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An integrated digital marketing strategy lays the foundation for your online marketing activities, and is the linchpin to a profitable business model.
Your digital marketing strategy is more than just a bunch of tactics bundled in together. It’s a cohesive and fully integrated plan that connects your strategic business outcomes with your marketing efforts.
An effective strategy identifies opportunities that your competitors don’t know about. It then maps out a path to execute on those opportunities by lining up your ‘Internet Ducks’. All it can take is for one duck to be out of line and you don’t have a winning formula. On the other hand all the successful businesses that we’ve worked with create alignment between all the ducks.
But the best businesses don’t do everything…
They figure out where they can expend the least effort to get the biggest result – it’s the 80/20 principle. They do this by tracking return on investment, measuring important metrics and subsequently running their winning tactics long term and cutting their losers short.
Your digital marketing strategy needs to mirror your customer’s journey to purchase. From creating awareness about your brand, guiding them through the consideration stage, influencing them to take action and then turning them into an advocate.
Your job when creating a digital marketing strategy is to look beyond what’s directly in front of you, and think well into the future of your business.
To help you out, we’ve mapped out the entire process in an easy-to-follow structure below.
Website traffic is the lifeblood of any digital marketing strategy. Without traffic, it’s near on impossible to generate leads, sales and bottom line revenue.
Traffic comes in many forms… From organic search engine results, to PPC ads, social and paid media.
The best businesses have a diversified traffic strategy so they aren’t reliant on any one single tactic. But they also focus on the “right” type of traffic.
This section of the article will help you understand what tactics are worth checking out, and what we mean by the “right” type of traffic.
Traffic to your website that doesn’t convert is wasted, but I’ll talk more about conversions later.
For the moment it’s important to understand how you can target the right type of website visitors so they see a relevant offer on your site and inevitably convert into a lead.
Targeted traffic all starts with knowing your target audience and what they are looking for.
The search term (or keyword) that a user types into a Google search is a direct insight into the intent of a consumer.
That’s why keyword research combined with other audience targeting data, such as demographics, geography and purchase history is the foundation for reaching your ideal customers online with display advertising and paid search campaigns.
One of the best ways to get a winning traffic strategy quickly is to identify who are the best competition in your market place.
Once you know who your top competitors are, reverse engineer what they are doing for organic and paid traffic, and then model it so that you benefit from their testing, learnings and experiences.
If you feel like your AdWords efforts are falling flat, you aren’t alone.
Most people churn through thousands and thousands of dollars on Google adwords because they are targeting broad keywords, or unwilling to put in the effort required to tailor their campaigns.
Effective keyword research can boost your return on investment and automatically place you ahead of your competition.
70% of marketers use Facebook to gain new customers, while 47% of marketers say that Facebook is their number one influencer of purchases.
Organic Facebook reach has become harder and harder in recent years. A flood of content, combined with Facebook’s preference for paid advertising in their algorithm, has seen a massive decline in engagement and traffic from the social network.
Facebook advertising, on the other hand, provides an attractive ROI for those that do it well. With most marketers not only running traditional banner ads, but also leveraging the ability to boost your organic posts. With the amount of information Facebook has about its users, the ad platform provides an opportunity to be very specific with your targeting, only showing your ads to people that are likely to engage with them.
Facebook fan pages are how you (as a business) represent yourself on Facebook. Unlike your personal profile, everyone can see these pages. This means fans, customers, prospects and advocates can “Like” your page and get regular updates. They are a powerful tool for building Facebook communities, despite their drop in organic reach.
Your conversion rate from Facebook will vary depending on the ‘tightness’ of the traffic, meaning the closer your targeting is to the exact audience who is your perfect avatar (the sweet spot), then the higher that the landing page is likely to convert because your ‘message to marketing match’ is more exact.
Facebook allows you to get very specific with which audience you run ads for. But there are three audience types you need to know about;
Facebook Advertising really is one of, if not the best way to drive leads to a landing page right now. The platform and its possibilities are virtually endless.
With Facebook advertising becoming so popular, you really need to approach it systematically and methodically if you want to trim wastage, save cost and increase conversion and efficiency.
