Content: The Only Constant in a Dynamic Digital Era
Today’s digital landscape is rapidly changing, and its dynamic nature will only continue to evolve. But as much as the tactics evolve, a proven and consistent strategic approach should not. Following is a look at a clear and concise foundational digital marketing strategy that will ensure your brand is able to keep up with the ever-evolving digital world atop a bedrock of better and engaging content.
The 5-Pronged Approach to Digital Marketing
An effective digital approach focuses on 5 key components that encompass any digital strategy:
- Programmatic Advertising
- Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
- Social Media Marketing (SMM)
- Email Marketing
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
Together, these key tactics make up a brand’s online marketing presence which influence the purchasing behavior of businesses and consumers.
Ultimately, the driver behind these 5-key components that bring them all together is CONTENT.
While the phrase “Content is king” is admittedly cliché, it is absolutely relevant in digital marketing. Few brands have wielded its true potential. While many have tried, only a few truely succeed. Why is that? Brands fault in developing a cohesive content strategy and instead form singular objectives for each component of their digital presence.This discontinuity leads to confusion about who your brand is and ultimately disrupts purchasing behavior. This can often be attributed to fractured marketing teams or the multitude of moving projects going on simultaneously. But regardless of cause, the effect is they’re missing out on gold.
Gold that comes in the form of low cost-per-1000 impressions (CPM), cost-per-clicks (CPCs), cost-per-views (CPVs) and most importantly, low cost-per-acquisition (CPAs).
When a brand’s content messaging is consistent and on tone with their audience, decision-makers identify with the brand and it results in a stronger ROI. We all know that. But let’s get more tactical, by delving into the purchase funnel that drives the everyday decisions we make, beginning with the top, programmatic.
Programmatic Advertising: Content in the Right Place at the Right Time
Programmatic advertising is the most efficient prospecting tool to date. According to Borrell Associates, the average CPM rate for programmatic ads is $3.88. Programmatic utilizes a mix of 1st, 2nd and 3rd party data and behavioral algorithms to create highly automated campaigns that serve ads to a select audience when they are most susceptible to taking a desired action. But serving ads at the right time and right place is one thing. Getting interaction on those ads, is another; and here, content is your catalyst. Utilize highly tailored creative and rich media to catch the click of your target audience and ensure your click-through-rates (CTRs) surpass the established benchmarks. As your programmatic campaigns evolve, you’ll learn detailed behavioral information about how your audience has interacted with your ads, when they’ve interacted and the detail of exactly who is interacting. More data translates to unique audience segments, better tailored content, and higher CTRs.
Search Engine Marketing: Keywords = Key Content
Display Advertising now equates for over 50% of digital ad spends as of this year. It’s no longer a kept skill set of select industry professionals but instead an ad serving tool that those with the most basic knowledge can use. However, using it, and using it correctly are two very different things.
Where programmatic focuses on behavioral targeting, SEM is purely contextual. What does this mean for content? Your content, aka keywords, must be intertwined with your key phrase analysis (KPAs) reports and the overall messaging your display ads convey. Keywords and keyword phrases determine the validity of your ad and firmly impacts the spend needed to reach your target audience. Without a successful content strategy, your SEM campaigns have little likelihood of success. But it doesn’t stop at the keywords and contextual targeting placed on your ad groups, the content of your website and/or landing page also plays a major part in how ad serving platforms rank your ads. When both your campaigns’ ad group and landing page keywords (content) align, ad serving platforms reward you for the relevancy of your ad. The more relevant your content, the higher reward you’ll receive from both publishers and your targeted audience.
It becomes a self-perpetuating win-win, which is where the magic happens when keyword content marketing is done correctly.
Social Media Marketing: Engaging Content Creates Conversations
If your programmatic and SEM efforts haven’t converted, don’t be disheartened. These mediums are still serving its purpose by pushing your targeted audiences closer to making purchasing decisions. And a large contributor to those decisions being made, and repeated, are your social media marketing (SMM) efforts.
Programmatic advertising and SEM are strong prospecting and brand awareness tools, but social media marketing has much higher conversion rates due to its distinct advantage in its personalized nature. With SMM, you have there is opportunity to interact with a prospective audience in an outlet in which they digest information about their lives and strategies should be formed accordingly. Where content is more confined in programmatic and display efforts; social content has the opportunity to be captivating. And in order for content to captivate, you must know your audience. Listen, tailor your messaging and engage. Social media gives brands a unique outlet for direct conversation. However, without a content-focused SMM strategy, that conversation will never get started, and your campaign goals won’t be achieved.
Email Marketing: Opt-in to Content
Email Marketing has been around over a decade and is still to this day, a large piece of every major company’s digital marketing strategy. Why? Because it works.
There are a multitude of applications to an email marketing strategy. From prospecting potential sales at the top of the funnel to retaining current clients at the bottom, email brings unique value to your digital marketing strategy. But like the other components of a successful strategy, content holds fast as email’s top priority. Content determines whether an email ends up in an inbox or the recycle bin, beginning with a strong email headline and providing consistently beneficial information once opened. Making the key takeaway of your content easily digestible for the user will ensure your open rates are up to par. But this will only hold true if your email is optimized for all devices. Now that 53% of emails are accessed on mobile, your content must be formatted for each device to ensure your email marketing strategy will be successful. But remember, content is your key to opt-ins.
Search Engine Optimization: Content Boosting Visibility
Search engine optimization has a strong impact on SEM efforts but its organic efforts are equally crucial from a digital perspective. Websites are considered to be a brand’s new storefront and without proper optimization, can easily get lost in the world-wide-web. Those potential customer targets who have not converted as a result of your media campaign know who you are by your ad placements and will search for your business using terms they denote from the messaging of the content they’ve received. The ratio between organic and ad-based conversions are generally dependent on the cost of the product due to the information needed before the buyer is comfortable completing a transaction. For example, car buyers who have received cross-device promotions through effective programmatic and SEM strategies are unlikely to convert via a clickable advertisement, but they are more inclined to make a purchase organically. The content you’ve placed in front of them along the way will dictate their search patterns and ultimately lead them to your site where they are more prone to make a purchase. And these conversions can still be attributed to your media campaign due to each user’s unique ID in your target audience. But unless your website is optimized for the content that has been served across these digital mediums, they won’t land on your page and the opportunity to convert will be lost.
Today’s digital landscape is rapidly changing, however these five main components (programmatic advertising, SEM, SMM, email marketing, SEO) are not. Delve into each one of your digital strategies and make sure your content is the ‘glue’ that holds them all together. More tools will be developed, more data will be available, ads will be more targeted and digital spending will only rise, but the keystone to any successful digital strategy will continue to be, CONTENT.
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