Steven J Wilson

A Helpful Guide To Personal Branding For Executives

Branding Executives

Steven J Wilson

Look around at the C-suite executives in your field and you’ll find certain individuals getting all the attention. Whether it be the media, business communities, or clients, they are all wanting to be associated with these people—and by extension, their company brands.

How are they getting all that industry fame? Are these executives much more knowledgeable than you?

The answer is no.

They are just like the rest of us in the C-suite position—great leaders with the technical know-how to manage the business. But what sets them apart is their courage to charter what many executives fear the most: getting personal on social media.

While many executives are still hesitant about developing their personal brands online, these individuals have fully embarked on the task. Now, they have risen to national prominence.

If you want to share the same authority that these industry stars are enjoying, it’s time to consider building your personal brand. In this guide, we’ll help you develop a personal branding strategy that can bump your career to the next level.

 

Why Executives Should Develop Their Personal Branding

Before we proceed with the strategy, first, I want to emphasize one vital element you will need to see you through your personal branding journey. It’s persistence.

Developing your personal brand comes with challenges along the way. That’s why it’s important that you remain persistent and keep moving forward. You never know what will be the springboard that gets others to read, follow, and ultimately use your products or services.

To fuel this persistence, let’s take a peek at what awaits you at the end of this journey. Here, discover the competitive advantage of personal branding for executives like you:

A strong personal brand helps build your authority. When people see you as an expert in your field, you get to stand out from the crowd. You get more visibility and become the go-to person when it comes to issues related to your area of expertise.

Highly-visible experts can build their network and connect with people. They get the chance to build valuable partnerships with fellow experts. This opens up opportunities for both parties to strengthen their respective businesses.

With a strong personal brand, you attract more quality investors and clients. People are naturally drawn to experts to solve their problems. And when you build your reputation as an expert, you gain an advantage over your competitors.

Having a well-established executive brand allows you to charge premium prices for your products and services. People are more willing to pay extra for experts they believe in.

Executives who position themselves as thought leaders also benefit the companies they work for. When people trust you, it often creates a halo effect that brings potential customers to your organization.

Creating a strong personal brand on social media can launch your career to new heights. And when you have the determination to push through, all your efforts will pay off soon.

 

How to Develop a Strong Executive Personal Brand

Now that you know the benefits of personal branding for executives, it’s time to work on your reputation. Below, discover how you can develop a personal branding strategy that can build your credibility as an expert in your field.

Define your brand

As an executive, you must already be an expert in something. Narrow down that expertise and define the problem you can solve. This will become the foundation of your brand message that will be used on social media, website, and profiles.

Also, when defining your personal brand, remember that you have to be authentic. It should reflect your skills, knowledge, passions, values, and beliefs. Find something that makes you unique and focus your message on that.

Identify your target audience

Whose problem are you going to solve? Who are you addressing with your content? Don’t make the mistake of appealing to everyone. Define the people who will benefit the most from what you will offer. The secret here is to understand your audience.

To do this, look for similarities among your audience. For executives aiming to build a community, your audience may have similar professions, income, goals, dreams, and pain points. Profile your audience using the information you will gather.

Set up your social media profiles

Depending on your target audience, choose the most relevant platform for you. Find out where your audience spends their time the most and establish your presence there.

Being a professional, LinkedIn should be your primary social media platform.

Then, set up your profiles with credibility-boosting elements such as your credentials, accomplishments, and awards. Also, join active groups that are frequented by people in your target audience.

Remember, you have to be social on social media!

The best way to attract new followers is to actually connect and help others by sharing your expertise. If you use the platform not just for your own benefit and work to build your presence, you can accomplish your goals.

Here is an example of what happens when you use and interact with others on the social platforms like LinkedIn.

LinkedIn Post Engagement Example

Have an optimized website

Aside from your social media profiles, a website also plays a vital role in building your personal brand. While social media channels are crucial, you don’t own or control these platforms. On the contrary, a website is something you owned and have control with.

For your audience to find your website, you should also make sure that it is well-optimized for search engines. SEO is a great way to be visible and to drive traffic to your website.

Develop a content strategy

A well-established executive brand is strongly rooted in content. To succeed in this task, don’t just create content that sells your products or services. Instead, create content that will help solve your audience’s problems.

Developing a content calendar helps you focus on quality and consistent content. To fill up the calendar, start by listing all potential topics that would be helpful to your following. Then, decide which type of content will appeal the most to them (i.e., text, articles, videos, infographics, podcasts, case studies, etc.)

Develop an outreach strategy

Don’t just stop after publishing your content. You also have to support it with an effective outreach strategy to reach more people. For this step, email marketing is a critical tool for your success.

Email marketing lets you interact with customers on a one-on-one basis. This means you have the chance to introduce who you are and make an impact on those who have subscribed to your newsletter. If you know how to use email marketing, it can help paint a personal branding that wins a loyal following.

Monitor your progress

How do you know if your personal branding strategy is working? You have to measure your progress with key performance indicators (KPIs). These KPIs let you see what works for your brand and informs you when to adjust your strategy.

Some important metrics include website traffic, branded search, mentions, social reach, and feedback. Monitor your growth and the people’s perception of you to ensure your personal branding is headed in the right direction.

Once you have done all the above steps, you’re ready to launch your personal branding strategy. Almost. Before you do, we’ll discuss some additional steps you may consider to strengthen your executive branding.

 

Reinforcing Your Personal Brand

By now, you have learned the importance of personal branding for executives like you. Also, you have learned the steps needed to start building your executive brand on social media.

But it doesn’t stop there.

If you want to really make it out there, you need to take extra steps and branch out from just being an executive. Here’s how some highly-visible experts do it.

Based on a study by Hinge Marketing, the top marketing tools that have the greatest impact on an individual’s personal brand are:

Hinge Marketing Leadership Study
As you can see, most industry stars today have branched out to different activities beyond their existing roles. These activities have helped them propel their brands to popularity. Below, let’s discuss the most impactful activities you can include in your personal branding strategy.

Author a book

Check some of the well-branded CEOs, CFOs, COOs, and CIOs in your industry. Chances are, most of them have written at least one book that addresses their area of expertise. This goes to show that writing a book can effectively demonstrate your knowledge in the field. Whether you write it yourself or hire a ghostwriter, authoring a book is critical to boost your credibility and build visibility.

Get speaking engagements

If you want to be known in your field, it’s time to build your speaking resume. The best-known professionals speak frequently at national conferences and trade shows to share their knowledge. When they do speak in front of a large audience, they get to build their reputation. There are many ways to get your voice to be heard out there. You can start by speaking with small groups, say, the local chapter of your professional association. Also, you may try starting a podcast to discuss the know-how of your industry.

Maintain a blog

While publishing a book can significantly boost your credibility, it is no easy task. If you don’t feel like taking on the job right now, practice honing your writing skills first by keeping a blog. Blogging is one of the most effective ways to demonstrate your expertise. It is an essential tool to share your knowledge and build a loyal following. So, don’t forget to add a blog when you create or update your website. What can we take away from these activities? Executives must branch out from their existing roles to improve their personal branding. To do this, you need to learn certain skills along the way, starting from the essential writing, public speaking, and blogging. Most importantly, you have to become not just an executive who is an expert in your field. You also have to assume the role of a teacher. You see, industry leaders have built their reputation around their ability to simplify technical knowledge into easy-to-understand materials. And the most successful executive personal brands dedicate their time to educating their audience. So, to be a thought leader, you have to be an excellent teacher first.  

Executive Branding Examples

To cap this off, let’s take a look at two notable executive brandings that are winning today. We hope their success inspires you to start your journey to personal branding soon.
NeilPatel.com

Neil Patel

Content is a vital piece of a successful personal brand, and we can’t emphasize that enough. When we talk about great content, Neil Patel is a name that comes to the top of our minds.

Neil Patel is a household name in digital marketing, co-founding many of the well-known digital marketing agencies today. With his thorough and well-researched content, he’s an excellent example of how content can make or break your personal branding. In his case, his hard work creating useful and honest content around marketing worked in his favor.

Melanie Perkins

Melanie Perkins

LinkedIn is by far the most important platform to grow executive brands. It’s made for professionals, and it’s only natural for an expert to establish a presence there. If anyone is nailing the use of the platform, it’s Melanie Perkins, CEO and co-founder of Canva.com. In fact, she used the platform so well that she’s named a LinkedIn Power Profile in 2018. How did she make such an impact? She used her profile to share useful content, engage her followers, and discuss topics in her industry. P.S. If you are not one of my LinkedIn connections, you should reach out.  

