In the ever-changing world of business and trade, digital marketing has slowly made its way to become a necessity. The two worlds of technology and marketing often collide since the two of them are dynamic and versatile. During the past decades, both marketing and technology have benefited a lot from each other. Now digital marketing is a part of every company’s marketing scheme. In Belfast, that is no exception. This article shall take you step by step on a road trip to Digital Marketing Belfast. Digital marketing in Belfast may sound like a riddle to many; and to be honest, it is a broad subject. Many think digital marketing is just social media, but that is not accurate. Digital marketing in Belfast has countless opportunities for every business, regardless of its size or budget. Everything you need to know in order to put your business in Belfast on the right track when it comes to digital marketing is here. Let us dive into it.
What is Digital Marketing?
Digital Marketing Belfast: The Importance of Online Digital Marketing
Digital Marketing in Belfast
Part I: What Is Digital Marketing?
First things first, before going any deeper, one needs to point out what digital marketing really means. Whenever the word “digital marketing” pops up in a conversation, listeners usually associate it with social media, Google Ads, video marketing, etc… Is that truly the meaning of digital marketing? To an extent, yes, however, that is not entirely accurate. Here is a simple definition that is not hard to remember: “Digital marketing is a general term for any effort made by a company to connect with customers through electronic technology.” That includes email, mobile marketing, social media, online customer communities, webinars and other video-based content. Having said that, it is clear that electronic technology is not only social media or Internet related Ads. In other words, digital marketing has been around for decades, way before we even knew what social media means. “Online” digital marketing is only a type of digital marketing. You may be surprised that radio and TV commercials are digital marketing channels. They are often referred to as offline digital marketing channels. Both online and offline digital marketing are needed for a well-established marketing plan.
As technology makes progress, the tree of digital marketing keeps growing new and fruitful marketing branches. To this day, digital marketing extends to two main branches: online and offline.
Online marketing platforms include:
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
- Search engine marketing (SEM)
- Content marketing
- Mobile Marketing
- Social Media Marketing (SMM)
- Pay-per-click advertising (PPC)
- Email marketing
We will go through each online marketing channel in details. Meanwhile, offline digital marketing channels are those that do not require Internet connection to reach the audience. There are also different types of those that we will tackle later:
- Enhanced offline marketing
- Radio marketing
- TV marketing
- Phone marketing
- Newspapers and Magazines
The most remarkable thing about digital marketing with all its types is the variety it provides. There is no limit to the ideas or tools that a business can use to market its services or products. More and more platforms are developed which naturally become a new implement for marketing.
Online Digital Marketing
Online digital marketing is any activities or measures taken to of promoting a business or a product through the Internet. The Internet has created an endless capacity for marketing through different platforms. The number of Internet users has increased from 738 million in 2000 to 3.2 billion in 2015. With a gigantic number of Internet users around the globe, online marketing is jammed with opportunities for all kinds of companies. From global brand names to local start-ups, everyone can pull a rabbit out of the Internet’s hat!
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
If knowledge is power, then search engines are the source of all power.
Search engine optimization is said to be the most effective digital marketing tool. Why is it so powerful? Let’s put it that way. Remember the good old days when people used to go to libraries to find out about anything they need information about? They used to spend hours searching and reading to reach the right source of information. However, even the largest library in the world would not have had the amount of data present today on the Internet. In a very short period, the web has become a diary of the human race. There is not a single branch or field of knowledge that does not have resources on the web. Now, instead of wasting hours searching for information in a library, search engines can finish that process in few seconds, literally.
If knowledge is power, then search engines are the source of all power. Today, people rarely go to libraries to search for a topic, what they do is pick up their smartphone and “google” it. This easy access to information has changed the world, and definitely changed how people direct their marketing efforts.
What Is SEO?
“Search engine optimization is a methodology of strategies, techniques and tactics used to increase the amount of visitors to a website by obtaining a high-ranking placement in the search results page of a search engine.” Although Google is the largest search engine, there are other engines such as Bing and Yahoo. “If online searching was a game, SEO would be the rules by which you can score a goal. SEO is like the person everyone is trying to impress.”
