We live in a digital world. Customers are not merely savvy with technology. In many ways, they are dependent upon it. How do customers find new business? They use the Internet. How do potential clients pick between different companies? They review websites. If you want to compete in the modern marketplace, a website is no longer good enough. Instead, you need an optimized site with the careful implementation of keywords.
What Is SEO?
Most people have heard of search engine optimization. This process has been around since the dawn of search engines. The reason is simple. A search engine has to look through all the available sites and rank them for users based on the keywords entered into a search bar. To complete this process, the search engine uses an algorithm. The algorithm starts by looking for those keywords in the sites that are being indexed. As soon as web designers figured this out, they began to design websites using common keywords in order to gain prominence in search engines. This is how it became possible to create an optimized site.
How Has SEO Changed?
Although the basic concept of search engine optimization has essentially remained the same, it is a much more sophisticated process today. Early implementation of keyword usage was awkward and over the top. Instead of engaging content, web designers simply overused the keyword. Today, search engines use a more dynamic algorithm. This ensures better results for users when they complete searches. It puts the burden on the web designer, who must make sure that the search engine optimization offers a real return on the investment. There is no point in developing a site without good search engine optimization. If the site does not show up on search engines, you are wasting your time and money.
What Is Needed for a Digital Strategy?
If you want a real ROI on your site, then you need to learn the latest methods to boost your overall digital strategy. These techniques go beyond simple keyword stuffing to provide you with the complexity you need for better visibility on search engines.
These options are just the start. In addition to options like backlinks and efficient source code, you should also focus on other things like improving your meta description. It is important to pick and choose a number of tactics in order to create a versatile strategy that keeps your site on top of the competition.
Developing Ongoing SEO for Success
Ultimately, it does not matter how big or small your business is. Your business could be an established presence in the community or a new startup. The common key to success is a dynamic website with the latest and best SEO strategies. Having good services and quality products is no longer enough. You need to make sure customers can find you. Therefore, be sure to invest in an optimized site with ongoing SEO. This is the only way to make sure your business gets the visibility it needs to thrive in a competitive, digital marketplace.
Social media is one of the most valuable tools in marketing. It’s increasingly hard to compete and drive your business forward without a large digital footprint.
A few scattershot posts now and then won’t cut it. Modern consumers want ongoing, interactive engagement with their favorite brands. They want relevant, real-time information that offers true value.
Brands go unnoticed when social media campaigns are not intentional, organized and consistent. Leveraging social media to its full potential calls for a concrete strategy and attention to results.
Decide What You Want Your Campaign to Accomplish
Don’t invest time, energy and money into social media until you know what you want it to achieve. You can’t measure success without clearly defining your goals up front.
Here are some common objectives for social media campaigns:
• Increase brand awareness.
• Invite customer engagement.
• Promote products, services and promotions.
• Increase traffic on your website.
• Generate leads.
• Drive sales.
• Learn what people are saying about your brand.
• Improve customer retention.
• Build a community around your brand.
It’s best to start small. To keep the campaign focused, choose three or four goals that are most important to you.
Bear in mind that this effort should align perfectly with your overall marketing strategy. Each element of the campaign will reinforce the others in consumers’ minds, and your brand will be more recognizable.
Know Your Audience
Consumers take it personally these days. They want meaningful relationships with the brands they use. That’s why one-size-fits-all campaigns are rarely effective.
Once you’ve defined your goals, the next step is to identify your target audience. Who’s in need of what you have to offer?
Create a customer persona with these things in mind:
• Geographic location.
• Gender, age, profession and income.
• Education level.
• Marital and family status.
• Buying habits.
• Psychographics such as attitudes and personal beliefs.
A well-rounded customer persona will guide your strategy and help you target consumers who haven’t heard about you yet.
Post in the Right Place at the Right Time
You must also know where, when and how your future customers interact with social media. Every last post must be relevant and timely.
Let’s say that you offer clothing and accessories for tweeners. Posting on LinkedIn after 10 o’clock at night wouldn’t do much to boost traffic on your website. If you sell products to nursing mothers, on the other hand, posting in the wee hours on Instagram might be highly effective. A product demonstration during a trade show is a golden opportunity for live streaming.
