Organic and free digital marketing – What you can do

Learning how to conquer digital marketing is a large task but we aren’t doing that here. Instead we are covering the cost effective and organic areas of digital marketing that are well within the ability of many SME and start-up owners.

No matter what your company trade or service, and regardless of whether you are in your first start up or in your 18th successful business, there is always benefit in understanding the basics of digital marketing and seeing how your digital business is ticking over. I have spoken with many business owners who are frequently overwhelmed by the idea of where to start and who to turn to. In the next few paragraphs I’ll provide you with tips, tools and teachings on where to start and how to push on from there.

Mobile optimisation

More than 50% of searches made through google are made on mobile devices. This means that if your website isn’t optimised for mobile users you could be missing out on up to 50% of potential sales/leads. This will also have a bad effect on your bounce rate (when a user exits your site from the landing page without browsing any other pages). For situations such as this I use Pingdom, which provides a great overview of what the issues are. Although you may need help to fix some of these issues, you will be able to save money by being aware of what the most urgent fixes are.

Outbound links

Creating links on your site from trusted and reputable sources is a great way of increasing the ranking of your site. If you have found some great content online, share it on your site and link out to it as part of your next article. Make sure this content is relevant and that it hits your target audience. While this isn’t as optimum as other websites linking directly to you, it is good for opening the door for dialogue with other sites. E.g. “I read your article on …….., I thought it was great and have referenced it the latest post on my site. I’d love to work with you on….”

Increase your knowledge to improve your website

With the ability to access information and resources at the drop of a hat, the internet has of course opened up a new world of possibilities. It also means that you are able to access tips and advice on all manner of subjects. This has truly broadened the possibilities for small companies who initially may have had to rely on who and what they knew. For digital marketing, tried and tested free courses such as Google’s own Digital Garage has the full range of skills and knowledge to enable everyone to learn the essentials and more about digital marketing. This allows business owners the opportunity to save money on outsourcing and to increase their knowledge of this vital area, crucial for future success.

Watch your backlinks

We’ve already covered how crucial backlinks can be to improve your rankings across search engines, but it is also important to note how detrimental they can be to your cause if not used wisely. Keeping track of your backlinks is made easier with tools such as Majestic, which takes care of the leg work. When scouring through your data look out for how many times you are linking from a website, a sharp rise in links over a short period of time, and irrelevant sites. Here is a guide that will help you cover the important parts in just 45 minutes.

Reputation

Easy to implement and no expert knowledge necessary. Showing that you care as a business online is as important as your offline experience. Google only shows what others say you are, so take the time to ask customers to leave reviews online on whichever site is most important to you at the time. Simplify this for them by including a link in your next message to them. Taking the time to respond to your customers online complaints/negative reviews is crucial for users, as it shows engagement, care and a personal touch. Search your company name followed by “reviews” to get started and use this article on reputation management from a digital marketing company to guide your strategy.

Content is king

Bill Gates predicted this in 1996. And unsurprisingly for a man of his intellectual capacity, he is still right today. Ensuring you have strong, relevant and engaging content on your site is the key driver for search engines and users to find and browse your site. With your content you have the ability to optimise and align it with your other marketing strategies. Ensuring alignment between keywords across all of your marketing material is crucial and remember that good relevant content also leads to further linking opportunities.

We’ve only scratched the surface, but these should help give you an overview of what you can do, without expense, to push your online performance to the next level. Hopefully these tips have given you an insight into what is possible for mixed levels and perhaps given you the answer as to what may be hampering your online performance.