The Ultimate 2020 Marketing Guide & Checklist
How To Create A Successful Internet Marketing Strategy In 7 Steps
Want to save the guide for later? Download the pdf here.
- Step 1: Your Website Strategy
- Step 2: Content is King
- Step 3: Social Media Strategy
- Step 4: Creating Effective Digital Ads
- Step 5: SEO Strategy
- Step 6: Email Marketing
- Step 7: Influencer Marketing
- BONUS: Measure and Improve
Intro: Brand and UVP
Polish Your Brand and its Voice
Before launching into any digital marketing campaign, it’s important to briefly mention that there are elements of your marketing that you should already have in place, to support your campaigns:
- A unique value proposition
- The foundation for consistent branding
It won’t matter how creative, fancy, or exciting your campaigns are – if you don’t have a clear, and consistent message, your customers will get lost.
This checklist will help you build a rock solid strategy that creates a consistent brand across all platforms, tells your customers who you are, and accentuates your unique value proposition.
Before you dive in, here are some questions to ask yourself about your brand:
- Who are my customers?
- What is my product?
- How does my product help my customers?
- What makes my brand different from my competitors?
- What is my unique value proposition?
- What is my brand’s tone, style, and personality?
Your Website Strategy
Create a Site That Stands Out
We could write a whole e-book on website strategy alone, but we have condensed the knowledge we have down into a fundamental checklist for creating an effective website.
Your website is the backbone of any digital marketing campaign and one of your company’s most important assets. Every time you create a campaign, you will aim to send your audience to specific locations on your website. Therefore, it needs to be a first class site and optimised to convert your customers. A first class website does not necessarily need to have fancy design, or gimmicky elements. It is about clearly conveying your message, standing out, and instructing your users on where they need to go.
If you are auditing your current site or building a new site from scratch, here are some things you should consider:
- Does my home page stand out and present my brand and UVP well?
- Review your competitors’ sites. Does yours look the same or does it have some unique but simple design elements, videos, or case studies to capture attention?
- Does my website have a clear user journey?
- The average person spends less than 15 seconds on a web page! Does your site immediately grab the user’s attention and tell them what next step they need to take?
- Is the information on my site displayed clearly?
- Does your website educate the consumer on the product? Is it easy for a customer to make a purchase?
- Is my site user friendly?
- How long does your site take to load? Are there too many pages with confusing content? Is your site difficult to navigate?
- Is your content reader friendly?
- Around 9 million Canadians do not have basic literacy skills. If you are not selling a technical and highly specialised product, using jargon and a wide vocabulary can alienate your audience. If a grade-school child can’t easily understand what you’re selling, then chances are an adult won’t either.
Content is King
Killer Content is Your Best Friend
You’re probably sick of hearing ‘“Content is King” by now. We get it, it sounds cliche but it’s the truth! In the digital world we live in everything is driven by great visuals and the best brands have consistent, engaging, creative content that keeps the customers coming.
Consumers have lost faith in many brands and no longer trust advertisements. Using ads can often make you come across as sleazy, and as of 2019 a whopping 96% of users don’t trust the ads they see online. It is possible to create effective ads (as we explain in step 4) however content is the best way to build trust with new audiences.
Content helps you sell your product without pushing it on a customer in the way an advert does. Consistent, relevant, and valuable content allows you to engage with your target audience and retain customers. By adding value to customers’ lives through content, you show them that you care about more than taking their money, and have faith in your product.
However, content marketing is one of the most popular marketing methods around at the moment. In only one minute online there is a staggering amount of content created:
- 300 hours of video are uploaded to Youtube
- Google translates 69.5 million words
- Netflix users stream 86,805 hours of tv and movies
- Instagram users like 2.4 million posts
So how are you supposed to stand out when your audience is being bombarded with content?
Our Top Top Tip For Creating Killer Content: Use Visuals!
