One of the most important aspects of digital marketing is content for your business. The old cliche “content is king” holds true still today in the internet age. I would even argue that the single most important thing you can be doing to promote your business online is creating content.
The first thing you want to do is become an authority in your industry. If you are good at what you do, chances are you already ARE an authority which makes content creation simple. All you really have to do is talk about what you do, blog about what you do, make videos about what you do. Share your expertise.
Joe Pulizzi is an authority on content marketing. He formed the CMI (Content Marketing Institute) and wrote the book ‘ Epic Content Marketing‘ He suggests that finding a niche within your industry is the biggest factor in becoming an authority. He cites the example of a pet store owner. The “Pet Supplies” marketplace is vast and dominated by well funded players like Petco, PetSmart, etc. So a more lean and nimble organization might begin producing content specifically about “Pet Travel Advice” that will help them to dominate a niche within the “Pet Supplies” industry.
Quality backlinks are a huge part of organic search optimization and the best way to get them is by producing quality content that is shared and quoted.
A long term marketing strategy is one of those things that never really seems like it’s necessary until you have used one. One of the biggest issues with digital content is the speed with which it is consumed and forgotten. With that in mind what’s best is to create a solid “pillar” theme and then develop small branches off from this.
Essentially you want to create one large piece of “authoritative” work that can then be broken down into several other more detailed and in-depth pieces. As you do this each piece feeds into the greater pillar and becomes a pathway for a new user to discover your larger body of work.
The best place to source content for your business is from your own daily interactions and experiences. If there’s a question you get a lot you can answer in a simple blog post do it. Chances are people asking this question in Google will find you and use your business for other needs out of gratitude. This of course isn’t always the place but this is more and more the type of ecosystem you’re going to be playing in so it’s a good perspective to have. I’m not advising you to give away the farm, but you can maybe take a couple fence posts out and let people play on your lawn. That’s how you build trust among people who aren’t already your customers.
When you create content that responds to the needs of your prospective customers they are much more likely find you. A wise person recently told me: “Cold calling & old school sales is dead because everything we want is right at our fingertips” – I don’t think anything sums it up better than that. If you want to get customers you have to make yourself visible to the people searching for what you do. Creating content that is useful is the best way to do that, so get out there and make yourself useful!
You’ve established your online presence. You have a great website, several social media pages and a well positioned digital brand. Now it’s time to set some goals and layout a plan to achieve them.
Your goal is going to change depending on the nature of your business. For example, if you are a blog that specializes in news the goal is going to be driving page views, maybe subscriptions, etc. The end game in this situation is developing a large audience that will facilitate advertising dollars. On the other hand, if you’re trying to sell handmade jewelry through an e-commerce site your goal is not sheer volume of audience but audience that’s looking to buy handmade jewelry. As you can see the nature of your goals are variable based on what you want to accomplish.
We borrowed this graphic from a Google training deck because it’s the perfect summation of most online business models. Take a look at this chart and find the one that most closely matches what you are doing.
One of the things we run into quite frequently is unrealistic CPA goals. As an example, if you’re a doctor or a lawyer the price of clicks and leads is going to be higher for your service than say, someone selling a toaster. The reason for this is that the cost of the product or service is so much different and the pay off for converting a legal lead is much higher than it is for selling a $20 dollar toaster.
Still a lot of people will come to us and say “Hey I want to get leads for less than $1.00!” – And while this is possible, the old addage: “you get what you pay” for holds true in digital advertising. I would seriously question the quality of leads for under $1.00.
So how can you vet the price of leads? Well Google AdWords is a great start and there are plenty of documented benchmarks for different industries. You can even use Google’s pricing to keep other vendors honest. The industry averages in Google should be relatively similar for most, if they are not I would do some digging.
One of my favorite sources of industry benchmark information is WordStream. Here are their benchmarks on Cost Per Action:
So how do you calculate your ad budget or your “Cost Per Acquisition” using this information? In order to keep it neat – We’ve put the steps into a numbered list for you, this is the step by step process we would use to find a good starting CPA goal.
Google offers everyone it’s basic analytics service for free. Attached to that is Google Search Console (formerly Webmaster Tools). Search console shows you first hand what keywords you’re ranking for in organic search as well as which ones are getting you traffic. The value of this tool cannot be overstated and it’s not incredibly difficult to set up and manage.
Analytics goes incredibly deep as well allowing you to create conversion events on your website and track users paths to those events. This can show you where you’re getting the most and best performing traffic from so that you can focus on developing those sources further. It has several other invaluable features as well, the ability to release site maps being an example.
If you build a solid plan with realistic goals and follow through with it you will see results. The quality and magnitude of those results depend on a multitude of variables, but that’s the fun part. Once you have the goals in place you can begin to look at data and make adjustments that will help you to yield the most from your efforts.