- 21 May, 2019
- Marketing Strategy
In the last blog we took an overview of what an Integrated Marketing Strategy is, and how it helps companies raise their marketing to a new level. Now we’ll look in more detail at how to develop one.
We’ve already established that the first step is to focus on your brand, decide what it’s about, and develop a clear message that you want to get across.
As well as being appealing, this message must help develop your authority within your market. Authority builds credibility and therefore trust, both of which help your customers convert.
Having crafted your message, the next step is to decide which marketing channels you’re going to use to spread it.
A marketing channel can be almost anything that lets you reach your target market. Google AdWords is a marketing channel, as is your blog (if you have one), your website, TV, radio, print ads, email, etc.
Which of the many available channels you choose will depend on a lot of factors. Your budget, the nature of your product and who you’re hoping will buy it, and the expertise available to you, to name a few.
A large multinational corporation is likely to use all or most of the available marketing channels to get its message across. If you’re running a small business, you’re going to be more restricted, both by limits on your available time and by budget.
But even a small business can mount a great marketing campaign using AdWords, a website, a blog and maybe some email marketing or a Facebook page. The key thing, as we have established, is to ensure that your message is consistent across all the channels you choose.
We’ll be looking at these channels in more depth over the coming blogs, but below is an in-brief overview of each one.
Your website is obviously central to an integrated online marketing strategy since this is (often) where your customers will buy. In which case, your website will be the goal that your sales funnel tries to steer your customers towards, and your integrated strategy will culminate at the point where customers are faced with a call to action urging them to convert.
That said, integrated online marketing strategies don’t only apply to eCommerce, so your website may not be the culmination of your sales funnel after all.
In either case, the principles of integration still apply in exactly the same way.
Your blog is a marketing channel with a difference, as you’re not actively trying to sell through it. At least, you shouldn’t be, because it’s unlikely to be a successful strategy.
Instead, you’re using your blog to establish yourself as a credible, authoritative source of information and advice. In the process, of course, you’re also raising your SEO profile (providing you post regularly) as well as reminding your customers that you’re there.
Blogging is a personal conversation with your readers. Therefore it’s important that any call to action at the end of your blog is subtle and low key. This avoids giving the impression of a hard sell and ruining the good impression the blog has created.
Email is a much more targeted, direct approach than the other channels, and it lets you tailor your message carefully to precisely suit each customer.
This gives more leeway to vary the message, but it’s important to remember that it must remain in tune with your wider marketing strategy.
SEO contributes to your integrated strategy in a couple of ways.
First, by raising your organic search ranking it increases your visibility, and therefore enhances your authority within the market.
Secondly, by using Google Webmaster it can tell you which keywords customers are using to find you. Which is useful both in itself, and as a way of learning what they’re really after.
A good insight into how SEO helps your integrated marketing strategy is the opportunity it offers to shape your email marketing campaign.
Now that you know what keywords your customers are searching for, you can develop your emails around them. That means you have a good start when it comes to creating emails of genuine interest to the people you’re sending them to.
Pay Per Click is a fast and responsive marketing tool that is ideal for many small and medium businesses because it’s much quicker to launch than SEO. (For more on this, see our earlier blog comparing SEO and PPC.)
It should also be easy to make it dovetail neatly with your SEO marketing. Both are keyword driven, and the insights you gain from one can be used to cross-fertilize the other.
It’s a hotly contested point, but there’s evidence to suggest that SEO and SEM actively reinforce each other. And that by cutting back on SEM, you’ll reduce your organic hits too.
As well as raising your brand profile, Social Media are unique in the opportunities they give for extensive feedback from your customers. They can also engender trust and credibility, when positive comments from other genuine readers are seen.
As with all the other marketing we’ve looked at, it’s important to maintain a tight focus. Social Media messages must complement and reinforce your overall message, not conflict with or contradict them.
The benefit when you get everything right is that your presence in the market is amplified. This increases your authority, and therefore the trust placed in you by customers. And that increases your conversions.
As long as your message is consistent, the more directions it comes from, and the higher your profile, the better the results.
As well as the channels mentioned above, you can add even more channels – like video. If your struggling with marketing channel to start with, contact us as we’d be happy to chat!