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The ABC’s of Digital Marketing

By , On , In Marketing

Digital marketing isn’t quite the brave new frontier it used to be. After all, it has been around for years and we’re reaching the point where many marketing professionals refuse to draw a distinction between “digital” and “conventional” marketing.

But there are still a lot of small- to medium-sized enterprises that are still learning the ropes. Sure, you may have a website and a social media strategy, but do you have a comprehensive marketing strategy in place? Are there areas of your online presence that still needs help? What better place to start than a beginner’s guide to digital marketing, starting with your ABC’s.

A – Analytics

You know what they say, you can’t manage what you don’t measure. Setting up analytics is an important part of any good digital strategy. Analytics software will tell you where your visitors came from, how long they spent on your website, what pages they viewed, how they found you, and a lot of other useful information. Best of all, it’s often free.

B – Blogging

Blogging has taken over the internet so it only makes sense that it makes up a good majority of your inbound marketing efforts. But don’t let the name fool you—blogging is not just for gossip and fashion websites. A blog can establish you as a thought leader in your industry and makes you known to those looking for more information about your products and services. In fact, small business with blogs generate 126% more leads. Some things to keep in mind while you blog: market your services to your readers, write quality content, and use SEO techniques to attract visitors to your blog. Happy blogging!

C – Copywriting

A common turn of phrase in the marketing world is “content is king”. And it’s true. Anyone who’s tracked analytics for a blog or website knows that you’re only as good as your writing. No matter how pretty your website is. You need to present your company through your content in an engaging manner that’s going to compel people to read and come back to your website. But at the very least, great copy can articulate what exactly it is you do and help sell the products you carry.

D – Design

If “content is king”, then design is queen. The two dually rule the land of digital marketing. Research from Northumbria University proves that people judge a website’s quality and trustworthiness mostly on design. Investing in great design pays off.

E – E-Commerce

E-Commerce drives billions and billions of dollars globally from consumers to businesses. In 2010 alone, the U.S.’s online retail sales were $25 billion and that number has grown year-over-year. That’s a huge part of consumer society.

But it needs to be done right. Shopping behaviour and purchase decisions are made differently online. To really put it into perspective consider this: products are assessed within 90 seconds, and a quick initial judgement is made whether to make a purchase or not. To do it right, you’ll need to invest in research, design, analytics, and strategy.

F – Fun

Have fun with your digital marketing. Corny right? Not quite. Think about how stodgy and boring most websites and advertisements are. Go ahead and show your business’ personality. Make your website fun and lively by using colourful graphics and scripts, and make your content engaging by choosing a casual tone. We had a lot of fun creating a brand for small business web design in Kelowna and it works.

G – Goals

Establish goals for what you hope to achieve with your digital marketing. Do you want to increase traffic to your website? Foster engagement on your social media channels? Expect to achieve those goals in a set amount of time, and consult your analytics periodically to help you get there.

H – Homepage

The notion of the homepage is (almost) archaic if you think about it really. Before Google, websites were found through a directory like Yahoo and visitors would always arrive at your homepage.

These days, the first thing people see when they land on your website may be a blog post, service page, or a product page. Visitors who do land on your website are likely to be looking for more information about your brand or business. Craft it with the intention of selling your authenticity and trustworthiness and help visitors visit other pages of your website.

I – Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing is made up of five (5) different stages that define each step of the process. Begin by attracting strangers through use of social media, blogs, keywords etc.; convert visitors through calls-to-action, landing pages, forms; close leads via email marketing, lead scoring, CRM integrations; and delight your customers through social media, smart calls-to-action, emails. Hopefully, by the end of this sequence, you’ll have promoters to help you as you start the process again.

J – Jargon

Use “mobile-friendly”, not “responsive design.” “The first thing you see”, not “Above The Fold”, and “The space between letters in a word”, not “Kerning”.

The only people that know the terms of your industry are the people that are also selling in your industry. Cast the largest net by making your content understood by all. KISS.

K – Keywords

Also known as words people are going to type into search engines–a lot. Keywords play into your content marketing and your SEO. Base your keywords off of what your analytics say and the products and services you provide. So if you sell jewelry, pick keywords like “gold bracelet, silver necklace, or women’s Rolex”.

The top 10,000 keywords make up less than 20% of overall search traffic. 70% comes from long-tail keywords, meaning highly specific 4-6 word phrases.

