Are you looking into new growth strategies for your company - to supplement your existing sales & marketing efforts? Then, undoubtedly, you are looking at what the world of digital marketing can offer.
To help sort through it all, I compiled this list of digital marketing services that, when executed in line with a sound strategy, are PROVEN to generate new sales opportunities - that are cheaper to close in the long run than your outbound leads, and have a MUCH higher rate of success and predictability.
To start, I want to extrapolate on the "sound strategy" concept, because I wouldn't recommend you deploy any of these digital marketing services without a proper end-game and big-picture strategy that we know works.
If you're going to hire a digital agency to help you execute your marketing plan, it's especially imperative that you have the first steps handled - FIRST.
Digital Marketing Service #1: Strategy
For the strategy piece, I'd start with determining whether, overall, you're more interested in adding an inbound or outbound component to your existing program. (what is inbound?) I suggest you have a nice balance between the two, because they will feed off of each other, but there will be a time when inbound can and should become the dominant form of lead generation.
Inbound is the long play, so if your top concern is about what you can accomplish in the next two months, I would go with something with more immediate outcomes. But then, make sure you're asking the question, "what happens after two months?" What about 6 months from now? A year from now?
How have you approached this issue in the past, and has it typically resulted in outbound or inbound investments?
For some of our clients, we engage in "strategy-only" projects, wherein we develop and project manage everything related to inbound, but leverage internal resources to carry out the actual execution.
This is great for smaller companies that don't have big budgets but flexible internal resources.
Digital Marketing Service #2: Website
Your website is the single most important digital marketing asset you own, and with proper strategy, development, and long-term maintenance, it will improve dramatically over time.
However, we believe that the traditional website development model is broken, because those aren't typical results to most people I speak to initially. For this reason, we use the methodology known as "Growth Driven Design," (what is that?) which allows us to launch quickly (2 months) and improve it over the course of approximately a year.
If your website is in bad shape, start here... with a sound strategy, of course.
The distinction between inbound and outbound is important, because it helps us determine basic core features. MOST small businesses treat their websites as outbound tools or "brochures," but it doesn't take much to wire it up for inbound. I would make this determination BEFORE executing, but it's never too late to update an outbound site with inbound functionality.
Digital Marketing Service #3: SEO
A website shouldn't just be pretty. It also shouldn't just be pretty and functional. It needs to be VISIBLE to the search engines and your future customers for it to actually provide any real benefit.
So, even if you're not planning on overhauling your website, this is an area you should be considering.
There are a LOT of different schools of thought on this issue, with two main concepts: black-hat and white-hat. Again though, our focus is purely inbound, and that philosophy means that we don't take short-cuts, we build for the long-term, and we minimize risk. What this means is that we're not trying to TRICK the search engines because the penalties can be crippling, but rather, embrace their philosophies, which are there to ensure users have the best experiences possible.
The inbound approach to SEO means we're always adding to our website, analyzing data, and making adjustments in the content, user experience, and features. You're drawing users to you by providing educational responses to their inquiries.
Digital Marketing Service #4: Social Media
Prior to converting into a turn-key inbound marketing agency, Orange Pegs primarily focused on social media.
Similar to SEO, social media marketing is an area with a lot of conflicting philosophies, and, again, they can be divided down the line of inbound vs outbound.
I'm all for Facebook or LinkedIn ads, and even recommend you taking that route, but not if that's the ONLY thing you plan on doing in social media. It's important you're social there and that there is an end-game for all of your likes, shares, and follows.
With inbound, a good social media marketing campaign consists of sharing your content about a third of the time and other company's/peoples' content the other 2/3rds of the time with MINIMAL advertorial-focused posts.
Our social media campaigns help boost SEO rankings as well as drive qualified traffic to the website that we are then able to convert into contacts and leads. But it doesn't happen by accident.
Digital Marketing Service #5: Blogging
Blogging is an unusual beast, although at the surface, it seems very simple. However, when I ask most of you why blogging is important, I'm met with "thought leadership" as a response 9 times out of 10.
But you can't pay bills with thought leadership, and most marketing leaders and small business owners I speak to have a hard time connecting their investments in blogging to actual financial returns.
Regardless, blogging is a critical component of the inbound methodology, because it is capable of the doing the following:
- Boost traffic
- Improve SEO rank
- Educate visitors about the problems your company solves
- Direct qualified visitors to landing pages where they will exchange their contact information for a valuable piece of content
Digital Marketing Service #6: Content Offers
Traffic is great. SEO rankings are great. Social media followers, likes, and shares are FANTASTIC.
But without an exchange between you and your visitors, the large majority of qualified folks are going to move on and give their money to somebody else. This is why it's important to offer gated content to your prospects... something of value, that will compel them to hand over their private information.
Our content offers span from ebooks to Excel formulas (in the form of electronic calculators) to online assessment tools. Their format is based on what we believe your prospects will be interested in prior to buying from you... things that are related to the problems you solve, but giving them the power and autonomy to diagnose and solve the littler stuff on their own.
Like social media, blogging, and really, ANYTHING else that we're going to list off today, we start with our SEO strategy, and build from there.
To be effective (as in, deliver your sales teams quality leads), you need to hide it behind a form on a landing page. It's also important that the page itself is optimized for search, and that you are promoting it on social media and other posts.
Digital Marketing Service #7: Adwords
Yes, Adwords, at the surface, is outbound, so you may be wondering what it's doing in here.
This goes deeper than having a "nice mix" of inbound and outbound, because we treat it as part of the inbound team. Driving traffic is GREAT and all, but it's only one part of the equation, as you know.
Think about how Google ads appear - right there in the search results at the top of the page. When people click, they still need to have a quality experience and engage with your content.
In addition, we're not just paying for space at the top of your search results; we're paying for remarketing ad space, which basically puts your messaging in front of people who have already been to your site without actually searching for anything.
Digital Marketing Service #8 Turn-Key Inbound
If you don't have flexible resources, or can't regularly commit (consistency is SUPER important) resources to an inbound program, you might want to consider bringing in an agency that provides turn-key inbound services.
Who says YOU have time to project manage an inbound program when you have so much other stuff going on? Depending on the agency, turn-key services tend to be quite a bit cheaper and more effective than bringing in freelancers for individual deliverables (why?).
One of the big benefits of bringing in an inbound team is that they live and breathe inbound, and have a talent bench built around the required deliverables.
There are a couple of different ways to approach a turn-key inbound project:
- Completely hands-off - Se do EVERYTHING then join you on a monthly call where we discuss deliverables and analyze results
- Oversight only - We do all of the heavy lifting with strategy, project management, and delivery, but you provide high-level direction and collaborate where necessary
- Shared - We manage the strategy, project management, and delegation of responsibilities, but you're much more involved collaboratively, and your teams may even be responsible for significant portions of content delivery
A full-scope inbound program will consist of the following services:
- Strategy & Project Management
- Blog Writing
- Social Media Management
- Video Production
- Content Offers
- Landing Pages
- Email Marketing
With the right digital marketing services in play, you should be able to build a lead generation engine that will feed your sales teams for years to come. You may also want to consider revising your sales process, particularly if you're investing in new forms of marketing, like Inbound.