SEO, online PR, affiliate marketing, social media, e-mail newsletter campaigns, PPC ad strategy, Google AdWords, web design, reputation management—these are all so many different components of what we currently call online marketing or digital marketing. Of course, not all online marketing strategies or endeavors need to include all these different elements to achieve success.
How much money and effort you’ll need to expand on these different channels—in other words, what should be the ideal marketing mix in terms of your overall online marketing strategy will primarily depend on factors such as the industry you’re in, your target audience, your offer, your long- and short-term objectives and the likes.
That said, there are certain key elements that all businesses should keep in mind when it comes to their online marketing practices. This is important in order to avoid many common mistakes and pitfalls (and this is easier said than done considering that the digital marketing space is a fast-evolving one and things tend to change quite rapidly, especially when compared to traditional marketing methods) and to ensure a decent ROI with regard to one’s digital marketing expenditures.
Importance of Organic SEO Traffic
Despite the growing presence of social media marketing and the already existent PPC ads, a large majority of verticals benefit the most from organic SEO traffic. Even a couple of years ago, this may have sounded all too obvious. However, with the popularity (and rising costs) of Facebook ads and, more recently, Pinterest promoted pins, many have noticed a tendency among online marketers to devote less effort to build a strong organic SEO presence.
And yet, market research and studies prove beyond doubt that organic, i.e., unpaid search traffic, yields much greater value compared to traffic generated through social or pay-per-click ads. And this is true for pretty much all businesses except maybe some small-time bloggers, local restaurants, etc., who either do not yet possess the means to invest in building organic traffic or whose business model does not depend too much on organic SEO.
By way of an example, let’s have a look at the e-commerce sites. According to a recent report by SEMrush, 80% of all traffic to an e-commerce site is generated through organic and direct searches. In comparison, PPC ads account for about 6.2% of the traffic, and social ads contribute no more than a meager 3%.
Most SEO or digital marketing agencies of today will offer their services in a bundle or package. Typically, these services include market research, SEO services, web design, online reputation management, and more.
Now, when it comes to web design, it is not only about designing a website that will look good on the eye; provide easy navigation; etc., so that your visitors will be encouraged to spend more time on the site and explore more. Of course, these basics are important. However, things are getting more technical and complex by the day, and unless you stay up-to-date with the changing trends, only the basics will not do for you.
Again, to illustrate this by example, let’s take the matter of responsive design. We go back only 3-4 years, and the term meant that your website ought to be built in such a way that it can be easily accessed from smaller mobile and smartphone devices.
However, we’ve already come a long way from there. And these days, it is not simply about responsive design but ‘mobile optimization.’ And optimizing your content today means that you provide a seamless, hassle-free experience to the mobile users, and most importantly, all of that has to be fast enough. Why? Since a study shows that more than half of your potential visitors will leave your website if the latter takes more than 3 seconds to load its content!
And how do you ensure a fast enough load speed for your mobile site? By way of optimizing the images, by reducing redirects, by leveraging browser caching, by minifying codes, and so on. In addition, you’ll need to know what kind of pop-ups, overlays, or modals you can use safely and what to avoid (such as intrusive interstitial ads). And all of the above requires detailed technical know-how that can only be offered by experienced and competent professionals and specialists in the field.
We talked about organic SEO earlier in the article. And by now, most of us should know that SEO involves many numbers elements such as on-page SEO, off-page SEO, social activity, domain age, domain name, link building, and others. However, which of these elements is the most important? Again, we come to know from a recent report (prepared by analyzing a comprehensive database of more than 300 top-ranked websites distributed across various verticals) that high-quality inbound links factored as much as 43% in search engines assigning them top ranks on their search pages.
This is since altered search engine algorithms of today view links from authoritative and high-quality sites (those that link back to your websites) as indicators of credibility. Those links serve as votes of confidence to your website, so to speak. Of course, it is a no-brainer that you have to create quality and overall great content to receive those links in the first place. Even so, one needs to stay cautious vis-à-vis link building (even with a great site on offer). Owing to the presence of spammers and those that employ ‘black hat SEO techniques, your link-building efforts (especially in regard to outbound links) can go awry in no time.
The above are just a few examples of the complex nature of online marketing today and how esoteric many of its elements have already become by now. And one reason to emphasize this fact is that despite everything that is clearly written on the wall, many HVAC businesses (including some big corporations) still assign marketing managers (with years of expertise in traditional marketing methods) to handle all or part of their HVAC web marketing efforts.
However, it is high time to realize that internet or digital marketing is a process almost entirely separated from traditional marketing and that the former involves a very different set of knowledge, skills, and expertise. As such, it is paramount for businesses of today that they hire specialized professionals if they want to receive handsome rewards from their online marketing ventures0