L – Landing Pages

Maybe you had them at hello, maybe they’re just not that into you–but why? It’s not you, it’s your landing page. The first page of your website tells your visitor a lot about your website and your company. On average your landing page has 4 seconds to capture your visitor’s attention. Time’s a ticking!

M – Mobile-Friendly

94% of users look for local information on their smartphone. 67% of users are more likely to purchase a product or service from a mobile-friendly site. 53% of US cellphone users use smartphones as their primary device. 74% of users say they’re also more likely to return to a site in the future if it’s mobile-friendly. Get the idea?

Google is changing it’s mobile search algorithm to give top priority to websites its deems “mobile-friendly” making this more important than ever for your business.

N – Navigation

Intuitive and clear navigation (drop down menus, sliders, scroll direction, etc.) is an important aspect of your website. If it’s not clear where your visitors can click next chances are they’ll leave and website a website they can understand. The most important thing to keep in mind here is to not sacrifice functionality for form. Ideal web design is a marriage of the two.

O – Optimization

Taking what you’ve learned from your analytics surrounding your landing page, it’s your job to optimize your website to increase your organic search traffic. By optimizing your landing page you have a higher probability of increasing your conversion rates, building trust, enhancing customer’s experience, maximizing ROI, and improving your sites usability.

P – Pay-Per-Click

Everyone wins with Pay-Per-Click (PPC) ads – Search engines want users to click on your ads (because they get paid!) so they will serve up your ads to consumers most likely to click them. Consumers win because the content they’re looking for is directly related to the keyword they search and is more often reputable, and businesses win because if you end up on the first page of google (as most sponsored ads do) you garner 92% of traffic for that search.

Q – Q&A

Your visitors have questions, and you have the answers. Establish yourself as a thought leader within your community and be prepared to reap the rewards. By posting popular questions and answers about your industry, you establish yourself as the authority on the topic you write about thus gaining the trust of your potential customers. Who’s the best? You’re the best–and they know it.


Return on Investment–that probably means increased traffic and sales right? You betcha. Let’s see if the effort and the money you’ve put into your website and social media is actually giving you results. For quantifiable terms of ROI look to your analytics software and measure it based on page views, social interactions/engagement, links from high-value sites/press, search engine rank, and direct leads.


Search Engine Optimization (SEO) improves your engagement with internet users and search engines. With over 4 billion Google searches happening per day, getting to the front page of good is a business’ dream. Make that dream a reality by increasing your SEO score. Make your website relevant and interesting for your consumers to make purchase decisions, and have clear and concise code for the robots who rank your site for search engines.

T – Testing

Notice something on your website that you want to change? Do either an A/B test (a control page and a second page, usually drastically redesigned) or a multivariate test (a control page and one or more alternate pages with minor specific differences). Both approaches help you measure changes and optimize your website. Use them for headlines, calls-to-action, form layout, body copy, styling changes, and page layout.

U – User Experience

User experience (UX) is everything. Frustrating navigation, poor organization, and bad design can negatively impact your traffic, leads, and sales. By comparison, a great user experience can create raving fans and repeat business. Take a holistic approach in considering how to improve your user’s enjoyment and success with your website.

V – Visuals

Content with visuals gets 94% more total views and is 40x more likely to be shared on social media. 90% of online shoppers said they find videos helpful in making decisions. People retain 80% of what they see, 20% of what they read, and 10% of what they hear. So show them!


W – WordPress

Perhaps my greatest pet peeve is the prevalence of proprietary software being used for SMEs. Choose WordPress and free yourself from the confines of a locked-in CMS platform.

The world’s leading Content Management System (CMS) powers high profile websites like CNN, The New York Times, Maclean’s Magazine, and over 75% of the internet. It’s incredibly powerful, secure, flexible, reliable, responsive, and best of all, easy-to-use.

Don’t settle for an aftermarket theme. Invest in a website built specifically for your business and providing a user experience customized for your audience.

X – X marks the spot

Follow these simple ABC’s to reach a hypothetical treasure map where X marks the spot and the treasure chest contains millions of customers, hundreds of retweets, and thousands of viral videos.

Y – Yesterday

Yesterday, as in the day you should have thought about this digital marketing stuff.

Z – Zero

Zero to hero in however long it took you to read this post. Go forth and be awesome Digital Marketers.