You have numerous choices in addition to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Search the internet to find statistics on each platform’s followers. For example, more than 80 percent of Pinterest followers are women.
Posting on niche social platforms could prove fruitful as well. These are specialized subsets devoted to certain activities, hobbies or lifestyles, so the target audience is built in. They are communities of hikers, musicians, artists, world travelers, collectors, do-it-yourselfers, foodies, wine enthusiasts, techies, sports fans and just about any other niche group you can think of.
Another benefit to niche platforms is that users share information, product overviews, updates and advice. Enthusiastic reviews on social media are the new word-of-mouth.
Keep a Social Media Calendar
The importance of scheduling your posts on a calendar can’t be overstated. Blogs, photos, videos, graphics, company news, testimonials or other content must be timed just right for maximum impact.
A calendar will help you seize both short- and long-term opportunities. You could plan a YouTube tutorial to coincide with a new product launch. You could create a buzz in the weeks before a special sales event. You can strategize throughout the year to make the most of seasons and holidays.
A calendar will also expose random or repetitive content. Timely, intentional posts will keep your campaign on track.
Closely track results to see if your investment is paying off.
There’s plenty of analytics software to help you pinpoint successful posts and expose duds. Google Analytics, Facebook Insights and the Twitter followers tab contain a wealth of information. They track things like page views, likes, and shares and break down the data into a digestible format.
Be sure to look at performance over a week, a month and a quarter.
Creating a winning social media strategy takes careful planning and considerable effort. With any luck, though, once the framework is in place, it will only need tweaking now and then.
Even the most successful entrepreneurs lack motivation at times. After running a business for years, it is easy to forget why you care or what you want to accomplish. When this happens, the best thing you can do is slow down and reevaluate your current position. You may also feel like giving up when it seems like everything is going wrong with your company.
Sometimes, all it takes is finding a new approach. A new marketing approach through traffic generation tools or a new search engine optimization (SEO) campaign could be all it takes to become enthusiastic about work again. With a few adjustments and a new focus, you can get excited about running your company and achieve your true potential.
Accept Struggles and Challenges
When everything seems to be going wrong, it is easy to get disheartened. This happens to every business owner at some point. You have to expect struggles and challenges to occur along the way. Long ago, Steve Jobs was forced out of Apple. Instead of pitying himself for being fired from his own company, he got back to work and was eventually re-hired. Problems are always going to happen, but it is how you deal with them that determines your success as an entrepreneur.
Connect With Like-Minded Entrepreneurs
Most likely, your problems are not completely new. Entrepreneurs have faced similar tax issues, management dilemmas, and growth pains for years. Instead of losing hope, spend more time connecting with like-minded entrepreneurs.
This technique works on a couple of levels. Initially, connecting with like-minded entrepreneurs will help you learn how to solve problems. Whether you need to learn more about effective lead generation or develop a new social media technique, other entrepreneurs have experienced the same issues and can help. They can also be a vital resource. Over time, your business network could be a source of new vendors, customers, and employees.
Reconnect With Your Goals
Sometimes, the reason why you want to give up is that you do not care anymore. You lose track of the reasons why you started your business in the first place, so everything seems meaningless. If this is the problem, take some time to reevaluate your goals. Why do you care about your company? What makes you excited to get up in the morning?
Assess Your Current Strategy
When nothing seems to be going right, it is easy to lose heart. By finding a better strategy, you can discover a new motivation and feel excited about going to work each day. If you feel too stuck in a rut to change your approach, a business consultant can always help you redesign your company's strategy and mission.
Evaluate Your Toolbox
Have you tried using pay-per-click (PPC) ads or other SEO tools to bring in new clients? Are you using the right training program for your sales team? Is your lead generation website actually bringing in leads?
If you are not marketing or managing your company effectively, it is easy to get depressed about your business. Your business is a success or failure based on how well you run it. No one is completely perfect, so do not be surprised if you have to make some changes along the way. You may need to adjust the way you train your employees, find employees with new skills, market differently, or offer a different product line. Take some time to figure out which tools you need to change, get rid of, or adopt.