Here are a few things to know about Facebook advertising;
Creating a Google Adwords campaign can be quite confusing if you’ve never done it before, especially with the typical cost per acquisition dramatically increasing across the board recently.
But we know that Google won the search engine war by focusing on “Relevance”. They gave people a relevant result based on their search term. Which means if relevance is their focus, we need to give them relevance with our ads.
Google Shopping campaigns can work really well for e-commerce companies. However, unlike a typical keyword-bidding ad campaign, the shopping campaigns are created through the Merchant Centre, where you house a list of your products and their attributes. Also the bidding works differently from search campaigns, there are no keywords for relevancy.
So here is how Remarketing works…
Someone visits your website and either they take a course of action or they don’t. As they navigate around or as they leave your website, they get a little piece of code installed on their browsers that allows you to advertise to them to them once they leave. You can then advertise to them via Facebook or Google or SiteScout (any of those kind of networks) as they navigate around the web.
Remarketing is proven to be the highest ROI traffic source available, because the prospects already know who you are.
With Dynamic Remarketing, Google automatically creates ads and shows them to your website visitors based on the actual product they viewed. The information for the ad is pulled from the template you create and the product information provided in your Google Shopping Merchant Centre.
The Google Display Network is a group of 2 million websites including huge publications such as the New York Times.
For advertisers this gives you the opportunity to place ads across thousands of websites. However, it presents a new challenge when it comes to accurately targeting your audience.
YouTube Ads are a really exciting area for advertisers at the moment, it’s like buying Facebook traffic 5 years ago when it was dirt cheap. Before all the big advertising money comes over to YouTube (which is what’s going to happen) there’s an opportunity as a switched on entrepreneur to be ahead of the curve with this online traffic medium.
Google Places is the maps listing on Google. Even if you’re not in an e-commerce store, the reviews on Google Places can still act as a strong piece of social proof with your customers.
The way Google places for business works, is your rankings are generally about the number of positive reviews you have. It has the potential to drive a ton of free traffic to your website.
Search engine optimisation (SEO) is all about getting your website and it’s content found by your ideal customers.
Old school SEO got a bad name for “gaming” the system, figuring out what the Google algorithm was looking for and finding ways to trick it into ranking your content. But as Google gets smarter, us as digital marketers have to as well.
Modern SEO is about creating long, highly useful content for your customers and then optimising it for the 200+ Google ranking factors as best you can. The focus is now on quality, rather than quantity.
Google wants to deliver a good user experience for their searchers, and quality content on your website helps them do that.
Your customer’s expectations for content are growing… They want more and more content, and it needs to be in-depth to get noticed. But it’s not just your customers, Google ranks content over 2,000 words more regularly in it’s top 10 searches, and longer content is shared more on social media.
To build authority online in this environment there are three effective channels to do so;
Content amplification is where you create an awesome piece of content – not like a brief blog post, but an authority piece on a subject. Then you amplify that content with paid media such as Facebook ads or re-marketing ads to it (rather than a sales page).
The content is what Google wants, it’s what Facebook wants and it’s really where the web is heading, more and more. If you do a good job on content amplification you can have some really good success from it.
Influencer marketing is essentially a relationship building activity with people that have the ability to “influence” your audience. It has been happening for years without the fancy name, but the actual “influencers” have changed. They used to be CEOs or journalists at big publications, but now they are anyone with a platform; such as bloggers or people on social media with a big following.
Social media and it’s popularity has grown significantly in the last ten years, and it’s now a core ingredient of any digital marketing strategy. Somewhere near 96% of marketers are using social media to reach their audience and increase their brand visibility.
I’ve already touched on Facebook Ads in some depth, so let’s take a moment to look at Facebook from an organic perspective.
Facebook organic reach and engagement is changing all the time as their business grows and adapts, but it all really comes back to engagement in the end. The equation is pretty simple when it comes to organic reach on Facebook… Share things that get lots of engagement (likes, shares, comments and clicks) and Facebook will reward you by showing it to more people.