Humans are visual beings. The human brain processes information presented visually 60,000 times faster than text. That’s a crazy statistic and should be making you do a double take. Are you creating visual content for your users? If not, now is the time to start.
We like to call this the sizzle reel. It should:
- Be an engaging 30-60 second highlight reel
- Include lifestyle scenes that match your target market
- Engage your audience
- Be able to be used in ads
- Capture attention among cold audiences
Here is one we did for Loop Insights: https://youtu.be/kqYSCicD9Sk
This is your mini sizzle reel. It should:
- Be 15-20 seconds in length
- Include small hits of information on product features
- Use content you already have for consistency
Duer does a great job with this ad of focusing on one of their unique value propositions: https://www.instagram.com/p/BsbTHc2AopN/
In a world of perfectly curated feeds, your audience is craving to see something authentic. Organic videos:
- Need to be unedited and genuine
- Can be filmed on your phone and uploaded to platforms like Insta Stories, Facebook, and Snapchat
- Update your audience on what is currently going on with your brand
- Show them the staff, and tell them about you
- Create personal connections and put a face to a brand
The best thing about organic videos is that they are cheap and easy to upload, which doesn’t require editing knowledge or expensive tech.
Explainer videos educate your audience about your product: Explainer videos:
- Are aimed towards warm leads who have already heard about or know something about your product or brand
- Shows the benefits of your product
- Explains how your product is different from your competitors
- Addresses your customers pain points
- Fully explains what you offer
- Are not only for newer brands but can be advantageous for established brands as well
Here is one we love from peak designs: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zq2vq4i5Qsg&t=42s
The heart of modern marketing lies in photography.
- In a saturated online market you need to create photos that are consistent and easily recognisable as from your brand
- Your photos need to; tell a story with no words, stay consistent, have a lifestyle element, create an emotional connection
When making the investment to create your website it is worth hiring a studio
- Nearly 70% of e-commerce customers say the product image is very important when making their purchase decision
- Having very clear product photos on white backgrounds are as important as lifestyle shots in creating brand credibility and explaining your product
Social Media Strategy
Stop Guessing and Create a Social Strategy That Works
Social Media is becoming increasingly difficult for brands to monetize. Sites like Facebook and Instagram are prioritising posts from users friends and families, and brands are seeing less engagement. To maintain or grow your brand’s social media you need to be creating killer content and posting consistently. The four elements of successful social media are:
Your messaging needs to remain consistent across all channels, including your social media. Not only does the message need to be consistent but so does the frequency. And, yes, that means posting every day. We’re not saying you should post crappy content, simply to post something. You should have a steady flow of content that is uniform and consistent and will make it easy for customers to recognise your posts without excess branding.
Social media needs to combine quantity with quality. You might be thinking: “how am I supposed to create 7 quality posts every week?!”. If you’re not posting regularly already this will seem like a difficult task, but we believe in you! Once you get in the flow of creating content, setting up a calendar and planning ahead for product launches and events it will become much easier.
You don’t have to invest in a $10,000 camera to create top quality content. You can post offers, lifestyle images, organic videos, humor, etc. that allow you to get top content on a budget.
Continuing on from the point we made earlier about organic videos – customers value authenticity. You have to create the right balance of high quality edited & promotional content, and genuine content that shows the ‘human’ side of your brand. Customers don’t build relationships with faceless corporations, they build them with people so show them who you are and what you have in common.
Top Tip: Content on platforms like Insta Stories disappears after 24 hours, this makes it easy to remain authentic while keeping a curated feed.
Social media is all about being social – hence the name. You don’t want to simply post content and leave it there. Engage with your audience. Reply to their comments, take polls, ask questions, and start conversations. Your audience will provide you with valuable insights into how you can improve your brand and product, and by engaging with them you strengthen your relationship and create brand loyalty.
