To quote the famous writer and philosopher Sun Tzu, “Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat." When speaking about an effective marketing strategy, the marketplace is a war zone and in order to defeat it, you need to strategize.
The first and most important step you need to take to create an effective marketing strategy is to, well, take the time to actually create it. There’s no execution without good planning. But reading this article is a great stepping stone, because we will help you get to know various marketing strategies, and then you can choose the right ones for your business. So, in order to start planning your strategy, first you need to answer two important questions:
- To WHOM do you market?
- What is the GOAL you wish to achieve with the campaign?
Adopting any marketing strategy without knowing your target audience is “a needle in the haystack” scenario -- or, an even better metaphor would be "the broken clock." Sure, you might be right two times in one day, but what about the other 22 incorrect times? Especially when you know that each “time,” every wrong strategy you employ costs you time or money without any results in sight.
Get to know the people interested in your brand, understand why they like your brand, and definitely invest in learning why other consumers don't gravitate towards your services or products. You might even discover that it takes so little to rectify the wrongs and increase the customer acquisition numbers! When you know who your audience is, then you can easily target them and increase the conversion rates by catering your strategy to the best-performing groups. You can’t employ random marketing strategies and just hope some will stick.
Different goals require different approaches. Without a clear goal, you cannot measure your success, let alone improve it by optimizing your campaign. Before choosing the approach, think about the objectives. For example, do you really need to focus your resources and energy on promoting your brand on Facebook just to get extra likes? Perhaps it would be more lucrative to invest more in conversion rate optimizing.
What Makes A Marketing Strategy Effective?
What can you really do about finding the right marketing strategies? Well, as it turns out – a lot. First, asking yourself "how" is a good approach to fleshing out a successful marketing strategy. There’s a saying that perfectly sums up the marketing strategy effectiveness: "What's the use of running if you are not on the right road."
So, what is the right road? Setting and reaching your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), for starters. And let’s not forget the conversion rates. Those two items are the bread and butter of an effective marketing strategy, and to reach them you need to first determine what’s important for your business and select the right strategic measures. If you don’t know how, here are some pointers:
Use facts and be objective.
This is probably the number one mistake when it comes to strategic planning and marketing. There are no gut feelings and it’s not important what you personally think, but rather whether campaign brings results or not. Don’t push content that you like just because you like it - that’s why we have performance indicators in the first place. The market creates the demand, and you just need to fill it.
Measure the progress.
Once you set up a goal, you need to measure its performance. If you run the lead acquisition campaign, measure newsletter signups. If you want to increase sales (and who doesn’t?), measure the revenue increase after the campaign, and so on. Digital marketing is so effective because everything is measurable.
It’s like leveling up – by constantly challenging yourself and reaching the milestones, you will grow your experience and achieve success. Set multiple short-term goals that will over time combine and help you achieve the long-term goals.
No, you probably cannot execute all plans at once. Prioritize and constantly re-check your budget.
Use A/B testing, push the same content with different copy, narrow or widen your audience, discover new potential customer groups, enrich content with new keywords, etc. to capture new consumers and engage your existing users.
The Most Effective Marketing Strategy For Your Business Goals
Digital marketing is an umbrella term that encompasses all online (digital) marketing activities like social media, blogging, influencer marketing, email marketing, paid advertising, SEO efforts, strategy analyses and measurements, and everything in between.
Search Engine Optimization
Before you start marketing a product or a service, people must be able to find you first. That’s where the search engine optimization comes in. People don’t generally see SEO for what it is – a list of good practices that aim to bring better user experience and make an online presentation more unified. But by following the guidelines, you will easily achieve better results.
Search engines (especially Google) are user-centric. They are here to serve the customers and provide a fair and level playing field for the brands to compete on. The website that best encompasses all search engine optimization guidelines will reap the reward.
Does SEO work? Let’s look at these statistics:
- Search engines drive more website traffic to websites -- 300 percent more than social media.
