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The competition in the business world is tough. To stand out from the crowd, attract loyal clients, and ensure that your business will grow constantly, you need a strong digital marketing strategy that can stand against time and against all odds.
Some of the most effective digital marketing strategies applied by business owners today include content strategy, SEO, social media marketing, and PPC advertising. If you’re implementing digital marketing to achieve your business goals, you might want to reevaluate your strategies and tactics if they are cohesive, integrated and have a holistic approach.
If you’re thinking that an integrated digital marketing strategy is costly and is only practical for big companies, think again. Of course, investing in only a part of digital marketing (e.g., investing only on getting higher search engine ranking or investing only on getting more Facebook likes) will save your money. But will it save your money and business in a long run?
An integrated and holistic digital marketing is a strategy that combines carefully selected sub-strategies, tactics, techniques, and styles to form a more powerful campaign that can generate better, bigger, and more long-lasting results for a brand or business. It unites andharmonizes various digital marketing strategies like SEO, content marketing, social media marketing, and even offline marketing strategies to work as one.
Here are 10 reasons why I recommend that your digital marketing should be integrated and holistic:
1. It ensures the growth of your brand. An integrated digital marketing doesn’t only boost your search engine rankings, number of social media likes, and web traffic, but it helps your business improve its profitability and stability. Since an integrated strategy is based on a holistic approach, it takes into account your deepest goals, such as your business’ bottom line, integrity, and reputation.
2. It generates more intelligent data. One of the great advantages of an integrated digital marketing campaign is that it gives you an opportunity to gather wider and deeper data. This happens because you don’t just generate data from a single channel. With an integrated strategy, you generate intelligent data across several channels such as social media, search engines, and mobile platforms, which you can eventually combine to see a bigger picture.
3. It gives you the ability to accurately target customers. By seeing the bigger and deeper picture, you gain the knack to accurately target and retarget your audience. Imagine if you’re just relying on search engine marketing and ignoring social media. You may understand how your target customers behave on search engines, but you may not understand how they interact on social media. With a multi-channel campaign, you will understand your target customers deeper, and come up with better marketing strategies to influence their buying decisions.
4. It actually saves your money. You might be thinking that a piecemeal digital marketing campaign without an integrated strategy could save your money. But think again. You may benefit from paying cheaper services but does it worth your money? A cheap and hasty campaign may be cheap, but it may also result to nothing but a waste of time and money. With integrated and holistic online marketing strategy, you can have a sense of direction. This helps you have the ability to identify unnecessary campaigns and remove them to stop wasting your money further.
5. It promotes teamwork among the people in your organization. In an integrated digital marketing campaign, multiple strategies, techniques, and people are involved, not only the ones in your marketing department but also everyone who shares your common goal. Here, the people in your business, whether in-house or outsourced, are collaborating with each other to make your marketing campaign more effective, your customers happy, and your business grow.
6. Your digital marketing success doesn’t only depend on a single channel. You don’t just depend on Google, Facebook or any marketing channel alone. Many business owners and marketers in the past relied on the leads they’re getting from Google traffic, but when the search giant made some algorithmic changes, their traffic have declined as well as their revenues and profit.
In an integrated strategy, you create your own value which attracts these channels and their users. By creating valuable content, useful conversations, and other solutions, your brand is loved by Google, Facebook, other channels, and of course their users. You don’t need to worry about chasing Google or Facebook — their users chase you because of your valuable content and solutions.
7. It makes your customers more satisfied. The bottom line of a holistic digital marketing strategy is not only your business’ net income but your consistent net income. This bottom line requires you to consistently make your customers happy so they remain loyal to your brand. Whatever your marketing campaign is, for example if it is SEO, it is crafted to provide valuable and high-quality content to guarantee the satisfaction of your audience.
8. It supports the essence of your business. A holistic digital marketing is based on your core business principles, values, and major goals. It also carries your value proposition and brand’s voice throughout your marketing campaigns.
9. It helps you create a more powerful marketing strategy to win your competition. If you are serious in winning your competition, you should consider that your competitors are already using integrated marketing strategies that can easily win against you. Therefore, don’t let yourself be kicked out from the competition. Integrate your marketing strategies and tactics to have a better structure. They must have bones, muscles and teeth to be competitive.
