Any building or structure is built with the foundation in mind first. We all know that if the foundation of a building is bad, then the structure will ultimately fail. However, if you spend the time to build that solid foundation, you can know that your building will be able to stand long-term.
We all know these things about buildings, so why is it that so many businesses forget to build strong foundations for their marketing?
We see so many brands that want to do email marketing or programmatic advertising, but don’t have the essential foundations in place to be successful. Let’s take a brief look at the 5 most important digital foundations you need in place before you can be successful with digital advertising.
Before you can think about promoting your brand name, you need to have a clear vision on your branding. Branding involves the tone, feel and message that your brand gives off, whether in nonverbal visual cues, or written text.
Once you have your branding in place, you can build a website, social media presence, ad campaign, and other marketing materials to all match and work together to build brand awareness. Then, when you are ready to do your advertising campaign, you have a consistent look to build brand recognition.
(2) Website development
When it comes to marketing a business in the digital age, a website is the first and most important tool. Both current customers and prospective customers expect you to have one, and they demand that it be easy to find and easy to use. Your website is your first impression of what you can provide to solve their problem or need.
A successful advertising campaign in the digital sphere will be crafted in such a way as to promote traffic to your website. You have to have your website in the best possible shape before you begin an ad campaign.
(3) Social media foundations
Outside of your website, social media is the first place someone will go to check out your brand online. There are so many assumptions and impressions that people make based off of your social profiles alone.
In today’s digital culture, it is a necessity to have a healthy social media presence. That doesn’t mean that you have to have 5 million followers, but it does mean that you need to be consistently sharing and providing content, as well as interacting with customers and business partners.
Prior to launching a major ad campaign, you need to make sure, first, that you have social media presences on the main social media channels you want/need to be on. You don’t have to be on all of them, but a careful look will help you understand which profiles are best for your brand.
Then, you need to build a healthy following and put forth content so that your profiles do not look empty. Remember, this is a chance to tell your prospective clients about who you are and what you stand for!
(4) Ranking on search engines
SEO and keyword analytics go hand-in-hand with your content marketing strategy and your social media strategy. SEO (search engine optimization) and SEM (search engine marketing) are all about getting your website recognized on the first page of Yahoo!, Bing, or Google search engine results when clients search for relevant keywords or phrases.
For instance, if you run a window and door company in Pleasantville, someone should be able to find you right away with a search for “window and door company Pleasantville,” or a variation on that search. SEO and SEM strategies will help you make this happen.
SEO starts with building a website in a way that makes it easy and intuitive for search engines to know what you are about. Then, by optimizing your pages based on the content you are writing, and other key strategies, you can make it extra clear that that is what you are about to search engines.
A healthy web presence starts with building your website in a way that promotes positive search rankings. Building your brand this way builds your reputation online and establishes your brand as a leader in your industry.
(5) Landing pages and microsites
Landing sites are often a foundation that many marketers forget to address. Any ad campaign you do will be focused around encouraging your audience to go somewhere.
Where you send someone is called a landing page. All too often, we see marketers design amazing email campaigns, but then don’t spend time on the landing page. They may get thousands of hits on this landing page, but if it’s not designed well, it doesn’t convert to actual leads.
Landing pages are a great way to direct your customers from a targeted email or ad in a way that delivers exactly the information they are expecting. Without landing pages, customers might navigate to your website and get lost after a few clicks. Landing pages are built to deliver the information the customer is looking for in that moment.
Once you have the foundations in place, you can start to think about creating campaigns to drive traffic back to your brand. Don’t make the mistake we’ve seen so many before you make: building on poor marketing foundations. Build your foundations, and THEN light your brand on fire through digital advertising. Not the other way around!
Kevin Layton is CEO of Data-Dynamix, a source of demographic data, a go-to partner for delivering digital marketing campaigns and experts in advertising sales training. Click here to see his full bio.