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We wrote this guide to help you be more productive with your time spent on marketing.
Digital marketing can make all the difference to your business. With the evolution of marketing technology in the last decade, you have a choice of many tools and platforms to help you stand apart from the competition and get noticed. In this article, we'll cover some of the most effective digital marketing techniques along with tips on how to make the most of them.
Are you approaching it in a way that's right for YOUR business?
Identifying buyer personas and creating marketing funnels are crucial aspects of your digital marketing strategy. It's easy to confuse tactics with strategy. Tactics are the actions you take for a particular end, such as an ad campaign.
A strategy, however, refers to the big picture, an all-encompassing vision for your business. The real point of digital marketing is finding the techniques that allow you to connect better with your customers and prospects.
An effective strategy requires goal-oriented actions. With every campaign, set SMART goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based. Keeping this formula in mind helps you stay focused on choosing tactics that have specific objectives such as building your email list, increasing brand awareness, or making sales. Download our free SMART goals template.
Your digital marketing should be a well-oiled machine with parts that work in harmony. An omni-channel approach is one aspect of this. Your website, social media marketing, ads, and offline promotions should be seamless. Always maintain brand consistency. Make sure all of your channels and even offline promotions have the same voice and style.
Never miss an opportunity to link from one channel to another. Link to your website in tweets, Facebook posts, and videos. Remember to link strategically as well. You don't always have to link to your homepage. Send people to blog posts, web pages, and other content that's relevant to what they're looking at.
As mentioned, you may need to create multiple buyer personas. You'll need distinct marketing funnels for different types of customers. This is part of segmentation, which means separating your customers into the appropriate categories rather than treating them all the same.
Email lists are fairly easy to segment. Create distinct lists for subscribers based on purchase history, interests, and demographics. Segmentation, however, applies to all aspects of your marketing. You'll create different ad campaigns for different types of customers. If you target very different audiences, you might even create separate blogs, Facebook pages, or YouTube channels for each.
"49% of organizations do not have a clearly defined digital marketing strategy"
If you're not defining clear KPIs, how will you know what is working?
To know whether or not you're succeeding, you have to measure as many variables as possible. You can measure almost anything nowadays, but you have to make sure your analytics are aligned with your goals. Before you start any kind of campaign, make sure you set a goal. For example, you might plan to get a certain number of new subscribers, Facebook followers, or orders from a certain action.
A conversion occurs when someone takes the desired action, such as filling out your opt-in form, buying a product, or ordering a free sample. We've already looked at some ways to improve conversion optimization. You always have to measure your conversions and test variables to improve your conversion rate.
While traffic is a vital metric, you also have to pay close attention to what your visitors do once they land on your site.
Before you can increase your ROI, you need to measure it. Here are a few key tools that help you do this.
While many metrics such as traffic, bounce rate, and engagement are important, what really counts is conversions. Conversion Rate Optimization (commonly known as CRO) is necessary for getting better results from your website and increasing conversions. Here are some guidelines for optimizing your conversion rate.
Identify you ideal buyer, to make sure your marketing message is not only consistent, but contextual
Before you think about advertising, content, marketing automation and other digital marketing strategies you need to identify your target audience. Creating an accurate buyer persona is the first step. What's interesting about buyer personas is that they're imaginary yet still provide you with lots of useful information.
For example, if your buyer persona is a 35-year-old IT professional with a college degree who lives in the suburbs, this won't describe all of your customers perfectly. Yet it gives you a good general idea of your target audience.
Don't take buyer personas too literally as they only represent an average. Also, keep in mind that they may change over time. That's why it's important to continually engage with your customers consistently. Once you have at least one buyer persona, you can start creating a marketing funnel.
A digital marketing funnel usually starts with an opt-in page and offer. However, anything that lures prospects into finding out more about your business is part of your funnel, whether it's a paid ad, social media post, video, webinar, or another type of content or platform.
Marketing funnels can be divided into three main parts: Awareness, Consideration, and Conversion. These correspond to the phases of the buyer's journey. For all stages, make sure you're addressing your buyer persona. Think of a pressing problem that he or she is eager to solve.
In practice, of course, the stages may overlap. In a sense, consideration begins the moment someone learns about your business. Some people may buy immediately. Others, even at the bottom of your funnel, won't be ready.
