These days everyone knows about digital, regardless of whether they work in the world of marketing. When I first started at Zazzle and people asked me what I did, I’d say: 'I work in digital marketing'. Response: blank stare and confusion. I soon learnt the easiest way to answer this question was by saying, 'we try and get people to the top of Google'.
But while people had a level of understanding as soon as I mentioned ‘Google’, they still didn't totally get it. Now, two years and four months on, my answer gets a completely different response. As well as people knowing ‘Google’, they now consciously throw the words ‘Twitter’, ‘Facebook’, ‘Blogs’ and ‘Content’ into our conversation mix.
Conclusion: the power, growth and influence of digital marketing is undeniable.
So it’s no surprise that businesses are trying to incorporate it into their marketing strategies in any way they can. It’s now become one of the most effective ways to not only make your business survive, but also to make it money - if properly executed.
Here are ten ways of using a digital strategy to drive revenue in 2015.
Before diving into the world of off page, it's critical that the home of your company is given enough love and attention; we're talking, of course, about your website.
Let’s face it, while we can work on increasing the number of visitors to your site, it’s not going to be worthwhile if people come to it, can’t find what they’re looking for, completely lose interest and click off feeling frustrated. It's an opportunity lost.
So, take a good look at your site as it currently stands and devote time to review whether these three points are covered off properly:
As well as it being vital for users to understand what your website is about, what you do and the services you provide - from the moment they land on the homepage - it’s even more important that search engines are able to understand all of these elements, too.
The content on your site provides search engines with essential data that they then use to position you accordingly in search results, should you display it correctly for relevant keyword terms or phrases.
Ultimately, if your site’s content is optimised down to a tee and Google is able to understand every single element and why it’s there, you’re more likely to appear higher up in the rankings than if you let it fall by the wayside.
Better keyword rankings equal higher search engine visibility, which equals more visits, resulting in a higher potential for leads, conversions and sales, which all-in-all, in case you hadn’t guessed by now, ultimately means more revenue.
Make sure your Meta is meticulous, tag your images with alt tags, move that all-important introductory text above the fold, and you’ll be on your way to being in Google’s good books to make sure you have a better chance of succeeding in all the above.
If you haven’t got a blog on your website yet, it’s time to get one. And if already do have one, it’s time to make the most of it.
At Zazzle, we’re big fans of blogs and always recommend them to our clients as must-have. They’re one of the most valuable ways to capitalise on long tail search opportunities to improve your ROI.
These days in SEO, it’s not just all about ranking well for those all-important trophy keywords. Yes, of course you still want to aim high with them, but as Google has evolved and become smarter over time, it’s now all about thinking outside the box.
Whenever you head to Google in search of something, there’s always an intention behind it – we turn to search engines to get answers, information, resources and reviews on the very thing we’re searching for. It’s these user intents that Google is working with to become much smarter at through their algorithm, Hummingbird.
As Search Engine Land summarises, Hummingbird is about paying, 'more attention to each word in a query, ensuring that the whole query — the whole sentence, conversation or meaning — is taken into account, rather than particular words. The goal is that pages match the meaning do better, rather than pages matching just a few words.'
This is exactly where blogs come into play - they’re the perfect way to satisfy user intent.
Look at what long tail keywords and phrases people are searching for and work to create articles around these subject matters that will help to answer their queries accordingly.
In depth content crafted this way is more likely to connect with a user than content which only makes a passing reference to what they’re looking for. As your content will be of much more value to them, doing this will help to increase conversions and click-throughs further down the line. It will also help to establish your brand as a trustworthy and reliable source of content that your audience can rely on, particularly if you post regularly.
If you read a previous post The Psychology of Colour for Selling Online, then you may already be aware of this next tip. However, if you didn’t and you’re feeling a little lost with what I’m talking about, Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) was featured within this as the method of creating a better experience for a landing page visitor. The end goal is to increase the percentage of visitors who convert into customers.
Whilst the practice of CRO is extensive and there are lots of tips and tricks you can try, there are some very small changes you can make to your website that can make big changes to your conversions.
