100 Expert Ways to Stay on Top in Online Marketing

online marketing

Football season is among us, and the competitive spirit is ALIVE AND WELL in our communities! As a marketer, you totally get it. In fact, you’re always searching for the way to win big.

I make it a priority to habitually study top marketers and what makes them the pros they are. Below are the different aspects of marketing and actions the big leaguers take to stand out and/or build effective marketing campaigns in each.

Marketing Strategy

The best marketing strategies begin with people rather products or services. They consider the customer as an individual, and seek to fulfill that person’s needs.

To build a highly effective marketing strategy.

Know your value proposition: Do you know “WHY” your product or service is needed, what problem it solves, etc? This value prop must be unique and powerful. All of your marketing strategy should stem from it.

Know Your Customers: Stalk your customers on social media, send them surveys, build personas and constantly seek the answer to this question: what are your customers pain points, needs and/or challenges.

The Voice of your Customers Matter: When you are relatable to your customers they will be more apt to responding. What are the biggest challenges of your customer base? How are you addressing those challenges?

Marketing Attribution and the Customer Journey: What are the current touch points relating to your prospects? What are you doing to prepare for the needs of the customers through the various different touch points?

Know the Competition: Read competitor blogs and articles and consistently check in to see what they’re doing. They’re not doing it perfectly, and neither are you. But can you do it better?

Get Involved in Your Industry: Joining the conversation in your industry is key to networking and staying on your toes. Read and comment on industry leader blogs, join in on their webinars and genuinely get to know the influencers in your niche.

Keep up on Research: Researchers are always doing work to unravel the secret strengths and weaknesses of your competitors. Make sure you capitalize on this information by reading and subscribing to it!

 

Conversion Focused Website

These days there is a lot more to a web page than putting up your contact information. Your prospects might look up three or five sites before making a choice…so what makes them choose YOU?

A Clear Homepage Message: Remember the value proposition we talked about? Your homepage should make it crystal clear that you are the answer to your customer’s problem. Tell them WHY/HOW you have exactly what they need.

CTAs: A good website has a call to action on every page. No matter where the viewer is navigating, he should be able to quickly and easily make the decision to opt in, purchase, etc.

Responsive Websites Kill it: Nowadays everyone is using a different device all the time. How responsive is your website? Make sure your web builder creates a responsive site that will adjust to any screen size and/or mobile device.

Simplicity, Navigation and Style: Aesthetically, your branding and web design should come together in a simple, visual (use strategic imaging!) and easy to navigate fashion.

Engagement: Blog comments, forums, surveys and chats are all great ways to give site visitors the opportunity to talk to you. Your brand becomes more human and you are more accessible when you encourage this dialogue and respond!

Include a Site Search Bar: This is a part of making your website uber easy to use. Modern users expect to find what they are looking for quickly. In the case that they don’t see what they want right away, they should be able to easily search it.

Social Proof: Buff up your website with social proof from various different customers. This may include your own customer case studies or testimonials your customers have written for you.

Butter up the ‘About Us’ Page: The “About Us” page will showcase the different personalities and the culture the customer is going to deal with, creating a sense of trust and loyalty around your brand. When customers know whom they are working with, they are more excited about the relationship with the company. Customers want to know who is serving their needs; it is YOU, so light it up.

Upgrade the “Thank You” page: The “thank you” page is primarily used to increase conversions. The best way to use the “thank you” page is by having an option to upgrade or to offer a “free gift.”

Content, Content, Content: The best way to manage your own content without having coders involved is by using a CMS. Thought leadership is important, so seek out a couple micro-cites to publish your content on and become the leader in the space for your particular, relevant topic.

Visual Marketing is Real: The images you add make a huge difference. Diagrams, infographics, photos and screenshots should carry a lot of weight in telling your story.

Get Social: Allow people to have conversations on your platform. Two-way conversations make the acquiring process more feasible.

 

Content Marketing

 Buyers are using the Internet to find answers to questions, search out the best products to purchase, and enjoy the entertainment or inspiration they are craving.

