Marketing has always been about connecting with the right audience and at the right time. Today that means the internet and the growing field of digital marketing. Without the right strategy and techniques, successfully growing your business can seem daunting. So how can you achieve measurable success for your business? From your website to your online branding, there are more ways than ever before to be found in the right place and at the right time for your target market.
FORM YOUR STRATEGY
Strategizing your approach comes before all else. Decide what you want to do, how you plan to do it, what results you are expecting and how you will measure your success along the way. Working in reverse may be the best way to begin strategizing. Therefore, ask yourself what results you want. Is it brand awareness, lead generation, growth, or something else?
Begin with setting a measurable goal. Having a firm understanding of what you're working towards is the first step in the right direction. Outline how you plan to track, measure and score your success so that you can gauge what return you see on your efforts.
Next, refer to the data you compiled during Research & Development (R&D) - this is where you need to know your audience and your brand! When outlined correctly, your brand's messaging should speak directly to the consumer or prospective customer. Also, consider that it is just as important to understand your competitors while formulating your next strategic step. Whether these competitors offer the same products or services as you (direct competitors), compete in the same space (indirect competitors), or target the same audience (comparators), you need to know what you're up against and what that means for your marketing approach. Perform a SWOT Analysis around your place in the market. Pay special consideration to both the areas you are weaker in AND the areas in which you have strength - these are your points of focus.
DETERMINE THE TECHNIQUES
Now that you have outlined your plan, it is time to begin. Though there is no one-size-fits-all set of techniques for business growth, the convenient part about digital marketing campaigns is that you can almost immediately start to track your progress. Executing a series of techniques and comparing their success is how to determine which will work best for your brand.
IT'S ALL ABOUT THE USER
Refer to the end goal of your digital marketing strategy. It's all made possible when the visitor interacts with your website, right? Make sure that your web design is tailored to your audience's needs. If your conversion rates are low, it could be because your visitors aren't finding what they are looking for or maybe something is impeding them from taking the final leap. This is where you need to ask yourself "why?" Your user experience is going to need some work if you are noticing a negative trend.
There could be a number of reasons why you see a large number of users fall off at a certain point in the process, which is especially critical in operating an e-commerce site that has a high traffic volume but low conversation rates (a.k.a. successful purchases). The best way to find the pitfalls is by personally auditing every avenue a potential customer could take. Evaluate your phone system menuing and call flow, how your website pages appear in different browsers and across all devices, and page speeds that may delay loading time. Next have someone outside of the organization rate the attractiveness of your calls-to-action. If they can't find them, neither can your other visitors.
SOCIAL MEDIA: BUILDING ENGAGEMENT & VALUE
More than half of the world's population is on the internet, and of that more than 3.196 billion are active social media users - and this number just keeps growing. With such consistent growth, every marketer can benefit from giving their business the social media touch. At first glance, social media can appear to focus on the individual. But over the last five years, it has become a platform for e-commerce and interactive community. It is now possible for companies to personalize the way they interact with their customers, prospects and partners. Whether your objective is to increase company exposure or increase traffic, social media helps establish and maintain a positive customer experience. Three out of four consumers are more likely to recommend a brand to others if they have a positive experience with them on social media.
Be sure that your company is only active on the platforms that most appropriately fit your target audience. Determine what type of posts their persona will find the most interesting. Don't forget to use the 80:20 rule as your guideline when creating content: Use just 20% of your content to promote your brand, and dedicate the other 80% to valuable content that interests your specific audience. Business-to-Consumer companies increase their brand awareness and build an online community through short content like blogs, videos and infographics on platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Business-to-Business enterprises educate their prospective customers and position their brand as an industry leader with whitepapers, e-books and case studies on platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn and even Quora.
FOLLOW YOUR AUDIENCE WITH TARGETED EMAIL WORKFLOWS
Though many modern-day marketers consider email an ancient approach to business growth, it is actually the top source of analytics data for marketers! Touch your audience at every level of the buyer cycle with automated email workflows. Your emails should contain valuable information that requires the reader to click a link (the call-to-action) in order to learn more, download something, contact someone, etc. These email sequences not only provide trackability but also help to retain the attention of your buyer from initial interest to the point of sale.
HOW IS YOUR SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION?
Your website is the most fundamental piece of your digital efforts. If the end goal is to get the consumer or prospective customer on to your site, you need to make sure that its optimization is iron-clad. For example, if we know that our targeted audience is searching for a new phone system, they are likely going to search keywords relevant to that topic (phone system, VoIP, telecommunications, etc.). If your website is not properly optimized for these keywords, the search engines will not identify your site as a relevant result. This is only part of the battle. Google, in particular, is continuously changing and improving how their algorithms scan websites. They analyze the searchers intent and then follow their experience on your website - looking particularly for responsive pages that are mobile-friendly and easy to navigate through.
Nowadays there is way too many fish in the sea- users know it, search engines know it and now so do you. Keeping your company's location(s) in mind while implementing SEO and marketing tactics is one of the easiest - and cheapest - ways to rank on that sacred first page of results.
When searching for your keyword, try adding on "local" "near me" or the name of your city/zip code. Organically making the first page of results for "phone systems" is nearly impossible or insanely expensive for a low marketing budget to even consider, but add a local identifier into the search - "phone systems Buffalo" - and BOOM! Ronco Communications is the first result! Now, if your company is not quite there yet, figure out where you are ranking and establish a goal for where you'd like to be. Taking this approach makes it much easier to track your efforts.
RUN AN SEO AUDIT
Your SEO strategy does not have to be a headache! An SEO audit will give you an idea of where your site needs the most work. Take what you've found and make a to-do list! Not sure where to begin?
Analyze your site's pages. Make sure that your keywords are on your most important (and relevant) pages. These words should be in page titles, meta descriptions, the URLs themselves, but most importantly in meaningful page content. However, don't go keyword crazy! Make sure that you aren't forcing them into places they don't belong as search engines have developed their algorithms to detect this trick and could mark your site as spam.
Google yourself! Search directly for your company. Analyze the results. Did you find any inaccurate addresses, phone numbers, or irrelevant pages? Did your site rank on the first page? Are your competitors ranking above you? Are you missing from the results completely? Download the search results template as a starting point, then get to figuring out why and optimizing!
Consider paid advertising. If you are looking for an easy to manage, supplemental SEO effort that can drive fast results while you are working on your to-do list, consider a paid search ad that is linked to a set of keywords relevant to your website. It isn't cheap, but it's effective.
GET STARTED WITH SEARCH RESULTS SPREADSHEET
At Ronco, we use a particular Excel workbook to track where we are ranking each quarter. It helps us to analyze where we are appearing both in the result pages and in the Google Maps. If you have multiple locations like we do, you will likely see differences in your search results even though you appear to treat each location digitally the same. This can be a result of a few different things - the difference in markets across the regions, vague keywords that generate an abundance of results, or maybe even that the location name (ex: Buffalo) is in the company names that are ranking ahead of yours (ex: Buffalo Phones, Buffalo Business Systems, etc)... cheaters.
This by no means is a comprehensive list of all of the strategies marketers use when growing their brand. It is, however, the fundamentals for a strong digital foundation. Your brand is only as strong as you present it to be. So now that you have some guidelines for what your next steps should be, we thought that it would be invaluable to provide you with a list of free tools to help you get started in our next blog!