Here we are 10 weeks into this lockdown, and today some businesses in Ontario are finally starting to open. Now is the time to start amping up your online marketing again and start the recovery process for your business.
For many marketers, when they think of online marketing, the thing that comes to mind is social media. We would never disagree with the importance of using social media to engage your audience of fans and followers to encourage repeat purchases, recommendations to friends and family or colleagues, and even attracting the demographics that you are trying to connect with. These are all very important aspects of a successful and profitable online presence.
However, unless it’s to ask social connections for specific recommendations, no one is going to social media to search for products or services to buy. So, while social media can play an important part of your website return on investment, it is not where we recommend to our clients that they start with their online marketing focus.
1. Converting more visitors to opportunities
A couple years ago we created this Website ROI Pyramid, which illustrates where you should focus your resources first, to get the best Return on Investment from you online presence. The pyramid is one of the most solid structures in architecture. And the most important part of the pyramid, that makes it work, is the base.
In our illustration, the base is a website that includes Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) principles. These are all the things that, when someone lands on your website, will attract their attention, differentiate your services from your competitors, educate and influence your audience to engage with you.
If you don’t start with CRO, everything else you do could be a waste of time, energy and money because people may land on your website and be unimpressed, confused about what do to or how to engage with you, annoyed with a poor user experience, or frustrated because it’s not easy to find the information they need and make a decision on what to do next.
To help understand the value of CRO, imagine you have a website that gets 1000 visitors a month on average and converts 2% of them to a phone call, lead form, subscriber, or other form of conversion. That means you get 20 leads a month.
Now imagine you made some improvements to your website to improve your conversion rate to 8% (our average for our clients in 2019 was 9.5%). That means that by investing in CRO, you have effectively increase your leadflow by 4x (80 leads) before investing in any additional traffic.
Depending on your website age and technology, you may be able to make a few cosmetic enhancements on your existing website which will make a measurable difference in your WEB ROI. Or, you may need to design and build a new website in order to accomplish your goals. The best way to find out is to do an initial website assessment.
2. Get found by those who need you now
Once your website is built and optimized for attracting, engaging and converting visitors into leads or sales, you are ready to start driving traffic.
To start generating an immediate ROI, we recommend starting with people who are actively searching for your products or services. That means optimizing your website content and all your online properties, like your Google My Business (GMB) page so that you show up on the first 3 in the map and in the organic search engine results for important phrases that people are searching for.
A well optimized website will bring you returns for the long haul, but it does take time and effort to grow and maintain your organic search results. In fact, it should be an ongoing effort and continuous strategy including content marketing and building quality backlinks to your website. Your content marketing (blogs, videos, infographics etc), should always be shared with your social media audience, which is good for both engaging your audience as well as attracting new followers.
To supplement your organic SEO efforts, you should include Google Search Advertising (PPC), so that you can always show up on the first page for whatever phrases you would like to target. With PPC you can narrowly target by geography and well defined keyword phrases, including negative words that you do not want your ads to appear for.
I often get the argument that “I never click on those ads”, so assuming that they won’t work. Or perhaps you’ve tried Google ads and were disappointed with the ROI. That is exactly why step 1 is so important. Your website needs to do its job of converting opportunities, otherwise you are just wasting money.
There are also many ways to burn through your ad spend if you are not advanced in how to effectively structure and manage your Google ads campaigns.
3. Nurture and Re target
Not everyone who engages with you is necessarily ready to buy now. But, now you have at least started the conversation. This is where you need to continue providing value to your audience. We use email marketing and marketing automation tools for this. There are a ton of ways to continually provide your audience with valuable information that caters to their interests and needs.
We are not proponents of spamming or sending to a list of people who don’t know who you are or have not shown some interest in your company. However, email marketing and marketing automation have proven to be both very cost effective and a very successful means of communicating with your audience and converting marketing qualified leads into sales.
Re-targeting is what you see when you visit someone’s website and then you seem to be followed around by them, seeing their ads pop up in different places as you surf the web. This is a great reminder for those who have visited your website and perhaps did not convert initially. Data suggests that visitors who click on re-targeting ads have a much higher likelihood of converting into a lead.
4. Social Media & Display Advertising
Only once the first 4 tiers of the pyramid are functioning well and generating a positive WEB ROI, do we recommend spending resources on social media and display advertising.
Posting content to your social channels is valuable at any time. Just remember that you are only reaching a finite audience of those who follow you on Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn. Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn algorithms have a significant influence on who sees your content. It can be a very time consuming process to create engaging content and grow your audience.
The reason we don’t recommend starting with an organic social strategy, is that the lower hanging fruit, so to speak, is the people who are actively searching. And they are not searching on social media. So our recommendation is to use your internal staff resources to post content that you think will engage your audience, but don’t spend money on social media marketing until you have the other tiers fully covered and if you have not exhausted all your financial resources, then you can invest in social media marketing.
And finally, targeted display advertising on social media channels and other online properties can be beneficial. Keep in mind that it requires a high number of impressions on your ads to get clicked on and there has to be a strategy for converting those clicks into opportunities. Usually this involves the creation of campaign landing pages and funnels, which requires a lot of expertise.
We’re here to help
This one was a bit long, but I think this is one of the most important tips I’ve ever shared. This pyramid is literally the pulse of our company and the secret to our client’s success. To check out the video I made that highlights the Holy Grail here.
If you would like to discuss how to implement these strategies in your business, get in touch.