There is no silver bullet or magic easy button with digital marketing. Not all businesses are alike, and not all digital marketing strategies work the same. The most effective plans are customized to your industry, your business and your customers. It takes takes research, testing and time to fully understand your customers’ shopping and buying behaviors and learning the most effective ways of reaching them, communicating with them and converting prospects into customers.
Still, there are several broad tactics that can help you chart a course for a successful digital marketing effort.
1. Know your customers. Who are they? Why are they interested in your products or services?
Answering these questions can give you insights about how to target your digital marketing campaign to your most likely customers. Think about how your product or service appeals to their needs and how you offer a unique or better solution than your competitors.
If you don’t already know who your best potential customers are, find out. Send out surveys. Talk to them. Find out who they are and why and how they found you.
2. Make a plan, but keep it flexible. Define your brand and your goals, and develop a digital marketing strategy to meet those goals. The strategy provides a map and a plan of action.
Create goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely — SMART goals. Set a budget, build your campaign and launch your effort. And don’t forget to track the results.
3. Make adjustments. Digital marketing is ever changing – ever improving. Good planning can help you design an effective digital marketing campaign but once you start, consider that it’s just a start. Some companies and agencies think the difficult part in building a digital marketing campaign is in the building. But it’s not. The more important effort happens after the start. This work involves analyzing performance of each platform and attributes within. Take paid search for example. Optimizing a paid search effort involved reviewing keyword performance, searched terms, negative terms, match type, click-through rate (CTR), quality score, ads (test and control) and many other campaign attributes including geographic and demographic targeting. By testing and taking the time to evaluate and adjust how each campaign attribute is performing, you can create a campaign that delivers excellent performance over time.
Taking it a step further, make sure to use Google Analytics to evaluate post-click performance. This involves looking not just at how each campaign attribute is performing on the various platforms (Google Ads, Facebook, Bing, etc.) but evaluating what happens after the clicks. Identify what visitors did after the click. Did they stay on the website, navigate to product or service pages, engage with content on the site, visit a contact us page, become a lead or take steps to buy. Each action a visitor takes can be assigned a little value so that over the course of each visit, you can “grade” visitors. With this level of data in play, it’s much easier to evaluate which platforms, ads, placements and keywords are delivering truly valuable visits to your website. With that, you can then optimize accordingly. By continuing with cycles of testing, analysis and optimization (and of course, adapting quickly to the frequent changes pushed out by advertisers like Google) your digital marketing efforts will continue to improve over time.
4. Focus on mobile. A study by Statistica projects that almost 4.8 billion people will be using mobile phones by 2020. According to Convince & Convert, about 40% of shoppers check at least one social or search channel while they shop and four in five shoppers use smartphones as part of their regular consuming habits. In fact, mobile now makes up over 70% of all internet traffic. If you would like to reach potential customers where they are spending most of their time online, It’s become critical for you company to have exposure on mobile sites. If your digital marketing and website isn’t focused on and built for mobile, you’re missing the boat.
Optimize your website for both desktops and smartphones. Use clickable phone numbers, addresses and calls to action so consumers can access that information easily on their phones. And make sure your images aren’t too big so your site loads quickly. And of course Always Be Testing. Some mobile placements (website) place ads in tricky places that tend to generate accidental clicks. The less ethical websites do this on purpose to monetize website traffic. Rely on an agency that maintains website ad click performance tricksters to generate good valuable clicks to your website, not accidental clicks.
5. Promote information more than your company. Consumers want to learn, but they don’t want a sales pitch. Give them useful and relevant information. You are an expert on your industry. Your consumer want to know that, too. Share that information without becoming an infomercial.
So, what are the best tactics to use when building a digital marketing campaign? While it varies between industry and depends on your goals and budget, here are a few tips. For brand building or to market a new product or service, long-sales-cycle products or those that are obscure rather than mainstream, banner advertising on Google’s display network and on Facebook work well. A form of outbound marketing, banner advertising gets your company name and brand in front of prospective customers who don’t know you and might not otherwise have learned about your company. Add calls to action to generate clicks and visits to your website from those who have an immediate need. With Google Display, you can target based on demographics, geographic, and all importantly, search history or website visit history. On Facebook, you can target by lifestyle, life stage, hobbies, career information and other data found in users’ Facebook profiles which lends itself well to consumer products and other specific industries. If you’re marketing a more mainstream product or service, Search Engine Marketing is an inbound marketing tactic that works well. Included here is SEO, paid search (Google Ads) and online directory marketing which affects your exposure on sites like Google Maps, Yelp, YP.com and hundreds of other directories that aggregate company information.
If you would like some help in figuring out which digital marketing platforms may be best for your organization and how to do it, please don’t hesitate to contact us for a free consultation. We’ll include a free digital marketing health checkup which will include an evaluation of your online exposure including what’s good, what’s bad and what’s downright ugly. For more information, you can reach AdEdge at [email protected] or at (203) 682-4585.