It should be clear by now that SEO is non-negotiable for your business since it targets your audience and helps give a serious boost to your sales.
But how do you create a successful SEO digital marketing strategy? Here are 13 digital marketing tips to get you started.
But first…you need to know what a digital marketing strategy is before being granted clearance to our 13 top secret tips.
What Is a Digital Marketing Strategy?
A good plan involves a comprehensive, data-driven digital marketing strategy that:
- Specifies your business’ marketing goals
- Establishes an implementation schedule
- Determines which digital channels to utilize
- Uses the right mix of short- and long-term approaches
- Takes advantage of different mediums
- Sticks to a realistic budget
- Includes a contingency plan
If you’re a rookie in the digital marketing landscape, refer to our article Ease into Digital Marketing: A Checklist of Strategies for Absolute Beginners. In it, we cover everything you need to know to get started without feeling overwhelmed.
13 Tips for an Effective Digital Marketing Strategy
You’ve now been cleared to access our top 13 digital marketing tips that will help you strategize most effectively.
1. Create a Google My Business Listing
When people make that general search inquiry, “[blank] near me,” they’re sent to a list or a map view of locations on Google. The results that show up are Google My Business listings, which is a tool that every single business on planet Earth should use.
Not only does it make your business easy to find, but it’s also a way to keep customers informed, offering information such as:
- Business hours
- Contact information
- Images of your store
- Links to social media or a website
- Customer reviews
Optimizing your Google My Business is critical for the survival of any business, but especially franchises. Your first step should be to check that you don’t already have a listing. Businesses that have been around for a few years likely already have a generic entry on Google, so you just need to claim it as your own.
After you’ve claimed it, put in as much detail and information as you can. This will be your first impression to customers—you don’t want to leave anything up to interpretation about the greatness of your business.
2. Implement Local SEO
Now that you have an online presence with Google My Business, it’s time to optimize it for local SEO. If you have a brick-and-mortar presence, you must attract leads to your physical location.
Start with keyword research to find out what kinds of words and phrases a company in your industry should target. You’ll also need to throw in some keywords relating to your location. So, for example, if you were an auto repair franchise in Birmingham, Alabama, you might want to use the phrase “auto shop in Alabama” or some variant.
Another crucial part of local SEO is to have your contact information on your website. No one uses the yellow pages anymore—they expect to figure out how to get to and contact your business using a search engine. So be sure to make the name of your company, phone number, and store location address easy to find on your site.
3. Create Unique and Useful Content
Content marketing is an incredibly useful tool for establishing brand authority and credibility. Whether it’s a blog or a collection of videos, this content should offer something to your customers that they can’t find anywhere else. You want it to be so valuable that leads will come to you for your products/services over what your competition has to offer.
Content should be tailored to target audiences, but not deviate from the brand’s voice. This is a tricky balance to maintain, but it can be done. For example, Big Leap helped AlphaGraphics accomplish this by creating individual content pages for each service area.
Think about the questions leads are asking about your industry. Perhaps there’s a how-to guide or an informative article you can create to answer these questions. Plus, this content helps your SEO, allowing you to broaden your keyword list with expansive words and phrases.
4. Be Active on Social Media
Almost half of the world’s population uses social media, which makes it obvious why so many businesses use it for their marketing. With so many people checking their phones every day, they’re bound to come across your ad.
So how do you use social media marketing in a digital marketing campaign? For starters, monitor conversations about your brand and interact with your customers. Social media is also a platform to promote your business with high-quality visuals. And just as contact information is important on your website, it’s equally important to include it on your social media pages. Update all of your businesses’ information so no one gets lost.
You can also create an account dedicated to a specific location, which you can use to highlight special deals and connect with people in the community.
5. Inform Customers Through Email Marketing
Email is tried and true and one of the oldest yet most reliable communication networks. No, people don’t think emails from a business are all spam. In fact, emails see significant returns in a marketing campaign, averaging an ROI of 3,800%.
Email is the perfect place to get a really personal connection with customers. You can easily set up an email marketing campaign with a marketing automation platform. For example, you can insert the recipient’s name to offer them special deals, inform them of upcoming sales, and give them discount codes. Email marketing is also a great way to gather analytics to see who opens the emails and what forms of content compel a customer to take a specific action.
6. Manage Online Reputation
With everyone able to voice their anonymous opinion online, managing your online reputation can become difficult. You can’t control what people say about your business online, but you can control how you respond. This is especially true for franchises, as one location may be compared to the franchise in another location.
A good reputation management plan will have a keen focus on review sites, like Google and Yelp, to know what is being said about the franchise. You should make an effort to respond to every review, particularly the negative ones. Try to come up with a solution to their problem. It’s also good practice to encourage patrons to review your business on these sites, as a good review score is very helpful for search ranking purposes.
