Photo from Atlas Rose
Let’s be honest, marketing has always been confusing. When you add in multiple digital channels, apps, algorithms, and hundreds of websites, it becomes downright overwhelming. Even for marketing pros.
With hopes of each digital channel being that magic pill that brings you success, business owners jump to the next perceived solution in search of the holy grail of lead sources.
That rarely works and the result is frustration, broken relationships, and a whole lot of wasted money.
“The first thing you have to understand is almost all things marketing lead down a digital path. Even traditional offline advertising like billboards and radio directs traffic to digital landing pages.
“Digital isn’t just a segment in the marketing space anymore. It has transcended to be the center of any coordinated effort, If you don’t own and actively manage your digital footprint, you’ll lose.”
– Branden O’Neil
With the importance understood, how do you begin to move toward a complete solution that works?
O’Neil suggests focusing on these 5 pillars of digital marketing.
This is the place to start. Make sure you have a website that effectively communicates your value proposition in 3 seconds. All of your future marketing activities will pass through to your site or some version of it. It should be able to turn consumer interest into action with gated content, form fills, and multiple ways for someone to engage with your company.
If the website doesn’t deliver a good experience, it can short circuit your lead collection.
The fastest way to get leads right away is through paid search. This is referring to the ads you see after Google searches. However, it doesn’t stop there. It includes Facebook, Youtube, LinkedIn, Twitter, and others. The downside is, getting results can be expensive. For example, it’s not uncommon for personal injury attornies to pay up to $100 for a click. Although effective, paid search should not be overleveraged in your marketing plan.
The far more affordable method of lead collection is search engine optimization (SEO). This refers to the practice of using high-value keywords to describe your services. The more you build “digital credibility,” the more frequently the search engines display your site to users. However, where and when your site is shown is out of your control and the exact algorithm Google uses to rank sites is a closely guarded business secret.
This is an extremely important step in digital marketing. It’s hard to develop an online reputation without regularly posting relevant and educational content. Atlas Rose recommends looking for content ideas by asking associates closes to the customer what questions they regularly answer. If these questions are being asked in person, they certainly are being asked online. Put your company at the center of the conversation by getting people closer to the answers they need. A good starting goal is producing two pieces of content per month. This can come in the form of written articles, infographics, videos, or podcasts.
House this content on your website and use these links to post on social media. “Focus on adding value for your customers, not direct selling,” says O’Neil.
Customers posting their positive experiences on social media and Google with your company is known as social proof, and it’s the most effective and fastest way to build credibility. Take an active role here and ask for reviews. Let people know that your business meets and exceeds expectations.
One North Florida car dealer goes as far as making this their central marketing theme. If you are looking for a great car buying experience, 5500 5-star reviews give you confidence that you’ll be pleased too.
Don’t forget about old-fashioned email. This is a great tool for any marketer because you control the frequency and message. Engaged company followers select to receive messages from you so a carefully crafted strategy can move them to become active customers. “O’Neil cautions, “don’t overuse your list and push out messages that make follower’s lives better.” Give them tools, needed knowledge, or anything else that brings value.
SMS or text messaging is also proving to be an effective and still emerging marketing technique. Open rates are much better than email, but be careful about how you use it. Have a clear opt-in program so you don’t break any laws or upset your audience.
Setting all this up can be a lot of work, so if it’s a bit more than you want to handle, or you lack the expertise, seek out the services of a competent marketing leadership company. Make sure they tell develop an overall strategy on how it all fits together. It’s best to hire a CMO-level marketer that understands how to organize your marketing efforts. Approaching marketing in this way will help you stop chasing a magic fix and move toward consistent long-term lead generation.
Terms used in this article:
Digital footprint: The information about a particular person or company that exists on the internet as a result of their online activity
Social proof: The concept that since so many people have had a good experience, it must be true.
SEO: The process of improving a website to increase its visibility for relevant searches
Gated content: content that website visitors can access only after providing their contact information. In most cases, this means an email address.