Tweeting about your content can be a good way to connect with your ideal customers, and if done well, Twitter can drive a ton of traffic to your site. But it’s not just about sharing the latest headline of a blog post and hoping for the best.
Twitter works best for traffic generation when you engage in Twitter Chats, use relevant hashtags, connect with influencers and leverage paid promotion of your Tweets. Just like all the other social networks, it pays to share visual content as well.
LinkedIn is the perfect social network for engaging business professionals. So if you run a B2B business or your customer avatar is corporates, then it’s worth a look. Unlike other platforms, LinkedIn works better if you post about once a day, give more detail in your posts and focus on industry insights. LinkedIn Pulse also offers the opportunity to grow your authority to an already established platform by publishing articles.
When it comes to paid ads on LinkedIn, the targeting is decent but nowhere near as good as Facebook. And your cost per acquisition is likely going to more than most other ad platforms. However, it can deliver some high quality leads for B2B companies.
Instagram has over 400 million monthly active users, and as a social media platform has shown significant growth in its overall user base in almost every demographic group. It offers a unique opportunity for brands to engage with potential customers, with an average engagement rate of 58 times Facebook, and 120 times Twitter.
The question you have to ask yourself is whether Instagram is right for you… Which segment of your target audience is active on Instagram, if any?
For example, over 50% of Instagram users are between 18-29 years old, and there are more women than men active on the social network.
YouTube as an organic social media network is still greatly under-utilised by digital marketers. That means there is a huge opportunity for you.
Do you think your prospects are active on YouTube? Some (if not all) of them most likely are.
The challenge with YouTube is the cost of producing high-quality video is significantly more than a blog post or some other form of content. But that gap is closing by the day with new technology and overseas outsourcing rapidly growing.
Much like YouTube, Pinterest offers a largely untapped opportunity for accessing your ideal customer avatar. It is the fastest growing social network with latest estimates tipping over the 100 million monthly active user mark.
It is essentially a visual bulletin board where you can store articles, images, products and other visuals.
Is it worth you focusing your energy on Pinterest? If you’re in food or fashion, or your ideal avatar is a female – then yes, it is absolutely worth your time.
When it comes to search engine marketing, be it organic or paid, it’s no surprise that the first thing you think of is Google. But Bing & Yahoo still hold enough market share to make them worthwhile, especially seeing there is considerably less competition on these search engines.
While online branding may be typically seen as a “perception” thing, it is really about how you can get more exposure – traffic and visibility – for your brand.
At the core of online branding is congruency, and being present as much as possible. Using design elements, consistent messaging and clear call-to-actions across all your social media networks, in search engine results, in ads, your email signature and every piece of collateral you create.
PR and content marketing are slowly becoming one, but there is no doubting the power of press attention as a way of building your brand visibility in a digital world.
Good PR is hard, but if you focus on relationships and integrate a plan with your digital marketing strategy it’s still an important play. It can build public perception and rapidly grow the reach of your business.
The basic idea behind affiliate marketing is that you promote other people’s products or services, and earn a commission for every sale that you refer. So if you want to make more money for your current offers, you can partner with affiliates who have an already engaged audience to sell it for you in exchange for a share of the revenue. On the flip side, if you want to make some extra money from your business, you can sell other products to your audience and get a share of the revenue.
When it comes to traffic and visibility, affiliates who already have a large audience that knows, likes and trusts them can help you quickly scale your reach.
Traffic and visibility is a great start to your digital marketing strategy, but it’s all wasted energy if you don’t convert that traffic into genuine leads for your business. The type of leads that are likely to spend money time and time again with your business.
Often business owners spend big bucks on stunning website design, however little thought is put into design that actually converts. Web design that converts is about making your site more effective in terms of making sales and capturing leads by combining a proven set of design elements together into a brand congruent website.
Each page on your site should ideally be optimised for one single call-to-action (CTA).
Do you want people to download something? Share something? Schedule a phone consultation? Fill in a form?
CTAs are usually associated with buttons, because for someone to take action they need to click a prominent button and take the next step. CTA buttons are a common element for split-testing because they are easy to change, and have a significant influence over conversion rate.
As a business owner you’ve got lead magnets on your website that you deploy as bait to lure your fish (new leads).
