There’s no question that, in the modern landscape, a big part of your marketing strategy is digital. Consumers and businesses alike are almost always online — and you want to be able to reach them and observe their behavior where they spend the most time.
But when you’re growing a business, it seems like this ever-evolving landscape can quickly become overwhelming. There’s already enough to do — how are you also supposed to create, fine-tune, and maintain an agile digital marketing strategy?
We’ve compiled a list of seven digital marketing strategies that marketers can adapt to help their teams and businesses grow, as well as a crash course on the meaning of digital strategy and marketing campaigns. Then, grab your free collection of digital content marketing templates at the end of this post.
What is digital marketing strategy?
Your digital marketing strategy is the series of actions that help you achieve your company goals through carefully selected online marketing channels. These channels include paid, earned, and owned media, and can all support a common campaign around a particular line of business.
The term “strategy” might seem intimidating, but building an effective digital strategy doesn’t need to be difficult.
In simple terms, a strategy is just a plan of action to achieve a desired goal, or multiple goals. For example, your overarching goal might be to generate 25% more leads via your website this year than you drove last year.
Depending on the scale of your business, your digital marketing strategy might involve multiple digital strategies — each with different goals — and a lot of moving parts. But coming back to this simple way of thinking about strategy can help you stay focused on meeting those objectives.
Despite our simplification of the term “strategy,” there’s no doubt it can be difficult to get started actually building one. Let’s see what a digital marketing campaign looks like, and then, we’ll jump into those seven building blocks to help you create an effective digital marketing strategy to set up your business for online success.
What Is a Digital Marketing Campaign?
It’s easy to confuse your digital strategy with your digital marketing campaigns, but here’s how to distinguish the two.
As we’ve already outlined, your digital strategy is the series of actions you take to help you achieve your overarching marketing goal. Your digital marketing campaigns are the building blocks or actions within your strategy that move you toward meeting that goal.
For example, you might decide to run a campaign sharing some of your best-performing gated content on Twitter, to generate more leads through that channel. That campaign is part of your strategy to generate more leads.
Here a few other well-known examples of digital marketing campaigns and the strategies they employ.
Digital Marketing Campaign Examples
- Delta Airlines
- ETF Securities
- Red Bull
Digital strategy: Earned media, user-made video
GoPro is famous for its incredible point-of-view style action footage, all taken from the company’s classic fisheye lens. What you might not know is that so much of the video content you see on its YouTube channel wasn’t made by GoPro, but rather by its most loyal users.
By populating its YouTube channel with user-made video content, GoPro has encouraged an entire fanbase of outdoorspeople to take amazing footage of their adventures and post it online — often with credit back to GoPro. This ongoing digital marketing campaign has championed the use of video to spread the word about the GoPro product line — and a lot of the content is created by the customers themselves.
Check out the video below, which GoPro republished, awarding the video’s original shooter with being one of the best videos in its category.
2. Delta Air lines
Digital strategy: Owned media, Twitter stories
You wouldn’t think of an airline as a leader in creative digital marketing, but don’t underestimate the stories they can tell on social media (emphasis on “stories”).
Delta Air Lines is a prolific user of social media, specifically on its Twitter handle. The brand uses this account to engage potential passengers in a variety of ways that are both timely and emotionally stimulating. Last month, in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the company began sharing personal stories from Delta employees directly through the company’s Twitter feed. Here’s the beginning of one story’s thread, below.
In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we’re sharing the stories of the survivors and fighters of our Delta family.
Amanda Ross, a Customer Care Supervisor, has been a Delta employee for 13 years and is actively fighting breast cancer. Read about her battle below. pic.twitter.com/WSp6ZyBw36
— Delta (@Delta)
October 19, 2018
Digital strategy: Paid media, YouTube Preroll ads
All you need to hear is the word “Geico” to remember you can save 15% or more on your car insurance. But even a company with such a memorable tagline can risk annoying its buyers if its marketing campaign is too longwinded.
That’s why Geico launched a series of preroll ads on YouTube that admit to the ad’s brevity in the videos themselves.
Preroll ads are a form of paid content on YouTube wherein you pay YouTube to roll 15- to 20-second ads ahead of videos that have the same audience as the advertiser. While some companies try to squeeze as much messaging as they can into that short slot, Geico has taken the opportunity to make fun of itself for taking up your time in the first place. In this way, its YouTube preroll commercials are actually entertaining. Check out one of them below.
Digital strategy: Owned media, Instagram tags
Wayfair, a home furnishings and decor merchant, has a truly innovative Instagram strategy. Let’s just say its photos aren’t just photos.
