The digital marketing landscape is constantly changing and to effectively enhance brands and promote their business growth, marketers everywhere have to adapt their strategies to fit criterias that will provide them with the most value. To find success for your company online, you want to activate tactics that will build out your brand presence, engage your audience, and boost your overall ROI.
We've compiled some of our favorite insights from our experts at Blue Fountain Media to create a list featuring the ultimate tips for digital marketing. Additionally, we've spoken with professionals across the industry, all with different areas of expertise and experience to deliver tips that come from varying perspectives. Whether it is content marketing or SEO, web development or paid advertising, some tactics are timeless, while others are more unique, but both can serve as the core components for an effective digital marketing plan:
1. Blogs Feed Your Social Presence
Twitter and Facebook are the top two contenders when it comes to social networks used to share blog content according to eMarketer. This sort of content drives shares, increases brand recognition and is a driving factor for bringing people back to your blog - as Tom Treanor, Director of Content Marketing at Wrike, points out:
"Blogs feed social media. Looking for things to share in your various social media accounts? Without a blog, your ability to share content that would draw people to your blog would dry up. Sure, you can continue to share other people's great content but that only serves to grow your social presence, not your website visitors."
-Tom Treanor, Director of Content Marketing, Wrike
2. Get Your Head Out of Tools and Into the Website
To truly understand the user experience you need to try acting like a user yourself and not rely solely on analytic tools, suggests John Marcinuk, Director of SEO & Content at Blue Fountain Media:
"As marketers, we've come to rely on a multitude of audit and research tools to help us do our jobs. Nothing, however, replaces the experience your users have when actually visiting your website. Turn off your browser plug-ins, close your expensive enterprise tools, and go through the conversion process the same way your audience would if you truly want to see what they see."
-John Marcinuk, Director of SEO & Content, Blue Fountain Media
3. Evergreen Content is Timeless
Good material that provides value regardless of timing is extremely important to long term online business growth, and it will continue to perform long after it is first introduced. Brad Hines, the Founder of HungryKids.org, encourages using long-lasting content if you want users to actively engage with your content over an extended period of time:
"Put precedence on evergreen content vs. disposable content. For example, rather than a gym posting articles that are forgotten about in as soon as a few hours, invest the effort into some sort of app, that users would continue to use, timelessly."
-Brad Hines, Founder, HungryKids.org
4. Think About Local SEO
If your business is not already active on Google+, it's time to start. Enhancing your local presence is going to impact your local SEO. For Emily Culclasure, a Digital Media Analyst at SEOworks, focusing on local is a great way for businesses to grow:
"After the latest Google algorithm update last year, it became evident that local SEO is going to play a bigger role in the way digital marketers do SEO. One of the simplest things you can do to ensure that your business is on the map is double check that your Google My Business page is accurately listed, verified, and actively used for reviews and updates. Google+ is recognized by Google more than other social networks, and you can help to improve your rankings by having more local listings and reviews."
-Emily Culclasure, Digital Media Analyst, SEOworks
5. Understand Your Sales Funnel
Using analytics to help grasp how the sale process works is going to give you an exponential advantage. Understanding how users interact with your site may be the key you need to enhance your entire online presence points out Kyle Birkemeir, Marketing Director at Titan Alarm LLC:
"Beyond a great site, great content and great SEO, nothing matters if you don't understand your visitors and your sales funnel. The best thing an aspiring internet marketer can do is learn web analytics and funnel optimization. A lot of people can draw pretty pictures, but only few can create captivating masterpieces. With analytics, you understand how users interact and get the knowledge we need to turn our scribbles into a Picasso."
-Kyle Birkemeier, Marketing Director, Titan Alarm LLC
6. Test Everything
It's easy to get caught up with what may have been most effective in the past, but things change frequently. It's important to take a look at your data often and apply it whenever you are moving forward with new initiatives. Austin Paley, Corporate Marketing Communications Manager at Blue Fountain Media outlines this idea in his digital marketing tip:
"As a digital marketer it's very easy to think that because you're the most familiar with how your website operates and how traffic gets there that you know what your audience will like or dislike about what you're offering them. While this is sometimes true, more often than not you'll be wrong about something. A better option is to use CRO software like Visual Website Optimizer or Optimizely to test the significant changes you make to your website so that you have a better idea of if you're making things easier or harder for your audience. Having data about whether or not a new CTA button or a new font choice is helping or hindering your website's conversion process is always better than going with your gut."
