By Kiran Ross
Digital marketing is essential for businesses, and it is crucial for marketers to have a grasp on the elements of digital marketing.
Why? Consumers are online, and they research, shop, review and recommend brands all the time, using multiple devices. While traditional marketing mechanisms have their merits, brands cannot afford to rely solely on TV, radio and/or print. These promotional tools do nothing in terms of engagement or promoting meaningful conversations with consumers.
Wheelhouse Advisors created a terrific infographic on digital marketing. They basically break digital strategy into eight essentials. Are you paying attention to these areas? Perhaps there are some things you’ve never given thought to. The start of a new year is a great time to evaluate your digital marketing efforts and see what needs shoring up — and what needs a desperate first look! Here are the eight essentials with my thoughts on each:
1. SEO: SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. In a nutshell, it means “How well are you doing at making your website visible to search engines?” You can pay to boost your visibility, do it organically or use a combination of both. I always advise clients to create useful, relevant content. When readers share your content, it improves your organic search results. One of the best ways to create and share content is a business blog. (To read my previous column on the benefits of business blogging, click here.) As you create blog posts, you are creating indexable pages. Learn how to artfully weave keywords into your blog posts.
2. PPC: Pay-per-click means exactly what you think it does: Each time a reader clicks on one of your ads, you are charged. For example’s sake, think of Facebook ads; they are highly targeted and deliver immediate traffic results, but as soon as your “boost” ends, the clicks/traffic/likes drop off. There are many agencies (even local) that specialize in SEO and/or PPC, and this might be a good option if you don’t have the time (or knowledge) to dedicate to monitoring campaigns. Monitoring campaigns includes watching for keyword performance and tweaking to maximize ROI.
3. Customer communications: This is where the ongoing relationship, customer engagement and meaningful conversations come into play. Much of this just isn’t possible with traditional methods of push marketing. A strong customer communications plan helps convert a one-time customer into a brand advocate — the holy grail of customer interaction. With a little work on your part, your customers can and will do some of the heavy (marketing) lifting for you! You may know this as CRM (customer relationship management): strategies and technologies that businesses use to manage and analyze customer interactions and data. Remember to acknowledge and respond to customers ASAP!
4. Outbound email campaigns: Email marketing shouldn’t be overlooked. It remains a terrific way to communicate with past, current and potential customers and generate business. Your success will increase if you tend to your email list. Segment it out so not everyone receives every single email. Perhaps you own a jewelry store. You might send an email specifically to past purchasers of bridal sets detailing ideas for anniversary gifts. ( Click here to read my previous column on email marketing.)
5. Inbound lead nurturing: In the infographic, Wheelhouse Advisors notes that on average, a lead requires 10 marketing-driven touches to convert from the top of the funnel into a paying customer. “Lead nurturing” is another way of saying lead generation. You want to tailor communications and avoid sounding overly aggressive or sales-y. Through your conversations and nurturing, you are essentially earning the right to convert.
6. Social media: The infographic smartly (and succinctly) points out that social media is used to “engage with existing and potential customers, strengthen relationships and raise brand awareness.” All true. To maximize the impact that social media has on your overall marketing strategy, have a plan. Know who will post, what she will post and when. Designate who will monitor and respond to inquiries and comments. Social media is a great place to share your content (like blog posts) as well as other relevant or trending content. I highly recommend determining where your customers are hanging out (if they’re younger than 35, they’re likely on Snapchat), and start there. You don’t have to spray content on every social network. Do a little research on the front end and work smarter — get comfortable with the platforms that will best serve you and your customers and use those.
7. Content: Content marketing encompasses many things: print pieces, digital pieces like infographics, social media posts, blog posts and even videos. Are you producing relevant, shareable content? Would you read your own content? Good content drives traffic and increases brand awareness. As mentioned before, it helps with search, too, when properly promoted.
8. Website: I’ve had more than one client wanting to dive into social media and drive traffic to their website. The only problem The website stinks. It might be outdated, not mobile-friendly or not even user-friendly. My recommendation in these cases: Update your website, then come back and see me about driving traffic via social media and other content. Don’t neglect your website! Update things like “About” and other basic information (address, phone number, etc.). Make sure links are working and any lead gen forms are functional. Pay attention to your images: Are they current? Is the resolution good?
Hopefully, you’ll find the digital marketing infographic from Wheelhouse Advisors as useful as I did. It offers a comprehensive look at the essential pieces of a digital marketing strategy. Make it a priority to examine your strategy and make necessary pivots.
Catch up on my current posts along with industry articles