The way people use the Internet is always evolving, and therefore online marketing best practices are constantly changing as well. By learning the most effective and current ways to improve your digital marketing strategy, your business can stay on top of the competition and get in front of more potential customers online. These ten digital marketing best practices will help you adapt your strategy to the newest trends for growing your customer base.
10 Digital Marketing Best Practices
1. Create Realistic Goals
It is always important to set obtainable marketing goals—but many businesses are unsure where to begin or they set their goals too high. Marketers should combine the SMART method (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely) with past advertising performance to produce reasonable, attainable goals.
For example, instead of having a goal of “more business” or “more leads,” you would set a SMART goal based off of your past performance. It might look something like: “Generate 50 new qualified sales leads during a 30-day window that converts into a min. of 5 new customers creating approximately $20,000 in new revenue.”
The more specific you are, the more strategic your marketing will end up being. This will ultimately help you make the best decisions for your company with realistic goals in mind.
2. Determine Tracking Metrics
Your business must also have a way to track your performance. Your key performance indicators (or KPI metrics) will help you examine your strategy and better determine your ROI. Where most businesses go wrong, according to State of Digital, is looking too closely at ineffective, micro metrics such as click-through rates or impressions, while ignoring real-world conversions. This requires using tracking tools such as Google Analytics, call tracking, or even word-of-mouth customer coupon codes tracked by your employees. When your business is tracking its marketing efforts, it allows you to gauge your performance, as well as make changes and adjust your strategy.
3. Create Marketing Personas
In order to begin improving your digital marketing strategy, you must also take a look at who you are trying to reach. Don’t attempt to reach too many people; not everyone will want to shop at a sporting goods store or get their nails done at a spa. Instead, create personas based on who your customers have been according to past data or data you’ve acquired via research. These personas should make up your most ideal customer base.
As Buffer Social explains, these marketing personas help you create content that combines your customers’ background with specific needs. For example, a pizza restaurant targeting young (and tired) parents needs an idea of what income their audience has. They need to understand their location, their goals, challenges, values and fears. From there, the restaurant can position their advertising around the idea that pizza delivery keeps them from having to make dinner on a busy weeknight. They could even highlight special features like placing an order from your smartphone that would appeal to their time-starved personas.
4. Utilize Keyword Strategies
Most digital marketing should also have a solid search engine optimization (SEO) strategy behind it. SEO helps your website get found — ideally — on the first page of Google (where Marketing Land states it has 71.33% chance of an organic click). Following SEO tips can create a better way for your customers to find your business.
For example, if you’re trying to rank for the phrase “best Chicago hotels for families,” you are capitalizing on a long-tail keyword that is specific and easy to incorporate naturally in your content. Long-tail keywords can be easier to rank for, and drive higher quality traffic to your business. Searching for “Chicago Hotels” would possibly yield results, but by being more specific, you’re actively increasing your chances of more qualified prospects finding your business.
5. Use the Right Social Media
With so many social media platforms out there, you may be tempted to join them all. However, this can take away from time you have for creating quality posts and actually interacting with your customers. Instead, build a social media strategy that considers your purpose and target customer. For example, a wedding planner might succeed best with picture-based social media sites like Pinterest and Instagram, while a local restaurant could fare better with an active Facebook and Yelp page. Once you’ve found which social media platform will garner the most results for your business, focus your efforts and find a way to win on those sites before spreading yourself too thin. Then you can focus on converting followers and fans with promotions like digital coupons and interactive contests.
6. Monitor Audiences
Social media conversations shouldn’t be one-way. Responding directly to customers’ comments and complaints is a great way to manage your brand’s reputation and gather feedback about areas of improvement. Social media monitoring tools can help you join the conversation by allowing you to track specific mentions and actions that are most relevant to your business. This also allows you to promptly respond to a customer’s complaint which is one of the most important best practices in managing your brand’s digital presence.
7. Create Content for Mobile
According to a KPCB Internet Trends study, 51% of online time is spent on a mobile device (smartphone, tablet, e-readers, etc.). That’s why your content should be built with mobile in mind — not just as an afterthought. We suggest displaying contact information and a map in a visible place, as well as using fonts and colors that read well on smaller devices.
8. Use a Responsive Web Design
Responsive websites — websites that adapt to screen size across a variety of devices — are essential for today’s businesses and can be different than simply designing with mobile in mind. Responsive web design provides navigation optimized for a finger instead of a mouse. It repositions the layout of your website pages, and can greatly enhance the user experience on a phone or tablet. A responsive site can also help you rank higher with Google after the most recent algorithm update.
9. Keep It Simple
At the heart of every advertising strategy is the message that speaks to your audience’s needs and tells them why they should pick your business. Too many words or stories can hinder clarity. Instead, use strong, active words. Some call to action examples include, “Contact Us Now,” or “Get Your Discount Code Today!” These CTA’s utilize an action word plus a reward (getting to talk immediately to a person or getting a discount code) in its message, creating urgency while still being very clear to the viewer.
10. Practice Retargeting
When looking for new leads and customers, it’s easy to forget those already visiting your site or interested in your products or services. Retargeting advertising helps re-engage those potential customers that have already interacted with your business by giving them a reason to come back. Examples include sending an email to inactive clients to visit the site for a monthly discount code, or running retargeting ads on third party sites after someone has left your website. These are great ways to ensure that you’re taking advantage of the online traffic that your marketing efforts are generating, and not letting interested buyers forget about you.
Start Your Digital Strategy
When determining how to improve your digital marketing strategy, ask yourself what your digital marketing looks like today. Rank areas to improve by importance. Then, using these ten starting points, create an online marketing strategy that appeals to both your potential and current customers. Start small, master some areas, and grow from there.