How do you best organise your digital marketing activity and what tips do you have for beginners? We put that two-pronged question to 49 of the most well-known, active and experienced bloggers in the online and SEO industry, and they came back with some great advice and top tips for you. The other 0.5 is my own input. Information overload? Don’t worry, we’ve broken it down and over the next few weeks will be presenting them to you as an easy-to-digest, surefire way to help you set your own marketing strategy off on the road to success.
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First of all, you need to determine who your target audience is. After that, you have to define a clear inbound strategy based on these key points:
- Use SEO and content marketing to increase the traffic to your site. The main goal you should think of when creating content is that it should help customers in some way. It should answer some questions; it should satisfy a certain need.
- Convert that traffic into leads. Offer your visitors exactly what they are looking for. (e.g a specific ebook/freebie closely related to the page they are visiting). Don’t use general freebies - be as specific as possible and ask for an email in exchange for the freebie.
- Warm up your cold leads, creating clever email funnels. Be patient, do not rush to sell your products.
- Control and A/B test everything. Your inbound strategy has to be data driven. Using different tracking tools, statistic reports and analysis, you can evaluate the performance of your inbound marketing in order to determine just how much your company can benefit from this kind of marketing.
The goal of inbound marketing is to introduce your company to potential customers. Instead of using a straightforward approach and directly advertising your product, inbound marketing is focused on earning the attention and credibility through interesting and useful content.
We organise our inbound marketing first by segment, before determining which channel is most appropriate. We do this by looking at our target audience, then break the audience down into smaller specific groups. Gender, location, interests, ethnicity etc. Spend time getting to know the characteristics of these target groups in order to find the best channels to reach them.
Our inbound content is generated based on which of the small groups we target, allowing us to acquire users starting with the low-hanging fruit. Once we tackle that, then we can dig even deeper into the niche segments and tailor the content and communication to the specific personas.
Great inbound marketers are great collectors. They are continuously gathering ideas and examples that will eventually turn into articles. Read, listen and watch. Whenever you find something that might work within a piece, grab it and add it to the pile. They key is to organise all these partial posts within a system. Some marketers use paper, some use Evernote or Trello, others just keep many drafts of posts within WordPress. I use Google Docs.
It’s a spreadsheet with several tabs. One tab is a list of everything I’ve ever written. Another is a list of articles that I’m currently focused on promoting. The third tab is filled with ideas and partially-written articles.
I open this tab several times per day for two main reasons:
- 1. If I get an article idea ...I add it here
- 2. If I see something that supports an article idea ...I add it here
There are many sources of ideas for blog content (spoiler alert: the best sources of topics are based on Analytics) so the trick is to keep them organised. So you need to have a tool.
Getting your process in place is the key to advancing from a beginning marketer to an expert. Great a process, support it with tools. Be a great collector.
Having a good set of processes in place is really helpful when you have multiple people working on projects together. We use Basecamp as a communication tool to share project deadlines and to manage the progress of projects. Setting up tasks in Todos, and sharing information with one another when we learn something new helps us all achieve and all develop.
We've also been using Slack to share ideas, and to facilitate brainstorming between us - putting ideas out there enables all of us to be involved and to grow together. We also use Google Hangouts for weekly and monthly meetings, and those give everyone a chance to participate and to be heard.
To start organising inbound marketing activities, we break it up by channel. For example, say we know we are going to focus on organic, social, and sponsored content. In these cases, we'd begin by researching and brainstorming our tactics for each channel. For organic, we may decide that we want to focus on link building by developing deeply creative content and pitching them to journalists.
For social, we may decide that we'll be writing very tactical blog posts and working with influencers to promote them. And for sponsored content, we might decide to perform research studies and place them on websites that our target audience reads daily. In each case, we deconstruct each of these strategies into individual tasks, and then begin assigning these tasks out to the team with specific dates.
In terms of mechanics, a lot of the work happens with tasks in Basecamp, and a lot of collaboration and brainstorming takes place in Slack. The end result is a very structured and organised project, with very focused outcomes.
Understanding the audience comes first. To develop empathy for an audience, you need to walk in their shoes. We use persona mapping to develop a broader understanding of who each persona really is. From their characteristics, daily routines and the challenges they’re up against, persona mapping provides solutions for your audience and helps you to discover what makes your customers tick.
It’s make or break time with content! Our content follows the ‘See, Think, Do, Delight’ funnel. This ensures that the content we produce always offers the audience some real value. Following the funnel not only provides concise information, but also shows the audience that we’ve identified a difficulty they may face, and have prepared a solution.
Long-standing brands have one major secret to success: storytelling. People think in stories, so weaving them around a brand helps strengthen the message you’re conveying. For my weekly podcast Getting Goosebumps, I interview industry experts who offer unique insight into turning stories into a successful strategy.
Top tips for beginners:
- Know your audience first. You can only expect audience engagement when you’re really offering them some real value.
- Stick with one main and one secondary channel to begin with. Maintaining focus will help your online following to grow.
- Find where your community live online. Then, start monitoring it! From the language they’re using, the topics they’re talking about and the hash tags keeping them connected, your content should be a reflection of your community.
- Use smart and efficient tools.
- Start using stories. To entice your audience, you need to take them through the journey of experiencing your brand. Following the structure of an awesome story helps create believable characters and showcase how your brand can benefit your customers.
The organisational project management software we use for our clients is Basecamp. It makes it easy to allocate all resources, tasks, files and communication into one central location.