- Google was responsible for 79 percent of all search traffic in 2017, Bing pulled 7.3 percent, Baidu 6.5 percent and Yahoo 5 percent.
- More than 93 percent of traffic comes from search engines.
- Approximately 75 percent of people never go to the second page of search results.
- More than 21 percent of searchers click on more than one search engine result.
How To Use SEO As An Effective Marketing Strategy
First, use long-tail keywords. It’s easier to be number one for a specific niche than to optimize for a single keyword. More than 50 percent of search queries are longer than four words. Plus, if you optimize content for the long-tail keywords, you automatically optimize all the single keywords in it.
Use long posts (also when doing guest post outreach), because long content ranks better – it aligns with the high-quality content signal because it brings real value to users and a more in-depth knowledge of the subject. (Hey, even we are doing it with our articles!) Improving content quality can increase blog traffic by even 2000 percent, which adds an additional SEO boost, too. Search engines take into account signals like time spent on the website – the more people read your content, the longer they’ll stay on the page, which means they find value in what they’re reading. The more this happens, the higher you can rank.
Create high-quality content and use link building. According to Google’s very own Search Quality Senior Strategist, those are the two most important SEO signals. Of course, that doesn’t mean that you should forgo optimizing all others.
Use local search optimization as much as possible. More than 30 percent of people are using mobile phones to search for location-based results, and more than half of people visit a brick and mortar store the same day they perform the online search on their smartphone.
Fix or outsource the technical search engine optimization since Google (and other search engines) pay attention to page formatting (headings, paragraphs), website load speed, sitemap, metadata, link quality, 404 pages, duplicate content, accessible URLs, mobile friendliness, and more. Use tools like Google Search Console and other paid or free SEO checkers and plugins (like Yoast, Spyfu, Screaming Frog, Moz, and others).
Content Marketing & Blogging
Blogging gets you more website visitors and is a very positive SEO signal, especially due to the refreshment rate of websites. The sites that haven't been updated for a while are considered to be irrelevant, and could possibly rank lower. But companies who blog are always adding new content, which keeps them up to date. Investing in a company blog is one of the most effective marketing strategies out there.
Why blogging works:
- Blogging 4 times a week can get you 3.5 times more website traffic, and it is 13 times more likely to bring positive return on investment.
- Marketers who blog receive 67% more leads.
- Companies who blog receive 97% more site links than those who don't.
- Companies who blog have 434% more indexed pages than those who don't. That means more leads, better sales and more conversions.
- More than 81% of US people claim they trust the information found on a blog.
- Updating and republishing old blog posts can increase traffic more than 100%.
How To Write An Effective Blog Post
Don't just start a blog just for the sake of writing it, or fluff the content with unnecessary words. Long blog posts work only if they are interesting to the users and high bounce rates clearly show that users are interested in the topic that led them to the blog post in the first place but aren’t satisfied with the headline’s promise and contents of the blog. Use a conversational style and try to find your own voice, backed up by a thoroughly researched data. Structure the blog post well -- it has to have a clear goal and lead users to knowledge and discovery to increase your conversions. Pay attention to formatting, and divide the content into smaller and easily digestible chunks. Use visuals – embed videos, GIFs or images in your blog post.
Social Media Marketing Strategies
Social media marketing is one of the most cost-effective paid marketing strategies and offers an abundance of targeting options. Reach the exact type of audience, or target different types of buyer personas at the same time with proper social media strategy and paid ads.
Here are some social media statistics to back our claims:
- Did you know that more than 61% of all website visits stemming from social media come from Facebook?
- Long form blog posts yield higher engagement rates – blog posts that are longer than 1,500 words receive 68% more Tweets and 22.6% more Facebook likes.
- People use search more than 2 billion times on Facebook – daily.
- Fun fact: YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world.
How To Use Social Media Marketing Effectively
Social media platforms provide a great testing playground. With budgets as low as $5 per campaign, you can test various posts to determine how an audience receives them. Then, after the testing is done, you can choose the best performing post and try it on other channels.
