Marketing in the digital age comes with some unique challenges, including how to integrate digital marketing into our existing marketing strategies.

The challenge doesn’t just come in the form of choosing the right channels for your brand, but in choosing the type of content (subject, length, media) that will perform the best (i.e. get the most likes, shares, comments and engagement).

Traditional marketing and digital marketing do have one thing in common, and this tenet should run throughout your marketing strategy. That thing is Research.

Digital marketing is not a Spray-and-Pray proposition. Your ideal customers are searching in particular ways. They are frequenting particular social media channels. They are responding to certain media. Knowing what these things are will be pivotal to the success of your digital marketing campaigns.

Let’s start with your website:

  • Upload new content on a regular basis. Search engines love fresh content (i.e. blog articles) that is at least 750 words in length, as well as the occasional longer piece (2500+ words). Publish a blog post at least once per week, and share it through your social media channels.
  • Incorporate the keywords your ideal customers are using to search. The keywords that you use in your content (webpages and blog posts) should be those words and phrases that your audience members are using to search. These terms might be the problems they have, the solutions they’re hoping for, and the benefits offered by brands like yours. Consider these keywords when choosing your website’s domain name (URL) too.
  • Optimise videos and images using keywords, too. This will help your website to be found by those searching for solutions (and brands) like yours.
  • Include links to other high-ranked websites. Search engines take your associations into consideration when ranking your site in results, so linking (legitimately) to other highly visible websites will help to boost your site’s placement, making it more visible to people searching for a brand like yours.
Then move on to social media:
  • Choose only those channels preferred by your ideal customers. Study your demographic to determine where they’re being social; and even more importantly, interact with your ideal customers to learn about their preferred social media places and habits. Set up brand profile pages only on those channels that are most important to your audience. And once you’ve got those pages up, post regularly, using information that is relevant and important to your target audience. Always respond positively to comments (including the negative ones), and engage, engage, engage.
  • Be a go-to expert in groups. Join groups that have high concentrations of your ideal customers and keep an eye out for people talking about the problem(s) you solve. Join these conversations…but don’t offer your brand’s services right away. Instead, offer wisdom that helps people to solve their problems. This will prove your expertise and establish trust. Only after people begin to interact and ask more questions will it be appropriate to introduce what your brand can do for them.
  • Make service a top priority on social media. DO NOT use social media pages and groups to sell your brand. Instead, focus on serving. Offer advice. Help to solve problems. Show empathy. Celebrate alongside people. Then, your brand will sell itself.
In all cases, take advantage of the analytics offered by search engines, web hosting services and social media platforms. Use the information provided to tweak and maintain your digital marketing strategy—knowing that facts regarding WHO is interacting, WHERE they’re interacting, WHEN they’re interacting, HOW they’re interacting, and with WHAT they’re interacting will help you to create an efficient and effective formula that works to make your brand more visible.

These are the steps recommended by How to Build a Brand, regardless of brand or type of business. According the Office for National Statistics, 87.9% of UK adults are using the internet to find what they need in 2016. This means that avoiding the integration of digital strategy WILL be detrimental to your brand’s marketing.

By Sammy Blindell, co-founder, How to Build a Brand