That being said, the best marketers will create content that hungry people are seeking out.

Get Organized: The number one habit of highly effective people is goal setting. Writing out content plans to get to where you are going cannot be stressed enough. You will outperform others just by creating and following an editorial content calendar. 

Prepare the Team: Content creation can’t sit completely on one person’s shoulders. However, empowering one leader who has a knack for this is imperative. Content creation is not a tack-on – your content leader should have many (if not all) work hours dedicated to this role.

The Audit Maximizer: The best way to prepare your content is by going through the current content and evaluating its performance. Is it working for you or does it need to be improved for better conversions?

Internal Team Content: Each team member in each department of your company has a unique viewpoint and important wisdom. Make sure you are making collaborative efforts to gather information from these people and use it to enhance and inform your content.

Cadence is key: Rather than basing my content cadence on marketing campaigns, I try to publish content on a weekly basis, no matter what. This consistency drives my content to perform well.

Content from Others: Make sure you are posting user generated content, inviting influencers to provide guest posts and linking to the work of industry authorities. These little tricks take some of the work off of you, positively effect SEO rankings and create the relationships that your business thrives off of.

Give Away Tools: Free stuff has not gone out of style. Super competitive marketers offer templates, cheat sheets, checklists, tools and whatever makes sense for their audience.

The Proof: Publish case studies. Those prospects who are in research mode want to see that there is proof in the pudding before they choose to buy. They want to feel that they can relate to the situation. What steps will you do to comfort your audience?

Humanize You Brand: The best way to leverage your customers is through user-generated content. Give them a chance to help you createcontent and build stories. In fact, have content parties every month to encourage your audience to get involved.

Only the Best For Your Guest: Treat your audience to the best from the industry. This may entail different industry reports or whitepapers that showcase your expertise.

Guest Posts: When you are in your planning phase, don’t forget to fill your content calendar with guest posts from other prominent industry professionals. As these people pitch in, they will also share your content, creating valuable social currency around it.

Visual Social Networks: Visual content is loved like crazy. It is responsive and emotion evoking for the reader. As you build out your various social networks (Vine, Pinterest, Instagram…), invite your audience get involved in the fun. They want to be a part of the action, give them a chance.

EBooks and Guides: These are opportunities to address customer pain points and provide helpful resources. Some of these can be packaged in the form of a manual and used to incentivize opt-ins.

Subscriptions for your blog posts: Are you making it easy for your readers to subscribe to your blog content? They won’t plan on coming back otherwise.

Seasonal Content Rules: Holidays, celebrations and industry news is always favorable. Deliver seasonal content in a timely manner and your rankings will benefit for it!

Old Content Still Works: Maintain the credibility of your information by periodically updating content.

“Cool Tools”: Cheatsheets, templates, checklists and more give your audiences the value they hope to attain from a company like yours.

 

Multimedia:

Blogs, articles and social media posts aren’t the end-all be-all when it comes to content. Consider putting out podcasts, videos, infographics, e-books and whatever creative multimedia content you can muster.

Customers Prefer Video: Add the human touch to your customer service through video. It is important to showcase your employees and how they collaborate with one another.

Podcasts: Podcasts will allow you to increase the reach of your marketing efforts and your audience will receive value from them at the same time. Podcasters Paradise is a great place to start.

Video Metrics: Video monitoring tools will help you measure the metrics of your videos. The power of these metrics will help you determine the behavioral path of your customers so that you can then maximize your effectiveness.

Gamification programs: Quizzes and gamification engages your user base and builds loyalty at the same time.

SlideShare Posts: Slideshare is one the largest content sharing networks in the world. Don’t miss out on this easy, amazing way to repurpose your content and build loyalty to your brand.

Apps: When your customers have a way to connect with you in their hands they are more likely to use your services.

Customer Video Interviews: Do you feature your customers anywhere? If not, consider it! It may just be an effective way to attract and acquire users faster.