7. Create a Brand-Consistent Website and Social Media Presence
Matching the brand is in your company’s best interest. This is a fantastic option if you have the resources. When it comes to your website, promotional ads, or anything else that visually represents your company, you have to be sure to keep the branding consistent. If your website doesn’t match the company persona, it can confuse your site visitors and make for a less-than-ideal user experience.
When creating marketing materials, be sure to check with the company for any assets they have for you to use. They’ll often send you the files of logos, approved color schemes, and general brand guidelines.
8. Make Your Website Mobile-Friendly
If you don’t want to alienate more than half of internet users, you should optimize for mobile. Mobile users make up a huge portion of web traffic, nearing around 50%. So a company’s digital presence has to be just as impressive on a smartphone as it is on a desktop. This is often overlooked, and a website that runs great on a computer may be a hot mess on a smartphone.
Most web hosting software will have an option to see what a website looks like on mobile. From there, you can make any changes to improve the website’s mobile appearance while maintaining its design on desktop. For example, decrease image size to improve the loading time. Also, if possible, develop a mobile app and promote its use.
9. Analyze the Performance of Different Locations
If you’re a franchise owner with multiple locations, you’ll want to know how each of the storefronts is faring. Chances are, there are a couple of shining pupils and also one or two that could use some work.
Franchise marketing starts by comparing the locations on review websites and analyzing their revenue. This allows you to identify ways to improve. For example, you may decide to amplify marketing efforts to draw more attention to a struggling location. If it’s a reputation issue, engage with the negative reviews to find the issue. You may even want to consider transferring a more stalwart employee to the location in need.
10. Embellish With PPC
After all the effort has been made to improve organic reach and traffic, it’s time to start augmenting your results with paid search. These methods include PPC, or pay-per-click, which is an option in which search engines put your website at the top of the results with the tag “ad” next to it.
This tool should not be used to replace traditional SEO practices. Organic search should be the bedrock of your digital marketing strategy, with paid search being the garnish on top to get the most results possible.
When crafting a PPC campaign, you’ll need to decide where you want to advertise and what keywords you’re planning on targeting. That way, your ad will pop up for an applicable search query. You’ll settle on a price point, or how much it will cost per click, and then just let the ad work its magic.
You can make the necessary tweaks to improve the ad’s performance as you see fit. It’s smart to optimize the landing page that links to the result, so customers will always get what they are looking for.
11. Build Trust and Credibility
Our agency was built on trust, quality relationships, and long-term results. Trust and credibility aren’t just words that describe a team or company—they reflect the kind of attitude and approach you should have in your digital marketing campaign.
With the right perspective, you can craft trustworthy and credible features for your site visitors, leads, and customers.
- Engaging and in-depth content (blog posts, videos, infographics, etc.) that educates and provides value.
- Using SEO to help your business stand out as a dependable source and service.
- Consistently communicating with your audience by posting on social media, responding to online reviews, or building a fun and interactive website.
12. Invest in Long-Term Commitment
It takes consistent, daily effort and a reputable digital marketing agency to achieve significant results. There are a lot of things to consider and brainstorm. But by putting in the time and effort, you can reap the long-term benefits of digital marketing down the road.
A long-term commitment involves:
- Research: Before doing anything, you need to get to know your prospective customers and competitors. What are your customers specifically searching for on Google, how do they talk/communicate, and what kind of social media platforms (Facebook, LinkedIn, Google My Business, etc.) are they using to engage with businesses? What kinds of online keywords are your competitors targeting, what types of content do they currently have, and where do they currently rank on the SERP?
- Creating or updating your site/content: Based on research and site audit results, you should make necessary adjustments to your site to help you become more visible online and race past your competitors. Create new content to target your leads and encourage them to become customers. The goal is to talk to your customers in a way that will help them trust and engage with your services.
- Trial and error: Not everything you incorporate into your marketing strategy will go as planned; some will work, some won’t. The key is using this feedback to improve your campaign and keep going. Success happens with failure and persistence—just keep learning and growing.
- Collecting data: We’re all about making data-driven decisions here at Big Leap. If you aren’t tracking data like website traffic, ROI, and conversions, then how do you know what’s working and what isn’t? To bring consistent results, you need to use data as a compass to point you in the right direction.
13. Keep a Close Eye on the Economy
Significant events like COVID-19 have illustrated how rapidly our economy can change. It’s crucial to be prepared for any impending and unexpected roadblocks like this. No matter what happens, the internet will always be there; it will always be everyone’s source of information and doorway to discovering the quality services they need.