The Importance of SEO
The necessity of search queries in our daily lives is so evident to the extent that we have come up with a verb for it. “To Google” is to search for information about someone or something on the Internet using the search engine Google. Ranking on search engine result pages has become so wildly competitive (More like The Hunger Games.) With millions of websites trying to please Google’s changing algorithms in order to get higher rankings, the mission is not a piece of cake. To guarantee high quality results, Google and other search engines are secretive about revealing how their engines work. Although we do not have 10 SEO commandments, luckily, we do have SEO basics that can guide us to achieving better SEO results.
Before digging deeper, the most important part while optimizing your website’s content is to put yourself in Google’s shoes. You should answer questions like: What kind of pages does Google rank? How are they like? Are they informative? Does Google prefer quality, quantity, or both? You should also mind your viewers’ perspective. What kind of content would be interesting to researchers in your niche? What do they prefer? What do they expect from their search queries?
So, the main question comes naturally as: What should you do to rank on SERPs and get more traffic to your website? These are factors which you should pay attention to while setting up your SEO Strategy.
Keyword in the Beginning of a Title
Google pays great attention to relevance. All search engines are keen on giving their users the best results. Quality, usefulness, appropriateness, and relevance are all major points that Google needs to find so they can rank your website. Relevance means that your content actually includes information that answers the researcher’s questions clearly. The titles of the articles or posts on your website are one of the things that search engines take into consideration. It is always better to place the main keyword of your article at the beginning of your title. This highlights the focus of your article directly to Crawlers, in order to evaluate its relevance to the targeted topic.
Length is also another effective element when it comes to SEO. Longer articles mean more information, and genuine effort on behalf of the author. This shows authenticity and keenness to provide the readers with valuable content. In addition, longer articles give Crawlers the impression that you are not spamming your viewers with irrelevant or useless content. This kind of spamming is known as Black Hat SEO. Bloggers usually suggest that the ideal length for a blog post is between 1000 words to 1600.
This is a master key to improve your SEO game. What is authority? Authority in SEO is more like witnesses and recommendations for your website. The only difference here is that your witnesses can only support you with backlinks. A backlink is a hyperlink that links from other webpages back to your own website. A high number of webpages linking to your website means that you have trusted and reliable information that others keep referring to. This gives your website credibility and authority. Google would surely find your content attractive enough to have a high ranking, since you do have valuable and relevant answers.
Page Loading Speed
This is a factor that most websites tend to ignore. Page loading speed is particularly important for researches done via mobile devices. Mobile devices account for nearly 60% of all search queries; they come in first place. As a business owner, you should make sure that your website is mobile friendly. It is more likely for your website to be found by a mobile user.
The time visitors spend on your website is also a ranking factor. The longer they stay, the better. If they leave your page in a few seconds, it is an indication that they did not like what they saw. If you are not meeting your visitors’ expectations, why would Google rank your website?
Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
This is another channel which is also related to search engines. The difference between SEM and SEO is simply that SEO stands under the umbrella of search engine marketing. In other words, SEO is a part of search engine marketing. However, we generally refer to SEM when we want to talk about paid search marketing. There are two different types of search results: organic and paid. Organic means that you “earn a free spot in the search results by having the most relevant content for a given keyword search.” Meanwhile, paid search results are those which companies pay Google to show to researchers with relevant keywords. Hence, SEO is optimizing your content to rank in organic results, while SEM is concerned with paid Ads. Each time a researcher clicks on a paid result, the advertiser pays a specific fee. This is called the Pay-per-Click system.
“Content marketing is a long-term strategy, based on building a strong relationship with your target audience, by giving them high-quality content that is very relevant to them on a consistent basis.” We all know that we are now living in the-Skip-Ad era. People are immediately repelled by anyone trying to “sell” them something. Therefore, content marketing comes as the savior from boring sales pitching. The obvious difference between content marketing any another form of marketing is: the keenness to provide valuable and relevant content. Let’s discover what “value” means. Giving your audience valuable information that relevant to your niche means gives you credibility. It shows that your business is a place that they can get back to. It makes your company look reliable. In addition, valuable content means that you do not treat your viewers as “customers” or “money makers.” On the contrary, it shows that you care about your audience enough to give them beneficial tips or create “a story” with them. Creating a story or a relationship between the audience and your products or your business has a deep influence on your brand’s image. Furthermore, content marketing is really rich and full of variety, so you will never run out of ideas or new concepts.
