“Where do I start?”
By Sharon A.M. MacLean
It seemed that every client I talked to this week was experiencing a touch of overwhelm about digital marketing. These business owners had done a lot of research this year into the digital world and how it applied to their plans for growth. Many had built up their companies from scratch using familiar sales and marketing tools—yet, online tactics frustrated them.
What’s that axiom about how to eat an elephant: One bite at a time.
So, we talked about strategy based on three steps:
1. Creating relevant content;
2. Deciding on publishing channels for distribution;
3. Nurturing existing customer relationships/finding new ones
Step one: creating content
Content is what drives online search engines. Period. Content is anything relevant to you and your company and takes the form of imagery and story through text, video, audio, and pictures. Think educational. This means anything from article marketing to the basic blog or vlog (video blog) to social network posts and automated email to the ebook, podcast, webinar or teleseminar to the traditional newsletter or catalogue.
Of course, anything you choose must be engaging and sharable for potential clients to take action.
Content is driven by defining your target audience or “persona” which is slightly different for the online audience. Here’s how.
Learn how your prospects search to solve their pain points. Which keywords might they use? How do they search? Determine how those words align with your business goals, and how frequently they search for the key-words. Tip: Perhaps you determine your customers use Bing to do price comparisons, browse Chrome, and search before 8 am every morning.
Provide real solutions. This might be reviews of your top-selling merchandise to accompany a shopping cart or sign-up form that helps the user to take action. Tip: For example, offer easy explanations of how the plumbing and electrical for a new housing development was designed as a call-to-action.
Be compelling. Offer a call-to- action that moves the visitor through your conversion funnel. For example, an idea sheet on “How to Move Your Household” sign-up form. Tip: If a user clicks on how to pack up the precious dishes for a move across the country, you might also include images of protective bubble wrap, preferred box sizes, and best practices for packing.
Capture data. Plan where to go next based on campaign history. Track metrics to help you understand the development of campaigns.
While for many people online marketing is a necessary pain, and often has a deserved bad reputation, designing an effective online marketing strategy is possible. And not just effective marketing, but tactics that break through to extraordinary results. Important and powerful tools exist to help make life easier.
Next time: Distribution channels