Building a Digital Marketing Foundation
To get right to the point here - your web site is stage one of your digital strategy, it is the cornstone of the foundations of the building. But remember it's just the begining! here are my five steps for creating that firm foundation.
Objectives, Audience & Site Design
Mobile Device Foundation
SEO & Keyword Foundation
Pay Per Click Advertising
Content & Social Strategy
1. Objectives, Audience & Site Design
Without objectives, a site is like a ship without a compass. It’s critical to determine early-on what the purpose of a site is, and what the purpose of the digital marketing strategy is that the site is built around. This provides focus, as well as the ability to measure.
- Increase sales and enquiries
- Provide resources for students, parents or staff
- Attract interest from prospective volenteers or supporters
Next, it’s important to identify your target audience groups, and decide which is the most important to target to satisfy your objectives. Existing customers, staff, the general public, or prospective clients? Also, decide what the motivating factors are for each group that would lead to a successful outcome.
- Parents who want to send their girls to school at a high quality institution, but don’t know which to choose.
- Existing costomers that need access to important information and documents
- Prospective clients looking for a particular type of table lamp.
Site design should be informed by both your objectives and your target audiences. The most critical information neccessary to achieve your objectives should be featured most prominently on the homepage and subpages. Calls-to-Action that encourage visitors to take positive actions are extremely important.
- Simplified navigation that is built to easily guide users
- Bold calls-to-action to encourage users to take action
- Messaging that immediately targets key audiences
- Engaging content that encourages interaction
2. Mobile Devices
Mobile phones and tablets are rapidly becoming the browsing device of choice for consumers. Young people are adopting mobile-only as their primary means of computing and the growth patterns in web traffic reflect this.
- At this rate of growth, mobile devices and tablets will represent more than 50% of all web traffic by the end of the year.
- Most live web site are not optimized for mobile experiences.
- A mobile strategy will be critical to continue to gain visits from key audience groups.
3. SEO - The Low Hanging Fruit
Search engine optimization is the easiest way to attract free traffic to your site. With the right page construction, keywords, tags, headlines and coding techniques, you can drastically improve your natural search results. Proper SEO techniques also allow your organization to be displayed with unique attributes and options, increasing the chance that a user will visit.
SEO investment should be the first effort immediately following an acceptable site design and mobile experience. Over time, you should be able to:
- Improve site rankings in google, bing, yahoo etc...
- Make your search engine listing more attractive
- Measure the increase in traffic to your site from SEO
- Gain valuable insight into what keywords generate your traffic
- Allow you to target additional keywords for your content strategy
- Guide you towards which new types of pages you should create
4. Pay Per Click - Immediate Results
Pay per click advertising with google adwords is the fastest way to get more visitors, more leads, and more potential customers. Paid search allows you to appear at the top of search results, with ease. With the shift towards digital, most organizations make a substantial investment in paid search.
- Paid search investment has been increasing year on year since it began
- PPC acounts for over 40% percent, of the total Internet advertising revenue.
- If your competitors are paying for search advertising, why aren't you?
- Traffic from PPC clicks are more qualified and almost twice as likely to result in a sale or enquiry than organic traffic.
Investment in PPC drives rapid, reliable results for new visitors and potential customers to your site. Once there, it is up to you to convert those visitors into possible customers with compelling content.
5. Social Content - Requires a Strategy
Social can be a powerful tool for engagement, visitor attraction, and retention. But without a compelling strategy, it can often become just another place to post news and events.
Social strategy should be informed by these things:
- Core site objectives
- Key audiences
- Keywords that are important to achieving objectives
- SEO priorities
- Internal resources (requires consistent good writing)
In general, a social content strategy should consist of articles that address the possible topics that would be of interest to your key audiences, that both inform, convince and entertain. Then share those articles on social channels with links back to your website.
For instance, in order to attract the parents of possible new students to an all girls school, a series could be written that dives into the possitive outcomes for girls that attend all-girls schools. This would speak to the advantages of attending as well as entice parents who have never considered and all-girls school for their child.
Benefits of this type of strategy include:
- SEO improvements to due to keyword utilization
- Brand awareness
- Trust building due to being a knowledable resource center
- More visitors and potential new customers
I hope this brief introduction to putting together a web strategy will help you see that there is far more to being on-line than simply "having a website". A cohesive digital marketing plan can pay huge dividends, turning a medocre website into a high flyer. As we move further down the line the internet will become even more important in our lives and those businesses that take it seriously will rise to top.
If you would like to know more about digital marketing or need help in developing your strategies please talk to us, we'd be more than happy to help.