Therefore, digital marketing plays an essential role in surviving, and even thriving, in the evolving economy. No longer are people relying on TV and radio advertisements; these are expensive forms of messaging that will just put businesses at a disadvantage. People are now avid participants/consumers, seeking out information on their own.
Businesses like yourselves should focus on:
- Staying visible and current online: Existing online can really help boost your brand and give credibility that will prevail against unexpected circumstances.
- Staying updated on the latest industry/commerce trends: Stay aligned with the trends/patterns your customers are following. The internet and digital economy are rapidly evolving; it’s important to get the help you need to stay on top of the latest business models and continue to be a driving force in your industry.
The Benefits of Digital Marketing
Do you know why making and following a digital marketing strategy is beneficial to your business? Well, you’re about to find out.
Digital marketing will give you:
- A competitive advantage. You’ll be one of the first businesses that potential customers will check out.
- Credibility. Those looking for what you offer are more likely to view you as a trustworthy source.
- Brand awareness. The more people see your business online, the more they’ll become familiar with it and recognize it. Familiarity can instill trust.
But that’s not all. Digital marketing benefits go further, to advantages that affect your customer base and budget.
Connects You with the Right Customers
You can offer the highest quality products and top-notch customer services, but none of this matters if you aren’t reaching out and engaging potential customers.
By using tools/strategies like search engine optimization (SEO), content marketing, and reputation management, you can put your business front and center.
Digital marketing provides massive opportunities to research your target audience—the people you want to do business with—and create personalized messages based on the information you’ve gathered. This can help your business build a positive online reputation that will help bring in leads that will most likely convert into customers.
Take Pinnacle Roofing for example. Through a robust digital marketing campaign, we helped them gain visibility online, which brought them over 100 lead conversions.
Helps You Gain Valuable Visibility Online
Do you realize that the first result in Google has an average click rate of 28.5%? Yep, the higher you rank in search results, the more likely you’ll be seen and gain interest from those actively looking for your services.
The key to capturing the number one spot on the search engine results pages (SERP) is creating useful content that includes specific keywords relevant to your industry. For example, if your target audience is searching for “accounting software for apartment managers,” you want to be sure to include this keyword in your content wherever possible (within reason—see Myth #7 for information on keyword stuffing).
Improves the Quality of Customers
When your site is high and mighty on the search pages, this can help you win plenty of leads. But you also need to consider the quality of your leads. Gaining numerous prospects is great, but when the majority of them aren’t converting into customers or aren’t taking the action you want them to take, then something is amiss.
It can get pretty expensive trying to generate qualified leads, but digital marketing tools like marketing automation can help you organize your leads into categories based on their engagement and interest level. Better yet, you can send out unique and personalized messages to each of these groups to nurture them into long-term customers.
Reduces Long-Term Marketing Costs and Increases Revenue
Digital marketing is one of the most cost-effective ways to market your business. It allows you to track key metrics like:
- Return on investment (ROI): Are you getting more bang for your buck?
- Returning visitors: Are people coming back to your website multiple times?
- Conversions: Are people doing what you want them to do on your website, like asking for a quote or hiring your service?
- Click-through rate (CTR): Are website visitors clicking through and actually viewing the pages on your website?
These components help you proactively identify issues and make adjustments along the way, saving you money and time in the long run.
Busted Digital Marketing Myths
When it comes to digital marketing myths we’ve busted, there are more than a few (14!).
Myth #1: Only Large Businesses Need Digital Marketing
While there was perhaps a grain of truth to this at the dawn of the internet era, the industry has evolved. Technology is now easily accessible to everyone, meaning even the smallest companies can use the same tools as industry giants to market themselves.
You should use every marketing tactic possible if you want to see your company grow and gain qualified leads, and that includes implementing a digital marketing plan.
Myth #2: Content Marketing Isn’t Very Important
Some people believe creating a website is all you need to do. “If you build it, they will come.” While this advice proved helpful for Kevin Costner in Field of Dreams, it is objectively terrible advice for literally everyone else. It’s not enough to grind out a creation, you have to nurture an audience with content.
This content will help you get found on search engines when you use proper SEO strategies and can convey a positive and helpful message to your target audience. The fact that between 59% (B2C marketers) and 66% (B2B marketers) have planned to increase their content marketing budgets in the last couple of years attests to its importance.
Myth #3: You’ll Always See Instant Results
Digital marketing can generate some seriously impressive results, but it takes time. Some people make the mistake of thinking their campaign isn’t working because they aren’t seeing same-day results. And while some do see awesome results from a viral marketing campaign, those are the exception, not the standard.
Good digital marketing involves steady and consistent efforts to see increasing and long-term results.
Myth #4: You Need to Target Every Social Media Platform
You want to be everywhere your target audience is, but some people only hear the “you want to be everywhere,” and miss the part about “your target audience.” Each social media platform has a certain demographic associated with it.
