofreaders earn £16,658 and the highest paid proofreaders earn £50,893. Also the lowest expectation is far below US standards and the highest expectation is far larger.

The same report also highlights that Chief Digital Officer (or Chief Technology Officer (CTO)) salaries are the highest paid positions within the US digital marketing industry. In the US market, a CTO can expect a salary between $148,000 (£88,800) and $280,000 (£168,000). In the UK market, a CTO can expect to earn somewhere between £51,732 and £155,081.

The reason why the top jobs in the UK are not being paid as high as those in the US is one for debate. One could argue it is because of the high number of digital marketing start-ups within the UK. While there has been in an increase of 7% in the number of digital marketing companies and the proportion of high-growth companies has risen significantly, start-ups aren’t the one’s paying lower salaries.

Research conducted in 2013 by Telco Exec found that start-ups were more likely to pay a higher salary than established businesses. Therefore, there must be other reasons why the UK market is paying a greater wage for those lower down in the organisation structure and a lower amount for those in the top positions compared to the US.

What Is Influencing The Salaries?

The digital marketing industry is in turmoil at the moment. Research from several sources has found the UK and Ireland is suffering from a significant lack of highly qualified digital marketing candidates. According to one study, less than one in five employees is sufficiently qualified and competent in their roles.

Further research has shown that by 2017, if more is not done by the UK government and education institutes, there will a digital skills gap equivalent to 750,000 workers.

This problem isn’t going to be solved quickly. Only in the 2014-2015 academic year was a new computer A level introduced that covered suitable topics for digital marketing. The students currently taking these courses will be unlikely to enter the job market until 2019 or 2020.

In addition, there is a steady decline in the number of students who are pursing computer science at university, with a 25% drop in graduates over the past decade.

With less qualified candidates to choose from, UK businesses can often offer lower salaries to those applying for a job but don’t have the necessary educational background. However, those who do have the skills can often demand higher salaries. This could be contributing to the large difference seen in the salary surveys previously examined.

The reason why CTOs in the UK are being paid less than those in the US might simply be because those fulfilling these roles have not retrained for the digital marketing industry, which is a relatively new field.

How Can You Achieve The Highest Salaries?

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Learning more digital marketing skills could be a good way to increase your salary

Being able to obtain the higher salaries in the digital marketing industry is a combination of factors over an extended period of time. The first is to gain experience. Experience is highly important when it comes to impressing a potential employer and especially within the digital marketing industry.

However, contrary to popular belief, digital marketing experience does not have to be related to a current position. You can create it yourself in your spare time. For example, you can manage and run your own blog, advertising the content you create over social media and email.

Using this as a basis you can provide hard evidence in the form of statistics and revenue (if you sign up to an affiliate program) as to your performance. This can be strong proof for your suitability for a position.

Yet experience alone will not make you the best in the market. You also need to have qualifications. According to some research, those who are not qualified in digital marketing will be unproductive 21% of the time. Therefore businesses will be looking to hire those who are highly qualified to get the best return on their investments.

Getting qualified needn’t be expensive or take a significant amount of time. There are several courses that are designed to be taken at your pace and are highly affordable. Examples of this are Certified Social Media Marketing On Demand Online Training Course and the Diploma In Digital Marketing. Both of these courses can be completed in less than six months. They will also place you in a better position to receive job offers and better salaries.

Conclusion

The average salary within the digital marketing industry is higher than that of the UK average, even if you include the top earning professionals within the country. Over the past year, the digital marketing industry has also seen a faster increase in the salary expectations than the national average.

However, when comparing pay between the US and UK there are certain differences. The UK has a much larger range between the lowest and highest paid workers. Also, the UK pays those at the entry level more but those in the top positions less than their US equivalents.

This trend within the UK has been fuelled by a lack of digital media skills within the country. Those who have the skills can demand higher salaries, while those without the skills are paid lower than their US counterparts.

As a result it is highly beneficial for those who are looking to work within the UK digital marketing industry to seek out opportunities to improve their skill set. This can be done very quickly with the right online training qualification and by gaining experience.

If you are able to put in this hard work, you will be more likely to achieve your career aspirations, receive job offers and a better salary.

10 Benefits For Outsourcing Your Internet Marketing

The success of your business online depends on the quality of your internet marketing. Many small businesses conduct their own online marketing campaigns and some have achieved good results. However, many small businesses do suffer from costly, failed marketing campaigns. If these businesses had outsourced their internet marketing campaigns, they might have had better results.

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If you aren’t trained in internet marketing, it can seem very confusing!

Here are some of the benefits your business can experience from outsourcing your internet marketing tasks:

1. Saves Your Business Some Time

Many internet marketing campaigns can be time consuming. Social media has a particular reputation for being addictive for small business owners who spend their precious time chatting to other users on Twitter and Facebook without achieving results. Other research has shown that those who are not trained in digital marketing will take at least 20% more time performing tasks than those with the correct education and experience.

The time spent performing many of the tasks associated with internet marketing could be better utilised by you and your team in production, customer service or other business management tasks. Likewise, the more time you spend on internet marketing, the higher the customer acquisition cost is. Therefore, you might need to sell more products to ensure you breakeven, which will require more marketing and therefore costs. This process can quickly spiral out of control.

2. Save Your Business Some Expenses

There are numerous tools available to help you create strong internet marketing campaigns. However, some of these can be very expensive and require significant funds to set-up. Internet marketers will often use these tools for many clients and spread the costs between them.

