The Holy Trinity of Internet Marketing
1The Universe of Internet Marketing
Google gets searched more than 5 billion times every day. There are over 7 billion pieces of content shared on Facebook weekly and the average number of emails sent per day is over 140 billion.
Yes, those stats are impressive. But if you’re a business owner, the question still remains, “How can I best use these internet marketing channels to get and keep more customers?” Well, I’m glad you asked because that’s the question I’m going to help answer in this white paper.
The Universe of Internet Marketing is Vast!
When people first see this Venn diagram they immediately think Search, Social & Direct represent Search Engine Marketing, Social Media Marketing and Direct Marketing. And while they’re not wrong, these “galaxies” also represent the actions or behavior of consumers online.
Search represents when a user is searching for something. It could be a business, an answer to a question, some good content, directions, browsing the web, reading a good blog, researching a product/service, watching a YouTube video, etc.
Social represents when a user is interacting with other people online, checking status updates, interacting in a group/community, playing online games, etc.
Whereas Direct represents when a user is receiving a direct message such as an email, a text message, a push message or app notification.
Many of the activities users take online can be categorized into these three main behaviors (or a combination of them). And while the platforms and tactics won’t all fall perfectly into each galaxy (they collide and overlap in many ways), it’s still a logical way of organizing them and it will help you better understand the complex world of internet marketing.
The Galactic Core
The galactic core is where you want all customers and potential customers to be. People in the galactic core love your company. And the more people that join your galactic core, the more it becomes like gravity pulling in other customers because they are constantly singing your praises. We’ll get more into the Galactic core a little later and explain why it is so important.
The concept of developing a strategy and displaying it visually helps most people “get it”. As we discuss later, in developing a strategy, you will see that each galaxy (circle) will expand or contract in size based on the importance for that particular business in their overall strategy. I believe most businesses should have a presence in each of the three quadrants for a comprehensive integrated marketing strategy. This is just the tip of the iceberg though and I don’t want to get ahead of myself.
Let me summarize what we’re going to go over. I’m going to give you an in depth look into each of the three galaxies. I’ll also explain the best tactics to employ in that particular galaxy. Then we’re going to review “The Holy Trinity of Internet Marketing”. In this section you’ll discover how each quadrant interacts with and benefits the other You’ll also learn the importance of your website in your strategy and how to develop an integrated internet marketing strategy.
So if you want to find out how to best use the internet to get and keep customers then go warm up your cup of coffee and dig into this white paper!
To your success,
2The Search, Social & Direct Galaxies
Interweaving across all three galaxies you will have some common strategies and goals that should be in sync and help guide the individual tactics you employ. These high level strategies may include: branding, public relations, content strategy, lead generation, thought leadership, customer service, customer retention, and customer acquisition.
Now let’s look at each galaxy and the best tactics to use in each one.
The Search Galaxy is a complex one made of pretty much the entire web. This is where the search engines (which are the major platform in the Search Galaxy) crawl and index every website (that they can reach) out there. Today, when a person wants to get an answer to a question, find a business or research a product they simply “google it”. Search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo feature two types of results: organic results (aka, natural results) and paid results (where businesses bid on placement and clicks). They have also expanded their reach by allowing other websites to display ads from them on their website. The two main tactics used in the Search Galaxy are Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing (or Paid Search Marketing). First, let’s talk about Search Engine Optimization.
Search Engine Optimization (Or as we say Search Experience Optimization)
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a tactic used to drive more relevant traffic to your website or content through a variety of methods. One of the most popular methods is through increasing a websites visibility in the organic section of the search engine results across relevant keyword searches. This can be done through a variety of methods including: increasing the positioning or ranking of a website for specific high traffic keywords, increasing the quantity of keywords a website ranks for and also making the website stand out in search results using rich snippets (just to name a few).
Modern day SEO teams (the ones that are walking fully erect and no longer have the Cro-Magnon forehead) are a combination of individuals that are both right and left brain. They can perform technical aspects of SEO, but also write engaging content, get you publicity through creative marketing tactics and design beautiful websites (that make customers and Googlebots smile). The modern SEO team is responsible for a multitude of tasks including: content development, website optimization, keyword research, content strategy, analytics, web design, outreach, social media optimization, conversion optimization, reputation management, local listing optimization and much more.
