An integrated Digital marketing strategy is composed of several critical components. Successful execution of a strategy demands that each component be utilized. The following pieces put together make up the puzzle that is integrated digital marketing:
You may be inclined to think a brand is merely a logo, a tagline, or even just the name of your business. However, a brand is much more than that – it is the emotion invoked at the mention of your business. A successful brand gains widespread recognition, ideally through trust and loyalty. Branding informs customers about the company’s reputation, products, and services.
Why you should care: Your brand voice, message, look and feel is weaved through the other components of your digital marketing components. How you market your brand works to competitively position your business in the eyes of potential customers. And while there may not be overt branding at play in the B2B industry, consider what happens when you put your brand side by side with a competitor. Which comes off as the better choice for a prospect or customer is determined largely by brand marketing.
Customer-Centric Content Strategy
Without content, you don’t have an Integrated Digital Strategy. Content must be customer-centric for the purpose of content strategy is to attract and retain customers by creating consumable and usable content on a regular basis. Once content is created, the format it is delivered in and it’s placement in Digital marketing vehicles such as email, social posts, website landing pages, blogs are critical. A content strategy should clearly maintain a consistent message and amplify the brand
Why you should care: All this work around content creation then provides a way for customers to find you organically and for you to communicate with them without trying to explicitly sell them anything. If you are going to go through the effort and resources to produce company content, then you need a content strategy to make sure all that valuable content is being put to good use, consistently and clearly amplifying the brand’s messages.
Just as your content needs to be customer-centric, your website should be at the center of the digital experience. All other digital components and tactics will drive potential customers to it. Content placed in email, social posts and blogs all drive traffic to the website.
Why you should care: Whether you capture a customer’s information social media or even at an event, they are going to pay a visit to your website and currently, website landing pages is still the predominant way that customers provide the most information about themselves and ask for contact from your company.
SEO: Search Engine Optimization
Your brand message and content feed into the tactical components of an Integrated Digital Marketing plan. SEO is an important, tactical component of an Integrated Digital marketing strategy, used to make a brand’s web presence accessible to a search engine and ultimately to improve the organic rank of the site on search engine results pages (SERPs). SEO is determined largely by certain elements search engines look for. These include: content on website pages and blogs, (text, titles, and descriptions), website performance, and user experience. Conversely, search engines are not looking for the following attributes: keyword stuffing, purchased links, and poor user experience. Specifically, Blog Strategy is an important part of SEO. It has the potential to be the voice of a company in an informal and approachable way. Being relatively simple to implement, a blog is a great way to draw traffic to a brand’s website while also projecting company personality. Make sure to put forth content that solves problems rather than selling brand products and services.
Why you should care: Given that searching done online is the first way customers come into contact with your brand, google and the like are the new yellow pages. SEO helps search engines like google determine what a given webpage is about and whether or not it’s useful for the user conducting the search. Ranking high on SERPs is no longer an option, but a critical component of a larger marketing strategy.
SEM: Search Engine Marketing
A broader term than SEO, SEM utilizes search engines to grow your audience by advertising your brand on the web through paid for tactics. It is essentially the practice of buying traffic for a brand’s web presence mainly by bidding for search terms so that your banners and ads are placed ahead of others optimizing for the same terms. These tactics are commonly referenced as CPC (cost-per-click) and PPC (pay-per-click) marketing. Another way this tactic is enhanced is by retargeting i.e. following someone who has clicked on your ad around the web so that you stay on their mind when they are ready to buy your product.
Why you should care: Even companies that have globally recognized brands use both PPC, CPC and re-targeting. Bottom line is that SEM will garner you more awareness in a quicker time frame than SEO. But both are necessary- the day you start doing SEM is when you show up both organically and via a paid ad on the first page of a search – although if you rank organically and via SEM, then you own more real estate on the first page search results. With attributes like increased visibility, precise targeting, and trackability/measureability – SEM is a must-have in any digital marketing strategy.
SMM: Social Media Marketing
SMM focuses on creating content worth sharing. Think word of mouth, but for the internet age. The ultimate goal is still to gain traffic for the brand’s web presence, but in SMM the traffic is gained through promoting your brand and content via social media outlets.
Why you should care: Many consumers perform searches on social media channels and the social channels are accommodating this by dramatically improving their search functionality. So it is in a brand’s best interest to have a notable and engaging presence on such channels. SMM is also a way to connect directly with your audience and provide customer service in a personal way, all the while generating brand awareness. Its’ also a great way to engage with customers and advocates for your brand and services.
Other more specific but equally important components:
- Email Marketing: disregard the naysayers who claim email marketing is dead because of its potential for spamminess. 59% of B2B marketers say email is the most effective channel in generating revenue (source).
- Website Design: We alluded earlier to the fact that if a person’s eyes are the windows to the soul then a brand’s website is the main door to the company. The company website design (usability, navigability, accessibility) will determine who walks through the door and ultimately becomes a retainable customer. Design well and reap the rewards of loyal, satisfied consumers.
Why the emphasis on Digital?
Leads generated digitally using content marketing have a proven value that far exceeds those generated using traditional marketing methods such as direct mail or events. They show a journey of engagement, allow for ease of access to your brand and provide a strong indication of interest depending on the number and duration of digital interactions. Whether it’s increased ROI (inbound marketing is much more cost-effective than traditional outbound marketing) or the willingness of leads to turn into retainable customers, B2B businesses today need a digitally integrated content marketing strategy. Consider some of these stats as proof:
- 72% of Marketers think that branded content is more effective than magazine advertisements, 69% say it’s superior to direct mail and PR. (Source)
- Organic search leads have a 14.6% close rate, while outbound marketing leads have a 1.7% close rate. (Source)
- 60% of large companies have acquired customers through Twitter. (Source)
- B2B companies that blog generate 67% more leads per month than those who do not blog. (Source)
- The average return on email marketing investment is $44.25 for every dollar spent. (Source)
- 78% of B2B buyers start their research with online search. (Source)
- Companies that spend more than 50% of their lead generation budget on inbound marketing report a significantly lower cost-per-lead. (Source)
Finally, you can only prove results of an integrated digital marketing strategy if you can measure it. The ease of measurement with a digital form of engagement has also helped with the adoption. Although true attribution may still be a lofty goal for digital marketers, everyone’s talking about results, and for good reason. Analytics is the practice of analyzing data to measure the success of a company’s digital endeavors. Analytics make it possible to measure and track efficiency while making sense of who’s engaging digitally, where and why.
Why you should care: Want to justify investment into digital marketing? Then, you are going to have to measure your results. Use analytics behind digital marketing tools as much as possible to prove ROI and decipher which components of digital marketing efforts need bolstering and how.
Does your B2B brand have an integrated digital marketing strategy?
Let us know which components work best in your industry and why.
Photo credit: Liza