Aside from having a good product or service that people want, the most important thing to get right in business is your marketing. It doesn’t matter if you have a swanky office, fantastic employees and a fleet of your own cars or ships- if you aren’t reaching the right customers then you’re never going to sell what you’ve got. But marketing is trickier than many new entrepreneurs realise, and it’s changed significantly over the years. Here’s how.
The importance of digital marketing
Before computers were widely used in people’s homes, marketing of course took a very different approach. Getting your name out there involved handing out leaflets, networking, hanging posters and billboards and going door to door. Of course, many of these methods can still be useful today (depending on the business), but the evolution of digital marketing can’t be ignored. Most companies these days will rely on the internet to get their name out there, even if you’re a local business that doesn’t sell online you’ll still need social media. Moving many of our efforts to digital methods has been the biggest marketing change over the years so far.
Social media marketing
Part of digital marketing but it’s own separate entity is digital marketing. Facebook has been running since 2004, and in 2007 launched its ad network which shook up digital marketing. It enabled businesses to engage in social watching and listening, and really get to know their audience in a more personal way. Of course, all of the other social sites over the years have followed suite, but things change all the time. For example, in more recent times, Facebook has limited the amount of ads that users see in their timeline in order to improve their overall experience. It’s important to know how this works before trying to dabble in it and invest money in it yourself.
Black hat vs white hat SEO
Black hat SEO refers to practices that essentially ‘cheat’ search engines. It involves keywords stuffing, using ‘invisible’ white text and adding code which automatically makes the page refresh- this can trick advertisers into thinking their ad on your site is getting more hits than it actually is. These methods were once commonly used, but these days it’s all changes. Search engines can easily detect black hat methods and catch you very easily. White hat methods on the other hand refer to permitted way to build authority, this includes using keywords in the correct way and generally improving user experience. The only issue is the rules can change, and over time they can be significantly different, Google’s algorithm is constantly changing. Unless you’re in the industry it can be difficult to keep up. An SEO agency will have experience and know what the current rules and standards are for advertising in this way. You don’t risk getting it wrong and hindering your progress, or worse, getting completely banned by Google.
*This is a contributed post