There are easily over 200 factors that search engines look at when accessing a website to determine whether it’s a worthy result and if it would be good to show to their users, including:
Did You Know?
If someone has you in their circles on Google+, they’re much more likely to see content you create in search results while they are logged in.
This is an amazing opportunity to connect with people on G+ and as they search in the future they will see you more often – helping establish you as a through leader in your industry.
Key Factors On Your Website:
- Website Accessibility
- Website/Web Page Load Time
- Title Tags
- URL Structure
- Image File Names
- Image Alt Text
- Quality of Content
- Depth of Topic/Content
- Keyword usage in various places in the website/document
- Internal Linking
- Semantic Markup
- Site Architecture
- XML sitemap
- KML sitemap
- Meta Robots
- Schema Markup
- Server Location
Key Factors Off Your Website (Endorsements & Popularity Factors):
I’m just giving you the 30,000-foot view today. If you want to dive in a little deeper, you can read my recent blog post “Local SEO Ranking Factors” where I go more in depth
- External Links to your website (While this is only one bullet point there could easily be 100 sub bullet points to this one item. Just to give you an idea of how deep the rabbit hole goes. )
- Brand Mentions
- Citations – Citations are your N.A.P. (Name, Address & Phone Number) listed on multiple websites across the web. The quality and quantity of citations for your business has a profound effect on your appearing prominently in the Local Search results, as does the consistency and accuracy of the information.
- Social Cues
In addition to the above items when you’re trying to attract more local customers you also have to take into account the following:
Local address/Location of the business: The search engine knows from tons of data that if a user is looking for a dry cleaner, car wash, or connivence store they generally want one pretty close to their location, whereas if they’re looking for a home builder, personal injury attorney, or a new car they are okay with traveling a little farther. The proximity of the business address to the center of the search as well as being located in the city of search is a key factor and Google will determine the importance of proximity based on the category of the search.
Your Google+ Business Page: Google wants to provide the best results to their users and the more comprehensive your Google+ Business Page is the better experience they’re going to have. Make sure you fill out your hours of operation, upload photos, put in a good description, choose the right category, and connect it to your website with publisher markup.
Search Engine Marketing
Search Engine Marketing which is often referred to as Paid Search Marketing or Pay-Per-Click (PPC), is an effective marketing option for many businesses as it allows an advertiser a lot of granular control to target specific keywords in specific geographies, even at specific times of the day.
While getting as much traffic as possible from organic traffic is fine (since you’re not paying anything “per click”), you don’t want to approach PPC the same way. In fact, you want to limit the amount of traffic you get through PPC to the most relevant and targeted keywords that you feel will result in a conversion (whatever a “conversion” means to you).
One way to do this is by using Negative Keywords. For example, if you’re a plumber you may want to add “jobs” as a Negative Keyword. This would prevent your ad from showing on searches like, “plumbing jobs portland”. In this case “jobs” would be the negative keyword that would make it so your ad didn’t show. This allows you to cut down on irrelevant clicks and maximize your ROI.
Did You Know?
Google offers the ability to pay per call when you’re targeting mobile devices?
This means you can create an ad and display your phone number for the potential customer to tap. When they do, it starts ringing your phone. This is a great strategy specially for a towing company.
Besides standard text ads you can also create graphic ads and have them show across Google, Bing or Yahoo’s Display Networks. These are websites that receive a portion of the advertising profits to display ads from these search engines. These types of ads are often targeted based on relevant content on the page and are generally considered branding or awareness campaigns and tend to have a lower ROI than a search campaign where people are typing in the keyword.
User Psychology Behind Search Marketing
To really make your marketing effective you need to connect the right message, with the right people, at the right time. In order to do that you must understand the user psychology behind search, social and direct marketing.
For example, when someone uses Google search they’re usually in “hunt” mode. They’re looking for a specific answer, product or service. And if you have what they’re looking for then you need to present it clearly and then make it easy for them to get in touch with you (or make an inquiry, depending on your business).
Another thing to remember when it comes to search marketing is the language your customers use. You already know they’re in hunt mode but when you drill down and find out the exact keywords they use to get to your ads you can start to figure out what they’re after specifically. Using this information you can create relevant landing pages and ads based on the unique needs of your audience.
