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Top 6 Online Marketing Tactics

We have established in earlier posts that the new marketing environment tends to be a mix of traditional, non-traditional and online tactics centered around the concept that all will drive eyeballs to your online presence. It is this online presence that is the foundation of your marketing strategy and where potential customers garner the information on the products or services that you provide.

Certainly there are many tactics that can be employed from each format of advertising and over the next few posts I will share with you what I believe are the most effective. Keep in mind that I am a proponent of effective, efficient and measurable marketing spends – add this to the experience factor (grey hairs) and you formulate what could be considered a “tried and true” opinion. Still the caveat that I will place on the next few posts is that all of this depends directly on the client and the strategy/plan employed. The highlighted tactics are a great starting point once you have your marketing strategy in place.

Top 6 Online Marketing Tactics

1. Optimize your Website

Search engine optimization (SEO) can be done through a variety of methods including keyword targeting that increase your search rankings. Complete Web Sources of Florida reports that “of the people that use Google 79% go to the first five listings on page one of search results, 28% will go up to three pages and less than 10% will look at up to 5 pages”. Consequently you can see the importance of a high ranking and it is imperative to the success of your website and ultimately your business.

2. Keep your Website Current

Ensure that your site is dynamic and timely by consistently updating  it with news of your products, service or people. Search engines like new content and you need to employ the many ways to keep your website fresh.

3.  Utilize Online Marketing Channels

Identify which channels your target market is using and dive into those options. Whether it is Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube or services like Squidoo or a combination of them all – simply ensure that you participate in these social platforms as it will undoubtedly expand your reach.

4. Blog and Blog Lots

Blogging demonstrates your passion for your industry and by blogging in a consistent manner you will drive more eyeballs to your site.  Blogging  takes  commitment  but those that blog consistently will reap the rewards. I found this 3 minute video on YouTube and it speaks to the importance of blogging and gives some useful tips as well – enjoy…

5. Pay-per-click Advertising

This form of online advertising allows companies to control where their adverts are displayed, when they are shown, and the budget they are willing to spend.  It is highly cost-effective if done properly and search engine services such as Google, Bing or Yahoo provide listings on a per-bid basis. Please note that this is in addition to their respective ‘natural’ search results (which are still powered by a combination of keywords found on your site). Pay-per-click ads require experimentation and analysis and over time any website can discover the keywords that work best for them.

6. Create Videos for your Website

Videos are becoming more important as people tend to click on links with videos more than those without –  even if the video link is ranked lower. Videos are a great way to show your passion and personality along with your products and/or service. It also gives you another marketing channel (your very own YouTube channel) which expands the reach of your online presence.

Should a company move forth and employ these six tactics then they would be well on their way to increasing traffic to their website. Certainly there are many more tactics available that feed people back to your site such as online contesting, newsletters and online published articles but the objective here is to find out what works best for you and your company. Experiment and measure your online tactics in order to make decisions that will eventually maximize your online presence.

The Marketing Environment – the New Look Marketing Plan

In my last post (The Marketing Environment – Change is Upon us) we established that the foundation of a marketing strategy must be your online presence. This holds true for industries, large corporate entities, mid-size and smaller businesses – this is indeed the fundamental change that has transpired in the last few years.  This change comes with many questions and most want to know where this puts the traditional and non-traditonal marketing tactics that have been employed by most entities for decades.

Marketing is More than Traditional Advertising

Some marketing firms seem to think that all marketing is underpinned by traditional advertising tactics. These people tend to be a little self-serving as they benefit from your spend on traditional tactics. The social media phenomena does not fit into the traditional ad agency business model – and it frustrates them as they are unable to monetize these platforms. This has been documented by many bloggers and articles but one of my favourites is this one by Micheal Klein from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan called three ways to tell if your agency sucks. To be fair, most of the progressive ad agencies are adapting their business models as best they can and allowing for online planning but it is still not the foundation. The traditional still recommend the traditional – print, radio, television, outdoor, restobar, direct mail et al.

Marketing is More than Non-Traditional Advertising

I have always been a big fan of the non-traditional tactics. Done correctly they can create great impact and are normally much less expensive than the traditional tactics. I like special event marketing, targeted sponsorships, affinity programming and networking opportunities. All of these tend to be overlooked or diminished in value. The little things like your business cards, your treatment of customers and, sometimes more importantly, your treatment of the non-customer are important marketing tactics that cannot be dismissed.  These plus many more elements like company signage and social responsibility programming all can be lumped into the non-traditional. Yet the non-traditional cannot stand alone. Companies understand that the tactics need to be augmented by the traditional. In today’s marketing environment they also need to be augmented by your online tactics – especially your social media connectivity.

