There are 7 key areas to include in any web marketing strategy. Are there more than 7 areas you could focus on? Sure! Do you need to get these 7 right first? We think so. If you're going to successfully implement these 7, you need to have a solid understanding of what they are and what they mean. Let's dive in!
1 - Content Platform
The content platform for your web marketing strategy can include multiple pieces, such as a website content management system, HootSuite social app, Mailchimp email marketing platform and a Wordpress blog. The key to the content platform is that it powers your content creation and distribution.
We've spoken many times about the c80 Content Management System for updating/adding to your website. They key to your website content management system is ease of use. If it's not super-easy for a non-techie, you won't use it. When we work with new clients, they are often surprised that a CMS like c80 can be so effective and simple at the same time, especially when compared to a platform like Joomla, DotNetNuke or even Wordpress as a full site CMS.
We've also talked about using Wordpress to power your blog. It's the most popular blogging platform and has a great community around it to create plugins for SEO, spam filtering, etc... Your blogging platform is really important because it can really feed many of your other web marketing efforts, such as email and social media.
HootSuite is a great platform for staying active in the plethora of social media sites, all from one interface. No need to login to Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIN, etc.. and check each. HootSuite brings them together in one interface and allows you to interact with them individual or all at the same time. Write one status update and publish it to all of your social platforms. That's handy! What's more, it has built-in reporting to show what posts get the most activity, etc...
We've spoken about MailChimp for email campaigns several times in the past so I won't get too far into it here. Generally speaking, MailChimp allows you to accept new opt-ins to your email lists, send out email blasts and get analytics on your email campaigns' pertformance. Another vital aspect that they handle is making sure you are sending emails that comply with the law, by providing opt-out features, address information, etc...
2 - Organic SEO
Search Engine Optimization should be a no-brainer. We all know that most of your website visitors are going to come from Organic Search. To clarify, the organic listings are the ones that "most" people click on and are NON-paid. They show up in the search results based on a multitude of things, including how your website was developed, how many links there are to your content, how well your content and site are optimized, how your content is interacted with in social media, local factors, and many other "signals" that the major search engines use.
Email marketing was frowned upon for a period of time after it's initial explosion because of the issues it created with spam. While there are still some issues with spam, email marketing has become a bit more regulated allowing it to be a legitimate and powerful marketing tool for many brands. Whether you want to send a weekly special, quarterly tips and tricks, daily inventory counts, or holiday greetings, email marketing is a great channel for keeping your brand in front of clients and prospects that have already opted-in and given you permission to stay in touch with them. The email marketing component of your web marketing strategy needs to be aligned with your content strategy and business objectives, much like the other channels of your campaigns.
4 - Social Media Marketing
Hopefully your organization isn't still on the fence about using social media to reach current clients and prospects. We often hear things like:
"Our customers don't shop on Facebook!"
That's cool! How about LinkedIN, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram or Google+? Don't say No, because you are lying to yourself and cheating your organization's potential by ignoring social media. The other problem with putting it off and ignoring it is that you will inevitably be playing catch-up when your competitors start to kick your butt in those channels. Being active in social media also helps with search engine optimization, so it has a dual purpose. Often social media is looked at with the wrong mindset by executives. Instead of being looked at as an opportunity to connect on professional and personal levels with clients and prospects, it's looked at as another burden to deal with. Does having a stronger connection and value in the eyes of your clients and prospects help or hurt your business? Rhetorical!
5 - Online Advertising
Online advertising comes in many forms, including pay-per-click in search engines and social media. We focus heavily on Google Adwords, pay-per-click advertising because the results are VERY positive for our clients. It allows you to get fairly immediate traffic to your website landing pages. The traffic is highly targeted so the clicks you pay for are not wasted on visitors that aren't looking for your product or service. By geographically limiting the areas that your ads show in, you can ensure that you are only getting clicks from prospects in an area that can/will actually buy from you. We've talked about PPC extensively on our blog and have a whole category dedicated to it here: http://www.protocol80.com/category/ppc/
6 - Mobile + Location
If you haven't noticed the enormous growth of smartphone usage, you have been hiding under a rock! They are everywhere, from grade school to nursing homes, and the numbers continue to grow. They are obviously here to stay and that means your clients and prospects are using them to interact with your brand. Whether it's through social media, search or directly with your website, your clients and prospects are mobile. That mean's you have to be. New techniques make it quite easy for you to be mobile friendly, see here - http://p80.us/da26d1
The other aspect of mobile is Location. Your clients are checking in through Foursquare, Facebook and several other social sites. They are leaving reviews on Yelp, and taking advantage of in-shop specials with their smartphones. If you don't play the game, your competitor will win by forfeit.
7 - Analytics + Conversion
The old saying that 50% of your marketing budget works, but you don't which 50% it is, no longer applies. Web marketing is the most trackable, measurable marketing channel there is. Analytics yields insights into what is working and what isn't, what's costing more than it's generating, and where the most businesses is coming from. Unlike traditional channels, calculating ROI in web marketing can be a simple thing! One of the biggest factors to this is that we can easily track conversions. A conversion online is when the prospect takes the action you want them to. Examples of conversions could be opting in to your email marketing list, Liking your brand on Facebook, downloading an ebook, making a purchase, requesting a quote, contacting you for more information, requesting a catalog, downloading your app or simply contacting you.
Without at least the analytics portion of this area, you are marketing in the dark. That's not good. Even with the raw analytics data, you may not have a clear picture of what's going on. Never fear! We offer reporting analysis and recommendations to make sure that the ship is sailing in the right direction!