Instagram gives companies an opportunity to show their followers a more intimate side of the brand, lifting the curtain on the business to show off the employees and events that make the organization what it is. For Wayfair, however, Instagram isn’t just a culture play — it’s a purchase page.
Using Instagram’s product tags, Wayfair has taken some of its prettiest home interior shots on Instagram, and tagged them with product and price labels. It’s a digital marketing campaign that shows people exactly how much each item in the photo costs, helping Wayfair generate buyers right from its Instagram account. Check out an example, below.
Digital strategy: Owned media, Travel blog
Mastercard bases its brand on the stories and adventures that cardholders go on. But what good is a travel-based brand without a travel-based digital marketing campaign to go with it?
Priceless Cities, Mastercard’s travel blog, gives readers a travel resource to go along with the credit cards that help pay for these readers’ destinations. It’s a pretty good idea, as it allows the company to better align itself not just with the things its customers buy, but with the places its customers go. Check out the blog here.
6. ETF Securities
Digital strategy: Paid media, LinkedIn Sponsored Content
ETF Securities is a small, asset management service based in Australia catering to wealth managers and investors in Europe. Because the service they provide is so complex, the company found where its customers hung out the most — LinkedIn — and sponsored paid content on this platform that drives more interest in investments and helps customers make smarter financial decisions.
With this digital campaign, ETF Securities saw 95% year-over-year growth in its LinkedIn followers.
7. Red Bull
Digital strategy: Owned media, Lifestyle news
Red Bull has become more well known for its sponsorship of extreme sports than the energy drink it sells. It’s a natural fit for the types of people the drink appeals to. But instead of creating digital content on the energy drink industry, Red Bull captures its audience with articles and videos all about the latest happenings in the extreme sports community.
In this digital marketing campaign, Red Bull teaches us that what you sell isn’t always the ideal content strategy. Rather, it’s the lifestyle that your customers live. Check out the company’s website here.
It’s important to note that even if a campaign runs over the course of a couple of years, it doesn’t make it a strategy — it’s a tactic that sits alongside other campaigns to support a larger marketing strategy. For example, ETF Securities (cited above) hosted a campaign to increase its followers on LinkedIn, using the digital strategy of sponsored content (a form of paid media). This one strategic campaign might be one small part of a larger digital marketing strategy that serves to generate more leads for one of its products or business lines.
Now that we’ve gotten to grips with the basics of digital strategy and digital marketing campaigns, let’s dig into how to build your strategy.
How to Create a Digital Marketing Strategy
- Build your buyer personas.
- Identify your goals and the digital marketing tools you’ll need.
- Evaluate your existing digital channels and assets.
- Audit and plan your owned media campaigns.
- Audit and plan your earned media campaigns.
- Audit and plan your paid media campaigns.
- Bring it all together.
1. Build your buyer personas.
For any marketing strategy — offline or online — you need to know who you’re marketing to. The best digital marketing strategies are built upon detailed buyer personas, and your first step is to create them. (Need help? Start here with our free buyer persona kit.)
Buyer personas represent your ideal customer(s) and can be created by researching, surveying, and interviewing your business’s target audience. It’s important to note that this information should be based upon real data wherever possible, as making assumptions about your audience can cause your marketing strategy to take the wrong direction.
To get a rounded picture of your persona, your research pool should include a mixture of customers, prospects, and people outside your contacts database who align with your target audience.
But what kind of information should you gather for your own buyer persona(s) to inform your digital marketing strategy? That depends on your businesses, and is likely to vary depending on whether you’re B2B or B2C, or whether your product is high cost or low cost. Here are some starting points, but you’ll want to fine-tune them, depending on your particular business.
Quantitative (or Demographic) Information
- Location. You can use web analytics tools like Google Analytics to easily identify what location your website traffic is coming from.
- Age. Depending on your business, this may or may not be relevant. It’s best to gather this data by identifying trends in your existing prospect and customer database.
- Income. It’s best to gather sensitive information like personal income in persona research interviews, as people might be unwilling to share it via online forms.
- Job Title. This is something you can get a rough idea of from your existing customer base, and is most relevant for B2B companies.
Qualitative (or Psychographic) Information
- Goals. Depending on the need your product or service was created to serve, you might already have a good idea of what goals your persona is looking to achieve. However, it’s best to cement your assumptions by speaking to customers, as well as internal sales and customer service representatives.
- Challenges. Again, speak to customers, sales and customer service representatives to get an idea of the common problems your audience faces.
- Hobbies and interests. Speak to customers and people who align with your target audience. If you’re a fashion brand, for example, it’s helpful to know if large segments of your audience are also interested in fitness and well-being, as that can help inform your future content creation and partnerships.