 

Search Engine Optimization

You invested time, energy and money into your site. It would be a shame to find that it doesn’t perform effectively or bring in the leads it will take to justify the cost.

No one wants that to happen! Here is the expert recipe to make sure you get the right responses for your effort.

Keyword Research: Keywords are how searchers find you. It’s your job to identify what words and phrases will accurately describe your business AND stand a chance at earning you page one rankings on Google. I hope you hire an expert – this is tricky.

Optimize Web Pages: It doesn’t take an SEO genius for this…but it will take some time. As long as you know your keywords, your task is simple enough. Infuse your keyword in every URL, image alt text, title, headline (H1), meta description and body copy for every single page of your site.

Inbound and Outbound Links: When you link one web page to another in your site, you help readers and search bots understand where to find relevant content. Outbound links also help search engines better understand your blog and they will help build relationships with other bloggers.

Use Social Media to Boost SEO: Your site is not the only place you should be using these inbound and outbound links and infusing your keywords! Spread your message all over the web using social media. Drive traffic to your site by posting authentic, great content and by using strategic keywords and hashtags. Direct people from your social media platforms to your site and vice versa (share buttons, etc).

Your Google My Business Page: What can I say? Google loves Google! By using their My Business page and local SEO (if applicable), you can earn valuable search rankings. Do it!

 

PPC (Pay-Per-Click Advertising)

PPC Ads in your industry: Run ecommerce ads: Your website is a marketing machine. If you send people over to it via PPC ads they will become more familiar with it and it will be more feasible to close leads.

ROI in PPC: Google Ads are getting more and more competitive. How do you keep up with the race? Hire a certified PPC manager to help out.

Account Based Marketing: If you are a B2B company, decide which areas are bringing in the most revenues. Once you figure this out the segmentation allows you to maximize in the key areas.

Desktop or Mobile: Where is your target audience? Are they on their laptops or are they using mobile? Knowing information empowers you to make informed decisions.

Retargeting: Use DoubleClick or AdRoll for an aggressive approach when targeting your audience.Follow your audience around with the ads that targets them wherever they are.

 

Email Marketing

You’re a marketer, so I don’t have to tell you that email marketing is still the number one way to reach people. At the very least, users will see your subject line before they either delete or open the message. That’s more than you can say for your other content!

So how do successful marketing teams get the most out of email campaigns? Check it out.

Use Landing Pages Effectively: The first part to capturing email addresses with your landing page is offering something valuable as a trade. Make sure you appeal to the why. Pop-ups asking for opt-ins are still very effective and you don’t have to shy away from them. Oh and by the way – make sure that your new subscribers immediately get an autoresponse email welcoming them!

Pay Attention to Repeat Visitors: Progressive profiling is used by successful marketers to collect additional insights regarding their target markets.

Keep the e-newsletter in its Proper Place of Priority: Remember your content person? One of her weekly or monthly tasks includes the e-newsletter. Those who have opted into your list have given you permission to regularly and consistently connect with them. Newsletters are a very professional tool to do so; they build credibility and keep your readers thinking about you.

Send Behavioral Email: This is a fancy way of saying, “optimize your emails for each particular reader.” When you watch carefully for what actions your prospects are taking, you can then strategically choose which messages to send them.

Never Ending Testing: Perform A/B tests consistently. Subject lines are of particular importance. Alongside this task comes tracking email metrics and adjusting accordingly so that your marketing efforts are always improving!

Autoresponders: Nurture your leads through sequences of 5-10 engaging emails.

 

 Social Media Marketing

Social Media Marketing: This marketing strategy begins with a two-way conversation that captures and excites your audience to communicate with you. It also serves as a listening tool to understand your customer and user base.

Native Advertising: This is one of the easiest ways of getting discovered online.Increase your reach through social media ads. Seriously, just do it.

Updates on Your Networks: On Twitter, try to tweet at least 8 times per day. On Facebook, update the social network once a day along with the rest of the major social networks. These include: LinkedIn, Pinterest, Snapchat, Youtube, and Google+.