Build Your Personal Branding Today

Many executives today are hesitating to build their personal brand on social media because they worry that they might do more harm than good to their respective companies. But with careful planning and the guidance of a credible personal branding agency, you’ll be one step closer to joining the ranks of well-known C-suite executives who enjoy all the perks and attention in your field.
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The Competitive Advantage of Personal Branding

The Competitive Advantage Of Personal Branding

Steven J Wilson

To grow your business, a strong personal brand can be a massive advantage.

Why?

Competing with giant companies in your niche with sheer costly exposure is tough. You don’t have as many resources to spend on advertising as large businesses do.

Also, people don’t trust business brands like they use too. It’s not entirely your fault, as trust in business brands, in general, is going down the past years. This makes it harder for you to convert people into buying customers.

So, how do you get past these challenges? By building your personal brand.

But what is a personal brand? And how does it help grow your business so you can compete with other brands in your industry?

Let’s find out the answer below.

What is Personal Branding?

Personal branding is how you promote yourself to your target audience. It involves communicating certain qualities that you want people to associate with you. It is a marketing practice that sums up your experience, skills, values, beliefs, and purpose as a brand.

Simply put, your personal brand is how people think of you. It is your reputation that can make a difference in your business.

Everyone has a brand. However, only a few have managed to turn their brands into a strength. If you want your business to succeed, you should work on building a solid personal brand that works to your advantage.

Why Personal Branding is Important

Back in the days, brands used to be only for a select few. Branding was better left to businesses, celebrities, athletes, and prominent people. 

However, the emergence of new marketing channels such as social media has changed how branding is perceived. Today, personal branding has started to present itself as an essential element in business success.

With social media now allowing your voice to be heard, you get to reach and influence people. Likewise, it becomes easier for people to find you. Now, everyone has access to some degree of information about you.

For instance, you are a financial advisor and your prospects want to learn a thing or two about you. With a few taps on the screen of their phones, they can see your credentials and what other people are saying about you.

It would be a waste of opportunity if your prospects didn’t see what they want to see. As someone who runs a business, you would want to leave an impression on potential customers when they search about you.

That’s where personal branding comes into play. Taking the reins of your personal brand lets you control the narrative and show your audience what you want them to see. And that’s always good for business.

Benefits of Personal Branding

When you take control of the narrative surrounding your online persona, you are putting a face behind your business. A face that reflects your personality, hopes, dreams, and motivations. As a unique human being, you have interesting stories that attract people toward your business.

Building Your Personal Brand

Personal branding is a powerful marketing strategy. To further understand what a solid personal branding can do for you, let’s take a look at some of the most important benefits of personal brand to your business.

  1. You are Discoverable

In a crowded space where businesses try to vie for attention, personal branding allows you to stand out from the rest.

Say, you’re a financial advisor. You want your name to appear in Google when people look for “how to invest” on the search bar. But the problem is, you are competing with massive companies like Investopedia, CNBC, Bankrate, and Bloomberg on the search results.

Defeating these giants for that search term is virtually impossible unless you have a team and a large budget. It’s a major uphill battle that has no guarantees. However, there is a better way.

With a personal brand, you can make it appear like these established brands are competing with you and not the other way around. If someone searches “Your Brand Name” and “How to Invest,” even these giants would struggle to compete with a specific search actively requesting information from your brand.

That’s one of the powers of a personal brand.

  1. You are Shareable

Fact: content posted by a personal brand gets reshared 24x more than when it is posted by a company brand. It’s all about trust.

On average, 92% of consumers trust recommendations from other people over business brand content. This number translates into better engagement when you post content under your personal brand.

No wonder why a significant number of individuals have or are already building their own personal brands based on a survey by Steven J Wilson & Associates.

  1. You Establish Authority

One key to building a personal brand is by publishing valuable content. When I say valuable, I mean content that educates your audience and helps them solve their problems.

Each piece of content you post on your social profiles, website, or blog contributes to the development of your personal brand. As you develop your brand, you are also gaining authority in your field.

The content you publish presents you as an expert, making your audience think that you are the go-to person in your specific niche. And when you are seen as an expert, your credibility starts to grow.

People would start trusting you, and this opens up various opportunities not only for you as a personal brand but also for your business brand. You get to meet fellow experts in your industry, build partnerships, and attract a following.

  1. You Build Partnerships

With a solid personal brand, you get to meet other professionals in the field and work with them.

Now, let’s go back to the financial advisor example. With a personal brand, say, you meet another advisor who’s also winning thanks to his branding. As like-minded professionals, you form an alliance with one another so you can both benefit in your respective referral networks.

How you would work together depends on both of you, but you get the point. Having personal brands open up opportunities to partner with fellow experts so you can strengthen your business.

  1. You Attract a Following

When people trust your personal brand, you get to expand your network.

Developing a personal brand helps attract like-minded audience. This lets you build a network of people in your industry, prospects, and existing customers.

Having a loyal following to your personal brand is extremely valuable to your business. How?

An expanded network helps boost awareness of your business brand. You also enjoy an increase in visibility in terms of your potential audience. In fact, when people share content through a personal brand, it is 561% more likely to reach a new audience than when it’s shared by a company brand.

When you attract a loyal following, you are building a real asset that grows with both your personal and business brand.

  1. You Have Greater Asking Power

Personal brands also have the power to sway people into action.

Your audience is more likely to do what is asked if the personal brand meets their needs. Statistics show that personal brands who share content gets 2x higher CTR than company-shared content. Leads developed through individual social media activities are also 7x more likely to convert than other leads.

To improve your chances of people doing your intended actions, what you need to do is to ask. Yes, even if some tasks may seem obvious, asking people to do something is an easy and efficient way to improve the results of specific actions you want your audience to take.

Just take for example how YouTubers always ask people to Like & Subscribe to their channel. Every single time. Regardless of the size of their following.

Why? Because there is power in the ask. So, don’t leave it to chance. Make the ask.

  1. Your Business Becomes Stronger

Finally, personal branding strengthens your business.

When people can find you, trust you, follow you, and perform your desired action, you are creating a business that stands out from the competition. You forge strong relationships with your customers that is not easily achieved with business branding alone.

Ultimately, your business goals become more achievable thanks to personal branding.

Things to Remember When Building Your Personal Branding

Personal branding can be the key to your business growth. Before you start building your personal brands, here are some things you need to know so you don’t run into common pitfalls.

How To Build Your Personal Brand

Determine your brand voice

Your personality is what makes you unique. It is what sets you apart from your competitors.

To create a solid personal brand, make a list of your key traits. Include in the list your strengths and weaknesses. These qualities will make your brand as human as possible. Also, don’t forget to ask relevant people in your life what characteristics stick out at you the most.

Then, communicate those traits with your content.

The key here is to make your personal brand authentic, so be honest about it.

Know your target audience

Not everyone will be interested in what you are going to say. So, it’s best to direct your thoughts to people who matter to your business.

Like with any solid marketing plan, you have to narrow down who your audience will be. These people include:

  1. Those who will pay you
  2. Those who influence the person who pays you
  3. Those who will benefit from your message

Create a description of each person and include as many details about them as possible. Doing so allows your message to better resonate with your audience.

Build your online presence

Once you have your personality sorted out and who your target audience is, it’s time to get the ball rolling.

To get your voice out there, you have to determine where is “there” exactly. Start by knowing which platforms you should be establishing a presence in. Defining your target audience helps.

Then, decide what you will and will not be sharing in your brand.

Information about your family may be off-limits, like many entrepreneurs do. You don’t want to subject them under online scrutiny. On the other hand, you may want to share your personal struggles so your followers can relate more to you.

Deciding what you should and shouldn’t post entirely depends on you. There’s no wrong answer. Choosing not to share specific things doesn’t make you less authentic. That said, decide what you think is right for your personal brand.

Create a website

You may have the option to pick a social channel that you think will work best for you. However, having a website is a must.

This is because those social channels may disappear in an instant someday, along with all your efforts building your personal brand. But a website is something you owned and you have control with.

Having a website also allows you to publish a personal blog, which is essential in establishing your reputation online. Publishing quality content that shows your knowledge about the industry helps boost your authority. 

A website also allows you to publish other types of content such as your products and services, contact information, and membership forms. It is also an essential element if you want to be found online, especially when you follow SEO best practices.

In short, building a website is beneficial for your personal branding. Don’t go around establishing a personal brand without it.

Build relationships in the industry

How do you get found online when you’re just starting a personal brand? One way is by connecting with other well-known brands in the industry.

When you interact with these brands, you are making yourself visible to their already established following. That’s why it pays to engage with them whenever you have the chance. Leave feedback on their blog posts, comment on their social media posts and communicate with them.

Sometimes, your competition can also be a great partner that can lead you to the success of your business.

Taking the Power of Personal Brands to the Next Level

Indeed, personal branding helps grow your business in many ways. Now, imagine this: if your personal brand can have that much impact on your company brand, what more if OTHER personal brands also work for your business?