Remember That the Right Marketing Tools Matter
Marketing is one of the best ways to grow your business. Smart companies do more than rely on word-of-mouth sales. Instead, they actively look for effective lead generation techniques like PPC ads, a lead generation website, or social media posts. The average person researches a company online before they even consider going into a brick-and-mortar store. If you do not have an online strategy, you need to change your approach.
When a business owner feels like giving up, it is generally because their business is not successful. At a basic level, a successful business is a company that brings in more revenue than it spends. With a new marketing strategy, you can expand your company and find new customers. This allows you to grow your business. Your marketing techniques can also help you increase your lifetime customer value so that you get the most out of each dollar.
It is normal to feel like giving up sometimes, but you can change your situation. Take some time to reevaluate what your company is doing well and what you need to change. Soon, you will find your enthusiasm again as you transform your business into a successful enterprise.
In this age of digital transformations, successful businesses still count employees as their greatest assets. Taking good care of the people who deal with clients is the business model that aviation giant Southwest Airlines pioneered decades ago and that companies such as PointB, Hyland, and O.C. Tanner still use to stay competitive. One of the best ways to show your employees that you care about their well-being and work style is to support remote working. Allowing employees to work remotely gives them more control of their most valued asset, which is time. Here are five ways that your company can benefit from remote work options.
#1 Hire the Best Worker for the Job…Fast
When you’re growing a business, you want to attract the best person for every available job. However, many times hiring managers must settle for the best person for the position who lives near the job site. In these cases, companies that offer telecommuting job opportunities for exciting projects have carved out a distinct competitive advantage over a business that must rely solely on a local workforce.
A company that has telecommuting jobs attracts talent from a wider pool of applicants. Suppose you find the ideal hiring candidate for an important position. She has a unique and valuable skill set but lives in another state. She’s excited about the opportunity with your company; you can hear the enthusiasm in her voice. She’s even willing to move for the job. If your company allows employees to telecommute, you could be the first to make her a competitive job offer that doesn’t include an expensive relocation package.
#2 Greater Employee Productivity
While in-person collaboration among team members has it merits for bolstering company culture and comradery, this type of work environment can be rife with distractions that reduce productivity. This is especially true for employees who do mostly analytical tasks. Allowing them to work from home gets them away from water-cooler gossip, office politics, and impromptu reviews about last night’s episode of Dancing with the Stars. With the right technology in place for telecommuting, a company experiences increased productivity from its workforce.
Work from home jobs also give employees more control over their time. Many people do their best work in the mornings, but others get revved up after noon. When their schedules are clear of company meetings, they are free to work earlier in the mornings or later in the evenings. This perk becomes increasingly important to workers who are also responsible for taking young children to daycare services or chauffeuring aging parents to doctor’s appointments.
#3 Talent Retention
Everyone wants to know that they are part of a winning team. An organization that successfully implements remote work opportunities appears to be agile and poised to meet anything that the market brings its way. This type of innovative work environment, which is characterized by efficiency and high-performing distributed teams, retains talent.
Besides gaining a reputation for modern work practices, a company that incorporates telecommuting opportunities into its operations empowers its top employees to engage with customers beyond traditional office hours. As your employees plan customized client support activities, their sense of personal fulfillment rises along with customer satisfaction.
#4 Good Way to Go Green
Although hybrid cars do a lot to cut society’s use of fossil fuels, they still don’t fit into many household budgets at this time. Rideshare programs reduce the number of cars on the roads and pollution in the air, but they don’t afford the schedule flexibility that most people need for starting and ending their workdays. Software tools make it easy for employees to work from home and cut their fuel use and emissions output.
#5 Lower Overhead Costs
With a remote team of workers, a company can lower its operating costs. It will require less electricity, office space, housekeeping, and maintenance. Your company will also need fewer middle managers when it uses remote teams for its projects; you can reposition these team leaders to provide greater value to your customers.
When a company decides to treat people like adults and allow its employees to telecommute, it’s basically telling current staff and future workers that they are trusted. In this business environment, star performers shine brighter and mediocre members often rise to the occasion to be counted worthy of the trust they’ve been given. The results are happier clients, which are the basis for long-term growth in any industry.
