If business owners want to gain a competitive edge online in 2009, a comprehensive strategy is the way to go.
Businesses of any size will succeed with online marketing – and blow past the competition – by focusing on multiple fronts at one time to deliver the most favorable ROI.
The Internet offers a dizzyingly array of services, everything from search engine optimization and link building to paid search, banner advertising and video marketing. Each has merit and can improve profits.
How could it make any sense to let them operate as silos?
We tie these and other services together in what we call the Battle Plan. To get the best results, you need to hit your target market with everything you have available.
Regardless of what you call it, a Battle Plan approach requires a good deal of coordination that can become a way of life with practice.
Here are 8 tips to help you get started:
1. Cultivate Teams.
A plan on paper won’t work in reality if the people involved can’t cooperate. Long before our Battle Plan took shape, we made sure to involve the entire staff in team building exercises, contests and social outings. We also have regular staff meetings and hold internal mini workshops so each service line can let everyone else get a sense of what they do.
2. Nail Down Processes.
Yes, it can be tedious, but only good things can happen when everyone follows the same system.
3. Achieve Excellence.
It’s not always easy to define quality, but you need to continually provide exceptional service in each area. Our Battle Plan would suffer enormously if one service dropped the ball. In the military, for example, ground troops would fail more often without air support.
4. Think ROI.
At the end of the day, it’s about leads and sales. Time and time again, we’ve managed through SEO to achieve high rankings and traffic. Unfortunately, the website we inherit sometimes lacks clear Calls to Action. Adding a well placed, unique phone number or a special offer can work wonders.
5. Track and Adapt Conversion Opportunities.
Calls to Action can appear just about anywhere. With the basic website design, you may have any number of response forms or buy/call signals. Similar or different ones may be developed for paid search or video marketing campaigns. In our case, we learn from what each area is doing and adapt or repeat their Calls to Action. In other words, lead forms that work for video may perform as well or better in paid search.
6. A Central Project Manager Is Essential.
Obviously, plenty of work must happen behind the scenes. Yet, it’s also critical to have a project manager in place for each program to keep the lines of communication open. The project manager is in a good position to make sure everyone – from internal staff to clients – is on the same page and up to speed.
7. Share Data.
I’ve hinted at it already, but shared information is paramount to a comprehensive approach that crosses multiple disciplines. For example, when a SEO specialist gets a top ranking on Google, that information must get in the hands of a paid search expert who can help decide if an ad should be paused or continued depending on whether branding or conversion objectives are being met. You can exchange data from many areas – paid search ads, landing pages, banner ads, meta descriptions, inbound link anchor text, video marketing campaigns and much more.
8. Reinforce Efforts.
You have to find ways to stay in touch with prospects. For us, one of the easiest is an opt-in e-mail marketing system. I’m dumbfounded by the number of companies that I hear about that don’t consistently use structured emails to follow up with different types of leads. Sometimes businesses do send emails, but it’s not always well planned. Why not craft automated messages for designated dates, such as 7 days, 30 days and 60 days out from the first point of contact?
In today’s economy, at the moment in time someone is searching for what you offer, how fiercely are you competing to be found?