For example, look at using red shades on call-to-action buttons to make them stand out.
A CRO study carried out by dmix looked into making subtle changes to their call-to-action buttons to determine which colour, red or green, resulted in higher conversions to sign-ups. The result? Changing it from green to red increased conversation rate by 21%. It’s definitely worth a try. If you want to take your CRO to the next level and see what wonders it can do for you, check out Moz’s Definitive How-To Guide for Conversion Rate Optimisation, which you can find, here.
A big part of any digital marketing strategy lies with ensuring your brand’s off page capabilities are refined as well as they are on page - after all, whilst the first three points will help to improve your chances of conversion once people land on your site, you need to get these people to your website in the first place.
No people, no conversions, no revenue.
Here are five more tips that will certainly be able to help on that front:
This snippet from SAP really hit the nail on the head as to why a content strategy is a must-have for driving revenue:
“Because customers have a wealth of choices in an omnichannel digital world, you must cut through the noise by delivering the best customer-experience.”
You need to stand out from the crowd so that people choose to invest in and buy from you, rather than from your competitors. So prepare to become best friends with data, because it’s the only certified way to make sure the content you produce is exactly what people are looking for.
Dive into Keyword Planner and research which keywords and phrases in your niche have the biggest search volumes. Use tools such as Buzz Sumo to see what content has worked well and has been shared the most, and Bottlenose to see what topics and trends are most being talked about.
Marry these together and you’ll be on your way to coming up with content you know has the best chance of being successful. What’s more, covering these bases will once again help to make sure you’re fulfilling that all-important user intent.
Once you’ve got all the data to get your creative juices flowing, the next thing you must think about is who would be most be interested in the piece of content. This question is vital in delivering that personalised service. You can categorise your target audience into persona groups. Think carefully about the people you want to target; do this well, and you’ll see a greater ROI down the line.
As our Content Marketing Executive, Jade, touched upon in her blog post, you can often cover this off with three or four main personas.
As personas categorise typical web users, they allow us to think about how the individuals we are targeting would use our content and how they would benefit from it accordingly.
When creating a typical persona, you should consider the following:
For example, if you were a bridal company looking to promote your services, you may consider reaching out to the following personas:
Nailing down a content strategy and the personas is the most successful way to ensure your content not only gets seen and read by the right people, but also that it has the most impact with them when they do – if they like it, they’re more likely to engage with it, and if they engage with it, they’re more likely to buy into it.
How to go about actually pulling a content strategy together? On to the next tip...
Here you’ll find a few steps to work through to help ensure you’ve got everything covered – and as we use it here at Zazzle Media, it’s 100% tried and tested.
Once you’ve gathered all your content ideas together and got your personas finalised, you need to organise them. To increase conversion rates and revenue you need to target your content, at the right people, at the right time.
The best way to do this is through a content calendar; it will really help to plan the output of your content so you’re doing exactly that. As Zazzle MD Simon mentioned in his Moz post, The Ultimate Guide to Content Planning, the production of your content needs to move in ebbs and flows, with a mixture of ‘big bang’ pieces being created as well as smaller regular content ideas.
Here, we consider ‘big bang’ pieces as more interactive pieces which are generated to maximise the potential of getting shared not only socially, but also from a link perspective.
These ideas are created less frequently, with one or two pieces created and rolled out over the course of a year. The smaller content ideas tend to be your top 10 and how-to article-based pieces that are created for quick reading and placed on smaller blogs and websites.
Not only will planning these ideas into a calendar help to get you organised, it will also help to ensure you're catering for all of your different personas by making sure you’ve got a mix of different types. As I touched upon in The Importance of Different Content Types in Content Strategy, they’re all going to have different ways of engaging with and taking your content in.
If you want your content to have the best possible chance of making a user convert to help increase your revenues, you have to think of every type of learning style:
Visual > Visual learners best absorb information in picture, image, map, colour and diagram format.
Aural > Aural learners prefer to work with sounds and rhythm to learn and understand.
Logical > Logical learners retain information by using logic and by applying patterns to organise data.
