Do you have a digital marketing strategy in place for your business or are you still trying to figure out how to make this whole online marketing thing work?
A digital marketing strategy is more than being active on social media or running Facebook ads, it's about creating a layered and comprehensive online marketing strategy suited for your business that is aligned with your business goals.
Do you ever feel like you're spinning your wheels online? Do you try one online tactic (because an “expert” said you had to do it) after another with little results? Do you have a game plan?
Most businesses run their online marketing campaigns in silos. They run a Facebook ad campaign here, send out a newsletter there, and have someone write some blog articles hoping that will “SEO” them to the top of the search engines.
While you may find some success with each of these tactics, these are just that, tactics. All of your marketing should have a purpose along with a predefined outcome. All of your different marketing strategies should be working in unison with each other to create that layered, comprehensive digital marketing strategy that will generate regular leads for your business.
Developing a Digital Marketing Strategy
A digital marketing strategy is when you have a clear picture of what your goals are, who your audience is and how you are going to reach them.
It's a layered approach where you use several different online mediums to reach your ideal customer. It's knowing what messaging you should use for each medium and understanding where each of these potential customers are in the buying cycle.
It's understanding what value you need to offer potential customers at all stages of the buying cycle to keep them interested, engaged and eventually, ready to become your customer.
A proper digital marketing strategy will keep the top, middle and bottom of your sales funnel so full that your sales team will fall in love with you.
Who is your audience?
The first thing you need to be clear on is who your audience is. You may have several different types of customers and will need to create profiles for each of them. This is important because knowing who your potential customers are will determine what mediums you will use to reach them, which we will discuss below.
How will you reach them?
Once you know who you are targeting you will need to determine to best place to reach them. Are they on Facebook? Do they use Pinterest? Are they actively searching online for a product/service like yours? Asking and answering these types of questions will help you determine where you should be spending your time and money.
There are so many opportunities to reach your audience online it's scary. Social Media alone offers dozens of different platforms and advertising options. You want to take a layered approach so you can reach your audience across different channels as well as reaching them at different stages of the buying cycle.
Putting Together a Digital Marketing Strategy
The options listed below all have a single thing in common, your website. When it comes to the online space, your website is the only property you fully own. It's where you can create the perfect environment to convert interested visitors into customers. Pretty much all of the channels below will involve sending people back to your website, where you will have landing pages setup that have specific messages and offers for each of your different customer types.
A great digital marketing strategy will draw traffic from a wide variety of sources. It will use a mix of Search Engine Optimization, paid advertising and email marketing that will draw generate leads in all stages of your sales funnel.
A typical sales funnel will look something like this:
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) will provide you with some of the best ROI out of all your marketing strategies, if well executed. The reason most businesses don't go this route is that it can take several months of work before you start to see returns on your investment. And most businesses have been burned in the past by some company making “first page of Google” promises that they couldn't deliver on, leaving people sour on the idea of doing SEO.
The best thing about SEO is if you target the right search terms and can get good rankings for them, it will deliver traffic and leads month after month, long after you have paid for the initial work.
A good SEO strategy can cover all part so your sales funnel. You can target people just starting the buying journey with Q&A questions and product reviews, as well as end of funnel people who are looking for specific products/models to buy.
Local SEO, is similar to traditional SEO, it concentrates on a specific geographic area and places a focus not only on your website's organic rankings, but also on 3rd party sites as well to drive leads. Google My Business, Bing Places, online review sites and directories are examples of 3rd party websites where you can optimize you presence and generate traffic for your website.
A solid SEO/Local SEO strategy can typically get you listed twice on the first page of Google, one for your local listing (AKA the map listing), as well as your traditional organic search ranking.
Social media has become a core marketing strategy for many businesses though most have yet to figure out how to generate paying customers with it. Social media has two components, the organic use of social media and the paid advertising opportunities.
Using social media organically to grow your following to generate leads is still an option, though the platforms like Facebook are making it harder and harder for businesses to grow organically. It can also be time-consuming as you typically need to keep a constant presence in order to gain traction and visibility. Organic growth is still viable, but some paid advertising layered on top is what usually what makes it work for most businesses.
