All marketers want to get the greatest possible effect out of their marketing budget. But regardless of size, prioritising is always necessary – and this is not exactly an easy task given that the digital universe is in a constant state of flux. But let me try to explain which marketing channels you should prioritise and share some methods you can use to get the most out of these different platforms. Naturally, there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all solution that works perfectly for everyone. And the way you dimension each of the various channels will also have a bearing on overall effect. But to make things a bit simpler on ourselves, let us focus only on the most fundamental considerations.
PPC (pay-per-click) is still top of the list.
There are now several different ways to optimise your PPC advertisements and many of these are based on AI, making them complex in their performance and execution yet simpler for you as the advertiser. Even the most driven experts within optimisation currently have trouble beating the autopilot solutions offered by most of the largest platforms. But no matter how you choose to go about meeting your needs, we can safely say that this is an area in the throes of constant and rapid development, which means you need dedicated resources to remain up to date. Either internally or in the form of specialists like us. There are pitfalls to navigate and keep in sight.
There are two dominating forces within the world of PPC today: Google and Facebook (including Instagram). Furthest down the funnel and closest to the purchase is Google’s search ads. This is where you can cinch users who are out searching for the products and services you offer.
To help you reach those who are not familiar with your brand or who are searching actively for a product, both Google and Facebook offer display ads. These give you the scope to reach broader groups.
Social media have become dramatically more significant within the world of marketing. More and more consumers use social media to make decisions over what product to buy. Either by actively looking up the brands they like or by passively engaging with the company’s own information and what other users have shared.
Social media are unique in that you can use them to actively involve and engage your customers. Implemented correctly (and with your company walking on its own two feet), you can create new links to existing customers and even use them to reel in new ones. There is a lot to think about here and if you feel unable to go all in, then it is probably better to step back and refrain from using social media for your advertising.
Focus on relationships, not sales
Sales are for your website. Customers use social media to build relationships and learn about your business. Adopt an engaging tone and be relevant. If you come across as constantly clawing at their wallet, the chances are high they will quickly lose all interest.
It is possible to be professional and correct without this meaning dull and boring. Be clear about what you know and describe what you are doing to become even better. Look at your negative comments as an opportunity to build relationships and generate trust. Take your users behind the scenes and show them how much you appreciate insights on what doesn’t work. Handled properly, the end result will be support from satisfied customers. This is much more effective than what you could ever attain solely through your own communications.
Choose platforms based on purpose and target group. There is an abundance of social platforms and each one has its own unique style and format. This means taking on more work and responsibility for each platform you choose to be on. Simply spewing out the same content across all platforms is an all-round bad idea. You are no doubt already active on several platforms. So allocate resources to ensuring quality in the places where you are already present. Only once this is done should you begin seeking out new horizons and scaling up.
By far the best form of response marketing. Choosing to receive your newsletter is a customer’s way of saying that they want continuous updates from you. This means you already have one foot in the door and a receptive audience who want to hear about your latest products, campaigns and tips. Provided you come across as interesting and relevant.
Successful email marketing is a complex art form which requires continuous engagement in order to retain good KPIs. Some forms of best practice that we have identified:
Use a personal tone of voice. Email offers every opportunity to achieve that holy grail, which so many speak about but few are able to manage – individualisation or personalisation. It is by no means easy, but fully possible. Put some time and thought into segmentation, create and link data points along an imagined customer journey and automate. Once you have been going for a while, you will hold valuable insights that you can use to optimise your mailings. Results will follow immediately in the form of an increased opening rate, greater engagement and finally more conversion.
Segmentation will make your content more relevant to the end recipient. Be generous – if you give, you will also get in return. Be concise and to the point. And above all, make it clear to your recipients what’s happening next, use clear subject headings and include a call to action so the reader is in no doubt about what next steps they can take.
Your own websites
A channel that easily gets forgotten, despite the fact that it is probably the most important. Visitors to your website will usually have a specific query or an issue that they want answered. And with unusually little patience. If they are unable to quickly find an answer to their questions or a pathway towards solving whatever it is they need help with, then they will move on.
There are several things you can do to increase efficiency right away:
Perform a website review
Use a dedicated tool to perform an SEO analysis of your website. You will get fast feedback on any errors or shortcomings and guidance on how to fix them.