- Priorities. Speak to customers and people who align with your target audience to find out what’s most important to them in relation to your business. For example, if you’re a B2B software company, knowing that your audience values customer support over a competitive price point is very valuable information.
Take this information and create one or more rounded personas, like Marketing Molly below, and ensure they’re at the core of your digital marketing strategy.
2. Identify your goals and the digital marketing tools you’ll need.
Your marketing goals should always be tied back to the fundamental goals of the business. For example, if your business’s goal is to increase online revenue by 20%, your goal as a marketer might be to generate 50% more leads via the website than you did last year to contribute towards that success.
Whatever your overarching goal is, you need to know how to measure it, and more important, actually be able to measure it (e.g., have the right digital marketing tools in place to do so). How you measure the effectiveness of your digital strategy will be different for each business and dependent on your goal(s), but it’s vital to ensure you’re able to do so, as it’s these metrics which will help you adjust your strategy in the future.
If you’re a HubSpot customer, the Reporting add-on in your HubSpot software brings all of your marketing and sales data into one place, so you can quickly determine what works and what doesn’t.
3. Evaluate your existing digital channels and assets.
When considering your available digital marketing channels or assets to incorporate into your strategy, it’s helpful to first consider the bigger picture to avoid getting overwhelmed. The owned, earned, and paid media framework helps to categorize the digital ‘vehicles’, assets, or channels that you’re already using.
This refers to the digital assets that your brand or company owns — whether that’s your website, social media profiles, blog content, or imagery, owned channels are the things your business has complete control over. This can include some off-site content that you own, but isn’t hosted on your website, like a blog that you publish on Medium, for example.
Quite simply, earned media refers to the exposure you’ve earned through word-of-mouth. Whether that’s content you’ve distributed on other websites (e.g., guest posts), PR work you’ve been doing, or the customer experience you’ve delivered, earned media is the recognition you receive as a result. You can earn media by getting press mentions, positive reviews, and by other people sharing your content on social media, for instance.
Paid media is a bit self-explanatory in what its name suggests — and refers to any vehicle or channel that you spend money on to catch the attention of your buyer personas. This includes things like Google AdWords, paid social media posts, native advertising (like sponsored posts on other websites), and any other medium for which you directly pay in exchange for visibility.
Gather what you have, and categorize each vehicle or asset in a spreadsheet, so you have a clear picture of your existing owned, earned, and paid media.
Your digital marketing strategy might incorporate elements of all three channels, all working together to help you reach your goal. For example, you might have an owned piece of content on a landing page on your website that’s been created to help you generate leads. To amplify the number of leads that content generates, you might have made a real effort to make it shareable, meaning others are distributing it via their personal social media profiles, increasing traffic to the landing page. That’s the earned media component. To support the content’s success, you might have posted about the content to your Facebook page and have paid to have it seen by more people in your target audience.
That’s exactly how the three can work together to help you meet your goal. Of course, it’s not compulsory to use all three. If your owned and earned media are both successful, you might not need to invest in paid. It’s all about evaluating the best solution to meet your goal, and then incorporating the channels that work best for your business into your digital marketing strategy.
Now you know what’s already being used, you can start to think about what to keep and what to cut.
4. Audit and plan your owned media campaigns.
At the heart of digital marketing is your owned media, which pretty much always takes the form of content. Every message your brand broadcasts can generally be classified as content, whether it’s your ‘About Us’ page, your product descriptions, blog posts, ebooks, infographics, or social media posts.
Content helps convert your website visitors into leads and customers, and helps to raise your brand’s profile online — and when it’s optimized, it can also boost any efforts you have around search/organic traffic. Whatever your goal, you’re going to need to use owned content to form your digital marketing strategy.
To build your digital marketing strategy, you need to decide what content is going to help you reach your goals. If your goal is to generate 50% more leads via the website than you did last year, it’s unlikely that your ‘About Us’ page is going to be included in your strategy — unless that page has somehow been a lead generation machine in the past.
It might more likely that an ebook gated by a form on your website drives far more leads, and as a result, that might be something you want to do more of. Here’s a brief process to follow to work out what owned content you need to meet your digital marketing goals:
Audit your existing content.
Make a list of your existing owned content, and rank each item according to what has previously performed best in relation to your current goals. If your goal is lead generation, for example, rank them according to which generated the most leads in the last year. That might be a particular blog post, an ebook, or even a specific page on your website that’s converting well.
The idea here is to figure out what’s currently working, and what’s not, so that you can set yourself up for success when planning future content.
Identify gaps in your existing content.
Based on your buyer personas, identify any gaps in the content you have. If you’re a math tutoring company and have discovered in your audience research that one of your persona’s biggest challenges is finding interesting ways to study, but you don’t have any content that speaks to that concern, then you might look to create some.
