5 digital marketing strategies which should have an ‘always-on’ approach
Budgets are tight right now. Covid-19 has presented businesses with probably the biggest set of combined challenges that they have and will ever face. Many firms have gone under, some are on the brink and those which are well prepared to ride out the various waves of the pandemic are tightening their belts.
One of the first supposedly ringfenced budgets that tends to be cut during times of economic turmoil and financial hardship is, of course, the marketing and advertising budgets.
Now I’m, perhaps surprisingly as a marketer, not saying that is the wrong approach. I’d rather have a few grand less to play with every month than seeing someone lose their job.
But even with smaller marketing budgets, there are some elements of digital advertising that should be viewed in a different way. The time and financial backing these areas require should be non-negotiable.
Here’s a look at the five key areas which I think should have an ‘always-on’ approach:
One of the questions anyone working in search optimisation struggles to answer is ‘how long will it take to rank’. There are so many variables, but ultimately SEO in general takes time. Sometimes six months, sometimes a couple of years, to get a website positioned into traffic-generating positions in the SERPs.
And that that very reason, investment into SEO should never stop. Just taking a few months off from regularly blogging or sustaining linkbuilding efforts can cause damage to keyword rankings that will take months to recoup.
But, perhaps most importantly for the COVID-era, SEO in the most part is free. Creating great content can be done in-house. This is something I’ve been focusing on at Workstars where we took time to plan and create our biggest content piece to date looking at hundreds of different employee recognition ideas and choosing our favourites.
Keep blogging. Keep talking to potential partners, and keep tracking your rankings and making on-site improvements. By the time your customers are looking to buy again en-masse, your website will be ready to capture that interest.
As noted above, creating and publishing your own content should always continue. But content marketing from a marketing perspective should continue as well.
As with COVID or any other business-altering event, sharing your company’s voice in the places where your customers are living online will always be a valid (and mostly free) pursuit.
Again, the cost is predominantly in time. But promoting your brand’s perspective on real-world events, offering informative and helpful advice on industry news sites, and continuing to nurture partnerships with media outlets will ensure your organisation’s name remains at the forefront of customer’s minds.
The first part of this list that does require financial spend is remarketing.
When marketing spend is cut, it becomes even more important to capitalise on website traffic and squeeze as many positive outcomes from that traffic as possible. Remarketing is often the most effective way of doing that.
However, it’s not just through direct results that remarketing should remain part of your stripped-back marketing mix. When economies bounce back and target markets begin spending money again, you want to be the first brand they think of when they’re ready. Remarketing helps make that happen, by consistently nudging prospects towards your website.
Brand protection campaigns
Another paid campaign channel that usually requires an always-on approach is brand protection campaigns in AdWords.
There’s nothing more frustrating for a business owner than Googling your website and seeing a competitor’s ad right above your organic listing. Unfortunately, it’s a legitimate and well-practiced search marketing strategy, especially in hyper-competitive niches.
But the last thing your business wants to do when clawing back budgets is relinquishing control of your search presence when customers are searching for your website directly. They’re likely already primed-to-buy. They’ve gone through the rungs of the sales funnel. They know what you offer and they want in (or at the very least, they’re directly comparing you to others).
So, if they search for your website and the first thing they’re confronted with is a competitor's well-crafted, USP defining advert, you’re risking losing business.
Turn off all your other campaigns if you must. But protect your brand’s image and click-through-rates at all costs.
If you have 10,000 engaged email subscribers right now, you’re going to feel a lot more confident than a business with less than 50.
That’s because, even though conversion rates may be through the floor right now, a marketing team’s best friend in times of limited budgets is a big, earned and engaged email marketing audience.
I can’t count the number of times I’ve read and heard that ‘email is dead’, but it never was and never will be. Engagement in email marketing is still high and conversion rates are good. Why? Because that’s your audience. Especially in a GDPR-compliant marketing world, these emails have opted in. They’ve already invested in your brand, they want to hear more.
So use that advantage and continue your email marketing strategy – even ramp it up to help compensate for lack of marketing activity in other areas.