For digital marketing to be successful, it has to grow and adapt with your business. It’s a business reality that both startups and established companies need to keep in mind. To help marketing executives and project managers align promotional initiatives with the state of their business, we’ve summed up the marketing milestones that we think will help.
Plant the Seed with Strong Branding (Launch/Development)
Once your organization is up and running, it’ll be in a constant state of transformation. You’ll take on new clients, create new products, and offer new services. But one thing will remain largely unchanged: your brand.
The power of a strong logo, typeface, and color scheme are together what allows your business to stand out among the competition—and to be consistently recognized for years. A study performed by the University of Loyola, Maryland suggests that color increases brand recognition by up to 80%. Further research by the University of Winnipeg notes that colors can be used to:
- Increase or decrease appetite
- Enhance mood
- Calm down customers
- Reduce the perception of waiting time
Seeing good branding is like falling in love at first sight. Between 62% and 90% of consumers’ assessment is based on color alone, and these assessments occur within 90 seconds of first seeing the colors of a brand.
But it’s not just about colors and design; it’s about consistency. In order to build trust with consumers, organizations need to ensure their brand is uniform and organized. A study by Lucidpress found that businesses who presented themselves consistently were three to four times more likely to be recognized. Did it pay off? Well, the average revenue increase attributed to brand consistency was an astonishing 23%. So what is the best strategy for your situation?
Grow Your Roots with a Website (Startup/Growth)
Forget billboard, television commercials, and radio spots for now. The first step on the marketing to-do list is to build a website or find an agency to do it for you. Why the urgency? Well, according to a survey by market research company, Forrester, a staggering 95% of respondents said they use at least one online search channel to initiate their product/service discovery process.
So, if you have no digital presence, you’re absolutely abandoning your chances of reaching consumers early in the buying cycle.
Additionally, it’s critical that your website is mobile friendly. Think with Google found that one in four users only use a smartphone to search on an average day. Not only that, but smartphone usage is consistent throughout the entire day, meaning you have a chance to reach consumers around the clock.
In addition to being on-brand and mobile-friendly, you’ll want to be sure your website:
- Follows SEO best practices
- Is ADA Compliant
- Includes an SSL Certificate
- Loads quickly
- Is hosted on a secure server
These roots get you the resources to get started. Then what?
Cultivate and Discover Your Audience (Growth/Establishment)
When you work with a seasoned web development agency, they’ll verify your domain on Google Search Console and implement a tracking code for Google Analytics. By verifying your site and implementing a small snippet of code on the back end of your site, you’ll gain access to a wealth of data.
While both Search Console and Analytics will give you insights into clicks and click-through rates (CTR), Search Console allows website owners to gain deep insights into the actual queries that were used to find their site and where that URL ranks in search results. Conversely, Google Analytics will give you a wealth of information about your audience, where they’re located, how long they’re staying on your site, referring URLs, high-traffic times, and your most visited pages.
So why is this information important? Whether it’s your in-house marketing team or your marketing agency, this data should be used to paint a portrait of your ideal client. Once you know who your audience is, you can start creating content that fosters brand awareness and positions your organization as a leader in the field. But the tools won’t be enough, make sure you’ve hired a team that can translate the raw data into actionable information.
Establish Yourself as an Authority (Establishment)
With your brand in place, website launched, and audience defined, it’s time to make it clear that you’re an authority in the field. Not only is high-quality content going to work wonders for your search authority, but consumers will start looking to your organization as an industry expert.
By and large, content marketing initiatives fall into two categories: written content and video content. Both are invaluable to the process of becoming an authority.
When other people enjoy your content and find it important to share, they often link from their site to yours. This kind of link is referred to as a backlink. It’s important to note that the quality and quantity of backlinks are the heaviest weighted elements in Google’s search ranking algorithm—meaning, if you produce high-quality media and people share it, your position on search engine results pages (SERPS) will skyrocket. If you’re uncertain what constitutions high-quality, be sure to drop by our Fundamental of Good SEO Content article.
When it comes to purchasing a product, video content is especially vital to a consumer’s journey. While performing a traditional search is still the first point of discovery, a staggering 55% of people move on from search network results and drop by YouTube to learn more about the product before making their purchase. Google found that people use video for three main reasons:
- See a product before they buy it or see how others have used it
- Learn more about a product they have in mind
- See credible, authentic reviews (more on this later)
Socialize on Social Media (Establishment/Expansion)
You don’t need to be on every social media platform. It’s about quality, not quantity. Honestly, nothing is more sad looking than a Twitter or Facebook account that hasn’t been updated since last spring. To avoid the embarrassment, focus on one platform and knock it out of the park.
