You’ve probably heard it said before that running an effective digital marketing campaign requires the ability to manage a lot of moving parts. Simply identifying all of these parts can be a challenge in itself, and often digital marketing resources only focus on individual aspects of the process. Sometimes, it’s more helpful to take a step back for a better look at everything that’s required of your marketing campaign; that’s why we’ve compiled our comprehensive 101 steps for your digital marketing plan, featured below.
Social media is a rapidly growing sector of digital marketing that has become particularly effective in helping companies reach a broader, more engaged audience. Social media marketing must be part of your digital marketing plan.
A social media strategy is most effective when it plays out across multiple platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and YouTube. Regardless of your own familiarity with these platforms, it’s in your best interest to manage numerous profiles, as you never know which platform your target audience utilizes the most.
It’s important that the branding on each of your social media accounts be uniform; this means that spelling, contact information, profile descriptions, and to an extent, images, should be consistent in order to make your company more easily recognizable. Your profile page should also communicate a high level of professionalism; you’ll never be seen as an authority in your industry with social media profiles that feature grainy cover photos or sloppy content.
This can include advertising contests, promotions, sneak peeks of new products, polls, links back to informative blog posts, etc. The idea is to find ways to not just get viewers to visit your social media page, but to engage with the content that’s on it.
Marketing on social media platforms is becoming one of the most effective advertising methods; according to AdRoll, Facebook ads maintain click-through rates that are 8 times higher than those of traditional web ads. In other words, social media marketing works.
The realm of social media is still a great place to incorporate keywords that your website is attempting to rank for, but only include these keywords in a context that makes sense and seems authentic to viewers.
Once your Facebook page has 25 likes, you have the option to change its URL to include your company name, rather than the platform’s randomly generated URL. However, note that this URL can usually only be changed once.
Especially on social media platforms like Twitter, your profile’s “About” section will serve as the meta description that appears for your page. Make these social profiles descriptions both informative and enticing (and perhaps inclusive of relevant keywords) to make optimal use of them.
On your website, blog, or other online content, include “buttons” that link to your social media profiles. This will make it easy for your visitors to connect with you on social media.
13. Create Google My Business pages.
No local SEO campaign is complete without the creation of local business profiles, such as those available from Google. However, be sure that you’re deleting all duplicated My Business pages, as these can result in a Google penalty, which will hurt your local rankings
As with social media profiles, consistency is integral to a successful local SEO campaign; however, in this case it is less about effective branding and more about making your business easily searchable.
Customer reviews will encourage visitors to investigate your site and, when positive, they play a significant role in attracting conversions. Google is now featuring reviews on local SERPs; the more diverse, high-quality, and plentiful your company’s customer reviews, the more likely you’ll end up on Google’s SERP carousel at the top of a results page.
Appealing to mobile users is particularly important for targeting a local audience, as approximately 80 percent of all local searches are conducted on a mobile device.
If you have three brick-and-mortar storefronts, create three distinct web pages on your website for each location. This will help better direct those that search for your company name and location to your website, while creating the opportunity for your company to offer content that is specific to each location, and therefore more useful to local customers.
Content is arguably the driving force behind any digital marketing campaign. When companies lack online content that is informative, clear, and that resonates with readers, they stand little chance of attracting more traffic or climbing SERP rankings. Both readers and Google can tell when content doesn’t measure up.
21. Publish quality blogs.
Blogging is a popular method of generating fresh content, but it is actually more challenging than it may appear. A great blog depends less on its inclusion of a ranking keyword than it does on the quality of its content. Today’s online reader is confronted with a wide variety of options in terms of blogging content, so if you want your blog to stand any chance of garnering wide viewership, it has to be top-notch. Make sure your writing doesn’t sound too stilted, that it presents readers with useful and informative content, and that it’s interesting enough to make them want to read your future posts. Today’s online reader also isn’t a fan of blogs that read as overt advertisements or that contain misleading “click-bait” titles that don’t reflect the blog’s actual content. In other words, blogs should focus on the experience of the reader, rather than on sending a marketing message. You should also promote your blogs on social media as part of your digital marketing plan.
Web 2.0s refer to content that’s published on external content platforms, such as Tumblr, Slideshare, Themefy, or Weebly. These platforms are a great way to move beyond an onsite or WordPress blog to reach a wider audience.
On-site SEO is central to any digital marketing campaign, as your website serves as the “hub” of your other online content and is where you’ll actually get conversions. All of the other moving parts of your digital media campaign—from blogs to social media to inbound links—always funnel back in some way to your actual website, which is why it’s critical that no effort is wasted in making it in exceptional.
A meta tag is the snippet of text that appears below the link to your company’s website on a results page. To prevent text from being cut off, meta tags should be no more than 155 characters, including spaces. They should also offer readers a succinct description of what can be found on your webpage. Meta tags should also be optimized to feature your company’s ranking keywords and include a call to action to entice readers to actually visit your site. For a better idea of how to write effective meta tags, check out our WebiMax SEO basic training resource.
Offsite linking is intended to generate traffic to your website from third-party sites. In other words, the idea is to create a network of “partners” that will feature links to your website on their pages. This will not only improve your traffic, but build your website’s credibility, as you’ll be seen as a highly-referenced source, which Google takes into account when determining rankings.
