A rock solid, digital marketing strategy is absolutely imperative for pretty much every single business in the world today. People of all ages are glued to their smart phones, tablets, and PCs, so it is essential to design your campaign to reach your target audience. Even brick & mortar shops that don’t even sell products online (think: restaurants, plumbers, lawyers, etc.) need to plant a firm digital footprint to spread the word about their stellar products, services, and offerings.
We have identified 7 core elements of effective, winning digital marketing campaigns. These parts work in concert to provide you with a complete online presence. Depending on your business and budget, certain elements will be more important than others, and some might be left out entirely. Except for one. It is above and beyond the most important element. Read on to discover which one it is. No, the answer is not money, power, or fame— though we wouldn’t mind acquiring all 3 of these. They will all come one day, with a good marketing plan. Enough already, let’s take a look at the 7 elements…
1: Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Organic search engine results are the leading way people seek and gather information on the Internet. Thus, it is mandatory to optimize your site in order to 1) rank on the various engines and 2) climb to the first page. Google is a no-brainer to target, but don’t count the others out. There are still still a few billion searches happening on Bing, Yahoo!, YouTube, etc.
Yes, YouTube— it’s actually the second largest search engine in the world (via Roadside):
It is a fact that SEO rules are changing, and failure to adapt will prevent you from achieving desirable results and maintaining relevance among the competition. Know more than ever, search intent is critical to ranking highly. The days of keyword loading are dwindling, and it is important that you adapt your approach to SEO before wasting precious time and money.
Successful SEO is achieved when you serve the searcher. “What does the searcher want?” and “does this content make sense in context of the keywords?” are questions that must be addressed when creating content to drive SEO results. SEO is no longer a formulaic task, rather, it has become a thoughtful craft.
2: Mobile Development
Prominent predictions cast 2017 as the year mobile actually overtakes desktop traffic. Last year, comScore recorded that literally all digital growth now stems from mobile users. 100%. All of it.
So, how much should your business spend on mobile marketing? What percentage of your overall marketing budget should you allocate to mobile? Happily, there’s a simple formula everyone can use…
Kidding— no, there isn’t. Your mobile spend can vary widely based on a huge number of factors, including your best-performing channels. Your website, social media accounts, SMS messaging, localization strategy, and even a dedicated (and optimized) app for your business are all important aspects of the overall strategy you need to consider.
With desktops fading away, mobile is an absolutely essential part of any modern marketing strategy. Alas, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. There is, however, a simple way to choose your starting point:
Track the ways your customers engage with you, provide more opportunities to do so on mobile devices (through a mobile-ready website, free mobile application, and mobile advertising), and carefully transition more of your marketing budget into what works best for you. Rinse, repeat, and optimize.
Oh, and don’t forget about Apps. Apps are killing it right now, and that trend is not going to stop anytime soon.
source: 2017 U.S. Mobile App Report
Question: Why do you need an App?
- Create a fully customized, branded environment for your users
- Enjoy a direct, always-visible channel to your best customers
- Build an unlimited product catalog and payment platform
- Improve engagement with a low-distraction environment
- Nurture customer loyalty through ease of use/shopping
Question: Who should have an App?
Any all-digital business can benefit from adding an app to their marketing mix. But brick and mortar businesses can enjoy equal— even greater— gains. With tech ever-advancing and developers getting ever more creative, literally any business you can think of— retail, restaurants, tradesmen, medical, legal, school, artists, musicians, real estate,etc.— should get an App developed.
3: Pay-Per-Click (PPC)
PPC marketing is one of the fastest ways to get traffic to your website. This traffic is very targeted and generally on-par with organic search traffic. It is important to recognize that no matter what keywords you bid on, you must always bid on your branded keywords.
If you sell products online, you definitely want to take advantage of PLAs. This is Google’s method of presenting and distributing products to it’s users. It used to be free, but now it is a part of their paid services. How it works: submit a product list to Google, include pertinent information (product descriptions, pricing, availability, etc.), and pay for placement within the search engine. Bing offers a similar service, but the traffic pales in comparison to Google.
Geo-campaigns are great for targeting localized results. By purchasing ads in locations with proven track records, and where the services are actually available, we increase the likelihood of ROI and improved user experiences. Geo-campaigns are constantly evolving, requiring routine updates and modifications to improve upon their effectiveness.
