If you’re hoping to boost your presence across search engines, there’s no use in placing all of your bets solely on organic/paid search, PR or social media in order to get the level of visibility your business needs to become successful.
Rather, striking a balance between all four of these critical components will help to ensure that your company gets plenty of attention from potential customers – what’s more, engagement levels and trust in your brand will get a nice bump as well.
In short, this holistic, combinatory approach is the most effective strategy for boosting engagement and buy-in throughout the consumer journey. This means ensuring that every aspect of the buyer's experience is touched by your brand – whether that's on Facebook via subtle, relevant and targeted ads, content published in external publications (brand outreach and thought leadership) or via content published on the company's website that is again, relevant, natural and engaging to draw the customer in and then sustain support throughout the buying lifecycle.
Here’s how to build the perfect multi-channel strategy to make 2016 the year of growth.
If you’re not using paid search already, it’s about time you started targeting those affordable but high-impact words to gain better traction from search engines.
Spend some time researching your market and your competitors in order to identify the areas in which they’re actively making gains and you’re potentially losing out.
SEMRush can help you identify your primary targets and pinpoint opportunities your competition is already exploiting that you may have overlooked, giving you a better chance at snatching away some of their presence and opening up the field for your brand.
Moreover, the platform allows you to view your organic performance from the same dashboard, making it simple to combine multiple strategies so you can dominate both the paid and organic search market.
It’s probably safe to assume you built your website based on the words you’d like to boost your ranking for in Google, but are you actually targeting the right ones?
Now that you’ve set up your paid campaigns, it’s time to start filling in any gaps with organic content to make sure you’re covering the entire market of keywords. If some of your PPC targets are outside your budget, triggering an organic campaign instead will at least get you some coverage on search engines.
The best way to boost your rankings, on top of ensuring your site’s metadata and backend is up to scratch, is to create unique, insightful and valuable content for your audience. But your focus shouldn’t be limited to just the copy on your website – placing equal weight on your company blog will open up an entirely new and effectual channel for success.
Allow the conversation to escape the narrow confines of the corporate world by offering readers genuinely useful advice through a variety “How To” articles and industry trend pieces – ensuring that your content maintains a more lighthearted, human voice not only makes for easier reading, but is likely to rank better in search as well. It’s well worth stepping outside of your comfort zone in order to provide your readers with more engaging content that will keep them interested and coming back for more.
This brand publication strategy is becoming increasingly important in the marketing world as more and more of the big brands are beginning to realise the potential value in publishing their own content rather than just finding more places to distribute stuffy, business-as-usual press releases.
The next step is developing a comprehensive social media strategy, which should include Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Google+ along with content sharing sites like StumbleUpon and Reddit.
There’s no value in creating compelling, quality content if it’s never actually seen by your target market, so what are you waiting for? Crafting the perfect balance between personal content promotion and sharing interesting, industry-related content is a vital for any brand looking for success on social media.
Additionally, your employees should be broadcasting your content across their personal networks as well. Encourage them to share everything, or if they can’t seem to find the time, set up automation with their permission. Although it may not result in a huge amount of engagement, it will help ensure your content gets seen by the right sets of eyeballs.
But social media isn’t merely for promoting your products – it should serve as an additional channel through which companies can manage customer service, alongside innovative digital customer communication tools such as CRM platforms and always-on web chat, plus more traditional options like email and phone support.
Response times are of the utmost importance too. Forget about having a 24-hour contact strategy — 24 minutes is what your customers expect. If you are unable to offer this, customers are likely to be put off and will look elsewhere for a provider that can.
PR and Outreach
So now you’re getting visits to your website from relevant organic and paid search, plus your brand is getting some solid engagement on social media. But don’t kick back and put your feet up just yet – now is the time to stretch your reach further afield to include industry blogs and publications.
Not only is it important to have links back to your website from trustworthy publications, but it widens the net even further when it comes to spreading your brand messages and positioning your executives as industry thought leaders.
When kicking off your brand outreach program, it’s essential that you gain an understanding of the publications that are most likely going to be receptive to your company based upon the type of content they’re already covering. Take the time to get to know the type of subject matter each industry publication typically focuses on, then try to present that relevant content in a unique and interesting way to pique their interest.
Also, familiarize yourself with all of the writers at the various publications. Be sure your approach is highly personal, but also direct and to the point. This will dramatically increase the chances of your guest article being accepted or one of your company’s executives being targeted for an interview.
Stitching It All Together
The only real problem with using all four funnels in order to get more leads is that it can end up being a bit pricey, especially if you’re a small company with a modest marketing budget.
In a digital, always-on world, business buying decisions are made 24/7 – not just during working hours as they used to be. As a result, the way in which brands promote their goods and services must change, whether that means using social media, paid and organic search or any combination of other always-accessible, customer service tools.
For this reason, finding one company that can effectively cover all of these bases for you is one of the best ways to alleviate some of the strain on existing resources by reducing the amount of in-house manpower needed to manage each element individually – all while helping to keep your marketing costs down across the board.
Clare Hopping is Editorial Director at digital content marketing agency L&T. She’s responsible for defining and rolling out the content strategies of client blogs, managing the team of writers and ensuring all content is in-line with the brand to meet marketing objectives. She’s been working in the digital publishing space for more than 10 years with her specialist subjects in technology and recruitment. You can find Clare tweeting and blogging on LinkedIn.