Photo by Merakist
If your business has an online presence, it’s essential that you invest in marketing. Like, yesterday. It’s the only way to bring new eyeballs to your website, your content, and your products or services. But if you’re just getting started, it can be a bit disorienting to jump in headfirst. So, with that in mind, we’ve created a general marketing strategy guide for you to follow that covers five key areas any marketing campaign should possess. Plus, we’ve included top-notch examples of implementation to provide both inspiration and context.
1. Start a blog
First thing’s first: you need a blog. No ifs, ands, or buts. You need one because it’s a quick way to create and publish new content for your website. This marketing tactic aims to build your website’s authority in a given niche and helps you generate SEO credibility. That is, it helps people find your website via search engine results. One only has to look at a couple of sobering statistics to realize this:
- You have a 434% higher chance of being ranked highly on search engines if you feature a blog as part of your website (Tech Client).
- Businesses using blogs as part of their content marketing mix get 67% more leads than those who don’t (Hubspot report).
Connect with your audience
Before you start writing your blog post, make sure you have a clear understanding of your target audience. Ask questions like: What do they want to know about? And, what will resonate with them? This is where creating your buyer personas comes in handy. Consider what you know about your buyer personas and their interests while you’re coming up with a topic for your blog post.
For instance, if your readers are millennials looking to start a business, you probably don’t need to provide them with information about getting started in social media — most of them already have that down.
To effectively start a blog, you also need to establish it on a reliable platform. If your site runs on WordPress, this is easy. Add a blog and you’re good to go. You should pre-write a good handful of posts prior to launch — at least a month’s worth — to populate your site initially. This gives the impression that your blog isn’t “brand new,” and aids in generating authority quickly. Likewise, having a set schedule as well as several blog post ideas in the works prior to launch are good ideas as well.
Then, publish posts at a frequency you deem sustainable. To aid with topic generation (and better targeting) you should use a keyword research tool to determine the ideal keyword phrases to target within your posts.
So to recap, to start and use a blog for your marketing strategy, you should:
- Set up a blog on a reliable content management system (like WordPress).
- Write several posts before launching your blog.
- Use a keyword research tool like Google trends, Semrush or Moz Keyword Explorer to find keywords to target.
- Generate ideas for future blog posts.
- Create a publication schedule and stick to it.
Excellent blog examples
Kinsta offers an excellent example of a blog that meets this criteria. Its content is highly SEO optimized, image rich, target audience focused, and publication schedule consistent. The content provided includes a varied mix of article types, including tutorials, full guides, and announcements. You also may notice that each blog post shares a similar look, with a consistent layout, properly sized images, and a solid adherence to SEO principles.
And they don’t forget about calls to action to grow their audience.
Another great example is Hubspot. The resources organized under categories and sub categories. Each blog is geared towards a specific target audience and offers content their audience really wants.
2. Get Active on Social Media
Another key component of any effective marketing strategy is to get active on social media. Yes, it can feel like an all-consuming drag (especially to get started) but it can be well worth the effort, especially if you do it right. The real trick is to be both selective and abundant.
What we mean by that is to only post to social media accounts that you feel will best serve your business. If your target demographic isn’t on TikTok, no need to spend your time, energy, and money there, you know?
A social media target audience is a group of people that you’ve identified that you want to appeal to. This can be based on demographics such as age, job title, income level, education, location, or behavior. Your social media target audience consists of the people who are most likely to be interested in your product.
Once you have an understanding of who your audience is, figure out where they’re hanging out online. You have to identify if your community is even on each separate social media platform.
For example, older generations have increased their Facebook use in the past four years. In fact, the share of the Silent generation using Facebook has nearly doubled.
On the other hand, Twitter appeals to younger audiences. In fact, 38% of Twitter users are between the ages of 18-29, and 26% of users are 30-49.
So, pick social media networks to use where your customers frequent and engage there heavily and really commit. There is no going halfway for building social media engagement. Deciding on what to post can be a challenge but let your competitors guide you. What types of posts do they share? Ensure you’re sharing similar types of content. Once you’ve got a handle on that, think of what’s new that you can bring to the table. If you have a unique life perspective, leverage that in what you post. What do you have to say (as an individual or as a company) that is unlike what anyone else in your field is saying?
