Coca-Cola. It’s such a ubiquitous brand, across the globe, that “Coke” has replaced the word “soda” in many parts of the country.
When you have a cold, you reach for the Kleenex. If you get a cut or a scrape, you grab the Band-Aids.
Need to make copies at work? You head over to the Xerox machine.
Brands like these, that have become such household names that they are now actually the most common way to refer to the products they sell, used to have to spend millions on advertising – over years, and sometimes even decades – to get to that point.
Today, any company with a great product and solid customer service can become a leader in their industry in only a fraction of that time, and for only a fraction of the cost – if they take advantage of the right digital marketing strategies.
Whether your organization’s goal is to branch out and dominate a new market, to become the undisputed leader in your industry, or even to become a household name and join the pantheon of brands recognized on sight by the entire country, digital marketing can take you there.
But only if you know what you’re doing.
There are six components to an effective digital marketing strategy that will take your business to the top. Here at Zen Media, we work with our clients to make sure that each one of these areas is addressed in their overall strategy, because for us, it’s not only about getting more leads or boosting sales (though of course, that’s vital, too) – it’s about actually taking our clients to that next level, where they stand alone as the go-to brand in their field.
So if you’re serious about making it to the top, take a look at the following six areas, and how we’ve tackled them for a few of our clients. You might just find some guidance for structuring your own digital marketing strategy, and becoming the next household name in your industry.
1. Brand Presence
The most foundational of all six factors is the online presence your brand creates through its website and other digital marketing collateral. Without a solid site and marketing support system in place, none of the other five areas of digital marketing can achieve the same level of success.
All digital marketing efforts are ultimately aimed at one thing – sending your target audience to your website. If they get there and are less than impressed with the presence you’ve established, or look around but leave without giving you their contact information because they’re not excited by the resources you provide, then all your other efforts have been wasted.
So how can you ensure that any visitors to your site are not only impressed, but are so excited about the wealth of resources you provide that they actively seek out a way to give you their email address so they can stay connected – both potential customers and industry insiders alike?
Take a look at what we did for one of our clients, an eye care and LASIK surgery center in New Jersey called EyeCare 20/20.
- First of all, we designed a sleek, modern website that accurately represents EyeCare 20/20’s brand. As a LASIK surgeon, the ophthalmologist who owns the practice wanted their site to reflect the cutting-edge technology used in their procedures.
- Next, we worked to make that website an absolute treasure trove of information for people considering LASIK surgery, cataract surgery, or even just getting glasses or contacts. We filled a Resources section with details about various eye conditions and all the treatments EyeCare 20/20 provides. Anyone searching for helpful information on any eye care-related topic would find it here with just a click.
- We also work to maintain a blog for the practice, with tips on general eye care, the latest research on laser eye surgeries, and even some fun community-centric posts showcasing local events and businesses.Finally, we put together an email newsletter each month sharing news and recent blog posts, as well as fun things like recipes and photos from the doctor.
When prospective patients visit EyeCare 20/20’s website, they are drawn in by the look and feel of the site and spend a significant amount of time combing through the relevant information available. Those considering surgery or treatment of some kind are likely to sign up for the newsletter to make sure they can continue to receive information as they decide where to have their procedure done – and those who aren’t ready to think about treatment yet often sign up for the fun, community-oriented content.
But that’s not all this focus on brand presence has accomplished. Yes, potential patients find a wealth of helpful knowledge on the site, but because it is so thorough and so obviously expert, EyeCare 20/20’s website positions them as a leader even to other industry insiders. Media outlets take notice and ask the doctor to submit articles. Other doctors see it and want to work with them in their various charitable endeavors. Their solid brand presence means everyone sees them as a leader.
In this way, we’ve been able to position EyeCare 20/20 as THE place to go for LASIK and other eye treatments.
To apply these methods to your own site, think about your business, your industry, and your target audience. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What brand image should your website convey in order to position you as an industry leader?
- What kind of information and content will your target audience find compelling and useful?
- What kind of information and content will your peers in the industry see as a demonstration of your leadership?
Fill your strategically designed site with the right content, and you’ll have established your brand presence as the go-to resource for anyone interested in your industry, whether potential customers or industry insiders.
2. Industry Insiders
Speaking of industry insiders, the second area of digital marketing to focus on in order to become a household name is outreach and influencer marketing. Your target audience consists of people who are interested in your specific field, whether that be fitness, business software, technology, or anything else. So where can your particular audience be found online? They’re most likely already following industry bloggers, social media influencers, and other industry insiders via email, website visits, and social media.