Mobile marketing is a good channel to promote products and companies through cell phones or smartphones. Phone marketing could be online or offline. Here, we are discussing online ones such as location based-services and GPS messaging. Location-based services involves detection of the user’s geolocation and sending marketing messages for businesses in that area. While GPS involves location-specific messages that the user picks up when he comes into range. Both of these types need an Internet connection, therefore they are considered online digital marketing even though they are sent to potential customers via SMS.
This is so popular, it does not even need any clarification. E-stores are just like shopping stores, except that you can shop from the comfort of your couch. E-stores are in continuous growth, to the extent that many brick and mortar stores have closed off their door, in favor of E-stores. Online stores typically include storefronts, shopping carts, payment processing, and order fulfillment systems. People find online stores very attractive and an easy way to do shopping; a way that they can easily fit into their busy schedule.
Social Media Marketing (SMM)
There is not a marketing article or a marketing course that does not stress the importance of social media marketing for promoting business. Social media platforms are the closest you can be to your customers. According to TechTarget, social media marketing is “a form of Internet marketing that utilizes social networking websites as a marketing tool. The goal of SMM is to produce content that users will share with their social network to help a company increase brand exposure and broaden customer reach.” It could take an entire book to cover all social media’s aspects. However, in this part we want to focus on what makes social media the marketing darling.
This is social media’s strongest point: keeping up with your viewers round the clock. You can never miss a comment, a review, or a request from your customers. You are always up to date with what people say about your brand. Before social media, it was quite hard to find out how the audience perceive your business. Marketing was a one way communication where viewers are non-reactive. Now, you can even post live videos where your potential customers react with you on the spot.
The huge number of social media users makes it the perfect medium for widening your fan base. Wide exposure is a brilliant feature which social media offers to everyone. With 2 billion active worldwide users on Facebook daily, the opportunities are endless. Regardless of size, any company can benefit from this huge market.
Pay-per-click advertising (PPC)
“PPC is a model of internet marketing in which advertisers pay a fee each time one of their ads is clicked.” In other words, it’s a way of “buying visits” to your site. Pay-per-click advertising’s most popular example is Google AdWords; search engine marketing. However, this is not the only way PPC advertising is used. Display Ads and social media Ads are also forms of PPC advertising. Display Ads are banners or text ads that are displayed across different websites. Once a viewer clicks on one of those, it immediately takes him/her to the advertiser’s page where they can check and buy products. Moreover, social media Ads are efficient PPC advertising since the advertisers can accurately target their audience. Sponsored Ads are displayed to the audience based on their age, gender, location, and interests. The fee paid is somehow trivial, compared to the company’s profit in case the viewer purchases a product.
Although email marketing is less popular than other online marketing channels, it is definitely a dark horse. In a process called “lead generation,” businesses gather contact information from their customers and visitors. One of the main reasons why they ask for an email is to send them promotional emails. These emails may include advertisements, offers, updates, or newsletters. Checking emails is now a regular routine that most people do at least once a day, therefore, email marketing is an easy channel that many tend to ignore.
Offline Digital Marketing
Enhanced Offline Marketing
This type of marketing includes using electronic gadgets or digital equipment to promote your products, without an Internet connection. For example, bright LED billboards are considered a type of enhanced offline marketing. Whenever you step into an Apple store and you see “product demos” of IPads or the latest IPhone, remember that this is also an enhanced offline marketing. Product samples in digital format is also another form of enhanced offline marketing. Such samples may be on CDs, flash drives, or even that good old floppy disc twenty five years ago.
