Digital marketing is a constantly evolving field. Years ago, all you needed was a website, and maybe a blog. Then along came social media. Today, there is such a proliferation of platforms and content online that it’s a challenge to get your marketing message to stand out amid all the noise.
Of course, marketing strategies have evolved right along with all the changes, and today, the best way to get your message out to your target audience online is to harness the power of influential people and sites.
Think about it. Let’s say you’re looking for some software to help your company grow. Which would you trust more – the software companies’ own promotional material or an objective review written by an online business software expert?
According to a recent study, an incredible 92% of consumers prefer to gather information for potential purchases from people they’re familiar with over any other source. [bctt tweet=”92% of consumers prefer to gather information for potential purchases from people they trust. “] That means they’ll look for reviews on their favorite blogger’s site, or check to see what a major news outlet says about a product or company, before they go to the company’s own website.
Several different marketing strategies have emerged in recent years in order to take advantage of this behavior. And because they have been evolving with the new online trends and new research, the names they’re known by have also been fluid, sometimes meaning different things, sometimes being used interchangeably. Digital PR. Outreach. Influencer Marketing. Today, it can be confusing to know exactly what each one means, since the terms have such a history of change.
Luckily, this area of digital marketing has now solidified into a few definitive strategies, each with their own distinct name. A truly effective marketing plan should incorporate all three, in order to take full advantage of the way consumers shop today. Here’s a breakdown of each one.
Outreach is all about SEO and authority. When people need information to help them make a purchasing decision, what’s the first thing they do? Google it, of course! And since Google gives preferential treatment to authoritative, popular websites in its rankings, it just makes sense for companies to reach out to bloggers in their industries who have large followings, and industry websites with significant traffic, to ask them to talk about their products or services. After all, when a potential customer googles “best (insert your product or service here),” you want your company’s name to be among those mentioned in the top few listings, right?
But that’s not the only reason outreach is important. Google also adjusts its rankings based on how many links on those authoritative sites point back to your website. So a company discussed and linked to on a few popular industry sites will show up much higher on a search engine results page than one that’s not being talked about online. Whether you’re guest blogging on an industry site or getting a brief mention in an industry round-up, outreach is vital for effective search marketing.
Digital PR focuses on major news outlets and respected, established websites. Just as traditional PR gets the word out in the traditional media about your company, digital PR does the same online. It’s one thing to be mentioned on a niche industry website – and something entirely different to be discussed on Forbes, or Inc., or HuffPo.
For one thing, Google loves major platforms such as these, so digital PR has significant outreach-type benefits. But it’s also a matter of credibility. Being featured on a news outlet or well-known website is something companies can – and do – brag about, in order to let their audiences know that they’re to be taken seriously. And of course, the number of eyes a business can get in front of via these sites is huge – albeit not as targeted as those reached through industry sites. Digital PR is an important way to establish your company as a respected player in your industry and make a splash in terms of brand awareness and SEO rankings.
Influencer marketing is the hottest form of digital marketing today, and with good reason. Companies are realizing an ROI of $6.50 for every $1 spent on influencer marketing, according to research. [bctt tweet=”Companies are realizing an ROI of $6.50 for every $1 spent on influencer marketing. “] This final strategy involves partnering with influencers online – primarily those with large followings on social media – to promote your products or services through giveaways, blog reviews, or other social media campaigns.
This marketing technique takes advantage of the power of word of mouth advertising, which has been shown to be twice as effective as paid advertising at generating sales. When a potential customer’s favorite Instagram influencer holds a contest offering a free product to the winner, all the while touting the product’s great qualities, or their favorite blogger shares pictures or video of the new, exciting product they just received, it’s just as if a trusted friend is recommending that product.
These three different strategies can be used to great effect on their own, but are much more effective when used together as part of a full, integrated digital marketing plan. Just imagine the response if your company seemed to be popping up everywhere for your online audience – on authoritative industry sites, on major online outlets, in their Google searches, and in their social media feeds. If the old sales adage of 7 touches holds true, then it won’t take long for your company to become a trusted name in this way, leading to a real ROI.
If you’d like help putting any one – or all – of these strategies into place for your business, contact us here at Zen Media today. Our influencer marketing, outreach, and digital PR departments are at the cutting edge of current marketing techniques and have in-depth experience helping clients see great success in their digital marketing efforts. Give us a call today to find out what we can do for you.