In recent years, digital marketing has become an integral part of every business. It provides the opportunity to reach millions of people worldwide while also providing extremely detailed analytics that can help marketers better understand the effectiveness of any given campaign. At Haneke Design, we have been providing our clients with digital marketing strategies for years after making it a priority within our own business.
In my experience, the most common challenge many businesses face when embarking on their digital marketing journey is creating an effective strategy. With so many platforms and ad types out there, it can be difficult to determine which tactics will yield the best ROI for your unique business. In an effort to better structure our internal marketing strategy as well as our clients’ strategies, we recently organized each of our marketing efforts into initiatives and categorized them into 5 main pillars; brand awareness, lead generation, reputation management, sales support, and content marketing. These 5 pillars of digital marketing provide the foundation for every strategy we create.
Brand awareness is always one of the first pillars we implement, and it is generally an ongoing effort. The goal here is to make sure your target audience knows who you are and what you have to offer. Consistently keeping your brand in front of your audience keeps you at the top of their mind, making it more likely for them to do business with you. Common initiatives that fall under brand awareness include social media ads, partnering with digital influencers, and even traditional advertising such as print ads in trade publications. With today’s more savvy consumers and corporate buyers, this all needs to be done in a manner that feels authentic and served up in a way that provides standalone educational or insightful value to the target audience. This is especially true in the SMB world where companies lack brand equity and don’t have millions of dollars to spend on things like Super-bowl ads that simply saturate the market with their brand’s visual language.
Lead generation, at the most basic level, is the process of filling the top of the sales funnel. Once your audience is introduced to your brand, they become a “lead” when they submit their contact information. These leads are potential customers who are interested in your product or service and can be further nurtured to facilitate sales. Social media ads and Google ads are often used to generate leads, but strong calls to action and optimized forms can make all the difference. With brand awareness, we realize that the target audience may not be in a buying mode at the point of engagement and that is ok. With lead generation, we are evaluating success by whether or not the target audience performs the action we solicit. In some cases that may be transactional but in others it may be as simple as signing up for a newsletter or downloading a piece of content.
Brand reputation refers to the way people see your brand based on public information. One of the first things consumers do before purchasing a product or service is to read online reviews. Reviews are usually a good indicator of the quality and performance of the product or service they are thinking about purchasing. Unfortunately for businesses, most people only write reviews when they experience a problem. Creating a strategy for generating reviews is a great way to acquire those more positive reviews which in turn increases your brand’s reputation. Unlike brand campaigns of the past, reputation management has fast become how the public creates the brand perception which in some cases is more powerful than what the brand has to say about itself.
Sales support varies from business to business depending on your buyers’ journey and the specific needs of your sales team. Often, marketing and sales work closely to maintain contact lists and nurture leads. This can be achieved through consistent newsletters or even marketing automation, providing a personalized follow-up when potential customers provide their information. This also encompasses things that support sales folks with their everyday human interactions such as passing a business card during a networking event, trade show experience design, print collateral or even tablet-based sales presentations.
Content marketing is becoming increasingly important in order to position your business as an industry leader. I always say that nowadays businesses need to act like a media company or publisher of their own content in order to stay relevant. Blogging, video creation, and SEO support all fall under this pillar. The key here is to create content that provides value to your target audience. I often like to consider a pain point that they may be experiencing and offer ways in which my products and services can help alleviate that pain. Content creation is an effective strategy to bring people to your site while adding significant value, making them more likely to do business with you. And by the way, you are reading a piece of content marketing right now.
When creating a marketing strategy for clients, we drill into each of these 5 pillars to determine specific initiatives and tactics we can employ that will yield the best ROI for their unique business. We typically cast a wide net with limited assumptions to begin with and then use analytics to help us determine the most effective initiatives within each pillar. Standing out on the internet can be a daunting task but with a properly planned and implemented marketing strategy, you can highlight your uniqueness and give customers a reason to opt for you.