Social Media Monitoring Tools: Social media isn’t just about the updates. You have to monitor the progress on your social networks. Use tools that will help you track your mentions and conversations within various social networks.

Social Media Analytics: What is increasing the use of your marketing? What isn’t? How is the user engagement on your current platform?

LinkedIn Company Page: This is the largest professional network online. Are you optimizing the company’s presence with it?

Sharing is Caring: Share your blog content and add share buttons to make it easy for others to share content all over the world.

Build a Personal Brand: Put your leaders in the forefront to build authority for your company.

 

Marketing Automation:

The reality is the best marketers are using both inbound marketing and marketing automation together, and they are getting great returns. ~Greg Head, CMO Infusionsoft

Leadscoring: What are the chances of a lead becoming a sale? Create an effective scoring program that will help you determine the conversion from lead to sale.

Segmentation: How are you categorizing your customers? Are they categorized by behaviors, what books they like to read, or shows they like to watch? Determine how your customers are segmented.

Dynamic Content: Send targeted offers to a group of people based on specific user profiles of your audience.

Metrics that Matter: What are your objectives? What are the key performance indicators that will help you determine whether or not you have met your goals?

Testing is key: A/B test everything from copy to landing pages to your ads to see what is really working and what isn’t. You can even test the times, subject lines, copy and design.

Marketing Channel Integration: Deliver an amazing experience through cross-platform strategies.

 

 Webinars:

 

Generate Leads: Host free webinars and generate leads from them through a lead generation marketing funnel.

Interested Prospects Should Receive Webinars: Convert your prospects into customers through webinars. For example, send them the replay of your webinar to keep the nurture campaigns running.

Existing Customers’ Webinars: Increase the adoption rate through webinars for your customers. You can even create upsells through webinars and build loyalty.

Bring in the Experts: Create partner webinars where you bring in industry experts to help you host webinars to your customer base. 

Influencer Marketing:

Influencer Marketing Program: Word-of-mouth only goes so far. Explore new possibilities for your influencer campaign. Check out this up and coming platform to assist you: nGage.

Guest posts on influencer blogs: Align yourself with different publishers to help them bring content that is based on their target’s interest. Make sure it is highly-customized.

Brand Ambassador Programs: They say there is no other marketing army as powerful as a group of your customers who love your product or service. Build an army of 25-50 people who love everything about your product or service and are willing to promote it anywhere, anytime. 

Training:

Social Media Training for the Company: Employee programs that enforce advocacy are golden. You will not only have a marketing army but you will have in-house employees who are also involved with your brand.

Marketing-Awareness Program for Employees: Organize company wide educational workshops to get all members on-board with your marketing plans. Education is huge at large companies and it solves the transparency issue.

 

Branding:

Brand Personality: What are the different traits that represent your brand? Here is a beneficial article that goes through the different concepts of a brand personality.

Brand Cadence: Focus on consistency with the different touch points that relate to your brand.

Digital Footprint Expansion: Which channels are you focused on? Which channels are most relevant to your brand? Where is your target audience hanging out? Determine your digital footprint to help you find out the most relevant strategy to carry out.

Purpose Driven: Does your marketing align with the company’s mission?

Entertain: Make your marketing campaign memorable or else you will be forgotten.

Quality Checks: The consistency of your branding matters. From tweets to webpages, run quality check to make sure everything is aligned.

Stand on Your Ground: Build an army of people around your cause. It is not about trying to please everyone. Stand out by having a strong opinion and sticking to it!

 

Conclusion

The top marketers may not know a whole lot more than you do – but one thing we know is that they are very consistent about applying what they know. As you look through the lists above, maybe a lot of it is not new information.

However, can you say that you are effectively DOING each task? If not, take it one step at a time until you are!

What do YOU think sets expert marketers apart from the crowd? Tell us in the comments below, and don’t forget to keep in touch on Facebook and Twitter!

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