One way to find out if search should be your major focus is to do keyword research. You can find out how many people are searching for your product or service (or the answer to the problem you provide). Here’s some tools to help you:
- SEM Rush ($70/month)
- WordTracker ($70/month)
- Google’s Keyword Planner (Free, but you will need to set up an AdWords account)
The Social Galaxy is where people interact with other people and brands online, check status updates, comment on posts, interact in a group/community and engage in other various activities.
Social media is the fastest growing medium in history. Facebook is the largest of the social networks with over one billion users. Google+ has jettisoned into the second spot with over 500 million profiles. This means your customers and prospects are already using social media. But the question is: can you use it to grow or retain business?
It’s important to understand that the Search and Social Galaxies are colliding and will continue to in the coming years. I say this because search engines have already started using social signals to enhance your search experience. For example, if I search for a local business and see my friend has +1’d, liked or reviewed the business, then it will strengthen the relevance of that search to me. (As I mentioned previously. If you’re logged into Google+ you’re more likely to see search results from people in your social circles).
Facebook also launched their search functionality called Search Graph. As you can see the major platforms are moving closer to the center to capture more of their users’ online behaviors.
The first question when it comes to social media marketing should be: should I be doing social media? And if so, which social networking sites should I be on?
To help you answer that question remember this general rule of thumb:
the more social media can help you.”
Some examples of “social” businesses would be: restaurants, bars, coffee shops, athletic clubs, etc. If you’re wondering if your business would do well on social media then ask yourself, “Would people want their friends or family knowing they’re a customer of mine?”
Social media is also good if you have a business where you frequently interact with your customers (think retail). It’s important to remember that social media isn’t just for “marketing.” It can also help greatly with customer service and retention.
If you decide social media is right then you need to decide which platform will best help you connect with your target market. Facebook and Google+ are generally good for both B2C and B2B companies while LinkedIn is better suited for just B2B. Twitter is ideal for technology, media or entertainment companies as well as younger adults. Pinterest is like crack for women, but men don’t seem to be as addicted to it. While each social network may have its strong suit they can all be utilized in creative ways to amplify the reach of your content, reach out to influencers in your desired niche and connect with customers and prospects.
Many of the social networks allow you to buy ads on their networks. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn all allow this (G+ doesn’t offer paid ads currently). Pinterest has recently test launched their first testing of a paid ad service called “Promoted Pins”.
Some of the unique benefits of buying ads on a social network is that you can often target by demographic and psychographic factors to better reach your target market. The more defined your target market, the better when it comes to paid campaigns on social networks. For instance if you know your ideal customer usually holds the title of Chief Financial Officer you can target only people with that title on LinkedIn. If your target market is women ages 30-55 that are married with kids, you can create an ad to specifically connect with that demographic on Facebook.
User Psychology Behind Social Media
One of the biggest mistakes businesses make in social media marketing is failing to understand the medium and, more importantly, the mindset of people when they’re using it. You’ll quickly realize that traditional advertising doesn’t work on Facebook. In order to thrive on social media you have to embrace the “social” component of it. Hence the word, “social” media.
People are usually not looking for a product or service when they’re on Facebook. This is their time to have fun and relax. They want to see if anyone liked their latest status update or what their friends are up to. They’ll click on content that’s entertaining, interesting or controversial… but not “salesey”.
Another way to think about social media is that it’s a “front porch” type of conversation. Communicate with people just like you would if they walked up to you as you were sitting out on your front porch sipping some lemonade.
The Direct Galaxy is where people receive messages/notifications directly (often across multiple devices). Direct marketing is when you reach out directly to current and potential customers via email, text messages, app notifications, etc. The major benefit of direct marketing is that you get immediate results. For example, you email 5,000 customers. 250 people click on the link in your email (5% click through rate). And you make 25 sales (.5% conversion rate). Contrary to popular belief direct marketing is not “dead.”
A common misconception about direct marketing is that it’s all spammy and annoying. I hear customers say things like, “I never click on email spam so why would I engage in something like email marketing?”
But it’s important to remember that there’s a big difference between “outbound” direct marketing and “inbound” direct marketing. Inbound marketing, aka “permission marketing”, is when customers ask to join your list. For example, let’s say you offer an email newsletter on your website. If visitors want to join they simply “opt-in” by filling out a web form.
Outbound marketing, on the other hand, is when you interrupt people who did not ask to be contacted by you. An example of this would be renting an email list from someone and blasting an email ad out to them. Obviously this is not going to be as effective as the permission-based approach described above.