For example, an internet marketing professional may use MailChimp or Constant Contact to run email marketing campaigns. If you were to use the platform you’ll want to buy a premium package for all the monitoring functions and larger mailing volumes. Paying for the premium accounts yourself can be more than twice as expensive than having them bought through a company providing email marketing.

The same can be said when dealing with social media management tools like Hootsuite where the costs of a corporate account can be spread out over the many clients of the internet marketer.

A professional marketer will also know what keywords perform well but have low competition. These will cost less per click on PPC campaigns and therefore reduce the costs of those campaigns but also improve your results.

3. Ensure Consistent Publication Of High Quality Materials

Creating content for your social media, blogs, email campaigns, pay-per-click, etc does take a significant amount of time. That is why your business may struggle with keeping up with publishing schedules. This may happen when your business has a sudden influx of work and you struggle to keep up with production unless you stop performing marketing tasks.

This then means that you are not publishing your blog posts, keeping up with social media or any of the other activities required for a consistent profile online. This can have a detrimental effect on your reputation. Ensure you are ahead of your publishing schedule. Rarely should you have the content created the day before or even on the day of release.

Using an internet marketing professional, who is independent to your business, allows the publishing schedule to not be affected by a sudden influx of work. Keeping your blog schedule and social media presence will increase the trust your target audience has in your business.

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Outsourcing your internet marketing tasks can help you with your profit margins

4. Receive A Better Return On Investment

Between the reduction in costs and the higher quality of content being published; you can expect to see a higher return on investment from your internet marketing campaigns. For example, a professional will know which keywords cost the least, have the smallest competition, and also achieve a high search rate from keyword research. Using these, your provider will then be able to gain more visits to your website, generate more leads and increase revenues from the same amount of traffic than your team could probably achieve.

This will allow you to have lower customer acquisition costs and better returns on your investment.

5. Professional Level Of Digital Marketing Output

Every internet marketing professional knows how they can create the perfect blog post or email marketing campaign. They’ll be able to use this knowledge in your campaigns to make them more successful.

For instance, they could design the perfect landing pages to convince your audience to sign up to an email marketing list. They will then know how to segregate your email marketing list so emails are sent only to those who would be interested in the offer. This is especially important because contacts are more likely to ignore or unsubscribe if your email has no relevance to them.

6. Gain Experience From The Experts

A good internet marketing professional will not just manage your campaigns; they will also explain what they are doing and why. It is important that you listen to their reasons and what processes they are undertaking. This will help you in the long term to recognise good ideas when it comes to creating marketing ideas.

Having a strong presence within the idea generating process for your online marketing campaigns is essential for success. Without direction your internet marketing professional will not be able to draft schedules that align perfectly with your brand’s identity and they may seem bland.

7. Increase Your Campaign’s Flexibility

A truly responsive internet marketing campaign has to be flexible and be able to adjust to new market conditions. In-house teams are rarely able to cope with changes in the market as seen when Tesco accidently stated they were going to hit the hay on Twitter the day the news about the house scandal broke. This incident proved to be costly for Tesco as they had to make a public apology.

It isn’t just about avoiding bad news when it comes to being responsive online. You can also take advantage of news and other trending topics with newsjacking. This helps your business to rank highly on Google search results and have high visibility on social media.

8. Reporting

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Internet marketing experts can provide you with good reports

Many of those who are not trained digital marketers are unaware of what internet marketing statistics they really need to be monitoring. There are many different statistics to look for, depending on the platform. You might not realise what the difference between certain similar terms are. For instance, many small business owners do not know the difference between hard and soft bounces. A hard bounce is when an email has been rejected from being delivered to an inbox where a soft bounce is when an email could not be delivered for another reason (i.e. inbox is full).

Then some business owners might be confused by what is meant by a bounce when it comes to website visitors. This is when a visitor has landed on your site and only been on one page.

Another problem is that you may become fixated on certain statistics like how many followers you have. The actual number of followers is not important but rather their engagement with your profile’s output.

A professional internet marketing professional would know what statistics to monitor and how to collect them in the most time efficient way. They will also know how to use the statistics to improve your campaigns.

9.Easier Maintenance

You online marketing campaigns will always need constant maintenance that is often not performed by small businesses. For instance, many small businesses don’t remove contacts from their email lists that are no longer opening correspondence. This is an important part of the email marketing process and can reduce costs and improve your campaign statistics.

Another common error that many businesses make is failing to constantly improve their SEO. Search engine optimisation is an ongoing process and should never be stopped.

An internet marketing specialist will understand what maintenance needs to be completed and take the necessary steps.

10. Reduces Your Stress And Improves Your Productivity

The tasks associated with internet marketing are very stressful for those not trained to perform the tasks. There are numerous tasks and when results are not being achieved; you might feel the pressure grow. This can contribute to the quantity and quality of your work. This can result in the loss of current clients and customers who you rely upon.

Employing an outside business to handle your internet marketing will reduce your stress levels and allow you to concentrate on exactly what you and your team are good at – your business.

The Final Word On Outsourcing Your Internet Marketing Tasks

Your internet marketing tasks can be performed in-house and some businesses do achieve success. However, to get the most out of online marketing you really need an expert. With the average digital marketing manager salary being £33,000 and other associated costs, you can save time and gain the expertise that will drive your online marketing to the next level by outsourcing your internet marketing tasks.

You will see benefits from their work across the board as they align your marketing output to your brand and to each platform in your marketing plan. This will make your output stronger and more successful. Finally, it gives you a chance to relax and concentrate on your business and its current customers.