By other personal brands, we mean your employees.

Yes, employee personal brands tied with the company brand are a lot stronger than using yours alone. When employee personal brands work in harmony with your company brand, you are tapping into their extended reach, credibility, and convincing power.

Leveraging employee personal brands to your advantage is a step above the concept of personal branding—an approach dubbed as “Building Brands Within a Brand.”

In this method, you help your employees develop their own personal branding that attracts their own set of followers.

When you build employee personal brands, you are leveraging on your greatest influencers. And when employee personal brands build their own following, you are building a real asset that grows with you. Hence, your company brand benefits on the increased reach and trust.

Start Building Personal Brands Now

Whether it’s your personal brand or your employees’ personal brands, we’d love to help. My team helps employers and business owners build solid branding that allows for long-term business growth.

If you think personal branding is key to help you succeed in the long run, contact us.

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How To Utilize Email Marketing To Build A Trusted Brand

Building Brand With Email Marketing

Steven J Wilson

Email marketing is one of the most effective ways to build brand awareness, but are you doing it right? Email lets you interact with your customers on a one-on-one basis. It is a great opportunity to introduce yourself and make a lasting impact.

When done correctly, email marketing can help paint a brand image that sells and builds customer loyalty. 

In this guide, we will show you how you can build brand awareness with email in the right way.

But first, let’s discuss why you should focus on email marketing for building brand awareness.

 

Brand Awareness and Email Marketing

Brand awareness refers to how well your consumers recognize your brand. The more familiar your target audience is to your business, the more likely they are to buy a product from you.

And what better way to build consumer familiarity than email marketing?

Why is this so?

First, email marketing is one of the most cost-effective digital channels available today.

It is not only a low-cost strategy to get the word out on your business, but it also offers one of the best ROIs for your dollar. To put that in numbers, email marketing generates an average of $42 for every $1 spent.

 

“Email marketing generates an average of $42 for every $1 spent.” — Data & Marketing Association, 2019

 

Second, email marketing is the only digital channel to provide direct and regular interactions with your audience.

When a website visitor subscribes to your email list, he becomes a valuable lead that shows a desire to engage with you.

With email, you can target this individual to turn him into a paying and loyal customer. The great part is: you can target him in the place he visits daily—his inbox.

It is only in email marketing that you have this kind of opportunity. That said, if you want to succeed in your business, you have to focus on perfecting your email strategy.

 

Elements of An Effective Email Marketing Campaign

To get better results with email marketing, you have to find out what makes an effective campaign in the first place.

An effective email marketing that builds brand awareness has the following elements:

  • Personality. The personality of the brand should reflect its email marketing communication. From the email copy’s tone and voice to the newsletter’s designs and templates, you must incorporate them into your newsletter.
  • Recognizability. With a brand’s solid identity, your email must create a sense of familiarity with your audience. What would you like your brand newsletter to be known for? Your reader must be able to easily identify the brand at his first few seconds into the email.
  • Consistency. The key to a memorable email is consistency. Your newsletter should be consistent with your website and other platforms where your brand exists. To do this, it is essential that you develop a brand guideline that will apply to all your marketing channels.
  • Uniqueness. Think of creative ideas to make your email stand out. The competition is intense in your customers’ inboxes. You have to find what makes you different from the competition.
  • Authenticity. Nothing resonates more with a reader than a genuine brand message. Strive to create content that deviates from a continuous sales pitch, and rather, offer more value to your audience.

 

Develop Brand Awareness with These Email Marketing Tips

Do you effectively incorporate all elements of effective email marketing? If not or you feel you need to improve- it is time to apply them with these eight actionable tips.

Tip #1: Establish tone and voice

Effective email marketing involves writing compelling copies. And in email copywriting, you have to think about how you would talk to your customers.

Should your brand be friendly or serious? Should you be conversational or formal? Should you be funny or matter-of-factly?

When writing the email copy, establish your email’s tone and voice based on the personality of your brand. Then, stick with it.

The most important thing about this tip is to be consistent.

Tone Of Voice Branding with Email Marketing
Source: Brafton

The voice of your email should match your succeeding emails, your website, your social media, and the other platforms where your brand is. On the other hand, your tone may adjust to what’s appropriate for a specific message given that it still adheres to your brand guidelines.

A consistent tone and voice create a memorable email copy. And being memorable is one way to build brand awareness.

Tip #2: Work on a uniform design

Aside from copy, you should also work on creating a uniform design.

Design and copy make your brand identity, and they should go together. For example, if you are writing in an authoritative voice, the design of your newsletter should use more professional-looking colors and images. If you are using a cheerful voice, you can be more playful with your fonts and color schemes.

Again, the key here is consistency.

Remember that you are building your brand identity. You would not want to confuse your readers with email designs that do not match the copy.

To achieve consistency in your email, it pays to develop a branding guideline. This makes it easier for even outside designers and copywriters to make memorable emails that are true to your branding.

Tip #3: Create newsletter templates

Templates streamline the email creation process. And they do not just save you massive time, they also build the foundation of solid brand awareness.

People love seeing patterns. This helps them retain the information they are seeing. When making your newsletter templates, try to incorporate certain formats in your layout that your audience would easily recognize.

For instance, you may always open your newsletter with an image. Or you can go for a bold text that captures a reader’s attention.

Find what format works well with your audience, and then stick with that template.

Tip #4: Personalize your email

When creating an email, personalize.

Personalization is the use of subscriber information to create some tailor-fit email content. And when we say tailor-fit, it goes beyond addressing your reader by his name on the salutation. It’s about creating relevant and individualized content for your subscriber.

Just take a look at OpenTable’s personalized email below:

Hubspot Email Personlization
Source: HubSpot

Personalizing your email is crucial because people want value. This tactic allows for a customer-centric approach that provides readers a pleasant experience.

And what does this mean for your business? You get better results.

In fact, statistics show that personalizing your email subject lines generates 50% higher open rates.

 

“Emails with personalized subject lines yield 50% higher open rates.” – Yes Lifecycle Marketing, 2017

 

To personalize your email, you have to segment your subscribers into a more detailed list which we will discuss in our next tip.

Tip #5: Segment and automate

Email list segmentation refers to the process of dividing your subscriber list into smaller audiences or “segments.” You divide them based on a set of rules to better target your audience’s interests.

There are many ways to segment your subscribers. But the best way to do it is segmenting by behavior.

In behavioral segmentation, your subscribers are the ones triggering the segment based on real actions. This makes it the most powerful way to segment because you get insights on how users “behave” on your website.

 

Email list segmentation is key to delivering the right, personalized content to the right recipient. Yet 50.4% of email marketers don’t segment their email list at all.- Get Response

Segmenting Email
Source: Get Response

For instance, if a new user visited your website for the first time, you can trigger an email automation workflow to send him a welcome note. You can also add him to your segments for later engagement.

With behavioral segmentation, you can create custom emails for first-time visitors, users who have searched or purchased a product, and people who abandoned a cart, among others. Thus, you can eliminate sending random emails whose content is likely to be thrown into the spam folder.

Both behavioral segmentation and automation can be done using software like MailerLite.

Tip #6: Complement your landing page

Email marketing does not end with a reader clicking the email. Often, the goal is for your readers to reach a certain landing page.

For instance, you have a one-time offer for your customers. You managed to get their full attention that they would even be eagerly clicking on your call-to-action.

Now, imagine the horror on their face when they get redirected to a landing page that looks completely different from your email. Worst, the page does not contain the offer at all.

It scares off people. And that is bad email marketing.

That said, ensure that you take the same effort in making your landing page just like how you did with your email. And if you require people to carry out a specific action, make sure it is simple enough to understand in both your email and landing page.

Tip #7: Create campaigns around your brand image

When we talk about email marketing for brand awareness, you should craft campaigns with your brand image in mind.

From your welcome email, purchase confirmation to your thank you note and updates, everything in the campaign must be built around the image you are trying to create. This is especially true for long-term email marketing campaigns.

Doing so paints a clearer identity for your brand, and it gives you a deeper understanding of the brand message you are trying to convey. The more you get familiar with your brand, the more it shows in your future content pieces.

Tip #8: A/B Test

The final tip in the list is to A/B test your emails.

A/B testing allows you to identify what aspects of the email resonate the most with your audience.

To test, create two versions of the same email campaign. Tweak one variable you want to assess, which can be the email’s subject line, body, CTA, or the use of visuals. Then, send it across sample groups equally and randomly.

The version that gets more open rates and click-through rates indicate what works well for your brand.

Just ensure that you’re running one test at a time to get valid results.

 

Build Your Brand with Email Now

When done right, email marketing can be your most powerful tool to raise awareness for your brand.

