So you’ve decided to join the online marketing ranks and you’ve launched a website or blog for your products or services. Congrats! You’re on your way to becoming an expert in your industry. But you probably have a lot to learn. Especially since SEO, social media, and email marketing are all extremely dependent on one another. The best strategy is often the one that is balanced and effective across all platforms. But it can be difficult to find that perfect mix as you get started. That’s where we come in. In this article, we will cover some general dos and don’ts of online marketing that will help you develop and grow your business successfully. Consider this your ‘digital playbook’ to getting started.
Yes, you read that right. Not just any old research will suffice. You want to enter the world of research and analysis with a clear objective in mind. Maybe you want to become the go-to source for information on your topic or maybe you simply want to generate more leads for your business. Either way, you need a solid plan and ample resources to ensure you can reach your goals. One important thing to note is that often times a business’ target audience can be found in one of their former customers. This is called the ‘Customer Retention Plan’ and it can often lead you down the right path to effective marketing. For example, if you are an e-commerce business and your target audience ends up being other businesses purchasing your products, you might want to consider retargeting your prospects with ads delivered through Facebook.
This is the phase where everything comes together. Conversion is a term that is thrown around a lot in the digital marketing world, but it actually means a lot. To put it simply, conversion is the result of a series of actions that you, the marketer, take in order to make a business relationship with a customer. For example, you might want to show them a product showcase, recommend a service or plan a webinar for them. All of these things contribute to the goal of increasing sales and establishing a long-term relationship with a customer. A lot of times, businesses fail to convert potential customers into actual paying customers. That’s usually because they haven’t taken the time to understand what is motivating their target audience to take the desired action. Once you know what that is, you can provide a better solution. For example, if your target audience is companies purchasing products from your store, you might want to consider an in-house marketing team that can assist with product research and planning. This could include things like trade shows, webinars, and educational articles to name just a few.
Unless you’re measuring the right things, you’ll never know if you’re actually improving your marketing efforts. The most important thing to keep in mind about measurements is that they need to be consistent and unbiased. For example, if you are tracking clicks using Google Analytics, be sure to have a look at the ‘best practices’ for using GA with other platforms like HubSpot and Marketo. There are a lot of things you can do to ensure that your measurements are as accurate as possible. That being said, you don’t want to get too technical on this front and lose sight of the big picture. As a beginner, focusing on detail will only hurt you in the end. For instance, trying to use pixels instead of pixels on a mobile device can make a significant difference on your conversion rate.
Over-reliance on digital marketing channels
Just because your target audience is engaging with content digitally, it doesn’t mean that they only consume content that is digital. In fact, recent research from HubSpot reveals that users prefer to receive digital marketing messages in physical form. For example, if you send your target audience a promotional code for a free sample product, but the code is only valid for digital marketing, they will not be able to use it. Your best bet is to include a physical component to your promotional activity. For example, you could hand out pamphlets at a trade show or put up posters in hospitals.
Setting challenging KPIs for yourself is an important part of taking the reins in your digital marketing. KPIs or Key Performance Indicators are the measurement metrics that you use to determine how successful a certain marketing campaign was. For example, you might want to set a goal of getting 10 new customers via email over the next 30 days or of increasing website traffic by 10% in the next 30 days. It’s important to note that sometimes businesses set really high KPIs for themselves without considering whether or not they are even achievable. There are usually a couple of these vague benchmarks set by the marketing department that doesn’t leave much room for growth – and that’s what makes it so difficult to succeed without specific guidance. One of the best ways to make sure that you are setting meaningful KPIs is by asking yourself questions like, “Am I measuring the right thing?” and, “How can I be sure that I’m actually improving?”
You don’t want to saturate your target audience with too much content. When you reach the point where everyone is already aware of your product or service, it can be extremely difficult to gain new customers. One important thing to keep in mind about saturation is that often times it takes time to know when you have reached it. You can try using various tools like Google Search, YouTube Trends, and Google Sheets’ Trend Analytics to get a sense of when content about your product or service is becoming ‘over-saturated.’ For example, if you have a financial website that specializes in budgeting for beginners, you probably don’t want to put out a how-to guide on investing. While this particular content might be useful to some visitors, it could potentially cause you to lose customers that are interested in learning about saving money responsibly.
If you’re bored of reading the same old blog posts and website content about your industry, you’re going to have a tough time convincing people to engage with you. Content is an important part of any online marketing campaign and it helps to establish credibility as well as provide valuable information. However, there are certain ‘types’ of content that tend to underperform. One of the major problems with this type of content is that it is often times extremely dull and it doesn’t offer much in the way of excitement. When someone is already aware of your product or service, they are more likely to be turned off by your content and your chance of conversion is greatly reduced. If this is the case, consider reworking your content strategy or asking a content creator to take a look at your current campaign.
Nowadays, it’s important to have a multi-pronged approach when it comes to marketing. To put it simply, you can’t rely on just one channel to drive customers to your site and make them stay. The best approach is to utilize various marketing platforms – and that’s what makes this an ‘online marketing’ campaign rather than a ‘digital marketing’ campaign. While SEO, email marketing, and social media are all very important channels, you don’t want to cut off any possible avenues of marketing success. For example, if someone finds value in your email marketing and decides to return to your site via a search engine, you want to make sure that you’re showing up when they type in keywords related to your industry.
The key to a successful balanced approach is to have a clear idea of what your goals are and how you plan on reaching them. For instance, if you want to gain 10 new customers over the next 30 days via email, you might want to consider using email marketing, SEO, and social media to achieve this goal.
A Quick Note About Website Design
Even though this article is about general SEO considerations and ‘do’s’ and ‘don’ts,’ we need to give a quick shout out to website design with regard to SEO. From a UX perspective, it’s often said that “good UX = good SEO.” Meaning, if your site’s design is easily discoverable and accessible to the target audience, you’re going to see better search engine rankings – and therefore, more traffic to your site. When we say ‘discoverable,’ we mean that the information a user might need can be easily found on your site. For example, if you’re a financial website that also provides a blog section, you might want to consider reorganizing the content so that it’s easier for users to find what they’re looking for. Things like featured articles, curated lists, and clear calls to action (like the example above) can all help to make your content easily discoverable.