• flipboard

3 Digital Marketing Strategies you Should Not Ignore

Everyone loves something for free. The marketing message varies but the core tactic involves the word “free”.3 Digital Marketing Strategies you Should Not Ignore

Phrases such as “buy two and get one free”, “free holiday for purchases over $1,000” and the online shopping favorite of “free shipping” are the bread and butter for all marketers.

When you are starting your blog, website or start-up you usually don’t have a big bucket of money to throw at marketing. Traditionally you did something like a letter box drop, a direct mail after buying an expensive list from a database marketing company or you hired a telemarketing company to call people and annoy them.

In the digital marketing world it could be buying Google Adwords and commencing a digital marketing campaign that uses key words and phrases that people would use to find your product or service when searching online, it could also be Facebook ads targeting your city and target demographic. At the end of the day it can cost a lot of money to mount a major marketing campaign unless your family is backed by Rupert Murdoch, Bill Gates or a drug baron. The money pit is not a bottomless pile of gold coins produced by the golden goose. You have to get smart and savvy and find cheap or zero cost alternatives or otherwise start robbing banks.

So How do You Get Free Traffic?

So you have to be clever and work out ways to get free traffic that you can convert to leads and sales.

The three digital marketing strategies that can pay off and drive free traffic include social, search and the all important “unique” content that is the foundation element that facilitates and accelerates the sharing and lifts your search results.

1. Search is Changing

There are two ways people find your blog or website when searching online. They either click on the paid Google Adwords that are placed on the side or the top of the search results page  (that someone has paid Google to put there) or they clicked on the other links that are called “Organic Search Results”. These are earned through optimizing your website and blog for search engines.

Five years ago SEO consultants were all the rage. You hired them and put them in a dark room, fed them pizza and pasta and soon your site was ranking on the first page of Google. It was like magic. If you dug a little deeper they were doing things like buying links, setting up domains with the keywords in the URL that were important for your business and other tactics that gamed the search system.

But Google has started changing the rules. Strange sounding updates for Google that include the words “Panda” and “Penguin” are really code words for “watch out your site is about to drop from page one to page ten”

Plumbers, painters and podiatrists that were ranking on the first page of Google and had built booming businesses based on old school search engine optimization (SEO) tactics had dropped off page one and the inquiries and leads had dried up. This type of SEO didn’t require creating great unique content that the web needs and loves but just involved playing the SEO game.

The search game is changing with Google now putting major emphasis on content and social signals such as Retweets, likes, shares and the Google Plus one platform’s +1’s.

It is no longer about gaming the sytem but adding real value to the web through regular publishing of content that people love to share, link to and embed.

2. Content is the New SEO

Google’s updates have made content marketing the hottest trend since “planking”.

Create, publish and promote great content and Google (read search engines) will start to love you. That content can be a YouTube video, a blog post or a Slideshare presentation or any type of multi-media content.   eCommerce stores are hiring magazine editors to lead the creation of content that is visual, viral and valued by readers and viewers.

A word of warning here. Google does not like duplicate content (it has new ways of detecting that) so just copying and pasting someone else’s content into your website or blog is frowned upon. It needs to be unique.

The challenge is to make the content so enticing that people will share it with their friends, family and colleagues. This does take some thought, skill and creativity.

Content with a good headline or a captivating image will be shared much more on Twitter or Facebook than a bland bit of poorly written  text. You need to think about what sort of content captures your attention and then create that for your customers that is relevant and tempting.

3. Social is the Turbo Charger for Content

Social networks (Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn) and social media (YouTube, Slideshare and Pinterest) provide the platforms to turbo charge your content. It is how people share content.

Social accelerates the discovery of your content. Before the rise of social web, content was locked up in filing cabinets, hard disks and printed offline articles. Sharing online was limited to sending an attachment via email. This limited its spread as it was private.

Content needs to be re-purposed (Make a blog post into a Powerpoint presentation and put it on Slideshare or take a printed press release and turn it into a blog post), published online and it then needs to be set free. It needs to be built for sharing.

Google has created Google+ to measure these social signals of sharing and is embedding and weaving social into search results.

Content that is shared on social channels is your new SEO.

What About You?

The days of  single channel marketing are over. Combining and integrating social, search and content into your digital marketing strategy are now vital to move from visible to visible on a crowded and competitive web.

This blog was created on a foundation of consistent unique content that was shared on social networks. When I started, Google didn’t really know I existed. Today nearly 50% of my traffic (and it is free) is via Google organic search. That is over 160,000 page views a month. It doesn’t cost me a cent.

How are you playing in the digital marketing landscape? Is it social, search or content or have you moved to an integrated approach?

Which strategies and tactics are working best for you?

Look forward to hearing your stories in  comments below.

Want to Learn How to Market Your Business and Brand on Social Networks?

My book – Blogging the Smart Way “How to Create and Market a Killer Blog with Social Media” – will show you how.

