Digital marketing and direct marketing

What do direct marketing and digital marketing have in common? As it turns out, a great deal.

first and foremost, they are both marketing systems. That means that they are subject to the same checks and balances. Do they provide a reasonable return on investment? Can they be scaled? What are their time frames? And so on.

Looking past the analysis similarities, do they have any functional aspects in common? The answer again, is yes.

Decisive communication

Direct marketing or digital marketing are designed to motivate action. Their purpose is not to explain services or details benefits. While it may be necessary to do so at times, the goal of these two systems is to get the reader to do something.

Both rely on calls-to-action placed through out the sales page. But the action desired is quite different.

Digital marketing uses an inbound approach. The device is usually an email subscription form, and possibly a free e-book download. In exchange for an email address, they provide something of value.

The email address is the digital marketers goal from most calls-to-action. With the email address, the marketer can send periodic announcements, sales messages and promotions.

With a long time frame required for many sales, an email address is a high effective way to market. Most digital professionals believe that email  marketing is the most effective use of their time and resources.

Direct marketing also utilizes calls-to-action, but generally in a more aggressive manner. Rather than an e-book or a newsletter subscription, their offerings are typically free merchandise or heavy discounts.

Direct marketers cannot rely on a long term sales cycle to close a sale. The cost of direct marketing is very high; each campaign must have a positive return.

It is not uncommon for a direct marketing campaign to cost as much as $1.00 per recipient. That adds up quickly.

Where digital marketing attempts to build and cultivate relationships, direct marketing attempts to focus on the sale at hand. Even though the end result is the same, very different skills are required for each.

Digital designers focus on brand and image building. Landing pages build credibility and a sense of trustworthiness. Copy is written as a narrative. The intent is to give the reader a sense of the company.

Direct mail copy is hard hitting. Strong headlines are used to create a sense of urgency. The idea is to generate a need in the reader to take immediate action.

The graphics and uses of color vary as well. Digital design seeks to be contemporary and inviting. Colors that portray harmony and confidence are typical. Type fonts that blend into the design are chosen. There is no attempt to jolt the reader.

Direct marketing takes the opposite approach. Strong images and emotion producing colors are the tools of the designer. Whatever is needed to jar the reader into action is taken.

These are just a few of the similarities and differences between these two marketing forms.  If the topic is of interest, let me know.

Digital marketing and blogging

If you want to grow your business via digital marketing, get ready to blog. Or, plan on hiring someone to do it for you.

At the end of the day, blogging is what counts. The reason is simple: because that’s what Google wants.

But they want more than just words on a page. They want the words to mean something, because strong content is how they get people to use their search engine.

If you turn back the clock a few years, you will remember the days of ezines and other poor-quality content offerings that filled up the Google search results.

To say they degraded the search experience would be an understatement. Searching for information in those days was pretty much a total waste of time.

A less than pleasing experience to be sure.

Seeking to improve that experience, and make their search engine a viable place to learn and discover, Google made publishing strong content a powerful incentive.

The deal was, and is, that strong and relevant and fresh content would be rewarded with better search position. In other words, publish something of value and get rewarded.

That has proven to be the case to a certain extent, but more is required to achieve those great page results. Notably, in-bound links from other websites.

When other websites link to yours, that shows credibility in the eyes of Google. They compare it to a vote of confidence.

Naturally, that vote has more meaning if it comes from a website of stature. For example, if you have a medical information website, and webmd.com links to it – then you have something.

The combination of strong content and in-bound links is the essence of modern internet marketing. Both areas require a lot of effort and time.

Developing strong content for a niche that may be overwhelmed with material is no easy task. It seems that whatever topic one tries to write about has already been well covered.

Take web design for example. If there’s one, there must be a thousand articles on ‘best tips for a great website’. Any ‘how to’ topic has been written about by an endless stream of design and development blogs.

Even more difficult than finding new material is finding websites interested in providing those valuable links.

With all the obstacles and difficulties, is it worth the effort? Hard to really say.

In my opinion, it comes down to time frame. If you have a long-range view of your business, then a plan of gradual, but continuous content development make sense.

Figure the process of achieving any meaningful visibility will take years. That’s fine if you have years. Take it slow, and probably you will achieve some success.

 

If you don’t have years, than perhaps it’s better to not even try traditional organic online marketing.

 

 

Other options that will be far quicker included pay for click (PPC) with either Google, Facebook, Linkedin or twitter.

 

While no easy road to be sure, the advertising approach offers a much quicker solution that the organic one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blogging

Blogging may not be the activity you most look forward to. But if you want your blog, or website to be seen by Google, it really is necessary.

I’ve learned this from experience with my blog, richardweisskopf.com. You would think that ranking first for a name search would be easy with an exact match blog,  but that has not proven to be the case.

During times that I actively post articles or information pertaining to my niche, my website has consistently ranked at the top for an exact name search for Richard Weisskopf.

During times that I have not posted content, the site ranks as low as 3rd or 4th on the page. The reason why is simple: social media sites, like Linkedin and Facebook and Twitter, with profiles of other people named Richard Weisskopf rank higher.

The only way for me to keep my blog at the top of the Google search page results for my name is to continuously blog.

The next question is how long the blogs need to be – and how often they need to be created and published.

There are different opinions regarding the optimum length of a blog. But most industry experts agree that very long posts – 2500 words and more – are needed for difficult and competitive keywords.

If the keywords are less competitive, as a name might be, the feeling is that shorter posts will do the trick. In either scenario, frequency is essential. Once or twice a week is needed.

Not all posts are created equal

This means that not every post has to be written for publication. In other words, write the post and simply do not make it available to viewers of your website.

If the post is not show on a menu, or a widget display, it is essentially invisible to anyone other than the search engine. So, as long as the material is original and reasonably well-written, it will have the desired effect.

I’ve worked on large websites where hundreds of articles never say the light of day. At least as far as actual readers are concerned. The articles were the infrastructure of the web marketing strategy employed my the web masters.

If you are not a writer, consider paying for articles that will accomplish this goal. But, be really careful that whatever you publish meets certain basic quality standards.

Google is clever when it comes to detecting poorly written content. That includes content that is automatically generated by word spinning programs.

If you do purchase content or articles, take a minute to read them over and be sure they sound as if they are written by a native US writer. Check for spelling and vocabulary usage errors. Make sure that the material has some relevance to the topic of your website.

If possible, include an image. If you can, optimize the content by including back links and inter page linking. Provide authority quotes when possible.

Treat the invisible content as if someone were actually going to read it – that’s the safest approach.