2015 is halfway over. What has your business accomplished so far? If you started the year with a solid marketing plan you should be seeing the results from your online marketing efforts by this point.
If you haven’t really started yet, it’s not too late to make the most of this year. However, you need to get on it right away.
It’s time to do a check-in and see where you’re at. We’re going to focus on the key elements of a solid digital marketing strategy and discuss some benchmarks for each one. By the end you should have a clear idea of the progress you’ve made so far.
It should come as no surprise that social media is first on the list, because it should be one of the first things your business thinks about when planning online marketing. Consumers no longer want to do business with faceless corporations that are impossible to get in touch with.
They want transparency and they want to openly communicate with you. And that’s why businesses are finding great success with using social media to build a relationship with potential customers and to handle customer service.
Your company should be active on a minimum of two social media platforms that are relevant to your market. At this point in the year you should have significant growth in your following from being active, sharing useful content, and especially from being social with people.
It’s important to use the analytics provided by the platform (Twitter, Facebook, etc) to measure engagement. This metric is more valuable than your total follower count. Hopefully you’ve used these first six months to get a decent following and now you want to focus on increasing engagement, because that’s what will lead to more sales.
The good news is that all of this can be outsourced. You likely don’t have time to chat with folks on Twitter all day. Many SEO companies provide a social media management service, or you can hire a part-time freelancer.
You’ve had six months to test out different forms of advertising. The advertising channels you use will vary greatly, depending on your business.
Most businesses find success using a combination of Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Yelp PPC ads. By June you’ve had plenty of time to figure out which keywords are most profitable, which advertising channels are bringing the best ROI, and you should have your target market narrowed down.
Now you want to focus on optimizing your ad campaigns to squeeze out as much ROI as possible. Cut your losses and delete ads that are underperforming. Keep your rockstar ads and your ads that show potential. These are the ones you’ll optimize.
If you’ve spent the first six months pumping money into PPC ads with little to no return, it might be time to ask for help. A good PPC expert will be able to increase your conversion rates and set you up with a campaign that has a positive ROI. Don’t make the mistake of missing out on potential revenue by swearing off PPC like many people do.
SEO is constantly evolving, but one thing remains — the value of links to your website. By now you should’ve built up several quality links each month, either by reaching out to influencers or from submitting guest content on various websites. Your social media efforts will also help people discover your website and link to it.
Google is very particular about how you go about building links and you don’t want to get on their bad side. Quality link building takes time and the results aren’t immediate. Don’t be fooled by offers that sound too good to be true, because they almost always are. And Google isn’t afraid to punish anyone for methods that go against their policy.
Testimonials and reviews are vital to your business’s reputation online. The majority of consumers today make their purchasing decisions based on reviews they find online. What are your customers saying about you?
At this point in the year you should have earned reviews from several different sources, such as Google, Yelp, Facebook, or on your own website. Whenever someone leaves a negative review, view it as an opportunity to improve. And remember, you can’t please everyone.
Yelp reviews can make or break a local business. While Yelp doesn’t allow businesses to ask for reviews, there are still ways to encourage positive feedback on Yelp from your customers.
Some companies choose to respond to every negative review publicly, but this isn’t always the best idea. Generally it’s best to handle the situation privately and ask them to edit or remove the negative review once the problem has been resolved.
People want transparency and your reputation online is more important than ever. Outside of Yelp, most companies don’t mind if you ask your customers to leave a review. You’ll be surprised at how happy customers would never think to leave a review until you ask them. Don’t neglect your company’s reputation, because it’s an extremely important part of your overall marketing.
Kyle Stout is a freelance writer based out of Tulsa, Ok specializing in copywriting and internet marketing.