While modern technology in some ways makes it easier to get customers into your funnel, there are also certain tech challenges that make it more difficult. For example, some of your visitors may use apps or secure browsers that let them visit your site anonymously without cookies. That's why it's more important than ever to create effective marketing funnels that motivate people to engage with you.
These are the entry into your marketing funnel, so don't neglect them
Landing pages are essential for your marketing funnel and for your entire digital marketing strategy. As part of the top of your funnel, they're often the first interaction your customers have with your business. As such, you need to put a great deal of thought into making your landing pages exceptional.
Landing pages are laser-focused pages designed to get visitors to take a particular action. Make sure there's a highly visible button to click on. Don't divert people with any other links.
If your landing page doesn't load quickly, you'll lose traffic. Make sure your page isn't weighed down by large images or other elements that slow it down.
Today's customers are likely to be arriving at your landing page from a mobile device. Make sure all features are easy to access on smartphones and tablets.
Since a landing page contains a CTA, it's a good place to include social proof such as testimonials and reviews. These have a powerful effect on visitors.
Landing pages are among the most important items to continually test. Remember that when you test ads such as AdWords or Facebook ads, you also need to test the landing pages these ads point to. By split-testing each element, such as headlines, CTA buttons, layout, or the offer itself you can improve your results.
Turn leads into customers with multiple touch-points
Every business needs a steady supply of leads. However, even the best leads need nurturing. We already looked at marketing funnels and landing pages, which are part of the lead nurturing process. Now let's take a more comprehensive view of making the most of your leads.
Not all leads are equal. In fact, their quality varies widely in terms of your ROI. Lead scoring is a process that lets you rate prospects on a scale, helping you to decide which are most likely to become customers. You can use advanced software and services such as HubSpot for lead scoring or you can come up with your own methodology. However you do it, make sure you learn how to assess your leads so you know which are worth investing in.
When prospects express interest in your business, it's crucial to follow up promptly and multiple times. Most people don't buy right away. They need to interact with your business at multiple touch points. Marketing automation tools such as autoresponders and social media tools can help you do this. Don't overlook personalized follow-ups (phone calls, personal emails, in-person meetings) when appropriate.
There's a close relationship between lead nurturing and content marketing. Targeted content helps you attract prospects' attention in the first place (i.e. get them into your funnel); it's also powerful for nurturing leads.
If you want to convince your audience that you have the best solutions for them, you need to establish your credibility, trust, and expertise. There's no better way to do this than to produce strong content such as long-form articles, videos, webinars, e-books, white papers and other materials. To nurture leads, you must target your buyer personas, addressing their specific needs.
It's safe to assume that your prospects are active on many devices and platforms. You can't expect good conversion rates if you're only engaging on a single touchpoint such as email or Facebook. While an email list is an essential marketing tool, open rates for email messages are often low, often between 20 and 30%. Click-throughs, of course, are considerably lower, usually below 5%.This doesn't mean you should neglect email marketing. The point is you can't rely on a single touchpoint.
"Lead generation, sales, and lead nurturing are the top three organizational objectives for content marketers."
Most buyer's journeys start with Google. Make sure you're found
Your website is only a valuable asset if your customers can find it. While you can get targeted traffic with paid ads, it's also necessary to optimize your site for the search engines. SEO is one of the most effective inbound marketing strategies.
There are a lot of great resources out there to help you understand more about SEO, and to help you get familiar with SEO terminology.
Image Source: Medium
If you want to improve your search engine rankings on your own, there are quite a few SEO tools to help you.
Google Search Console - Formerly called Webmaster Tools, this is another essential free SEO tool from Google. Some of the data overlap with Google Analytics but many people find GWT easier to use.
Yoast - Anyone who uses WordPress should install this free SEO plugin.
Bing Webmaster Tools - Many of the best free SEO tools are offered by Google. Since it's the world's #1 search engine, it makes sense to use the company's own tools to help you rank. However, it's a mistake to ignore Bing, as many businesses do. BWT helps you rank on the #2 search engine, which gives you an edge over those who only focus on Google.
Screaming Frog - This imaginatively-named site is great for web-crawling your own (and your competitors') web pages. There are both free and paid versions. The free version lets you crawl up to 500 web pages.
Identifying the most profitable keywords is a fundamental aspect of SEO. The above SEO tools are related to keywords but the following ones are specifically for keyword research.
Keyword Planner -Another Google tool, this one created for AdWords but also very useful for SEO.
Wordtracker Scout - A browser extension that helps you find keywords.