Non-Branded Keyword Focus
Investing in non-branded keywords is an effective approach to connecting with potential users unfamiliar with your brand. When you embark on a paid search campaign, it is imperative to allocate a portion of your budget on non-branded keywords.
Negative keywords ensure your money is being spent wisely within a paid search campaign. It is also an opportunity to prevent your ads from appearing on unrelated industry keyword searches. With a skilled PPC manager in place, negative keywords will account for increased optimization.
PPC is burgeoning right now. It’s really time for businesses with budgets to give it serious consideration. You need to ask yourself, “how committed are you to taking your business to the next level?”
We’ll end this section with some compelling marketing statistics (via Click X):
4: Content Marketing
Content marketing is arguably the cornerstone of your digital marketing campaign. It is through your content that you connect to the public and engage users. It is imperative to develop content with a purpose to achieve your marketing goals.
When you think about it, content marketing is the opposite of advertising. It starts the conversation around your company’s story and shares something greater that actually interests your customers. It gives them a free education— whether it’s the history of the mobile phone or the top 25 websites to go to for keyword research. The best content marketing is informative; leaving your audience always wanting just a little bit more. By becoming an authority on subjects that resonate with your customers, you will become highly recognized and respected within your network.
That is our simple definition of content marketing. Let’s see what the experts have to say about it.
- Content Marketing Institute: Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience–with the objective of driving profitable customer action.
- Forrester: Content Marketing is a strategy where brands create interest, relevance, and relationships with customers by producing, curating, and sharing content that addresses specific customer needs and delivers visible value.
- Gartner: Content marketing is the process and practice of creating, curating, and cultivating text, video, images, graphics, eBooks, white papers and other content assets. These are distributed through content management systems, media platforms, and the social graph.
- IDC: Content marketing is any marketing technique whereby media and published information (content) is used to influence buyer behavior and stimulate action leading to commercial relationships. Optimally executed content marketing delivers useful, relevant information assets that buyers consider a beneficial service rather than an interruption or a “pitch.”
The biggest revelation about all of this is that you can no longer just say, “we are the best” or “we are number one”— the public has heard that spiel a thousand times. Instead, if you are going to expect and desire people to consider you to be the top company in our niche, state, country, or the world, you need to EARN it. Taking the time to research complicated subjects, then presenting them in the most-receivable fashion, are what separate one company’s commitment to being the best from another’s avoidance of modern relevancy.
So, what type of content marketing should your company be using?
Videos, eBooks, blog content, infographics, how-to guides, memes, presentations, slideshows, image marketing, quote cards, and much more…
Ponder this: if content is anything you put out there to influence the client, what is good content versus bad content? Thought about long enough yet? Well, what are you waiting for? Go on and get creating. There’s a lot of work ahead— just take a look at this (thank you, Dendrite Park):
5: Social Media Marketing
In case you haven’t been around since the turn of the century, social media is kind of a big deal. Oh, and MySpace, for all intents and purposes, is dead. If you haven’t already done so, you need to get your business set up on the various social platforms. But just being there isn’t enough. You need to be alive, thriving, and interacting with the world. By the world, we mean your audience, potential customers, your industry’s community, charitable organizations you support, worthy causes, altruistic societies— so, basically, we mean the world when we say the world [3 times in one sentence, for the win].
Here’s an outline on how to approach social media for your business:
- Define your goals
- Goals linked to measurable marketing objectives form your strategic basis define objectives, and dictate the tactics you will employ to achieve them. Describe what you want to achieve through your marketing efforts on each social media network you have a presence on.
- Outline a content strategy
- List all the social media channels your company uses, and who is in charge of each.The primary and secondary goals of your social presence must be defined. Know and focus the KPIs you will be measuring.
- Profiles of personality “types” for your target audience. Define what you want/need from them. Do this for each social media network, as the audience is likely to vary on each channel.
- Important dates— holidays, special sales, promotional offers, product launches, etc.
- Know your audience
- Your buyer personas are an important component of your business as they help you ensure you are targeting the right people, in the right places, at the right times, and with the right message. The more accurate and intricately detailed your personas are, the easier it is engage existing and new customers. This is especially true when it comes to social media, since your audience on each network is likely to be very different.
- Be on the right social channels
- You do not need to have an active presence on every single social network, only those that appeal to your current (and target) audience. That is to say, be where they, themselves, are most active. It is all about the right people in the right places, as everything else is just wasted time.
- Discovering what networks your audience is most active may seem a little tricky, so here’s a novel idea: ask your customers what they use. Added bonus tip: study what your competitors are doing on social media.
