I’m constantly approached by companies, small and large, looking for tips to improve the results of their online marketing efforts. The demand increased during the 2020 pandemic, with a lot of businesses looking to expand their digital presence.
At the end of the day, it all boils down to the same conclusion: businesses need more leads and more sales but don’t know exactly where to start. They feel overwhelmed.
Digital marketing starts with a smartly designed website
My first reaction is always the same: it’s all about the methodology. You need to design an effective workflow.
This starts with a solid website, a great-looking one of course, but also easy to populate with content and future-proof in terms of maintenance (you don’t want to hire a team of developers).
I see two main options:
Either a static website, like this one, if you just need to blog and present basic information. It’s fast, secure and easy to update. There are various technological options to create a static website but the principle is always the same: the data is part of the HTML pages, hence the adjective “static” (of course, you can still update your site when needed).
Or a WordPress site, which gives you more control and dynamic possibilities, built with the right theme & plugins. It’s supported by the strongest community of (affordable) developers. WordPress powers more than 50% of the CMS (Content Management System) websites and over 35% of the whole worldwide web!
Invest time to decouple data from design
Instead of buying a ready-made industry-specific template (think “restaurant template for a restaurant”) for whatever CMS you choose to build on (WordPress, SquareSpace, Wix, Weebly, Duda, Webflow,...), my advice is also always the same: pick a basic template AND a great visual builder plugin (Elementor Pro) which enables you to design data-driven pages. That’s why I recommend WordPress instead of all the other online web builders, with the added benefit that WordPress is open source: you can host your site wherever you want (after many tests, I’ve chosen SiteGround).
If you need to publish a lot of pages with a similar structure, approach content creation in a structured manner:
- populate a spreadsheet (Google Sheets, Airtable, Notion,...);
- design a data architecture for your posts (title, text, links, (custom) taxonomy, images,...);
- populate the fields on your site with the data from your spreadsheet (which will become the ultimate source of truth for all further updates)
If you do it that way, it will be super easy to add another data point in the future if/when needed. You simply add a column to your sheet, create a new field to host the data on your site, update all the records based on a unique identifier (usually the title of the post) and add a zone to your template to display the data. Hit publish and all your pages are updated in a single click, voilà!
Want to update the design of your pages while keeping the same data behind the scenes? That’s easy if you decouple the data from the front-end. Just adapt your template and the data will follow, seamlessly.
Insert trackers to understand what’s going on
You need detailed data to take the right decisions. Before promoting your site, make sure you’ve added a set of basic trackers:
- Google Analytics (activating custom audiences, useful for remarketing)
- Facebook Pixel (if you plan to promote your business on Facebook)
- Linkedin Pixel (essential to create custom audiences on the #1 B2B network)
- A pixel provided by your email marketing tool (I’m using SendInBlue), which will facilitate quick automations based on user behaviour (and enable quick lead scoring)
- A B2B ABM (Account Based Marketing) tracking tool like Albacross, which gives you a fairly good idea of the professionals visiting your site (provided they’re not working from home).
Make sure you’re adding a Cookie Disclaimer Banner to your site, which should activate the cookies after the user accepts tracking.
Add lead generation forms & connect them to a database + SaaS tools
If you use a state-of-the-art visual builder plugin like Elementor For WordPress, it comes equipped with a great form builder (you don’t need another plugin), which you can easily connect to any external database or SaaS via a webhook.
You can send the data from submissions to Zapier or Integromat and then record it in a Google Sheet or an Airtable database + forward it to any SaaS which makes sense in your workflow. You will usually send the emails to your email marketing platform and the new leads to a CRM (it can be as simple as the free version of Hubspot or even a custom Airtable database). You can also ping a messaging SaaS to greet the user with a SMS or a voice message. In an ecosystem offering a vast choice of third-party APIs, it’s very easy to process and enrich data collected on your site. Always leverage the power of APIs.
Automate the distribution of your content
When you post new content, you should distribute it to generate traffic. You can boost it (paid amplification) and share it with your community. Start with your team members - they should be your first ambassadors - then share your publications with your email subscribers and your social media followers.
There are multiple ways to automate the process using the automation gateways listed above (Zapier / Integromat) and a platform like SocialPilot, connected to your social media accounts.
Invest time in competitive intelligence and keyword research
Using ahrefs, have a look at the sources of organic traffic to your competitors’ websites. Invest time in keyword research before briefing your content editors. Start with long tail keywords and develop your brand awareness to increase direct traffic. Monitor the progress of your SEO using Google Search Console. Double down on what’s working.
Rinse & repeat
Online marketing isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon. You need either to set up a hard working internal content team or delegate content creation & promotion to an external partner. In both cases, it requires long term discipline, patience and persistence to achieve meaningful results.
Need a solid partner? Call Me Fred.
My team and I can do all of the above for you, from the very start (your website, powered by WordPress / Elementor, hosted on SiteGround) to the marketing stack setup and activation, incl. content creation in 3 languages (EN/FR/NL).
We’re only expecting some informative input and some availability along the way. We’ll need your logo, style guide, raw (unformatted) text content introducing your services and business cases, targeting brief and some other elements to discuss, depending on your objectives.
Will this cost an arm and a leg?
You don't have to break the bank to be serious about online marketing. But if you hesitate between a free theme and a premium one or think you can exist online for £50 per month while spending £3000 per month on office rent, we're probably not a good fit.
Here's how we can work together:
Phase 1: creation of your website in one language + marketing stack setup, usually from £5000 to £7500 depending on the volume & complexity of content. Delivery in one week. We insist on the importance of good foundations. Then we’re ready to go.
Phase 2: day-to-day marketing operations, from £2000 per month + media budget (which I recommend to be at least 3 times the retainer fee, e.g. £6000 per month of media for £2000 of management).
We will collaborate in an agile manner and you will receive frequent reports, we're data geeks, obsessed with results.
Sit back, relax and reach out to kickstart a collaboration: firstname.lastname@example.org