There is always a lot of focus on specific topics. Search engine optimization and social media management spring to mind. And for good reason. Both can deliver more returns than the cost to activate. But are you looking across a broad spectrum of tactics? Do you have a plan for multiple areas that can be activated to help propel your business higher? Let’s take a look at the most common areas businesses should be thinking of. These are in no particular order, as what matters most will vary between businesses.
- Paid Search
- Long the darling of ecommerce, any site that has a conversion can use paid search (PPC) to its advantage. Understanding how to write good, compelling ad copy is important, and managing each ecosystem to affect click and conversion rates takes time and dedication, but is often worth it.
- Display Advertising
- Banner ads! People love to hate them, but if you’re after brand awareness, it’s tough to beat a display ad takeover on a popular website to plant your message and brand in front of the masses. Typically seen as a low performer in terms of click through rates (CTRs), this is highly dependent on things like your imagery, call to action and placements, not to mention sizing. Like a holiday dinner or pickup trucks, bigger is better.
- Paid Social
- Social is not really where you go to “sell” per se, and paying for social exposure doesn’t change that. Still great for getting your message to the top of the heap and making it stick around for a while; paid social is gaining its fair share of proponents. Rates are often low, CTRs can be solid – what’s not to like?
- Email Marketing
- You’ve all heard the proclamations: “Email is dead; Long live email!”. Truth is, email is still one of the highest performing conversion mediums on the go today. You have a loyal customer, who already trusts you and includes you in their life. Maybe rewarding them for that inclusion and offering a small discount to email subscribers is just the ticket to snag some additional sales this weekend?
- Public Relations
- Repeat after me: “I will not put out a press release unless I have something newsworthy to say.” And just because you WANT to say it, that doesn’t mean it’s worth saying in a press release. Abused so much as a way to gain links and overused as an optimization tool, the press release still has a job to do: alert press to something newsworthy. Press today are so flooded by useless press releases, they usually ignore most of them anyway. Not saying it has to be Earth shattering news (though if you are about to shatter our planet, a little notice would be nice). But telling the world’s press you’re now open an extra hour on Saturdays is hardly going to light the sky ablaze.
- Conversion Optimization
- Still under-utilized. This process examines your sales funnel and refines it to gain more revenue by introducing conversion producing actions and eliminating conversion robbing ones. Definitely worth sourcing an expert for this stuff. CO has been a boon of many a business, turning average conversion performance on its head with explosive growth. For my money, this topic and the one that follows, are a cinch for budget if I’m spending money to market a site.
- An old standby that so many skip in favor of putting budget into the new and flashy. Why anyone would skip getting direct feedback form their customers on ways to improve things is still baffling. This should be a natural first stop in any search optimization plan.
- Organic Social
- Good ol’ fashioned social media. Still a fave for creating dialogue, engaging with customers and calling out people and businesses when they do wrong. Whether you’re here or not, there’s a conversation happening about you at some point. Far better to be engaged and seen to care, than to miss the conversation and seem aloof. Some of the greatest customers start as social antagonists, but once engaged, they change their minds and become a fan. And who doesn’t want more people cheering for their business?
- Search Engine Optimization
- One of the grand daddy’s of online marketing tactics, this one still has a lot of value. Today’s optimization should center around covering the known best practices, building a better user experience and developing standout content that impresses visitors. Many of yesterday’s shortcuts are spam signals today, so make sure, as you learn, that your sources are current. That’s free ebook on eBay, probably not the most reliable source of up-to-date SEO information. Long standing consultants, trusted news sites and blogs that have been sharing info for years, a much safer bet. SEO is still a fundamental; a baseline marketing tactic every website should engage in. Just don’t get too mired down in the details.
You might not be able to execute on all of these, but at least you have a list of tactics you can turn to when the budget tree drops some green your way. And in many cases, while your usual tactics may perform well, introducing a new tactic, or refocusing on one that’s just humming along, can see nice increases in responses, clicks, traffic and conversions.
What would you add to this list? What other online marketing tactics do you think perform well and people should remember to employ?
Sr. Product Manager