How Important is Direct Marketing for You?
It’s a good idea for any business to engage in some form of direct marketing because it teaches you valuable marketing lessons. Lessons like measuring response rates, the importance of persuasive copy and split testing.
Direct marketing used to be very expensive and time consuming. You had to hire a copywriter to write a sales letter, pay for the printing and postage and then wait over a week to measure results. The internet has changed all that. Now you can write a personal email in 15 minutes and send it immediately. And later that day you can review your campaign to see how many emails were opened, how many people clicked on the link to your site and how many sales you made.
User Psychology Behind Direct Marketing
The user psychology of direct marketing really depends on the media you’re using to communicate with your customers. For example, if you’re writing an email to prospects who have opted in to your list you know they’re looking at their inbox, which is probably overflowing like most peoples, so they’re probably busy. But you do have their attention if you can get them to open your email with a compelling subject line.
Then when they open the email they will make a quick judgment call: Is this an ad or Is this useful information? Here’s a little hint with email marketing: occasionally use plain text emails and avoid the flashy HTML emails (they look like ads). Plain emails have the look and feel of an email people would get from their friends so people are conditioned to want to read those type of emails.
Text messaging is another form of direct marketing. When I mention this most business owners cringe and say something like, “Oh, I would hate to get an ad via text message! I don’t want to even entertain that idea. No way!”
Once again… we’re not talking about “outbound” direct marketing. We’re talking about when customers and prospects ask you to communicate with them. Let’s say you own a restaurant. You know that there are typical slow days and slow times. And you would gladly offer a coupon or deal to people to come in during those times.
So what if you told your regulars that you sometimes offer half-price entrees via text message? You give them the option of signing up for these announcements. Now are you telling me you would not want to contact these customers who said they wanted you to contact them with promotional offerings?
Now that we’ve explored the three major Galaxies of internet marketing let’s look at a diagram so you can see how these different strategies overlap.
3The Holy Trinity of Internet Marketing
Here is a visual to help you better understand what I’m referring to when I talk about the Holy Trinity of Internet Marketing. Where each of the galaxies overlap represents a huge opportunity that I see businesses often miss out on. At the center of it all where all three Galaxies overlap you have the Galactic Core.
The Galactic Core
You’ll notice in the above diagram that in the middle of everything is what we call the “Galactic Core.” The Galactic Core is made up of people who are, “Champions of Your Brand”. These Brand Champions (not always clients) have had exceptional experiences with your company and will repurchase from you, interact with you and market for you. They enjoy telling others why they should use your product or service. And the best part is they do this without being paid to do it. A great example of this is how I am promoting MailChimp as an email marketing service in this white paper. I also constantly recommend them to clients even though I don’t get paid to do it.
Someone can enter the Galactic Core after a positive experience in just one realm. But when a client or prospect engages with you more in all three (Search, Social, Direct) realms then the chances that they will champion your brand increase exponentially. This is another reason why embracing a cross-channel marketing strategy is important. It will help you delight, not just acquire, happy customers.
If you want to have a strong core client base and a strong brand, then you must strive to exceed customer expectations. Customers don’t rave about companies who only meet their expectations. Think about it, if you go to a hotel and they have a hot shower, clean sheets and a TV you’re not going to be impressed. But if they offer all those things plus they remember to deliver your favorite newspaper in the morning and they make sure your room is on the top floor with a view (because you let them know that in a past survey) then you may tell others about them.
As legendary ad man David Ogilvy said, “Great marketing only makes a bad product fail faster.” So if your product or service is crappy then you need to fix that before you even think about which search strategy to use.
However, if you have an “insanely great” business people love then internet marketing will be your best friend. You’ll get people referring their friends, liking you on Facebook and writing positive reviews on Google.
When Galaxies Collide
It’s important to remember that these realms overlap in many areas. I want to take a minute to explain the overlapping benefits of each marketing channel.
How Search Benefits Social
When you’re generating a lot of interest and traffic to your website via the search channel you can leverage this to increase your social community. One way to do this is by prominently displaying icons/links to your social networks on your website. You can also attach social sharing icons to content you create, like blog posts and articles that people find via search. With the advent of Google+ people can now “follow” your business directly from Google’s search results. If you have authorship set up, your profile picture can appear in search results alongside content you’ve authored increasing the likelihood that people will click on it and add you to their circles.