10. It makes you a better business leader and influencer. Business owners, entrepreneurs, marketers or anyone who implements an integrated and holistic strategy becomes more mature and knowledgeable about the existence of their business and its stakeholders. This helps them grow as a leader and an inspiration to others. Furthermore, when you are always acquainted with several people and talents that are integrated in your strategy, you tend to learn more.
1. Set your objectives. A successful strategy is much more likely if you’re very clear about what you want to achieve. Define your KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) clearly, and set specific targets for these that can be measured by a tool such as Google Analytics. If a KPI is that you want more leads from your site, for example, a goal such as getting ten leads per month by month six makes this target measurable and specific.
2. Understand your starting point. You should aim to learn from past mistakes by looking at your own business history, the competitive market and the context of the industry. It’s important to consider any changes in technology products or customer expectations that are relevant to you, and to look at what your competitors are doing. Carrying out a competitive audit can provide significant information on the industry/competitive dynamics, and also gives you a baseline to use for comparison as you go forward.
3. Focus on the customer. Remember that your digital strategy should be centred on your customer, not on you. Your research should consider what your customers are looking for, what sort of terminology they are using, and how they want to interact with you. You can find out more about your demographic by using Audience Reports (in Google Analytics) to identify key information about your target consumers.
4. Stick to your budget. You should clearly define your budget and your resource commitment from the outset, and be clear about where resources and budget will be applied, considering what return you are expecting from each. For example, you may run an email campaign that aims to deliver leads and a Facebook campaign that is expected to grow your audience. These are both valid activities, but they have very different intentions.
5. Review constantly. Digital marketing is easily measured online, and you can review your strategy and make adjustments frequently. If you have been clear with your KPIs and targets, you can set up systems to measure conversions and track your performance compared to your plan. Don’t be afraid to make changes quickly if something isn’t working: updating your plan, adjusting your tactics and regularly reviewing your strategy allows you to make the most of your digital marketing and web presence.
If your digital marketing efforts are successful today, don’t assume your success will continue without a hiccup if you rely on the same set of messaging and tactics. What works today simply will not work tomorrow given the pace of technological and market change, not to mention ongoing changes to your customers’ preferences.
In my own company, within the past year and half, I’ve seen shifts in preferred channels and tactics, which have led me to make adjustments to our digital marketing strategy. Doing this got me thinking about the need for an evolutionary approach to how we develop and manage our digital marketing strategy. Business is definitely a “survival of the fittest” game: if you don’t adapt, your business dies. But knowing this fact and actually doing something about it are two entirely different things.
The first step is to have an evolutionary mindset. This means that you are ready, willing and able to change. You must first put this attitude and approach in place as the leader, and then show your team how to develop their own evolutionary mindset.
If your digital marketing needs a refresh, put these actions steps into place to push for a mindset shift:
- Continually analyze available data. Analytics should not be reviewed on an annual basis. Instead, you should be looking at this information as regularly as possible to identify what is working within your digital marketing strategy and, more importantly, what isn’t. The advent of big data means there is no excuse for not knowing how your previous efforts have done in terms of return on investment. Assess each campaign or channel for their relevance with your audience and in relation to what your competition is doing.
- Ask customers for feedback. If your available data is not telling you what you need to change, it’s time to implement a survey or focus group and ask your customers what you could be doing better. Going straight to the source will give you an indication of how your customers are changing in terms of needs, desires, and expectations. Your customers and prospects will point you in the right direction.
- Plan for adjustments. Even if your data and customers tell you everything is going great, determine a few places in your digital marketing strategy that you could incrementally change to help further your customer’s business goals. Focus on one particular client and their product or service, and block everything else out. Could you be adding a new social media channel like Instagram or Snapchat for them, where you had not previously engaged with your audience? It might also mean trying out different tactics, like a broadcast video on Periscope, or extending your scope to a mobile platform. Maybe it’s time to change your messaging using fresh campaigns, or post content more frequently. Whatever you may opt to do, make sure you are actively planning for alterations to your digital media strategy at least two or three times per year.
- Observe, research and listen. Technology continues to offer new opportunities to enhance marketing efforts. It’s up to you to do your own research, listen to what’s happening, and observe what options are available to automate your marketing efforts or improve customer engagement. This means regularly reading marketing blogs and online technology content, as well as attending industry conferences and networking events to stay attuned to the most current information you need to enhance your digital marketing efforts.