Paid advertising on social media is probably where the biggest opportunities lie, especially with Facebook. The types of targeting available with Facebook Ads is unmatched on any other platform. LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter all have their own advertising options as well and has made social media an awesome place to spend your advertising dollars where you can reach highly targeted audiences.
Pay Per Click Advertising
Google Adwords is the king of pay per click advertising, where you only pay when someone clicks on your ad. Facebook also offers pay per click advertising and is quickly becoming a favorite among advertisers. With pay per click advertising, you can serve ads to individuals based on what they search for (typically how Google Adwords serves them) as well as demographic, behavior and interest targeting (how Facebook targeting works). It's basically the opposite of traditional advertising where you send a single message to a mass of people, hoping someone might be interested. With pay per click advertising, you can create specific messaging and offers based on the type of user you are targeting or what they typed into the search engines.
Pay per click advertising works great alongside an SEO strategy as it allows you to “fill in the gaps” where you are not getting organic rankings for certain search terms. Google has also been giving paid ads more and more visibility in the search results, at the expense of organic search listing.
Remarketing is when the ad platform you are using (Facebook, Google Adwords, etc) drops a tracking cookie on someone device when they visit your website. With this tracking cookie in place, you can now advertise to them after they leave your website. In the case of Facebook, you can now serve ads to them on Facebook and partner sites of theirs. With Google Adwords, you can advertise to them on thousands of Google partner sites.
In the case of Facebook, you can now serve ads to them on Facebook and partner sites of theirs. With Google Adwords, you can advertise to them on thousands of Google partner sites, giving advertisers a very wide reach in serving remarketing ads. Ads can be in the form of image banners, text ads, video ads and various Facebook ads and post types for Facebook remarketing.
Remarketing will reach a smaller audience, only people who have visited your website, but typically returns a high ROI compared to other advertising options. Remarketing works great for products/services where people are comparison shopping or where the sale is more complex and requires a longer sales cycle.
Display and Video Advertising
Google Display Network (part of Google Adwords) is the biggest platform for image banner and video marketing and has thousands of partner sites where you can serve ads based on demographics, interests, and behaviors. Facebook is also becoming a great pace for video advertising.
Think of display banners as tiny billboards, except you have the ability t show your ads to highly relevant people instead of anyone and everyone, like a typical roadside billboard. While not as targeted as Pay Per Click advertising, it can give you a wide reach with a targeted audience. Think of it as the middle ground between pay per click ads and traditional mass advertising.
More people search the internet now from their phones rather than a computer. The crazy part is that many businesses do not have a mobile-friendly website, let alone doing any sort of mobile-specific advertising. Yes, by not having a mobile strategy in place, you are immediately giving up on half the people on the internet.
If you're a local business or a brand with multiple store locations, mobile is a goldmine for marketing, especially with Local SEO and in the advertising space.
Imagine have a storefront and serving ads to people as they walk down your street. Yes, you can do that with Facebook proximity ads. Someone is driving home from work and needs to order a pizza from the car, a mobile Call Only ad with Google Adwords or a high ranking local listing is perfect for getting in front of them at just the right time.
If you do not have a mobile friendly website, that is where you probably need to start if you want to develop a mobile marketing strategy.
Most online retailers, when asked what is the one marketing channel that delivers the best ROI for them, will answer email marketing. Building an email list can be one of the most profitable things you can do for your business. Where else can you communicate with thousands of customers and potential customers at will for $25-$75 bucks a month using email marketing software?
Many people abandoned email marketing as social media gained prominence, despite that fact that study after study concludes that email marketing returns a far higher ROI than social media. Go figure.
Getting started with a digital marketing strategy
Do you need to do everything above in order to create a great online marketing strategy? No, you don't. What you want to do is select the right marketing mix in order to reach you audience through different mediums and across marketing channels.
Creating a layered marketing approach with a purpose will ensure that you reach the right audience, at the right time and with the right message.