10 Marketing Strategies for 2014

Web Design & Development
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Travis McAshan
Published Jan 2014
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In a nutshell, your greatest success online depends on your ability to excel at most (if not all) of the areas below.

In all my experience with web marketing I have found two things. Number ONE, most people want a million dollar website for as cheap as they can get it. And number TWO, nearly all business owners have VERY little plan for lasting success online. While the first issue is a fixed problem based on budget, perceived value, and desired return on investment. The second is not only available for anyone willing to listen, but more often than not, available for any budget with a little magic I call “time, talent or treasure.”

How Can This Help You?

Basically, I have taken over 10 years of professional web marketing, all of my experience in building 575+ custom marketing websites, literally 100s of books, and possibly 1000s of articles, and boiled EVERYTHING down to it’s essense. I freely share this information because I love my job and I love helping people. It’s NOT meant to be a how to but instead a 30K foot view to make sure you don’t miss the “forest for the trees”.

What’s So Special About This List?

To be honest, I have never seen anyone clearly define (in a holistic yet understandable way), all the necessary areas required to be successful online. Additionally, I have spent many months analyzing the information and feel that there is NOT any area of online marketing that doesn’t fit nicely into one of the strategies below. Also note the list is prioritized based on cumulative effect of each strategy building on the previous strategies. Always consider the benefits and drawbacks before dismissing a specific strategy. Lastly, I hope you find some value in this list and please don’t hesitate to post comments or questions and I’ll be happy to answer.

The Cheat Sheet:

  1. Strategic Marketing (clear and systematic plan with focused goals)
  2. Website (or HUB) (web pages designed to promote a business, product, or service)
  3. Search Marketing (quality and degree of being found in online searches)
  4. Inbound Marketing (creating quality inbound links to ones own website)
  5. Content Marketing (creating and sharing original, relevant and authoritative content)
  6. Email Marketing (list of subscribers to which advertising material is digitally mailed)
  7. Social Marketing (social channels used to engage directly with customers)
  8. Paid Marketing (paying for marketing for the purpose of lead generation)
  9. Local Marketing (marketing channels used to engage in a specific geographic area)
  10. Analytical Marketing (science of analysis as it relates to making informed decisions)

#1. Strategic Marketing

Overview:

I’ve heard many definitions of strategy but by far my favorite examples is as follows. Strategy is picking up a girl for a date (with roses), taking her to the finest restaurant and nice movie, then driving to the top of the highest hilltop overlooking the city below. Tactics is everything you do AFTER. Basically, strategy is what you do to setup a successful outcome to your plans and goals. In my experience, I’ve found most individuals bypass this crucial step as if it’s just a waste of time. It reminds me of a famous quote by Lewis Carrol who once said, “if you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.” Overall, to proceed without a site strategy would be the equivalent of going in for the kiss at the beginning of a first date, it may work, but more than likely you’ll get into trouble. You need a strategy, suck it up and make it happen!

Important Elements:

  • Purpose (needs & wants)
  • Objectives (list of quantifiable goals)
  • Audience (demographics & questions)
  • Competitors (industry examples)
  • Metrics (measure success)

Helpful Articles (from Glide):

  • 7 Ways to Get Your Business Online
  • Choosing the best domain… (25 easy tips)
  • 3 Simple Questions = 1 Perfect Website
  • Can you solve their pain or fulfill their dreams?
  • What is Your PRIMARY AIM in life?

Inspiring Books:


#2. Website (or Hub)

Overview:

Your website is like a hub of a wagon wheel. You may have “spokes” that radiate from the outside in like search engines, Facebook, Google Adwords, or even bill board advertising and television commercials but at the end of the day it all comes back to your website or “hub”. Additionally, in the world of instant gratification and 24/7/365 access to all things in life, your company needs a salesman that NEVER sleeps. You had better make sure you’re 24/7/365 “salesman” is well-dressed, articulate, trustworthy, and helpful (still following me?). All in all, everyone knows they need a website, but what most people don’t realize is that all the traffic in the world will not make a poor quality website worth the opportunity cost. You MUST allocate significant effort, energy, and capital to create a “best in class” website. Think about it this way, your customers are browsing professional sites like Facebook, CNN, ESPN, not to mention your competitors great new site, they have high expectations, are you going to let them down or engage and capture?