For example, the majority of 45–60-year-old men aren’t very present on Instagram. So if that’s your target audience, Instagram wouldn’t be very effective, and you wouldn’t see a very good return on investment. You want to inject your energy into the channels that matter most, rather than spreading yourself too thin.
Myth #5: PPC Is More Powerful than SEO
Speaking of spreading yourself too thin, investing all of your time and effort into PPC will do just that. PPC, or pay-per-click, is a marketing model where you pay for ads and clicks to drive more traffic to your web pages. PPC does provide immediate results that will have your team hooting and hollering in the short term, but it won’t give you the consistent results you need to stay ahead.
With SEO, you’re investing in a long-term strategy to attract more qualified leads and every visitor and conversion you get is free (aka, pure profit for your business).
The point is, PPC and SEO are complementary to each other so don’t feel like you must choose one or the other. Use both!
Myth #6: Retargeting Ads Will Freak People Out
Ad retargeting is the practice of continuing to show your ads to potential customers after they’ve visited your website. Some customers feel like this is a tad creepy, as if your company is following their every move. But for a lot of people, retargeting works.
Myth #7: Keywords Are All That’s Important for Good Content
While keywords are incredibly important, content requires so much more to be truly effective. Keywords help your content be easily discoverable. But, an overemphasis of keywords can lead to keyword stuffing, which is a bad SEO strategy that will get you flagged by Google.
So yes, keywords are important for good content, but writing something that is genuinely useful for your audience is better.
Myth #8: You Should Target as Many People as Possible
If you make a Facebook banner ad, it should be designed to appeal to everyone there, right? Won’t that get you more customers? Wrong. So very wrong.
When you try to appeal to everyone, you end up appealing to no one. There’s no target in your messaging, which results in a watered-down ad to which no one can relate.
So instead, pick a target audience and figure out what messaging would resonate with them. A sharp focus on a smaller group is much better than a muddled focus on a larger group.
Myth #9: People Think Email Marketing Is Just Spam
Maybe people think this way because they personally haven’t clicked on many emails in their inbox. And it’s true, email has relatively low click-through rates when compared to Facebook Messenger ads. But email marketing actually has one of the highest returns on investment (ROI) in marketing. On average, you’ll see a $45 return for every dollar spent.
Neglecting that kind of cash would be a major loss.
Myth #10: Digital Marketing Won’t Help Storefront Sales
The logic behind this myth is that digital marketing will be much more effective for getting traffic to an eCommerce website. But with today’s strategies, it’s easier than ever to bring in physical traffic by using digital marketing means.
- Advertise discounts that can be used both online or in stores.
- Show online shoppers that inventory is in stock and available at the store.
- Get the word out about in-store events.
- Build an online/offline community .
Myth #11: You Can Only Get More Traffic by Spending More Money
More of one thing does not always guarantee more of another thing. Like any investment, you want to put your money where you’ll see the highest return. So while you can pay $1 million on a hilarious ad campaign and see $2 million in return, this is still only a 2:1 return. That’s dwarfed when compared to that email marketing figure we mentioned earlier (45:1).
But this shouldn’t deter you from spending money on marketing. You definitely need to spend some, but take time to decide what will be the most worthwhile investment.
Myth #12: You Don’t Need to Do Digital Marketing If Your Competition Doesn’t
You shouldn’t see this as an excuse to forgo marketing, but an opportunity to gain a competitive edge. Think of it like this: If you were the first sandwich shop to open in a new neighborhood, you’ll have a much better time getting customers simply because you’re the only game in town. The same goes for businesses that have a digital marketing strategy. It’ll only accelerate your growth.
Myth #13: Reputation Management Is Only Necessary During a Company Crisis
Reputation management should be a constant presence for your company. It manages the complaints and public perception of your brand, like dealing with negative online reviews and tailoring your brand image to be more positive. While scandalous affairs get more media attention, it’s the small and simple changes that make reputation management so effective.
Myth #14: Marketing Automation Takes the Humanity Out of Marketing
People tend to have the perception that automation will make your marketing messages sound robotic or impersonal. But the only “human” thing marketing automation takes out of marketing is human error.
Automation will help keep all of your marketing plans in order, making it easier to notice discrepancies. If anything, automation adds more personalization to your marketing because you no longer have to waste time on repetitive and time-consuming tasks.
Work with Us to Grow Your Business
Implementing these 13 tips can create an incredibly holistic approach to establishing the right digital marketing strategy. Every corner of your business’ digital presence must be accounted for if it’s going to withstand the aggressive competition of others.
To grow your business:
Work with Big Leap so we can help you put these digital marketing tips into practice.