By looking at your content audit, you might discover that ebooks hosted on a certain type of landing page convert really well for you (much better than webinars, for example). In the case of this math tutoring company, you might make the decision to add an ebook about ‘how to make studying more interesting’ to your content creation plans.
Create a content creation plan.
Based on your findings and the gaps you’ve identified, make a content creation plan outlining the content that’s necessary to help you hit your goals. This should include:
- Promotional channels
- Why you’re creating it (e.g., “Marketing Molly struggles to find time to plan her blog content, so we’re creating a template editorial calendar”)
- Priority level (to help you decide what’s going to give you the most “bang for your buck”)
This can be a simple spreadsheet, and should also include budget information if you’re planning to outsource the content creation, or a time estimate if you’re producing it yourself.
5. Audit and plan your earned media campaigns.
Evaluating your previous earned media against your current goals can help you get an idea of where to focus your time. Look at where your traffic and leads are coming from (if that’s your goal) and rank each earned media source from most effective to least effective.
You can get this information from tools like Google Analytics, or the Sources Reports in your HubSpot software.
You might find that a particular article you contributed to the industry press drove a lot of qualified traffic to your website, which in turn converted really well. Or, you might discover that LinkedIn is where you see most people sharing your content, which in turn drives a lot of traffic.
The idea here is to build up a picture of what earned media will help you reach your goals, and what won’t, based on historical data. However, if there’s something new you want to try, don’t rule that out just because it’s not yet tried and tested.
6. Audit and plan your paid media campaigns.
This process involves much of the same process: You need to evaluate your existing paid media across each platform (e.g., Google AdWords, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) to figure out what’s likely to help you meet your current goals.
If you’ve been spending a lot of money on AdWords and haven’t seen the results you’d hoped for, maybe it’s time to refine your approach, or scrap it altogether and focus on another platform that seems to be yielding better results. (Check out this free AdWords guide for more on how to leverage it for business.)
By the end of the process, you should have a clear idea of which paid media platforms you want to continue using, and which (if any) you’d like to remove from your strategy.
7. Bring it all together.
You’ve done the planning and the research, and you now have a solid vision of the elements that are going to make up your digital marketing strategy. Here’s what you should have so far:
- Clear profile(s) of your buyer persona(s)
- One or more marketing-specific goals
- An inventory of your existing owned, earned, and paid media
- An audit of your existing owned, earned, and paid media
- An owned content creation plan or wish list
Now, it’s time to bring all of it together to form a cohesive strategy document. Let’s revisit what digital strategy means: the series of actions that are going to help you achieve your goal(s) using online marketing.
By that definition, your strategy document should map out the series of actions you’re going to take to achieve your goals, based on your research to this point. A spreadsheet is an efficient format — and for the sake of consistency, you might find it easiest to map out according to the owned, earned, and paid media framework we’ve used so far.
You’ll also need to plan your strategy for a longer-term period — typically, something like 12 months is a good starting point, depending on how your business is set up. That way, you can overlay when you’ll be executing each action. For example:
- In January, you might start a blog which will be continually updated once a week, for the entire year.
- In March, you might launch a new ebook, accompanied by paid promotion.
- In July, you might be preparing for your biggest business month — what do you hope to have observed at this point that will influence the content you produce to support it?
- In September, you might plan to focus on earned media in the form of PR to drive additional traffic during the run-up.
By taking this approach, you’re also creating a structured timeline for your activity, which will help communicate your plans to your colleagues — not to mention, maybe even help keep you sane.
Your Path to Digital Marketing Strategy Success
Your strategy document will be very individual to your business, which is why it’s almost impossible for us to create a one-size-fits-all digital marketing strategy template. Remember, the purpose of your strategy document is to map out the actions you’re going to take to achieve your goal over a period of time — as long as it communicates that, then you’ve nailed the basics of creating a digital strategy.
If you’re eager to build a truly effective strategy to help grow your business, check out our free collection of content marketing templates below.
Now Is The Time To Find And Correct Your Digital Strategy Pitfalls
/Every brand or enterprise is crafting and refining their digital strategy on a daily basis. However, especially in the world of B2B, companies fall into many of the same mistakes.
According to a 2019 Forrester report, “44% of B2B buyers expect to do more than half of their work-related purchasing online in the next three years.” In the wake of COVID-19, that figure is probably even higher. It is crucial that marketers create engaging digital content, leveraging every digital touchpoint as an opportunity to build trust and strengthen relationships.
Marketers have access to more target audience research and data than ever before, but that doesn’t mean it is easy to avoid pitfalls. Let’s consider the consequential B2B marketing mistakes that companies are making, and demonstrate why a digital strategy audit is the solution.