In order for you to make a name for your business as THE company to follow for industry information, you’ve got to start making connections with the insiders who already have respectable followings online. This will help you in two ways:
- Developing real relationships with other industry insiders will help those influencers to see you as a peer and colleague making valuable contributions to industry discussions – which will shine through in the way they speak about you to others, and present you with more opportunities to reach out to their audiences.
- When your target audience sees your authority and credibility in the industry-validated by their trusted go-to influencers, whether through guest blogs, interviews, social media posts, or simply mentions of your business, they will come to trust you, as well.
How do you harness the power of industry insiders to position yourself as THE first-choice company in your field?
Here’s what we did for a client of ours, Promax Nutrition.
Promax offers several unique lines of protein bars for fitness enthusiasts. This means that their target audience consists of people who are dedicated to fitness, health, and nutrition. Who are some of the influencers in that space that their audience might already be following? Well-known athletes, exercise gurus, and healthy lifestyle bloggers, to name just a few.
What we did was reach out to some of these influencers on Promax’s behalf, to find out if they’d be willing to partner with Promax online.
From UFC fighter Rafael Dos Anjos…
…to Crossfit guru Kacie Cleveland…
…to pre- and postnatal fitness specialist Sara Haley…
…we worked with industry insiders to establish a name for Promax among the fitness community online.
The fact that respected fitness influencers like these were so enthusiastic about joining forces with Promax says a lot to their audiences. Next time they think ‘protein bar,’ they’ll most likely decide to try out the brand their favorite fitness guru refers to so often – not just because of the recommendation, though that definitely plays a part – but because the simple fact that Promax is associated with industry influencers demonstrates just how much of an industry leader the brand is – the go-to choice that all these gurus share in common.
How can you develop partnerships with the influencers in your own industry? Check out this blog post for a detailed guide: Influencer Marketing from A to Z: A Complete Guide for Businesses.
By teaming up with established influencers in your field, you can instantly ratchet up your own authority and credibility in your industry.
3. Media Go-To
Think about this for a minute: When you’re watching a morning news show, or listening to your favorite podcast, and the moderator is interviewing a special guest, what’s your automatic opinion of that guest?
You immediately assume that person is a leading expert in his or her field, right?
The simple fact that the media has chosen this person over any number of others to speak on their show gives them a huge amount of credibility with their audiences. And in fact, once one media outlet has interviewed someone, it’s often the case that others begin clamoring for interviews as well, because of that aura of credibility – which then increases exponentially.
That’s why making connections with the media is another important part of positioning your business as an industry leader.
Now, while getting an interview on a major network is probably what everyone thinks of first, it’s not necessary to go that big – and in fact, can actually be less effective than going for smaller, but more targeted media outlets. Offering your expertise to niche publications within your industry that speak to your target audience gives you a much higher chance of actually being featured – and demonstrating your industry leadership to the right people.
An example would be one of our clients, Pivot International, a global product development, engineering, and manufacturing company. In order to develop their position as an industry leader, we work to secure interviews for their CEO with various targeted media outlets, such as this podcast on MiddleMarketExecutive.com.
Don’t wait for the media to come to you – you have to go to them. Start with niche media outlets, contacting them to offer your expertise and experience for interviews, and who knows? You may very well work your way up to appearances on major TV networks – our CEO herself has done just that…
The more interviews both potential customers and industry insiders see on various media outlets, the more they associate a company’s name with leadership and expertise in their field.
4. Social Presence
The next step to becoming known as a leader in your industry is to establish a strong presence on social media. As often as not today, people use social media as a way to look up companies and find out what they’re all about, as well as check on reviews and comments others may have left about them. If your target audience searches for you on Facebook and finds a neglected page with hardly any posts – or even a page with plenty of posts, but little to no audience engagement – they’ll see a disconnect between that reality and the industry leadership you’re working so hard to demonstrate.
Maintaining a vibrant, robust presence on all the social channels that your audience frequents is vital to industry leadership – and in order to get that kind of presence, you have to get your audience commenting on, liking, and sharing your posts. You need to develop an actual community of fans and followers on each social media platform – one that will not only showcase your leadership to newcomers, but also encourage current customers and audience members to become brand advocates, which also adds to your credibility.
Another client of ours, the makers of the Cooking Fever game app, provides a great example of this. We maintain their social media pages, and have worked hard to create an enthusiastic community around the game.
By asking fun questions, asking fans to share puns or solve puzzles, and holding contests, we get mega engagement for our client, which in turn boosts their status as industry leaders.
Partnering with influencers on social media is also part of establishing that strong presence – and we’ve worked with some of the biggest names on social media today.
By tapping into these influencers’ audiences, we’ve been able to grow our client’s own audience, and continue to ramp up the excitement that gets people engaging.
Choose the top 3 or 4 social media platforms where your target audience hangs out, and build out your presence there by posting regularly – but don’t stop there. Post content that will encourage fans to interact – by answering questions, entering contests, and sharing experiences. Doing so will build up a strong community, which in turn will showcase how much of an industry leader you are.
5. Search Domination
What happens when you google “baby food?” Gerber pops up. Search for “copy paper,” and Staples and Office Depot pop up. Industry leaders dominate search engines via intense SEO work and strategic PPC ads, as well.
Consumers generally trust Google results to give them the most popular, leading companies from which to buy the product they’re searching for. So by dominating search results both in ads and organic results, you can boost your company’s credibility with your ideal audience – those searching for whatever it is you sell.
One of our clients, Nixplay, sells cutting-edge digital wifi frames to share and display playlists of photos on. Through meticulous SEO work on both the front and back ends of their website, careful link building efforts, and PPC ads, we’ve managed to make Nixplay THE brand that pops up when people search for “wifi cloud frames.”
…and perform very respectably for “digital wifi frames” and other related search terms, as well. This search dominance makes it clear that Nixplay is the industry leader in the digital photo frame space.
For detailed guides to earning higher rankings in the search engines for your company, check out these blog posts on search engine optimization, link building, and PPC ads.
Dominating search results conveys to your target audience – almost subconsciously – that your company is the go-to brand for your product or service.
6. Content Creation and Curation
The final piece of the industry leadership puzzle is creating and curating valuable, relevant, helpful content for your target audience. By creating original content, you’ll be showcasing the fact that you are an expert with your own take on industry issues, as well as the fact that you want to share your expertise with others in order to help. By curating the content of others, you’ll be demonstrating the fact that you stay up to date with wider industry conversations, and that you want to share what you’ve learned with your audience to keep them informed.
One important thing to remember, however, is never to simply share a link to someone else’s article without adding some sort of comment that showcases your own industry wisdom. Content curation does not just mean listing articles – it means putting those articles in context, attaching your own take on the matter to help your audience understand it better. In Chapter 5 of our CEO, Shama Hyder’s, new book – Momentum: How To Propel Your Marketing and Transform Your Brand in the Digital Age – Shama discusses content curation, and how important that added wisdom is:
“Information is common. Knowledge – information contextualized by wisdom – is rare. In a world filled with noise, your customers yearn for filters to help them find the signal. Curating the right content through the filter of your unique expertise, and making sure that content is also current, relevant, and easily accessible, builds your credibility with customers. Becoming the go-to resource in your industry makes your marketing momentum unstoppable.”
Another client of ours, a private investment bank, was greatly helped through the use of content creation and curation. We put this principle into practice for them in multiple ways, the most notable and effective being through the use of several different email newsletters we created on their behalf.
Each week, we would compile data from multiple sources on industry trends, and put them together into an email newsletter for current and potential customers, along with the kind of commentary that was valuable to them as business owners and potentially sellers of their business. These emails gave them insight into exactly what they needed to know in order to decide if now was the right time for them to sell their business via our client.
But we also sent another email each week, this one to all employees of the company across the country. This email featured links to relevant articles online, the kinds of content that our client’s audience would find extremely useful. We contextualized these links with brief summaries and analysis, and created examples of tweets and other social media posts that could be made about each one. Then, we sent these out to the employees, so that they could each post these nuggets of wisdom to share with their audiences. In this way, we made it easy for our client to showcase their industry leadership and expertise.
If you don’t have time to research content to curate on your own, there are online tools that can help. Check out this blog post on tools like Hootsuite and Buffer for details on how they can be used to boost your credibility.
With each of these 6 vital parts of a digital marketing strategy in place – Brand Presence, Industry Insiders, Media Go-To, Social Presence, Search Dominance, and Content Creation and Curation – you’ll be well on your way to becoming a leader in your industry. As our clients can tell you, it works – all you have to do is apply the proven tactics and techniques we’ve shared in this post.
For more step-by-step guidance taking your business to the top of your industry, grab your copy of Shama’s new book Momentum today. Her 5 Principles of Momentum work closely with these 6 strategy elements, and if you use them all together? You’ll be unstoppable.