They might be a free report, a white paper, a video series, a swipe file, something like that. A lead magnet is something of high-perceived value that you can give away in exchange for prospects details so you can then market to them again.
A landing page is perhaps the most important page on your website when it comes to conversion, because it is the first page a visitor “lands” on when they make it to your site. Whether that’s from an ad, social network or referral link.
The purpose of a landing page is usually to generate leads in some form, it may just be getting an email address or it may be getting more specific contact information so your sales team can contact them. You are likely to have multiple landing pages on your site, all which should be designed with conversions in mind.
Creating effective landing pages used to be challenging and expensive. But with the support of some helpful landing page tools like ClickFunnels and LeadPages you can do what used to take weeks in a day, or even a couple of hours.
Nearly 85% of people who use the internet have emails, compared to only 62% who are active on all social networks combined. That means that email is not only the most direct line of communication with your customers, it also covers the largest group of prospects with one medium.
Many businesses struggle with email marketing because they don’t optimise their site to capture email addresses, and subsequently don’t have a group of people to communicate to. The key to successful list building is a compelling offer (a lead magnet) and the appropriate placement of email opt-in forms.
Because the internet is maturing, and traffic costs are going up, we need to create sophisticated funnels at the front-end to make our marketing work.
If you are selling big ticket services, you may not need this as much. For example, if you have an enquiry process and sell a 20 grand consulting job, or you a 15 grand building job, this may not be applicable.
But certainly if you sell smaller products and services, you definitely need to think in funnels.
A well constructed marketing funnel is designed to build a list of “customers”, by acquiring them at cost and then selling higher ticket items once they are already in the door.
It’s becoming increasingly difficult to gain the trust of prospects and get them to hand over their hard earned cash for your product or service. The biggest game changer for businesses to help convert more prospects and leads into customers, is “The Tripwire”.
The Tripwire is an irresistible, super low-risk paid offer that gets you more customers on the front end. And, it’s probably the most important step in your sales funnel because it’s the most underdone.
Customers who buy your Tripwire are 10-11 times more likely to make a repeat purchase.
Sales webinars are one of the most effective ways to increase your sales and double your business.
But no one pays enough attention to what’s happening before someone is registered, what’s happening once they’ve registered and then what will happen AFTER the presentation is delivered. This is your webinar funnel.
The more you focus on getting this architecture right – the before and after of the webinar – you can literally double, if not more your sales.
The idea of a “Big Ticket Funnel” is that you don’t want to end with the last up-sell or down-sell product in your funnel. The sale shouldn’t end with a transaction.
The “Big Ticket” offer is a high-priced offer that is usually sent to new customers about a week after they purchase. The difference between a big ticket offer and an up-sell is that the up-sell is immediate, it capitalises on the buying psychology of someone who has just purchased something.
Because a big ticket offer is priced substantially more than the other offers in the funnel, customers need a little bit longer to decide whether it’s right for them. If you over-deliver on their expectations with the first product, then about a week after purchase is a great time to do this.
One of the great things about digital marketing is that you can essentially measure and track everything. But sometimes that can be a bad thing, it’s important to measure, but not everything.
Track the things that matter most to your business, and then monitor and adjust your digital strategy accordingly.
Conversion rate optimisation (CRO) is basically about finding out why your website traffic isn’t converting into leads or sales, and then fixing it. Tracking results and running tests is how you figure it out.
The first way to test is A/B split testing, this is much simpler than Multi-Variate testing. A/B testing means that you have a first version of a page, and you create a second version of it by changing only individual elements – things like button colours or headline copy. Then your split testing tool of choice sends half the traffic to the first version and half the traffic to the second version.
Multi-variate split testing is a lot more complicated, and it needs a lot more traffic to make it work, but I’ve also seen it return better results. Multi-variate testing is actually just one page, but it rotates in and out different design elements on the page.
Form analytics track the behaviour and data associated with your primary enquiry form on a services page. What about if one of the fields was something your target market was uncomfortable with and they weren’t filling that out? It lets you see that, and change it.