Looking to take your small business online or start an online business altogether? Just because you've set up a website doesn't necessarily mean you're going to generate customers. In order to succeed online, you need an effective digital marketing strategy. While there's a lot of hearsay about what you should do to market online effectively, the most important thing is that you have a digital marketing strategy that is comprehensive.
To set up a comprehensive digital marketing strategy, here are seven steps you'll need to follow:
Step 1: Create a Winning Website Design
Everything starts with your web design. Consumers trust the credibility of your business by your web design. If your design looks like it was done by an amateur, they'll lose trust in your business. If your design looks professional, then your business will be taken seriously. While the visual presentation of your site is important, there are other essential elements of web design that you need to integrate into your site.
First, you need to have a mobile-friendly site. Over half of the Internet's traffic comes from mobile devices. If you do not optimize for mobile users, then you're potentially missing out on as much as half of your visitors. You will need to build a responsive site that adapts to the device the user is on whether it's a desktop, smartphone, or tablet.
Next, you have to make sure your site delivers a great user experience. This means that your navigation menu is clean, your site structure is organized, the font has high readability, and there's an easy-to-understand navigation path. Basically, you want to make it easy for users to interact with your site. Finally, you must design so that your web traffic converts. It doesn't matter if your site is visually appealing. Your design still needs to be optimized to convert visitors into leads and sales. This is something we'll get into later.
Step 2: Take SEO Seriously
A large bulk of the web's traffic comes from the search engines, specifically Google. If you want to be found online, you will need to take search engine optimization seriously. SEO is the process of optimizing your site for the search engines. You want to find keyword searches related to your business. Once you build a list of these keywords, you can start optimizing for these keyword searches so that your site comes up in the top listings when these searches are made.
To build a successful search campaign, you have to design your site properly, optimize each page properly for the target keyword, create quality content, and build links going to your site's pages. This can be difficult for the average business owner that doesn't have the knowledge, experience, or time to work on a search campaign. This is why most business owners turn to digital marketing agencies to help them build and manage their campaigns.
Local businesses can also benefit greatly with local optimization. Many consumers go to the search engines to find businesses in their area, so it's becoming critical for local companies to invest in local optimization. The problem is that many business owners don't take search seriously enough. They think that paying a professional a few hundred dollars a month will result in the top rankings. Search can get quite competitive, so you need to be prepared to invest a good amount of your marketing budget to build a winning campaign.
Step 3: Optimize for High Conversion Rates
There's no point in trying to get visitors to your site if you can't convert them into leads and sales. To successfully convert your web visitors into leads and sales, you need to work on your sales letter. This is basically content that persuades your visitor to take the action you want, whether it's to sign up to your email list or make a purchase. A sales letter typically consists of multiple parts like the headline, introduction, selling points, offer, and guarantee.
Even after you create a great sales letter, you will still want to optimize it so that it converts at the highest rate possible. Testing different headlines, offers, angles, and selling points can lead to big improvements in how well your site converts. Taking web copy that converts at an average of one percent for a $100 sale to copy that converts at one and a half percent boost sales by 50 percent. This starts to become significant as you get higher volumes of people coming to your site.
As briefly mentioned earlier, design is also a big part of the optimization process. Even the smallest details like the color scheme of your site, size of the call to action button, and the font you're using has an impact on your site's performance. Whether you plan on optimizing for conversions yourself or plan on going with a copywriting (writing sales letters) and conversion expert, you need to make sure that working on the design is a big part of the process.
Step 4: Craft Winning Email Marketing Campaigns
Did you know that very few people make a purchase on the first interaction? It's been said that you need to reach prospects at least seven times before the prospects take some kind of action. That's why you need to utilize email marketing in your digital marketing strategy. By using email, you can continue following up with your prospects and customers, giving you multiple opportunities to generate a sale.
Of course, this doesn't mean that you should inundate your prospects and customers with promotions and offers. Email is a very effective channel for building relationships with your prospects and customers. By providing a good mix of value and offers, you can make email marketing one of your most profitable digital marketing channels. The challenge is in learning to craft effective email marketing campaigns, producing great email content, dealing with delivery issues, and creating a solid schedule.