By knowing the elements that make an effective email marketing campaign, you get a better understanding of how you can craft pieces that get higher open rates and click-through rates. And with the actionable tips above, you’re one step closer to developing your brand with email.

Which of our tips is lacking in your current email marketing strategy? Share it in the comments!

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9 Key Benefits of Using WordPress (Why It’s Your Best Option)

Benefits of Using WordPress

Steven J Wilson

If you’re serious about your business, you should be thinking about putting up a website now. Having a website is a crucial tool for your digital marketing that can significantly help improve your branding and lead generation.

And when it comes to building a website, WordPress is your best choice.

You’ve probably heard about it, but today, you’ll learn more about what WordPress is. You’ll also discover why a lot of website owners love it, and why you should be using this platform for your business website.

By the end of this post, you’ll be convinced that WordPress is all you need to create your site.

 

What is WordPress? 

When we talk about WordPress, we are referring to the self-hosted software WordPress.org. We don’t want you to confuse it with the hosting service WordPress.com.

But what exactly is WordPress?

Many of you know about WordPress as just the simple blogging site. But that’s a common misconception.

Throughout the years, WordPress has evolved into a powerful website builder and a content management system (CMS). And with its exceptional performance, it managed to become the most popular in the field, followed by competitors Joomla and Drupal.

That said, WordPress has become one of the various options to create and manage a website. Be it blogs, personal sites, business websites, and eCommerce stores, you can do it with the said software.

 

Why is WordPress so Popular?

One study from Kinsta shows that WordPress is the top website builder and CMS worldwide. In fact, it powers 35% of all websites on the Web. That’s a staggering one-third of the Internet.

Worldwide CMS Stats
Source: Kinsta

Even top brands use WordPress to power their websites, including Time Magazine, TechCrunch, and Target, among others. To put that in numbers, the said CMS makes up 14.7% of the world’s top websites.

But why is the platform so popular?

It’s simple: WordPress is easy to use and flexible enough to build various types of websites.

Both its closest competition, Joomla and Drupal, require a certain level of coding knowledge to use these platforms. But not WordPress.

Although WordPress allows experienced users to work with advanced knowledge of coding, it’s not a requirement. Instead, the platform offers basic features for beginners which allows them to create a site even without technical knowledge of any programming language.

That’s a convenient feature, especially for busy individuals and business owners who can’t afford to spend time learning even basic coding.

And that is what sets WordPress apart from the competition.

With such convenience, it is no wonder why WordPress is a reliable website builder used to create 500+ sites each day.

 

Advantages of Using WordPress

The numbers above are proof that WordPress is the top choice for building websites across the globe.

But WordPress isn’t only popular, it also offers plenty of advantages for its users. Here are some key benefits of using WordPress to power your business or personal website.

1. Flexibility

Whatever your website needs, WordPress can deliver.

Whether you need a basic site to publish personal blogs and showcase a portfolio or a complex version to power an ecommerce store and multinational corporations, it can be done with the software.

The said website builder offers many themes and plugins to adapt to a business’ changing requirements. Depending on your needs, WordPress can be as elaborate or as simple to create and manage a wide range of sites with various purposes.

But its flexibility doesn’t just end there.

You can also use WordPress regardless of your technical experience level. It provides a user-friendly experience to everyone, whether you’re a newbie, an advanced developer, or anyone in between. This brings me to my next point.

2. Ease of Use

With just a few clicks, you can start your own site with WordPress. Yes, you can build a site even if you don’t have knowledge about coding.

But that’s not all there is to it when we talk about this software’s ease of use.

One of the most impressive features of the said CMS is its simplified content creation.

Many website owners find it time-consuming to add and format new pages, blog posts, and images regularly. But not with WordPress.

With its straightforward interface, you’ll find creating content here a breeze.

WordPress Dashboard
Source: WordPress.org

From the dashboard menu, you can access everything you need to create a new post. There, you’ll find text editors, ways to upload media files, and formatting tools.

You can even make simple site updates yourself. No need to wait for your web designer because WordPress allows full control of your site without much trouble.

3. Constantly Improving

The team at WordPress understands how important site speed and performance are to users. That’s why they always work to improve the platform.

When you use WordPress, expect that they’ll be rolling out some major core and minor updates every now and then. That is to fix small bugs and improve speed and performance for better user experience.

Not only the software is always improving, but so are its plugins and themes. This is vital because outdated plugins and themes are common reasons that slow down a website’s speed.

The great part is: the WordPress software updates itself automatically. And if ever you need to update your software version, themes, or plugins manually, you can do it in as simple as clicking the “Update Now” button.

4. Simple Integration of Themes and Plugins

With a large and growing directory, WordPress has a theme suitable for just about every type of website. Whether it’s for a personal blog, a business website, or an online store, you can choose from basic and premium themes available via the WordPress theme directory or purchasable from a third-party designer and design marketplaces.

Wordpress Themes

Just like themes, the platform also offers tons of plugins to add specialized features on your site. A plugin is a piece of software added to WordPress to perform specific functions to the website. This includes analytics, contact forms, shopping carts, and more.

Wordpress Plugins

Once you’ve chosen your theme and plugins, you can integrate them easily into your website. WordPress allows for hassle-free customization without the need to write any code at all. That’s why it’s a great choice for non-tech savvy users.

5. Ranks Higher in the SERPs

Search engines such as Google love WordPress. And what does this mean for your site?

Your website is more likely to appear in the search engine results page (SERP).

WordPress is designed to optimize sites for search engine optimization (SEO). SEO helps websites get more traffic through organic search engine results.

In simpler terms, you’ll be easier to get found when users search for certain keywords on Google and other search engines.

This is because WordPress uses code that is clean and simple. WordPress also has some built-in tools and plugins that are SEO-friendly.

For instance, WordPress allows you to optimize each page, post, and image for specific keywords. This can be done via the platform’s title, meta description, and tags section.

When done correctly, this makes it easier for search engines to crawl and index your site. With such SEO features, WordPress tends to rank higher than others in search engines.

6. Security

In general, WordPress is a safe platform to run a website. It is built with security in mind, which is evident with all the constant updates to fight off threats.

However, the Internet is still unpredictable. There will be malicious attacks, hackers, and malware that can compromise your site.

The good thing is that WordPress enables you to enhance your site’s security with additional protection against intruders.

From integrating password protection, two-factor authentication and SSL certificates to installing WordPress security and backup plugins, the platform ensures that you are safe from cyber-crime threats.

That is if you stay alert and implement some security best practices available on the platform.

7. Mobile Responsiveness

In today’s world, mobile responsiveness is essential for any website. Both your audience and search engines require your site to look good on mobile devices. But why is that?

First, 52% of traffic comes from mobile devices. With such numbers, you have to impress and make those visitors stay, and a mobile-friendly website can help you with just that.

Second, mobile responsiveness also serves as a factor in search engine rankings. If you want to rank higher in the SERPs, your website should be mobile optimized.

Fortunately, WordPress strives hard to cater to mobile usability. The platform is geared to provide responsive designs, optimized images, mobile-friendly plugins, and fast site speed.

8. Own Your Content

Originally a blogging platform, you can expect WordPress to deliver with your content needs.

Publishing content on this platform is easy. It offers a built-in blog feature that allows you to add a new post whenever, wherever. No need to create a separate blog that will save you from all the hassle.

Then, WordPress lets you set up email subscriptions and RSS to your blog. The said CMS also has commenting capabilities, and it is even simple to add new blog posts to other pages of your site, say, your homepage.

With WordPress, you can use its blog features even if your site is unrelated to blogging. This makes it ideal for publishing announcements or updates about your business.

9. Great Support

With more than 30% of website owners using WordPress, you’ll never run out of how-to guides, tutorials, and resources for just about every concern you have regarding the platform.

Users have built a community of WordPress-loving individuals across the globe. They engage and help fellow users through various means, including WordPress forums and WordPress camps.

And it’s not only limited to WordPress. This community also extends to third-party applications that you may be using. So, you’re assured that there will be no shortage of resources on the web.

That’s on top of the help you can get directly from the WordPress support team. This includes 24-hour live chat support, resources, and documentation to get the most out of the most popular CMS.

 

Designing Your WordPress Website

Now that you know the pros of using WordPress, it’s time to design your first website.

Fortunately, design companies are making it easier for users like you to visually create your WordPress site. With professional-looking themes paired with intuitive page builders, you can have your own website in no time.

Here are some themes I recommend to get you started:

Thrives Themes WordPress

Thrive Themes

Thrive Themes offers conversion-focused WordPress themes and plugins to help websites turn visitors into customers, clients, and subscribers. It provides the tools you need to implement value-based actionable content for your audience.