It is now available to download. I show you how to create and build a blog that rocks and grow tribes, fans and followers on social networks such as Twitter and Facebook. It also includes dozens of tips to create contagious content that begs to be shared and tempts people to link to your website and blog.

I also reveal the tactics I used to grow my Twitter followers to over 110,000.

You can download and read it now.

Jeffbullas's Blog


  • (Unique) Content still remains King. Organic search contributes over 68% of traffic to my site even though not as consistent as I would love to do it. Content creation and marketing is the way to go.

  • Creating helpful content makes you magnetic to people who crave the content.

    Excellent tips Jeff!


  • Creating consistent targeted quality content that is optimised for search engines and promoted on social networks will produce results that will surprise and Google is now rewarding this strategy. It is the democratization of marketing!

  • Content definitely should be the focus of your SEO strategies. SEOs should be migrating to selling inbound marketing strategies rather than worrying about pagerank and tons of links.

  • Angela Booth

    Great advice Jeff, especially about content repurposing: “needs to be built for sharing”.

  • Content development is still at its peak especially when developers are adapting to the changes in SEO today. Thanks for the insights Jeff. Looking forward for more!

  • Alejandra

    This gives me and my clients hope that you don’t have to buy a good spot on Google but that great content really is important. This is an article I will pass on to my clients and associates. Thank you!

    • The natural search results or organic are 75% of all clicks so the free clicks are outnumber the paid by 3 to 1. So earnt rather than paid is much more important.

  • After Penguin and Panda, SEO is based in these 4 pillars:

    – On- Page optimization (but be careful with over-optimization)
    – Quality back links related to your business niche
    – Fresh, original content (as you mention)
    – Social signals (getting more an more important every day)

  • Five years ago SEO experts were all the rage.

  • I would like to duplicate this content and force feed it to my clients!

    • Duplicate and share with as many people as you like! 🙂

  • Chris

    Jeff so true we find the South African client base and environment provides so much great content the only issue of duplication here is that some of our politicians are repeating themselves and end up duplicating their own content..thanks for the great feed

  • HP France

    Thanks again for a great post, and for everything, I am learning more from you than you know and I think I am growing my blog and my brand quite well as a result, so thanks mate.

  • In the digital marketing world it could be buying Google adwords and beginning a online advertising campaign that uses key content that people would use to find your products or services when searching on the internet, it could also be Facebook ads targeting your city and target market.

    white label social media program

  • yes, I have experienced content is new SEO, where we should need to focus on users view . .and assist them with useful and informative content .

  • yes, Google only does job here to keep far far away the page which have copied the content from the original ones.

  • Diana Silva

    Is your book available in audio? I am a fan of audio books and I am sure many of us would benefit from it!

    • Good idea Diana. Have to think about that one. 🙂

  • ochssocial

    Great article! Thanks very much

  • Not all SEO consultants are still sitting in a dark cupboard eating pizza 😉 I couldn’t agree more that the face of SEO is changing: Google is still increasing the importance of social signals and I’m sure it will continue to do so for the next couple of years.


    Thanks Jeff but seo isnt all dead link building still works even if its occasionally spammy not that im promoting that check my post on The Google loopholes that exist now over at http://www.thewebout.com/seo-news be warned though it gets controversial

  • Gareth Mailer

    Google is putting next to no weight on social signals – links are still by far and away the most weighted signal engines rely on to assign position in search, despite claims by many (who want to sell their content) to the contrary (I’m not suggesting that you are one of those people, Jeff – unlike many, your analysis is balanced).

    Matt Cutts statement: http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2290337/Matt-Cutts-Google-1s-Dont-Lead-to-Higher-Ranking

    Eric Enge: http://www.stonetemple.com/measuring-google-plus-impact-on-search-rankings/

    And so on…

    That said, social signals have a VERY positive INDIRECT impact on organic rankings. Google Plus has a VERY positive impact on personalised results (it will have an even bigger impact moving forward as it is increasingly utilised as a unified login).

    Lastly, G+ isn’t even a social network – it’s a means for Google to capture data, data which can be used in future to further machine learning (a system’s ability to learn from data input and something that’s been seen as the foundation behind many of Google’s more recent, large-scale, algorithmic updates).

    Search has changed markedly over the last few years, however if anything it’s only increasing in importance.

    Any marketer these days – be they a UX specialist, social media consultant, SEO, paid search marketer, whatever – is no longer a product of their discipline, they are a holistic marketer.

    SEOs are in the uneviable position of being more associated to the entire mix – digital PR, social, UX, content etc. – than most other marketers, so their position will only evolve as time goes on (so too will the expectations of their clients).

    • Thanks Gareth for your very balanced view. You may have noticed over the years that I have woven SEO, Email, social and content into the blog content and conversation. Creating online visibility is an integrated mix of digital optimisation and activity. You ignore any of these at your peril!

  • Camilla Zajac

    Great overview, thanks!