Also, social media can be automated and scheduled weeks or months in advance, giving employees and marketers total flexibility and enabling them to plan ahead. You can’t say that for other marketing strategies that are this effective. Just load entire content calendars into scheduling tools and watch how your business grows.
We have already mentioned above that measuring progress is a key factor in establishing an effective marketing strategy. Luckily, social media platforms all come with free insight and measurement analytics you can use to optimize your strategies and achieve better campaign results. There are also many tools that can help you leverage your social media better, and in turn, grow your brand.
Social media strategy is crucial for reaching the audience that is more likely to interact with your brand. It can help you establish better customer relations, poll users directly about your brand and how to enhance services. Two-way communication is easier through social media platforms, especially because generations like millennials (64 percent of them) prefer social media for expressing their complaints and seeking solutions to a problem they have with brand’s product or service.
Semi-celebrities that use social media platforms to serve content and affect buyer’s decision making and purchase processes are called influencers. These are seemingly very down-to-earth, everyday people with interesting things to say, who have amassed a large number of followers. Influencers can be macro and micro, with follower count ranging from 1000 to several billion.
Is using influencers an effective marketing strategy? It is, and here’s why:
- Influencers can provide you with 16 times higher engagement rate than when you use paid media.
- 92% of consumers across the globe trust the word of mouth marketing, and influencers are marketers who believe in products they are advertising.
- The effectiveness of using influencers for marketing purposes is best seen in a fact that states that they can bring higher Returns on Investment, anywhere between 8 and 20 times per dollar spent.
How To Properly Implement Influencer Marketing
Since we are talking about next-door neighbor types of people, they are often easily approachable and easy for brands to get in touch with for promotions and collaborations. However, pay special attention to contract details and negotiations. Just because influencers get a lot of offers doesn’t mean that they will accept each and every one. They rely on their transparency and reputation, so the majority of influencers will only back the brands they believe in.
Influencer marketing isn’t necessarily expensive, but the time when influencers were paid for content with simple freebies and products from the business they are advertising is nearly gone. This deal might work for some micro-influencers that have small audiences of 1000-5000 followers or so, but even they are interested in getting paid for their promotional posts. Luckily, more than 97 percent of micro-influencers will charge less than $500 per branded Instagram post, and a total of 84 percent charge less than $250 per product promotion.
Influencer marketing isn’t really a new marketing strategy, but it’s certainly the most underused one. The trend is on the rise, though, so act fast while you can secure top influencers for relatively small amounts of money.
Email Marketing is still going strong, and those marketers who aren’t using it are missing out. Here are some interesting facts that will hopefully convince you to try email marketing as one of your effective marketing strategies:
- Email marketing brings 122 percent ROI -- 4 times higher than any social media or direct search.
- 80 percent of retailers claim that email marketing is their greatest ally when it comes to customer retention.
- When speaking about the US numbers alone, by the end of 2017, there were 244.5 million email users. By 2019, the number of email users worldwide will reach 2.9 billion.
- According to Campaign Monitor, for every dollar spent on email marketing, the ROI is $44.
How To Effectively Use Email Marketing Strategies
Nobody likes spam. After all, people trusted you with their email address so don’t break that trust by annoying them constantly. Send emails and newsletters in a moderate pace, pay special attention to headlines, and don’t go with text length in them – long posts are perfect for blogs, but when it comes to email strategy, keep it short and simple.
Pro Tip: More than 56 percent of businesses who use emoji in their email campaign’s subject line noticed a higher email open rate.
Build up a list of people who are clearly interested in what you have to offer and cultivate it further. Entice people to subscribe more to your email newsletter by offering coupons or deals, or redesigning your sign up buttons so that they are easy to use. Email marketing might be an old strategy but there are many ways you can revamp it to achieve success with your customers. For example, you can include videos, gifs and interesting pictures to get a higher open rate. Don’t be afraid to employ you designers to create inviting newsletters with interesting logotypes. Look how prescription glasses brand Ace & Tate created a GIF that replicates the feel of Instagram Stories.
