Right so this article is going to be very transactional. I’m not going to delve into the intricacies of building a brand or developing trust between you and your desired customer audience. This is more a framework and a top level strategy that any business can follow to generate sales online.
Websites, call to action (CTA) and tracking
Firstly and most importantly start with your website. Create a mechanism where people can either buy your product or get in touch with you in order to make a purchase. For me a campaign starts with a clear purpose, which will have a related call to action (CTA). You should set up a CTA goal for each product or service that you provide. You can think of each web page with a CTA as a new campaign.
(Some people do not use the website as it is easier to use social media. The pros of social platforms include that it is easy for people to get in touch and it is cheap, if not free, to set up. The cons are that the tracking is often not so robust or as easy to set up as on a website and often you end having to pay extra for the analytics. Plus you then become reliant on a system, whose price is likely to go up or down and you’ll have no choice but to pay it as you are so reliant on the tool).
My focus is going to be on using your site. So once you have given people an opportunity to buy you then need to track it using an event set in Google Tag Manager. Now you have got an event you can link a Goal to that event in Google Analytics. This means you can use GA to track the efficacy of the digital channels that you use to promote your campaign.
People clicking on these CTAs and getting in touch with you is how you make money or generate leads online. This is not hard to set up, but it is vital to track it in the right way.
For this process to work you only need to have your main call to action tracked. You can however add numerous touchpoints such as document downloads, newsletter sign ups etc. and set up the tracking in exactly the same way. I’ll refer to this as “touchpoint tracking” as opposed to your main site CTA. I will explain further about the benefits of “touchpoint tracking” later in this article.
Now you have a clear process to track success, so you can start with your marketing channels. The best channel to learn lessons quickly, generate quality data and get results quickest is PPC.
You should set each campaign in AdWords around each one of your CTAs
I won’t focus on the intricacies of building campaigns, ads, ad groups or doing keyword research but these steps are essential. Also connecting AdWords to you Analytics so you can clearly track success against your goal is important. Paid advertising should never be undertaken without a clear goal. I would also add that goal needs to be related to financial performance too. Far too often I have heard people say that “this campaign delivered X amount of signups”, my reaction is “so what? Was it really worth spending money on?” Financial goals are the clearest measures of success.
From your AdWords campaign you can find out how competitive each of your CTA campaigns is and which adgroups and keywords best convert for your company. It often isn’t the most popular keyword that converts best for your site, generally it is about focussing on a specific niche for your business. Most companies will have some idea about what their niche is but this is a great process for testing whether that niche is viable.
The information that you have collected from the PPC work around which areas and keywords work for your specific niche can be used to refine your SEO strategy. The words that are important within your paid campaigns should be mirrored on your site. Focus on any long tail keywords that appear frequently and focus on questions that may have been used.
PPC is a great strategy for creating quick wins for your business but needs to always be financed and managed. SEO does not and over the long term should drive more traffic to your site. Below are 7 steps to follow in order to set up successful SEO (points 1 & 2 have already been covered in the article).
- Build product or service pages on your site using search terms that were successful in your PPC campaigns.
- Set up Analytics, Tag Manager and Search Console on your sites to report success/progress.
- Update web content to better reflect your chosen service areas. Update headings, URLs, alt text, title tags, meta descriptions etc. so that they are consistent
- Create specific landing pages for specific terms. For example your chosen search term with a specific region or a specialist area within your main product or service areas
- Create generic content about what you do. Use this on directories and on social media Make sure to include a link to the site, a phone number and email address. Add to the most popular directories and social sites.
- Push the reviews as much as possible with every client. Start with Google reviews but other popular review sites are important too.
- Add schema markup for your pages.
- Create backlinks to your site, you can copy the backlinks that your competitors websites use using tools such as Ubersuggest
Over time this strategy should draw people in and should continue to generate ongoing revenue for your business through the main CTAs being clicked. You can track the efficacy using the Organic results in your Google Analytics Channels report and can see specific keyword performance in you Google Search Console results.
So in order to track the efficacy of your email campaigns you will need to use UTM parameters (explained here on my website). So we are talking about emails focussed on your website conversion campaign areas. The most engaged and responsive group to your campaigns are generally people that have bought from you before. Or the group of people that made contact with you, obviously considered a purchase but then never went through with it. These are your most engaged audience via email.
It is vital that you are categorising the contacts that you collect in the right way. I would suggest to keep things simple use the same areas that you have used for your web CTA campaigns. This way you can easily retarget these contacts using email. These groups, based around the products and services that you offer, will make up your primary customer segments. This then means that you have got the very start of some groups to continue your ongoing email campaigns towards.
These groups are split by the services that you provide so if you have relevant offers these can be pushed out to them. Also as you start creating content you want to relate it to the products and services that you offer. If your content, customers and products/services are all segmented using the same model this makes things easy to start with your email/eCRM strategy.
If you have set up “touchpoint tracking” on your website you can start automating messages when these touchpoints have been achieved. In order to market to these people, you will need to explicitly ask them for optin to contact them with marketing emails in the future. Each of the touchpoints should be connected to your CTAs on your website and categorised accordingly. You are therefore able to send the most appropriate follow ups to the prospects that have opted in. These are your second most engaged audience via email. You can therefore develop an ongoing strategy to contact them with relevant offers, news and updates based around the category that they’ve shown an interest in.
This is using email as part of your inbound email marketing strategy. Later I will discuss how email can be used as part of an account based marketing strategy.
There is a whole load of data that could be written about CRM and data marketing strategy, I am going to keep this really brief and as simple as possible. As your company grows you need to have a data strategy in place.
The first type of segmentation that we spoke about before is cataloguing – segmentation in terms of your product or service groupings.
The second type is profiling, which is vital to be set-up strategically within your CRM. By this stage in the process your company should have collected some customers so you will have at least some of this information on them – kinds of jobs that they have, the sorts of industries they work in, the kinds of content that they engage with etc. The most important information for profiling (assuming that you already have a name and contact details) are fields such as job title, industry worked in, company name, content previously interacted with etc.
These pieces of information can be used for highly targeted and personalised sales pitches based on either past interactions or something specific to their role, interest, company or industry. Once this data is saved it can be used to build email or social contact lists to be targeted with account based marketing campaigns.
Now you’ve established who your audience is through the CRM you are able to focus on the sorts of people you would like to be your customers.
You can use this information to start to connect with the kinds of people that you feel may like to do business with you. In order to build a community I would use the boolean search function in LinkedIn. Also the All Filters search tool can be used for highly targeted results. You can add these people into your community and share content with them, you can then also target them with personal messages or you can use a tool called Skrapp.io to extract their email address and contact them via email. This is only for B2B contacts and should not be used for B2C campaigns due to GDPR restrictions.
This is a very direct sales led strategy. The real value that can be gained from social media is through growing a brand and a receptive audience via social media. I believe that this is the best long term strategy but there are so many variations of how to grow your brand that I don’t think that I would be doing the topic justice by squeezing it onto the end of this blog. I did write a blog about how growing your brand through digital marketing is so important; I hope that you enjoy it!
If you need help running any of your digital marketing campaigns feel free to get in touch!