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Interiors Business School

Five questions on digital marketing answered.

Before we start, let's define what digital marketing is. It's anything that you do online, that isn't physical, to promote your company. That can be anything from SEO to content marketing, through to online advertising and affiliate marketing. This may all seem like a lot of jargon, that's why we've asked five key questions to our in-house Digital Marketing Manager Ravi. He's here to help bust through the myths and explain digital marketing in everyday language. So over to you, Ravi.

Ravi Pankhania, eporta's Digital Marketing Manager.
Ravi Pankhania, eporta's Digital Marketing Manager.

1. Why isn't having a website enough?

So you've spent a significant amount of time, and often money, on creating a website, yet the floodgates haven't opened with potential clients messaging you. Firstly, well done for taking a massive step in digital marketing, a great site is a window into your company, that isn't restricted by location or opening hours. Unfortunately, a website alone is rarely enough. Your site needs to be found by potential customers, who may not even know yet that you are the solution to their questions. To really capture their attention, you need to become part of their consciousness. This involves multiple channels working consistently together, backing up one another's messages.

2. What can I do to improve my website traffic?

The great news is that there are things you can do to change the situation, and even better, it doesn't have to cost the earth. There are three main areas here SEO, content marketing and effective partnerships.

SEO

Let's start with SEO- search engine optimisation- simply put this is how search engines like Google find you, and push you out to the right searchers. Essentially, companies like Google run the world, and they want to deliver the best search results for their clients so that they can continue doing so. Therefore they send out bots, think of them like spiders, which crawl around your website looking for information, they're trying to understand what you do and what you offer a searcher. The bots report back all this information to the mothership, Google, who use it to create a content library. This way, when a searcher types in 'interior design', they can pull out the most suitable results for them.

This is why it's critical to clearly state what you do and who you do it for. Using terms that people are likely to search for, such as your location and what kind of space you design, helps search engines identify your purpose. If you sell products too, separate URLs for each specific product type, such as eporta.com/search/sofa. Here we are making it easy for Google to identify what we do and where to direct their users too. In return, we get a higher SEO rating, meaning we appear closer to the top of the search pages, hello website traffic.

Content Marketing

Content marketing is broad-ranging, but for many, the best place to start is blog posts. These could be about recent projects that you've completed or an industry article about curtain trimmings, for example. These pieces don't have to be long, but they help boost your SEO and give you something to talk about. You can share them on multiple channels, and the likelihood is they may get shared by someone, who then shares it with someone else, and the chain goes on, hello website traffic. Although the rate of success can be increased with paid promotion, just producing great content for free can serve you well.

Positive Partnerships

Partnerships are another great way of sharing content and expanding your network. This is especially true in a community such as interior design where a lot of clients come from word of mouth. So writing an article on a project you completed and allowing a supplier that you used to share it expands your reach, and it's often free. Or offering to share project imagery and a link with online bloggers and editorial sites can be highly effective. Hello, website traffic.

3. What types of advertising are available to me, and what should I invest in?

We all love getting something great for free, having a seamless, and importantly, up to date website is exactly that gift. We call the traffic that this brings in organic. Paid activities can yield amazing results quickly just don't embark on these unless the above suggestions are already in play.

Online

Starting with sponsored adverts, this is a small copy based ad that sits at the top and bottom of a google search page. The proximity to the top means searchers don't have to dig too hard to find you. All done through Google Adwords, the tool is free to access and set up, but you pay as soon as you advertise.

You need to do your research on what search terms you think will be most successful for you to reach your target audience. Often the most common words such as 'interior design' or 'interior project' or 'looking for an interior designer' are popular with your competitors too, meaning they are also bidding on them, pushing up the prices.

On the other hand, too niche, and you may struggle to find anyone looking for precisely what you're offering. The costs can escalate quickly, so you can set a daily cap on spending. It can be tricky to strike a balance between cost and results, that's why research; on the tool, popular search words and who you are going after, is vital.

A simple search for 'Interior Design' brings up four sponsored ads on google. This is a popular term which means it can be expensive to bid on.
A simple search for 'Interior Design' brings up four sponsored ads on google. This is a popular term which means it can be expensive to bid on.

On Social

You may also have heard about paid adverts on social too. Well, this is when you put money on an organic piece of social content you've made, such as an image you share on your Instagram feed. The ad will integrate seamlessly with a new user's feed, so it's not intrusive, but that does mean your content needs to stand out to capture their attention. The ads are shared with people that meet the criteria you spec out, such as gender, location, age, interests etc. You also need to consider what you want them to do when they see your ad. What's the CTA- call to action, is it visit our website? Get in touch? Visit our feed for more inspiration? Whatever it is have a plan as to which is the most beneficial place to send them.

You can easily set the promotion spend and the duration, and you're charged on a CPM basis- that's cost per thousand views. The cost of which can vary by where you want the ad placed, time of day and time of year. This can work, but keeping spend small until you hone in on what truly works for you will save you in the long run. Just don't forget, not much beats a social channel that is continuously updated with good content. Paid can give content a boost and grow a following, but that fantastic content has to be there in the first place to achieve anything.

4. How can I see how my website is doing and which of my efforts are working?

There are three things you can measure, an SEO edit, Google Analytics, and feedback.

SEO Audit

Seeing as SEO is one of the best ways to organically draw more traffic to your website, it's great to get it right, for this you want to know where you stand. An SEO audit can give you insights into your baseline activities, although this costs money. There are professionals who thoroughly research and there are others who charge and don't. Ideally, select someone who is recommended to you by someone within the industry. This will give you a checklist of things you can improve on to hit the sweet spot.

GA

Google Analytics, may sound scary, but if you have a website, it is a tool that is easy to install. A bit of code is added to your website, allowing Google to track not only how many visits you are getting, but also who those searches were done by. The data gives you insights into your target market- are they male or female? How old are they? What device were they searching on when they found you, e.g. mobile, tablet desktop? Also, if you've embarked on those content partnerships we recommended above, then GA will help you track how successful they've been too.

Feedback's a gift

Then there's feedback, check your inbox, how many more emails are you getting? Have the number of website visits gone up? The same applies for article reads and comments, if these numbers are going up, then you are doing something right. This feedback, paired with a tool like Google Analytics can help you identify, for free, which efforts, in particular, are driving traffic to your site and your brand.

5. What should I watch out for?

Things to look out for are; fake data, GDPR and overspend.

Fake Data

Social platforms such as Instagram and Facebook have great data because the user adds it. Whereas, some of the fake data out there is based on speculative assumptions. Just check the source of where your data comes from and if it feels quite right

GDPR

Of course, GDPR is a significant unavoidable element of any business now. If you collect anyone's data when they join your website, you need to indicate where you will be storing their data, and the precautions you will take to protect that information. You also need to state what they are opting to receive from you clearly. You can find out more about GDPR here.

The Bottom Line

While many of the tools we've discussed have amazing abilities to expedite your companies growth, they come at a cost, make sure that cost is worthwhile. Cap your spend to a realistic amount. You can test out new targeting strategies with small amounts of money and pivot your plan accordingly.

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