Grow Your Business With These 7 Digital Marketing Tactics

May 4th, 2017 by Ariel Tusa

Members of the Search Influence team gave their insight on tried and true digital marketing strategies. These strategies apply to every industry, from plastic surgeons to attorneys, and many can be implemented across different channels of marketing. Using a mix of or all of the 7 tactics below is a sure-fire way to optimize your business’ online potential.

1. Mobile

Before updating the aesthetics or adding content to your site, it’s of the utmost importance that you make sure your site is responsive and functions properly on both desktop and mobile. More than half of users say they wouldn’t recommend a business if they encountered a poorly designed mobile site.

“To me, the biggest trend (and this is as much a wish as it is a prediction) is that small businesses begin to take mobile optimization more seriously. I’m still surprised by the number of businesses I see in my day-to-day life that haven’t reacted to the continuous uptick in mobile search by having their site optimized for mobile users.

My main focus, in terms of a trend, is the expansion of mobile search as a primary source of information. The trend will be more companies utilizing tools like Google AMP in order to improve the mobile user experience. Currently, far too many don’t take the number of leads they can get from a mobile-optimized site.” – Cory Agular

Later in this post, I’ll go over AMPs and some more specific mobile moves, but I really want to emphasize that mobile should be incorporated in every aspect of your online marketing campaign. Google has stated that not only are 60% of users unlikely to revisit a mobile site they had difficulty visiting, but also 40% will then go on to visit a competitor’s site. You’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but if you can’t open the book, you’re not even going to try reading it.

Image Of A Cell Phone Searching - Search Influence

2. Schema Markup

Schema markup, coding that can be added to a page on your site, makes information more easily readable to search engines like Google. This code labels pieces of important information on the page. Search engines not only understand the information better but they can also provide richer search results to users.

“As far as I’ve noticed, Schema’s been underutilized… however I’m seeing a lot more talk acknowledging it for its on-site SEO value and correlation with rich snippets and Google’s knowledge graph. And as we’ve seen, Google’s been working to improve its algorithm and knowledge graph to really ‘understand’ content to better predict user trends.” – Kiersten Kampschroeder

“It’s been increasingly popular to integrate schema into your content. I think that providing meta information using schema markup not only helps SEO, but it also aids the programmer and contributes to making better semantic websites. 2017 will be the year where instead of thinking how we can ADD schema to existing sites, we instead shift toward creating websites with schema markup baked into their design and writing content with schema markup in mind. I’d compare thiscoming year with what happened with responsive design 3–4 years ago. That was the shift where everything became mobile first. 2017 will be the year schema is integrated into the general development workflow.” – Member of Web Development Team

A search for “breast augmentation new orleans” shows how review schema implemented on Dr. Kinsley’s site appears in results:

Image Of Dr. Kinsley's Search Results - Search Influence

3. GIFs

While 2016 saw a rise in GIFs, an acronym for Graphics Interchange Format, they were first debuted by Steve Wilhite of Compuserve in 1987. They are the epitome of #thirtyflirtyandthriving. These dynamic, digestible pieces of content are easy to create and share and provide a more engaging user experience than a single static image.

“GIFs are important to any brand aesthetic, be it personal or public, because they offer a truncated version of the desktop’s fluid experience (i.e. video).

GIFs are a better option now since they’re more pervasive and different social media platforms accept them or give you a way to use them easily. Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Facebook Messenger are all compatible with GIFs now.

Twitter actually integrated, similarly to Facebook, a GIF search within the post tool. [It has] allowed for a closer relationship between Facebook and Twitter, as well. You’ve always been able to link the two accounts, … [but] now, it looks like Twitter, when auto-posted to Facebook, is fully integrated into Facebook’s platform and presents the post as it would be presented on Twitter.” – Member of Graphics Team

There are so many reasons you should incorporate GIFs into your marketing strategy this year. As mentioned, the fluidity of GIFs can make the creation of cross-platform content so much easier. They’re easy to create and even easier to share. Most of all, it’s a fun and unique way to reach your consumers!

So, why not shake things up a bit?

4. Social and Mobile Paid Advertising

In 2016, we saw a rise in mobile advertising, but this year, with more than half of searches on mobile devices, it will be an essential component of an effective and well-rounded search engine marketing campaign. Expanded ads are now easily translatable between desktop and mobile, but it’s almost important to mobile users’ needs when determining the content, location, and timing of your paid ads.

Social advertising like Facebook Paid Ads are showing increased popularity and effectiveness. The level of granularity continues to rise with Facebook audience targeting, and we have seen an increase in conversions even as CPCs remain low.