- Give it time. While it’s good to evolve your digital marketing strategy, remember it’s an evolution rather than a revolution. As such, give the changes you made some time to sink in with customers. They may not respond well immediately, so be patient while you wait to see the results. I have found a complete overhaul is not usually the best approach. Instead, small, incremental, continual changes provide the best results.
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Digital marketing is essential in today’s world. With both competitors and potential customers constantly online, digital marketing is the only way to stay ahead. When you’re a small business owner the online world can seem intimidating. Here is a list of five simple digital marketing strategies that any business owner can implement to help their business grow.
1. Setting a Goal: You’re looking for ways to help your small business grow. You might want more customers, more recognition or maybe you’re looking to get ahead of the competition. Whatever the case may be, starting with a solid goal in mind greatly increases your chances of success. Digital marketing is a great way for small businesses to prosper, but going into the process blindly can leave you with a jumbled mess. A lot of strategy and precision goes into digital marketing and having a goal helps you know what to focus on.
2. Creating a Marketing Funnel: The most successful businesses have an effective marketing funnel in place. A marketing funnel is when you map out a customer’s journey from when a customer is a complete stranger to when they become a lead, and then put certain strategies in place that will encourage them to move through this funnel. Things like lead magnets, calls to action, opt-ins and offers are all effective pieces of a funnel. You can think of a marketing funnel in four parts: Awareness, Interest, Desire, and Action.
- Awareness: The potential customer is aware of your product or service. They’re still a stranger, but they’ve come to your website for a reason. They’re looking for something they need. At this stage you want to attract the customer by showing them that you have something they’re looking for. Use a lead magnet or call-to-action to give the customer a valuable resource related to your product or service (i.e: what they need) in exchange for more information about them like their email address, phone number, profession and current needs. Find out who they are and why they came to your website.
- Interest: They are actively expressing interest in a certain type of your products or services. At this point you’ve given them some information and they’re interested in what you have to say or the services you provide. You’ve used your lead magnet or CTA in stage one to gather more information about them. At this stage it’s a good idea to supply them with further information that is more tailored to their specific needs. Showing them that you not only took the time to get to know them, but also have something that’s specific to their needs will show that you’re attentive to and care about your customer’s wants and needs.
- Desire: They’ve taken an interest in a specific product or service. Now that you’ve supplied them with information specific to what they’re looking for, they’ve found a product or service you provide that might be a good fit for them. Invite them to schedule a consultation using an email or a call-to-action. At this stage you want to tell them more about the product or service they’re interested in. Show them why they need it and exactly how it will benefit them.
- Action: Taking the next step towards purchasing. This is when you’re able to turn your potential customer into a lead. You’ve given them valuable information, shown them you pay attention to your customer’s needs, and shown them that you have something they need that will benefit them. All that’s left is discussing things like price, payment and other aspects of your product or service that are relevant to a buyer.
Having an effective marketing funnel won’t just get you more leads, it can also help you turn leads into repeat buyers. If the customer has a good experience they might return to purchase from you again or even tell others they know about your business. The elements of a marketing funnel can seem like a lot to put together, but they’re simple concepts when broken down. You’ll see that numbers 3,4 and 5 help to break down and explain the different aspects of having a marketing funnel in place on your site and how to put together some of the most important pieces of it.
3. Developing a call-to-action: We talked about using a call-to-action in the second step as a part of your marketing funnel, but what is a call-to-action exactly? A call-to-action (CTA) is an image or text that prompts visitors to take action, such as subscribe to a newsletter, view a webinar or request a product demo. CTAs should direct people to landing pages, where you can collect visitors’ contact information in exchange for a valuable marketing offer. In that sense, an effective CTA results in more leads and conversions for your website. This path, from a click on a CTA to a landing page, illustrates the much desired process of lead generation. In order to increase visitor-to-lead conversion opportunities, you need to create a lot of calls-to-action, distribute them across your web presence and optimize them. A good CTA should be attention grabbing and help lead a potential customer further into your marketing funnel.
4. Creating an Effective Lead Magnet: A lead magnet can be used alone or along with a CTA. This will also be used either within your marketing funnel or as a way to drive potential customers into your funnel. Supply them with something relevant to your product or service that they want. Use your offers as a way to gather more information about a potential buyer while driving them further into your funnel at the same time. This brings them closer to becoming an actual quality lead who will spend money on your product or service. The idea behind a lead magnet is to trade information. You supply something like a free download of a white paper, but in order to complete the download the individual has to fill out a form that will provide you with more information about them. You’ll use the information you gather to interact with them more as they progress through your funnel.
