Cue the big turkey dinner, backyard football games and gatherings with friends and family - Thanksgiving is just around the corner! And, if you happen to be like those of us at Blue Compass, you're looking forward to a slew of festivities to celebrate the start of the holiday season. So, in the spirit of giving thanks to our loyal friends, family and clients, we're providing 12 reasons creating a successful digital strategy is a lot like enjoying the perfectly planned turkey dinner!
1. Thanksgiving dinner takes more than just a little bit of kitchen prep.
Think about it: hosting a Thanksgiving meal takes weeks of planning and preparation. There's recipe hunting, grocery shopping and deep cleaning - all of which needs to be done before you can tie your apron and get cookin'. The same hard work and preparation should go into devising your digital marketing strategy. Sometimes it's tempting to just to throw things together last minute, but the right recipe for digital marketing involves careful planning, attention to detail and a strategy that allots the time and organization necessary to implement correctly.
2. You'll set the table for the occasion.
You wouldn't expect to enjoy a gourmet feast of apricot-glazed turkey, herbed potato gratin and maple, honey pumpkin pie on paper plates, right? The same goes for your website. Setting the table is a lot like building your website. Before you can begin implementing a quality digital strategy, you must create a quality place in which you're audience can gather around. Think of your website as a "digital home" you will be proud to invite people. After all, how your business appears online is a direct reflection of your business offline. Oftentimes a website is a person's first impression of your business, and if your business is strictly online, it's the only impression. The first step of your digital marketing strategy should be designing a visually appealing and easy to navigate website that speaks to your brand, product and audience. If done so correctly, your website will meet your customers needs, invite meaningful conversation and leave them feeling full and satisfied - just as if you were enjoying a tasty meal around a festive dining room table setting.
3. If you want your guests to attend, you'll have to invite them.
Even though you've prepared the turkey and set the table, if you haven't invited guests to join you, you won't have anyone to share it with. Just like any well-planned dinner party, don't assume that simply building a website will automatically generate traffic. A great website sets the groundwork for a successful digital presence, but you'll need to put in the effort to reach out to your audience and invite them in. Create relevant, engaging content and share it across your social media platforms (remember, it's pay to play these days), reach out to other online influencers in your niche who might also be interested and attract potential leads with paid advertising efforts. Whatever your strategy, it's best to meet your audience where they are instead of waiting for them to find you.
4. You'll customize your Thanksgiving menu to your guests.
Will there be a vegetarian at the table? Serve a Tofurkey®. Does everyone prefer apple crisp to pumpkin pie? Plan accordingly. Just like every home serves a different Thanksgiving dinner lineup, there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all digital marketing strategy. Personalizing your strategy to your intended audience is the ultimate form of targeted marketing. Rather than thinking of digital marketing as an automated process, choose only the tactics that make sense for your online goals and audience, rather than trying to do it all.
5. Thanksgiving dinner is more than just the turkey.
What transforms a turkey into Thanksgiving dinner? The green bean casserole, mashed potatoes and warm biscuits to pair, of course! Your digital marketing strategy should look a lot like a Thanksgiving buffet. You'll want to invest in a connected string of tactics that work together to create a unified experience. Your ultimate goal is to create a cohesive strategy that is greater than any of its parts. Online marketing is a strategic blend of search engine optimization, conversion optimization, link building, content marketing and social media. Having one without the other is a whole lot like eating mashed potatoes without the gravy.
6. It's a balancing act in the kitchen.
Image your kitchen on Thanksgiving Day: the turkey is thawing in refrigerator, three pans are sizzling on the stovetop, a dozen rolls are rising in the oven and the skinned potatoes are soaking in sink. Preparing a big meal is truly a balancing act - and so is digital marketing. Organic, paid and earned media are not standalone channels. Instead of approaching each online tactic in isolation, maximize your efforts by creating a holistic, integrated digital marketing plan. Implement a workflow that allows for campaigns to work together instead of running independently. There are many connections between the different facets of digital marketing that not only support each other, but can enhance each other as well.
