Previously, I shared that it is important to know very clearly why you are doing web marketing. Once this is clearly defined, you would find it easier to identify where to go, which paths to take and also get support from management to the complex web of digital marketing. In this 3rd and final series, I would share some elements required to be as sharp as possible in your digital marketing initiative.
Dress For Success!
When it comes to social media marketing, the definition of success between SMEs and MNCs can be markedly different.
This was precisely what I discovered in a collaborative campaign with several partners.
Depending on the structure of a digital marketing campaign, a simple roadmap and measurements are preliminary elements to guide the campaigners when they lost their way.
For a start, many SMEs do not have deep pockets and run their operations on a tight ship. The combined efforts which I was a part of helped in pooling of resources and expertise. This accelerated learning and economies of scale.
I’ve dissected a few key components in this spectrum to help crystalise in navigating the complex web of digital marketing…
- Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is one of the most common techniques digital agencies promote to endusers. It is better suited for longer run-time campaigns to promote an organisation’s brand and services via its website
- Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is more apt for near-term, run-rate programmes. This relates to keywords search, where users input pre-defined words or phrases in the search field of an internet browser. When a search is complete, a list of items would then appear on the screen.
For instance, the image below is an example of the search for description, Office 365, a cloud computing service which I tested on Google search. And the results show links related to my search words…
- Social Media Marketing (SMM) falls largely in the domain of social platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest, among others. SMM is also suitable for near-term campaigns. You need to work out and map your products or services to the type(s) of platforms
Don’t get carried away to be present at all popular sites. The cost could kill you. This also dilutes marketing resource and could negate campaign’s effectiveness.
Whichever way you go, pilot test your campaign. A rule-of-thumb is to test your chosen platforms. Keywords can be arranged in different sets or channels for a pre-determined amount of time, such as one week.
If time allows, consider stretching to 10 or 14 days. Then move to a different set of keywords or different sites and channels.
After your campaign runs for a few weeks, track records would be built and you would have better insights for analysis. Below is an image of a web marketing campaign I spearheaded with an agency
One of the most popular B2B web marketing platform is LinkedIn. But before you embark on it, take a moment to think through if your targeted audience are on this platform?
Take some time to digest and familiarise yourselves with what LinkedIn has to offer.
There are several advertising options your business could go for; such as banner and text advertisements or InMail service. Below are some quick pointers to ponder if LinkedIn is suitable…
- The type of connections, endorsements, recommendations or contents an advertiser has could play a subtle difference in the success or failure in using InMail service
- Your job title or designation in LinkedIn profile could be a showstopper and whether you get any response from your InMail message
- Another consideration is the organisation one represents. If you belong to a Fortune 500 or 1000 corporations, you would have a good chance of your targeted members taking a second look at your email you sent to them
If the organisation, yourself or any of your colleagues involved in a digital marketing campaign don’t have good designations or corporate branding, try to avoid LinkedIn InMail advertising service.
Below is a summary result between Facebook and LinkedIn InMail advertising platforms. After analysing, my team and I decided to re-allocate our ad dollars and forgo LinkedIn.
LinkedIn, I felt, has also become spammy. Almost every week, I would receive an email about collaboration but stop short of being clear in what they do. Now, I just chucked such emails aside after a cursory glance.
If you do use LinkedIn’s InMail to reach out to your target audience, be sure to be clear and concise.
Dashboard, Reporting And Analytics
An important and mundane aspect of your digital marketing effort is in reporting. As the saying goes, if one cannot measure, one cannot improve.
It is a process which could help you ‘dive’ deeper into your campaigns, course correct, complement any of the research you have done and learn the art of asking relevant questions.
If you outsource to digital agency, ask them what kind of reporting methodologies they provide in their services.
These are some common parameters to draw up…
- Google Analytics has a dashboard with an overview for advertisers to capture a quick summary of their campaign
- Daily, weekly or monthly report? Depending on your business, daily frequency can be an overkill. Not to mention the cost of the management fees. A monthly report is usually too long a stretch. Weekly timeframe is most commonly practised
Below is an image sample of a weekly report to a cloud computing campaign I ran at YouTube.
- Pay attention to clicks or ‘Click Through Rates (CTR). This is a common and useful measurement. The CTR is an agreed target set during the initial phase of planning
- Check the industry standards of CTR and tie it to your own target and result. There is quite a bit of research work you may need to undertake and it could be overwhelming if you are in a SME environment with minimum skillsets or manpower to manage
- Once your campaign starts and hopefully gain traction, you could tie in to the potential marketing qualified leads (MQLs). Depending on the operating aspect of your business, CTR is usually not a sale yet. You would still need to convert them into sales qualified leads (SQLs)
Generally, dashboards provide vantage view and can convey visually some underlying stories about your campaigns.
Summary or conclusion for each reporting stage usually comes with recommendations as well.
Education. Upskill And Relearn.
I was at a Get-Together networking event by Digital Marketing Summit Asia, Singapore in Mar 2018 and had the chance to meet solution providers and fellow advertisers.
One of the conversations most talked about among the attendees was whether which is the most effective channel to adopt for businesses to market themselves digitally?
As this is quite a broad question, the usual response heard was, ‘it depends’, followed by the usual suspects, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, SEO, SEM, SMM and you probably know many others and can rattle them off…
While I was exchanging ideas with several fellow advertisers, two including myself came from the B2B IT industry, one was from fashion and lifestyle and three were from different sectors of MICE.
One of the attendees who came from the upstream side of digital marketing joined in.
After listening for a while, this person shared some thoughts and insights in choosing an effective channel and pointed to an aspect of digital marketing that many people neglect, and this is training. Educate yourselves.
While a learner may not be in the profession of a full-fledged digital marketer, and especially if one is not a digital native, it is good to pick up some basic knowledge, apply those knowledge where possible, and discuss to accelerate learning.
This is especially so that SMEs possess some basic know-how and when the need to outsource arise, SMEs can be more effective in managing their own marketing resources.
There are many online resources to acquire basic understanding in digital and web marketing. It is also recommended to be guided in a classroom-based setting as this allows you to ask questions and get responses quicker and accelerate your learning curve.
I hope you enjoy reading the series of posts. Wish you all the best in your web marketing journey.