Do you feel that you don’t have enough time to blog, be on social media and still do your traditional marketing efforts? You’re right! It’s time to take a more integrated approach to digital marketing for more effective results from both your online and offline marketing efforts.
Spreading out your efforts into marketing silos not only takes more time, it reduces overall effectiveness.
Building your presence on the wrong platform can mean one day losing everything you’ve built. Here are 5 steps you can take for a more effective marketing strategy.
1) Don’t build your web presence on rented land.
Put your most important content on your website, on the domain you own.
A great article by Sonia Simone of Copyblogger calls digital sharecropping the most dangerous threat to your online marketing. She tells the story of a wonderful local bookstore that was doing everything right, yet they had to close their doors. Why? They were leasing their building and the landlord tripled the rent.
The internet is full of enticing offers to build your brand at little or no cost on someone else’s platform.
Many businesses who have built up a large, engaged audience on Facebook have had a rude awakening over the past few months. They have been following Facebook’s guidelines to engage with their fans, advertise their Facebook page to their customers, encourage fans to like their pages, and share news, content, and photos. This was a great way to reach customers (and by the way helped make Facebook more popular).
Facebook has changed the rules of the game. It has reduced business access to their fans, and is telling customers if you would like fans you see your posts, you must pay to promote your posts. Right now, only about 2% of your fans will see your post. The average organic reach saw a 52% decline between January and July 2016 on Facebook.
Facebook filters the newsfeed and does not show posts by all your friends or liked pages. Organic reach is the number of page fans who will get one of your posts in their newsfeed. If you have 1000 fans and reach is 2% that means that your message will only show up in 20 of your fan’s newsfeeds. The other 980 will never know you posted it unless you pay to promote your post. These posts do not show up in internet search either.
Put your most important content on your own website where you make the rules.
2) If you tell it to more than 3 people it belongs on your website.
How many times do you answer the same questions, respond to a similar request for information, or explain the same thing to multiple customers or prospects? Many more people are looking for this same information and they type their query into a search engine.
Wouldn’t it be great if they found you and the answer? This can also streamline your daily interactions and improve customer responsiveness. Now all you have to do is point people to a link that satisfies their request.
A lot of people feel it is important to not put the information out there – it is better to be able to personally talk to their prospect or customer. Of course a personal relationship is important, but the internet and availability of information has forever changed the sales process in the consumer as well as the B2B space. Those people you think will call you for more information during the sales process won’t call if they can find another website to answer their query.
The internet and the mobile phones have changed how consumers research, shop, make decisions and purchase.
Real estate, cars, insurance, books, and music are industries where most consumers first look for information online. Recently, I even replaced a washing machine and did research, purchased and had it delivered and installed without ever setting foot in the local store that I bought it from. Many retailers are also finding success encouraging their customers to use their website while in the store – product videos, testimonials, and special deals for joining a mailing list are examples.
A study by CEB and Google found that the average B2B buyer is 57% through the purchase decision before they contact a supplier.
It is time to change your mind set about getting information online about what you do for your customers.
3) Use your website as the center of your strategy.
Use the content you put on your website as the center of your marketing strategy. Think of social media, email marketing, press releases, and event promotion as the spokes where you promote what is on your website and drive traffic back to your website.
Your website should include calls to action for what you want your customer to do next in the process (place an order, request a quote, sign up for your mailing list, etc.).
By making your website the center of your strategy you will have a more consistent message. You will also save time by not having to create new content for each social media platform, traditional marketing channel and in-store promotion and advertising.
Re-purpose the content you create.
4) Don’t forget about your existing customers.
Don’t forget about your existing customers when you are creating content. According to a Constant Contact survey, 82% of small businesses said their main source of business was existing customers and referrals. What kind of content will engage your existing customers and encourage referrals?
One of the best ways to reach your existing customers and keep up a relationship with them is through email marketing. Next to your own website, this is probably the most effective digital strategy you can use.
Make sure you have customer emails and a plan to contact them on a regular basis. Frequency will vary based on the type of business you have. Most important is to be consistent and to offer valuable information.
5) Use an editorial calendar.
Finally, to track what you are going to write about and where you are going to promote it, set up an editorial calendar. You can start with a document, spreadsheet, or a Google calendar for your editorial calendar.
Plan your themes for each month around the cycle of your business. Add in events you have scheduled. Fill in topics for blog posts and content. Then schedule promoting this information on social media, in press releases, through email newsletters and in person.
Following these steps will improve your effectiveness on line and in real life!