Radio advertising resembles TV advertising, except that the radio does not include the visual aspect. Radio commercials have different types. The two main ones are: sponsorships and produced spots. If you have ever listened to “this hour’s weather is brought to you by…Call us on 12345 for more.” This is a sponsorship announcement. They are aired during radio segments such as traffic, weather, or sports scores. “A produced spot can either be a straight read of your advertising message or a read that incorporates multiple voices, sound effects or a jingle. A jingle is a short, catchy song about your company. These typically tell listeners where to find your business or your products and can be funny, serious, or informative.
Until recently, television advertising was this invincible monster; it was the main marketing channel. Of course, ever since the Internet and YouTube became a thing, the efficiency of television advertising has decreased. However, it is still a huge channel and sometimes the only way to reach a really large number of people. Such are people who do not have Internet access or those who do not purchase their products offline. 200 billion are spent worldwide on TV advertising every year, there must be a reason why business owners are still investing in TV advertising.
Offline phone marketing is still an effective channel to promote products and get more sales. SMS messaging is currently the most common delivery channel for mobile marketing. Looking at statistics, 90% of the population owns a cell phone. Those who are marketing with SMS are getting a 23% response. It is always a good idea to keep in touch with your audience. Therefore, keeping your customers updated with special offers, coupons, and discounts will keep you one step closer to them. There is a great possibility that a customer who has already tried your products or used your service before, will make a second purchase or use your service again if you send them a message about a coupon or a new offer. In addition to SMS marketing, cold calling is another method that works for some companies. Cold calling is the act of calling someone with no prior contact and trying to sell him/her something. Although many people find it a nuisance, it still works for some businesses. This marketing channel takes a lot of persuasion skills and building rapport with your prospects in order to turn them into customers.
Although billboard advertising is not as effective as it was 30 years ago, it is still an important window to reach a large audience. People are staring most of the time to their smartphone, even while they are driving in some cases. For that reason, advertisers need to be very careful about their choices. That includes where they place their billboards, what is displayed on them, and what kind of messages they aim to deliver.
Newspapers and Magazines
Both newspapers and magazines are called print advertising, so they are considered offline digital marketing. We know you must be thinking “that is too old fashioned.” However, for some businesses, they may be the perfect medium to reach their target audience. For instance, both newspapers and magazines are trustworthy, so readers will never question the validity of your offers or products, unlike the ones on social media. Proactive audience is another advantage that newspapers and magazines have over other media. Since readers buy them willingly and are always keen on reading them carefully, therefore readers are more likely to act on a sale.
One of the strongest arguments for online marketing is its cost efficiency. When comparing between offline and online advertising, online advertising will always win when it comes to budget control. That’s the reason why almost all start-ups go for the online gateway. The cost of TV Ads, newspaper Ads, or even billboards is incomparable to that of SEO, PPC, or SMM.
This is also another point of comparison where online marketing beats offline marketing. Online marketing channels give you accurate results about the influence of your campaigns. Details such as the number of views, clicks, shares, and sales, in addition to customers’ feedback. Advertisers can easily calculate their conversion rate or ROI. On the contrary, offline campaigns are immeasurable and depend mainly on estimations.
You can easily update or modify your online marketing strategy based on immediate responses. This is somehow related to measurability, yet it focuses on being able to apply immediate additions according to reactions. Through real-time monitoring and observing the effectiveness of your online strategy you are using. Of course, this option is not applicable on offline marketing campaigns on TV, radio, or newspapers.
Demographic targeting is one of the concepts that has revolutionized marketing. Thanks to online marketing, we are now so used to receiving Ads and suggestions that we are interested in. Websites and search engines already know what appeals to each user. That was not the case before online digital marketing. Imagine you are a twenty two year old guy watching a TV commercial about a treatment for women’s hair loss. Is this the kind of viewer that the advertiser is aiming to reach? How likely is it that this young man would buy the product? This was advertising before the Internet. It was random, and undefined. Now, if this guy is surfing the newsfeed of his Facebook account, he would find an Ad about a new video game. Of course it is highly likely that he would purchase this new video game.