I have found project management software is essential when working with a team or on a large Internet marketing project. I recommend utilising Search Console and Google Analytics to create baseline reports. You can use these free tools for benchmarking your progress. You need to understand where you are at in the beginning to be able to measure the success of your campaign. Google Drive is another free asset I recommend when starting any link acquisition campaign. Be sure to include link destination, username, and password.
Keeping your links actively updated in a Google Drive document will prevent redundant activities and allow you to make updates to the profiles you’ve created if there is a change in the business.
You can break most SEO (search engine optimisation) campaigns down into two core activities that will help the campaign progress - targeting keywords and getting backlinks. If you’re trying to rank for “excellent blue widgets” then your content, meta-data and design should pertain to excellent blue widgets.
Utilise related phrases, synonyms, plural and singular use of the keyword and try to answer common questions about them. The other core activity is obtaining links or “backlinks” from other websites.
Think of links in a similar manner as votes. The more links/votes your site has the better opportunity it has to rank well in the search engines.
Keep in mind you only want to obtain backlinks from curated sites that are up to date and authoritative.
I like to start out inbound marketing initiatives with knowing what the desired result/end goal is and work back from there.
By knowing what my goal is, I have a better idea of what needs to be done in order to make it happen. Plus, I will know what metrics need to be measured and tracked throughout the inbound initiative. In order to stay on top of things, call me old school but I like to either jot down an outline in Word, put together something in Excel, or build out something in Trello, depending on what needs to be done. It's important to know what needs to be created, promoted and the time frames that go with them.
My tip for beginners is to be very conscience of your data. What needs to be measured? How is it collected? Where is it reported? Most of all is it accurate. Nothing sends a campaign off the deep end like bad data.
The core of any new business is the daily discipline to create structure. Once you establish this you can create anything.
The daily discipline allows you to create a flexible platform from which your business can be built brick by brick. In this relatively new (yes 20 years is new) paradigm of online business it is very easy to slip into overwhelm. The only way to build your business and audience is through trust. First you have to learn to trust yourself, your intuition, which informs your decisions, to create direction and the strategies to achieve the outcomes.
Structure, focus and repeated courageous action wins the race. Think of the 3 little pigs: you need foundations to withstand the inevitable storms that are part of every life and business.
I teach people to know who they are, how to love what they are doing. Love the process and the outcome is inevitable. Do learn from my mistakes - I have made plenty.
Now enough of the theory, action wins the day, every day. So here are some practical tips.
- Consistency, clarity and constancy are the hallmarks of any brand. When you begin you need to build your muscles before you run the race. Building your muscle requires focus and discipline to keep showing up, with intention, action and reflection. Decide on one platform you like and WILL do: Instagram, FB, LinkedIn. Learn to rock it. Do not move to another until you have it humming like a vintage Mercedes. Learn how to schedule it, systemise it, create conversations and interactions on it.
- Get in front of your audience. As Seth Godin says: “You don't need more people, you need more things to sell to the same people.” People who you get, get you. They want more of whatever you are giving. Always remember you are serving them as they are serving you.
- When blogging, speak your truth. There are lots and lots of people saying the same thing and only some will resonate with what you say and how you say it. Blog to find your voice. Allow it to evolve as you do, as your business does. Keep in mind a person when you are writing. What do you want them to know, feel, do? Guest blogging on bigger curated sites are a great way to build your audience and build credibility. Allow your medium to change as you gain confidence. Are you better on video, writing or podcast, speaking? Choose, commit, recommit and apply tip #1
- Feed everything to your list. This is all you own. Then make sure your email marketing is set up so the autoresponders are in place. You only need to do this once and it will serve you for months if not years. It will take a day or two to write all the emails that ensure your personality and brand are in place but do this right and it will feed you like your mother without you ever having to ask what's for lunch.
- Build community. Share. Be generous. Connect your clients through a Facebook group, an event, mastermind, email. Give them an opportunity to interact and learn from each other. Expand their world and allow them to expand yours. You’ll know this is really working when the community is operating without you. Don’t neglect them. Keep showing up.
Evgeniy Garkaviy - editor & SEO consultant for Marches Hour Directory and #MarchesHour
When we talk about organising inbound marketing strategy, I would suggest to start with setting your goals. If you know exactly what you want to achieve – you can effectively plan your time.
Communication is very important for everyone. I suggest having a clear idea how you will reach your customers and how to communicate with them. It could be social networks, email campaign etc. Also video is very effective. If you are selling services I would recommend having a free trial option. People like to hear the word “FREE” and especially when it comes to purchasing something.
When you know exactly how to bring your customers to your website, you must create a well-planned place to put them all together – a landing page.
Your product/services must have a very good description and how your clients can benefit from it. Don’t add too much information.
People do not like reading and you must catch their attention in a few seconds. That is why your main information should be placed in the header. If you can make it interesting, people will click the “buy” or “sign up” button instead of the back button.
Another very important step is call-to-action. Be sure they are not very simple and at the same time are not overdesigned.
At the end of your inbound marketing campaign you should have something like this:
- 1. Start date
- 2. End date
- 3. Goal – achieved or not achieved
If you've read so far, congratulations - It means you're as serious about inbound marketing as we are.
Check back with us soon for the next instalment in our list, or download the full 49.5 tips in one great eBook.
Can't wait to get all 49.5 tips? Want them all in one go? Well, you can here.