The digital marketing landscape is in constant flux. New social platforms are born daily, while others fizzle out, and search engine algorithms are updated hundreds of times a year. What worked last year may not work this year. The reasons you need a digital marketing strategy remain similar each year, but to be successful in 2019, you should practice the 5 digital marketing habits below.
1. Know Thyself and Thy Industry
Before you can begin to promote yourself with digital marketing, you need to understand who you are as a brand. That means taking the time to determine what you stand for and to whom you speak to. You speak differently to your parents at a family meal than you do to friends when you’re at a bar. They’re different audiences. If you understand your audience, you’ll better understand the voice with which you should speak.
It’s not enough to know thyself; you must also know your industry. If you sell socks, you should be following the world’s greatest sock makers on social media, reading blog feeds from sock experts, and attending sock conferences. You need to know everything about socks! Take time every day to read about your industry, even if it’s just for 15 minutes.
Set up the Feedly app on your phone and read articles whenever there’s a few minutes to spare. Being up-to-date in your industry will help you become better at what you do and may spark ideas for content to include in your digital marketing strategy.
“Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make but about the stories you tell.” – Seth Godin
Because the digital space is constantly changing, you need to make sure your strategies are spread out across multiple disciplines. That means focusing not just on search engine optimization (SEO) (an update to Google’s algorithm can potentially sink your entire SEO campaign) or social media (a platform may fall out of favor or advertising may become more difficult, as it recently did on Facebook).
Instead, build out a strategy that includes all the key elements of digital marketing, which are:
- Search Engine Optimization
- Social Media Marketing
- Paid Advertising (pay-per-click ads, banner ads, remarketing, etc.)
- Content Marketing
It’s not enough to set up each of these things; they need to work together as part of a cohesive strategy. The true power of digital marketing only works when these four elements are in tandem. Your social media team needs to know when new content goes up. Your SEO team needs to optimize landing pages for paid advertising campaigns. If you can diversify while maintaining communication, you’ll succeed.
Certain elements of search engine optimization, social media, paid advertising, and content are timeless, but diversifying also means shifting digital marketing strategies as new ones develop. Not only do you need to know thy own industry, you need to know what’s current in digital marketing. Following sites such as Moz and Search Engine Land can help you stay up to date.
3. Be Consistent
Most of us have gotten excited about writing a blog post, thrown it together, posted it, and forgotten about the blog entirely for three months. It’s easy to do something once, but it’s difficult to do the same thing day in and day out. Digital marketing is about the here and now.
It’s always changing. What was true yesterday isn’t always true today. If you want your business to remain relevant, you need to be consistently adding new content and updating what you post. You should aim for the following:
- Ongoing search engine optimization
- Daily social media monitoring
- Blog posts at least once a month (preferably 2-4 times a month. More if you’re a media site)
- Weekly or bi-weekly paid advertising adjustments
4. Focus on Quality
If you’re running a digital marketing campaign, you should be familiar with Google’s quality guidelines. The core principles of the guidelines are (paraphrased):
- Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines.
- Don’t deceive your users. Be open and honest.
- Avoid tricks and questionable practices. Ask yourself, “Would I do this if search engines didn’t exist?” If the answer is no, don’t do it.
- Think about what makes your website unique, valuable, or engaging and make your website stand out from your competitors’ sites.
In the digital marketing space, the cream always rises to the top. There’s no sense in spending an hour each on ten sub-par articles when you can spend ten hours on one amazing article. The amazing article is going to outrank a sub-par article 100% of the time.
Statistically, longer, better-written articles receive more links. It’s easy to simply retweet others in your industry, but a quality digital marketing will take time to craft a retweet that evokes the company’s brand. If it’s easy, then everyone else is doing it.
“If your business is not on the internet, then your business will be out of business.” – Bill Gates
5. Go Where Your Competitors Can’t or Won’t Follow
As Google mentions in their quality guidelines: Make your website (read: digital strategy) stands out from others in the field. There’s only one way to do this, and it involves going where competitors can’t or won’t go. It costs money and time to run a great digital marketing campaign, two things a lot of your competitors won’t be willing to expend.
They’ll create blog posts, sure, but they won’t be willing to spend 10 hours crafting an amazing piece that includes unique videos, infographics, and pictures. They’ll get links from directories, but they won’t be willing to spend the time to develop the relationships needed for high quality links. Go above and beyond, and your digital success will follow.
6. Pick the Right Gear
Centuries ago, we could go hunting almost barehanded. Now, we can not. The same with hunting for the right leads: nothing is possible without the right gear in the digital marketing realm. From basic in-built Gmail CRMs to complex ad tech platforms — most brands equip themselves with some tech stack. Otherwise, they risk ending up underdogs.
Here are some tips for picking the right tech:
- Analyze your channels. Focus on these that bring you more leads; they are most likely to require more automation.
- Avoid settling for the popular solution just because it’s hyped. Try to check out 3-5 alternatives; this might save you some dollars.
- Pay attention to integrations available: it’s pretty cool if your tools from different providers can be synchronized.
- Seek solutions with advanced analytics features. It’s the only way possible to check your performance and the tool’s actual ROI.
- Pick relatively simple tools rather than complex ones. Stats say that users of complex tools use only up to 30% of their functionality.
Which tool to pick first? The State of Marketing Automation report says that social media marketing is the most suitable process to be automated. The most popular one, though, is email marketing. We can’t also overlook programmatic advertising, which is the semi-automated media buying process with many platforms having auto-optimization tools.
Interestingly enough, even content marketing can be automated with machine learning tools that analyze your content engagement and predict when, where, and how your content will perform in the best way. So if your primary channel seems to be not subject to automation, dig in! You might be pretty surprised.
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