Your Content Shouldn’t Reflect Your Organization Chart
Too often, companies — particularly B2B enterprises — build their websites and digital assets around their internal organization structure rather than a customer’s needs. As an example, imagine you are a customer looking for a mop. You surf to a company’s website to buy a complete cleaning solution, but they have separate pages for mop handles and mop heads because they operate as separate divisions. Now you have to research the parts separately, figure out what you need and ensure they are compatible with one another. That’s not a huge ask for a mop, but imagine you are purchasing a complicated business system with hardware, software and a consultative service component.
Your Messaging Should Focus On The Customer, Not The Product
Companies often lead with the news of the capability or product they just launched, but prospects don’t come to your website for product announcements. They visit because they have a question or a problem. Your messaging should show people you understand that problem. This is a best practice for all marketers, but it is especially true for those marketing to developers, engineers and the C-suite. These audiences are highly skeptical of “marketing speak” and an overly product-forward content strategy will turn them off. Plus, leading with product makes your company seem uninterested in building strong audience bonds.
Don’t Overload One Area Of The Buyer Journey With Content But Neglect Others
Another mistake that is easy to overlook when you are inside the organization is creating content around some areas of the buyer journey, but not others. If your organization doesn’t have a healthy mix of content formats, you may be making this error. For example, you might have multiple white papers and blog articles that are relevant to a prospect comparing competitive solutions, but no video to share on social media to create brand awareness.
It is also common to create content for one audience segment but forget about other personas, or simply run out of time and resources. B2B purchasing decisions involve multiple decision-makers with different priorities and needs. A complete digital strategy needs to encompass all of them, which is part of what makes B2B marketing so challenging.
Don’t Overuse Jargon
Your existing customers know your lingo, but new ones may not. It is important that your messaging and content use natural language, rather than jargon, so it resonates with your audience. This may sound like a simple one, but it can be hard to catch yourself because you are accustomed to the company’s lexicon.
Why Now Is The Time For A Digital Assessment
The first step in fixing mistakes is finding them. Your company may have slowed or even stopped marketing initiatives in response to COVID-19, so use this time to audit your digital strategy.
There isn’t an industry on the planet that hasn’t been upended by the pandemic. Buying processes have changed overnight, so even if your company has managed to avoid these marketing traps, you still need to audit your strategy and update it to reflect the new normal.
A comprehensive review should include:
- A content audit and effectiveness assessment;
- A website CX health assessment;
- A channel audit and effectiveness assessment;
- A brand message assessment; and
- An event strategy assessment.
The good news is an audit will likely uncover low-hanging fruit — low-effort/high-impact actions you can take to drive fast results for your company. Next, you can devise a plan for tackling the bigger initiatives.
Remember, as a B2B marketer, your goal is to build relationships with prospects and to lead them through their consideration journey, fostering trust every step of the way. The missteps above compromise your ability to do so. An audit kicks off the process of doing this right.
Greg Harbinson is the Senior Strategy Director at Centerline Digital, where he focuses his time on helping companies create messaging and experiences to better communicate with their customers. His work includes building messaging frameworks, defining the information architecture for websites, designing customer experience programs and helping companies understand the best ways to solve communication problems.
Why brands need to take a strategic approach to personalization
- Whilst personalization can be complex, consumers respond positively to it. Recent global research found that 73% of consumers said they expect a personalized journey when they interact with brands digitally and 80% expect personalized emails.
- Effective personalization doesn’t necessarily require huge amounts of identifiable information to operate successfully. We have seen that algorithms can be trained to reliably predict after just 2,500 conversions.
- Digital marketers need to focus on their aims from personalization and use this to create a well-argued, measurable business case. Be clear on your objectives but also understand that personalization tools alone don’t deliver ROI.
- According to Accenture, as much as 83% of consumers are ‘willing to share their data to enable a personalized experience as long as businesses are transparent about how they are going to use it and that customers have control over it.’
- For marketers that do want to combine existing cold data (such as from CRM systems), within their personalization platforms, it is vital to work with a supplier that understands all forms of relevant legislation and can ensure brands remain compliant.
- Deploying tools which can use cross-domain local storage (for instance) can help retain information which can be used to power ongoing personalization for site visitors.
- Delivering real-time personalization successfully, at scale, is complicated and requires a robust technical architecture that is designed for real-time and AI that can learn to predict conversion intent, based on analysis of real-time behavioral data.
Research earlier this year from Gartner claimed that by 2025 some 80% of marketers who have invested in personalization will abandon their efforts.
The report cited lack of ROI, the perils of customer data management or both as key issues. Over a quarter of the global marketers questioned stated that data is the key obstacle to personalization and highlighted weaknesses in data collection, integration, and protection.