Features:

  • Theme builder
  • Intuitive drag & drop editor
  • Quiz builder
  • Lead generation plugin
  • Testimonial plugin
  • Comments plugin
  • A/B testing for landing pages
  • Scarcity marketing tool
  • Professional online course builder
Elementor WordPress Themes

Elementor

Elementor is built for professionals from freelancers to agencies. It’s an all-in-one solution for a visual design optimized for faster performance.

Features:

  • Visual theme builder
  • Design-responsive pixel-perfect layouts
  • Drag & drop landing page builder
  • Popup builder
  • WooCommerce builder
  • Form builder to generate more conversions
  • Dedicated widgets to streamline marketing efforts
  • Seamless integration of your favorite tools
 
Divi WordPress Theme

Divi

Divi by Elegant Themes offers an advanced visual builder technology that takes WordPress to a whole new level. It features a visual editor that replaces the standard WordPress post editor, which can be enjoyed by both design professionals and newbies.

Features:

  • Drag & drop building
  • Visual editing
  • Custom CSS control
  • Responsive editing
  • 800+ pre-made designs
  • 40+ unique page elements
  • Inline text editing
  • Email opt-in provider support
  • Pricing tables
  • Social follow module
  • Built-in split testing

Choose WordPress to Power Your Website

If you’re looking for a website builder that is easy to use and flexible, WordPress is your best option. This platform demands almost no effort from business owners who only want to create their first website—no coding knowledge, no design expertise, no hassle.

With plenty of available themes and plugins, you can create your site with just a few clicks. And maintaining your site wouldn’t be a problem with its technology.

To conclude, WordPress is simply the best choice for creating and managing a website. It wouldn’t be the most popular CMS in the world for nothing.

Now that you know the benefits of using WordPress, I hope this convinces you to use it for your website.

If this convinces you, then share this article and help fellow business owners start their own website.

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Why a Website is So Important for Digital Marketing

Why a Website is important for digital marketing

Steven J Wilson

Are you running a business without or with an outdated website? You could be missing out on a lot.

According to statistics, 74% of people judge a business’s credibility based on its website. Now, imagine how people see you if you don’t own one or haven’t bothered to get it updated in a while.

Aside from people’s perception of you, websites are also crucial for digital marketing. They significantly help improve your branding and lead generation.

That said, having a website is crucial to a business’s success. However, only 64% of small businesses have one.

If you belong to the remaining 36% who don’t have a website, read on to find out why you need to get yours now. And if you just have started one, I will also discuss how you can make your website work for you.

 

The Importance of a Website

There are many ways a website can impact your business, such as:

Branding

Having a website is one way to build a business presence online.

This is crucial because almost 4.57 billion are actively using the Internet. This means your customers are going online, and you have to adapt if you want your business to succeed.

Internet Users Statista
Source: Statista

With a website, you can improve your branding by:

  • Building credibility. As previously mentioned, people judge business credibility by its website.
  • Establishing authority. Having a website helps establish authority through educational content that shows you know your stuff.
  • Providing accessibility. With a website, you can provide a place for your audience to know about your business 24/7.
  • Making the right first impression. Websites are usually a customer’s first impression of your business, so make it count with professional web design.

Undoubtedly, a website is a beneficial channel to enhance your branding.

Seize the opportunity that websites present to show what your brand is all about. Use it to display your products and services, and most importantly, communicate, engage, and build long-lasting relationships with your audience.

Lead Generation

Need to generate leads? Websites can also help with that.

With a lead generation website, you can turn site visitors into prospects and customers.

Instead of passively reading a static sales brochure, websites help visitors find information, fill out lead forms, and reach high-converting landing pages.

Lead Generation Hubspot
Source: Hubspot

With proper site structure, well-written copy, and strong calls-to-action, you can gain the leads you need for your business.

Your website can even serve as your online salesperson. So, you are assured business will continue any time of the day, even when you sleep.

Retargeting

Retargeting is one of the most effective digital marketing strategies out there, having a 10x higher click-through-rate than a typical display ad. To take advantage of this strategy, you’ll need a website to do that.

But what exactly is retargeting, and how does it work?

Retargeting is a form of ads that “follow” people who have already visited your website. This is crucial because 97% of people who visit websites for the first time leave without buying anything. And then, they never come back.

But retargeting helps you bring these first-time visitors back to your website.

When someone checks out your site, you are placing a pixel, which is an unobtrusive piece of Javascript, on their browser. This is where retargeting starts to work. Those who visit your site will then start seeing your ads while surfing the Internet.

Retargeting Website traffic
Source: Mailchimp

Retargeting ads follow your visitors even after leaving your site. These ads will appear when those visitors read an article or browse other stores online, constantly reminding them of the stuff you offer on your website.

You can’t run retargeting ads if you don’t have a website unless you already have built a contact list in your database. That’s why having a website is essential if you want to take advantage of this digital marketing strategy.

 

What Makes a Good Website?

So, you’re considering putting up your business website now? That’s one step closer to success.

But to get optimum results, having just a website is not enough. You have to come up with a good website.

Various elements make a good website. But if we’re speaking digital marketing, the number one thing you should consider is holistic SEO (search engine optimization).

Why Holistic SEO?

According to Yoast, a holistic SEO approach involves improving all vital aspects of a website. You do this, so your website ranks higher in the search engines.

This is crucial because, as a business, we want our target audience to find us online. With a higher ranking in the search engines, we can increase our brand visibility.

To do a holistic SEO, you should focus on the following aspects of your site once you got the basic setup, i.e., bought a domain, secured a host, and picked a theme:

  • Good technical SEO
  • User-friendly experience
  • Secure site
  • Quality content
  • Conversion optimization

Below, let me give you an overview of each of the said aspects.

Good technical SEO

This is an SEO basic that is incredibly important to your website. Technical SEO involves making your site faster and easily crawlable by search engines. When we say crawlable, it means search engines like Google should be able to understand what your website is all about.

By improving the technical aspects of your website, search engines may reward you with higher rankings on the search engine results page (SERPs).

An excellent technical SEO should have the following characteristics:

  • Fast loading time
  • Crawlable by search engines
  • Doesn’t have dead links
  • No confusing duplicate content
  • Secured
  • Has structured data
  • Has XML sitemap, or a list of all pages of your site
  • Uses hreflang (for websites targeting multiple countries)

User-friendly experience

It is already a given: your website should look beautiful.

But aside from aesthetics, your website should also be easy to navigate. When developing a website, you should put an equal consideration to user experience (UX).

Some of the typical UX elements that you should pay attention to includes:

  • Site structure
  • Site speed
  • Mobile experience

When you think of your website design, you should satisfy your visitors with a fast-loading page. They should also be able to find what they are looking for quickly and easily.

And in a world where 52% of traffic comes from mobile devices, a mobile-friendly website is a must. Rather, it must be designed mobile-first.

Secure site

Noticed the “http” and “https” on your browsers when visiting a website? It may seem a trivial difference, but it is actually vital.

The “s” in https means secure. A secure website protects user information when they visit and perform an action on the site, say, buy a product.

http vs https

And what does this mean for you?

If you want to rank higher in the SERPs, you should make sure you have a secure website. This is because https has been a ranking signal for Google since 2014.

Several studies, like Backlinko’s, also point out a slight correlation between a secure website and higher search rankings.

But aside from SEO purposes, you should also work on securing your website if you want your target audience to visit, stay, and make transactions on your website.

This is because website insecurity could potentially impact sales. In fact, 84% of users said they would abandon a purchase if they are dealing with an insecure connection.

That said, you should also focus on securing your website.

Quality content

Content is king. Whether it be web copy, blog posts, articles, or videos, you should populate your website with content.

Content is the bread-and-butter of your website. It is what brings traffic and converts visitors into paying customers. As such, you should pay attention to producing content.

But I’m not speaking about mediocre content here. I am talking about quality content.

Google defines quality content as “valuable” content. This means it should be:

  • Useful
  • Informative
  • Credible
  • Engaging
  • High-quality
  • More valuable than other sites

Overall, the key to quality content is to write for your audience, not search engines. Your content should be able to satisfy the issues, problems, and desires of your audience.

To do this, understand what user intent is or why people search for a certain query. Are they searching for the purpose of learning information? Are they searching to find a certain website? Or are they looking for something to buy?

Identify their intent and create content with that in mind.

Conversion optimization

Now that you acquired traffic through content, what should you do next? Convert your visitors into paying customers.

This is where conversion optimization comes into play.

Conversion optimization refers to improving the effectiveness of your website to drive more sales. But how?

In general, you take the following steps to optimize your website for conversion:

  1. Evaluate your sales funnel to identify ways to improve your website
  2. Develop a hypothesis to test
  3. Create a new version of a web page or landing page to test against your current version
  4. Implement the variation that generates the highest percentage of sales

For instance, when you evaluate your website, you may discover that changing the copy, layout, or design of a web page can positively affect the number of people buying your product. This is after you tested a hypothesis and compared the results with your current version.

