Marketing and advertising are realms with untold possibilities, especially in the modern digital age. There are literally hundreds of different strategies and tactics you can employ to improve your brand’s visibility, acquire new customers and retain the customers you already have, longer. But having all these options calls up the paradox of choice:
How can you be sure you’re choosing the right combination of tactics?
One of the best solutions I’ve found is to treat your marketing strategy as an "all-in-one" seamless unification of tactics, rather than individualized execution plans. The ultimate goal here is to create a kind of engine that consistently funnels traffic back to your site, where you’ll be better able to convert that traffic to actual customers.
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3 basic realms
For this strategy, three main realms are important, with each drawing power from and contributing to, the others, in terms of reach and significance. Because these areas are mutually beneficial, they’re especially powerful:
- Content. Content marketing has generated a lot of buzz in the past few years. With a sufficient content strategy, you can improve the results of your SEO and social media campaigns (thereby drawing more traffic to your site), build your brand visibility and reputation and even give yourself a higher conversion rate, if you include good calls-to-action (CTAs).
- SEO. Search engine optimization (SEO) is a realm that depends on content marketing for success. With good SEO, you’ll help your site rank higher in Google searches, yielding more organic search traffic for your site.
- Social media. Finally, there’s social media marketing, which can complement and enhance both your content marketing and SEO efforts; here, you’ll build a following and make your content more available for other people to read and share.
The foundation: your website
By necessity, everything needs to start with your website. This is where the majority of your traffic is going to be funneled, so you need to have a good foundation. Your website will also serve as the hub for the three realms listed above. You’ll want to pay special attention to three areas:
- Branding and design. Your website will form most users’ first impressions, so make sure you’re showing off your brand fully and accurately. You’ll also want to make sure your design and functionality are in order, as these can make or break a user’s experience.
- Search optimization. Outlining the technical factors here would require more space, but clearly you’ll have to work on your on-site optimization before you get involved with any ongoing strategies. Title tags, meta descriptions, responsiveness, your sitemap and your robots.txt file are just a few major considerations here. For more factors, see The Ultimate On-Site SEO Guide.
- Conversion optimization. You'll also need to make sure your site is capable of producing conversions, the lifeblood of your online marketing strategy. Include CTAs throughout your site, and optimize them to maximize your potential conversion rates.
Once your website is in order, you can focus on your supportive ongoing strategies.
At least once a week, you should be posting to your on-site blog, catering to a specific niche with practical, valuable, entertaining content. Differentiate yourself from the competition and give your users information they actually need, rather than pitching your own brand or products. You’ll also want to optimize your content for your target SEO keywords, and syndicate it via social media to increase your reach.
Off-site content is the ideal bridge between content marketing and SEO. When you post guest articles on external authority sources, not only will you increase the relevance and visibility of your brand, you’ll also get an opportunity to build a link and increase your domain’s authority. You’ll need to start small at first, going after niche publishers and local organizations, but eventually, you can build your way up to more prominent, authoritative sources that will generate more traffic and a better reputation for your brand.
The social factor
On social media, you can use a steady stream of your syndicated content (and regular live updates) to keep your audience hooked. Engage with them regularly, on a personal level, and reach out to new people on a daily basis.
Over time, your following will grow, and your syndication efforts will become more powerful, leading a bigger direct stream of traffic to your site and improving the results of your SEO campaign.
Bringing everything together
The key to keep in mind with these seemingly independent strategies is that they’re at their most powerful when they’re working together. It’s better to think of them as multiple sides of the same coin, or moving parts within the same machine, and adjust all of them at once rather than as individual components.
When you find the right rhythm, and the right balance of effort, you’ll wind up with a lead-generating engine you can sustain indefinitely.