How Social Benefits Search
As you grow your community through the social channel you increase the reach of the great content you create for your website. For example, if you write a useful post on social media (think: Facebook status update) with a link to a recent blog post on your site it can help drive traffic and, through social sharing, can exponentially increase the reach of that content. Plus, this action can help drive more social cues as well as more opportunities for people to find your content and link/mention it in something they create. This works especially well on Google+ because when people who are in your social circles do a Google search then your content is more likely to show up for them. Just like Google+ benefits Google search, Facebook benefits Bing search results.
How Search Benefits Direct
When you experience success with search you’ll start getting more visitors to your website. And this is a great example where search can complement your direct marketing efforts. If you can start capturing names and emails of people who find you via search then you’ll be able to connect with them on a regular basis. You could do this by offering a call to action where people can get your blogs emailed to them, join your newsletter, fill out a lead form, download a white paper, etc. This will help you maintain top of mind awareness with your prospects for when they’re ready to take action.
How Direct Benefits Search
As you build your email list your audience is growing and as your audience grows so does the reach of your content. When you send out emails with an engaging peace of content it can benefit your search marketing channel by driving traffic back to your website increasing the opportunities that people will engage with your content, endorse it, share it, link to it, etc.
How Direct Benefits Social
This works so well it’s just crazy that more businesses don’t do this. For example, when you have an established email list you can reach out to users and ask them to follow you on other social channels as well. You can also make it very easy to share your content on social media. Mailchimp.com is a phenomenal email marketing platform that provides you with an account where you can have up to 2,000 subscribers for free. A cool feature they offer is that you can connect your social accounts (Facebook & Twitter) allowing you to only email the people who are not following you with a call to action to follow you.
How Social Benefits Direct
Many businesses have massive social media followings but relatively small email lists. This is one way social media can benefit direct. For example, you could promote your email newsletter on social (maybe offer special content for newsletter subscribers only) therefore growing your email list. It’s important to connect with customers on multiple channels because this increases the chances they will become Brand Champions, therefore strengthening your Core.
4Your Website: The Most valuable Asset in Your Strategy
There is a high probability that your website is or should be the hub of all of your online marketing. For most businesses your website is a piece of virtual real estate that you have 100% control over (unlike your social accounts). If you don’t own your website that means you don’t have 100% control of your website and you should fix that right away.
It’s extremely important you leverage your website. Leveraging web technology can allow you to engage, communicate with and sell to hundreds or even thousands of people simultaneously.
Your website can be your best salesperson ever. It never complains, works 24 hours a day 7 days a week, can work with 1,000’s of different people at the same time without getting tired (assuming your server has the bandwidth : ). This makes your website one of your most valuable marketing assets. The investment you put into your website will pay dividends for many years to come (if you do it right!).
Below are 7 main considerations for making sure you “do it right”.
1 Intelligent Design
One of the first things users notice about your website is your design. They immediately get a feeling about your business based on the colors of your site, the images, the layout, font, your logo and branding. A well-designed website can make your visitors feel that your company is an authority in your industry. Design can make the difference between a visitor contacting you or not.
2 User Experience
If you’re not providing a great user experience you’re actually making it harder for your customers to buy from you. A good user experience involves having a website that loads quickly, having an intuitively laid out navigation, understanding what the client might be looking for and making sure you make it easy to find. You should start with the goals that you want the visitor to take whether that’s calling you, filling out a lead/contact form or making an online purchase and make those as easy as possible to do.
3 Search Engine Optimized
It doesn’t matter if you have the most beautiful website with an amazing user experience if people can’t find it. It’s like putting your best salesperson ever out in the middle of the desert with no one around.
The content on your website is one of the key elements to not only assuring your users get the right message, but also that search engines get the right message. It’s important your website is easy to update with new content. You should have blogging capabilities so your team can easily update and add engaging and useful content.
5 Mobile and Tablet Devices
If you’re not building your website to be mobile and tablet friendly you’re saying you don’t care about 1 in 5 customers that comes to your site. For some businesses it’s even higher. Traffic from mobile devices is expected to surpass standard computer traffic in 2014.
Responsive website design is something you hear a lot about these days and there’s good reason for it. Responsive design besides being recommended by Google allows your website to provide a consistent user experience across multiple devices. It also has very little negative downside from an SEO standpoint unlike some of the other mobile solutions.
