Today internet is the main media channel for individuals, private and public organizations. All these utilize the internet in different ways. However, it’s important for these organizations and especially for the businesses to deploy digital marketing. Appropriate digital marketing strategy is vital for small and medium-sized businesses because when done properly, businesses will get visibility on the internet. This means traffic, leads, sales conversions, customers and loyalty.
Definition of Expert and Authority Terms
In terms of digital marketing, getting expert and authority status really matters. What do these terms mean? When you have studied and/or achieved certain amount of knowledge and skills in working life, you can be called an expert. Then you have specialized knowledge and expertise in your field. Cambridge Dictionary defines “expert” shortly: “a person with a high level of knowledge or skill relating to a particular subject or activity”.
In order to provide more thorough definition for the words “expert” and “authority” we can refer to Wikipedia: “An expert is somebody who has a broad and deep competence in terms of knowledge, skill and experience through practice and education in a particular field. Informally, an expert is someone widely recognized as a reliable source of technique or skill whose faculty for judging or deciding rightly, justly, or wisely is accorded authority and status by peers or the public in a specific well-distinguished domain.”
Now we have provided definitions for the essential words. Achieving expert and authority status doesn’t happen quickly. It can take months and years of work to reach it. When we think about certain fields as electrical engineering, accounting or marketing, studying one of the fields takes some years. Usually there are even more specialized courses available so that a student gets expert knowledge in this field.
Gaining Expertise in Narrow Market Segment
The fact is that electrical engineering is different between houses and cars. Accounting is different between public and private sector. Marketing is different between offline and online. When a subject field is narrow and you obtain knowledge and skills for this narrow market segment, in other words niche, it’s easier to achieve expert status. We can say that the narrower the field of subject, the sooner you are able to get expertise.
Think about a single course with just one subject field teaching “how to do something”. This kind of courses show the exact steps you have to take in order to properly and successfully perform a task, complete the entirety and by this way achieve your goal. A learner obtains knowledge, follow the steps and is expected to implement the knowledge into practise. It’s a well-known fact that knowledge is worthless unless you implement it into practise.
eLearning that Netpreneur Club offers, are examples of digital marketing courses that are very specialized and provide expert knowledge for learners. The idea is to deliver specific results quickly. By doing an online course learner experiences transformation – from not knowing to having specialized knowledge and skills in the field of subject. It’s up to person whether or not he/she utilizes the acquired knowledge in the real world. But when learners do apply their knowledge into practise, results usually correlate well with good business idea, vision, positive mindset, working hours and perseverance.
The Role of Digital Marketing in Building Authority
Today the internet enables us to utilize technologies that were not available in the past. We have different platforms and apps at our disposal for sending emails, chatting, social networking etc. For example the rise of social media has created completely different kind of idea of popularity and publicity.
The following is not any kind of exhaustive explanation for the role of digital marketing in building authority. Rather it provides some examples that show how businesses can utilize their brand to build audiences on social media platforms like Facebook. In addition, the following paragraphs provide some strategies of how a small business can gain visibility in the vast internet.
As we know, the most popular social media platform is Facebook. It has over 2.74 billion monthly active users. Content creation is completely in the hands of the users. When a shared content gets a lot of likes, it gains popularity as well as person who have created and shared it. But this is not the whole picture. In addition, there is a chance to follow a business page on Facebook. These followers form your audience on this platform.
We can say that when you have got a significant number of followers, you have received certain level of popularity and publicity. This means that people know, like and trust you and regards your business as an authority. When you have reached this stage, you have power over your audience. This makes it easier to market and sell products and services. The following chart; Most popular Facebook business pages as of June 2020, based on number of followers clarifies this.
Most popular Facebook business pages as of June 2020, based on number of followers (in millions)
(Source: Statista, Jan 27, 2021)
After Facebook’s over 214 million followers, Samsung has over 159 million, Christiano Ronaldo has over 122 million and Real Madrid C.F. has over 111 million followers on this platform. These figures refer to audience sizes of each business page.
What do you think? Can Samsung sell their newest smartphone model to part of their followers? Is Christiano Ronaldo able to sell Nike products to the most enthusiastic fans? Will Real Madrid C.F. sell club products to the most ardent supporters? The answer to all this questions is definite yes.
Naturally these examples are far from what small businesses can do. However, they show one crucial thing. These businesses are all well-known brands so their audiences know, like and trust them. They have “magic power” over their followers and fans. This power is based on authority in that field.
Writing and publishing was a challenge for an ordinary man when there was no internet in the past. There were certain paths available you had to go, if you wanted to publish your literary work. If you wished to publish your opinion, you had to write to Letters to the Editor section of a newspaper or magazine. By the way, this option is still available. Should you wanted to publish some larger written work, you had to contact for example a publishing company. They had and still have their own rules.