Long Term Exposure
The average life span of a traditional marketing campaign is 1- 4 weeks. On the other hand, online campaigns do not have an expiry date, they will always be there. Whenever someone searches for your company or if your website ranks high on Google, people will continue to view it for a long time. This means that you need to continuously update your older content and posts based on the latest.
Part II: Digital Marketing in Belfast
What Kind of Digital Marketing Services Can You Find in Belfast?
Content is one of the main ingredients of a successful online marketing strategy. Creating content for your website, your business’s social media profile, or for any of your Ads or banners may not be an easy task. Content creation also takes up a long time that business owners may not have. For that reason, specialists who are well aware of SEO rules and good writing techniques are hired for that purpose. Idea generation is also relevant to creating content and is a main step while creating content.
Search Engine Optimization
Ranking high on SERPs is governed by little details and optimization methods. A well trained team of SEO specialists always play by the rules of SEO game. SEO specialists can help you improve organic search engine visibility, drive more traffic to your website, get on top of local search, optimize for mobile, and perform full website audits.
Logo Design and Personal Branding
Logo design and personal branding are two of the fundamental steps in marketing in general, whether online or offline. Many digital marketing Belfast agencies have teams of creative graphic designers that can come up with interesting logo designs. Your logo design is the first thing your audience sees, and it is, most likely, what will be stuck in their minds. Therefore, your logo is an important component of your personal branding and your online presence.
Social Media Management
Almost every digital marketing Belfast agency offers this service. They offer to manage your social media pages, your Ads, and provide you with reports about how your business is doing online. Social media specialists can help you deliver your advertising message to the right person at the right time in the right place. Tone, content and relevance are the basis of creating a powerful social media presence. The main job of social media specialists is targeting the right audience for your business. In other words, knowing where to look for your potential customers.
Online Marketing Strategy
Setting up an online marketing strategy is not a one-size-fits-all plan. Your online marketing strategy should be customized to each business based on its needs and unique approach. Each business has its own core values, vision, and targets. Hence, each business has a different marketing message that they aim to deliver to their audience. Consequently, digital marketing Belfast agencies offer their services to set up your online marketing strategy after knowing specific details about your company. That includes values, mission, customers, competitors, context, and capital.
Internet Marketing Training
As a business owner, you surely spend much money on marketing while being on a tight budget. You may have a team of marketers working for your company, investing in improving their knowledge of the digital world comes in handy. If you do not have any desire to invest in teaching them, then the chances are you’ll spend lots of money getting other people to do things that you and your team could do yourself. Many digital marketing Belfast agencies offer this service of giving Internet marketing trainings to your employees. The more you invest in your team members, the better your company will perform.
Video content is becoming more popular than any other form of content. Viewers find it easier to watch a two or three minute to get information in a visually-engaging way. For many people, it is definitely more engaging to watch a video than read a long text, especially on social media. Video production is an important part of your online to-do list. Digital marketing Belfast agencies can help you with video content strategy, video shooting and editing, and publishing videos online.
Professional photography adds a sense of professionalism to your business. Your target audience need to see authentic and high quality photos on your website or business blog. Photos of your products, your business’s physical area, your staff, or even your events enhance your personal branding. Digital marketing Belfast agencies can ensure that you maintain that genuine image by including high quality photos in your content, or even 360 degree photos.
According to Study.com “Businesses hire Web graphic designers to design a website that best demonstrates the message a company wants the public to see. By identifying an employer’s wishes, a Web graphic designer sketches and then implements a website layout that is visually appeasing. Web graphic designers create the layout, font color, font type, logos, pictures and other visual and verbal aspects of a website.” Digital marketing Belfast agencies are always keen on having a skilled team of graphic designers in order to assist businesses achieve a serious and engaging appearance when it comes to their websites.
So, now we know what the different digital marketing channels are and what kind of services digital marketing Belfast agencies can offer. If you decide to hire a digital marketing agency to take care of your business online, you will be drowning in a sea of choices. If you search for digital marketing Belfast you will find hundreds of companies introducing themselves as the best at what they do. There are many things that you need to know about digital marketing before hiring a digital marketing Belfast agency. Here we will discuss the most important ones:
A Relationship of Trust
“Don’t expect your sales and revenue to shoot through the roof immediately after you hire an agency.”
