“Set it and forget it” will be the death of any marketing team. As consumption and technology trends change over time, marketing teams need to ensure their outreach practices are meeting the demands of today’s consumers in a way that will have a positive effect on the company.
Many of today’s marketing practices have been around in one form or another for decades.
The question is, is your current approach standing up to today’s digital demands? Consider these four current mainstays of successful digital marketing to see if your efforts measure up.
Search Engine Optimization
In 2014, a Groupon study found that 60 percent of the company’s direct traffic came from organic searches. A broader-reaching study by BridghtEdge reported that organic search resulted in more than 50 percent of all traffic to B2B and B2C sites, trumping other tactics such as paid and social. Clearly, SEO is a proven, and successful, method of bringing potential business to your site.
SEO considerations start with the site URL. Moz.com recommends having only one domain and subdomains. Additionally, URLs should be readable, short (less than 100 characters) and include keywords.
Beyond URLs, keep site content relevant to keywords but don’t force it—search engine algorithms often focus more on content and less on keywords, according to business2community.com. They also recommend boosting SEO with visual elements, such as videos and graphics, since “rich text with visual elements gets priority in SERPs over web pages with just text.”
Don’t forget about site security either. Investing in site security certificates and changing your site from a traditional http to https may affect your search result strength on Google, according to Search Engine Land. Be mindful that if this switch isn’t done carefully, it could hurt instead of help your SEO initially.
SEO best practices are prone to change, especially as search engines become wise to tactics that could be abused. Keeping a sharp eye on the news from Google and other major search engines is key to making sure your company is staying digitally relevant in this field.
Related Article: 6 Toxic SEO Habits You Should Stop Today
Mobile devices account for 60 percent of total digital media time according to comScore and, as of April 2015, Google takes mobile accessibility into consideration for site rankings. Why, then, are so many sites not compatible with mobile devices? Leading up to Google’s April algorithm change, TechCrunch found that 44 percent of Fortune 500 companies didn’t have a mobile friendly site—despite Google recommend the practice for some time.
Mobile optimization is a key part of today’s successful digital strategy, but proper implementation is vital (and, unfortunately, often missed). In a 2014 report, BrightEdge noted that configuration issues led to websites losing 68 percent of smartphone traffic. Simply scaling down a site is insufficient, according to sitepoint.com. Instead, companies launching mobile-friendly websites should focus on aspect such as:
- Clear, focused content
- Simple menus and navigation
- Fluid layouts
- Touch friendly design
- Short forms
- Limited images in favor of attractive text
- Use of mobile applications such as GPS and simple social sharing
Whether you choose to create a separate mobile site or transition your main brand website to a responsive design, ensuring users can access information quickly and easily regardless of the device is increasingly important.
Content matters wherever it appears on a site, including site blogs. People rely upon blogs a great deal. According to Hubspot, 92 percent of companies with multiple blog posts per day acquire a customer through the blog. Sites that blogged at least 20 times each month had four times more leads than those who did no blogging, according to a Hubspot study.
Keeping up an aggressive blogging schedule with high-quality content can be a challenge for smaller teams, especially as the overall demands for unique, effective content marketing grows. TopRankBlog recommends businesses:
- Align information needs with marketing/business objectives
- Create and manage an adaptable and optimizable content calendar
- Encourage community content
- Use images and video content
- Employ analytics that evaluate content performance with different groups of customers
Unfortunately, for many teams blog maintenance is one of the first things to slip when faced with a busy schedule. As consumers continue to seek out their own information, dedicating resources to the blog should be seen as an important piece of the overall marketing strategy.
In 2014, 80 percent of brands had advertisements on social media, and 78 percent had dedicated social media teams, but only 26 percent fully integrated social plans into overall business strategies, according to DashBurst.
Social media is now fully entrenched in everyday life and is an excellent place to capture audience attention. It is also a minefield for corporate missteps if an organization isn’t careful.
Today, a company’s social strategy should expand beyond running ads and regular updates to include a “social mission statement” and company policies that clearly outline the type of social presence the company wants to present. This should include dos and don’ts and a unified message and tone to be used across social media.
Once this standard is in place, social media can be an excellent way to engage with your consumers and help drive your company message. Here are a few suggestions on using social media for business, from Inc.com:
- Use data and analytics to gather insight on followers
- Value loyalty over huge numbers of followers
- Use a content calendar to plan posts
- Give users an option to post
- Respond quickly to comments—good and bad
Great social media practices can lead to long-lasting, loyal customer relationships and positive reputation.
Best practices regarding company outreach are constantly changing: Consumers will shift how they engage with content, Google will release a new SEO algorithm, a new platform will emerge, etc. Successful digital marketing teams are constantly evaluating their efforts and tweaking their approaches to ensure maximum results. Watching trends and listening to your analytics—and acting on that information—will give you the competitive advantage as new best practices emerge.