Digital Marketing Best Practices for Your Digital Strategy

By Christian McGlade

As a full-service digital marketing agency, Power Digital Marketing consists of different services and departments. I am currently interning in the Paid Social Media department, where I learn a new skill everyday.

However, it was important to me to see how this company works as a whole, and how the different departments are intertwined.

Therefore, I made it a goal of my internship to discuss the roles of each department with specialized individuals in those departments to learn digital marketing best practices by channel; this blog provided me with an excellent opportunity to learn how each department operates.

The question I asked each individual was, “What are three to five best practices in regards to your department?”

Each person was very kind to take the time to sit down with me, and was very eager to share their digital marketing tips.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Best Practices

The purpose of SEO is to organically rank your website on Google by using search terms relevant your business.

Nicole Grodesky, an SEO expert here at Power Digital, discussed three best practices she uses in this department.

  • On Page SEO: On Page SEO is the part of SEO you have control over that affects your search rankings.  It is very important to research keywords and analyze competitors.  Moreover, it is crucial to implement title tags (blue headings on google search), meta descriptions (grey text below the title tags), and header tags h1, h2, etc outlines a web page.
  • Off Page SEO:  Off page SEO is the part of SEO that you don’t have as much control over, compared to on-page SEO. The most important aspect of off page SEO is to build a healthy and diverse backlink profile.  There are two main components to building a diverse backlink profile (the hope that multiple publications have links to your website).  First of all, it is important to get brand awareness through digital online PR and outreach to help drive organic traffic to the site.

Content Cluster Webinar

This includes guest blogging, developing a diverse link profile, and having multiple route domains link to your site. Online PR includes tactics such as pitching story ideas, distributing press releases, writing outreach articles (or guest blogging), and answering a journalist’s request through sites like Help a Reporter Out (HARO).  Another tactic to building backlinks is to create content to which people will want to link, also known as link attraction. Examples of this are content types like infographics, interactive quizzes, and long informational articles.

Related: How Will Marketing Budgets Evolve in 2017?

*The image below is an example of what is considered a diverse link profile. This site has a large number of linking root domains, or links from different sites, not a lot of links from one site.

digital_practices

  • Technical SEO: How fast is the site loading? Is it mobile friendly? If there are 404 errors (if the page fails to load), did you come up with a 301 redirect strategy?  All these questions have to do with monitoring the site’s overall health and performance.  Site performance is also part of Google’s ranking factors. This means if your site performance is not up to Google’s standards, you could lose rankings, traffic, and sales.

PR/Outreach Best Practices

The PR team helps companies to reach their target audience by working with industries that influence increased referral, branded search, and direct traffic.

Kate Lobel shared a few tips for digital PR:

  • Research, Research, Research.  It is crucial to research any publication you plan on reaching out to.  “Maybe it’s matching their personality in the tone of your writing, or just adding a bit of wit that gives you some sort of an edge.”
  • Contact.  While it may be 3 o’clock in the afternoon here in San Diego, it would have already reached 6 o’clock in New York.  Therefore, it’s important to keep this in mind when contacting someone.  Moreover, it is perfectly fine to ask them how they would prefer to be reached, whether that be email or cell.
  • Be familiar with other departments.  Outreach involves knowing what is happening in other departments.  Let’s use an example. The PR team is currently working with the content department in identifying their content cluster, a new strategy that identifies a focus or niche for a particular client.  It is crucial to be aware of this niche when reaching out to other industries so you can support the content cluster and elevate both channels simultaneously.
  • Keep an eye on Google Analytics.  Identify what placements are performing based on which type of outlet.  Some of these outlets include blogs that are niched/ broad, big publications such as the New York Times, trade publications, and local publications.
  • Rely on SEO Metrics.  Use these to help determine the strength of prospective outlets.  For example, use MOZ open site explorer to identify domain authority, page authority, and the backlink profile of a client and competitors.

Related: What TOFU Means to Digital Marketers

Content Marketing Best Practices

Content marketing is responsible for educating customers on your product and values.  Alexa Engelhart has offered suggestions regarding content.

  • Always have a strategy.  Don’t write just for the sake of writing.  For example, if you want to be recognized in search engines, it’s important to do keyword research, finding quality words relating to the market you are promoting.  Moreover, if the goal is to drive clicks, an engaging article may be the way to go.
  • Promote it after you write it.  Make sure the content is being seen by, not just anyone, but the target market.  After all, you most likely spent a long time making this content perfect.
  • Use a variety of content.  Blog posts may be a good idea.  If they, however, don’t seem to stick to your audience, then try something else. Other suggestions may include a quiz, infographic, or ebook.
  • Keep an eye on your analytics.  Be sure to stay on top of which content is performing best with your audience.  Furthermore, reference the analytics to ensure your content is moving the strategy in the right direction.  If the analytics say otherwise, then a different type of content may need to be used.
  • Have the right tools.  
    • Grammarly: A program that ensures you are adhering to grammar rules.
    • Adwords Keyword Planner: Estimates how keywords might perform.
    • Canva: Creates attractive designs and documents.
    • Another Set of Eyes: It always helps to get a second opinion.