When you are hiring a digital marketing agency, you are building a long term relationship that will affect your income. For that reason, it is crucial to know what to expect. Look for an agency that will give you a reasonable time frame and realistic targets. Remember that actions speak louder than words, so exaggerating numbers or making it sound too easy sure sounds fishy. Find an agency that will be transparent about the changes they can make to your business online. Speak to those who will be in charge of your brand, let them know that you intend to build a long term deal, if they prove themselves to be good enough. Feeling comfortable, or in other words, feeling that you are in safe hands is very important in business.
Budget VS Results
“Like anything in the world, we cannot always have everything we want”
Unless you are a world-wide hotshot brand that has been established for over a hundred years, your marketing goals will exceed your financial capabilities. Any business owner would love to work on SEO, SEM, SMM, PPC, and content marketing. But like anything in the world, we cannot always have everything we want. Of course an aggressive marketing campaign will be more profitable, but as a start-up or someone on a tight budget, you can still make progress with a small budget. The most important thing is to grow steadily. A good marketing agency should be straightforward when it comes to the impact of financial restrictions. They should let you know what your options are, and that you get what you pay for. You should probably run if an agency promises a drastic growth in numbers in return for a small amount of money. A tight budget is an obstacle to ambitious marketing, but balancing between both is always doable.
Make Sure the Agency Knows What It Is Doing
“Ask Questions. Do not be unsure about anything.”
Investigations about the agency you are going to hire is natural. You cannot trust what you do not know. Ask questions. Do not be unsure about anything. There are some questions that will give you an insight. Do they have experience? How long have they been in business? What is the professional background of those working in the agency? Check their website and social media pages. It is definitely a no-no if they have an unappealing website or poor social media activities. Ask for a client portfolio and success stories. The type of companies they have worked with before and how they performed tells a lot about their level of professionalism. What is their specialization? Some agencies can do better with one digital channel more than another; a strength point. If their main focus matches yours, it would be great. How long is their contract term? Remember that every detail matter when it comes to business. Besides, having answers to your questions will guarantee trust and reliability.
“Many disagreements stem from lack of communication between two business parties.”
Communication is an important part of business. Many disagreements stem from lack of communication between two business parties. You should agree with your agency beforehand on how they will communicate with you. Will they report to you monthly or quarterly? What will these reports look like? Will they attach samples with their reports? You should always make sure you are both on the same page also when it comes to conducting meetings. What is their preferable way for conducting meetings with clients? Through Skype or face-to-face? How flexible are they? Meet the person who will be in direct contact with you, he or she will be your gateway to the decision maker.
Have a Clear Goal
ROI should be the main scale upon which you measure the progress of your marketing efforts. Marketing is a game of numbers after all. You must make sure your agency understands that, too. If they cannot answer questions such as “How much is it costing to generate a lead from each traffic source? What traffic sources are producing the lowest conversion cost? What landing pages are converting at the highest rate?” That should be a deal breaker. The fact that your brand reaches millions is superb, but if that is not affecting your revenues positively, then it does not mean anything. Look for an agency that understands the importance of ROI, and is willing put it as a priority and a success scale.
5 Digital Marketing Belfast Agencies
Ryco Marketing is a digital marketing agency in Belfast established in 2006. The agency specializes in ecommerce development and SEO. It is interesting to mention that Ryco Marketing have a really cool website. The website’s home page provides several case studies for their history of successful campaigns. They work with local and international companies. Their team includes designers, coders, forensic analysts, copy writers, marketing gurus and SEO enthusiasts. The company is also ISO 9001 and ISO 27001 certified. Ryco has a very rich profile and their website is impressive. There are a lot of things to learn. They know exactly how to show off their strength points.
One special thing: using work samples on their website is smart and shows a high level of professionalism and credibility. Ryco definitely knows how to sell itself.
NavaTalk is an agency located in Northern Ireland with a long list under their “What we do” tab. Their website shows they take search engine marketing very seriously. Certified from Google and Bing. They can take care of Google advertising, SEO, social media advertising, and email advertising, too.