Through conversion optimization, you can achieve better results from your website.

That’s why conversion optimization is crucial because you’re making your sales equal to that of the traffic you are generating. Simply put, you are getting more out of the traffic you are receiving.

This allows you to spend less on PPC ads or other paid digital marketing strategies.

 

How to Create an Effective Website

Now that you know what makes a good website, it’s time to develop one for your business. Follow this step-by-step guide to ensure you are implementing the most crucial elements needed for your site.

  1. Understand your audience
  2. Analyze the competition
  3. Research the latest web design trends
  4. Choose your platform
  5. Develop copy for your audience
  6. Blogging
  7. Publish your website
  8. Monitoring and analytics

Understand your audience

To gain quality traffic, you should know who your audience is. And when I say know your audience, I mean learning beyond their gender, age, and location.

You should also look into their most pressing problems, issues, and desires.

By knowing your audience on a deeper level, you can craft a more focused website message directed to them. The right message resonates well with your visitors, and this can get them to do your desired action.

But how do you understand your audience better?

By creating buyer personas.

What is Buyer Persona

A persona is a close representation of your target audience. It contains essential details based on real target audience data you gathered in market research.

To gain the needed information to create these personas, you can conduct one or more of the research methods below:

  • Surveys
  • Personal Interviews
  • Customer observation
  • Focus groups
  • Field trials

Once you have the needed information to create buyer personas, you’re your audience come alive in the minds of the website development team.

Analyze the competition

Conducting a competitive analysis allows you to learn which websites are your greatest threats and how you can beat them.

For instance, evaluating a competitor’s website lets you find out the keywords they are ranking for, phrases they are bidding on pay-per-click (PPC), or what products are selling well for them. These are valuable insights that you can apply to your site.

Analyzing your competitors’ website is a must if you want to stay ahead of the competition.

To do this, first, you have to determine who your competitors are. You can ask your prospects and customers about whom they think competes with your business. Or you can find competitors by assuming the characters of your personas.

Once you have a list of your competitors, evaluate their strategy using some competitive analysis tools, and get some customers’ feedback on their websites.

Research the latest web design trends

Studies show that 95% of a visitor’s first impression is design-related. So, it’s always worth paying attention to your web design.

One way to strike that good first impression is by being up-to-date with the latest web design trends.

For instance, in 2020, web design is all about clarity of use and intuitiveness. This translates to oversized types and elements, solid color blocks, and split-screen content, among other trends.

However, keep in mind that the latest design trends are not one-size-fits-all. Some web designs may work for your website, while others don’t.

Before incorporating a design trend into your site, always consider the following:

  • Your industry
  • What your competitors are doing
  • Overall user experience

Emphasis on user experience. Don’t include a modern design just because it looks cool on your site. Always think about its function and if it will make the user experience any better.

Choose your platform

With so many platforms to build your website, it can get confusing. But what’s the best choice from Weebly, Shopify, Wix, WordPress, and other site builders?

SEO speaking, WordPress is the best choice.

WordPress has it all that you need to build a strong SEO campaign. From SEO-friendly themes, awesome plug-ins to easy optimization, integration, and user-friendly experience, it’s the best CMS to date.

With its amazing tools and features, WordPress helps you obtain the coveted spots in the SERPs.

Aside from site builders, you may also need to find a domain name registrar. If that’s the case, Namecheap is worth checking.

This ICANN-accredited registrar offers outstanding service to its customers, staying true to their goal of a “customer-focused atmosphere filled with the happiest customers.”

Develop well-written copy for your audience

Let’s put it this way: the website design captures your audience at first glance; the website copy engages them and sways them to action.

A website copy is how you communicate with your visitors on your site. It is what makes them perform the action you want them to do. So, it’s vital that you get the copyright.

But how do you write an effective copy?

Wordstream listed seven ways to write a compelling website copy:

  • Highlight benefits over features
  • Use the voice of the customer
  • Perform surveys to determine brand values
  • Develop a style guide for establishing brand voice
  • A/B test copy on high-value pages
  • Satisfy user intent at all times
  • Add statistics, quotes, and original data for added authority

Blog

Aside from the copy on your main web pages, you should also create more content through blogging.

Blogging is essential because it benefits both your audience and SEO.

For instance, blogging gives your audience a reason to keep coming back to your site. Imagine if you don’t have a blog, your visitors would only see the same content (home, about us, products, etc.) over and over again.

If it isn’t worth checking, you can’t expect users to return to your site. That’s why you need a blog to give your audience regular content worth checking.

Aside from that, blog posts also rack up SEO and your page rankings.

When you regularly post content, this signals search engines that your site is actively updated. This means your website should be crawled and indexed frequently, increasing your chances to rank better in the SERPs.

Blogs also present an opportunity to position your brand as an industry leader. With blogs, you can share your opinions and expertise about the industry you’re in.

Your audience benefit from the learning you provide, you’re seen as an expert in the field, and you get to rank higher in the SERPs. With blogging, it’s a win-win for you.

Publish your website

Once you got everything in the above steps covered, you’re ready to publish your website.

Make sure you proofread everything, check your links and test out forms before hitting the ‘Publish’ button. You want to make sure all the functions work when you receive your first visitors.

But don’t sweat the small stuff, though. Launching a website is a work in progress. You’ll discover what works and what doesn’t over time, which brings us to our last step.

Monitor and analyze your website performance

Now that your website is up and running, the next thing to do is to monitor and analyze your performance.

This step is crucial as it helps you identify the best ways to make your website more effective. It also determines possible issues in your strategy that you need to work on or eliminate altogether.

Monitoring and analyzing is vital, but how can you do it? Through Google Analytics.

Google Analytics Screenshot
Source: jeffbullas.com

Google Analytics is a powerful tool to monitor and analyze the traffic on your site. It is one of the most essential free website tools out there that help website owners make informed decisions.

As a business owner, you wouldn’t want to miss on valuable insights about your website, such as:

  • Where your visitors are coming from
  • How your visitors found your website
  • Which pages your users visit the most
  • How users interact with your website
  • What keywords your visitors searched for

If you want to track important metrics and monitor the effectiveness of your online marketing strategies, be sure to install Google Analytics on your site.

Check out this quick guide from Hootsuite on how you can set up Google Analytics.

 

Final Thoughts

If you don’t have a website yet, it’s time to have one now. Don’t miss out on the benefits that this online channel offers.

Take note of what makes a good website above when developing yours to be one step closer to business success.

If you need someone to talk to about getting started or optimizing your website or digital marketing strategy contact me to help streamline your process.

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How to Create an Effective Digital Marketing Action Plan

Digital Marketing Action Plan

Steven J Wilson

An effective digital marketing action plan consists of understanding your audience, creating SMART goals, utilizing the appropriate tools, analyzing your online presence, creating content, and launching and optimizing your campaign.

The number of Internet users worldwide is growing each year. In 2023, the numbers are projected to grow to 317.1 million in the US alone. 

Statista Internet users Growth
Source: Statista

And what does this mean for your business? Without a digital marketing action plan, you’ll miss out on the opportunity to grow your customer base. 

However, coming up with a digital marketing strategy to support your business goals may seem overwhelming. This is especially true for small- and medium-scale businesses. 

But with a step-by-step action plan below, I will guide you to create an effective digital marketing strategy for your business. But before I delve into that, let me first define what digital marketing strategy and campaigns are.

 

What is a Digital Marketing Strategy? 

A digital marketing strategy is a plan of action that you, the business, implement to achieve your desired goals (emphasis on goals). 

Identifying goals is a crucial step here because a strategy will revolve around the goal or multiple goals. 

For instance, your business goal is to increase sales by 3% by the end of the quarter. To do this, your strategy may involve generating twice the website traffic in the following months. 

Your strategy, which involves a series of actions, should work toward your business goal. 

But how? 

A strategy may utilize one or multiple marketing channels to support what you want to achieve. These online marketing channels include paid media, earned media, and owned media. 

Later, I will discuss the owned, earned, and paid media framework in great detail in the succeeding sections. Keep on reading to learn more about these marketing channels. 

 

What is a Digital Marketing Campaign? 

With a strategy in place, the next step is to set your plan of action in motion. This is where digital marketing campaigns come in. 

A digital marketing campaign is the building blocks within your strategy. These are the actions you take to achieve your desired goal. 

But isn’t it basically the same with digital strategy? 

Think of it this way: 

Digital Marketing Campaign Simplified

Goal > Strategy > Campaign 

Within your goal is a strategy, and within a strategy is a campaign.  

In a strategy, you identify the what, who, where, when, and why of achieving a goal. In a campaign, you answer the how. 

