Have you solidified for your digital marketing plan for this year yet? I wanted to share with you a presentation I gave for SCORE Montgomery County last month on some of the digital marketing trends which are going to effective in 2019.
Below the presentation are notes on what we discussed. This presentation covers:
- An overview and framework
- Your messaging and content
- Your List
- Your Search Visibility
- Your Social Channels
Overview and Framework
Cover the Basics
Create a coordinated effort between all of your marketing channels. No one has the time to treat all of their marketing efforts as separate channels.
Start with a Plan
What are you looking to accomplish? Who is your audience and what do you want them to do? Coming up with answers to these questions will help you get your plan started.
Use a Calendar
Create a calendar based on what you want to achieve. The volume of content needed for all the various social media and marketing platforms can be overwhelming. Creating a calendar helps you stay organized and reuse relevant content.
Coordinate Your Efforts
Make your website the center of your digital marketing strategy. You own your website and you control the environment and the content. The problem with making social media platforms the center of your digital marketing plan is social media is ever-changing and you don’t have control of how visitors see your content.
A perfect example of the changing social media environment comes with Google’s announcement that Google+ will be completely shut down by June 2019. As long as you use your website for all your core content and social media as a way to direct users toward your website, you don’t have to worry about situations like this.
The Takeaway – Framework
- Coordinate your efforts with a plan
- Make your website the center of your strategy, and make it mobile-friendly, secure, and fast
Your Messaging and Content
Your Ideal Customer
It’s a really noisy world out there today and we’re great at tuning out messages that aren’t relevant to us. One of the most important things you can do is know your ideal client. Not everyone is your customer. If you try to reach too many people you will end up reaching no one. So, who is your ideal customer? What problems do they face and how can you help solve them? Where can you reach them? These are questions you should ask to personalize your message and make it relevant to your customer.
Your Content Plan
What type of content should you use in your marketing efforts? When you come up with a content plan there are different types of content you can use.
- Evergreen – Information that does not change over time. Content that stays relevant like your services, information about how to choose things or how things work are all examples of evergreen content.
- Topical – Local community events or new laws relevant to your business are examples of topical content. These are only relevant for a certain amount of time.
- Seasonal or Holiday – These are an example of topical content. Using holidays like national cookie day help make your social media efforts fun!
- Recurring Features – Recurring features help you plan your content a little more efficiently by planning a specific format. An example of a recurring feature would be a product of the month or employee of the quarter.
Consider SEO (search engine optimization) when you create your content plan. How do you want people to find you? What questions does your ideal customer have and does your business answer those questions?
Strive for engagement and relationship building when you’re planning your content. The information you provide needs to be valuable to your customer. Your information should be informative, entertaining, and promotional. Your message will get lost iif all your content is promotional.
Use a variety of media to promote your business. Video is a booming promotional tool, but there are all kinds of media you should use:
- Longform is ok too if you have relevant content
Don’t forget to repurpose your content. You will save yourself a lot of time reusing the content you already have.
Throughout this whole process you must consider the user experience. How is your customer interpreting how easy it is to find you and how easy it is to do business with you? There are some basics to consider:
- How easy is it to navigate your website?
- How easy is it to get in touch with you?
- Does the content you put out answer the questions they’re asking?
If the user experience is difficult or there are barriers to how your customer would find out information about you, they will likely go somewhere else. The easiest way to find out what your customer experience is like is to pretend you’re a customer looking for more information about your business. Can you find the answers you’re looking for? Is it easy to contact your business?
The Takeaway – Messaging and Content
- If you don’t have a content plan in place with relevant messaging you are wasting your time
- You must have relevant and timely content in place to see your marketing efforts come to fruition
You have to be able to directly contact your customers, prospects, and fans. It usually takes between 7 and 11 touches with a customer or prospect before they really feel confident doing business with you. So how do you get consistent messaging with people? You have to be able to directly contact people!
Email still gets the better ROI over social media, especially when scandals occur like what we’ve seen with Facebook. People will often take breaks from social media, but no one really takes a break from email.
In order to get the ROI you want from your email marketing you need to do these things:
- Be consistent
- Deliver Value
- Keep it short – you can add a link to more details if necessary
Chatbots and Messaging
Chatbots and messaging are becoming more popular for businesses. Social media platforms like Facebook offer messaging as a way to stay in regular communication with your customers and prospects. Chatbots give you the opportunity to automate those responses. This is a way to quickly respond to common questions your business gets. Also, you don’t have to set up all your chatbots yourself. There are several companies out there that can set up chatbots for you.
The Takeaway – List
- How are you working to gain owned traffic within your business? Do you collect emails when someone comes in? Do you participate in different networking events? You should always be building your email list.
