Integrating different inbound channels as part of a content-led digital strategy
Here's the only way to approach your marketing: What content will your customers thank you for?
Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer at MarketingProfs @MarketingProfs
In the ever-evolving sphere of digital marketing, creating compelling content just isn't enough. Instead, what you need to do is develop a strategic plan that is both consistent and integrated and will help drive traffic, generate leads and increase your conversions. While content creation still plays a pivotal role in an effective marketing strategy, smart brands are taking a more holistic approach - and that means focusing on how content marketing, SEO, social media, blogging and email marketing all work in sync.
Along with our own tips and tricks of the trade, in this article AWeber has enlisted a few industry leaders to share their insights and best practices to help you craft a solid, comprehensive digital marketing strategy. These are the pillars of an integrated strategy as we and they see them.
'Content Marketing is an imperative because it represents the gap between the content brands want to produce and what consumers actually want'.
Michael Brenner, Head of Strategy at Newscred @BrennerMichael
Let's face it: content marketing ain't easy. In order to fully satisfy the needs of your audience, your content needs to be:
- Valuable: What's in it for your customers and prospects? Are you speaking their language? Are you giving them something they can't find anywhere else?
- Timely: Can you put a newsworthy, industry-specific spin on your content? Is your subject matter different from what others have addressed before?
- Solutions-oriented: Are you providing a solution to your customers' biggest pain points? Can you deliver real, actionable information that people can implement right away? Would a prospect see this and think, 'Wow, I need to learn more!?'
'Honest and transparent content is the best sales tool in the world. Period',
Marcus Sheridan, Author of The Sales Lion @TheSalesLion
Your blog should be a trusted resource that both customers and prospects alike can use a tool to learn more about your industry. It's a huge part of your content strategy because it combines SEO, social media and can serve as the basis for your email marketing campaign. Keep these tips in mind before you hit 'publish.'
- Cadence: How often are others in your industry posting? Is there a specific time that your readers are paying more attention to social shares? Experiment with timing and frequency, then pick a schedule and stick to it.
- Titles and bullets: Don't make your readers work to find the sections and subsections that they are most interested in. Break up your text with bullets and engaging titles to make your content easy to read.
- Go-to resource: Think of your blog as a resource for your most valued customers. Tease it via social media and email marketing and use it to inform future content.
'If you think number of links is how you are going to win Google, you are doing it wrong',
Wil Reynolds, Founder of SEER Interactive @WilReynolds
While SEO is super important, engaging content always wins. Nobody wants to read something that sounds like it was written by a robot. You're writing for real customers with real needs and your words should reflect that. SEO only helps enhance that experience.
- Headlines: Your headlines should be attention-grabbing, yet concise. Be wary of creating click bait - a few return customers are more valuable than a lot of short-attention spans.
- Keyword research: What are the terms that your audience is using to speak about your services? To get on their level, you need to first do your keyword research.
- Inbound links: Guest-blogging is a great way to get more eyes on your content (we're doing it right now!). Be sure to share your content on the appropriate channels including social media, forums and other blogs to up your chances of getting inbound links.
'When you say it, it's marketing. When they say it, it's social proof'
Andy Crestodina, Strategic Director at Orbit Media @Crestodina
Social media presents limitless opportunities for extending the reach of your content, which means more impressions, more clicks and more conversions. Take note of some of the easily-implemented practices you can use to optimize your social presence:
- Share: Does all of your content have social sharing icons prominently displayed and properly configured? Unless you've written a killer piece of content, nobody is going to go out of their way to spread the word.
- Engagement: Ask your followers to repost, retweet and converse with your content. While it may sound obvious, it's an effective step that's often overlooked.
- Tease Content: Do you link to your email sign-up on your social pages? Have you shared your latest blog post via Facebook or Twitter? Giving fans and followers a glimpse at your content will leave them hungry for more.
'If you send responsive or mobile-optimized emails, be sure your landing pages are mobile-friendly too',
Justine Jordan, Marketing Director, Litmus @meladorri
Make note: email isn't dead, it's evolving.
In fact, email has cemented its status as the primary form of business communication. It's no wonder businesses aren't eager to ditch this 'old-school' form of communication in favor of it's newer, shinier competition: email is consistent and measurable. Along with a solid strategy, it delivers better ROI than any other marketing tactic.
So how are marketers utilizing email in new ways to bolster sales and increase conversion rates?
- Email testing: The only way to know for sure how your subscribers will respond to your emails is test, test and test some more. You can improve your open rates significantly just by split-testing subject lines, or you can experiment with content and images to deliver the most effective emails possible to your audience.
- Segmented lists: Can you group subscribers on your list by location, interests or their stage in your sales funnel? These groups each have different needs, and by segmenting your list you ensure that the right people are receiving the right information - and that means more sales for you.
- Consistency: It will take some testing, but grabbing your audience at the right times with the right frequency of emails can mean the difference between driving sales and unopened messages.
Ready to take your marketing initiatives to the next level? Join AWeber and our all star lineup of digital marketing experts at ASCEND Digital Marketing Summit this October 22-24 in Philadelphia. This two-day, three-night conference is your opportunity to network and learn from the industry's best, including Ann Handley, Michael Brenner, Andy Crestodina and more. Reserve your tickets to ASCEND now.
Image credit / Copyright: Mathias Rosenthal/ 123RF Stock Photo.
Thanks to Lynette Young for sharing her thoughts and opinions in this blog post. Lynette is the Content Marketing Manager at AWeber. You can also find her on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+