Digital Marketing Strategy & Campaign Example 

To illustrate, let’s take a look at Red Bull’s example below: 

Redbull Marketing Example

Red Bull has established itself as a brand that focuses on sports, culture, and lifestyle. This is all thanks to its digital marketing campaign utilizing articles and videos about the latest happenings in the sports community. 

Its strategy involves using owned media (what), creating content and experiences that would resonate with people even if they don’t care about energy drinks. 

Red Bull’s content is catered to extreme sports fans (who) and is distributed through various platforms including their website and social accounts (where). 

The brand’s campaign to appeal to sports fans via relatable content and experiences (how) makes it an unbeatable marketing powerhouse. 

While achieving what Red Bull has reached may seem unlikely as no marketer has a perfect first marketing campaign, you can still follow some steps to help you achieve the best results for your business. 

Read on to know how you can create a digital marketing action plan. 

 

How to Create a Digital Marketing Action Plan 

  1. Understand Your Audience 
  2. Create a List of Goals 
  3. Identify What Tools Can Help You Reach Your Goals 
  4. Analyze Your Current Online Presence 
  5. Create High-Quality Content 
  6. Launch, Analyze, and Relaunch 

1. Understand Your Audience 

It is crucial to any marketing strategy to understand its audience. Knowing who they are, where they hang out, what are their needs and problems, and other vital information can help you craft an effective strategy. 

Let’s put it this way: If you don’t know who you’re talking to, you won’t even know what message to give them. You won’t know what media to use, or where to find them. 

That’s why it’s essential to understand your audience. 

Demographics and Psychographics 

But what kind of information should you gather about your target audience? There are two kinds of information to make an informed digital marketing strategy. 

Demographic Information 

Demographics are the quantitative data of your target audience. These are measurable characteristics that can be a useful insight when crafting your strategy. 

  • Location 
  • Age 
  • Gender 
  • Income 
  • Job title 
Psychographic Information 

Psychographics are qualitative data that forecast consumer behavior. These less measurable characteristics determine the following: 

  • Goals 
  • Personality traits 
  • Hobbies and interests 
  • Values 
  • Lifestyles 
  • Priorities 
  • Opinions 

It takes more than knowing their demographics to better understand your audience. You also have to take into consideration their psychographic information to come up with an effective digital marketing strategy. And the above items are just some starting-points. 

Knowing your audience’s demographics and psychographics helps you: 

  • Create an accurate list of topics for content 
  • Find keywords to target 
  • Optimize content 
  • Deliver a message that resonates to your audience 
  • Set up your pages for a more effective conversion 
  • Provide a great user experience 
  • Find key influencers in your niche 

How to Reach Your Online Target Audience 

Now, the million-dollar question is: “How do you know your audience better?” 

Search Engine Journal outlines some key steps to understand your audience so your digital marketing strategy can reach them. 

Conduct market research 

Nothing beats good old market research to obtain your audience’s demographics and psychographics. 

Market research allows you to get as many details as possible about your prospects. But most importantly, you can get this acquired information to build buyer personas. 

Here are some methods to gather your much-needed information. 

  • Reach out to the sales team 
  • Gather data using tools 
  • Perform social listening 
  • Create a quantitative survey 
  • Conduct interviews (qualitative research) 
Build your buyer personas 

The use of buyer persona is an indispensable tactic in digital marketing. In fact, research shows that marketers who utilize it achieve 73% higher conversions than those who don’t. 

But what exactly is it? 

A buyer persona represents your ideal customer. But it isn’t just a simple buyer profile. This information is based on real data to ensure your marketing strategy is in the right direction. 

That’s why it is essential to conduct a market research first to come up with the closest representation of your target audience. This will evolve overtime and should continue to be updated as you learn more about your audience. 

Identify influencers in your niche 

Influencers, without a doubt, can help build awareness and sales for your brand. To put that in numbers, eight out of 10 consumers buy something after seeing a recommendation from an influencer. 

But for influencers to be effective, you need to choose one that is relevant to your target audience. For instance, if your audience is into a healthy and active lifestyle, you might want to find and reach out to a popular fitness blogger. 

But aside from the niche, here are some considerations when you are looking for influencers: 

  • Pay attention to engagement 
  • Ensure the influencer believes in your brand 
  • Know how much the influencer is worth 

Once you’ve created your list, narrow it down by getting to know your prospective influencers. Take the time to check out his posts before reaching out to them. 

Don’t forget to communicate your brand objectives and expectation when you speak with them. 

2. Create a List of Goals You Want to Achieve 

Previously, we’ve touched the importance of setting goals to create an effective strategy. Without them, you wouldn’t know where you’re headed, much more if your strategy is working. 

Goals are crucial, but just how do digital marketing goals look like? And how do you come up with these for your business? 

Below, find out some common examples of digital marketing goals as well as business goals. Also, discover the SMART way of creating a list of goals for your digital marketing strategy. 

Examples of Common Business Goals 

Remember that the most important thing about goal-setting is to align your digital marketing goals with your business goals. That’s why you must first define your business objectives before you come up with digital marketing goals, which include: 

  • Drive more sales 
  • Raise more revenue 
  • Increase profits 
  • Grow brand awareness 
  • Reach new audiences or demographics 
  • Secure funding 
  • Enter new markets or territories 
  • Develop stronger relationships with stakeholders 
  • Expand market share 

Examples of Common Digital Marketing Goals 

With your business goals defined, it is only then that you can create a list of goals for your digital marketing strategy. To give you an idea, here are some common goals that marketing teams come up with to support their overarching goals. 

  • Improve conversion rates 
  • Drive more click-throughs on paid ads  
  • Increase website traffic 
  • Get more website or social media engagement 
  • Grow an email list 
  • Gain more social media followers 

SMART Goals of Digital Marketing 

Smart Goals in Digital Marketing

When it comes to goal-setting, you should be SMART. And by that, I mean your goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based. 

The SMART framework works best in digital marketing because of the following: 

  • It gives you a clear direction 
  • Allows you to use time and resources productively 
  • Focus efforts 
  • Ensure goals are relevant to business 
  • Emphasizes the role of measuring results 

Ultimately, having SMART goals can increase your chances of achieving your desired result. 

Here are some examples of how to leverage SMART goals in your digital marketing strategy: 

  • Specific – Be specific to make your goals clear to anyone who has a basic knowledge of the campaign. 
    • Example: I would like to increase our brand awareness by growing our Facebook page following. 
  • Measurable – The success of the goal should be measurable in numbers. 
    • Example: I would like to double the number of follows on our Facebook page. 
  • Attainable – Your goals should be realistic—targets not too high or too low. Ensure that you have all the resources to achieve your goals. 
    • Example: I would like to gain more followings by allotting a certain budget on Facebook sponsored posts. 
  • Relevant – Your digital marketing goals should support the overarching goals of your business. 
    • Example: I want to drive more traffic to my website by building our Facebook presence since that is where our audience hangs out.
  • Time-based – Deadlines are crucial so you won’t end up aimlessly exerting efforts without an idea when should you stop. Determine how much time you need to achieve your goals. 
    • Example: I would like to run a Facebook sponsored post for two months to double my following. 

3. Identify What Tools Can Help You Reach Your Goals 

Tools are essential before, during, and after running a campaign. 

There are plenty of digital marketing tools out there that makes executing your strategy easier. From organizing your to-do list, automating tedious tasks, and tracking your progress, you can find a tool that best suits your needs. 

I curated some of our favorite tools to get you started. 

Organization Tools 

With a team working on your digital marketing campaign, it’s easy to lose track of tasks. This is where these organization tools come in handy. To maximize organization and productivity, here are some tools that can keep your marketing team updated with what’s happening in the campaign. 

Trello Marketing Strategy Screenshot
Trello 

A simple visual project management tool, Trello’s system of boards and cards makes it easy to keep up with a list of to-do tasks, ongoing tasks, and completed tasks. Create lists, add labels, assign teammates, set deadlines, and make it easy for everyone to visualize each step of the campaign. 

Slack

This communication service appeals to small and medium companies because it allows them to create channels specific for certain information. For instance, you can create a channel for #Copywriting to talk about everything-copies there. Slack is all about focused collaboration so the team won’t get distracted by conversations about where to go for lunch. 

Evernote 

Leave notes in one place for everyone in the team to see. With the Evernote tool, you can store important notes, organize research, draft blog posts, save articles, and access them for later use. 

Automation Tools 

Automation tools save precious time that you could use for other tasks. These tools will allow your team to focus your efforts on other things that support your campaign. 

Mailchimp Automation Screenshot
MailChimp

If you’re looking to automate email drip campaigns, MailChimp got you covered. This tool offers intelligent email marketing features including personalizing, behavioral targeting and automating emails. 