- 2019 might be a good time to experiment with chatbots and messaging as a means of communicating efficiently with your customers and prospects.
If you don’t have an effective email marketing strategy in place and you would like to start. Sign up for a free trial of Constant Contact Email Marketing.*
Your Search Visibility
When you want to buy something or are looking for a service, you start by doing research through search.So how do you become visible in search?
You have to first cover the basics. Citations are references to your your name, address, phone number (also referred to as NAP) across the web. Citation sources include search engines like Google, data aggregators, and industry sites like TripAdvisor. All of your information should be consistent across these websites.
Search engines are in the business of answering the questions that people ask. You need to make sure that you’re answering the questions that people have about your business, so that your content shows up. Search queries today are more conversational and longer than in the past. For example, the most common YouTube query starts with, “How do I…”
Voice search also impacts the way searches are made and how content is found in search.
The content on your website needs to answer the questions that people are asking in search.
Google My Business
Google My Business is Google’s local business tool. It’s been evolving over the past few years. Recently, there has been a lot of emphasis on developing Google My Business as its own platform. Google My Business is all about maps and search. Search tends to be location based, and mobile users in particular are looking for local businesses.
If you have not claimed your Google My Business listing that should be the first thing you do. If you haven’t been on your Google My Business account for a while, there are lots of new features: you can manage reviews, add posts, add services, FAQ’s, and photos and videos.
Shown is an example of a Google Post that displays in search and on maps:
YouTube is the #2 search engine with video being more popular than ever. Do you have video content that you post to your Facebook Live that you can reuse and add to your YouTube channel.
Your biggest advocates are the customers who already do business with you. Find a way to make requesting reviews part of your regular process.
Links Still Matter
When you’re creating content on your website, make sure you’re linking to other relevant content on your website and off your website.
The Takeaway – Search
- Let Google know you’re alive and keep letting them know. That means updating your website on a regular basis, claim your Google My Business listing, and staying active on Google
- Get a review strategy in place
Your Social Channels
There are so many social channels to choose from and it’s a constantly changing environment, so it’s a good idea to periodically reevaluate what you’re doing, the results you’re getting, and how the different platforms are changing. Remember, with a good central strategy on your website you don’t have to be everywhere and you can experiment too.
Facebook is still the most popular social media channel, but it has been in the news a lot lately for some privacy and data scandals.
Facebook Groups are an important way to reach your audience organically. Posts don’t always reach as many people since Facebook made the change prioritizing family and friend posts over business posts.
Go Live! Facebook Live gets a lot more engagement than posts alone. You can actually go live within specific groups to target your ideal audience. Facebook Live is a great opportunity to have question and answer sessions.
Facebook Ads may be a good investment for your business. This allows you to expand your reach to people who may not be part of your groups yet. Like everything else though, you need to have a plan in place to create an ad and track your information.
Instagram now has 1 billion monthly users and is second only to Facebook’s 1.4 billion users. On Instagram it’s important to remember that images matter and so does having a consistent look.
Video and Stories
Video and Stories, which are made up of mixed media like still-shots and video, are an important part of the Instagram experience. Stories are almost more important than your feed even. Instagram even allows you to pin a story to the top of you profile. This is a great opportunity to highlight and About Us story or special events for your business.
Location tagging helps you get more traction in Instagram by pinpointing your location, so people can find you easier.
Adding hashtags to your images or stories helps people find content related to you. Users can even follow hashtags. The best performance with hashtags seems to be about 10 per post and longer hashtags. For example: use #bestbreakfastever over #food.
Create Ads for Your Target Audience
You can create and target ads on Instagram through Facebook Ads Manager. You can choose if you want your ad to run on both platforms.
Social media for business is more of a paid ads platform than a free reach platform now. It’s still possible to create organic reach, but it is more difficult today.
Video, Video, Video
Video is so important for all your different social media channels. How is your YouTube channel? LinkedIn and Google My Business now even allow you to post video. If you aren’t doing anything with video yet, how are you going to integrate video into your business?
The Takeaway – Social Channels
- Social users are fickle. What social channels match your ideal client today? You should be periodically evaluating your social channels to make sure you’re getting the most out of your efforts.
- Create an implement a video strategy. Figure out what you want to put in place because video is where everything is heading.
- Coordinate your efforts around a fast, secure, mobile-friendly website. Get your main message out there and promote through your other channels.
- Focus your messaging and have a content plan that delivers value. Everybody likes to buy, but nobody likes to be sold to. People will tune you out if your message is just, “sell, sell, sell.”
- Build your list and communicate consistently. Consistency in everything is key.
- Regularly use Google My Business and have a review strategy in place.
- Social channels are the place to experiment, pick the right ones and start using video!
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