It is common knowledge that digital marketing is a necessity for the success of any business, and this includes brick and mortar companies. With the rise of smart devices, increasing numbers of people are searching for goods and services online as opposed to word of mouth or physical advertising.
But There is simply too much information and so many choices that decision fatigue is a frequent situation business owners face in terms of digital marketing. It can be difficult to streamline efforts and focus on one or two marketing channels that really deliver. Many stretch themselves too thin across multiple marketing outlets. For this reason, it is important to select the digital marketing technique that delivers the best return on investment.
It is worth noting that ROI can be a little difficult to pin down, and time is also an investment that can be hard to quantify in dollar terms. Additionally, some strategies are orientated towards long-term returns and focus on increasing customer loyalty as opposed to making immediate sales.
#1 – Content Marketing & SEO
Content marketing is still identified as the best kind of digital marketing. However, the results often take a long time to manifest and are not linear. Over time, people come to recognise and trust a particular brand based on top quality content that delivers value on the industry in question.
According to Hubspot, 55% of marketers indicate that blog content marketing is their top priority. Companies that published more than 16 blog posts a month got 3.5 times as much traffic as companies that only posted between 2-4 blog posts per month. 43% of B2B marketers indicated that blogging is the most important type of content.
Content marketing and SEO are linked. A business website will want to research keywords that pertain to its location and industry. It then optimises its site for these particular keywords and engages in a variety of ways to attain inbound links from reputable and varied sources. The key is to get the site within the first 4 positions on the search engine results page (SERP). These 4 spots are the ones that people click on the most when they want to purchase a particular product or service.
There are always niche keywords available and with the rise of localised voice searches, it is possible for small businesses to compete in their locale. Voice-based searches are 3 times more likely to be related to a local product or service and customers are more likely to make a purchase with a voice search.
#2 – Paid Advertising
Paid advertising is the easiest kind of digital marketing method to quantify, as it is based purely on metrics and conversion rates. However, paid advertising models do not generate lasting equity and the cost-per-click (CPC) varies by the particular keyword campaign.
Paid advertising is, in many ways, the polar opposite of content marketing and SEO. Paid advertising can serve to generate immediate traffic and instant profits it executed correctly. And business owners do not really have to do anything at all. Customers simply see the sponsored advertisement and click, which leads them to a landing page. Business owners will know their conversion rate and can thus estimate a profitable cost-per-click rate.
According to Neil Patel, the foremost authority in terms of digital marketing, the best combination is first a good content marketing strategy bolstered with paid advertising models. Google Ads, as well as Social media ads in combination, can massively increase conversion rates and ROI.
“Paid advertising is not a waste of money. It’s an investment that you and your marketing team can benefit from pretty quickly, assuming you deploy effective campaigns…return on ad spend is 30% higher when a prospect sees both Facebook ads and paid search ads, as opposed to paid search ads alone. And, the average order value is 24% more”
#3 – Email Marketing
Contrary to popular reports, email marketing is still one of the most effective kinds of all online techniques. This is because practically every customer has an email address that they keep for years and years. In contrast, they tend to change their social media accounts regularly, or simply stop looking at social media or specific blogs.
Email marketing is incredibly cost-effective. It is free to send emails, though for the best results business owners need to make use of a low-cost email service such as MailChimp. Customized email campaigns can be sent to customers with unique designs at specific intervals. You could, for example, send out greetings to a customer on his or her birthday. Personalized content is taking prominence and customers love tailored messages.
67% of businesses identify email marketing as their highest earner. However, it is often dependent on a number of interrelated strategies. Additionally, the emails need to be acquired in the first place. This is often done with a website that provides high-quality content, often giving away a free eBook in return for an email address. While it may take time to build the list, it remains useful for years, if not decades. The value of the email campaign increases with the size of the list.
In some instances, cold email outreach is still a highly effective digital marketing strategy. According to marketingstrategy.com, it is the best technique for B2B companies that have a high-value product with long lifetime value. Cold email outreach does not work for small sales (less than $100) and it is against the law to email customers without their permission. Cold email outreach will only work when combined with a salesperson, so the cost of acquiring a person (or team) will need to be taken into consideration.
How to Proceed?
For the vast majority of businesses, SEO and content marketing remain the best path forward. They are proven to work and deliver a fantastic ROI, though the results may take a while to manifest. There is always value in building site authority and establishing a reputation as a thought leader in a particular field.
Email marketing and paid advertising can be implemented in tandem with content marketing, and over time, opportunities in these two sub-areas will arise. Launching paid advertising or email marketing without a strong content marketing strategy foundation implies more risk and short-term gains only.
Richard is the owner and head of digital at Tailored SEO. He has worked in the digital marketing space for over 10 years and has worked with a wide range of clients.