Test your interface. Engage a number of external test users and give them specific tasks to solve. Preferably tasks which are similar to the ones you want your customers to carry out when visiting your site. This will quickly show you where your shortcomings lie. By around the seventh or eighth test case, you will normally have answers to your most serious faults.
Utilise your user data
At what stage in the purchase funnel do your visitors fall away? Take a real deep dive into how your visitors behave during the purchase process. Can you identify any patterns and what might be driving them? You will often identify areas where small adjustments can yield huge results for your transaction rate.
Content marketing and SEO
Content marketing works in exactly the same way as a savings account. The more you put in, the more you get out. Put resources into the creation of quality content about subjects that you know can engage your customers. Offer hints and tips that will make your content valuable to its recipients. Be sure to spread parts of your content to places outside of your own website in order to drive important traffic through to your site. The quality of the traffic to your website will have a considerable impact on your Google ranking. Links to content which a lot of people click on are enormously helpful in attaining a good ranking. The quality of your content is crucial when it comes to attaining results through content marketing. But that goes without saying, right?
Make sure that your content is usable. That way it will also become valuable. Solid solutions to specific problems, DIY guides and helpful instructions generally tend to work very well.
Think carefully about what you want to achieve and endeavour to actually accomplish something rather than simply punching out posts that you feel like writing. For example, take a search term or a question you often get asked and build a topic around that. Always include links that readers can follow to contact you, try out your products or learn more about your services.
Spread your content
Actively distribute your content across multiple channels. Use social media and establish partnerships with other websites where you can spread your content. Make sure to always include sharing buttons in your posts and work hard to get links back to your content. This is also important to your ranking on Google.
Getting your customers to speak positively about you and to recommend your products or services is the most reliable and sure-fire form of marketing there is. You can attain similar effects in your digital presence by actively participating on social media, for example.
Do you give your customers the opportunity to review their experiences? If you do, then you should use this in your marketing and make sure that it spreads. This is another good example of word of mouth in your digital communications.
Ask your customers to spread the word
After a purchase has been made or a service delivered, contact your users and ask them what they thought and if they would like to leave a review. Make sure that you have a presence on the platforms your customers use to make their purchase decisions; e.g. TripAdvisor, Yelp and Trustpilot.
Once you have some published reviews, you should display them on your own website, on product pages and perhaps even as a filtering or search option on your website. This will help generate trust and confidence.
These are just a few examples of the many opportunities and actions available. There are many other ways to market your business effectively, both in the form of different channels and ways of taking action. The options out there will depend on your company type, the strength of your brand, the state of the competition and a whole host of other factors. TV, outdoor and sponsorships are all effective, but they require the sorts of budgets that only the biggest and most advertising-intensive companies tend to wield.
The options I have discussed in this article can be pursued on a limited budget using modest means. But executed correctly, they can produce great effect. But which options are the ones for you? The best way to find out is to work through them systematically and to take measurements both before and after each initiative. And to adopt a “no-end-in-sight” approach.
There are many platforms out there, with new ones constantly rising up and old ones falling away. That alone is an anxiety-inducing state of affairs. What’s more, these platforms overlap one another and fulfil different purposes for our customers in their everyday lives and in their decision-making processes. And this is just part of everyday reality now. Just as natural as popping out to the shops, watching TV or reading the newspaper. It is therefore high time that we stop dealing with all things digital in a silo of its own. Once and for all. I have been working within digital marketing communications since the 1990s and I am constantly amazed that people still talk about digital marketing communications as if it were a brand new phenomenon. And that we still divide channels up into traditional media and digital media. But that’s another matter, and one broad enough for an entire thesis all of its own. What’s key here is that most businesses have taken themselves a few steps up the digital maturity ladder and have now reached the most difficult rung of them all – pulling the whole thing together. Throughout the entire customer journey. Across all platforms. Succeeding in this task requires modern martech, working processes that reach across the entire organisation and no shortage of skills. Which is to say, internal capabilities – both business acumen in the form of industry and product knowledge and of what form the customer journeys tend to take. How channels interact and how customers behave.
Consider: What do we want to achieve with our content?
Communicate: Select platforms after firming up your goal.
Do: Ensure that you have identified relevant test points and take measurements both before and after each initiative. Use your insights to inform concrete actions.