6 Optimizing Your Site for Social Media
It’s important to display social icons that link to your social profiles on your website as well as social sharing icons on your blog content. Open graph is a type of markup that goes into an unseen part of your website, but allows you to control how your content is shared on social networks like Facebook. Twitter, Pinterest and Google+ also have similar markup that can be used to control how content is shared on their networks.
7 Conversion Optimization (Trust factors, persuasive content, etc.)
Conversion optimization involves improving your website design, messaging and functionality to improve the number of desired actions you want the user to take (calling, filling out a form, signing up for a newsletter, purchasing a product, etc. ). For example, you could split test different images, , headlines, length of contact forms, etc. Continually test different elements to improve your conversion rate.
Tip: Providing “trust/confidence factors” like a Better Business Bureau logo, Industry logos, Popular Websites that you’ve been featured on, etc can help establish credibility in the eyes of your potential client.
One thing to note is that conversion optimization tactics become more valuable the more traffic you receive (or the higher your average sale is). Changing a conversion rate from 5% to 6 % may not seem like a lot when you get a few hundred visits to your website and your average sale is small, but when you have 1,000’s of visitors coming to your website or you’re average sale is a large amount it can mean the difference of 10,’s of 1,000’s of dollars.
5Developing Your Integrated Internet Marketing Strategy
Developing a comprehensive digital strategy that delivers the right message at the right time to the right person will not only help increase your company’s profit it will increase your company’s standing as a thought leader in your industry.
Start with Your Customer
The key to developing an effective strategy is understanding who you’re trying to reach with your marketing. So who is your target market? Who is it you want to reach and market to? If you’re a dentist which type of patients do you want to reach? Where do they live? How old are they? Which type of insurance do they have? Which TV shows do they watch? What blogs do they read? What’s their income? What are their problems?
Or let’s say you’re a B2B software company. Who is it you’re trying to market to? Is it the CEO, CMO or the CFO? What size of company is it? Are they a $1 million+ revenue company or a $50 million+ company? When do they shop for your solution? What are their fears, frustrations and desires? Do you know?
You see, all these questions are important. Because the answers will help guide your internet marketing strategy and tactics. If you’re a restaurant you may benefit heavily from all three galaxies: search, social and direct. However, if your business is selling hemorrhoid cream then social media is probably not where you want to focus most your efforts (can’t imagine your photos getting many likes!).
Figuring out who your customer is and how they think is critical to your marketing success. Remember this: your goal is to join the conversation taking place in their mind. When you can do that you start marketing on a whole new level.
So now let’s talk about how you can go about answering some of these customer questions by using an Ideal Customer profile.
Create an Ideal Customer Profile
One of the easiest ways to do this is to analyze your best customers. You know as well as I do that not all customers are “created equal”. According to the “80/20 Rule” 20% of your customers are responsible for 80% of your revenue. (And I would guess 20% of your customers are responsible for 80% of your headaches too. But that’s a conversation for another time)
So nailing down your Ideal Customer will not only help you focus your marketing efforts but it will also make your life easier in the long run. Once you have your “best clients” list in hand the next step is to create an Ideal Customer profile (you can start with one and then create more if you choose).
While reviewing a list of your best customers, here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Where do they live?
- Are they homeowners or renters?
- What’s their average income?
- How did they find you (lead source)?
- How old are they?
- Are they male or female?
- What’s their religion (if they have one)?
- What are their political beliefs?
- What groups are they part of (LinkedIn is good way to find out)?
- What are their personality types?
- Which social media sites do they use?
- Which search engines do they use?
- If you’re doing B2b then what’s the average size of their business?
- Are there any common industries (if you don’t already specialize in one)?
- Are they tech-savvy or not?
You get the idea. This exercise will help you focus who you want to reach. I encourage you to write down your Ideal Customer profile so as you market you keep this person in mind (could be a fictitious person or an actual client).
After you’ve clarified who you’re marketing to then the next step is to clarify what your message is. Before you dive into the deep end of the pool you need to know who you are as a company and what your story is. This is the core of everything.
Remember, people are attracted to stories. Stories sell. And while we don’t have time to get into the details of “messaging” and story here it’s important you go through this process before engaging in internet marketing. Know who you are.
