Digital 101

Written by Matthew Edwards

June 10, 2020

As part of the local TNG (The Networking Group) chapter that I go to, we occasionally give a 10 minute presentation about what our business is, where we came from and in general just a more in depth version of the standard 1 minute speeches we do at each meeting. Considering I’ve been going to the same group for a while and most of the people there know what Mars Digital does reasonably well by now, I thought it would be a good opportunity to go over some digital marketing basics that everybody there could take advantage of.

Being a 10 minute presentation I wasn’t able to go into too much detail but at the very least the idea was to touch on a few different strategies and how they interact, giving a basic outline and roadmap for everyone to follow.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Alright, the first thing I thought I could touch on was SEO, or search engine optimisation, which is the act of getting your website to rank on the first page of Google for various searches. For example, Jason would probably want the Byrne Homes website to show up when someone searches for “builders Auckland” or “house builds NZ”.

So how do we make that happen? Well without going too deep into it, I’ll give you the biggest factor. Content. Google loves content, specifically quality content that will engage your visitors. As a general rule, make sure you have at least 300 words on every page of your website, the exception being the contact page. Next, you want that content to be easily readable but also include key terms and phrases people search for on Google. In fact, Google loves longtail keyphrases, so work these into your content whenever you can. A longtail term is essentially a searchable question or sentence. For example, Theo (UProtect NZ) could have an article on his website that tackles the question “is income protection insurance right for me?”. That is a longtail keyphrase, the keywords in that question being income protection and insurance.

This actually brings me nicely to the next point. Because Google loves good quality content so much if you have the time, perhaps the most beneficial thing you can do for your own Google rankings is to write blogs posts and articles. You don’t need to spend all day everyday writing but once a week or month will drastically improve your SEO over time. Just make sure that you don’t copy and paste other articles. You can definitely take inspiration, but straight up copy and paste will actually hurt your rankings, not improve it.

As you write your articles there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Make it easy to read
    • Don’t just upload solid blocks of text to your website, it’s daunting to see and people will just back away when they see it, making your hard work worthless.
  • Use headings
    • This actually goes with the first point but using headings and subheadings all throughout your article. Not only does it break up that wall of text but it tells Google exactly what your article and parts of your article are about.
  • Add videos
    • If you get sick of writing and aren’t afraid of the camera, record yourself talking about a topic, upload it to YouTube and post that as a blog.
    • Google loves videos, and this is because videos are more engaging than written content. So if you have a video, add it to your website, add it to your blog.

What’s the old saying? A picture is worth a thousand words? Well if a picture is worth a thousand words and most videos today are filmed at 30 or 60 frames per second then a 1-minute video would be worth 1.8 million words.

Now you have content that Google and your visitors will love it’s time to get it out there. For this we have a couple of options:

  • Social Media
  • Email

Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing is brilliant. Done right it can rake in customers and leads continuously. But while it is hard to master, there are some basic principles that you can apply and start to see results.

The first is posting regularly. For me, posting on social media once a week is sufficient but realistically I should be trying to create a post a day if I really want to up the response I get and my following. But for retailers, like Caz’s Sir Lancelock products you could easily post across Facebook and Instagram 3, 4 even 5 times a day and no one would bat an eyelid. But really when it comes to social media you need to actually have something to post, and that is where the content you were creating for SEO purposes comes in handy again. These articles give you something to post that has substance as opposed to just posting a photo, not that these are bad. But for service-based industries like mine and Lizelle’s (Greenfire Accounting) it doesn’t have the same impact as Caz posting photos of dogs playing at the beach.

For your article, you can take a relevant photo, and upload that with a short tagline or questions to drive traffic from Facebook and other social media platforms to your website. If we think about the example article I gave for Theo, that is the perfect scenario for social media, the article itself poses a question that I know I’ve asked myself, and according to Google, so do around 1,000 other New Zealanders every month, and then would proceed to answer it.

Posting articles you write also helps with what’s called the 80/20 rule. Effectively all this is is that when it comes to social media 80% of your content should be more about engaging with your audience, providing them benefit and just being part of a community, whereas the other 20% of the time your posts can be sales-related and directly ask people to sign up or buy something.

For example, Raelene (Barfoot & Thompson Residential) might post about a new listing that she has with Barfoot. This is a sales post, but she could also post about Kiwisaver for first home buyers and provide information to the public that is relevant and useful to them. But she could also break this rule by putting up a picture of a bathroom, saying something along the lines of “this is my dream bathroom, what’s yours?”. It doesn’t ask anyone to list their property or to buy one but it creates engagement, and if it just happens to be the bathroom of a property that she has listed, then there is still a good chance that someone will ask about the bathroom and if it’s part of a house for sale.

But What Social Platform?

One of the biggest questions out there is what social media platform do I use? Well, that really depends on your business. Firstly, when it comes to Facebook, it’s my opinion that all businesses should be active on Facebook, but the question is more about where do you focus your energy?

Business to Business companies like mine and NorthTec are more likely to find success on LinkedIn; this is purely because it’s a social media platform designed for professionals and networking with other professionals. This makes it the ideal place for us to find potential clients that are already in a work/business frame of mind.

On the other hand, Caz and even Sarah (Hibiscus Coast Party Hire) are likely to have a fair amount of success and engagement using Instagram. While Facebook is a heavily visual platform, Instagram is all about the visuals and pictures of cute animals never fail. But also pictures of happy people, enjoying their time at a party do very well. And while a picture of a party might not necessarily scream “party hire” but it’s related.

Other businesses like Ross’ Washrite are probably best focusing on Facebook. The reasoning behind this is more about demographics. Facebook’s average users tend to be 30+, whereas the primary user group for Instagram is 18-25. And for someone like Ross or John (Sunrise Electrical), you really want to get in front fo the decision-maker and for both of their businesses that means the homeowner, which isn’t often in that 18-25 age bracket.

Email Marketing

The other way I mentioned for getting your content out there is email. This one is pretty straight forward. People sign up to your email list and once a week or month you send out a newsletter that contains links to your articles.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, any article you write should be designed to get your business. Whether you do that subtly or not, but if you want to use that content as marketable material it should contain information that is of interest to the general public. Something that you can share on social media with a friend and something that solves problems your potential customers and clients might have.

I know I only briefly touched on each of these topics but, I was hoping that it might spark some questions. So if you have any questions, I’ll be happy to go a bit more in-depth.

A digital agency that creates solutions, not just websites.

 

      – Mars Digital

This isn’t something we thought just sounded good, it really is our underlying purpose, our goal and our motto.  We focus on developing ideas and bringing them to live through the use of the internet and related technologies.

We look into the issues and limits that a business is faced with and put our minds together to find a way to smash through the barrier and help your business soar!

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