Use a social scheduling tool to ensure you always have something fresh being posted to your social accounts. Buffer and Hootsuite are great choices. Make use of social image creation tools like Canva, too.
And lastly, be personable. Stodgy social accounts feel robotic and unreal. Inject real personality into your posts and interact with your followers. Reply and engage regularly to build rapport.
The fast food chain, Wendy’s provides a great example of social media done right. They share fun graphics and photos that stick to the company’s branding and engage in social campaigns that are oftentimes silly by on point. Take, for instance, a recent social media video ad they shared that offers a “Guided Baconation,” a meditation centered around bacon.
If this doesn’t bring you inner peace, we don’t know what will. pic.twitter.com/UxGXN0m7bI
— Wendy’s (@Wendys) December 22, 2020
3. Collaborate with Others
Networking has always been an essential part of doing business but it’s even more important in the online space. Because of this fact, you need to make a habit of reaching out to other people in your industry to form connections. On Instagram, this can be as simple as sharing an influencer’s posts to your Stories periodically. This can help to establish you as a loyal follower. Over time, by nurturing these relationships, it’s much easier to reach out for collaborative efforts.
Popular collaborations include giveaways, contests, and hashtag-themed events where several influencers team up and direct their followers to check out other influencer’s content. The spirit of genuine collaboration can be leveraged for real good, where everyone involved benefits. It doesn’t have to be all sales pushes all the time. In fact, it’s much better when real-life creeps into these collaborations.
A great example of leveraging influencers comes from Cotton Stem, an lifestyle and design Instagramer who frequently collaborates with other moms, crafters, and DIYers. For instance, during the fall, she shared her follower’s photos posing on their porches and created an opportunity to build a community and encourage her followers to follow these other accounts.
4. Use Video
According to TechCrunch, nearly 1 billion hours of YouTube videos are watched around the world each day. This incredible metric isn’t totally surprising though because videos have dominated the digital marketing space for a while and are forecasted to continue growing, which is why marketing through video should be part of your digital marketing strategy. Whatever you’re currently doing for your marketing strategy, you need to seriously consider adding video into the mix. With video, you can offer a real-life face to your brand, offer hands-on instruction, interview employees or customers, record life Facebook videos and a lot more.
97% of marketers claim that videos help their customers better understand products. It has been predicted that over 80% of all traffic will consist of video by the year 2021. 81% of businesses are now using video as a part of their digital marketing strategy.
By creating video tutorials, for instance, you’re providing real, helpful content for your visitors. And by helping your visitors, they’re much more likely to come to you to purchase products or services. Hosting videos on an external site like YouTube is helpful as it reduces the bandwidth draw on your site. It also has the added benefit of exposing your videos to a wider audience. It is the second largest search engine, after all.
Darrel Wilson uses video in a fantastic way by reviewing and discussing WordPress topics, which then also sends traffic back to his website. The videos offer in-depth reviews of web hosting and WordPress themes and plugins. Often, these videos are embedded in blog posts to add value in that way as well.
5. Leverage Email Marketing
If you don’t have a signup form on your website, now’s the time to add one. By collecting email addresses, you’ll be better able to reach your target audience on a regular basis. This also means you can solicit repeat customers more easily by sending out coupons, offers, and announcements.
There are tons of email marketing tools available to streamline this effort and cover features like website signup forms, list segmentation, email templates and newsletters, and autoresponder series. Many still include A/B or split testing features that aid in the creation of an ever more effective marketing strategy.
Popular tools to consider using include Mailchimp, aWeber, and Constant Contact. If you use WordPress, you may even consider using a plugin like Contact Form 7 to create stylish signup forms to integrate with your email service. Hubspot, Marketo. ActiveCampaign are more complex marketing automation platforms where email marketing is part of the ecosystem. These platforms could be leveraged as well, but a lot more education is required to get started.
The Grove Collaborative has a strong email marketing game. They send out regular emails promoting VIP deals that drive home both FOMO and exclusivity as well as coupons and announcements. The company offers home cleaning and personal care products mostly, but they do a good job at product rollouts as well. For instance, around the holidays, they sent out email blasts promoting exclusive seasonal scents.
Having the right marketing strategy on hand can make a world of difference in how your marketing efforts play out. You see, it’s not enough to have a plan on paper — it needs to be implemented well, too. By using the right tools and tactics, you’re certain to see a significant return on investment.