Regular readers of our blog know how often we stress the importance of digital marketing, branding and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – every business or organization must have a strong digital presence on the Internet in order to be noticed. Consumers simply don’t utilize the same resources, such as physical phone books and newspaper advertisements, that they once did in years past while other, more expensive forms of advertising are becoming less effective – television commercials can be skipped and direct mail is, more often than not, discarded without a second glance.

Utilize A Digital Strategy

If your business doesn’t appear within the search results when consumers are researching for a reputable supplier of a specific product or service that you provide, then you could be missing out on a significant, even irreplaceable, segment of the market. Digital branding, marketing and advertising aren’t magical answers to everything. You still need to differentiate yourself from your competitors, provide top-notch customer service and network in-person whenever possible – but with a powerful and finely-tuned digital presence, you can give your business a powerful boost. By utilizing a smart and calculated digital advertising and keyword strategy, your business can achieve even greater levels of exposure and success.

You Must Be Prepared

Even with a strong digital brand and smart, engaging content marketing, if your business isn’t utilizing search engine keyword and/or social media advertising, you could be limiting the effectiveness of your branding and marketing. However, just as with older, traditional forms of advertising, rushing in unprepared can lead to wasteful spending on ineffective campaigns, and most small businesses and organizations can’t afford to get it wrong. What do you need to know and do before investing in digital advertising?

Build A Strong Digital Presence Before You Advertise

When it comes to digital advertising, one of the most common missteps that businesses make is putting their digital advertisements before their online presence. You must ensure that your website, blog, digital brand and content marketing are powerful, effective and versatile before you even consider investing in digital advertising. Your digital ads are designed to direct or “funnel” potential customers back to your website or blog, so if your website or blog isn’t designed to convert visitors into clients or customers with effective content and calls to action, what was the point of your advertisement in the first place? Also, if your website isn’t optimized for mobile devices, you are already at a disadvantage when users conduct Google searches using a mobile device, and a website that isn’t SEO-optimized is already at a semi-permanent disadvantage in search engine ranking. In both of these cases, upgrading your website would be a much more effective investment than purchasing digital advertising.

Weighing The Pros And Cons Of Each Platform

Search engine keyword advertising and social media advertising are both relatively new forms of advertising, and it is understandable if owners and managers of small businesses don’t fully understand the nuances of each. Both platforms have opportunities to harness a very targeted, relatively cheap method of advertising, but there are significant differences in each. Search engines are highly-effective advertising platforms because they are magnets for consumers who are seeking answers and solutions to problems – when searching for an auto repair shop, most Internet users immediately go to a search engine such as Google, as opposed to a social media service such as Facebook. However, social media platforms also have distinct advantages over search engines – users spend significantly more time on social media, and social media services provide opportunities for users to directly interact with and endorse businesses and brands, and often share those interactions and endorsements with friends, family and followers. One platform allows you to more directly target potential customers, while the other provides better opportunities to establish your brand and cultivate relationships with potential customers. You may decide that one is a better fit over the other, or investing in both platforms is the right move for your business.