A lot of clients—marketing professionals and business owners—get in touch and ask me to help plan, write, and create websites, eBooks, and blog posts. That’s far from a complete list, but three common requests.
On the other hand, a lot of clients reach out to me without a specific task list in mind. They know they want to grow their business. They know they want to produce traffic, leads and sales. And they think they need the help of digital marketing consultant.
They’re right, but their question is often oh-so-broad: “How can you help me?”
Shwew. My answer could be any number of things and at that point, not having the benefit of knowing where their digital marketing currently stands, I’m seldom able to quickly deliver a perfect answer.
I certainly don’t want to blurt out a specific digital marketing tactic… “YouTube is the answer” or “An email campaign will make rain for you.” That’d be reckless.
A digital marketing consultant should recommend tactics based on needs identified from a carefully considered audit. I’m a strategist. I’m a copywriter. But I’ve been doing digital marketing since it existed, so there are a substantial number of ways I can help you grow your business through digital marketing.
Here they are.
The list won’t magically nail an effective strategy, but my hope is it’ll provide some answers to the “How can you help me?” question and give us lots to talk about.
DIGITAL MARKETING BASICS
1. Marketing strategy
Effective digital marketing relies on strategies to achieve specific outcomes. It’s vital to skillfully blend, balance, and budget for the many initiatives you’ll read about here and integrate them for maximum effect.
2. Brand identity
Branding speaks largely to your company’s visual identity including factors such as your logo, color scheme, fonts, and layout. However, brand identity should also include all media messaging and may include a tagline, headlines and key value propositions. Together, the graphic and verbal elements define your company’s personality.
Your website is the hub of your digital marketing activities. Each page should have a purpose and practical buyer paths that compel visitors to take action must be put in place to support your conversion goals. The most effective websites are not only carefully planned and executed, but are perpetually refined to continuously improve results.
4. Search engine optimization (SEO)
Most buying journeys begin with search. Two-thirds of all searches are conducted with Google. Over three-quarters of the searchers will click only on results presented on the first page. Synthesize all this and understand it’s paramount to earn page one Google results for key pages and posts. All serious digital marketers take SEO seriously and commit resources to it accordingly.
5. Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising
Achieving success with SEO generally requires time and persistence. If you need to produce website traffic fast, PPC ad programs offered by Google, the other search engines, and social media channels, create instant visibility to generate traffic, leads and sales.
6. Content planning
Nearly every digital marketer in the world realizes content marketing is the fabric of their search and social programs and can play a critical role in every phase of the buying cycle. Sadly, a small percentage actually realizes the benefits of content marketing. The competition is fierce and far too many companies dive in without forging a strategic plan and assembling the team needed to sustain the long-term consistency required for success.
7. Business blogging
The blog is the centerpiece of most companies’ content marketing efforts. Effective planning for your business blog includes targeting and editorial planning. Then, to consistently create the great content needed to reap the benefits of blogging, you’ll need an interesting mix of ideas, an uncompromising commitment to quality writing, and clean presentation.
8. Guest blogging
Contributing blog posts to authoritative websites in your industry is one of the best ways to increase your reach, expand your audience, build your credibility, and drive traffic to your website.
Curation is presenting the works and ideas of others. But it’s not cutting and pasting stories from around the web merely to add pages to your website or blog. Done well, curated content expresses a point of view and heightens your authority.
10. Content promotion
Most digital marketers post content and then dispatch a few updates via their social media channels, which is far from a complete promotion and distribution strategy. In this age of content overload, you need take advantage of a combination of owned, earned and paid media channels to amplify the reach of the content you work so hard to produce.
People go to websites to read. Even in the case, where they may go to watch, look or listen, the experience usually includes consuming copy. As such, the majority of tactics on this page (and in your marketing mix) depend on articulate copywriting optimized for online reading. I call it “Clickass Copywring.” If your writing’s weak, you can expect disappointing results.
Content marketers often claim their biggest challenges include producing engaging content consistently and with variety. The solution to both is repurposing content to boost its mileage. The process involves creating thematic content that can be efficiently edited to deliver value in new formats and on additional media channels.
13. Visual marketing
Visual marketing online includes images for web pages and social media including photos, illustrations, and diagrams, plus infographics, presentations, webinars, eBook design, and more. A variety of tools are available—and though they’re helpful—design, composition and visual editing skills are even more valuable.
Slideshows and other types of digital presentations can become a powerful part of your media mix. LinkedIn’s SlideShare gets millions of views each day making it a great channel to reach a larger audience. SlideShare presentations are not only shared, but often embedded in blogs.