Paid Social Best Practices

The goal of paid social is to pay to get found on social media.  Here are some points that Mike Opera, director of Paid Social, has recommended:

  • Look at marketing efforts like a sales funnel.  Every single part of a business should have a KPI, depending where the user is in their purchase cycle.  For example, initially, you may be looking at link clicks when driving traffic to a website.  But when customers are ready to make a purchase, you would then want to track conversions.  It is important to have different KPI’s for different mindsets.
  • Simplicity.  Make information about your brand or product as easy to find as possible.  If users have to spend a long time searching for information, it may drive them away.
  • Relevant Advertisements.  It is crucial to provide advertisements that are relevant to the customer’s phase in the purchase cycle.  For example, advertising for someone who is at the top of the funnel awareness and a second buyer who knows exactly what they want would be different.  For Softy, for example, it’s crucial to time when they are going to finish their bottle of wet wipes, then start retargeting them.

Related: Digital Marketing for Dummies

Paid Media Best Practices

The purpose of Paid Media is to pay to get found on the internet.  Ryan Larkin, an expert in Paid Media Advertising, gives some tips.

    • Make sure that the network fits your KPI’s.  There are four networks within google adwords: search, display, youtube, and shopping.  If your main goal is to make people aware of your brand, the youtube network may be the best place.  If you are e commerce driven, the shopping network may be the place for you.
  • Segment Networks.  When running a search campaign, you typically want to segment networks into individual campaigns.  Whenever you create a branding campaign, it is important to understand that you are automatically opted into the search and display networks.  When this happens, you lose control of spend, and do not control how much allotted spend is going to search and display.
  • Cost per Click Model: Display campaigns automatically opt you into the CPM model, or Cost per Thousand Impressions.  However, it is better to opt into the CPC model because we want to be paying for actual clicks, not just impressions.
  • Ad Extensions. Use as many as humanly possible.  An example of an ad extension might be a “call” button.  This encourages potential customers to take action

 

Social Media Community Management Best Practices

Having a social presence is crucial, creating a personal attachment and trust with your customers.  Zellie Friedman is an excellent resource here at PDM in this department.  She gives us some feedback on this topic.

  • Have a consistent brand image. This involves mixing your traffic driving content with engagement driving content (quotes, tips, etc) directed towards your brand.  Moreover, it’s beneficial to develop social brand standards including fonts, colors, and templates; this includes having a consistent brand voice.  Even if there are multiple people working on an account, the tone should feel the same, as if one person is talking to you.  Consistency is key in developing a brand image.
  • Target keywords over hashtags. People who are asking a question from their followers are rarely going to use a hashtag to find a response.  Hashtags are often used for humor or to fit into a trending topic, but not so much to connect a person with a brand.  By targeting keywords you are able to develop the natural conversation.  Here’s an example.  For a client that sells reusable water bottles, we could look up keywords around people saying “my water doesn’t stay cold enough.”
  • Respond whenever possible…positive or negative.  Hug your haters…when you get a complaint, your first response thought should not be to hide the complaint.  Instead, respond publicly to it if possible.  When people post a complaint on a social page, they are looking for a public reaction and public response.  This gives your brand a lot of credibility because the brand cares enough to respond.  The “Rule of Two” states that if you respond twice to a negative comment, and they keep arguing, then just hide it.

While each best practice is unique to the specific department, I found one common theme: Pay attention to detail.

For Paid Social, this may be understanding the customer’s mindset. Are we looking to have this customer click on an ad, or make a purchase? For Public Relations, it may be researching a specific publisher with the intent to understand their tone and writing style.  Regardless of the department, these details are crucial for PDM to provide quality service as a whole and maintain a respectable reputation.

Related: Certifications Every Aspiring Digital Marketer Should Have Under Their Belt

As a whole, it is difficult for a brand to maintain a strong presence online without considering the entire digital ecosystem. Each service or aspect of digital marketing plays into each other, such as digital PR supporting SEO efforts, or social media community management supporting website traffic.

I was fortunate to be able to work alongside these talented individuals that shared insightful and actionable digital marketing advice in their field of expertise. Thanks again, everyone for your online marketing advice when developing a digital marketing strategy!