This article has been updated on December, 9th 2022.
The digital marketing landscape is constantly changing and evolving. Each year we must take some time to assess what we have been doing, look at our strategies, and see what is working for us and our marketing efforts. Consumer feedback and public policy continually reshape digital media and our online platforms. Our strategy and execution need to be fluid in order to work within these shifting guidelines.
Throughout the global pandemic, the move to digital marketing became even more important and it is a good practice to look at your website design and marketing plan to ensure you are keeping up with the latest trends and not falling behind your competitors.
The reality is that for most small to mid-sized businesses attempting to keep up with the latest marketing trends can easily become overwhelming. Even well-established businesses may still have trouble navigating the ins and outs of digital marketing. That’s why we’ve developed this handy checklist to help direct your marketing tactics in 2023.
This article will take you step-by-step, helping your company develop a marketing approach that will be efficient, effective and convert searches into sales. We break the checklist down into three sections, approaching each as a foundation for the next.
Taken together as a whole, this digital marketing checklist will direct your search strategy, develop your brand, and deploy your digital marketing strategies for 2023.
SEO & Understanding Your Audience
The Perfect Buyer
One of the most important and widely overlooked techniques for developing a strong digital marketing campaign is to develop and mentally build a “Perfect Buyer” for the company’s product or service. This is the hypothetical person who would purchase from the company every time.
Who uses the product? What demographics do they fit into? Why do they want this service?
By recognizing the perspective and specific view of that one Perfect Buyer, it becomes easier to design and develop circumstances that will take their search results from browsing to buying.
Taking the time to look at similar companies that either directly or indirectly offers the products or services your company presents can yield mountains of useful information. Benchmarking their methods, identifying their Perfect Buyers, and recognizing undeveloped niches inside the market can help turn market threats into marketing opportunities.
In most situations, a new company will have barriers to entry into a specific market. Consider how the company will approach these barriers. Turn barriers into inroads, and weaknesses into strengths. This is also a great time to do an audit of your competition’s digital marketing approach. Learn what they are doing, look for gaps in their strategies, and improve your website and marketing efforts to edge them out online.
Know the competition. Adapt and overcome.
Develop Your Brand
Once you have defined that Perfect Buyer and understand their perspective, it becomes easier to know how to present the company. For example:
- A yoga instructor who focuses on developing a clientele of middle aged, health minded women who work from home will want to create a brand that feels holistic and clean.
- An air conditioning installation and repair company might target dual-income homes within a specific geographic location—and use phrases that convey efficiency, speed, and reference local identifiers.
Developing a company brand is more than just logos and fonts. It is the definition of how a company approaches the world. It includes a mission statement, an elevator pitch, and expresses how it fills in their market niche better than their competition. It is the “reason” and “why” for what a company offers its clients. Get this dialled in and you’ll make a stronger connection with your potential customers.
Logo Design and Digital Media Development
While there are many free options for creating logos and company materials, it often pays to reach out to a professional to help develop the digital resources necessary for a firm to look qualified online. There are service platforms such as Upwork and Fiver that help creative freelancers display and offer their services at very reasonable rates, and many sites where stock photographs and media is readily available.
Of course, any time that such work can be done within the company, that option should be fully explored. An in-house photographer, content writer, or graphic artist can save the company a great deal of time and money as the campaign moves through the development and deployment stages.
Care should be taken to weigh the monetary savings against the quality of specialized outsourced contractors. A clean, professional impression is imperative in a successful marketing strategy.
Using the information identified during the Perfect Buyer and Determining Identity sections, a list of search engine keywords can then be developed and analyzed. The right combination of keywords that target the specific demographic and identity of the market a company is trying to reach will increase page visibility and search engine ranking.
The trick to finding the right keyword combination is how many other companies are using those same words. The more firms that are using “mattress sale New Hampshire” as their keywords in their marketing campaign, the lower the response rate for everyone who uses those same keywords will be. Line up what your Perfect Buyer wants with keywords that strengthen and call in your Brand Identity.
Plan a Social Media Strategy
While much of a company’s digital presence will be pushed from their own website, an important and increasingly vital aspect of digital marketing is done through social media platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram. Brand identity needs to flow from the home website, through every social media outlet and every external communique, to give the appearance of a cohesive single voice and tone.
Make a plan on how and when each of these platforms will be updated. Unique and relevant content helps search engines rank a site or company better than its competitors—placing them higher in priority during keyword searches. But don’t simply stuff keywords into posts, or share a dozen low-value posts a day. Once or twice a week with original, authoritative content is often enough to drive the analytics engine in a company’s favor.
