With so many different ways to advertise a business online nowadays, it can be a difficult task to decide exactly what adverting methods are right for your business. It might also be a case that you don’t fully understand how each marketing activity could benefit your business and what each of them entails.
If you find yourself scratching your head to try and make sense of it all, then our blog will help you. We have explained the three main online advertising methods in brief, with simple, easy-to-understand terms to help you get to grips with it all.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO for short)
Search Engine Optimisation, Search Engine Marketing, SEO, or any other similar term used to describe this type of online marketing method is a way of getting your website to display higher up (also referred to as ‘ranking higher’) within Google search result pages when a customer searches for your business, product or service. This type of marketing method ranks your website ‘organically’; this means your website will display within the main listing area on the search results pages, and not in the sponsored ‘Ad’ sections at the top and sometimes bottom of the page (this is AdWords advertising – more on this below).
SEO is a progressive service whereby your website will gradually rank higher and higher over the duration of your SEO campaign, and it does take time to reach the dizzy heights of page 1, however given time and a little patience to allow your campaign to develop, your online visibility will increase, and the long-term results of SEO can be extremely financially beneficial.
Google AdWords and SEO go hand-in-hand in most cases, with some business owners choosing to run both marketing strategies in the early days, and then dropping the AdWords marketing further down the line as the SEO campaign gains pace and visibility. If you would like more details on SEO, you can find out more here: https://vaccodadesign.com/seo-basics/ and you can find out more about our Search Engine Optimisation service here: https://vaccodadesign.com/marketing/
Google AdWords – also referred to as ‘PPC’ or ‘Pay-Per-Click’ is another way to improve your online visibility on Google to generate enquiries and sales, however the approach to this method of marketing is very different when compared to Search Engine Optimisation.
With AdWords it is more ‘instant’; you are essentially paying for clicks whereby you choose the keywords that relate to your product or service and you pay a ‘bid’ cost on each keyword. Now it is highly likely that other companies would like to also rank by the same keywords in many cases, so in essence, the more competitive/popular the keyword is, the higher the cost of the keyword. This is known as cost-per-click (or CPC for short).
Are you still following? Good, I shall continue!
With AdWords, you set a maximum monthly budget that you would like to spend on keywords. For example, you might spend £200 per month, which is £50 per week.
Let’s assume the key phrase you wanted was “Hair Salon London”. The keyword of “Hair Salon” and location of “London” would likely be very expensive, quite possibly running into 10’s of pounds per click. For the purpose of explanation, let’s assume the cost-per-click was £10, and the weekly budget was £100, this would mean that 10 people could click on the Ad before all of the budget is used up. Each time your Ad is clicked, you pay Google AdWords for this. When all of your weekly / monthly budget allowance is used up, your Ads will disappear from the sponsored Ad positions (found at the top and bottom sections of Google Search Results Pages) until the Ad spend budget is either replenished or reset on the following week.
Whilst AdWords can be expensive, the key to a successful AdWords campaign is to pick keywords that have a lower cost-per-click, whilst still being competitive and generating search volume (meaning that people are actively searching the keywords you choose).
As mentioned above, Google AdWords gives instant exposure and can work very well in the early days of an SEO campaign, helping to give some near-instant traction and results whilst your long-term SEO campaign is building.
Social Media is an incredibly powerful and free to use online resource for businesses to broadcast their services to the world in a less formal, more casual way. Whilst it is a good thing that Social Media is free (except for sponsored Ad campaigns of course) knowing what Social Media platforms to use within your business and how to get the very best out of them can be more challenging.
A common error many business owners make is to think “I need to setup Social Media accounts, so I am seen to be using it” – this is wrong however and the cardinal sin here is that business owners set up the accounts, post a couple of token tweets or Facebook posts, or an Instagram post or two, then get stuck on what to post next, get despondent and end up leaving the Social Media accounts to sit dormant and gather dust, and this alone can have a negative impact on your business.
