There's a ton of things that need accomplished to fully leverage an online marketing strategy, but I'm often amazed at the priority that companies place each item on the checklist. As we take on new clients, we're looking to ensure the strategies with the most impact are accomplished first… especially if they're easy. Hint: content marketing and social media marketing aren't that easy.
- Website – Does the company have a website that evokes a response from your audience that it's both a trusted source of information and that the product or service will be beneficial to the visitor's needs?
- Engagement – Does the site have a means to actually make a purchase or solicit a response from the visitor? If you're not selling a product, this could be a landing page with form to collect the visitor's information in trade for a demonstration or download of some sort.
- Measurement – What analytics tools do you have in place to measure the activity and help you to improve your overall online marketing performance?
- Sales – How does the company follow up on visitors who engage? Is the data captured in a CRM? Or does it kick off a marketing automation process to score and respond to the lead?
- Email – Do you have an email program that regularly provides clients with valuable content and/or prospects with content that will drive them back to your site and convert them into customers?
- Mobile – Is the site optimized for mobile and tablet viewing? If not, you're missing out on a number of visitors who may want to do some research on your brand but are leaving because your site isn't optimized for their viewing.
- Search – Now that you have a great site and solid process for acquiring leads, how can you grow the number of relevant leads? Your site should be built on a content management system that's optimized for search. Your content should utilize keywords effectively.
- Local – Are visitors who are searching for your product or service looking for them regionally? Have you optimized your content to promote your products and services regionally? You may wish to add pages that target local search terms. Your business should be listed on Google and Bing's business directories.
- Reviews – Are there review sites for the types of products and services that you provide? Is your business or product listed on them? Do you have a means of driving great reviews to those sites with your current clients? Sites like Angie's List (client) and Yelp can drive a lot of business!
- Content – Do you have a means of consistently publishing content on your domain that's valuable to your target audience? Having a corporate blog is a fantastic means of writing the recent, frequent and relevant content that's demanded by your audience. Utilize different media to attract different audiences… textual in blog posts, imagery in charts, instagram updates and infographics, audio in podcasts, and video in Youtube and Vimeo updates. And don't forget interactive tools! Calculators and other tools are amazing at attracting and engaging an audience.
- Social – Do you have a Twitter account? LinkedIn page? Facebook page? Google+ page? Instagram profile? Pinterest page? If you're able to develop consistently great content and maintain an open line of communications, via social, with your customers and prospects, social can help to amplify your message into other relevant networks of prospects by building a community of fans. How are you using your fans to further promote your business?
- Promotion – Now that you have all the means to produce, respond and amplify your message, it's time to promote it as well. Paid search, sponsored posts, Facebook advertizing, Twitter advertising, Youtube advertising, public relations, press releases… it's getting easier and more affordable to promote your content in other relevant networks. You may not be able to get into these networks through great content alone, but you access is often provided through advertising.
- Automation – the number of mediums and networks is growing more and more complex every day, but the resources we're providing marketing departments isn't expanding at the same rate. This makes automation a must nowadays. The ability to publish the right message at the right time, monitor and route requests from any network and assign it to the right resource, the ability to score and automatically respond to leads based on their level of engagement, and a means to collect this data in a usable system… automation is the key to scaling your online marketing.
- Diversity – this may not make most lists, but I believe having a network of professionals to help you with your online marketing efforts is essential. Most marketing professionals have a specialty that they're comfortable with. Sometimes they're so comfortable that the medium they appreciate takes priority and these other strategies are missing altogether. Ask an email marketing professional, for example, about building a Facebook community and they may scoff at you – despite many companies driving a lot of business through Facebook. Borrowing from the expertise of your network often provides you insight into more studies, more tools, and more opportunities to enhance your online marketing efforts.
- Testing – Through every iteration of every strategy, the opportunity to do A/B and multivariate testing is one that shouldn't be overlooked. (I actually did overlook it here and thanks to Robert Clarke of Op Ed Marketing, we added it!)
This is my priority as I'm evaluating a business' online marketing efforts but it may not be yours by any means. What else do you look for in an online marketing strategy? Did I miss anything? Is my order of priorities screwed up?
I discussed this checklist in a recent podcast: