I admit, this post should have come earlier, probably right after my first blog post detailing some of my past digital marketing experience. With it, I’ll try to roundup some of the main areas in digital marketing that you could specialize in, and some of the most popular tools that could help you master the skills necessary for your digital marketing career.
Perhaps the most popular display advertising network is Google Adwords. In a nutshell, Google Ads are displayed across websites, videos or even apps, to the targeted audience of users based on keywords and bids placed on them, with the actual ad placement going to the highest bidder. Managing the bids and keywords requires constant and careful attention to the performance of the ads, the websites they appear on, and the number of clicks they get. Google Adwords has a wide array of different sizes and types of ads one can use, and it is equally important to pay attention to the quality of the ads themselves in order to be able to achieve good results – or in professional terms, click through rates. Mastering Google Adwords can help you and your marketing department achieve very sizable (and measurable!) results in a very short period of time. Google also provides tons of educational tools that can help you streamline your online advertising efforts, or you could even go further and get Google Adwords certification. Companies with larger marketing departments often have employees dedicated to managing just this aspect of their online marketing channel, and successful experience managing Adwords campaigns is highly valued on the job market.
SEO and SEM
Search Engine Optimization is a technique used by marketers to ensure that the website
has the correct page titles, key words and “invisible” meta tags
that help it appear in the search engine when someone is looking for a specific keyword. For example, if your company sells cat food, appropriately naming your page as “The Best Cat Food”, mentioning “cat food” on the page and in the meta tags would make sure that when a user searches for “buy cat food”, your website is displayed among the results – and the higher it is displayed, the better (because who goes to the second page of Google Search results anyway?). SEO has always been viewed as “part art, part science”, since overdoing it can cause your website to be penalized by the search engines, and in addition to that, search engines like Google constantly keep changing their algorithms specifically to make it more difficult for “non-organic” results for pages that use clever SEO techniques to appear higher on the page. Nevertheless, SEO is a requirement for any website or online business that is looking to be successful.
Unlike SEO, Search Engine Marketing is used for displaying “Sponsored” results in a user’s search engine when they look for cat food. The search engine would display a link to your website whenever someone searches for the term “cat food”, or a similar keyword or a particular brand (even if it’s a different one from yours). Most display ad networks, like Google and Bing have the option of setting up search engine ads along display ads as well, so you generally wouldn’t need to learn additional tools for mastering SEM.
Social Media Marketing
SMM is an important tool for any company or brand, and a personal favorite of mine. SMM may involve a full scope of the company’s activities on Social Media – from creating and posting content, to promoting it, to managing all the interactions with other users on each SM channel. To be a successful SM marketer, you would first need to choose the soxial media channels that your company or brand would be present and active on. Then, you would need to create a content strategy, outlining the types of posts you would be posting, as well as the general tone of communication, and their number throughout the day/week. While some people just define the types of posts and resort to creating content on the go, some like to create the actual posts in advance (of course, this strategy is not applicable to every situation, but preparation is often times the key to success). Then, you would need to schedule your posts or publish them in real time, occasionally promoting strategic posts as well. Promoted posts can be organic or paid – with organic promotion, the more likes and shares and retweets you get, the more people would see your post, attracting new followers to your brand. Paid promotion tools, on the other hand, are offered by most social networks, and will automatically display your post to people in your selected audiences, even if the don’t follow your brand page. Most importantly, you would also need to monitor all the replies and reactions to your posts, and manage them accordingly – it is important to maintain two-way communication with the followers and fans of your company or brand.While you don’t necessarily need to re-learn how to use the social networks that you already use for managing your company’s social media channels, a lot of the SM networks like Facebook and Twitter offer special tools for “Business” pages, which include more advanced posting and scheduling options, paid promotion and advertising options, as well as detailed insights that can help you manage and adjust your SM strategy accordingly. Familiarizing yourself with capabilities of such business accounts can give you a significant advantage in terms of knowledge and SM management skills.
Content marketing is used to educate potential customers about your product or industry. The most common tool used in content marketing is a blog. While becoming a good blog writer is an entirely separate subject, in terms of the tools, it is useful to get acquainted with most popular blogging platforms like WordPress (luckily, we have already mastered this one), Joomla or even Tumblr. Some companies use their own CMS, or Content Management Systems, to place content on their website. In addition to the blogs, content marketing can take any shape from ebooks, slideshows, to whitepapers, or any other marketing collateral. To create these, just writing content is not enough – you will either need to have advanced graphic design skills of your own or will need a partner designer on your team. As for the content, you always need to keep the end goal of getting the user to try out or purchase your product in mind – however, stir clear of making it a hard sell.
It is important to remember that none of the tools listed above function alone. In fact, a successful digital marketing strategy utilizes all of these channels (and others, like e-mail, as well), linking them together in order to arrive at the desired outcome. At the same time, each of the tools you use should be self-sufficient, as you never know what part of your marketing campaign the user will interact with first. If it sounds complicated, do not worry – there are Marketing Automation Tools like Marketo and Hubspot, or Eloqua and Adobe Marketing Cloud, that can help you link all the elements of your digital strategy together, helping you run complete, connected and tactical digital marketing campaigns.
Have more questions? I will be more than happy to answer them below!