6 steps to a successful marketing plan this year

Call to action

Call to actionAnyone responsible for developing an organisation’s marketing in 2014 needs to be sure they are using the modern marketing techniques that are essential to helping any business grow today.

What constitutes “modern marketing”?

It means doing the right things to make sure that people who are looking for the products and services you sell can actually find you and then using the right tools to convert a high percentage of those people into leads or paying customers.

Before you draw up your marketing plans, consider these 6 steps to create a successful marketing plan:

1. Start publishing great content

The key to modern marketing is content and blogging is the best way to share great content. In fact, blogging is an effective way to attract traffic from your desired audience for three reasons.

i. Search engines love fresh content and will reward you for it. Blogging is a great way to get more fresh content.

ii. People aren’t very keen on linking to a boring corporate website, but they will link to interesting blog posts. Blogging can help you get more links for your site, helping grow your Google PageRank and, of course, encouraging more people to visit the site.

iii. Each blog article is its own webpage (assuming your blog is set up correctly) and therefore is a unique search opportunity. This allows you to steadily accrue dozens of long tail search terms.

2. Search Engine Optimisation

Search engine optimisation, aka SEO, puts you way ahead of your competition. If two websites are selling the exact same product, the search engine optimised site is more likely to have many more customers and make more sales.

Most search engine users are more likely to choose one of the top 5 suggestions at the top of the results page. They are unlikely to go continue past page 1 or trawl their way through hundreds of search results. This means that if you want potential customers to find you, click on the link and visit your site you need to rank as high up the search engine page as possible.

In fact, in our experience working with dozens of leading organisations, and even small businesses, SEO is the number one way to drive quality traffic to a website.

An important part of SEO means giving search engines the right clues to what your website is about and what types of people should find your website. You need to make sure you use the right keywords in the page content.

You will also want to attract more links to your website in order to receive more targeted traffic from search engines. But you want to be sure to receive these links from more trustworthy websites. Not all links are great, so be careful with link-building exercises.

3. Consider your paid media options

As inbound marketers we are generally reluctant to spend money on paid media when we can earn media with great content, social networks and search. But in the last few years the big social networks have become more adept at providing decent advertising products that are more of a natural fit with inbound marketing.

Facebook in particular now has strong advertising products such as Promoted Posts and Promoted Pages that work much better than traditional display ads.

We now recommend considering these options, especially if you are sharing great content or running a promotion with a strong call to action.

4. Weave social media into the fabric of your organisation

Social media should no longer be the sole responsibility of one person stuck at a desk. Social media channels have an insatiable need for regular and current information; stories, photos, short videos and updates. One person can’t, and shouldn’t, be responsible. In fact, every person involved with your company needs to be on the same page about using social media – not just what is prohibited, but what is encouraged – to leverage it’s full benefit.

5. Convert with Calls-to-Action

The days of the website as virtual brochure are long gone. These days its crucial to drive your visitors to take an action. That could be downloading a whitepaper, requesting a demo, or buying a product.

The call-to-action is just that – the element or elements on your website that gets visitors to actually interact with your site.

You should be aiming to capture more of your traffic through lead capture forms. By regularly testing your forms you can often increase your conversion rate significantly, capturing more leads from the same overall amount of traffic. Things to test include

– the length of the form

– putting a link to your privacy policy next to the email field

– adding a customer testimonial with a picture

– removing the main navigation from the page

6. Measure Everything

Modern marketing is all about measurement and optimising your activities based on the previous results.

As you set out to plan your marketing strategy and budget, a crucial step is to calculate the ROI for each of the marketing channels you currently use.

When it comes to allocating marketing dollars to various digital-marketing channels, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. Every organisation should take a good look at when and how prospects and customers engage with your brand online as you evaluate each of your digital-marketing channel options.

Once you’ve calculated the ROI for each of your digital-marketing channels, compare and make budget allocation decisions accordingly.

Are you feeling overwhelmed or needing some assistance in deciding which digital-marketing channels you should focus on, measuring digital-marketing ROI, and determining how much of your budget you should allocate to each channel? Sticky can help. We help organisations around Australia develop holistic and effective digital and digital marketing strategies. Contact us and we’ll get you started on the right path to meet your marketing goals in 2014.