Planning For SEO Success In 2016? Do you have a digital marketing Plan in place with clearly defined objectives or goals? A 2015 study by Smart Insights showed that 50 percent of businesses doing digital marketing had no form of digital marketing plan or strategy. It’s a little crazy that they were doing digital marketing, yet they do not have a digital marketing plan or clearly defined objectives or goals.
Digital Marketing: An Ever Changing World Of Challenges
Failing To Plan Is Planning To Fail.Certainly, the digital landscape is changing at a very fast pace. The digital channels and marketing opportunities are changing so fast that most businesses find it too difficult to keep up with its pace. Those that have attempted to keep up have an ad hoc approach and simply dive in at a tactical level and throw money at SEO, PPC, display, social and even content marketing.
For many, this approach fails. This leads to businesses becoming more out of touch and stuck in the sinking ship of yesterday’s marketing methods.
SEO & PPC: Tools, Tactics, & Strategy Go Hand In Hand
A strategy is of no benefit to us if we don’t have a detailed plan or tools to implement that strategy. Equally, if we are applying marketing tactics such as SEO and PPC without an overarching strategy, then we are likely seeing the bad result and excessive cost.Focusing on only the hyper-competitive elements like on the commercial keywords that we believe to drive our business while doing SEO or PPC is ignoring the bigger picture and a Blunder.
Let me give you a brief example of how assumed strategies and an over-reliance on tactics rather than strategy can lead to poor results.
Let us assume we have a client that operates the biggest restaurant and outdoor party venue in the Noida region of the India. The business has historically had a roughly 15-mile radius of customers. Over the last 5 years or so, several new venues and large chains have set up shop, and there are now likely 15 other venues in that radius. The search strategy, however, has never changed — and it basically boils down to targeting users looking for the party venue in this 15-mile radius. This is done with local SEO on a micro level and PPC on a macro level.
Despite a top-of-the-page results in the local and organic listings & a large spend on PPC, party venue business is dwindling.The answer to this been to spend more and more on PPC to continue to target those local and not-quite-so-local customers.
Anyone who parties regularly will know that this is the best venue in the area. These folks know and will go the extra journey. To everyone else simply searching for a party venue, the primary factor is location and price. Sure, our client really is better, but every company boasts of greatness online, and prices are much the same across the board.
This strategy of reaching farther and farther afield to convince potential customers to bypass several more conveniently located venues is simply not working, especially for the casual or first-timers.
The solution lies in our research which has shown that location is the key factor, then why not focus on prospective customers within five miles rather than 15 miles? Would our marketing be more successful if we focused on building awareness with the local market who don’t currently plan their parties outside, letting local customers know that an amazing party venue that too at an affordable rate is literally on their doorstep?
We have made a conceptual change from trying to persuade searchers looking for party venue to drive an extra hour past other venues to raise awareness with the local audience and creating new customers.Without thinking about strategy or reexamining our objectives and goals, we would never have made this tactical change.
Planning Digital Marketing
I want to briefly outline the methodologies which can be used with customers large and small to improve strategy and boost results of their digital campaigns.These are some proven models and methodologies for digital marketing planning.
PR Smith’s SOSTAC® Plan is a marketing methodology developed by useful for developing overarching digital marketing plans and can be used to create an overall strategy or apply at a tactical level.
Situation Analysis — Where are we now?
Objectives — Where do we want to get to?
Strategy — How do we get there, broadly speaking?
Tactics — How exactly do we get there? Which channels?
Actions — Systems, processes, guidelines and checklists.
Control — Measurement and metrics to ensure we are making progress.
Image reproduced with kind permission of PR Smith’s SOSTAC® Plan
Asking this questions is very important.The insight from a solid situational analysis covering the who, why and how elements of your audience and detailing that into customer profiles is as valuable as Gold.
SOSTAC® is a registered trademark of PR Smith.For more information visit http://prsmith.org/sostac/
RACE Planning System for Digital Marketing is another model that can be utilized to create your entire plan.RACE is a practical framework to help manage and improve results from your digital marketing. Ultimately it’s about using best practice web analytics techniques to get more commercial value from investments in digital marketing.It is so easy to apply to a single channel like SEO, or even Local SEO.
RACE consists of four steps or online marketing activities designed to help brands engage their customers throughout the customer lifecycle.There is also an initial phase of Plan involving creating the overall digital strategy, objective setting and plan, so sometimes members call it PRACE.
Reach — Buyer Stage: Exploration
Act — Buyer Stage: Decision-making
Convert — Buyer Stage: Purchase
Engage — Buyer Stage: Advocacy
Reach is brand awareness covering paid, earned and owned media. To reach our customers, we must ensure visibility across search engines, social media and relevant blogs and content hubs.
It’s about persuading site visitors or prospects take the next step, the next Action on their journey when they initially reach your site or social network presence. It may mean finding out more about a company or its products, searching to find a product or reading a blog post. You should define these actions as top-level goals of the funnel in analytics.
It involves getting your audience to take that vital next step which turns them into paying customers whether the payment is taken through online E-commerce transactions or offline channels.This is conversion to sale.
we want to build on that initial conversion and build a long-term relationship with our customer. We want to sell other services. We want to retain that customer over the long term. We want to keep that customer happy and maximize the lifetime value of that customer. We also want to drive advocacy and ensure our happy customers become part of our marketing arsenal through reviews, social shares, and referral.
Success Of Digital Marketing, SEO, & PPC
The Importance Of Strategy And Planning for the Success of any Digital Marketing Campaign cannot be overlooked in any case. A more strategic approach to SEO and Digital Marketing is required for success in 2016.
For digital marketing managers, I strongly recommend looking into both of the above models, and I would love to hear of any frameworks or models you have used for digital marketing planning within your own organizations.