- Separate strategies for each social channel
- If you take a blanket approach to your social media marketing efforts, you will smother your chances of reaching your target goals. You recognize that each channel is different, so treat them differently when building content and campaigns. Take advantage of the possibilities of one channel to do certain things will simultaneously recognizing its limitations for doing others.
- Talk like they talk
- Your social media strategy is an amazing opportunity to present the human side of your brand to customers. Do not use industry buzzwords, formal language, or technical jargon in your social media copy. Take a relaxed, conversational tone instead– especially when responding to consumer reviews or questions. If you need to incorporate trending topics and hashtags in your social content, make sure there is a justifiable context, and it relates to your brand in some way. You don’t want to alienate customers or cast shade on your brand.
- Keep a watchful eye on the competition
- This is pretty straightforward. A good starting point is to analyze the social media content being put it out by your five closest competitors. Recognize both the good and the bad. Knowing what you are competing against will tremendously help you shape your strategy and fine tune your social marketing goals.
- Quality content is a must
- No one has time for bad content. Besides, there is already a ton of it out there for your consumers to get angered with and/or ignore.
- On social media, quality is really about the value your content adds to the lives of your customers (i.e. how it helps them). When there is value, it gives them a reason to pay attention to your future posts.
- Quality content builds both trust and your audience.
Plan your social success by knowing what you want to achieve, then outline the processes you are going to follow. Be aware of both your audience and competition’s tendencies. On it’s face, social marketing might not seem like it is the most important tactic to employ to convert leads, but it is an extremely powerful tool for generating buzz, increasing loyalty, and gaining new clientele. In the end, it is all about building the complete package to deliver yourself more completely to the consumer and allot for future success.
source: Red Website Design
6: Cultivating site visitors via email marketing
People land on your site and don’t convert. Too bad, lost sale, right? Wrong! You want those customers.
Statistics show that 97-99% of consumers do not complete a purchase the first time they visit a site. That’s okay, they are just virtual tire kickers. You can still get them. With an effective email marketing campaign, it is not unrealistic to convert 65% of the visitors that did not buy something the first time they visited your site.
You have got to get it out of your head that email marketing does not work. or it’s not for your company. Or it’s a big headache. Here are 5 reasons you need to be doing it:
- Speed. This is where email shines. It just takes mere seconds to transfer information from your desk to the world.
- Reach. No real boundaries to overcome. Go everywhere, anywhere, all the time. No expensive campaigns, limitations, etc. Put it out there. If a customer opts in, he or she can receive emails anywhere in the world.
- Inexpensive. It is, by far, the cheapest marketing tool available. In many instances, other than time, it’s free. At such a low cost, a single conversion can make the entire campaign worth it.
- Effective. That’s right, it is effective. This is not a spam blast (yum, spam blast, my favorite Mountain Dew flavor)! You are sending out emails to people that have opted in to receive information about you, your company, your services, etc. If you create an effective drip campaign with a quality series of emails, you are going to see conversions start to skyrocket.
- Personalized. It is not difficult to add a personal touch to your emails, even if it is automated. You can segment and parse your mail lists so only certain subscribers receive specific emails.
Bottom line: email marketing is for every business. There is a lot more to we could say about creating a campaign, but we feel this infographic does the job quite nicely (via Pardot):
The product or service your business sells is, by far, the most important aspect of any digital marketing campaign. The best part about it, it’s out of the marketer’s hands! Kidding aside, it really is the heart and soul of the campaign, so it has to have merit.
Alright, so what does that mean? It means that your product (by now, I think it goes without saying that the term “product” also includes”service” or anything else your company is trying to hock) needs to hold one of the most elusive traits to the eye of the potential beholder: value. Can a consumer look at your product and feel that owning it will add value to his or her life? That is the question that must be answered with a definitive “yes.”
Now, value is not a monetary concern. In regards to the consumer’s life, value is something entirely different. When they are buying your product, they are looking for something that will improve a situation they are trying to correct or change. Does it fill a void, speed up a process, eliminate a problem, improve them in some way, and so on. Are you starting to get the picture?
When it is determined that your product has value, well, then, now we, the digital marketers, have a story to sell. We are half way home, and the campaign will virtually right itself. All that needs to happen now involves connecting the dots.
In the end, it’s not that hard to crush a digital marketing campaign, assuming you take these seven points into consideration, intuit them, and make them so. After all, it’s just science…