Soovle - A creative keyword tool that collects autocomplete suggestions from Google and many other sources.
KWFinder - Specifically designed to find long tail keywords.
Ahref's Keyword Explorer - Includes information on ranking difficulty. They offer a free 7-day trial. You have to sign up for paid plans if you want to continue using it.
Ubersuggest - Created by SEO guru Neil Patel, this often brings up keywords not found by Google.
Wordstream - A popular and well-regarded keyword tool that's free for the first 30 searches.
Keyword Explorer - A creation of Moz, which also offers a host of other SEO tools and services.
Keyword Magic Tool - From SEMRush, a leading SEO service. You can try the tool for free but have to sign up with SEMRush to continue using it.
Longtail Pro - Another useful tool for finding long tail keywords.
"61% of marketers say improving SEO and growing their organic presence is their top inbound marketing priority."
Both work well in their own way. Here are some Pros & Cons
One of the most basic distinctions in digital marketing is between content and paid marketing. There are pros and cons to each.
Includes articles, blogging, videos, social media, and publishing/posting/broadcasting on other platforms such as podcasts and webinars. Content marketing is one of the best low-budget inbound marketing strategies.
Includes PPC (pay-per-click) ads such as AdWords, social media advertising such as Facebook and Twitter, display ads, banner ads, video ads, and retargeted ads (targeting customers who've already visited your website).
Don't think you have to choose between them as you'll get the best possible results by using both.
Social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn help you engage with your customers and attract new ones. While there are benefits to organic social media tactics such as posting regularly, paid advertising are one of the essential pillars of social media marketing.
Because Facebook is, by far, the largest social media site with over 2 billion users worldwide, all businesses need to establish a presence here. Facebook marketing technologies go far beyond its advertising platform. Look for ways to leverage your business page, Facebook Live (live streaming video), groups, and other tools that can make your ad campaigns more effective. For example, you can use Facebook ads to promote your page or call attention to a Facebook Live session. Facebook Audience Insights is a powerful analytics tool to help you learn more about your audience and target your ads with precision.
Instagram is the leading social media site for visual content such as photos, memes, and short videos. Because it's owned by Facebook, you can set up advertising campaigns through Facebook Ads. With Instagram, you pay for sponsoring your content. One of the limitations of organic Instagram posts is that you can't embed hyperlinks into them. With paid ads, you can include links as well as reaching a wider audience. Another tactic worth pursuing on Instagram is influencer marketing, where you pay popular users to promote your business.
Twitter, while not as popular as Facebook (300 million+ monthly active users), is still huge and has an extremely diverse user base. It also fills a unique function with its format of very short tweets. Finally, Twitter is influential even beyond its numbers as celebrities tweets' are constantly quoted in the media. Because of its influence, you can use Twitter to gauge the latest trends. Promoting your tweets is the simplest way to advertise on Twitter. You can also create a followers campaign to grow your following.
LinkedIn is essential for anyone who does B2B marketing. With over 500 million users, it's the best way to reach business owners, executives, investors, and job seekers. There are several options for LinkedIn advertising. Sponsored content lets you promote your articles on LinkedIn, which is good for building brand awareness. You can also buy text ads and send sponsored emails.
YouTube is also a social media platform and one you can't afford to overlook. There's no questioning the importance of video for reaching your audience. In addition to creating and posting videos on YouTube (as well as your website and other social media sites), YouTube advertising lets you promote your videos and get more views quickly.
Often overlooked by businesses, Pinterest can be effective for promoting physical products, food, destinations (e.g. hotels, resorts) real estate, and anything where visuals are crucial. It's worth noting that the majority of Pinterest users are female and have higher than average incomes. Promoting your pins with Pinterest advertising can be a good addition to your social media efforts.
If you want to get a solid ROI on social media advertising, you need to invest in the platforms where your audience is most active. Facebook and Twitter are used by almost all demographics. It takes research and testing to identify which other platforms are right for your purposes.
"The average conversion rate in AdWords across all industries is 2.7% on the search network and 0.89% on the display network."
There are many aspects to implementing an effective digital marketing strategy. We've covered some important areas such as marketing personas, sales funnels, landing pages, SEO, and measuring your results. You may find it's more practical to outsource certain tasks to a marketing partner rather than trying to do everything yourself. No matter how you decide to proceed, make sure your strategy supports your long-term goals and helps you communicate what's unique about your business.
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