Google AdWords is a pay-per-click advertising service that allows companies to purchase ad space on Google search engine results pages, and has proven to be a highly effective means of advertising. Given that more than 80 percent of search engine results now contain AdWords, it’s clear that the majority of your competitors are already utilizing this service—so don’t miss out!
Your Google AdWords ad can also include callout extensions, which show additional information about your business. These extensions will be automatically added if Google determines that they will help your ad campaign, and if your Ad Rank is high enough to earn it. These extensions come at no additional cost to companies.
Pursuing strategic online public relations pays off tremendously when approached the right way. Media pitches and press releases are the two dominant forms of online public relations. While somewhat easy to master, they require the development of strong relationships with media contacts and distribution sources.
Considering that your media pitches and press releases will be intended for online public relations platforms that have the potential to improve your rankings, it’s certainly not a bad idea to include relevant keywords and phrases in your content when it makes sense to do so.
Media pitches are intended to present media contacts with opportunities to speak to industry experts. If a media pitch doesn’t demonstrate that your company and its spokesperson are uniquely suited to speak on the topic at hand, you’ll likely have trouble garnering responses.
All press releases will require approval from the distribution source your company works with, and approval is based in part upon the newsworthiness of your release. In other words, your press release is unlikely to receive approval if it’s not actually announcing something.
Online public relations will depend on the connections your company forges with various media contacts. These connections will strengthen when communication is frequent and when media pitches are well-written, informative, and offer media contacts something valuable.
Online public relations material can also benefit your SEO campaign through the inclusion of links back to your company’s website. This can be accomplished by simply hyper-linking your company’s name when first mentioned, or including a link to anchor text that’s relevant to something your company offers.
Every media pitch that is sent for distribution should be based on a topic that’s current and relevant; to ensure that your topic meets this criterion, lead with a relevant news article. This communicates to the media contact that others are also talking about your topic.
An “In the News” page communicates to both your viewers and search engines that your company is relevant and referenced as an authority by third-parties.
Lead generation directly solicits leads (those who show interest in your product or service) on sales. To be successful, any lead generation campaign will need to oversee multiple lead channels at once.
Make online forms available that ask for a name, phone number, email address, and possibly a place of employment. Forms should be presented to interested visitors as a way to learn more information about something your company offers.
Visitors will be more likely to act on their interest in a product or service if they’re met with an attractive offer. A free e-book download is one type of popular offer that companies can use to provide visitors something in exchange for their contact information.
Consumers are more likely to act when the decision to do so is made easy. Presenting clear, high-quality content in lead generation material is one effective means of doing just that. It’s also important to keep web pages well-organized with an easily identifiable lead generation form.
Email marketing is still a very successful form of digital marketing and is particularly effective at securing conversions because it requires individuals to opt-in; in other words, you already know that your email recipients are somewhat interested in your company and are therefore more likely to make a purchase.
The first step to launching an effective email marketing campaign is compiling a sizable list of contacts. This can be achieved through direct invites to visitors of your website, or by asking for email information when customers make a purchase order. When requesting an email address, be clear about what your company will and will not do with this information. For example, you should reassure customers that you won’t sell their address to other marketers, that emails will only be used for promoting exclusive discounts and deals, or that individuals can opt out of the email list at any time.
This designation ensures that your emails won’t be placed in a recipient’s spam mailbox, and will instead always be delivered to their primary inbox. This is best accomplished through addition to a recipient’s address book, which you’ll need to explicitly ask for in your initial emails.
Be clear about the frequency with which you’ll send out emails, and follow through with this promise. This is primarily to ensure that you don’t annoy recipients by sending emails more frequently than you said you would.
If possible, consider the value of personalizing your messages to recipients based on what you know about their buying behavior. Rather than sending out a blanket promotion to a large contact list, it may be more effective to break up your email list into groups of recipients based on their demographic or buying behavior and send emails that more accurately align with these characteristics.
Newsletters can be an alternative to traditional email messages, offering recipients more valuable information, or helping encourage more people to sign up for your email list. Newsletters should include announcements, updates, or interesting information relevant to your industry, in addition to sales or product descriptions.
Signing up for an auto-response system is a more efficient means of keeping in contact with recipients on your email list, and doesn’t limit contact to just promotions (which can become annoying to some recipients). With an auto-response system, your company can automatically issue a series of say, 15 brief yet informative articles about a topic your company is qualified to speak on. When a customer signs up for your email list, he or she will begin receiving auto-response content at whatever interval your company deems appropriate.
How many people actually opened your email? How many clicked on a link within it? How many decided to unsubscribe to your email? Each of these questions can be answered with analytics, which, when analyzed carefully and frequently, can help you make impactful changes to your strategy.
Offsite marketing refers to the process of building relationships with third-party sources that will “market” your company themselves by providing links back to your website.
As with almost every other aspect of a digital marketing campaign, offsite marketing must be guided with an understanding of your company’s target audience. Who you’re appealing to should definitely influence the types of sites you seek out; always stick with sources you know receive substantial traffic from members of your target audience.
