Digital marketing is the main show in town for companies during Pandemic …Shannon Chamber webinar hears

With seventy-five per cent of consumers now trying new ways of shopping during COVID-19, will this pattern continue in the long-term? That was a question raised during a recent webinar which Shannon Chamber hosted with digital marketing specialists, Caroline Dunlea and David Brett, co-directors of Shannon-based Core Optimisation.

The focus of the webinar was to advise businesses throughout the Mid-West region on how to best use digital marketing to reach their customer base in the new digitally driven business environment we now find ourselves in. Given that companies can no longer rely on face-to-face meetings or use trade shows to reach and find new customers, they are increasingly turning to digital as their key marketing channel. Even those reluctant to change have changed

Topics covered during the one-hour session included the challenges and benefits of digital marketing, the measurements and metrics a company should review to measure activity, why search engine optimisation is important, how to improve a website’s ranking and, the tools that are available to support and grow a business online.

“Digital marketing can help a business improve its customer targeting, measure the return on its investment more easily, find out more about its customers and, reach a more global customer,” stated Core Optimisation’s Caroline Dunlea, who has a proven track record in helping companies increase their online business through innovative digital marketing techniques.

“There is no point in developing a website and letting it simply sit there expecting people to land on it. You must work at getting visitors and more importantly, visitors that convert to a sale. That’s why you need to use Google Analytics to its optimal. It’s only when you bring all the data together that you can build up good customer information,” added Ms Dunlea.

“The goal of a website should be to generate revenue; that’s why measuring its performance and setting targets is so important. The key to digital marketing is using the right channels, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, to drive traffic to your website, continually assessing the potential return from each channel, how much is will cost to get revenue from the channels and most importantly, knowing which channels your current and potential customer base uses. Everything has to brought back to a revenue metric, converting visitors into sales,” added Ms Dunlea.

Commenting on the value of search engine optimisation (SEO) for improving a website’s visibility, Core Optimisation’s David Brett said that it is the forgotten child in digital.

“SEO is low cost versus other channels and is still the dominant source of traffic and leads. It is the critical part of an omnichannel marketing approach; the more a company grows its SEO, the better its overall online Return on investment (RoI) will be. Choosing the right keywords is key. The first step in any SEO project is to identify the most relevant keywords to optimise for. Companies should aim for a mix of high-volume and niche phrases that are relevant to their business and use keyword planner tools to check the ranking of various words.

“Companies should continuously do a content audit and assess what content needs to be refreshed, what is missing, check if images are optimised for search and always be mindful of how content looks on mobile, paying particular attention to broken links.”

Advising on how to improve the conversion rate of digital activity, Ms Dunlea advised webinar attendees to strive for informative and well thought-out content, to use clear and crisp images and video where it makes sense, know what their customers search for, continually reinforcing the problem being solved and how a company’s product or service can solve that problem.

Commenting on the value of digital in a pandemic environment, Ms Dunlea added: “Businesses that have a multi-channel approach are those that are winning now. It is critically important, in an era of audience fatigue, that companies think differently.”

Complimenting the Core Optimisation team on the amount and relevance of information shared, Shannon Chamber CEO Helen Downes added: “This webinar showed how fast the digital environment moves and changes. Key takeaways for business owners have to be: think digital first; ensure you are measuring all the relevant key performance indicators for your business; use the insights from your Google Analytics data to inform your strategy; have a multi-channel approach; identify low to medium-cost channels and maximise based on your business needs; ensure your website is optimised and monitor its performance monthly; do a content audit and content plan; and fully utilise Google my Business to inform your digital marketing activity.”