Times have changed since those days. Nowadays we have the internet where there are different platforms that can be used for writing and publishing. Social media offers many platforms where you can publish your opinions, experiences etc. However, these social media platforms are aimed at social networking and as such they are closed societies.
Blogging is perhaps the cheapest way to get your writings published on the world wide web. There are many different blogging platforms available. To mention only a few ones; WordPress is the most popular blogging platform offering hosting service and self-hosted solutions. Wix works on hosted platform and Blogger is a free blogging service offered by Google.
Today blogging is a good way to write and publish ideas, opinions, experiences, analysis, stories, news and so forth on the internet. Blogging suits especially well for individuals and small businesses who like to publish their articles and get some feedback in return. Readers of a blog can post their comments and by this way discuss a subject in question.
When think about a small business operating in a narrow market segment, in other words niche, blogging is an excellent and low-cost way to get your message in front of your audience. In the beginning, when you are starting out, gaining visibility can be a problem. In other words, it can be a challenge to get visitors and readers to your blog and reach your audience.
Collins Dictionary gives a good definition for the word ‘strategy‘: “A strategy is a general plan or set of plans intended to achieve something, especially over a long period.” To put it briefly, strategy is the way to achieve your goal in the long run.
In terms of blogging, we can say that strategy means having a plan for achieving visibility on the internet in the long run. This plan should provide details of how you are going to create traffic and reach your audience. Your goal could be achieving 10,000 visitors per month. When you know the average conversion rate in your field, it’s easy to calculate how many visitors would buy your product or service. By this way you can estimate and set also your revenue goal.
I had a small blog over 10 years ago. I also familiarized myself with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) back then. For this reason, I can say that digital marketing and blogging has developed during the last 10 years. What worked then, doesn’t work anymore today.
Blogging requires continuous content creation. In the beginning when you are starting out, it’s a good idea to create unique cornerstone content. This unique content should have at least 2000 – 2500 words in each post. You can write and publish even longer posts, if you wish. The main idea is to publish 5-6 cornerstone content posts in the beginning. After this, you could write shorter posts for example twice a week.
In addition, you must optimize your content for SEO. This means optimizing your main keyword phrase for title, slug, meta description, text body, images, outbound links, internal links and some other items for Google search. I use self-hosted WordPress platform where I have installed Yoast SEO plugin. Must say this plugin makes it easy to optimize blog post content.
Performing Google search is the way to go when you like to find other blogs in your field or niche. This way you can discover blogs with similar subjects and post comments and leave URL link back to your blog. Another way is to seek blogs that allow guest blogging. This method allows you to have URL link back to your blog. These two methods should belong to your link building strategy.
In order to achieve visibility and reach audience of your blog, you need to know the key SEO metrics. There are several key metrics available but we concentrate only on the following ones:
- Page speed
- Organic traffic and conversions
- Keyword metrics
- Backlinks and referring domains
- Domain authority, DA
- Page authority, PA
Page speed is one of the most important factors for Google when it determines quality of your website and other pages. It measures how fast content on your page loads. Currently page load time should be under 2 seconds.
Organic traffic and conversions are the other essential performance indicators. They measure how much traffic, in other words visitors, your blog attracts and how much of these visitors convert into sales, email signups, phone calls or form submissions. Google Analytics has a portal where you can find what you like to measure and set Google Analytics to track them. When you use WordPress, there are several plugins available for tracking organic traffic.
Keyword metrics measure the value of keywords. There are several keyword indicators such as search volume, keyword difficulty (KD), Cost-Per-Click (CPC), competition in paid search and other ones.
Backlinks and referring domains are still the most important factors in Search Engine Optimization (SEO). The number and the quality of backlinks matter. The more backlinks from good quality websites pointing at your blog, the better and higher ranking your blog gets.
Domain authority (DA) is developed by Moz. This scale is from 1 to 100. The higher the score, the better ability your blog at the domain has to rank. This means when you create backlinks from blogs that have higher domain authority (DA), then ability of your blog to rank better improves. In consequence you get greater visibility and better audience reach.
Page authority (PA) is also developed by Moz. It has a scale from 1 to 100. The higher the score, the better ability specific page of your blog has to rank in search engine results pages (SERPs). Page authority consists of multiple factors like the number of external links and many others. So when you create unique content, this should increase the page authority score. This in turn should increase the domain authority score over time.
This blog post shows only two ways to build business authority by digital marketing. However, there are several other ways an individual or a small business can build know, like and trust factors online and offline. When they are done properly, it is easier to generate leads and get sales conversions.