One great example for us was where we literally doubled the size of a hire car business, purely with Form Analytics, by figuring out where people were getting stuck in the enquiry form.
One of the things we’ve learned from Jeff Bezos of Amazon, is he or she who acquires the most customers wins.
Traditional thinking is all focused on “you need to acquire the highest number of leads”, which is definitely valid but what we do know about acquiring ‘customers’ as opposed to ‘leads’ is that customers are 10 to 11 times more likely to buy from you again than leads.
So, you’re actually better off with a database of 1,000 customers than you are with 10,000 leads.
When it comes to the crunch, your digital marketing strategy is all about creating an offer that your prospects can’t refuse. Something that is so compelling, so well articulated and so well supported that they don’t have a choice but to take it.
A compelling offer is about what your customers actually want, not what they say they want. It’s something with high perceived value with a clear benefit, that doesn’t feel out of reach.
These are the pages of your website that are really going to bring in the most leads, the most sales and ultimately contribute the most money to your business.
In a nutshell your money pages are a place where you deliver an offer that results in someone becoming a customer.
If you’re an eCommerce business your product pages are the most important pages on your site, because they bring in revenue. A good product page plays a huge role in taking a prospect from “website visitor” to paying customer, which means it is well worth the time and money required to optimise them for customer acquisition.
A core element of generating more revenue as a services business is the design and optimisation of your sales page, but it’s more than that. On top of an effective services page design, you need to optimise the page for conversions.
When combined; effective design principles, calls to action and conversion optimisation result in a BIG uptick in customer acquisition and sales numbers on your website.
I spoke about the Tripwire in the “Leads and Conversions” section of this article, but it’s perhaps even more important when it comes to customer acquisition.
The Tripwire offer is all about getting more people to pay for something, turning them into a customer and increasing your chance of making that a profitable long-term relationship.
Remember, customers who buy your Tripwire are 10-11 times more likely to make a repeat purchase.
eCommerce platforms enable your business to generate revenue directly online, which means your digital marketing strategy can deliver money straight to your bottom line.
51 design elements for profitable online store – not published yet
As an eCommerce business, product reviews are one of the most important proof elements available to you. They help increase brand credibility and trust, as well as getting more visibility with your customers. You can generate product reviews through Google, on third party review sites and even on your own website.
Being able to continually and systemically acquire customers at break-even or better using Tripwire offers is what I call the ‘Holy Grail’ of digital marketing.
Once someone is a customer you can then sell them high ticket offers and up-sells to make a genuine profit.
The best marketers that I work with track on a weekly basis the spend, leads and customers acquired from a campaign. Then they tweak it, or turn it off depending on the results.
Just seeing one column of data, whether it’s with your marketing stats or your financials, is useless. You need to be able to see trends to make educated and informed decisions about what to do next.
You need to take traffic you control (such as your email list) and traffic you don’t control (like media that you have to buy), with the goal of spitting it all into an optimised marketing funnel.
The goal of the funnel is then just to break-even. You are trying to break-even on the front-end, and then once you own that customer you can create profit on the back-end. Things such as continuity with recurring billing, up-selling to a high ticket item and a range of other offers will help you grow profit in this case.
Because really, the front-end of your business is about acquisition and the back-end is about monetisation.
Other channels such as Amazon and eBay provide eCommerce businesses a huge opportunity to access more buyers. For example, Amazon will set up a site for you, store your stock and ship your orders.
eBay is the world’s most popular eCommerce platform for buying and selling goods – it accounts for somewhere near 15% of all online transactions. It provides a marketplace for distributing your goods to an already established audience of buyers at a global scale.
Email nurture campaigns take a new lead (or email subscriber) and prepare them to become a customer.
Initially the goal of an email nurture campaign is to familiarise a prospect with your business, personalise the experience and educate them about the problem you solve for them. From there it is about transitioning the conversation from “Education” to “Selling” and eventually “Closing”.
I spoke about remarketing earlier in the traffic and visibility section, but it also plays a big role in customer acquisition. When it comes to return on investment and customer acquisition, remarketing is the best traffic source available. It’s all about delivering the right message, to the right person, at the right time.