One special thing: They take a minute to explain to their visitors what these new marketing terms mean. They explain content marketing, SEO, digital marketing, etc…
Digital Twenty Four
From the very first look at their website, a visitor can tell that Digital Twenty Four know what their strength points are, and also how to flaunt them. With little simple words, they deliver a message: they have fifteen years of experience, tailored digital marketing, and a small client base. They handle PPC, SEO, email marketing, affiliate marketing, website content creation, social media management, and managed blogs. More like one agency to get everything done. Oh, and they are also a Google partner.
One special thing: they brag about their small client base since it is rare to find an agency that chooses to work with a few clients at a time. They also do not work with two clients in the same industry. A great way to show they are loyal perfectionists.
Origin Digital is another agency in Belfast which has a rich and powerful profile. They are a Google Partner and have received multiple awards. Some of their really nice projects are posted on their website. It is obvious that they are good at what they call “Creativity and Technology.” For example, working with Danske Bank, they have created a sports App to engage Northern Ireland school kids. The agency also shows off the huge names they deal with.
One special thing: The BBC, The Grand Opera House, Danske Bank, and Northern Ireland Water are all among their clients.
The Tomorrow Lab
The Tomorrow Lab is also located in Belfast. They have been in the industry for a long time. They are a Google partner, accredited by Bing and Hubspot, as well as being ISO certified. The company does have a high quality profile that it proudly shares on the website. They have worked with established names such as Electric Ireland, Corona Extra, and Expedia. Their clients’ case studies are also available on their website. Their main focus is implementing a stable digital strategy, building resources for marketing, and optimization.
One special thing: They do have an active blog and an elegant logo.
What Does a Digital Public Relations Agency Do?
A digital Public Relations agency’s work is not similar to a digital marketing agency at all. Although they both have the same goal; to promote your business, they work differently. Traditional PR agencies promote businesses through editorial coverage, whereas digital PR agencies do so online. Digital PR expands your company’s online presence by building a relationship with popular content writers and online journalists. The recommendation of a credible third party spreads out your name to the public, and provides you with high quality backlinks. In addition, it affects your position on SERPs and increases referral traffic to your website. PR agencies make sure that your events, exhibitions, workshops, or new products are put under the light. Whether through online articles or TV appearances, this kind of publicity is a great way to build a good reputation to your business.
According to Forbes, here is a list of things that PR agencies do:
- Write and distribute press releases
- Speech writing
- Write pitches (less formal than press releases) about a firm and send them directly to journalists
- Create and execute special events designed for public outreach and media relations
- Conduct market research on the firm or the firm’s messaging
- Expansion of business contacts via personal networking or attendance and sponsoring at events
- Copy writing and blogging for the web (internal or external sites)
- Crisis public relations strategies
- Social media promotions and responses to negative opinions online
What Do You Need to Know before Hiring a Digital PR agency?
A Specialization in Your Industry
“You will need an agency with connections relevant to your niche.”
This is a major finding; a gold coin. PR agencies do have specializations. All sorts of specializations. If you own a fitness center or an art studio and you want to be featured in morning shows, then a PR agency that is specialized in business and money will not do any good. You will need an agency with connections relevant to your niche. The firm also has to be aware with the language of your niche and what your priorities for marketing should be based on the industry. Therefore, the nature of your business determines the nature of your digital PR agency as well.
A Strong Track Record
“A strong profile speaks for itself.”
Public relations people are good talkers; very good talkers. You should look for an agency with a strong track record. A strong profile speaks for itself. Ask the agency for a list of companies they have worked with and how their results were like. Not only names, ask for sample work, too. Of course, you have a specific field of development in mind. It could be media relations, speaking opportunities, or social media. No matter which field you need help with, a good agency should be able to provide with the right samples to prove they are as good as they say they are.
“Public Relations is not the same as digital marketing.”