Video can help boost your success in social media and search, generate leads and increase conversion. And it’s no longer a medium reserved for big budgets. A smartphone or computer is all you need to capture ideas and share them.
Podcasting is another great medium you can jump into with minimal equipment and begin making a personal connection with your audience. Appearing on, or hosting interview programs, also presents tremendous opportunities to expand your network.
As a marketer, you succeed not when your audience consumes content, but when it acts upon it. As such, content marketers can step-up their static content to create interactive content such as quizzes, assessment, calculators, contests and more. An added benefit, interactive content helps marketers collect useful data from prospects.
Marketers consistently rate webinars as one of their most effective tactics. They can deliver wide reach cost-effectively and remain an asset afterwards. A webinar that is well-researched, planned, and designed can generate leads, convert leads to paying customers, improve customer retention, and grow revenues from existing customers.
SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING
19. Social media planning
The arbitrary selection of social media channels and content sharing isn’t bound to produce meaningful results. A digital marketing consultant can help put tools in place and develop strategic processes to guide your social media marketing efforts to achieve specific objectives.
20. Market research
Social media is the ultimate market research tool because it enables you to easily monitor and “listen” to your audience. Through a combination of the right processes and tools you can tune-into your audience’s needs and respond far more effectively.
21. Online advertising
Online advertising can include pay-per-click programs, social media ads, retargeting, display advertising and native advertising.
22. Influencer marketing
Savvy digital marketers cultivate relationships with influential leaders in their field or related fields to increase their reach, expand their network, and build credibility. A smart influencer marketing program involves strategic collaborations and results in a variety of new opportunities.
23. Email marketing
Email remains the most pervasive medium and tends to produce the highest ROI. It’s private, personal and permission-based, and therefore, your key to nurturing leads. You need to build an email list, send email your subscribers will find valuable, and continuously test and refined your tactics.
24. Marketing automation
A marketing automation platform will reduce the time and effort required to execute many of the tactics listed here and enable you to better target your contacts with useful content. You’ll increase conversion rates and sales. You’ll also be better equipped to monitor and measure program performance helping you perpetually improve results.
You need analytical insights to master the science of marketing and improve your ROI. With marketing analytics, you create measurement systems to guide you toward improved profitability. Marketing analytics will enable your company to evolve its mix of tactics based on actual performance to help achieve business goals.
Testing is a vital component of practicing data-driven marketing. A variety of marketing tools make it easy to test key touch points including your web pages, emails, landing pages and offers. Generally, you’ll split test different versions to determine which produces superior results based on actual performance.
While increasing traffic is an important goal, increasing your conversion rate can play a bigger role in improving results. An examination of each touch point in your conversion funnels will reveal where you need to test new approaches for turning visitors into leads and leads into customers.
28. Lead magnets
Lead magnets are free offers you make to inspire the people consuming your content to join your email list and/or provide useful information. There are a huge variety of lead magnets you can develop including eBooks, guides, checklists, mini-courses, templates, tools, and product-based offers. An effective lead magnet not only builds your email list, but also positions you as an expert in your field.
29. Landing pages
Think of a landing page as a “response page” for a specific campaign. Its singular objective is to achieve a conversion. In some campaigns, especially for ecommerce, a landing page’s objective is to get visitors to click-through to a product page. However, for most, the goal of the landing page is to capture a lead via a form. Landing pages have specific creative requirements that differ from homepages or other common pages of a company website.
30. Social proof
You elevate the persuasion powers of your landing pages (or any page) with social proof, which are passages and images you present to prospects to deliver evidence of past success. Social proof can be delivered with testimonials, reviews, customer logos, media mentions, trust seals, statistics that reflect well on your brand, and more.
31. Training and team building
As a marketer, you’ll often outsource to experts to get the resources you need to maintain or expand your output. But in many cases, insourcing may be even more effective. To build internal resources effectively, it’s wise to cultivate the skills of your team with digital marketing training programs and team-building workshops designed to teach best practices and develop specific skills.
32. Personal branding
I’m awfully glad you’ve made it to the final listing, personal branding, the subject of The Road to Recognition, my new book to be released in 2017. The book’s organized as 26 lessons, A-to-Z, to deliver actionable advice for developing your personal brand and accelerating your professional success.
Can I help you?
I’m done with my list of ways a digital marketing consultant can help grow your business, for now. It could expand. Digital marketing is forever dynamic.
For decades now, I’ve helped my clients understand, apply and optimize these strategies, programs and tactics. I’d like to help your company too. If I hit on some items you suspect will make your digital marketing more effective, use the form below to contact me for a free consultation.