Hackernoon logoThe Top 5 Priorities Online Marketers Can't Afford to Ignore by@jessicathiefels

The Top 5 Priorities Online Marketers Can't Afford to Ignore

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@jessicathiefelsJessica Thiefels

Founder and CEO of Jessica Thiefels Consulting

Online marketers are pulled in a dozen directions at all times—drive more sales, push more traffic to the site, optimize paid efforts, source better content; the list could go on and on. The good news is: all of those things are often done in an effort to achieve the same goal: increase revenue. 
Prioritizing allows you to be more effective in all of those areas and therefore in reaching the overarching revenue goal. Focus on narrowing your efforts to the following areas of focus and then do what you do best: track the data closely to see what’s working and what’s not.

Creating Content that Converts Across the Funnel

Content is king—and it has been for many years. If you’re not taking content seriously, now is the time to do so. First and foremost, however, it’s important to remember that this takes more than creating great content. You need to map that content to the buyer journey, so you can target every stage of the funnel, suggests Patrick Delehanty, Marketing Manager, Marcel Digital
“Focus on creating content that (based on your industry and user intent) not only builds awareness, helps consideration, and drives conversions, but also content that can be used AFTER the sale or conversion—building loyalty.”
The only way to do this is to develop a strategy. This allows you to develop content needs across the funnel for the year, quarter or month, while holding you accountable to executing. Once the plan is created, make sure every piece published is also optimized to drive conversions and organic traffic. 
Delehanty says, “Make sure the content is SEO-friendly, optimized for voice search, and be sure to be continually test content types and layouts to drive more engagement and conversions on your website.”
If you can do this, you’ll see results like the marketers at NoExam.com. Their Co-Founder and Director of Digital Strategy, John Holloway, shares: 
“Over the last year, our organic search traffic has increased over 100 percent. For 2019 our top priority is to keep producing high quality, well researched content. This was our strategy in 2018 and it has been working well. We find that the higher the quality of content we have, the more links we attract from other websites, and the better our search rankings are. The quality of traffic we receive is also higher, leading to better conversion rates.”

Progressive Profiling

Consumers are more and more wary of sharing personal information in a world where data breaches are the norm. That’s why online marketers should prioritize asking for less information at the point of purchase—whether the visitor is buying a product or downloading a gated piece of content—as a way to build trust and create less friction. Coralie Wood, Paid Marketing Manager at LoginRadius, explains:
“Asking your customers or prospects for too much information up front is off-putting. With progressive profiling we ask only the absolutely necessary information required for a user to take the next step, we then collect more information over time as we built trust and loyalty.”
This is the perfect opportunity for A/B testing the various elements on all contact forms, gated downloads, and check-out pages. Knowing what drives the visitor away is just as important as knowing what encourages to them act—as a marketer in the hyper-competitive online space, you have to know both.

Blending Online and Offline

Always be testing is the motto of the modern marketer, and as we get more digital, online marketers are beginning to test a combination of traditional and digital marketing. “Some of the best marketers I know swear by direct mail and I'm excited to hop on the wave,” says Dylan Max, Head of Growth Marketing at Sendoso
While traditional marketing, like direct mail, has always been difficult to attribute, Max makes an important point: “It's 2019 and direct mail is now trackable! Engaging prospects with physical touches like gift cards or handwritten letters is what it takes to rise above the noise and get noticed.”
As an online marketer, data is everything. With offline marketing, like direct mail marketing, you can cut through the online clutter by getting your message directly in front of your potential customer—and track click-throughs and sales. MyCreativeShop explains in their print marketing guide that there are two easy ways to track your direct mail efforts:
  1. Shortened URL or QR code: You can directly attribute clicks and conversions by simply tracking a link or QR code placed on the direct mailer. 
  2. Custom offer: Use this to track online orders; when entered at checkout, your ecommerce platform will automatically collect this data. Remember that your offer can be used and tracked  for purchases, digital downloads, etc.
Max also suggests another tracking method: “Chrome extensions make it easy to link your direct mailing efforts with platforms like Salesforce, Marketo.”

High-Quality Link Building

Link building isn’t sexy, but it is necessary. As Aleh Barysevich, co-founder and CMO at SEO PowerSuite tells Forbes, “Let’s be honest, there’s simply no other factor now to substitute backlinks as a trust and authority factor for Google. Numerous SEO studies still show that backlinks correlate with rankings more than any other factor.” 
While link building is known as an SEO tactic, when done using legitimate guest posting—contributing content to high-quality websites—it’s also a strategic way to build brand authority and thought leadership in your space. 
The key to making this strategy work, allowing you to get links in high-authority websites, is to provide actual value, from pitch to submission. In, How to Boost Your Backlink Strategy With Legitimate Guest Posting, I share five simple ways to do this:
  • Provide a unique pitch; editors are over typical listicles. 
  • Submit an edited, well-written piece of content—editors love when they can do less work to get the piece ready for publishing.
  • Don’t regurgitate the same information found in similar articles. Put your unique spin on it, using company data and anecdotes.
  • Back every statement you make with statistics and expert insights.
  • Communicate with editors regularly and consistently and submit articles on-time. 
It’s time to take this off-site SEO tactic seriously, along with creating high-quality on-site content and publishing company data and case studies. All of these techniques allow you to drive backlinks that boost organic traffic and drive sales. 

Authentic and Personalized Branding

With so much competition, companies can no longer rely on a great product. Instead, you need to vie for the attention of customers, and splashy product images aren’t going to get you far. That’s why Nate Fuller, Marketing and Sales Coordinator for Launch Team, Inc., believes now is the time to focus on authentic branding. He says:
“It’s important for your brand to be personable and relatable in all interactions, inbound or outbound. This has to exist in all forms of communication. Your brand personality should come through the language in your blog, social media posts, sales outreach, and all other engagement.”
One way to do this is to niche down—as online marketers, we want to reach the largest audience possible, but that’s rarely an effective method. By honing in on a smaller, more specific audience, you can be more authentic in your approach, and therefore more effective. 
In their guide, Growing Business 101, ecommerce marketing experts, Selz, explain: “The more specific your target market is, the easier it will be to capture the attention of your audience. Niche markets are smaller, but they often include influencers who can help you grow and involved communities who can’t wait to engage with your brand.” 
In this way, you can also provide a more personalized experience, which means your messaging will resonate more effectively with potential customers. As Fuller says, however, this isn’t a one-time fix. It will take time to drill down into your niche market, develop your authentic brand, and build it into everything you do. Only then will you see the results, so start now, and bring your most authentic brand to fruition in 2019.

The Top Priorities for Online Marketers

Marketers are being pulled in a dozen directions, but if you can find focus, and rally around the priorities, you'll see much greater success. Next year will be sure to bring its own set of needs and priorities, so do what you can now and let the needs of the consumer be your guide as the priorities for online marketers continue to evolve.


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