Video Content Marketing
You have probably caught on that the new king of content is video marketing. After all, if we observe social media, we can see that platforms and their algorithms favor video content. Did you know that 82 percent of Twitter users actively watch video content?
Here is some interesting data about video content:
- 72 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute
- More than 500 million hours of videos are watched on YouTube every day
- Videos on social media aggregate 1200 percent more shares than just text and images combined.
Making video content isn’t cheap, but it’s worthwhile. If you cannot create your own videos, you can always use content curation and piggyback the reach and engagement. Luckily, with tech expansion, smartphones are becoming more and more able to capture stunning videos of high quality, so making something like a brand vlog doesn’t have to be so expensive. People are willing to forgive the home production videos for the sake of good content.
Video content marketing is an effective strategy that brings multiple benefits to ROI and user engagement rates. It’s much easier to convey the message with video than through text – actually, when reading the text, readers retain only 10% of the message they have just read, but when they watch the same in a video, they retain a staggering 95 percent of information! Video is the most powerful medium, and as such, it’s clearly a very smart move to integrate video content into your overall marketing strategy.
What's better? There’s a novelty in Facebook paid ads – marketers can now use GIFs in their sponsored Facebook posts! Plus, if you are the owner of the video, upload it separately on YouTube, and separately on Facebook. Native videos have 10 times better reach when compared to shared YouTube links.
Top Digital Marketing Agencies & The Most Effective Marketing Strategies
Although all of these marketing tactics are effective in their own right, not every strategy is good for achieving your goals. For example, there’s no use investing in an email newsletter design and creation if you have just a couple of email subscribers. You have to choose the right strategy that will align with your goals and your reality.
But one thing is certain -- choosing just one strategy probably isn’t going to cut it. In order to fully utilize the power of marketing, you have to adopt the multichannel or even omnichannel approach. Use a combination of email marketing, social media, blogging, content curation, influencers or search engine optimization in unison to create the super-strategy that will provide the insight into same brand values on all channels. Develop a strategy for each medium and combine it into one streamlined long-term plan you will measure and optimize until you achieve the goals you’ve set in the beginning.
If you think this is a huge effort, you are right... but it is worth it. However, if you can’t dedicate time to this yourself, you can always browse through our top marketing agency listings and choose a team of experts to help you. Some of the top firms include:
1. Innovative Flare
Innovative Flare offers innovative strategies to help businesses stand out in Internet market today. Established in 1998, the agency is committed to offering the best in services and solutions for companies, both local and international. Innovative Flare is confident their flexible rate plan can fit any business, whether the client is a home business owner, small to medium size business owner or the CEO of a major corporation.
10.digital was started in Coimbra in 2012, with only two people. The purpose was to release specific training software for companies. Since then, they have learned a lot. They discovered the importance of the digital world and the impact it has on companies. They studied really hard on the subject and collected some clients who have become references in the area. They became specialists in digital marketing.
Leverage is a brand strategy, design & technology company. They are a full-service creative agency that specializes in the design, development, and strategic marketing. They strive to create trusted partnerships with clients, supporting them in the discovery, creation, and cultivation of their brands. They believe thoughtful, beautiful design leads to better experiences. Better experiences lead to happier people. And happier people lead to a better world.
4. Growth Hackers
Growth Hackers is a digital marketing and growth hacking agency. They help businesses from all around the world grow by building their online brands, helping them drive qualified traffic to their site, generating leads, improving their conversions and increasing their sales. They offer services like web design, content marketing, SEO, social media marketing, paid advertising and email marketing.
5. Epic Notion
Epic Notion is a full-service digital agency that increases client visibility, leads and sales through omnichannel marketing strategies. Each strategy is customized to meet the client’s unique business goals. From web design and development to advertising and content for B2B and B2C clients, Epic Notion tracks marketing initiatives back to their client's bottom line. What makes Epic Notion different is their approach to client work and strategy. Relationships, transparency and measurable results take precedent, and personalized attention for every company is guaranteed.
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