These statistics reflect that many brands are either at an early stage in their personalization journey or are taking a tactical approach.
Last year, a report from Boston Consulting Group stated that ‘most retailers are nowhere close to delivering the personalized experiences that their customers expect’ and that ‘the vast majority have not even taken the essential first step of defining what personalization means to their customers and businesses’.
The same study did identify that whilst currently, retailers are investing, on average, 0.7% of their revenues in personalization, those that are deemed to be ‘best-in-class’ are investing 1.3x more (around 0.9%, on average).
Nearly two thirds of consumers expect personalization
Whilst personalization can be complex, consumers respond positively to it. Recent global research found that 73% of consumers said they expect a personalized journey when they interact with brands digitally and 80% expect personalized emails.
And the Boston Consulting Group survey also found that consumers are 110% more likely to add additional items to their baskets and 40% more likely to spend more than they had planned when personalization is used.
So, how might the main areas of concern highlighted within the Gartner report be addressed?
The perils and difficulty of managing customer data
Brands face a privacy paradox – consumers want greater personalization, but also want greater privacy. At the same time brands have access to ever-greater volumes of transactional data on consumers, potentially making it difficult to focus on what is important.
But effective personalization doesn’t necessarily require huge amounts of identifiable information to operate successfully. We have seen that algorithms can be trained to reliably predict after just 2,500 conversions.
When it comes to customer information, brands have access to both ‘cold’ data (where for example customers have registered and their previous spending patterns) and ‘hot’ data which is essentially, behavioral information, generated by visitors when they are on a site and captures everything that the visitor does while browsing.
While it can be an advantage to combine both, however, in the real world it isn’t normally possible to identify the majority of people visiting a site since 98% of visitors are either not customers or have not signed in.
Additionally, storing and using cold data can require customer permission under privacy legislation.
Used properly, hot data can deliver real-time results, while avoiding any potential issues around privacy. Tests show that AI-based technology can predict the conversion intent of completely new visitors within 15 seconds of them arriving on a website.
It doesn’t rely on them being existing or identifiable customers but uses a trained algorithm to compare actions with those that have previously converted to deliver a conversion score that is accurate solely using behavioral data.
There’s no impact on privacy, yet consumers get the personalized experience that they want quickly and simply.
Personalization’s lack of ROI
The other chief concern identified in the Gartner report was a lack of return on investment from personalization projects. Whilst it’s true that no project will continue if it doesn’t show a distinct return on investment, many goals aren’t adequately defined in the first place.
Digital marketers therefore need to focus on their aims from personalization and use this to create a well-argued, measurable business case. Be clear on your objectives but also understand that personalization tools alone don’t deliver ROI.
Brands need to have access to the right skills and culture to harness them effectively. This means embracing experimentation and a ‘test and learn’ methodology within the team, aided by vendors/external agency partners as required.
The decline of consumer trust
As every digital marketer knows, consumers are now much more conscious of the amount of data that they are sharing with brands. However, this doesn’t mean they are averse to sharing it – provided they perceive there to be a benefit and that it is protected.
Kameleoon research found that just 9% of US consumers said being tracked was the most important factor when embracing digital.
According to Accenture, as much as 83% of consumers are ‘willing to share their data to enable a personalized experience as long as businesses are transparent about how they are going to use it and that customers have control over it.’
Furthermore, most brands appear to be acting responsibly given that 73% of consumers in the same study also stated, ‘that a business has never communicated with them online in a way that felt too personalized or invasive.’
This appears to indicate therefore that most brands are getting it right.
Increased scrutiny by regulators
Just as we know consumers are more privacy aware, legislation has also stepped up with GDPR in Europe being joined by the California Consumer Protection Act, along with other legislation across the world. All of this has had a major impact on how brands use identifiable consumer data.
However, it’s important to note that GDPR only applies to information that identifies consumers. Using anonymized, behavioral data is not covered, meaning that relying on hot data has much less of a compliance overhead.
For marketers that do want to combine existing cold data (such as from CRM systems), within their personalization platforms, it is vital to work with a supplier that understands all forms of relevant legislation and can ensure brands remain compliant.
Tracking barriers erected by technology companies
Many technology companies have created obstacles that prevent tracking and cookies. The most prominent example is Apple, with its Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) technology, which is now part of the Safari browser.
This doesn’t necessarily mean the ‘end’ of cookie data which can power personalized experiences, but it does mean that brands might need to work with third parties more to help them overcome these barriers.
Deploying tools which can use cross-domain local storage (for instance) can help retain information which can be used to power ongoing personalization for site visitors.
Poor personalization technology
The personalization market is growing rapidly, but is not yet mature, meaning there are a large number of vendors all competing for attention and business.