What’s the New Look Plan?

I suspect you can see where I am going with this. The new look is a blend – a mix of the three (traditional, non-traditional and online). Unequivocally it must be underpinned by your online presence. Our clients understand the fact that their online presence is of the utmost in importance. They also understand that they will need to employ some non-traditional and perhaps an element or two of traditional to ensure that people know that they exist outside of the virtual world. For example, recently I know of a small business owner who purchased some radio to drive eyeballs to his website and he is quite pleased with the increase in traffic thus far.

The following video summarizes this discussion nicely…

Our process for helping companies create a strong marketing strategy remains the same. It is a process that is done in conjunction with our client. We do not build a strategy in isolation. We work with the client to ensure that they are vested in the long-term strategy. We work with our clients to plan their entire fiscal marketing plan based on a longer term strategy – a strategy that clearly defines their annual objectives and one that is measurable.  Depending on the client, the annual tactical plan may include some non-traditional tactics and these are always supported by the social media platforms. The non-traditional as well as the online may also be supported by the traditional. Still traditional tactics remain the most expensive. Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah, the authors of Inbound Marketing: Found using Google, Social Media and Blogs had this to say about the cost of outbound marketing (traditional and non-traditional) versus inbound marketing (online social media platforms)…

On average, inbound marketing leads are 61% less expensive than outbound marketing leads.

If a client decides to go the route of traditional marketing then we recommend the correct tactic based on several criteria. Here we also would rather see a client attempt to dominate a particular medium rather than spending a ton on a traditional mix. The goal here is to utilize the traditional as a driver to the online presence of the client.

The Marketing Environment – Change is Upon Us

I left my cushy job as a VP of a very large ad agency over 4 years ago – at about the same time that I came to the realization that the marketing environment was changing. Changing very quickly. This was due to the increasing utilization of the internet – a phenomena that has grown exponentially since the day I started out on my own in 2007.

The advent of social media platforms connected to fully optimized websites has changed the way any product or service can reach its intended audience – no matter how defined that audience is. In the tourism industry for example, bird-watchers now have dedicated blogs and those that are interested in birding follow birding sites, look for blog posts, and search for Twitter hashtags that pertain to their passion. Now those enigmatic great birding locations (like the Last Mountain Bird Sanctuary in Saskatchewan) can send out their message in an efficient, economical way and build their locale into a birding destination simply by telling their story. They will be found online by passionate birders. This, in turn, will increase visitation to their property.

This phenomenon is not just contained to the industry of tourism – all businesses need to establish their online presence as the foundation for all of their marketing efforts.

Companies are recognizing the shift in marketing practices.

Advertising Age Magazine reports that more than half of the marketers surveyed said that effectiveness of direct mail, TV, magazines, outdoor, newspapers, and radio would stay the same or decrease within three years. In contrast, well over 70% expected the effectiveness of channels like social media, online video, and mobile marketing to increase.

A recent Ipsos-Reid Survey found that 70% of marketers in North America are using search engine marketing and search engine optimization. This is up from 56% just two years ago. It also states that Canadian and US marketers appear to have increased the rate of adoption of the digital world. Here over 66% of senior managers are very interested in digital marketing which is an increase of 10% since last year. The rate of adoption is compounding as marketers race to understand the digital online tactics.

The same Ipsos-Reid Survey reported a jump from 35% last year to 52% of all marketers now using social marketing sites as part of the overall marketing approach. The study showed that 36% of Canadian and US marketers believe that “spending on TV will decrease over the next two years, ” – reflecting the sentiment of a shift in marketing budgets from traditional (radio, print, television) to digital (online, e-mail, mobile).

In addition, the Forrester Research/Association of National Advertisers proclaims that 62% percent of companies say TV ads have become less effective in the past two years due to increased advertising clutter. Of those surveyed, 77% said they would be moving TV dollars to social media this year; 73% plan to shift money to online advertising, and 59% will be spending more on search-engine marketing and 46% on e-mail marketing. Only 15% said they plan to increase spending in traditional media such as radio, outdoor billboards, magazines or newspapers.

We’ve Got a Long Way to Go.

The following graph by Morgan Stanley equates the time spent on available forms of gathering data versus the ad dollars spent and it clearly shows the real opportunity lies within the online initiatives.

The lesson here is quite simple – and I repeat – all businesses need to establish their online presence as the foundation for all of their marketing efforts.

Does this mean that we do not require traditional forms of advertising?

The answer is an emphatic no but the strategic direction of these tactics have to adapt to the new Marketing Environment.

More to come in forthcoming posts – stay tuned!