I’ve run a digital marketing agency for nearly 10 years. During this period (this might shock you) clients are generally missing the same things and we’re typically making the same recommendations.
Creating a winning digital marketing strategy is not entirely a mystical art. It just takes a bit of planning, coordinating a few moving parts, and tons of consistency and frequency in execution. But, the strategic framework is pretty standard.
Today, I’m going to give you this secret formula. Followed carefully, it can make your online marketing a significant contributor to your overall business plan.
Of course, execution is everything. That’s really the first lesson: Avoid the paralysis of perpetually learning–try something!
Common Client Omissions and Mistakes
If I were to sum up, in one line, the most common online marketing mistake it would be: Companies are terrified to sell.
I would submit that all of these common omissions and mistakes stem from this one core fear.
- No clear call to action – Every page, every single page needs to clearly tell your web visitor what you want them to do. Don’t be afraid to be direct in your call to action, after all these visitors arrived at your website looking for something. I can guarantee you that your clarity will leave them less frustrated using your website and you more profitable for it.
- Hidden contact details – This one baffles me. Maybe it’s a reaction to our fear of spam, but hiding your contact information in the footer or on a contact page, a very long click away, is crazy. I recommend that your phone number, even your email address, is prominently displayed on every page–preferably in the upper right-hand corner of the header.
- No sales pages – Everything you sell should have its own landing page. This will overcome your natural tendency to soft shoe your sales pitch on other pages. Good sales pages are also incredibly valuable to those visitors (often acquired through SEO, PPC, or email marketing) that know exactly what they want and just need an efficient path to buy what you’re selling.
- No email capture – There is no free web traffic. Even organic (SEO) traffic incurs the cost of content creation and publishing. And even with the best of bounce rates on your website probably at 70% or higher–you need to capture as many of these visitors as possible. Email capture opportunities, with the incentive of valuable content or resources, is the best (maybe only) way to get a quick, measurable, positive ROI on your online marketing spends. Your email list will give you the opportunity to methodically build trust and credibility for more sales, over time.
- Disorganized website – This is another very common mistake. It’s hard for companies to keep their websites current and relevant as business strategies change; especially websites that aren’t built on easy to maintain platforms, like WordPress. The common result of trying to keep up and support various new campaigns and initiatives is that the website begins to look like Frankenstein. I urge you to take a spin through your website and see if it’s confusing to a new customer. Then step back and fix it with a fresh perspective.
Common Digital Marketing Recommendations
Obviously many of our common recommendations are based on the oversights clients routinely make in their digital marketing plans. However, this list is a reflection of those recommendations reduce to a finer point. Focusing more specifically on what needs to be done.
- Narrow your online focus – Don’t try to sell everything your company offers. Some products and services naturally make more sense on the Web. Often these are products or services that are lower cost, easier to deliver, or less complex in scope. Focus on just a few of these gateway products and services. Use them to get new clients in the door and experiencing what it is to do business with your company.
- Develop optimized landing pages – Take those handful of focused products or services and build well optimized sales pages. I won’t trivialize the effort required to get these landing pages to consistently perform. It will require a fair amount of expertise and testing–another good reason to start with a narrow online focus.
- Add a blog and start content marketing – The population of people, on the web, that specifically want your product and are ready to buy is super small. Add to that the fraction of those people that want to shop around and compare you to competitors, and you’re down to a trickle of web traffic. However, you can open up that funnel by offering a broader range of resources, content that educates and informs your potential market. This approach will attract a much larger audience which can be captured and nurtured into a long-term lead generation campaign.
- Build and nurture an email list – Once you’ve opened up the funnel with your blog, don’t waste that traffic–start capturing emails. Liking selling online, companies seem terrified to ask for an email address. The truth is that consumers have become so conditioned to handing over their email address for everything and email spam filters are getting so good, it really is a frictionless, and very profitable, ask.
- Buy some web traffic – Please, even if it’s on the smallest of budgets, try to buy a little Google AdWords or Facebook Ads traffic. It works and if you have done the work in creating good landing pages and email captures, it’s really an easy ROI to get.
Use this like a checklist and I can guarantee you that your online marketing channel will grow and begin yielding a significant share of revenue to your overall business.
Why is this important?
Ask the retail sector who is getting clobbered by Amazon.com. Here’s a small research sample: Barnes & Noble (BKS), Best Buy (BBY), Staples (SPLS).
You’re customer is aggressively moving online, regardless of your business. Even Home Depot (HD) is talking prominently about how important it is to grow their online business.
Don’t assume even your most loyal customer won’t opt for the convenience of a well executed online alternative. Begin crafting a winning digital marketing strategy.