Humans are visual animals and we learn better from visual information than in writing. So, when I ran across this infographic that maps the keys to success in digital marketing in a single image [see below], I just had to use it. Rather than writing about each element in this map, I thought I’d use today’s post to discuss the 13 keys to success in digital marketing with links to content that provides more detail about each one. I hope you enjoy it.
Keys to success in digital marketing
1. Web design
Providing a great user experience on your website is a major key to success in digital marketing. Your website is the brand online and should not only provide information but offer easy tools to sell products or drive customers to buy your product.
Yes, I know. You can set up a shop on Facebook or sell through Amazon, but you still NEED a website because you control that site. If you only use social media to support your digital marketing, you’re at the whim of the platform, which means they hold your success in their hand. For instance, at the beginning of the pandemic, as more work moved to virtual, a large number of posts on Facebook were disallowed by the platform.
Having your own website is also good for SEO, which we’ll talk about later.
And, a website doesn’t have to cost a fortune. You can get a domain and hosting for around $100/ year. I will warn you against using WIX or Squarespace because you have less control and can’t get SEO with those hosting options. Don’t take my word for it. Check Emit.reviews and choose the best web hosting provider for your site. Here’s what SEO experts say about these drag-and-drop alternatives to self-hosted websites.
Make sure your website design is mobile-friendly. There are a large number of designers who can construct a website for you or you can build one yourself without struggling with HTML/CSS using WordPress or Drupal templates — I designed this website myself, as well as a number of other websites for clients. I even put together a simple step-by-step guide to building a website that you can download for free.
Read more about how to create a killer website.
2. Landing pages
I’m not sure where they got the data that suggests that companies with 30+ landing pages generate 7X more leads than those with less than 10, but it sounds a little fishy to me. Likely businesses with that many landing pages are major sites with lots of traffic, so I wouldn’t worry about the number of landing pages on your site.
According to experts at a leading digital marketing agency in Singapore, landing pages deserve a lot more attention than they usually get. There is a proper science that is involved in terms of looking at the analytics and data and then optimizing every single aspect of a landing page. There is also an element of creating aesthetically pleasing landing pages that can attract the attention of customers.
You should, instead, focus on developing landing pages that convert, which means they should be:
- Give a reason to buy
- Create immediacy
- Ask for the sale
Ever wonder what makes a great landing page? Well, wonder no more as Wordstream gives us a great template for your landing page:
Darshan Somashekar, who runs Mahjong-Challenge, explains, “While there are best practices with landing pages, it’s always important to constantly test new layouts and messages. We changed images and copy on our mahjong game after collecting user feedback, and we saw our gameplay per user double.”
3. Web analytics
Measure what matters, not what’s easy.
Often you’ll find digital marketers measuring the easy things — likes, clicks. Sure, these things matter (somewhat), but they’re not the most important (or only) important aspects of a successful digital marketing campaign.
Neal Taparia, who runs Unscrambled Words, cautions, “It’s important to stay away from vanity metrics. For example, we used to measure if a campaign would drive sessions to our word unscrambling site. When we further looked at the metrics, we saw users would bounce. We were wasting money. Now we look at engaged users as our governing KPI to understand if a campaign is working.”
If you’re convinced customer satisfaction impacts market performance (as is the case for most businesses), assessing sentiment makes a lot of sense. But, don’t stop with sentiment analysis — look at the totality of KPIs and measure all of them. Better yet, chart performance across all KPIs over time, which is much more insightful than putting all your faith in point measures.
You’ll never get an argument from me about the importance of analytics in marketing. So, I wouldn’t stop my metrics gathering with web analytics, but it’s a great place to start. Here are just a few KPIs to consider from Google Analytics:
- AOV (average order value)
- Goals (set up using the Admin panel)
- Time on Site/ Pages per Visit
Don’t pay too much attention to metrics like visits and bounce rate beyond their impact on your SEO. However, consider breaking down KPIs based on channels (especially using multi-channel attribution modeling), demographics, geographics, and products.
Read more about how web analytics is one of the keys to success in digital marketing.
4. Mobile advertising
Increasingly, customers use their mobile devices as part of their shopping and decision-making processes. The jury is out on whether you need mobile advertising or whether it’s a matter of making your digital advertising mobile-friendly, especially given new tools on iPhones that block mobile advertising. Also, think about SMS and in-app messaging to drive sales, especially by offering discounts.
But, what isn’t up for debate is that websites need to account for shoppers on mobile devices.
Think about a redesign of your home page to not only adapt easily to various screen sizes but think about what information shoppers are looking for when they access your site on the go. Some important information to make easily available includes:
- Phone number
- Address — preferably linked to a mapping program
- Menu or movie times
Other things to consider when designing for mobile users:
- Be brief
- Spread out buttons to avoid accidental clicks
- Mobile is highly local
- Keep design simple
- Make content sharable
5. Online advertising
The importance of online display ads seems to be shrinking in favor of advertising that’s more natural and less disruptive, especially native advertising. An example is sponsored posts in your Facebook Timeline or Twitter Feed. I find this type of advertising is very effective because it’s highly targeted and becomes even more so when you use retargeting tools.