Deploy the Digital Marketing Campaign
Building the Company Website
The first step in any company’s comprehensive digital marketing launch should be a professional-looking website. There are many options for hosting and construction, depending on the budget and talent within the firm. For small and medium-sized businesses, often the best way to create a great site is to use content management systems, such as WordPress.
Using a CMS lets a builder choose from several preset templates, and then customize them using the logo, digital media, and keywords researched and developed in the previous sections. This modification will create a unique and seamless identity for the company and prepare it for search engine optimization.
The design of the website should also follow with the branding of your company, and in turn, it should speak directly to your Perfect Buyer’s needs. Be direct with your offerings, clear with your services, and always have an easy way for your customers to contact you or make a purchase
Each of the following points should be considered a must for a marketable website.
Search Engine Optimization
There are many factors involved in how a site ranks on any given search engine, and for much of the past decade keyword placement and content relevance have been vitally important. However, while they remain critical to site identification for keyword searches, other factors are developing that are beginning to take precedence in many situations.
Once upon a time, search engines weren’t very sophisticated. A site could increase its ranking simply by “stuffing” keywords into the metadata of each page. But those days are long gone. Modern search engines go far beyond simple keyword recognition. The algorithms that determine search rank are now capable of evaluating the content of a page and determining if it is relevant and helpful to a person’s search. This makes original content creation and site development more essential than ever.
But original content isn’t enough – you should also speak to your customer’s problems and help them solve them. Remember that people go to the internet and Google to search for solutions. Your content should speak to their current problems and offer a solution.
In addition to general SEO work, businesses that focus on local customers must also optimize their websites for local SEO. This includes items like ensuring your business location is listed on all of your pages, embedding Google Maps to your Google My Business listing, utilizing local keywords, and creating localized content.
Focusing on your local campaigns is key in carving out your niche. For Google, we are increasingly seeing a movement towards showing the most relevant local sites. And for business owners and agencies, that makes a lot of sense. There is little to no value in Google showing a dentist who lives across the country in the search results, and there is little benefit for the dentist to be displayed. Making sure you know where your target audience lives, the area that you serve, and how close you need to be to your customers, will all play into your digital marketing strategy going forward.
Track Your Traffic
Install plugins and utilize the backend dashboards of the site host to continually analyze site traffic. This includes more than just how many visitors a page sees. It shows where the visitor came from, which link they used to get there, what times and locations brought the most traffic and other useful information for tracking the effectiveness of a company’s marketing campaign. Google Analytics is a free and powerful tool for tracking your website traffic.
One important update for 2023, Google Analytics is shifting from UA to GA4. This is big news as Google makes sure they continue to offer increase privacy protection to users and add both web and app data in the same property. That is good for a certain type of company that needs that ability to track all in the same place, but for most of us GA4 is taking away a lot of the standard, easy to use tools that we’ve grown accustomed to. Being aware of this change, and understanding what it means to your business is now urgent as Google plans to sunset Google Analytics GA4 within the next 6 months.
Website or web accessibility is fairly self-explanatory. It means designing and developing websites, technologies, and digital tools so everyone can use them, disabled or not. Website accessibility allows anyone to understand, navigate, contribute, and interact with the internet.
While being in compliance with your local requirements, being web accessible is also important to your business. Currently, only 10% of the internet is accessible, an incredibly low amount, and that is unacceptable in today’s day and age. Having an accessible website ensures that all of your customers have access to your website and in turn your products and services.
If you need help making your website accessible, please contact us as we have a great solution.
One of the biggest little things a company can do to increase its rank in search engine results is to include an optimized mobile site for viewing on tablets and cellular phones. The prevalence of consumers using their cell phones to browse and shop online has made it important to the search engines that those sites are available in every possible format. It does no good to have a stunning site if more than half your customers cannot see it.
Responsive design means that your website will resize itself to fit on all devices, from cell phones to desktops. Thankfully, responsive design is now an existing function within most website builders and you won’t have to pay extra for that feature.
Having a regularly updated blog with new and interesting content is a great way to engage with your audience and keep the search engines ranking you effectively. Your blog should be built as a resource for your potential customers. You can showcase previous work or projects, speak about recurring problems that people need to be solved, or simply be a place for people to catch up on industry news. Just keep in mind that the content needs to be engaging and interesting for people to actually read it.
