Kevin Layton explains how to grow your company through online channels amid aggressive competition
Sometimes it feels like it’s hard to get noticed online. There are a lot of voices out there. We live and breathe digital marketing and we know; we see the thousands of voices that are all talking at once online. An overload of messages and brands sending those messages is the new normal in our digital culture. How do you get noticed and ultimately grow your company with the aggressive competition that there is online? It can be done and we’ve seen it done successfully with a few changes in perspective.
Be Ready. In order to build your business online, you must start with the foundations to get your company set firmly before moving to the next level. Setting the foundations first will ensure that when battling it out with your competitors, you’re going to have the punch it takes to come out on top. If you don’t have your foundations of branding, a solid website, and social media profiles, you’re not ready to make a dent online.
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Be Consistent. Consistency is key when it comes to how often you post, where you post, and what you say. Whether you blog, post on social media, or advertise once a month, once a week, or once an hour, stay consistent. It takes time to build authority and rapport with your audience and search engines; consistency helps you build that rapport. You also want to be consistent with where you post. Focusing on a few main digital channels like email, social media, and blogging might be all you focus on. Then, when you are consistent on those, you can add other digital advertising channels.
Be Listening. So many brands are yelling their message online as loudly as they can. They plaster their message on every pop-up add and social media profile that they can. However, they aren’t listening to the audience to know if that message is welcome in the first place. They also aren’t listening to the response that initial message gets. Many brands publish their message on social media, but never look back to see what comments and chatter that message prompted. When brands engage back, they stick out from the crowd. Data is also a key player here because you can listen to the audience before you ever say anything and learn what different demographics are ready to hear.
Be Changing. One thing you can count on in digital marketing is change. New technologies, new generations, and new behaviour trends force digital marketers to adapt or get left behind. You have to be willing to change if you are going to succeed in today’s digital world!
Be Proactive. In a digital world that is constantly changing, marketers need to be proactive to find the latest and greatest opportunities. Those who embrace new digital channels often build stronger, more visible presences because they were there first. You can obviously wait until it’s a tried and true digital channel, but you risk getting lost in the sea of marketers who have also decided to embrace this new channel. For example, brands that embraced video with YouTube from the start didn’t get lost in the crowd of businesses that are now trying to use video marketing in their digital strategy.
The digital marketing landscape makes it very easy for marketers to broadcast their message and be quite proactive in their marketing to consumers. Unfortunately, this means that the marketing landscape is very competitive and sometimes, aggressive. Embracing a few key perspectives is essential for any brand to grow their business with online channels today!
Start with the foundations
Any building or structure is built with the foundation in mind first. We all know that if the foundation of a building is bad, then the structure will ultimately fail. However, if you spend the time to build that solid foundation, you can know that your building will be able to stand long-term. We all know these things about buildings, so why is it that so many businesses forget to build strong foundations for their marketing?
Before you can think about promoting your brand name, you need to have a clear vision on your branding. Branding involves the tone, feel, and message that your brand gives off, whether in nonverbal visual cues, or written text. Once you have your branding in place, you can build a website, social media presence, ad campaign, and other marketing materials to all match and work together to build brand awareness. Then, when you are ready to do your advertising campaign, you have a consistent look to build brand recognition.
Web site development
When it comes to marketing a business in the digital age, a website is the first and most important tool. Both current customers and prospective customers expect you to have one, and they demand that it be easy to find and easy to use. Your website is your first impression of what you can provide to solve their problem or need. A successful advertising campaign in the digital sphere will be crafted in such a way as to promote traffic to your website. You have to have your website in the best possible shape before you begin an ad campaign.
Outside of your website, social media is the first place someone will go to check out your brand online. There are so many assumptions and impressions that people make based off of your social profiles alone. In today’s digital culture, it is a necessity to have a healthy social media presence. That doesn’t mean that you have to have 5 million followers, but it does mean that you need to be consistently sharing and providing content, as well as interacting with customers and business partners.
Prior to launching a major ad campaign, you need to make sure that you first of all, have social media presences on the main social media channels you want/need to be on. You don’t have to be on all of them, but a careful look will help you understand what profiles are best for your brand. Then, you need to build a healthy following and put forth content so that your profiles do not look empty. Remember, this is a chance to tell your prospective clients about who you are and what you stand for!
Ranking on search engines
SEO and keyword analytics go hand-in-hand with your content marketing strategy and your social media strategy. SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and SEM (Search Engine Marketing) are all about getting your website recognised on the first page of Yahoo!, Bing, or Google search engine results when clients search for relevant keywords or phrases. For instance, if you run a window and door company in Pleasantville, someone should be able to find you right away with a search for “window and door company Pleasantville,” or any other variation on that search. SEO and SEM strategies will help you make this happen.
SEO starts with building a website in a way that makes it easy and intuitive for search engines to know what you are about. Then, by optimising your pages based on the content you are writing, and other key strategies, you can make it extra clear that that is what you are about to search engines. A healthy web presence starts with building your website in a way that promotes positive search rankings. Building your brand this way builds your reputation online and establishes your brand as a leader in your industry.
Landing pages and microsites
Landing sites are often a foundation that many marketers forget to address. Any ad campaign you do will be focused around encouraging your audience to go somewhere. Where you send someone is called a landing page. All too often, we see marketers design amazing email campaigns, but then don’t spend any time on the landing page. They may get thousands of hits on this landing page, but if it’s not designed well, it doesn’t convert to actual leads.
Landing pages are a great way to direct your customers from a targeted email or ad in a way that delivers exactly the information they are expecting. Without landing pages, customers might navigate to your website and get lost after a few clicks. Landing pages are built to deliver the information the customer is looking for in that moment.
Once you have the foundations in place, you can start to think about creating campaigns to drive traffic back to your brand. Don’t make the mistake we’ve seen so many before you make – building on poor marketing foundations. Build your foundations, and then light your brand on fire through digital advertising. Not the other way around!
About the author
Kevin Layton is CEO of Data-Dynamix contact him via Twitter @DataDynamix1.