Over 60% of shopping carts are abandoned online, isn’t that ridiculous? Imagine if you could convert even just a fraction of that drop off into customers, your revenue could double or triple in a heartbeat.
The primary reason people abandon carts is because there is an obstacle or hurdle in their way. Too many form fields, unexpected costs, poor website navigation, too many steps, a lack of payment security… The list goes on.
A big number of these hurdles can be avoided, or at least greatly minimised.
Famous marketer Jay Abraham created an undeniable law of business growth citing there are 3 ways to grow a business:
The team at digital marketer have suitably named it “Customer Value Optimisation“ or CVO, and this is what the lifetime value of a customer is all about.
A product value ladder is a series of products that escalate in perceived value as you make your way up the ladder, they form the structure of your entire marketing funnel. The bottom of the ladder is your tripwire and the very top is your big ticket offer.
Email nurture campaigns help you acquire new customers, but they also play an important role in growing the lifetime value of each customer. Email is the perfect way to stay in touch with customers and provide them new offers, products and services in the future.
If you look at big organisations like McDonald’s, their profit comes from up-sells. They’re not really making that much money on the initial burger, it’s the “fries with that” where the margin comes in.
The reason why we want to upsell, comes back to the 80/20 principle.
If we assume we have 2,500 customers…
And for a lot of marketers, that is where they would stop because they’d think at a subconscious level, “Is it worth more than that? My market doesn’t want to spend more than that. My market wants cheap stuff.”
Statistically, 16 would actually pay $12,000, 3 of them would pay $25,000 and 1 will pay $100,000 for you just to do everything for them. So if you don’t use the up-sell, you are leaving a lot of money on the table.
I’m sure you’ve been online shopping before and decided to stop before completing your purchase. Lots of people do.
If you offer your product or service to a prospect and they don’t buy on the spot, it can feel like you’ve lost that sale forever. The down-sell offers you another opportunity to close the sale by offering a product which is easier to say “yes” to.
The cross-sell offers your customer a different product once they have already purchased something from you. It works best when there is a natural progression from the first product to the next one. For example, if you just purchased a set of golf clubs you are likely to be interested in golf lessons.
If you can offer your customers an experience which exceeds their expectations, delivers them results and “WOW’s” them… They will probably buy from you again, and tell all of their friends about you. This is how you extend the relationship and grow the lifetime value of each customer.
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Key Performance Indicator’s (KPI’s) are metrics that are used to track how you are performing based on your business goals. The whole point of having KPI’s is to help you track progress towards goals, and subsequently they should have the ability to recommend required changes to your business strategy. KPI’s that can directly influence ROI and cash-flow are the most desirable.
Some example KPI’s include;
Metrics are slightly different to KPI’s in the sense that they typically “add up” to deliver an indicator of performance. For example, the metrics that combine to tell you your average customer lifetime value are; “Average Value of a Sale”, “Number of Repeat Transactions” and “Average Retention Time”.
The return on investment (ROI) from your digital marketing strategy, and the campaigns that make it up, is an important thing to understand for the profitability of your business.
Reporting on ROI closely ties to the KPI’s you track and how they contribute to the goals of your business as a whole. Monitoring, adjusting, changing or deleting KPI’s and goals over time is how you improve your digital marketing ROI.
Financial IQ is something that not many people talk about when it comes to digital marketing. But it’s not about just generating sales, it’s also about generating profit, and an even better goal is how to generate cash.
Financial IQ is about managing the “business end” of your business, the accounting and the numbers that matter. What are the financial levers in the business and what are the goals, KPI’s and metrics that contribute to each of those?
For more information on improving the profit and cash-flow in your business you may like to read about the Profit Wedge.
When it comes to your digital marketing strategy, you probably already know a lot of this stuff. But I think to know, and not to do, is not to know. You might know it, but if you’re not living, breathing and implementing it, then you don’t really know it in my opinion.
Which of these are things should you be implementing in your business right now?
What’s the 20% of things that you can do, that will give you 80% of the results?
Think about it, write it down and start doing it. Even if you start doing a few of these things better, you will see a massive improvement in your business.