Important Elements:

  • Strategy (systematic plan of action)
  • Presentation (attractive design)
  • Usability (easy to use)
  • Content (meaningful & engaging)
  • Traffic (get found online)
  • Conversion (achieving results)

Helpful Articles (from Glide):

Helpful Books:


#3. Search Marketing

Overview:

It takes Google about a tenth of a second to locate almost 109 MILLION results for the term “elephant”. Have you ever wondered how Google (and other search engines) decide what to put on those 10 coveted spots of the first page of results. If you’re reading this text you might at least be wondering why your competitors are showing up on the first page of Google while you’re site is nowhere to be found. Not to worry as the example above illustrates that 109 million “web pages” are competing for a very finite 10 available spots. So what’s the secret code? What’s the magic recipe that will get your site ranked highly for your most valuable terms? The good news is that the answer is easy, the hard part is having the time, talent or money to make it happen. I’ve wrote quite a few articles about SEO so feel free to self-educate or check out the books I’ve recommended or hire a company to get it done for you.

Important Elements:

  • Domain Name (keyword relevance)
  • Page Title (keyword relevance)
  • HTML Structure (use of proper tags)
  • HTML Text (keyword relevance)
  • Inbound Links (quality, quality, quality)
  • Age of Domain (older is better)
  • Site Authority (google page rank)
  • Lessor Factors (lots of little things)

Helpful Articles (from Glide):

Helpful Books:


#4. Inbound Marketing

Overview:

Knowing everything I know now and seeing many successes and failures online I can say one thing for certain. If I were to start a new business today, I would sell my kidney on the black market (ok, probably not) to procure the funds to start and manage a successful inbound marketing strategy. To put it more clearly, the importance of high quality inbound links cannot be ignored. Why you ask? Well, basically ALL major search engines are really just a big online popularity contest for each keyword you search. Google and most other search engines reward sites with high-quality inbound links (“votes” from other sites) by placing them higher in the search engine listings. This means more traffic, more conversions (phone calls and emails), more customers, and ultimately more revenue for your business. Also, unlike advertising (where links disappear), these links keep on giving your site love, day after day, month after month, and year after year. You’ve got two kidneys, sell one and get to work! And don’t forget, three things to remember about inbound links, QUALITY, QUALITY, QUALITY!

Important Elements:

  • Purchased Links (if of a high quality)
  • Directory Listings
  • Associations
  • Blogging
  • Press Releases
  • Article Syndication
  • Remarkable Content
  • Social Networking Sites
  • Partners Websites

Helpful Articles (from Glide):

Helpful Books:

  • Wordtracker Masterclass: Link Building (how to create a productive linking strategy)
  • The Link Publicity Book (spread your message across the internet like wildfire)
  • Search Engine Optimization (an hour a day)
  • Inbound Marketing (get found in google, social media, and blogs)

#5. Content Marketing

Overview:

One in four Americans online today are reading blogs, according to Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff’s Groundswell. Blog-related activity is growing by the day, and blogs are now competing as a source for people’s first news sources. Over 175,000 blogs are created every day, and bloggers write over 1.6 million posts per day, according to Technorati. There is both a need and an obvious move toward a read/write internet. While a blog can mean different things to different people, at the core is the ability to create meaningful connections with your audience. In the business world, this translates to improving your company’s communication and culture, enhancing your marketing efforts, promoting public relations and solidifying your company brand.

Important Features:

  • Research (purpose & plan)
  • Relevance (useful to your audience)
  • Credibility (believable & trustworthy)
  • Expertise (be a thought leader)
  • Personality (passion & perspective)
  • Maintenance (consistent ongoing updates)
  • Promotion (spread the word)

Helpful Articles (from Glide):

Helpful Books:


#6. Email Marketing

Overview:

Imagine for a moment I told you there were a number of very valuable antique gold coins buried in your back yard. With a little time and effort on a regular basis you’d dig up one or two a week. For the few hours you spent you’d likely net $3000-5000. Would you get to digging? This is basically a word picture of email marketing and the tremendous hidden power for your business. Most people unfamiliar with email marketing will wonder what all the fuss is about. For all their complaining and reasons to not engage in email marketing there are specific and WELL documented metrics and statistics that clearly outline the benefits. In fact, according to research conducted by the Direct Marketing Association, email marketing was expected to generate an ROI of $42.08 for every dollar spent on it in 2010. Yes, you read that right, 42 times your money back!

