8 Components Your Digital Marketing Plan Should Include

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There are many opinions on leveraging digital mediums to gain new traffic and customers for businesses. But many companies struggle with understanding where (or how) to get started and waste time and money.  Here is a guide to getting your organization online and how you can get more leads, recognition, and revenue.

The key to a successful digital strategy is diversification.  I tell business owners of all sizes, from SMB to Enterprise levels, not to put all their efforts in one or a select few channels. Let’s start with one of the most important component:

Web Design & Optimization

A company is only as good as it’s websites appearance, usability, and technical architecture. If you are an E-Commerce site or just a small business looking to have a static site, it is equally important to hire a professional web designer/developer who understands HTML/CSS, responsive design for mobile, SEO for architecture and conversion optimization.

Don’t take a shortcut here by using a simple site builder.  Even Googles on “Sites” Web Design is not recommended.  I most often recommend WordPress for businesses, which allows the owner to update quickly and it’s completely scalable.  WordPress offers easy to use SEO friendly plugins as well.  For ECOM we go with Magento.

A designer should be asking you questions during the discovery phase regarding your business objectives, your internal resources as well as your needs for interactivity on the site.

Media Buying & Retargeting

There are great opportunities in Digital Media. Quickly buying targeted traffic for your site either through bidding on them in AdWords or AdCenter. PPC also provides valuable data at the keyword level to give business owners an understanding of their visitors behavior related to each keyword.

Media buying through display networks in the form of banner ads gives your company added brand exposure on targeted sites.  Retargeting is a process of displaying your companies display ads to visitors that have left your site and are viewing websites within an extensive network – giving the company a second chance opportunity to get that visitor back on site.

Search Engine Optimization

SEO has been around since the beginning of the Internet.  Consultants and companies immediately identified the value of high organic placements in leading search engines.  Within the past two or three years, the industry has become widely accepted as a required business need, either in-house or through an agency.

Along with this acceptance came many updates and refreshes in search algorithms, which has genuinely changed the process of SEO for success.  There are still many old-hat SEO’s offering ineffective means at low (or expensive) prices.  If it’s too good to be true, it always is.

What’s too good to true?  SEO’s guaranteeing 1st-page results for $100.  SEO’s focusing on a practice called “Link Building.”  SEO’s only working on the technical end of a website.
So, how should you look at SEO for your company?  It’s about quality content.  Design, write or develop content that you would want to read or see and share.  Think about your audience and identify a need.

Social Media Marketing

Positioning high-quality content on the web that answers a question and helps a user even before they are looking to buy or join your site.  Make content that they will share and comment on.  These social signals are still debated about regarding their SEO value, but even if there is little real SEO value, there is an indirect SEO value in the added social reach of your content.

Some SMBs I’ve talked with have asked why do even need a Facebook page for my company?  Or more importantly, how can I leverage social media for my business?

Two common scenarios that are often exploited by agencies claiming to be social media experts. Having seen a large amount of social media campaigns at the agency level and through companies themselves I am more skeptical about what companies promise and what customers get.

ROI through social is not measured only by how much more visitors and followers your business profiles received. Integrating SM analytics allows you to gauge the effects of a social media strategy.

It’s a communication opportunity as well.  With different voices on each channel, you can message your customers more personally than ever.

E-Mail Marketing

There are a few ways you can go about marketing via email.  The mass distribution of emails to all of your prospects on your lists, targeting high-value prospects with curated content blasts and even list buys to target larger quantities of users.

The best thing to know about E-Mail marketing is that it works. Schedule a consistent E-Mail schedule as to when and what you will be distributing and stick to it. For smaller businesses be careful not to send E-Mails too frequently.

Marketing Automation

For those looking to go further with their E-Mail marketing initiatives, there is marketing automation and lead nurturing software.  These tools allow you to schedule drip email campaigns based on a set of events or actions.

Being able to see your leads throughout their entire life cycle gives marketers better data to understand both actual lifetime value and buying patterns.  Advanced services like Marketo, HubSpot, and others are great tools for organizations for more advanced campaign management.

Mobile Optimization

The past couple years we have learned about the importance of mobile devices.  Google tells us that it prefers a site that displays for mobile (responsive design), then a mobile site (m.example.com) and last a standard website.  That has many major sites considering redesigns into responsive websites.

Local search is important for all businesses.  A search result will be displayed with the location in mind.  Digital media can be targeted and displayed based on location.  And new “big data” companies are selling audience behavior and demographics to Ad-Networks for advertisers to buy into at the Zip Code (+4) level as well as even longitudinal & latitudinal.

Check your business out on the main biz directories like Yelp, FourSquare, YB and others. Make certain your local citations (Company name, address, phone, etc…) are consistent across all. You can use GetListed.org or Yext.com to get this done.

Create a location-specific page on your site.  Mention local landmarks, and a Google map (preferably a link to your Google+ business page).  An important fact to understand is that 56% of search is done with local intent.

Analytics

For starters, add Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools to your web site.  If you haven’t done this or seen this before you will be surprised at the amount of data you can view about your visitors, for free. There are many tools on how to get this set up – quite easy and well worth it.

Understand your data.  Take a good hour or two each week to look into Analytics and see where visitors are coming from and how long they are staying.

You can get some additional boost from other applications, but it depends on where you are with your digital marketing efforts and what your business objectives are.

Put it all together

As a business owner, you must work to understand all of these channels and how they can work for you. There is a lot to do and to get it done right demands a professional team or consultant who can organize and implement these strategies. As always please don’t hesitate to contact us with your question and concerns. Thank You for reading.

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