-Austin Paley, Corporate Marketing Communications Manager, Blue Fountain Media
7. Use Different Perspectives in Your Web Development
You have to understand how different people use your website to make sure it is a good fit for different members of your audience. If you make this part of your development process, you'll be able to identify the best ways to increase your site's functionality and ultimately your conversions, as Jordy Ledesma, CEO of Information Providers discusses in his digital marketing tip:
"Always involve at least three customers in your web development process: a current customer, a long-time one, and a newcomer. Then, sort these perspectives by their stage in the relationship cycle to gain powerful insights into how your brand is perceived as the relationship progresses.
Then, for example, prioritize web development efforts that cater long-time customers' desires (because long-time customers convert faster). A structured approach prioritizes the many needs and functionalities of your website in a smart way while minimizing technical risk and improving the bottom line."
-Jordhy Ledesma, CEO, Information Providers
8. Landing Pages Can't Be Overlooked
A landing page is the first impression your users get of your brand and is a key contributor towards achieving important objectives in your site strategy. Jason Parks, owner of The Media Captain, addresses the importance of a landing page design when it comes to conversions:
"Anyone that is involved in online marketing should focus on landing page design. A high quality landing page that is responsive, has a quick page load speed time along with relevant information will see the benefits of a higher conversion rate. When a company has a lot of money invested into online advertising, it is a no brainer that a heavy emphasis should be put on the landing page experience. Yet often times this is overlooked."
-Jason Parks, Owner, The Media Captain
9. No-index Tags are Important
You don't want old pages getting indexed by Google, and showing up in search results. Shawn Cohen, a digital strategist for Vizion Interactive, echoed this concept as his most important digital marketing tip:
"Add a no-index tag to the beta site, this will keep it from getting indexed by Google while the old site is still live. When pushing a new site live, remove the no-index tag in the update or your live site will be deindexed and all keyword rankings will be lost in less than a week. In Google Webmaster Tools, add the new sitemap, test the robots.txt, and fetch important pages to get Googlebot to crawl the new URLs and design as quickly as possible. Not sure all of your important pages migrated properly? Download your top pages from Moz's Open Site Explorer and run that list through Screaming Frog. If any aren't redirecting properly, provide those to the web development team ASAP."
-Shawn Cohen, Digital Strategist, Vizion Interactive
10. Understand the Unique Needs of Your Business
There is no "one size fits all" when it comes to business objectives. Similarly, not all channels are a perfect fit for every audience. Identifying the correct needs for every business is critical. Jonathan Mark, Director of Marketing Services at Blue Fountain Media, and James McCrae, Senior Creative Strategist at Blue Fountain Media, highlight this concept:
"When working with clients it is critical to view their business as your own. We always need to ask ourselves if the work being produced aligns with their core business objectives, and the results are moving the needle toward meeting those objectives. In addition to doing great work, be sure you're doing the right work."
-Jonathan Mark, Director of Marketing Services, Blue Fountain Media
"Know what channels are right for your business... and which channels are not. Your digital platform should be aligned with the habits and lifestyle of your target audience."
-James McCrae, Senior Creative Strategist, Blue Fountain Media
Application of Best Practices to your Digital Marketing Efforts
In an industry as vast as digital marketing, consider incorporating these methods into your own brand's proactive approach at building an online presence, if you aren't doing so already. Understanding different perspectives from different experts with varying levels of experience will help you to understand your brand better and what you can do to help it reach its objectives. Even if it cannot be done overnight, integrating these tips efficiently and effectively over a course of time will be rewarding for your online presence. A successful digital marketing plan, campaign or strategy should have strengths across various subjects-not just one.