5. Driving Traffic: In order for there to be people to drive into your marketing funnel, there first has to be traffic on your website. There a variety of ways you can drive traffic to your website. Here are a few of the ones I recommend:
- Quality Content: Use content such as blog posts, press releases and articles on authority websites. Insert links to various places on your website within this content to build your brand name through exposure and drive traffic to your website.
- Keyword Strategy: Inserting related keywords into content will help your content and website show up in more search results, this leads to higher volumes of web traffic.
- Website Optimization: Ensuring that your website is optimized and functioning at it’s best is essential. People don’t want to visit a website that doesn’t work properly.
- Social Media: Use engaging social media posts to attract more traffic to your site. Using pictures, video, and other relevant media will help your posts get more engagement.
Digital marketing is an impulsive, erratic, and volatile industry. The moment you catch the tiger by the tail, there’s a new tiger whose fugacious tail requires catching.
Keeping up with a changeable industry seems like a fool’s errand. Where is the balance between chasing capricious trends, on the one hand, and ossifying into a Luddite on the other?
Thankfully, there is an in between – a balance. If you can identify current trends, settle on an actionable strategy, and take measurable movement forward, you’re bound to succeed. I’ve identified X such strategies that you should keep in mind over the next few months, if not the next few years of digital marketing.
1. Stop relying on Google.
Don’t misinterpret this point. I’m not saying that Google is not on its way out. After more than a decade of domination, however, it may be on the decline. Up-and-comers like Duck Duck Go aren’t anywhere near dethroning Google GOOGL -0.43%. What their rise indicates is that consumers want alternatives — a choice not to depend on Google if they don’t have to.
Marketers should take heed. Google is one basket, but it doesn’t deserve all your marketing eggs. Search engine optimization is important, but a searcher can accomplish her goal through more means than just Google.
I advise digital marketers to rely less on Google, and engage more direct forms of interacting with their target market.
2. Mobile. Just mobile.
I wanted to say that “mobile dominates,” but that line is so utterly cliche, that I had to state it differently.
The importance of mobile search, mobile optimization, mobile conversions, and mobile ubiquity cannot be overstated. Mobile devices and our collective addiction to them are fixtures of the modern marketing era.
This article is not the place to wax verbose on the importance of mobile. Instead, my intent is to remind you that mobile is the method of the masses, and should, therefore, be a priority of the marketers.
3. Social conversion is coming.
Enough has been said about the power of social networks. Not quite enough as been said about the importance of social conversions. For ecommerce and lead generation sites, social provides a growing opportunity to improve conversion rates and gain new conversion channels.
4. New payment methods are on the rise.
With the advent of EVM credit cards (October 2015), the public is in for a new experience when it comes to payment methods. These changes will have a ripple effect on online payment and e-commerce sites.
Privacy issues are a mainstream concern and it’s up to digital marketers to lead the way in reassuring, educating, and coaching customers through the transition.
5. Paid advertising is here to stay.
Whether you like it or not, you’re going to need to pay for advertising spots. I agree with marketers who claim, “PPC is dying,” but I also see the advent of alternative forms of paid advertising taking its place.
Consider Buzztala for instance. Although they provide “organic video ads,” they are still ads. And they still cost money. Rising methods of organic/paid advertising are entering into the marketing methods of some brands, signaling a growing trend.
6. Marketing automation becomes de rigueur.
Marketing automation is nothing new. It is, however, bigger than ever. Marketing automation is now easy and affordable enough for any marketer with a budget to do it. Once upon a not-so-far-away time, the only organizations doing automation were big companies with world-recognized brand names.
Now, marketing automation is nearly a requirement for any business that wants to stay on top
7. Content creators are more necessary than ever.
Ever since Web 2.0, the writing profession has had a heyday. Anyone and everyone could become a publisher. Anyone who had a voice could also have a platform on the web.
Now? Some content experts moan that there is too much content out there. Or is there? Content, often referred to as “king” is so essential to digital marketing that it can’t be dismissed as a “trend.” While individual publishers may be overextending themselves by publishing too much, there will always be content. It will always be important.
Therefore, there will always be the need for great content creators, including writers, developers, video producers, podcasters, and speakers. Lizetta Staplefoot said it well in her Visual.ly article: “The need for quality content will spotlight the importance of professional writers.”
