As the owner of a full-service digital marketing agency and the last person to review new business opportunities that come through our inbound pipeline, I am often asked the question of which are the most important parts of the digital marketing equation.
This is typically posed by budget-conscious marketing leaders looking to install growth mechanisms or those with ample internal resources.
I don't think it's a crazy question to ask either, however, there are some critical components that should NEVER be left out, and that's what I'm covering in this article.
With professional services such as staffing, finance, or consulting, as you know, the lines between marketing and service delivery can be rather blurry. Your firm is here to make the lives of your customers easier; your services are expected to be intuitive, intelligent, easy to use, and take up very little resources or bandwidth from your customers.
Does that sound about right?
So, if your marketing doesn't reflect these concepts, you're likely fighting an uphill battle. Inbound solves that problem, and with it, not only will your messaging and sales process be more in line with your overall mission (read more), but you'll also have a predictable source of home-grown leads.
There is NOTHING more important than a good, solid campaign strategy. For inbound, we must go beyond the cookie-cutter playbook we've all come to know and love (more on what inbound marketing is), and put time in up front really understanding your client-base.
We go through a three-step process to develop strategy.
- Personas - identify and describe your perfect customer, and use it as a basis for every piece of content developed
- Fundamental Assumptions - identify and describe your personas' movement throughout your website (what are they looking for, and how can we help them find it?)
- Journey Mapping - identify and describe content based on personas and different stages of the buyer's journey (what's that?)
Strategy is going to change based on how people respond. Make sure you have a good analytics software program in place to identify where and when to make changes. Also, in line with that thinking, your delivery model should be flexible enough to pivot from quarter to quarter, or even on the spot.
Google, Bing, and Yahoo will be happy to deliver people to your website, but you need all the right words in the right places, inbound links, and content that reflects your mission.
Your SEO strategy starts with keywords, but also should include outreach to other related domains for link-building purposes.
But "SEO" is a big term with a lot of different tools out there to support it. For example, this may not be intuitive to most people, but blogging is something you can do to improve your SEO... which is why it's one of our top 5 most important inbound marketing services... same goes for social media.
Blogging is one of the best ways to boost your SEO rankings, but your site itself should also be optimized... as should your social media posts.
What makes blogging so important is that it helps connect people to answers to their problems. This is something Google absolutely loves and supports, which is why they put so much weight into blog posts.
That said, we're seeing a shift in demand from text blog posts to visual or video blogs. People consume a lot more with videos and audio than they do with text... and a lot more quickly too.
So, from a user experience, videos are great substitutes for blog posts, but we can't forget the text posts either, because Google is better at crawling words.
4. Content Offers
What drives your company's value better than proof that your prospective customers are losing money by not using you? This is a great place to offer statistics and real-life data that will help visitors understand the true value of their ROI - whether it be with your service or something they can do on their own.
It's also a good place to move those at the top of your sales funnel into your pipeline, so you can nurture them until they are ready to buy.
What are some good downloads?
- White papers
- Excel formulas
- Exclusive forum access
In order for content downloads to provide any value whatsoever, you're going to need a couple of things:
- Distribution - We like promoting offers on websites and blog posts
- Forms - Each download should be gated by a form, so your visitors are allowed the opportunity to give you their contact information in exchange
5. Social Media
If you build it, they will come, right? Maybe if this were a haunted baseball field, sure...
If you think about it, Facebook houses the largest human community ever in existence in the history of this planet! With over 2 billion ACTIVE users, no other forum comes even remotely close, unless you think 500 million is close. The argument, "my clients aren't on Facebook" is no doubt completely false.
See how your favorite social media channels stack up (active users):
- FACEBOOK: 2,000,000,000+
- YOUTUBE: 1,500,000,000
- INSTAGRAM: 700,000,000
- LINKEDIN: 500,000,000
- TWITTER: 328,000,000
- SNAPCHAT: 255,000,000
But before you invest in social media advertising services, understand the role it plays - it's a traffic generator... so, it's important to have a place you can point that traffic to - where they'll be converted into leads.
If you're thinking about implementing a digital marketing strategy for your company or want to improve your existing program, let us know, and we'll help you through some of the planning. Check out our services pages to learn more: