Marketing is in a constant state of change. The tools are new and evolving, and your prospects’ perceptions of your business are constantly changing. In digital marketing today, you have access to great tools like Moz.com and SEMrush that help you understand how people search as well as platforms like HubSpot, Marketo, Pardot, SharpSpring and InfusionSoft by Keap to help create personalized messaging and ensure proper follow up with your prospects.
Although much continues to evolve and change with digital marketing, one thing has not. At its core, marketing still involves communication between people. In business, the pressure to succeed and get more leads pushes you to quickly jump to tactics like a new website, social media advertising, and more email marketing, but often business owners and marketing executives are left wondering if what they are doing is actually working or making a difference.
As marketing consultants with more than 20 years helping companies grow, we’ve had the privilege of working with clients who initially chose not to do business with us, later come back to us and say, “We should have gone with you in the first place. We’ve never experienced marketing like this.”
Getting results for our clients can be attributed to our grasp of these five essential elements of digital marketing that remain consistent:
1. Understand and know the people you will serve and how they will benefit from your services and products.
It’s easy to look at the numbers and assert, “If we just reach more people, we’ll get more business.” Unfortunately, you can spam your way to the bottom quickly that way. When you take time to understand how your products and services impact the people you serve, you’ll find that they’ll help you spread the word.
Knowing and understanding your prospective customers and identifying those who are most likely to recommend your products and services to their friends and colleagues will make your digital marketing more effective. People make emotional decisions for their own benefit. When you take the time to detail what you know about your prospective customers and understand what truly moves them to buy (and, in turn, recommend your products and services), you’ll have taken the first step toward ensuring that your digital marketing gets results.
At MediaFuel, once we’ve identified our content calendar and the initiatives we want to pursue, we use a creative brief to identify and detail who we’re trying to reach, what we want them to think and how they will benefit from the product or service we’re marketing. You can download our creative brief template here. It will put you on a path to clarifying your message and make you more interesting to your prospective customers. We also conduct thorough keyword research to understand what questions your prospective customers are trying to answer
2. Know thyself, and know thy enemy.
Today your prospective customers have more information to make decisions than ever before. However, more has proven not to be better. In fact, it has made us less trusting of information generally, which makes digital marketing more difficult. While technology has given us more ways to connect with one another, we’re becoming more isolated.
When you’re isolated, fear rules the day. It can cause you not to share the best parts of your unique story that will move others to make a meaningful connection. At the same time, competition has increased. You must remember; activity begets activity. Fear causes us to choose the status quo over acting. Tell your story with transparency and authenticity, be the best version of you that you can be, and help your prospective customers see how your products and services will help them make the change that they want to see in their lives and their businesses. Make it personal, don’t personalize it.
Take stock of your competitors and understand what they are trying to get your prospective customers to believe. A thorough and sensitive understanding of your competitors and the perceptions they are trying to create in the world will provide the framework for you to know how to distinguish your business. At MediaFuel we help our clients create a Competitive MindShare Map™, so they can easily see opportunities to distinguish themselves from their competitors and work to change the underlying beliefs that prospective customers have about them and their competitors.
3. Clarify your message.
Donald Miller, author of Blue Like Jazz and the founder of StoryBrand says, “People often don’t buy the best products. They buy the products that are the easiest to understand.” Once you’ve taken the time to understand and know the people you will serve, the fear you must overcome, and the competitive landscape, you will have the building blocks to clearly articulate your message. The brands you love become a part of who you are, and you tell your friends about them as though they are an extension of you.
Clarifying your message is the path to connecting more precisely and deeply with your customers. When it comes to getting results, a clear message and calls to action are the difference that leads to digital marketing conversions.
4. Select the best-few initiatives with the potential for the highest ROI.
Today everything begins with search. Whether it’s a voice search with Alexa, Siri or a mobile search on Google, your customers are seeking answers. Once you know who you will serve, surveyed your competitor’s strategy, and clarified your message, choosing the right initiatives will become much clearer.
Remember: There is no silver bullet. There is only consistent experimentation that leads to continuous improvement. What works for one SaaS company, manufacturing company with a dealer network or home services provider may not work for another. You must always be testing. At MediaFuel, we provide our clients with a three-month and six-month initiatives calendar. It ensures that we’re executing with discipline, which is crucial for digital marketing that gets results. Our clients always know what we’re going to do next and why we’re doing it. They also have confidence that we’ll adjust as we’re gaining new insights into what is working.
5. Know what you are measuring.
Web traffic, bounce rates, heat maps and search engine page ranking are all leading indicators of your prospective customers’ buying intent. They help you understand what questions your customers are trying to answer. Conversion rates by lead source and leads that convert to opportunities are lag indicators that you can use to understand what’s working with your digital marketing efforts. You must know the difference between the two and how they relate to one another. Both are important, but spending too much time focused on your leading indicators can lead to superfluous data that doesn’t tell you what’s actually working.
Your lag indicators help you identify return on investment and ensure that you’re not driving traffic that never converts to a sale. Business is a game. You can tell the score of the game at the end of each month and whether you’re making progress toward your goals. Weekly lead reports and monthly SEO audits will help your organization measure your digital marketing efforts effectively.
What is digital marketing, really?
Digital marketing encompasses all the efforts a company uses to reach and engage a prospective customer and ask them to give you permission to engage in a dialogue through various digital channels including but not limited to websites, mobile apps, social media, search engines, online advertising, email and video.
About the author
Chris Bass is the Chief Strategy Officer of MediaFuel Digital Marketing Agency and founder of PerceptionStrategy. He has more than 25 years of marketing experience and loves helping people be the best they can be.
MediaFuel is a digital marketing agency in Fishers, Indiana, just north of Indianapolis. The team of experienced and passionate strategists and creatives works collaboratively to create search engine optimized and lead generation websites, branded marketing, video production and overall digital marketing strategy that gets measurable results for their clients.
Contact MediaFuel today for more information and a free marketing analysis.