If you want to take your blogging up a level, start to write about your customer pain points and not just about your services and products. If you are a website design company, that may mean writing a post about “How do I know it is time to update my website design” or similar topics. These will help you show up in the Google search results page for customers who may be actively seeking your help.
Engaging Landing Pages
During the campaign, it can be a benefit to offer giveaways and service trials. One effective way to leverage these offers is to place them on a special webpage on your site that can only be accessed after a call to action from either your site or through one of the various social media feeds. Use the call to action to collect user information, in exchange for access to the giveaway or newsletter. You’ll also want to look at your website to ensure that you have an engaging homepage for your visitors.
This is a great way to increase your direct marketing base and can be used later for email offers and promotions.
Social Media Channel Links
On every page of the site, either in the header bar or at the footer, there should be a list of all social media and all product distributions channels. It should be readily available and visible on each page, but not distracting from the content.
Ideally, every channel and platform you manage will feed organic traffic, back and forth, creating a web of interconnected media and action points. This overall increases the visibility and perceived authority of the content, but also helps to convert visitors into customers by moving them from information to purchasing pages effortlessly.
Freelance Web Designers and Marketing Agencies
All of these ideas can either be handled in-house by members of a company’s own marketing / social media team, or they can be outsourced to a 3rd party designer. The costs of keeping a staff position for such work might not be in the budget for many small companies, so it might be more feasible to pay a one-time setup fee to a professional service and have someone versed in social media techniques make the weekly updates.
At Evergreen we specialize in building websites that help you grow your business, customer acquisition, branding, and digital marketing. We’ve been Google Partners for almost a decade and have helped business and organizations across all sectors with their websites and marketing efforts.
Social Media Channels
Creating an effective and efficient flow of information and customer foot traffic requires having multiple avenues built. Think of every social media and distribution channel as stops on a bus route, with the company website and e-commerce site being at the center. Using the research, branding, and social media strategies developed in the earlier sections, it is time to create the other stops along the line.
- Google Business
Creating and launching these pages will give cross-platform feed of content, pulling followers from every stop—ultimately to your site, your landing pages, and converting into paying customers and clients.
Advertising on social media platforms is often very reasonably priced, considering the number of people that such advertisements are put in front of. Even a small investment can increase brand visibility and customer response rates by an incredible margin. Leveraging the work done by others to build their own site and gather customers is working smarter, not harder.
Another great way to use social media is for customer service. Often when an interested potential customer has questions, they will send feedback or inquiries to the various social media platforms. If a company makes it a priority to answer and address these messages quickly and professionally, it does two things:
First, it shows the customer that the company is interested in their needs and opinions. Secondly, many of these platforms track response rates, and a quicker response to these interactions looks very good to customers and search algorithms.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with photo and video content on these platforms. People respond to visual stimulus. They enjoy new clips and content that engages their interests. Keep it relevant and in keeping with the theme and feel of your brand, but let photos, infographics, and videos help to draw in your customers and keep them interested.
Other Marketing Channels
Finally, round out your marketing campaign with these proven strategies for the the best internet marketing business opportunities:
- Use email addresses to create a direct marketing push
- Easily collected with calls to action
- Useful for offering coupons or rebates
- Mailing list and Newsletters are effective marketing tools.
- Utilize YouTube and video streaming to offer Webinars and Classes
- Most effective if there are some small free courses or pre-recorded webinars
- Pay access to better content and more detailed classes
- Pay-Per-Click Advertising can be pricy, but offers immediate sales when the customer converts.
- Key point should be a direct and engaging landing page
- Make sure the targeted market is correct, otherwise it will be pulling in people with no chance to convert into customers—and that is simply throwing money away.
- Work with another provider to bundle your products and services together—co-marketing.
- Pulls potential customers from both businesses
- Increases sales opportunities and potential repeat clients.
When all the heavy lifting of building the campaign is finished, you may notice that you have more work than hands. At that point, when there is positive flow from your existing strategies, consider hiring a freelance content provider to scale your company’s content. This will immediately free up resources within the company and increase the reach of your offerings.
Finally, while you should always have a go-to-market strategy in place for both in-house and freelance contractors to follow, don’t be afraid to try out new marketing ideas and methods. This is a comprehensive list, but it is by no means exhaustive. Finding yourself at the front of a wave of new marketing platforms can bring rich rewards and lead you well ahead of the competition.
We’re happy to discuss your business goals and help ensure you find success. If you need help with your digital marketing, please contact us.