I know from experience that great writers are hard to find. But it’s no longer enough simply to find a “great writer.” You need to find a writer who knows your niche. The world’s greatest writing skills don’t count for much unless the writer possesses knowledge, ideally experiential knowledge, of his or her subject matter.
8. The algorithm will change. And change again.
The search algorithm will change. It will infuriate you, delight you, confuse you, and disappoint you. But it will change.
I’m referring, of course, to Google’s search algorithm, the almighty search machine that decides which content ranks highest in the search engine results page (SERPs). Today, however, we need to consider Facebook’s algorithm, Bing’s algorithm, and even the mashup of Twitter and Google’s algorithm.
9. Conversion optimization has high ROI.
If CRO, or conversion rate optimization, is not in your 2015 budget, I suggest you take a look at the possibility of introducing it. Conversion rate optimization is the process of maximizing the number of site visitors who convert or make a purchase.
By thoroughly understanding users and split testing changes on a website, marketers can determine what elements of a website or landing page will produce the highest number of conversions.
The process pays off. Instead of paying big bucks for ad placements and organic traffic, marketers can instead funnel more of their existing traffic into sales.
10. Growth hacking will continue to evolve.
In my opinion, one of the most fascinating trends in 2015 is the continued evolution of growth hacking. Growth hacking will continue to demonstrate its indomitable power in the face of unlikely odds.
A lot of people don’t see the necessity of listening online. The truth is this is perhaps more important than actually being active online. The cold hard fact is that people are having conversations (good and bad) about your brand whether you like it or not and for anyone with an interest in selling (which let’s face it we all are) its crucial to pay attention to what our customers, potential customers, competitors and influencers are saying about our brands.
ORM — Online Reputation Management — is a really good way to go about listening. There are a number of tools out there that you can use, but the real value comes out of understanding what ORM actually means for your business.
1. It’s all about listening
I cannot stress enough how important it is to be in the loop in terms of what is being said about your business online. Far too often companies which carelessly disregard the importance of what people are saying are left with huge crisis management ordeals which could have been avoided.
According to statistics from research company Pew, four out of five people state that they have received advice via social media regarding what product or service to purchase. A 2012 graphic from Insight Marketing Group meanwhile shows that 78% of consumers trust peer recommendations, only 14% trust advertisement. So what does this mean for your business? They are talking about you beyond your control and you need to be monitoring the conversation.
2. Talk the talk
Besides being able to listen and pick up what your customers are saying about your business, ORM also allows you to understand what people are talking about in context to your business, products or services.
You might pick up that, as a retailer, people are talking about price comparison and using your stores as ‘showrooms’, eventually making their final purchase online. Picking up on this kind of insight could help change your entire business strategy and make you realize that your standalone brick and mortar store is no longer going to cut it and in order to be competitive you need to look at ecommerce options.
As a research company or educational institution you may pick up on trends and issues that suggest people are searching for information on that you are not covering. This may help you expand your offering and start a niche sector catering to specific sought after needs.
3. Identify the influencers
One of the biggest benefits of ORM is that it helps you understand what people are searching for, what they are saying about it, and how this is relevant to your brand. You can also start identifying those key online influencers who seem to steer the crowd either towards or away from your business.
Certain people have greater clout (and Klout) than others and surely you want to get these people on your team? Use ORM to pick up on what these people are saying and start engaging with them. Your attendance to them and what they have to say will only inflate their egos and help put your brand on a pedestal within their social communities.
4. Business strategies revealed
ORM also allows you to pick up on where your brand is being spoken about which may open up opportunity for you to start engaging on new platforms.
An old-school, male-orientated insurance company might, for instance, uncover that some of its biggest competition online is coming from female-orientated site targeted at a much younger audience. It might therefore be time to change its strategy.
You might discover that more and more image driven and video content is being shared about your brand on platforms you are not active on. This may be an opportunity to work branded visual content into your strategy and start engaging within these new visually oriented communities.
5. ORM is big data
As we know, big data uncovers consumer and industry insights on a mass scale. Essentially that’s exactly what ORM is doing, but instead of asking the questions you’re using the tools to listen to the answers.
There is so much data available it can seem overwhelming, and often the pure magnitude of this data leads to us missing critical points of interest and insight.
ORM is a way you can learn to coexist with big data and use it as a pinnacle tool in understanding the importance of social media for business and monitoring online conversations about the brands, people or topics that are important to you.