If you have a product to sell, using an effective marketing strategy is essential.
In an increasingly digital world, the marketing landscape has changed as people move online and traditional marketing tools, such as print advertising, are becoming less relevant.
However, there are now more tools than ever for businesses to sell themselves, and with some training and knowledge, any business can gain the edge over competitors.
This is where search engine optimisation (SEO) comes in; helping businesses to drive maximum traffic is vital for people to see the product or service you want to sell.
After 18 years working in this field, Craig Campbell has built a career advising people on the best way to use SEO and now does event speaking and training courses to teach others how to hone their craft.
When starting, Campbell believes that building a strong website is vital. He explains that SEO is the art of getting your website ranked high on a search engine results list.
“People are doing searches all the time. People are going online now, and if you can get to the top [of the list] when someone is searching, that is the way to lure people in to check your website out.”
Algorithms produce search results based on how websites have built their SEO. If you have optimized your site well, your page will appear at the top of the search list, where people are more likely to click.
Google has become the most popular choice for people to carry out web searches. In 2019, Google was registering more than 3.5 billion searches per day; 40,000 search queries every second on average.
Campbell commented that if you are not utilising the correct tools to be at the top of these searches, then you are missing out a vital market. “If you are not involved in that, you will not be getting a chunk of that pie that is available,” he said.
As of this year, the internet has around 4.66 billion users worldwide, and a survey carried out by the Scottish Government in 2016 revealed that 82% of households has access to the internet in their homes across the country.
This is a market that a business cannot afford not to utilise, and Campbell specialises in how to make your product stand out from the crowd.
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However, it is important to learn how to use these SEO techniques to maximise the impact of your marketing strategy. Campbell has some advice to help a Scottish business to get ahead.
“If you want to be found for a particular search term, there has to be a page or post on your website that the search term can target,” Campbell said.
“A lot of people think digital marketing is a hard subject, but it isn’t. It is a simple series of steps to make sure your website has the right keywords and the right landing page that provide the correct message.”
Another platform that is ripe for targeting advertising is social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. There are currently around 4.14 billion people using social media in 2020, with the most popular platform being Facebook.
For social media posting, Campbell edits sections of his content, posting up short 30-second clips or snippets of text. “Use your social media to tease and encourage, and further enhance your posts. It also makes you look a lot more active and a lot more like a marketer,” he said.
Research by Eurostat shows that businesses worldwide are taking advantage of the internet for marketing purposes, particularly in Europe.
In 2018, one in four (26%) businesses in the EU were posting adverts on the internet, whilst websites “have become customers’ first port of call for seeking information and eventually purchasing goods or services, whether online or offline,” the research said.
Google ranks first as the most popular search engine, however, YouTube is a close second. The platform has evolved since its inception in 2005 and has more than 2 billion users as of 2020, with this number set to grow.
Campbell turned to YouTube himself at the start of this year when the pandemic struck. He quickly built on his current channel, uploading his digital marketing training courses.
“I decided to give it away for free because of Covid-19 and people were struggling. Within the first week, 40,000 people had signed up.
“YouTube was something I didn’t give it too much thought, but now I am on there, I have noticed it is something that, if you can do it well, can work.”
Despite Campbell’s quick success, YouTube is not an easy platform for people to be noticed. It has become saturated with content and putting yourself ahead of others in your field will not be easy, particularly if they do not have the confidence or expertise.
“I just don’t think people understand it, and I also think people are shy and don’t want to put their faces on there. People buy into people, and businesses do business with good people,” Campbell said.
“A lot of business owners are not showing their personality properly [on YouTube] or are not showing their real selves. They do not sell what they do.
“I don’t particularly like making videos. I do it because it works, and I do it because I have to,” Campbell noted.
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But to get ahead of your competitors, Campbell believes that there are some important steps you need to follow to get started.
“Just get things done and start with the basics. Get a website set up and get your social media going,” he said.
“Start with some paid adverts to see if your business model works. Once you have done this, then start to look at your SEO, and getting that done will be the icing on the cake,” he said.
Some firms may need a helping hand when attempting to boost their SEO, and this is where agencies can help. Many firms may not have in-house specialists working on their marketing strategy, and Campbell says to educate yourself.
“I think making [the customer] understand the benefits, the processes and everything else that is involved in SEO just makes the job a lot easier.”
If you want to be successful with your marketing strategy, you need to invest, Campbell noted. “You cannot expect to spend £300 a month and make 50 or £100k turnover, it just does not balance out,” he said.
“Anyone who does not spend up to 10% of their turnover on marketing is probably not good in business. I spend money on my marketing.
“If you want to keep getting that turnover, then 10% spent on marketing is probably not a bad thing,” Campbell said.