Results? Well, obviously. We just need to highlight that Public Relations is not the same as digital marketing. Digital marketing is a long process which may take some time before you can notice an influence on your revenues. PR is not the same. Do not get too excited, you will not be seeing results in a day or two. However, you should see results relatively quickly. It is suggested that a good firm should deliver results in a matter of weeks, and definitely keeps making progress.
Like any other industry, there are some laws and regulations which govern the digital marketing Belfast industry. There are many laws that regulate marketing in Northern Ireland; such as fair use copyright, trademark, and product liability. This part of the article shall focus on online digital marketing Belfast laws. As a business owner, even though you are not the one working for a digital marketing agency, you still should know the red lines of online marketing. Studying these laws is important so that you can avoid any legal issues. Unsolicited marketing is “marketing that has not been specifically asked for.” If you are marketing your business through any electronic means, including calls, texts, or emails, they must comply with The Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR.)
Email and SMS Marketing
Direct marketing is defined as: a message that is trying to sell goods or services, or is promoting the values or beliefs of a particular organization. Therefore mail and SMS marketing are among the cases where the PECR are applied. Having said that, let’s explain what these regulations are. You are only allowed to send emails or texts to individuals who opt in to receive these messages. “Opt-in is when a person provides their email address and simply indicates that they would like to receive future emails from your business.” This rule only applies to new customers. You can continue marketing to existing customers provided they can opt-out of future messages. When it comes to sending emails to other businesses, the opt-in requirements do not apply. However, there are other important things that you must include in your email or SMS. You must clearly state the name of your company and all your contact details, and also provide the option to unsubscribe to these messages.
The PECR implies that you must include your company’s address and registration number. In addition, here is a detailed list of what website terms and conditions should cover:
- Ownership and copyright of the website’s content
- Acceptable and unacceptable use of the website and content
- Registration, password and security procedures
- Availability of the website, i.e. use of any information or materials on this website is entirely at the user’s risk
- Links to other websites, i.e. your website is not responsible for the content of other websites you link to.
- Liability disclaimers and limitation
Social media is the closest channel between your business and the public. Protecting your brand is an important part of being that close to your audience. Sometimes users may write inappropriate comments under your posts which other users may find offensive. Therefore, to maintain a professional business profile, you should be monitoring comments against inappropriate language, libelous material, and damaging comments. That being said, you do not need to remove negative comments put down appropriately or constructive criticism, it is also important to remain true and honest. Always respond to negative comments politely and professionally and try to solve the problem addressed if there is something to be solved.
The CAP Code
The Committee of Advertising Practice puts general guidelines about any electronic advertising; that includes online Ads. While creating an Ad or a promotional post on social media or your website, consider the answers for these questions to guarantee your Ads are not breaching any rules. Is the marketing communication socially irresponsible? Is it likely to offend its audience or cause fear or distress without good reason? Does it show unsafe or anti-social behavior? Does it encourage people to break the law? These are all grave conditions that your Ads should not breach.
So, we have come a long way here. Let us sum up this chunky amount of information. This article is divided into two parts: “What Is Digital Marketing?” and “Digital Marketing in Belfast.” The first part introduces what digital marketing means and what it includes. Then, we explained the types of digital marketing and divided them into online channels and offline ones. Online channels include search engine optimization, SEM, content marketing, mobile marketing, e-stores, social media marketing, PPC, and email marketing. On the other hand, offline channels include enhanced offline marketing, radio marketing, TV marketing, phone marketing, billboards, and newspapers and magazines. The final section of the first part highlighted the advantages of online digital marketing: reduced cost, measurability, real time results, demographic targeting, and long term exposure.
The second part of the article “Digital Marketing in Belfast” starts by shedding the light on the various services which digital marketing Belfast agencies offer such as logo design and personal branding, social media management, and Internet marketing training. After that we have discussed five important concepts that you should know before hiring a digital agency. Following that came a list of reliable digital marketing Belfast agencies. As a business owner, you can have a real life example of what digital agencies do and you can even learn something from their impressive websites. Moreover, we have tackled what PR agencies are, what kind of work they do, and what you should look for in a PR agency. Finally, we have approached online digital marketing Belfast from a legal point of view.