7. A perfectly cooked turkey takes patience.
It takes patience (and years of practice!) to successfully thaw, cook, truss and roast the perfect bird, but once it's finally ready to be carved and served, it's well worth the wait. Similarly, your integrated strategy of SEO, social media and paid search is an investment. When you dive in with the expectation that results will occur overnight, you're more likely to give up before a strategy has time to return on investment. Starting out with the mindset that it takes time to see results will prepare you to stick with it for the long haul, and long-term digital marketing strategies have the greatest opportunity for success.
8. Too much stuffing is bad for your health.
Stuffing the turkey is a Thanksgiving staple, but like too much of any good thing, too much fat-laden, carb-heavy stuffing can be bad for your health. In terms of SEO, keyword stuffing refers to the black hat SEO method of packing in as many search terms as possible onto a page in effort to rank on a large variety of keywords. While there was a time when the method of stuffing worked as well on a webpage as it does in a turkey, today, search engines penalize websites utilizing this technique by filtering them out of search. Go light on the stuffing this year; chose only the most relevant keywords to include on a webpage and make sure they are integrated naturally into the copy.
9. Gravy's good on everything.
Think of gravy as your branding; it goes well on everything. Your distinct brand identity should be poured into everything you do, both online and offline. Your brand identity includes your company name, logo, color scheme and fonts and is an important part of how you execute your digital marketing strategy. It's how you'll ensure your audience is receiving a unified message, and subsequently, how you'll be recognized across the web. Be mindful, however, branding isn't the same as self-promotion. Pouring too much business-centric messaging into your content can run the risk of over-saturation and leave a bad taste with your audience. The general rule of thumb: when it comes to your brand's online presence, make sure you're consistent, useful and relevant, and then it's all gravy!
10. You can tell which dishes were the most popular and the least.
Take a survey of the dinner table once the meal is complete. Which dishes are scraped clean? Which have barely been touched? You'll get a good idea of what to keep and what to can for next year. It's the same process that good online marketers go through as they evaluate the success of a strategy both during its implementation and after its completion. Just as you can rely on surveying your guests' satisfaction through both verbal and nonverbal cues, online marketers have a number of tools to measure return on investment. Using analytics to measure website traffic, engagement metrics to gauge social interactions and listening tools to assess online sentiment can tell you a lot about audience behavior and brand reception. Continually evaluate your efforts to determine what's working and what isn't, and never be afraid to adjust your strategy accordingly. This information will be invaluable as you plan effective and efficient strategy for the coming year.
11. You can transform your leftovers into new meals to be enjoyed later.
Can't stand the thought of another post-Thanksgiving turkey sandwich? How about turkey tortilla soup, turkey and corn quesadillas or pasta with turkey Bolognese? Reuse and repurpose past digital marketing efforts just like you would your holiday leftovers. Identify your "Hall of Fame" content performers and breathe new life into them. Turn an infographic into presentation slides and upload into SlideShare or vice versa. Transcribe your top-viewed YouTube video to create new web content. Refresh an outdated blog with up-to-date information and republish. When you get creative, you can transform the old and into new using minimal time and budget.
12. For those that don't feel like cooking a big Thanksgiving feast, there's always takeout.
So, you're not a cook, but you want to enjoy the meal. We've got you covered! Same as you might order takeout to save time and hassle, you can outsource or supplement your digital marketing efforts to a trusted digital agency. Just make sure you are choosing an agency that takes the time to truly understand your goals and brand identity and is willing to put in the time and creative effort to reach them. You're digital agency should act as an extension of your team, guiding, supporting and serving as a valuable resource along the way.
With the right ingredients, preparation and presentation, this year's Thanksgiving feast will have guests returning for seconds! And, we believe your marketing strategy should have the same effect on visitors, too. Contact us today to learn how we can help devise a personalized digital marketing strategy to be "gobbled" up by your target audience.