“With the introduction of ‘new’ campaign objectives, such as lead generation and local awareness, Facebook really does seem to be a place for lots of growth. With Facebook trying to essentially phase out Fan Building campaigns, local awareness campaigns present an interesting opportunity for smaller budget clients who want to focus on a local market.” – London Fougerousse

While Facebook ads are more cost-effective than traditional paid ads, that’s not a reason to rely on them solely. The decision to use Facebook vs. Google Adwords or a mixture of the two is truly dependent on a variety of factors, such as your location, industry, and goals. I recommend hopping on the mobile train sooner rather than later. Forecasters are predicting that by 2019, 72% of digital ad spend will be on mobile advertising!

Image Of Smiley Face Emojis - Search Influence

5. Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, mobile should be a consideration for all of your online marketing efforts. Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMPs) are a way to take that focus even further. AMPs are not a ranking factor in Google (for now) but they can positively impact impressions, clicks, and user experience.

“Since the rollout of AMPs in mobile SERPs this past spring, pages have typically only been found at the top of the results page in a carousel—which is still prime real estate—however, Google recently announced that AMPs will soon also begin showing in the organic results and supporting more content types. We’ve all heard the mobile-friendliness search stats, and adopting AMPs is another way to bring content to your consumers instantly and on the go.

“Historically, AMPs have been utilized mainly by news publishers, but with the expansion to the organic results, I can see a future for almost every type of industry. Shopify, eBay, and Fandango recently announced their integration of AMPs, so this is a good trend for e-commerce clients especially to be conscious of. And Google also hinted that they will begin supporting more content types like live videos, galleries, etc., which can also open more doors for clients to take advantage of.” – Member of Account Management Team

Image Of Google Search Of Presidential Debate - Search Influence

The increased speed of Accelerated Mobile Pages leads to a better user engagement, and those (potential) customers/clients are more likely to return to your site if it was able to quickly provide them the information they were looking for. A recent study shows that with AMPs, The Washington Post saw a 23% increase in mobile search users who return in 7 days. If you’re a business receiving the majority of your site traffic from mobile devices, AMPs could be a strategic way to boost your online presence above and beyond your competitors.

6. Video

Video is not just for YouTube. It should be incorporated into as many of your online marketing efforts as possible: product/procedure pages on your site, email marketing, display ads, social platforms, and everything in between!

“For online marketing rich content could include native video content and paid video ads on both YouTube and Facebook Video Display ads. Also, I think brands will begin to utilize Facebook Live more for events and branded content to engage their fans.

“I believe these videos will be prominent cross-device! Today, people are constantly moving between devices throughout the day and advertisers need to be innovative and streamline their message to engage users across all devices.

“For Facebook Live, I would recommend this for brands and businesses that have a strong Facebook following. Facebook Live is a tool to engage your audience, not necessarily build an audience. These videos are best for events, conferences, speaking engagements, big company announcements, etc. There are so many options to deliver creative, curated content!” – Sophie Kirk

Rich video content is content that keeps on giving. One video can apply organic, paid, and social campaigns across devices, and can be broken down and repurposed to create a number of assets. Videos are not only attention-grabbing, but are also a great way to establish your brand’s message and have lasting effects in terms of brand recall.

7. Links

Links might not be the most exciting item on this list, but they’re certainly one of the most important. Link building is an essential aspect of a well-rounded SEO strategy! When the search engines crawl pages on your site, links are used to identify how it relates to other internal pages and other sites. Links connecting one site to another can indicate that a particular page/site is the authority on a given topic. But, as you should know, not all links are created equal!

Google first launched its Penguin Update in spring of 2012 and rolled out its final update, Penguin 4.0, this past fall. Penguin is Google’s effort to catch sites that are using “black-hat SEO” techniques like spammy link acquisition to affect search rankings.

“In 2017, ‘link’ will no longer be a dirty 4-letter word. For far too long, bad link building has been lumped in with quality link earning. Everyone got freaked out by Penguin and the industries either shied away from “linkbuilding,” or, if they were doing it, were hush-hush about it.

“Google’s initial differentiator was to focus on links as votes, which is at the core of PageRank. Google has, in the past, described their foundational algorithm by stating: PageRank works by counting the number and quality of links to a page to determine a rough estimate of how important the website is. The underlying assumption is that more important websites are likely to receive more links from other websites.” – Paula French

Google truly is looking for quality over quantity when it comes to link building, but that’s just part of the SEO puzzle. If your site is suffering from technical issues or lacking rich, natural content, links will not save you. Make sure your online marketing strategy includes both on and off-site efforts.

Image Depicting Online Marketing Tactics - Search Influence

These 7 online marketing tactics are an inexpensive way to boost awareness of your practice and bring in new, revenue-generating patients. With a little strategy and effort, you can have a comprehensive SEO campaign that brings your practice’s website up to speed!

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