To understand each platform and how it works, especially the target audiences that use each of the platforms will help you to make an informed decision as to the best platforms to use for your business.
Below we have listed the main Social Media platforms and their primary purpose, and the sort of business types we feel are suited to each platform, but regardless of your business type, as long as you use each platform by keeping it up-to-date with good content on a regular basis and engage with your followers, you can make just about any Social Media platform work for your business!
Facebook – The world’s most popular platform and is well suited to recreational type businesses – restaurants and food related businesses, holiday destinations, fashion, tourist attractions, seasonal and lifestyle type businesses.
Instagram – Perfect for pictures! Our top picks for the best-suited businesses are those that sell products for fashion and lifestyle, food and restaurant type businesses and practically any business that can sell their business, product or service through pictures. Instagram feeds the eyes, so always use the very best pictures (and videos) possible.
Twitter – This is a great platform for community level business-to-business engagement, and equally as good reaching out to your target customers / audiences. In our opinion, all business types including those mentioned above, as well as professional services, such as Accountants and book-keepers, all building trades and everyone else in-between should be on Twitter.
YouTube – The online home for all things video. If you didn’t already know, video is a great way to promote your business and is especially useful for explainer type videos, tutorials, introduction videos and much more besides. If you can video something in your business, make sure you upload it to YouTube.
LinkedIn – We consider LinkedIn to be a platform where you can connect with contacts and colleagues within your industry or sector on a more professional / formal level. LinkedIn is generally used by all those working within a company, from the top of the chain, including CEOs, Managing Directors and business Proprietors right through to staff members and other individuals like freelancers. It is a great resource for sourcing new staff (when done properly – not spamming people!), sharing industry news, views and to announce business developments and milestone achievements within your company. We always recommend that anyone using LinkedIn puts their best foot forward, making sure that personal profiles (which also act as a form of CV) are fully completed and as detailed as possible – making a good first impression on LinkedIn by way of interesting and insightful posts and a professional profile is vital!
Pinterest – Pinterest is a great social network that allows its users to visually share and discover new interests by posting (or ‘pinning’) images and videos to their own or others boards and browsing what other users have pinned. Pinterest is very much focused on a user’s lifestyle, allowing you to share your tastes, interests, inspirations with other like-minded users. Pinterest is really suited to businesses of a crafting / creative nature, so things like cake makers, clothing and fashion, textiles / homewares / accessories and all the many other similar business types would be perfectly suited to using Pinterest.
Google My Business – although not strictly a social media platform, it is definitely worth mentioning, as it is very important to have a Google My Business account/profile for your business. Not only does it help your visibility on Google search results pages by way of displaying you in the map section at the top in some cases (there are usually 3 businesses that show within the ‘map pack’ section, and if you click on this map section, it expands to show all businesses within the area), but you can also add posts to your profile, images and much more, helping to give you a better level of visibility too.
Whilst there is no “exact” science with online marketing it’s always best to get some advice – or research to find out what the best and most effective methods are for your business.
The key takeaways are as follows:
- Research – take time to learn and understand how your competitors market online. Look at what works for them – it might work for you too?
- Ask questions – speak to others who can help guide you and get some advice from specialists that can steer you down the right online marketing path.
- Invest your time – if you choose to manage your own Social Media profiles, make sure you are active on them and keep all your profiles updated with regular, well curated content, and never neglect your followers – make the effort to engage with them, answer questions, invite debate by asking questions or starting an opinion poll.
- Invest your money – if you decide to have a digital marketing agency manage all of your online marketing, be realistic with your monthly budget. If your budget is smaller it is still possible to achieve results, but these results will be relative to your budget. Remember that the management of digital marketing is very time-intensive.
We have a wealth of knowledge and are always here to help and advise you. If you would like a free, no-obligation chat about marketing, or would like to ask any questions, please feel free to call us on 020 8776 0400 or send us a message via our contact form.