Not all are created equal – and this perhaps explains the ROI concerns raised in the Gartner study. Those selecting a platform therefore need to plan carefully and scrutinize where it has been proven with similar brands and use cases.
The need for strong technology is particularly true when it comes to real-time personalization.
Delivering this successfully, at scale, is complicated and requires a robust technical architecture that is designed for real-time and AI that can learn to predict conversion intent, based on analysis of real-time behavioral data.
Need for a strategic approach to personalization
Companies must adopt a strategic approach to personalization that brings together real-time data, an experimentation culture and easy-to-use, focused AI-based technology.
Despite the many challenges with personalization it can be achieved today, and the technology is improving all the time. Talk of ‘abandoning’ personalization is therefore way off the mark, but it should act as a wake-up call for brands to be more strategic.
Using the right data, measuring efforts, and continually seeking to improve the experience is the key to a successful personalized future.
Jean-René Boidron is CEO of Kameleoon, a personalization technology platform for real time omnichannel optimization and conversion. Jean-René has over 20 years of international experience in the digital and software industries. In three years, he has turned Kameleoon – from a pioneer in online conversion optimization, into the European leader in personalization.
The post Why brands need to take a strategic approach to personalization appeared first on ClickZ.
How to increase organic traffic: 14 Practical tips
- Organic traffic is the best shareware way to attract visitors who already want to make a deal. You should conduct a good SEO analysis and take care of the quality of your site to increase it.
- You can get more organic visits if you develop a strategy, eliminate technical errors of your site, use its good mobile version, make correct external and internal optimization, optimize URLs, update the site content regularly, develop a blog with unique content, analyze competitors, and promote your site through social networks, press releases, newsjacking, emails, and messengers.
- The correct implementation of the above-mentioned tasks will provide a long-lasting result for you.
Ordinary users trust SERP more than advertising and links marked as “ads”. Correctly performed optimization, troubleshooting and the use of promising channels will quickly bring a good result.
14 Practical tips to increase organic traffic
You can get organic visits using a set of working methods, tools, and recommendations. The best 14 ways are summarized in the review below.
1. Developing a strategy to increase organic traffic
The solution to any problem begins with the development of a strategy to leave room for financial and time planning. Strategy development is carried out in stages:
- You should set goals and objectives at first
- Then, identify weaknesses using a comprehensive site audit and analyze the competitive environment
- As the next step, you can eliminate identified errors and problems
- Also, you need to select priority methods to attract organic traffic and increase the position of the site in SERP
- Then, map the work and budget, prepare a content plan (golden rule for a content plan – 60/30/10 – third-party content 60%, unique content 30%, advertising 10%)
- If you need, you should select specialists and form technical tasks
- As the last step, perform tasks, analyze results using Google Analytics
Attracting organic traffic is a rather lengthy process that distinguishes it from contextual advertising. Ads start working immediately after launch. However, organic traffic will work for a long time without any additional investments.
2. Elimination of technical errors of the site
You can identify and eliminate technical errors of the site using the following methods:
- Surface self-check
- Comprehensive site audit with the help of professionals
- Usage of paid and free services. It’s an optimal solution for those who want to get a quick result with minimal financial investments. Services allow you to identify SEO errors and ones in other key positions. The best of them are Semrush, Ahrefs, and SEOptimizer
You should eliminate identified errors by yourself or with the help of professionals. It’ll make your website more attractive to users and search engines. After the site audit, you can get rid of duplicates, speed up the download of the site, identify affiliates, and solve other problems.
3. Mobile version of the site
More than 65% of internet users prefer to select and order products from mobile devices. You can’t lose such a huge audience and should take care of your site mobile version. It allows you to increase target audience coverage several times, increase sales and subscriptions. You can create a separate mobile version or use an adaptive design of your main site. In the last case, there will be an automatic adjustment to the screens of different devices.
4. Correct external and internal website optimization
It’s aimed to obtain links from third-party sites. External links that aren’t protected from indexing transfer a part of a donor weight to the acceptor site. When working on building an external link mass, you should consider:
- Donor site trust, spam level of backlinks. The first index should be high, the second one – low
- Rules of posting links. It’s recommended to surround them with content
- Donor site topics (should be related)
- Frequency of placement. You should increase the link juice gradually. It’s especially important for young sites that have a low level of trust in search engines. A sharp increase can lead to the pessimization of the acceptor site
It helps to make the site relevant to those queries you carry out the promotion. It consists of:
- Keyword list collection
- Keywords grouping
- Preparing and publishing content optimized with LSI and SEO
- Formation and optimization of meta tags: title and description, headings and subheadings, image tags
- Creation of robots.txt files and sitemap.xml (if it’s not generated automatically)
- Interlinking and other related work
It’s important to ensure that meta tags and content are supplemented with relevant keywords but are not spammed. Otherwise, you can fall under search engine filters.