Hootsuite

Hootsuite is popular among marketers for its social media post scheduling feature. This is a real savior as it takes Facebook posting, tweeting, LinkedIn updates, and scheduling YouTube videos done on a single platform. 

HubSpot

HubSpot offers advanced marketing solutions for businesses. This goes beyond automating email as it puts lead nurturing, managing data in bulk, notifications, and other tasks on auto-pilot. 

Tracking Tools 

Jeff Bullas, one of the top online marketing influencers today, provides a great resource of digital marketing tools that you should check out. My favorites among his tracking tool recommendations include: 

Jeff Bullas Google Analytics Screenshot
Google Analytics

GA is a tool that should not be missing from a marketer’s arsenal. It’s free, powerful, and offers insightful data about your website. 

This tool allows you to see who’s visiting your website, and which pages they spend most of their time. It also has a goal feature that enables you to track events, conversions, and a lot more.  Check out HubSpot’s Ultimate Guide to Google Analytics if you want to learn how to use this amazing tool. 

Google Search Console

Another free tool from Google, this tool gives you information about which queries bring users to your website. It also offers insight on your site’s clicks, impressions, and position on Google Search. 

To utilize this tool, here’s a comprehensive beginner’s guide to Google Search Console by Moz. 

SEMRush 

What I love about SEMrush is it allows users to track the position of the keywords they are trying to rank on search engines. 

But it doesn’t stop there. SEMRush is also a handy tool for anything digital marketing—from SEO, PPC, link building, traffic analysis, and more. 

The above tools are only a few of the many that can make your job a little more painless. Now, identify what tools you need that can help you reach your goals. 

4. Analyze Your Current Online Presence 

How is your online presence doing at the moment? Are your prospects finding you on search engines like Google? Are you getting enough leads without paying for advertising? Do your competitors show up for high-volume keywords? 

A thorough audit of your online presence (e.g. website, editorial content, social accounts, etc.) will give you a clear picture of where you are standing right now. It identifies and rectifies potential issues that weigh down the performance of your business. 

What worked? What didn’t? Which platforms performed best? 

Analyzing your current online presence plays a key role in a successful digital marketing strategy. And a good start to do this is by looking at your available digital marketing channels. 

The Owned, Earned and Paid Media Framework 

Categorizing your digital assets as owned, earned, or paid media lets you identify how your content reaches your target audience. Below, let’s take a look at the media framework you may already be using. 

Owned Media 

Owned media refers to the digital assets that your business owns and has complete control over. This can be your website, blog posts, and social accounts, among others. 

Owned media always takes the form of content. It can even be off-site blogs that you own, such as the ones you publish on Business 2 Community and Medium. 

It is essential that you audit and plan your owned media to build a more effective digital marketing strategy, which I will discuss more in Step 5 of this guide. 

Earned Media 

When people speak about your brand through press mentions, social shares, and reviews, those are “earned” media. 

What’s great about earned media is that it reaches a new set of audience, and you don’t have to pay for it. 

It also buids stronger trust and loyalty. We of course will say great things about ourselves. When those are also echoed by third parties is helps your brand and increase sales. 

Paid Media 

Paid media also gets you in front of your audience, but it comes with a price, literally. 

In this category, you have to pay for media placements to reach more people. This can be in the form of PPC, Facebook Sponsored Post, and Google Ads, among others. 

Here’s a great image from Search Engine Journal that summarizes the digital marketing trifecta: 

Search Engine Journal Digital marketing Mix

The Mix: Combining Two or More Types 

A common misconception is that you only need owned media in your marketing efforts. While it’s true that owned media is indispensable, it is not enough. 

A great digital marketing strategy combines these categories to get better results. 

For instance, getting your audience to read your blog post (owned) may be a challenge with so much online content vying for attention these days. If that’s the case, you may consider tapping into influencers (paid) who may be interested in your blog. If your content is relevant and good enough, people may share them on their social profiles (earned). 

Now, you have all these channels working together to significantly grow your visibility. 

5. Create High-Quality Content 

Now that you’ve taken a better look at your channels, it is time to evaluate existing content to make a well-informed editorial calendar. 

A good start here is to analyze content gaps. 

A Look Into Content Gaps 

Content gaps are areas in content that could be improved upon. 

For instance, if you’re writing a post about web design, you may find that the content on Google’s First Page may be outdated, lacking examples, or difficult to understand. 

Those are gaps that you could fill with your content. And because you are improving those gaps, you are able to create better content. 

Some best practices to spot content gaps include: 

  • Evaluating Google’s first page 
  • Using gap analysis tools such as SEMrush to scale the process 
  • Auditing your own content 

Creating Your Editorial Calendar 

With these content gaps in mind, you can now fill your editorial calendar with valuable articles and blog posts to write about. 

But what is an editorial calendar in the first place? 

An editorial calendar is a publishing schedule that documents your content efforts. With an editorial calendar, you can track publish dates, authors, content types, and promotional channels you set for your digital marketing strategy. 

Editorial calendars may take the form of spreadsheets or software. Either way, you need to answer the following questions to determine how your editorial calendar should look like. 

  • What platform will you use to manage the calendar? 
  • How many people will use the calendar? 
  • Do you create more than one type of content? 
  • How frequently are you publishing content? 
  • What stages will the content go through before it’s published? 

With an editorial calendar in place, you can plan strategically, fill gaps, track content, improve scheduling, and manage your editorial team more effectively and efficiently. 

Learn How to Create High-Quality Content 

There are a lot of considerations before one could come up with high-quality content. And what better way to learn about these from the experts themselves? 

Ann Handley of MarketingProfs, a Wall Street Journal’s best-selling author and a digital marketing pioneer, shares a lot of tips about writing high-quality content on her blog

From developing a strong tone of voice, short-form and long-form storytelling to writing better and making boring writing fun again, she discusses some key elements of great content. 

6. Launch, Analyze, and Relaunch 

It’s the moment you’ve all been preparing for. When you completed all the steps above, it is time to finally execute your strategy. 

Giving yourself enough time to prepare before the launch of a campaign significantly increases your chance of achieving your goals. 

With all these goal-setting, planning, and organizing, you’re one step closer to success. In fact, CoSchedule’s annual State of Marketing Strategy Survey of more than 3,000 marketers found the following: 

Coschedule Digital Marketing Action Plan Stats

But you can’t rest easy yet. 

There is always the possibility that you might not experience what you had hoped for once you launch your digital marketing campaign. And that’s an inevitable part of the process. 

That’s why your campaign shouldn’t go untouched once you press the “Launch” button. 

What you should do is to continuously monitor and improve your campaigns. Adapting in real-time and your willingness to make small and big changes can make the big difference between a winning and losing campaign. 

Relaunching with Adjusted Strategy 

In case your marketing strategy doesn’t work as planned, here are some ways to adapt to the situation: 

Give it more time, or adjust 

Some digital tactics start working immediately like PPC while others take a long time to pay off such as SEO

Short-term strategies should improve over time when you make adjustments based on available information. For a long-term strategy, give your campaign more time. Otherwise, adjust using the approaches below. 

Be different 

Based on the data you gathered from the duration of the campaign, adjust your strategy to make it unique. With so many competitors vying for your audience’s attention, you have to stand out. 

For instance, find out what your competitors are saying. Then, change your brand messaging in a way that only you are the one saying it. This could get your brand cut through the noise. 

Offer more value 

People always want something valuable in return. Whether it’s an affordable product, discounts, freebies, or more useful content, they are more likely to notice your business depending on your offers. 

If your campaign doesn’t get enough interactions, it might mean that you have to consider increasing the value of your offer. Incentivize and win some customers. 

Retarget to fit your audience 

Say, your ads are not getting enough clicks from your target audience. This could mean that your message is not resonating enough with that group of people. If that’s the case, revisit your buyer personas and conduct some new research about your demographics. You may be targeting the wrong group that you may have to retarget your ads. 

Segment (and AB test) your strategy 

Alternatively, you could get better results by running AB tests. Test different personas, types of messages, and channels to see which ones perform better. Doing so lets you understand which marketing elements work and which don’t. 

Try a new strategy 

If all else fails, be ready to try another strategy. 

While your previous strategy may seem like a failure, this doesn’t mean it’s for nothing. Remember that digital marketing strategies are hardly total successes or total failures. Whether your campaign performs well or poorly, there are always opportunities to learn, and then begin anew. 

Again, no marketer has a perfect first marketing campaign. Take these learnings to further improve your digital marketing strategy. 

 

Final Thoughts 

To conclude, a digital marketing action plan is crucial to map out the actions you’re going to take to achieve your overarching goals. 

Yes, creating an effective digital marketing action plan may seem an overwhelming task. But with this guide, it’s never impossible. 

If you need help developing a digital marketing strategy for your business, do not hesitate to contact me

What step in this guide are you currently working with? 

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