The online/digital marketing process is one that requires effort, consistency, ongoing analysis and technical know-how.
And when implemented correctly, it can help any business owner reach the goals they have set out for their business.
However, the question is not always “does it work?” but rather “will I see immediate results?”.
The answer is pretty simple and disturbingly straight forward: Unfortunately, not.
Everyone wants to see immediate results from their digital marketing and understandably so, but this is a process that simply cannot be rushed.
Sure, there are ways to achieve temporary results such as Google Ads, buying likes and followers, content automation, link manipulation or other bad-guy SEO (search engine optimisation) tactics.
However, if your aim is to achieve significant and long-lasting results for your business, then you must understand that digital marketing simply isn’t an overnight job.
How long does it take for digital marketing to work?
Understanding the digital marketing process in detail will help you understand why it may take several months to see results. It will also help you understand why it’s more than worth the wait.
Firstly, to put things into perspective, if your business already has an established following of 20,000 people as well as an existing social media strategy, then the chances of seeing almost-instant results are relatively high.
However, launching a new business, one unknown to the market with several recognised competitors, will require more time before seeing any results.
Bottom line is – The length of time it takes to see results from digital marketing depends largely on where you start, what your competitors are doing, your budget and your focus areas.
Where do you start?
Well, your online marketing should start with a great website design. One that’s mobile responsive and ready for any device. Additionally, website speed, user-friendliness and content precision are vital to any successful website and must be taken into consideration throughout the website design process.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Once your website contains the above criteria – the next step is to start with SEO.
Search engine optimisation should be the very next step in your digital marketing strategy. BUT – SEO must be executed strategically.
SEO is the process of making your website the most relevant to search queries used to find businesses like yours.
Essentially search engines i.e. Google need to make sure the websites they present to their users in search results are a.) as relevant as possible to the search result and b.) provide comprehensive information that improves the lives of their users rather than wastes their time by providing inaccurate information or no information at all.
Now considering the fact that there is an unfathomable number of online searches performed every single minute of the day – it has become extremely important to be at the top of every search result relevant to your business.
- Not being at the top of search engine results will end up in your website losing a serious amount of traffic.
Appearing at the top of the search engine and attracting the right type of traffic ultimately results to an increase in conversion rates – which is the aim of the digital marketing game.
Focusing on SEO means that you are focusing on providing search engines with clear indications on what, who, how and why your website deserves to be at the top of their results.
Content marketing aka inbound marketing or am I just “blogging”
The next step is content marketing otherwise known as inbound marketing.
Inbound marketing uses search engine optimisation, content marketing and social media marketing, to attract prospects while highlighting a service or product.
The special thing about inbound marketing is that it’s equally relevant and effective for businesses with small or large followings as well as start-up or well-established businesses.
Unlike the blogging craze that started up a few years ago, content marketing has a specific purpose.
Instead of blogging about difficult social interactions at your weekly yoga class, preferred coffee temperatures and why zoodles work well with cashew nut cheese sauce – content marketing aims, or it “should” aim to create and speak to business’ narrative.
Writing a blog each month is easy enough – but there are several aspects that need to be considered and effectively incorporated before “blogging” becomes lucrative.
Business relevancy, trending topics and how your clients go about finding the information you’re presenting must be at the forefront of your content marketing strategy.
Additionally, your content marketing plan must adopt your SEO strategy. Again, SEO works towards making your website the shiniest diamond of the lot and indicates to search engines that your website is the best match for a search query.
Are your competitors using digital marketing?
We often have clients whose competitors have been around for years and their position on the search engine appears to be practically cemented.
Yes, this is a problem, but instead of fixating on how your competitors are ranking above you – you need to focus on how to dislodge them.
Although search engines aren’t entirely predictable – there is a certain equation to working your way up their search engine results.
Of course, it will be much harder to outrank your competitors who already have a sturdy and established online presence – but it’s not impossible.
Competitor analysis requires looking at their SEO strategy, assessing their content and social approach and where applicable, evaluating their Google Ads plan.
It may be that your competitor has an inferior product/service to yours, and we know it hurts to see them raking in the clients and cash, but if their marketing campaign is holistic and effective – you will need to take their efforts and ensure yours are even better.
If you have a top-shelf product or service, you can find new audiences, foster their trust and convert them into paying customers who are likely to keep coming back.
Budget – How big is yours?
Big companies have big marketing budgets – and are likely to provide quicker results than that of the average SME business’ budget.
Now this isn’t to say that a tight budget won’t produce results – it may just take a more time.
A more generous budget means more time can be spent on digital marketing efforts, and more input generally means more output and quicker results.
No – your competitors don’t necessarily have the upper hand – but you will have to make sure whoever you pick for the job has the right modus operandi going forward.
There are thousands of digital marketing agencies in Cape Town for example, with only a select few following the right steps.
Most demand a retainer with no transparency on what or how your money is spent. Unlike companies with unlimited budgets who may not necessarily ask questions – if your budget is tight, you need to see a breakdown of services and you need to see reporting on what has been done and what the effects were.
What do you focus on first?
A singular approach is not going to cut it. For example, you cannot depend solely on one type of service such as a pay-per-click campaign without making sure it aligns with your website’s SEO.
The world of digital marketing is constantly evolving. It’s therefore imperative that you adopt a holistic strategy which is expansive and comprehensive.
It’s at this point that it becomes clear that digital marketing is an ongoing, long-term commitment which requires constant nurturing and a company that addresses all its aspects rather just one or two.
How to choose a digital marketing agency
The important thing to remember when hiring a digital marketing agency, is that digital marketing is not simple, or an easy one-size fits all task.
With that said, gone are the days where you had to travel around to different companies to have your company’s different needs and wants met. Most online marketing companies should offer an all-inclusive package.
Assessing the services of an online marketing company and how much they can offer you in terms of output is important.
Steer clear from digital marketing “experts” who tell you that it’s a quick and easy method to increase your lead generation or sales. These people are likely employing black-hat SEO tactics that will result in Google penalising your website. Buying followers, likes and reads is also not a worthwhile method – your followers should become brand ambassadors for your business, and it doesn’t help having 10 000 followers living in Nepal if your company and its services are only offered in Cape Town.
Going organic doesn’t only apply to how you pick your veggies, but also how you build your following and in turn client base.
Digital Marketing South Africa – Digital Marketing Agency Cape Town
In order to see genuine results, you need to stick with a digital marketing strategy for a minimum of 6 months to a year.
However, if you are not correcting every aspect of your website from back-links to user experience, providing high quality content or posting frequently, it may take much longer.
The process of digital marketing entails measuring goals that have been set and when achieved, new goals are set, and a new strategy devised to work towards them.
It also involves identifying when things don’t work and a devising new plan.
Our digital marketing agency in Cape Town aren’t afraid of a challenge and love working with clients from all spheres of business.
We’ll get to know you, your business and what your goals are. We provide monthly reports, a breakdown of services and true love – haha.
Transparency and communication are key, and we hold the relationships we have with our clients very closely.
We’ve grown our business from a copywrite service to a full-scale online marketing company – successfully serving website design from our brother company ITM Website Design Cape Town and SEO, content marketing, social media marketing as well as pay per click advertising.
Contact us for a free SEO audit and let’s chat – we’re happy to answer any questions you may have about our website design and the digital marketing process we follow.