One advantage of online advertising is the ability to target select groups of potential customers, so understanding your target market and building rich personas of them means better messaging and better targeting. Another advantage is the data generated by online advertising, which helps improve both your online and offline advertising, as well as non-advertising marketing efforts.
6. Email marketing
Don’t discount email marketing, which still outperforms most other online marketing tools and even beats some offline marketing.
Don’t believe me. Take a look at this:
Email marketing involves 2 related strategies; building your list and crafting email messages that convert.
Pay-per-click advertising, or Google Ads, is a bonanza for some businesses and doesn’t work well for others. Sometimes, it the industry. For instance, competition in Ads for insurance or lawyer are very high.
The keys to a great Ads campaign are:
- Quality score, which is a function of SEO on your site and features of the ad you create
- Keywords, including the amount of competition for the keyword and number of searches
- Landing pages
Google Ads, unlike ads on social media, are triggered by keywords rather than showing to select targets. However, Google does offer some options for targeted advertising to supplement your keyword strategy.
Search engine optimization (SEO) used to be the purview of coders. Today, it’s more a function of content marketing, which we’ll talk about in a minute.
As mentioned in the infographic below, 70% of clicks to a website are organic, on average. For my website, more like 80+% of visits are triggered by an organic search. That means your website link must show up near the top in a user’s keyword search. Once you get beyond the first page, few users will click on a link. Think about this using your own behavior when searching and you’ll know this is right.
Notice below, that search is still the major tool consumers use when shopping for something online.
That means you need to spend time and money to make sure your content appears near the top when consumers search for something online. That means getting several things right, including:
- Producing valuable content on a consistent basis (more on this below)
- Crafting great headlines that attract attention and encourage clicks
- Knowing how to use keywords effectively and choosing the right keywords based on your niche (the holy grail is a keyword with high traffic and low competition)
- Gaining natural backlinks by creating valuable content then sharing that content so others can potentially link to the content
- Understanding the techniques involved in good SEO, such as the construction of H1/ H2 tags, meta descriptions, images alt attributes, links, and other techniques used when you create content
- Creating a website that features a great UX design, offers easy ways to share content, exudes authority, and works well on mobile devices
- Using social media correctly not only to share your content but build a community around your brand
Read more about how SEO is one of the keys to success in digital marketing.
9. Content marketing
Content is King!
You must produce valuable content on a consistent basis. Here’s a study from Hubspot showing the increase in ROI when you create more content.
Including a variety of content is good for readers. Also, make your content chunkable by using headings and varying types (quotes, bullets, etc) because readers want to find what they need fast, without having to read the entire post.
But, you need content for your social platforms, as well. Platforms like Twitter require 4-5 posts/ day, while others, like Facebook and LinkedIn, should only share 1-2 posts/ day. Using automation tools like Hootsuite or Buffer makes it easy to keep your content calendar full while tools like Feedly help you curate content your audience will find interesting since you need an 80/20 split with only 20% of your content focused directly on your brand.
10. Explainer videos
Viewers are 12% more likely to buy a product after reading an explainer video. These explainer videos also cut down on calls to customer service, reduce user frustration, encourage recommendations, and provide a host of other benefits. Hence, the reason we separate out this particular type of content from other forms you might use.
If it’s true that a picture paints 1000 words, then infographics are the stars of the digital world. They’re not only valuable for your visitors, but they drive 12% more traffic to your site and generate powerful backlinks that help your SEO.
And, it doesn’t have to be that hard to create infographics. Canva and Venngage both offer easy-to-use tools for creating infographics. The trick is finding data to make your infographic both interesting and valuable. If you can, create a survey or conduct some other form of research then create an infographic to share your insights in a fun and useful way. Or, take government data and make it more palatable by visualizing the data in neat infographics.
Blogging is important as it’s an integral part of your content marketing strategy. Blogging sets you up as an expert, helps customers make decisions, and ease the use of your products, and is a major element in branding your company. A company blog is also a common means for businesses to meet the needs of creating valuable content on a consistent basis.
If possible, encourage UGC (user-generated content), which both provides content for your website, but helps build a strong community around your brand.
13. Social media marketing
Creating engagement on social media is a critical element in creating success. In part, that’s because users are more likely to take product recommendations from friends from brands. Part of it is because social media imbues brands with personality in a way that a website can’t. Part of it is that social media amplifies your message when folks share, like, and comment, as you can see from the graphic below. Part of it is that social media tends to reach people similar to your existing target rather than a say and spray technique like broadcast media.
Keys to success in digital marketing: Takeaways
A critical element of this discussion is integration across these keys to success in digital marketing. Also, this isn’t a Chinese menu where you choose 1 from column 1 and 1 from column 2. You need to manage marketing efforts across most if not all of these 13 keys to success while ensuring you’re not cheating one area or another.
I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. If you have ideas for future posts, I’d also love to hear them.
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