5. URLs optimization
You can complement URLs with keywords. It makes them more understandable for website visitors. When optimizing URLs, it’s recommended:
- Use from three to five relevant words, longer links will be cut off in the SERP
- Use hyphens rather than underscores
- Take into account spam indicators. Keywords from URLs are added to the overall frequency on the page
Optimized URLs look more attractive so visitors click on them more likely.
6. Regular content updates
Content updates are a rather important factor which influences on ranking. We speak about updating previously posted materials as well as publishing new ones. It helps to keep pace, increase credibility, have a positive effect on indexing.
You should carry out updates regularly following the content plan. It allows you to work with new keywords and attract organic traffic from search engines.
A blog is a valuable resource necessary for attracting organic traffic not only for commercial but also for information requests. We used to carefully choose the goods before the deal. A blog with interesting and relevant content increases chances that after reading the review, the visitor will perform the target action.
On the blog, you can publish news, information materials, as well as infographics, video reviews – everything that can attract attention and encourage visitors to make a deal. When writing articles for a blog, you can use the links to the catalog. So that the client can immediately buy the product they like without spending time searching the site.
8. Expertise and uniqueness of the content
Usage of non-unique content is a deliberately losing thing. As a result of it, you can get a claim from the copyright holder. Therefore, it’s necessary to create and optimize your content that will provide organic visits. This rule applies not only to texts but also to photos, pictures, videos. In the case of publishing someone else’s content, you must obtain the permission of the copyright holder and give a link to the source.
There is one more caveat – expertise, which plays an important role in ranking issues. Search engines don’t focus on quality optimization but on the semantic uniqueness and benefit that the content of the site can bring to the visitor. The content should answer the question that the user enters in the search bar. If the materials contain outdated, uninteresting, or knowingly untruthful data, the visitor will leave the site. An increasing number of failures will hurt ranking.
9. Promotion in social networks
Social networks are an effective tool with which you can manage opinions and drive traffic to your website. You can create a group for communication with potential customers and publish their announcements, information about promotions, discounts, updates of the assortment, and other content that encourages them to click on the link. Before starting the campaign on social networks, you need to analyze groups of your competitors, look at the situation with ordinary user’s eyes. If the posts are interesting, the subscribers will start to like and share them. This will provide additional free advertising and reach.
10. Competitive analysis
To be the first, you should know what is happening in the competition. To solve this problem, you need to use an audit which will help:
- Define a keywords cluster
- Keep abreast of all events, updates and new products introduced by competitors
- Form advertising budgets and solve other strategic tasks
For audit, you can use online services, questionnaires, secret shoppers, newsletter subscription, analysis of social networks groups, and other tools. You can use the information you’ve got to improve and optimize your website.
11. Press releases on third party resources
Regular publication of press releases on popular sites will help to solve several problems. The first one is traffic attraction, the second – external optimization. News sites visitors click the links willingly. The only negative aspect is that it’s difficult to place such publications. You should make the most of your efforts to get a positive result in outreach and lead generating.
12. Using newsjacking
Newsjacking is one of the varieties of guerrilla marketing that provides unobtrusive advertising. The latter is served against the background of an important event not being a priority. The plus is that users will often visit the site using both search queries and aggregators or news portals. The main rule is to link the offer with a really interesting and important event. Otherwise, the tool will not work.
13. Email marketing setup
From year to year, newsletters demonstrate their effectiveness. They allow you not only to communicate with customers but also to receive visits to the site. To configure the newsletter, you must have your contact base. To collect the latter, you need to place a simple registration or subscription form on the site consisting of a minimum number of lines. After that, you can establish communication with customers, notifying them of promotions, catalog updates, and other important events.
14. Mailing in messengers
Mailing in messengers is similar to emails. However, messages in Facebook Messenger, Snapchat, or WhatsApp have a higher percentage of opening. A smartphone is always near the person, such messages are more familiar and convenient. Therefore, you should not ignore the potential of this channel. Before starting such mailing, it’s necessary to ask the client whether he/she doesn’t mind receiving advertising materials. Otherwise, the sender (you) may be blocked.
To round up
Correct external and internal optimization, work in social networks and messengers, competitive analysis, technical errors eliminating, and usability improving is priority tasks to increase organic traffic. You can perform some tasks on your own. Other ones will have to be entrusted to professionals. The correct implementation of these tasks will provide a long-lasting result, an increase in organic traffic, sales, and an influx of hot customers.
The post How to increase organic traffic: 14 Practical tips appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
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