Everyone knows that in order to make more money online you either have to increase the volumes of website traffic, or increase conversion rates (or both
Top 5 questions to ask your head of digital marketing
Online marketing is about much more than introducing carefully selected keywords and phrases into content to optimize for organic search; or build up backlinks to increase traffic.
The phrases marketing & SEO have become really broad - basically, they can mean anything involving PPC, conversion optimization, analytics, social media, and a host of other activities.
A digital marketing director needs a broad range of experience, and an intuitive knowledge of not only how content, social media, search and advertising interact to form an evolving mosaic, but also how your own brand and web real estate fit into that "fabric".
With a deep understanding of your brand's position, and a clear vision of where it needs to go, the leadership then needs to invoke a host of creative and technical skills to generate the right content, understand its effect, and react and refine accordingly.
You need to know that the person in charge is fully aware of their responsibilities. All too often companies hire someone on, and assume the job is done because the position is filled by someone who met the stipulated criteria. The fact that overall traffic volumes increase marginally subsequent to employing a digital specialist is not sufficient evidence that all your company's SEO requirements are being met.
Here are five important questions that I would ask someone in charge of a company's strategy and implementation.
1. Can you list all business objectives?
There's no point in having a marketing department working furiously when no-one knows what the ultimate goals are. Are you entirely satisfied that a complete business requirements analysis has been performed and that a comprehensive list of business objectives has been drawn up?
Business objectives influence every aspect of marketing because every ounce of work that goes in must further these objectives in some way. The head must be intimately acquainted with these objectives, since they guide him/her in everything they do.
2. Can you demonstrate how each of the objectives are reflected in the marketing activities?
If the head of marketing has a good idea of what is required from your campaigns, then it should be easy for them to demonstrate how everything from the design and layout of the website, to the frequency, timing and content of the tweets, are informed by these objectives.
There's little point in wasting resources and man-hours on SEO campaigns that aren't specifically tailored to further one or more of your business objectives.
Don't be remiss in your evaluation here either. If a business objective is to build a social media following, then tweeting is part of that. But how effective is the current twitter strategy? How many followers do you have? What is their level of engagement?
3. Are we driving new traffic and increasing conversion rates?
We can define a "conversion" as the fulfilment of any business objective for the sake of this argument. So what effect are the campaigns having on these conversions? If the company's online spend is $80 000 per month, then what is coming out at the other end to justify this expense?
Understand Traffic vs. Conversions
Yes, often strategies need to take a medium and sometimes long term view, but the person in charge needs to be able to justify SEO related performance at any time, day or night.
4. Can you prove that conversions are optimized?
Let's say that your website or landing pages are converting at 2%. Is the person in charge convinced that this is the best possible?
Has the company performed split testing? Do you have multiple landing pages to cater for different audiences? Are you funnelling traffic to the correct landing pages optimally? Has all available analytical data been scrutinized to identify traffic patterns and behaviors that can be used to further maximize conversions?
Learn how to create effective sales funnels.
Optimizing conversions extends to technical aspects of online business too.
This makes it important to be aware of technical SEO issues in addition to marketing and sales funnels considerations. You can learn more about speed & SEO in the technical SEO section of our comprehensive guide to search optimization.
5. What refinements have been made in the last few months?
This is a great question because it covers multiple bases.
Is your marketing department being dynamic? Are they adapting and evolving in response to changes in search, trends, social media, society, and anything else that affects the stated business objectives. Or, are they plodding along - going through the same routine day in and day out.
Just because a campaign worked once, doesn't mean it should be implemented without question in perpetuity. The Internet changes. Your company needs to adapt with it.
Explore Alternative Marketing Strategies
Check out these 20+ marketing strategies to help grow your business online.
If changes have been made, is it clear that they are the correct response? In other words, has the data collected been properly analyzed. Have the correct conclusions been drawn? Are the changes in line with the business objectives?
Content fatigue, when it comes to finding innovative and creative marketing advice, is becoming a serious time burglar for me.
Check out this list of ten great hyperlocal marketing strategies, by Carlo Pandian, that can help to drive local consumers to your site.
Social media marketing is one of those things that most entrepreneurs and small business owners wonder if they really need.
In general, my answer is yes, but I need to qualify that by saying that the amount of time, effort and cash you invest must be proportional to the returns you want (and can realistically achieve).
I serve on the board of a wonderful not-for-profit, registered charity, and we have utilized the tools and technologies provided by the Web, and in particular, social media, to drive visibility, engagement, and awareness that would simply be out of reach otherwise.
PPC (Pay Per Click) advertising on a platform like Google AdWords can be challenging to ge
It can be a challenge, especially if you're new to the game, understanding what marketing jargon means.
Coming up with marketing ideas for small business can be a challenge.
Imagine you could hire a Jedi to sell your products and reach out to new people using their famous mindtricks. Seems almost unfair, right?
If you're in the business of making and selling unique stuff then the marketing strategies you use should reflect the creativity of your products in order to reach out to the right people.
Fortunately the Internet is full of the "right people" just waiting to place an order. But your message has to find them in the right place in the right way.
That's why it pays to think creatively about marketing instead of following the pack and doing the same old "tried and tested" things.
Starting an affiliate program to market your business online is a great way to get real growth - but it comes with dangers that you must manage pro-actively from the start.
By definition, affiliate marketing hands a degree of control over to the publishers who market on your behalf.
Because these publishers are incentivized with sales commissions, they may end up using advertising and promotional strategies that your own company might not be comfortable with.
For many bloggers, webmasters and entrepreneurs there's nothing quite as exciting as seeing an article or brand mention taking on a life of its own and gener
When I started my first company some years ago I placed all my focus on creating a great offering, but almost no effort went into sales and networking. Needless to say that it took an incredibly long time to get off the ground - 6 years in fact.
During that time I learned a lot about how business works, and my focus has shifted almost completely onto sales, marketing and networking.
Nowadays, a good idea with a quality product backed by excellent service is the bare minimum required to succeed. Because there is so much competition (especially online), what sets companies apart these days is how effectively they can network and promote themselves.