Poorly optimized landing pages will actually cost more per click on Google Ads, irrelevant or low-quality content will increase bounce rates, and weak branding is forgettable.
Because here’s the truth: consumers genuinely want to engage with businesses on social media. In fact, 80% of Instagram users follow a business on the photo-focused platform. More broadly, researchers over at GlobalWebIndex discovered that more than one in three social media users have visited a brand’s profile and/or liked/followed them. But obviously, they’re looking for a good experience.
If someone tweets, tags, or mentions your business, you need to be sure you have a person or team onboard who can handle the responses. The trust that’s built or lost from social interactions is profound, so as your business grows, consider who you have as your social media manager carefully. Then, turn trust into action.
Generating Leads and Implementing CRMs (Expansion)
Your digital presence is flourishing, but now you’re losing track of hot leads, under-estimating project times, and have no management system for your current clients. It’s at this point where a busy business can either go bust or solidify their name in the market.
To get it right, find an agency that can help you implement a customer relationship management system (CRM). To find a solution that works for you, closely consider your industry, budget, and the size of your organization. For instance, HubSpot offers a freemium solution that works wonderfully for small businesses, but if your client needs are extensive, you may need a tool such as Salesforce to manage your clientele and their projects.
89% believe organizations should operate in a way that benefits society and the environment
Furthermore, you’ll need to find a lead generation tool and tactic that works well for your particular audience. Depending on the industry, tools such as MailChimp or Constant Contact work well for drip campaigns, whereas for others, inbound lead generation through SharpSpring or JumpLead are a more effective means of winning new clients.
Two of the most well-known lead generation strategies that organizations find attractive are Google Ads and Facebook pay-per-click (CPC) campaigns. The problem is: many businesses try to manage these platforms in-house, which causes them to lose a significant amount of money, and then they get turned off from the lousy results.
If you take anything away from this, remember: the success of CPC campaigns depends heavily on your branding, website, and content. Poorly optimized landing pages will actually cost more per click on Google Ads, irrelevant or low-quality content will increase bounce rates, and weak branding is forgettable. Therefore, you need to establish a strong digital foundation before you engage in a CPC campaign. If you don’t, you may as well walk over to the paper shredder and put your dollars in there.
Public Relations and Talent Acquisition (Expansion/Maturity)
We’ve come full circle, and here’s why: business is good, projects are being completed, and your workflow is as smooth as silk. But your brand is only representative of your current business lines. It’s time to tackle growth problems (differentiation, additional levels of management, having a reputation), at this point a refreshed/expanded brand and PR are critical.
If your aim is to increase healthy growth, you need to align your brand with a purpose (we do not mean a political ideology). In Cone/Porter Novelli’s most recent Purpose Study, researchers found that Americans have strong convictions when it comes to how corporations should act:
- 89% believe organizations should operate in a way that benefits society and the environment
- 85% believe organizations should have a purpose-driven brand strategy
- 85% believe organizations should support causes in communities around the world
- 71% believe organizations should connect with consumers about issues they care about
As your organization enters maturity, be prepared to bring on a PR team, be it in-house or contracted agency. You’ll need assistance responding to reviews (both good and bad) and addressing social media comments.
But when it comes to vocalizing company values, it’s not just about social responsibility and brand awareness, it’s about attracting talent. In a recent Paycom study, the top three desires of Millennial talent include:
- Competitive pay
- Recognition and regular feedback
- Purposeful work
Moreover, a few top issues consumers want companies to address include privacy, domestic job growth, healthcare, sexual harassment, racial equality, and women’s rights. So, figure out what you stand for, take action, and then let consumers and current/future employees know about it.
It’s A Lot of Werk
Whew! That’s a lot of werk. Not only do you have to figure out what stage of business you’re in, but then you and your team need to find the time to create content, post on social, send out press releases, and the list goes on.
Or, you can find an agency that aligns with your exact needs. At Werkbot, we offer a service called Interactive Hat (IH). IH includes a suite of service options including:
If your unsure of what stage is next for your business, we’re here to pull back the curtain and show you a clear path to successful marketing. Our IH packages are designed to promote organic growth through 6-, 12-, and 24-month programs. If you’re interested, visit our contact page and reach out today.