Email is also used by many businesses to create what's called marketing funnels and lead nurturing campaigns. Marketing funnels are basically follow-up campaigns that are designed to steadily lead the prospect towards making a purchase through educational content. Lead nurturing campaigns are similar to marketing funnels. However, they are different in that the goal of lead nurturing is to build a relationship until various metrics indicate that the prospect is ready to become a customer.
Step 5: Invest in Paid Advertising Campaigns
One of the weaknesses of search engine optimization is the fact that it can take some time before you start to see results. Search campaigns can take several months to develop, so it doesn't make sense for business owners to wait that long to bring in web visitors. That's where paid ads come in. There are many paid ad platforms that help you bring in web visitors to your site at affordable rates. The list includes Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Bing Ads, and more.
Most of the ad platforms use the pay per click (PPC) model. This is a model where you bid a certain amount per click. You are only charged at this bid rate whenever a user clicks on your ad. Google Ads and Bing Ads allow you to bid on keyword searches. Your ad shows up when the keyword you bid for is searched by the user. This means that web visitors are very targeted. Other platforms like Facebook Ads work by helping you target audiences.
Whether you're working on a search campaign or not, using paid ads are an essential part of a digital marketing strategy. It's one of the most effective ways to reach your best prospects. These ad platforms also allow you to control your budget, making it accessible to just about any business owner.
Step 6: Consistently Create High-Quality Content
Content creation is something that many businesses do not take seriously enough. High quality content is what will help you connect with your prospects and customers. It allows you to demonstrate your authority, establish credibility, and build trust with your audience. Content should not be limited to the web page that's being optimized for the search engines. You need many different types of content in your digital marketing strategy.
You'll need high-quality content for your blog, content for distribution, content for your email marketing, and content for your social accounts. The content on your site, blog, and emails will provide value to your audience, which will build and strengthen your relationships with them. The content on your social accounts will keep your followers engaged and help you grow your brand. The content you distribute will help you generate links for your search campaign.
Content creation is not as easy as it seems. There needs to be a lot of research done to figure out what ideas, topics, and angles resonate with your customers and general audience. To maximize exposure and engagement, you need to publish different types of content formats like articles, images, infographics, podcasts, presentations, live streams, and videos. On top of that, you need to publish content regularly to keep your audience engaged.
Step 7: Build a Following and a Brand with Social Media
Social media marketing is another vital step in creating a winning digital marketing strategy. It is a very unique marketing channel in that it's best used to build a following, create/maintain engagement with your audience, and build a brand online. Like email marketing, it can be used to develop and strengthen relationships with your prospects and customers.
The big difference is that it is interactive. Your followers can respond to your comments, so you need to focus on engaging in conversations. And because everybody on these social platforms is connected, your content can really take off and reach people outside of your initial network. This is what makes it an effective tool to build your brand online.
And of course, social media is a great marketing channel for promoting your products and services. It may not be as effective as email, but the idea is to combine it with all your other channels (website, blog, email, etc.) to maximize reach.
Do You Have What It Takes to Build and Execute Such a Comprehensive Digital Marketing Strategy?
As you can see, there's a lot that goes into creating a comprehensive digital marketing strategy for your business. It's very difficult to work on digital marketing with everything else you're responsible for in your business. You need to know your core competency and focus on what you excel at. Thankfully, that's where outsourcing comes in. You can focus on what your best at while also working with a company that specializes in digital marketing.
Finding the right digital marketing company to partner with is the key to making this happen. You need a company that knows every aspect of digital marketing and focuses primarily on ROI. You have the option to do everything in-house, but the importance of outsourcing cannot be stressed enough. Doing things in-house consumes a lot of time and money. You'll need to overlook your entire camp, hire employees, train them properly, and manage them. Very few businesses have the resources to pull this off.
We at Rubberneck Society have helped many of our clients find success with their digital marketing and can do the same for you. Our focus is on combining serious data analytics with creativity to come up with winning strategies and campaigns.