Important Elements:

  • Type (announcement, newsletter, catalog, press release)
  • Permission (compliance with spam laws)
  • List Building (grow and nurture your subscribers)
  • Content (relevant useful information)
  • Delivery (email marketing platform)
  • Management (consistent ongoing plan)
  • Measure (track your results)

Helpful Books:


#7. Social Marketing

Overview:

We have all heard about “it”, and we all know we need to be doing “it”. The only problem is most people don’t even know what “it” (social media) IS! The best and most simple description I have come up with is as follows. Social media is about people connecting, interacting, and sharing online. Why should you care about social media you ask? The answer is basically the same as why you should care about Google – social media is a great way to reach and engage potential customers. It’s a way to reach past the traditional forms of marketing and advertising and touch customers directly where they are, on their terms. If done right, can you can foster deep and loyal connections with your target audience. At the end of the day, don’t you want to be “hanging out” where your customers are?

Important Sites:

  • Facebook (largest and most active social network)
  • LinkedIn (business professional’s social network)
  • Twitter (growing micro-blogging platform)
  • Youtube (largest and most visited social video site)
  • StumbleUpon (social discovery site for finding and sharing great sites)
  • Digg (user-edited news aggregation)
  • And many others…

Helpful Articles (from Glide):

Helpful Books:


#8. Paid Marketing (i.e. advertising)

Overview:

If I could liken paid advertising to anything it would be like fighting a war with mercenaries. On the upside, they’re professional, easily attainable, and will generally do the job well. On the downside, the second you stop paying them their gone, and they may cost you more than you bargained for, and so it is with online paid advertising. Whether your site is well established or just getting started, the difference between success and failure can be very simple. Are people showing up at your door wanting to buy your products? The million-dollar question is how much would you be willing to pay to get them to show up? If your product costs $100, would you be willing to pay $5 per visitor knowing that “one in five” (20%) will turn into a paying customer? Based on the previous example (and depending on your profit margins and expenses) you could make up to 200-300% ROI (return on investment). While these results can be impressive beware of the addiction factor as successful campaigns can lead to more spending and ultimately more dependence. It’s sort of like “digital crack”.

Important Elements:

  • Search Advertising (google, bing, yahoo, facebook)
  • Display Advertising (feature your site on world largest sites)
  • Advertising Networks (allow others sites to display your advertising)
  • Mobile Ads (the next frontier of online marketing)
  • Email Ads (used everyday by millions)
  • Radio & Television (traditional and less targeted)
  • Print (traditional and less effective)
  • Outdoors (best for branding)

Helpful Books:


#9. Local Marketing

Overview:

There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics. Since, local online marketing is relatively knew and misunderstood, I thought a few compelling statistics would enlighten the situation. Did you know that up to 60% of customers look online first for local business (reference). Did you know that 72% more people are using search engines today than just 2 years ago, yet the majority of local business spend less than 10% of their marketing budget on any type of internet advertising. In fact only 26% of local businesses are currently investing in search engine marketing to promote their business. The use of search to find local businesses, products or services grew 58% in 2008 to reach an annual total of 15.7 billion searches (reference). If you’re a service (or products) based company with a local foot print, you MUST include local online marketing in your overall strategy for success online. Basically, the statistics spell trouble for businesses that don’t get on the “local online marketing” band wagon and a boon for those that embrace this new medium and realize it’s full awesome potential.

Important Elements:

  • Google Places (promote your business in local search)
  • Yelp (urban city guide formed by user comments)
  • CitySearch (useful online city guide)
  • Groupon (localized daily deals website)
  • Living Social (same as groupon)

Helpful Books:


#10. Analytical Marketing

Overview:

Most scrupulous (and savvy) business owners know they should be tracking their site statistics. In fact, as of 2010, 73% of businesses are using web analytics. The most important question is… are you are using website analytics to make critical marketing decisions? If you’re not using it to review your site performance (e.g. traffic, bounce rate, conversion) and make optimizations, you might as well uninstall it. That might sound harsh but the more website traffic you receive the more chances you have of making incremental improvements to site performance. The opportunity cost in poor site performance affects conversion, which affects lead generation, and of course lost future sales. Software like Google Analytics is free, readily available, and takes minutes to setup, there is no reason to not have this great marketing tool.

Important Elements:

  • Metrics (knowing what numbers to track)
  • Tools (technology used to allow tracking)
  • Measure (ongoing reporting of metrics)
  • Analysis (comparing metrics with objectives)
  • Optimize (changes to increase successful outcomes)

Helpful Books:

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