Creating Effective Digital Ads
Build Your Brand With Online Advertising
In Step 2 you may have taken away that we have the opinion that all digital advertising is useless. Well, that’s simply not true. Advertising to cold audiences who have had no previous interaction with your brand is not a good strategy. However, once your audience becomes familiar with your brand through consistent content and social media, using digital ads is a great way to give them the final push to convert into a paying customer.
In 2018, Google made $116 million in revenue from Google Ads. That tells us that a lot of businesses are using Google ads and that they must be effective as the revenue they generate is increasing year over year. Using the Google Keywords Tool, you can quickly find out the search volume for keywords related to your business and establish if Google Ads are a worthwhile investment for your company. If there is a high search volume, Ads allow you to get in front of prospective customers at the right moment – when they are making buying decisions. Other pluses for using Google Ads are that there is no minimum investment, and you only pay for results (ie. when a user clicks on your Ad).
Social Media Ads
Social media ads are all the rage right now, aren’t they? You’ve probably seen your competitors’ ads pop up on your news feed a few times by now. There’s a reason for that. Usage of Facebook Ads increased by 87% among marketers in 2018, because they work. All types of social advertising allow you to get your content in front of a highly target audience. These are people who have shown interest in your brand or similar products. It takes a huge amount of guesswork out of advertising. Facebook and other social platforms already have a large amount of data on their users so you can ensure your content only gets in front of people who would be interested in it rather than use the “spray and pray” method used in a lot of traditional marketing.
Bonus use for digital ads:
If you are a new brand or launching a new site, you are not going to be ranking on search engines for keywords relevant to your site. SEO is a lengthy process and while you are waiting for your organic traffic to increase, paid ads are a great way to build brand awareness and get to the top of the SERPS for relevant keywords.
Learn more about SEO in Step 5
Fine Tune Your Website to Start Ranking For Your Keywords
SEO can seem scary if you don’t know much about it. The way marketers go on about it, you would think that it was rocket science. If you want to delve deep into SEO you will need an expert. However, for most businesses, simply knowing the basics can do a lot to improve your rankings.
SEO strategy can be broken down into 3 main elements:
- Technical SEO
The most important part of SEO is making sure that search engines can find your site. Not only do the search engines need to be able to find your site, they need to be able to index it. To do this they will crawl through your site’s pages, searching through content and keywords to link to your pages for relevant search terms.
You don’t need to splash out thousands of dollars on a top web developer to have good technical SEO. Here are some quick checks you can run on your site to make sure you are optimised for search engines:
- Navigations: search engines will browse through your site the same way users do – through your navigation. Have your important pages linked in your top navigation and save internal linking for less important pages such as blog posts.
- URLs: lengthly or complex URLs are confusing for both users and search engines. Make sure your URLs are short, clear, explain the content on the page, and include keywords.
- Page Load Times: Load times are becoming an ever more important ranking factor. Users now expect pages to load in under 2 seconds and search engines don’t want to link to sites that don’t meet their users expectations.
Top Tip: Check your site’s load times with Google’s Page Speed Check. It will not only tell you if your site is running fast enough but also offer recommendations on how to speed it up.
In Step 2, we focused primarily on visual content. This is great for engagement but is not an effective way to rank on search engines (yet). At the moment, crawlers can only read text, they do not view your website as you do, they simply read it as code.
You need to create content that can answer search queries that are relevant to your product. Conduct keyword research that will optimise your content for the search engines while also generating high quality, relevant traffic to your site.
Some basic tips for creating content that ranks highly are:
- Title: Use your keyword at the start of your title
- URL: Be sure your keyword is included and remove any stop words
- First paragraph: If a search engine finds your keyword in the first paragraph, it helps to confirm that the topic of the page is correct
- Atl tags: You will still want to include visual elements in your content for user engagement. Search engines can’t see them so use alt tags (that includes keywords) to describe the images to search engines
Since the Google EAT update, relevance, expertise, and authority are more important than ever in getting your site to rank. Backlinks can help you build all three.
A backlink is when another site links to yours. For example in this article, Bored Panda, linked back to our site.