Social > Social learners learn better in groups, bouncing off others and sharing ideas within a team.
Solitary > Solitary learners like 'alone time' to think through new information and process in a deeper way.
Verbal > Verbal learners process information by verbalising data; for example, reading out notes to process and retain information.
Physical > Physical learners are very much hands-on people.
When you’re plotting your ideas into your content calendar, think about your personas, how you can accommodate their different learning styles and how you can use different content types to reach out to them more successfully.
To help you do this, I’ve summarised content types by different learning styles in the handy table below:
Once you’ve decided on the content you’re going to create, the next thing to decide is where it’s going to go; after all, as highlighted earlier, you need to get out there to get more people, and more money, coming in.
There are two types of placement sites you need to keep in mind.
The first of these are, big, well-known media sites. If you’re looking to drive more traffic to your website to increase those all-important conversions and revenues, then you need to get your content placed on a website that also has high volumes of traffic. The chances of your content being seen increases, which in turn increases the chances of them visiting your site and increases the potential for them to convert if they like what they see.
Without access to their Google Analytics data, how do you find out if a website has high traffic or not?
Well, there’s a ranking system set by Alexa.com that audits and makes public the frequency of visits on various websites. It then calculates a traffic ranking based on the amount of traffic recorded from users that have the Alexa toolbar installed over a period of three months. The lower the ranking a site has, the higher traffic it receives.
But while these are very important for pushing you out into the online world, the smaller mid-level blogs must not be ignored. Don’t discount a site if it doesn’t have an impressive Alexa ranking; check their PR, DA, CF and TF first before you write it off completely. Because if the blog is relevant to what you do and what your content piece is about and it has technically good metrics, it’s still a good host for your content – these blogs will still contribute to driving link equity into your domain to increase the power of it accordingly. Keep building this up and you’ll start to improve your online search visibility too.
The key to driving more revenue through the placements you source for your content lies with finding the right balance between those sites which drive traffic and brand awareness and those that also drive technical equity into your website’s domain; Google likes a natural balance of the two, and you’ll be rewarded for it accordingly.
No digital marketing strategy is complete without a mention of social media; apart from being the handy tool that allows us to keep in touch with our friends and occasionally check what they’re up to, it’s also perfect for helping you drive revenue for your business. It fuels key areas of the purchase funnel, increases awareness, activates interest and desire, and most importantly, prompts action to purchase – if you implement practices properly.
After you’ve spent all that time creating a comprehensive content strategy, don’t just limit to using it on content-only work. All that data you collated, all the insight you put into your personas and all that understanding into their learning styles and the content types that resonate with them the most can all be transferred straight over to your social strategy too.
Test different post types and measure which ones result in more engagement. Use a content-style social calendar to plot how you’ll use these findings to make your pages even more successful.
It’s not uncommon for people, especially clients, to be unsure about incorporating social media advertising into their digital strategies. Quite often we hear, 'but I want my competition, post or idea to do well organically before I invest in paid ads'.
Of course, while the best measure of success is something flying off its own back, there’s nothing wrong with giving it a little helping hand to get there. These days, social advertising is a great way to extend the reach of your page, platforms and posts, and by doing so, your brand and company – as covered off here.
There’s nothing wrong in following by example. There are a plethora of companies out there who have honed their social strategies to drive more revenue.
Think about your favourite brands and how they enticed you in, and take some time to research how they did it – a bit of competitor analysis never did anyone any harm, and it’s a great way to learn what’s worked in the past and maybe what didn’t.
If you’re into fashion, you might find this case study insightful – here, Media Measurement looks at five social strategies that drove revenue during London Fashion Week. Enjoy!
My 10 Takeaways
1. Make sure your on site content is optimised well
2. Blog, regularly
3.Invest in and improve your CRO
4. Create a content strategy
5. The Zazzle Ideation Process can help
6. Plot your content strategy ideas into a concise content calendar
7. Find the perfect balance of placement sites
8. Link up your content strategy with your social strategy
9. Don’t be afraid of investing in advertising
10. Follow by example
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