If you need help developing an ideal customer profile Neilsen has a great tool to help you get started. I recommend you click on “Explore all Segments” to see all 66 consumer profiles they’ve created as well as visit “Search by Zip Code” to see what profiles reside in your local zip code. There is also a wealth of information available from the government census that can be accessed here.
Now that you know who your target market is and how they make buying decisions we can use that information to better design our strategy to reach them.
If your business has a high demand meaning people are searching for your products or services then it’s probably a good idea to put a good amount of focus on “Search”. If on the other hand you have a brand new product or service and you need to create awareness then “Social” may be where you put your biggest focus.
Below is an example of how a strategy might look visually for an eCommerce business that has a high demand for their product in Search, but the product or service is one that people are not likely to share a lot about on social media. If you’re selling a product online, then Direct is probably going to be important for you..
Some businesses should have a strong presence in all three quadrants. A good example of a business that could be structured like the example below is a restaurant.
15 Minute Strategy Exercise
Quick, grab a piece of paper. Don’t ask why… just do it. Oh, and yes a pencil too.
We’re going to get you one step closer to developing an integrated marketing strategy that will make your business more profitable. Disclaimer: Of course if we were going to create an in-depth marketing strategy it would take A LOT longer than 15 minutes, but this exercise will help get you started.
I’m assuming you already have a good idea of your target market, ideal customer profile and have a handle on the goals you want to accomplish (Branding, lead generation, customer acquisition, customer retention, customer service, etc.).
Now that you know who you want to reach, let’s talk about how you’re going to reach them.
Determining Your Tactics
Below is data from a 2013 survey done by Econsultancy that asked individuals from a mixture of agencies and in house marketing teams to rate the return on investment from different marketing tactics as either excellent, good, average or poor. While these will vary significantly for different industries it at least gives you some insight into the potential return on investment from different marketing tactics.
So, first let’s determine which individual marketing tactics you’re going to utilize as well as which platforms to focus on by analyzing your target demographic and researching how they make buying decisions. Write them down on a piece of paper.
Next you’re going to draw 3 circles labeled, Search, Social and Direct creating a Venn diagram and adjusting the sizes of each of the circles to visually represent each quadrants importance to your business based on what you’ve learned.
Finally add each of the specific tactics and platforms you plan to use in your strategy to their corresponding circle. Then draw a line to each platform or tactic and write a short benefit statement as to why or how you’re going to utilize that tactic/platform. I would also recommend drawing a line to where each quadrant overlaps and writing 6 short explanations of how they will be utilized to benefit each other.
Of course we can go much deeper down the rabbit hole, but this will at least get your wheels turning.
Measuring Metrics Makes Me Money
Say it with me, “Measuring Metrics Makes Me Money”. It’s important to inspect what you expect when it comes to your marketing and the results that it’s producing. As Peter Drucker said, “What gets measured gets managed.” How are you going to decide if the strategy is successful or not? It’s important as you design your strategy to determine how you’re going to measure its success. What are your main KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators)? Is it the number of leads you receive, the type of leads, increase in unique visitors to your site, conversions, engagement metrics, new followers, number of shares, organic traffic growth, gross revenue growth, etc.
Understanding what the most desired actions are that you want your users to take and measuring the metrics for these actions will help paint a clearer picture of the success or failure of your campaign.
I hope you’ve enjoyed our trip through the Universe of Internet Marketing
You should now have a clearer understanding of the three Galaxies (Search, Social and Direct) and their importance to your business. We reviewed the Holy Trinity of Internet Marketing, how each Galaxy benefits the others and especially the importance of attracting consumers into your Galactic Core.
We also discussed why your website is your most valuable asset in your strategy and seven important elements to making sure your website is successful. Finally we discussed how to develop an ideal customer profile and leverage it to develop your integrated internet marketing strategy.
Now that you have this information. What are you going to do with it?
How about you accept my challenge?
If you put together your own integrated internet marketing strategy for your business and send it to me I will review it (at no charge) and provide you feedback on it. Remember, start with your customer first! Define your target market and create an ideal customer profile. Then determine your marketing mix and how much focus you are going to put in each area of online marketing. Then remove or add platforms and tactics as appropriate.
Remember that while each individual tactic is powerful on its own, when you incorporate a comprehensive strategy that integrates other complementary tactics under a cohesive strategy you can greatly increase your relationship with your audience, have less people fall out of the buying process along the way and enhance the effectiveness of your current campaigns.