This link comes from a high traffic, and trusted site. Bored Panda is a site for creatives known for posting viral content. As a creative agency, this is a highly relevant link from a well established site and is great for our SEO.
Simple ways to generate links for your site:
- Organic links: Create great content that people want to link back to. This doesn’t have to be blog posts or written content. Images can generate backlinks for you and if you find sites that are using your photos, you can ask them to credit you.
- Outreach: Reach out to sites with authority, and larger audiences than your own. Offer to create some great content for their site, that their audience will love and add a backlink to your site in the content.
- Guest posting: Numerous blogs accept guest posts. You can write an article that will build help you build your brand awareness, get in front of new audiences, and you can add a link to your site in your author bio.
Using Targeted Messages To Nurture Leads
Nurturing leads is all about building a relationship with potential customers. Sending targeted and relevant messages to your leads at the right moment can help you convert them from a lead into a paying customer. It also helps keep you at the forefront of the customer’s mind and build your foundation for a long lasting customer relationship.
Using email marketing, you can:
- Send relevant offers and information
- Segment your audiences (segmented email campaigns have a 14.32% higher open rate than non-segmented campaigns)
- Create targeted messages
- Update your audience with newsletters
Automating Process and Using a CRM
Using CRM software such as Active Campaign can allow you to integrate your email marketing with your sales CRM to store all your customer data, keep it organized, and trigger automated emails based on the actions they take. This creates a more efficient email marketing process and helps push leads through your sales funnel.
Harness Infulencers Credibility to Grow Your Brand
For years now, people have been obsessed with the term “influencer.” It’s not a new marketing tactic and existed long before platforms like instagram came around, however, it is still a hot topic in the marketing community.
Choosing the Right Influncer
Every business will have different requirements for their influencers. What is working for your competitors won’t necessarily work for you. When thinking about working with an influencer, you need to think about what you are expecting from your campaign. Do you want to reach a lot of people and build brand awareness? Do you want to create engagement and buzz around your brand? When choosing an influencer there are 3 key elements to consider:
You want your marketing campaigns to reach as many people as possible, so therefore you should choose influencers with the biggest following, right? Well, it is normally the smaller influencers that have higher engagement with their audience. If you find a macro or micro influencer that has genuine interest in your product and who has a relevant audience, they will have a bigger impact on your brand than a celebrity (and they will cost less too).
Find an influencer that has a high level of engagement with their audience. Has the influencer built a community? Do they interact with their audience and start a conversation? Influencers can seem as though they have a lot of engagement through likes or retweets, however these are passive engagements. In order to gain the most impact, you want your campaigns to be so effective that their audience begins to talk about your product.
Look at who influecners are talking to regularly. Is it a wide audience or a specific niche group? Is the audience your ideal customer? Would they take an interest in the product you are offering? A niche audience will likely convert better and indicate that an influencer is well connected in their industry however it also means your message will be unlikely to break out of that small social bubble.
BONUS: Measure and Improve
Use Data Driven Insights to Improve Your Next Campaign
Google Analytics & Google Search Console
Google has some of the most powerful tools for analysing and improving your marketing campaigns, and the great news is that they are free and easy to add to your site!
Google Analytics provides you with valuable insights into your website and digital marketing such as:
- Where your visitors came from (social media links, referral links, search engines, email marketing campaigns etc)
- Geographic area that your customers are located
- Segmenting your customers based on factors such as location
- Tracking specific campaigns
- Setting goals for your site (this can be purchased, downloads etc)
- Understanding search terms that lead customers to your site
- What pieces of content and pages on your site are performing best (so you can make more of them)
- Where visitors are leaving your site
- What social platforms your users are congregating on
Google search console is a little different and can give you insights into your website that relate to SEO and keywords such as:
- Information on search appearance
- Positions for keywords
- Insights into keywords you may not know that your audience are using
- Technical updates
- Educational resources
- Tracking the progress of content marketing campaigns