Open Site Explorer is an analytical tool that allows you to identify all of the online content that has a link back to one of your web pages. This can help you determine who is linking to your site, which site pages are garnering the most offsite links, and how you fair against your competitors.
After analyzing the data generated from Open Site Explorer, decide which specific link sources or general categories of link sources are most valuable. You’ll also want to find out which sources are linking to your competitor and whether or not you could get them to link to you as well.
Who generates an inbound link for your company matters. Google is more likely to see your site as an authority if you have links from reputable sources like nonprofits or educational institutions, rather than from low-traffic, independent blogs.
It’s important to be measured in your search for inbound links because acquiring too many links, too quickly, puts you at risk of being penalized by Google.
Offsite marketing is an ongoing process, which means that companies should never cease looking for opportunities to request inbound links from others; the inbound links you have today aren’t guaranteed to hold up one week or one month down the road. Therefore, the challenge of continuously attracting inbound links is continuous.
Add Google rich snippets to your SERP link to make it more attractive; Google’s SERP rich snippet tool will allow you to customize page titles and Meta descriptions, and add valuable micro-data (more detailed information) about your company. For example, with a rich snippet, your business could feature a positive customer review or its hours of operation, which can help attract more clicks.
You know that press releases are central to online public relations, but they can be just as integral to your offsite marketing efforts. A press release issued through a partnering distribution affiliate will afford opportunities for your company announcement and name to appear on various third-party sites online, which is essentially a form of offsite marketing in itself.
Offsite marketing will depend in part upon your company’s ability to forge and sustain relationships with actual people. Reach out to editors that run digital publications on which it would make sense to link to your site or write a guest blog. The better connected you are, the more opportunities you have for creating links.
Placing your domain name or site name within anchor texts that appear in the content of third-party sources is an important part of brand recognition.
Mobile users are a rapidly growing sector of the digital marketing audience, which means that the experience of the mobile user is incredibly important. Already, mobile searches have outpaced desktop searches, which means that if you’re not in the mobile game by now (or aren’t making plans to enter), you’re missing out.
To ensure that users have access to websites that are well-designed, optimally formatted, and easily navigable on a mobile device, companies need responsive web design. A responsive website allows content to be seamlessly re-organized to fit any mobile device.
Google now indicates on search engine results pages which websites meet its criteria for being mobile-friendly. Earning this distinction can have a big impact on the amount of traffic your site receives from mobile users, and is based on criteria such as text that doesn’t require zoom to read, no horizontal scrolling, and easily clickable links.
Though similar in many ways to traditional web advertisements, the clickable mobile ad should be more concise, feature a more prominent call to action and include only one message. Mobile ads don’t afford as much space as desktop ads, so the key is to make them short and sweet (but still appealing).
When setting up a mobile marketing campaign, you’ll want to implement either a unique identifier matching tool or a device fingerprinting tool to ensure accurate attribution; these tools will make it possible to attribute a conversion to your mobile advertisement and, in turn, help your company assess an ad’s effectiveness.
Mobile advertisements can now specifically target mobile users who either live or happen to be within proximity of your storefront. These users can be identified based on their searches (whether or not they frequently search for terms with your location), or from things like Foursquare check-ins. The benefit of geo targeting mobile users is that your advertising dollars can be spent on appealing to those who are already in the area, and who are therefore more likely to actually visit your store.
Though many assume that reputation management is only for companies that have a poor online reputation, reputation management is actually valuable to any company. The reality is that if your company doesn’t take charge of its online reputation, somebody else likely will.
First, determine what your company’s online reputation actually is. This involves looking for your company on various search engines using a range of keywords, such as your company’s location, products, or brands. Review the results that appear on at least the first and second pages and create an organized spreadsheet of the sites that generate negative listings, as well as those that generate neutral or positive listings.
Determine what aspects of reputation management will be achievable for your company. Keep in mind that a reputation overhaul won’t happen overnight; start by targeting the negative listings that appear on the results pages for some of your most commonly-searched keywords, or that appear within a page’s top 10 results.
As mentioned, if you don’t take charge of your reputation, somebody else will. You need to claim your company’s name on all online platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn (really, every social media site) and local listings like Google Business. Claiming your name on these platforms is not only beneficial for SEO purposes, but guarantees that nobody else can create an account with your name to distribute irrelevant or unauthorized content.
You can’t force negative listings to disappear, but you can force them down a results page by replacing them with links to more positive content. If you’re already engaging in a full-fledged digital marketing campaign that generates fresh blog articles, inbound links, and social media posts, you should be well on your way to improving your standings. However, you may need to bolster your efforts by adding new web pages or creating additional pages and sites.
Though the thought of encouraging customers to leave reviews of your product or service can be daunting, it’s important to let customers write reviews. First, it shows that your company values your customers’ experience. Second, it creates a platform on which satisfied customers can do your marketing for you. Research has shown that people are more likely to purchase a product when it’s been endorsed by other customers. There’s always the possibility that someone will leave a negative review; however, you now have the ability to address these comments and demonstrate that your company sincerely apologizes for the customer’s experience, while explaining how you’ll prevent it from happening in the future.