For businesses to get on the right foot in 2020 with their digital marketing strategy, Milestone Inc. in association with Search Engine Journal conducted a webinar on ‘digital trends and must-haves’ to build the perfect digital marketing strategy.
Our president and founder, Benu Aggarwal, along with Bill Hunt, president, Back Azimuth Consulting, shared with business owners and digital marketing professionals the 12 must-haves to create a holistic digital marketing strategy.
Before we get into the 12 must-haves, let’s briefly shed some light on Google’s algorithm updates and how they align with the recent digital trends. By putting this puzzle together, you’ll have perspicuity on how we developed this 12-step winning digital marketing formula.
Evolution of Search
Looking back, Google’s algorithm updates such as Panda, Penguin, Hummingbird, Pigeon, Fred, Mobile Friendly, Possum, Rank Brain, and other smaller algorithm updates have moved on from keywords to relevance (understanding user intent) and have focused on improving the user experience for customers, by prioritizing relevant content and fighting spam, duplicate and plagiarized content. In October 2019, Google announced the BERT update, which focuses on conversational content (optimizing for voice search). BERT was implemented in search to allow the engine to better understand the nuances of a language and deliver a pin-point result to a query.
What are the business problems that we are solving?
Understanding the problem of a business is effectively the first step to take when building a holistic digital marketing strategy. Focusing on this critical step, Milestone has its very own Idea Lab that analyses the problems faced by businesses and creates a solution that is amalgamated with their marketing strategy. Is your business lacking awareness and needs more foot traffic? Should you rebrand your business? How can you drive bookings directly to your website to earn more? How is your engagement with your audience? Are you seeing conversions? How do you deal with off-seasons? How can you maximize your existing customers? Is your business growing year-on-year?
Once we’ve answered these probable questions, the next step is to create a winning digital marketing strategy.
12 Steps to create a Robust Digital Strategy
With the focus on solving the problems of businesses and the digital marketing goal of saturating a business’s position on search, here are 12 steps to create a robust digital strategy for 2020:
Understand the intent of customers
Understanding the intent, behavior and the need of customers is the first effective step. Your content engagement should be rich, informative, and conversational – which is the core of Google’s BERT update as well.
Align digital assets with your content strategy
Your digital assets need to be shaped on the principle of the Form Follow Function. Every digital asset on your website should be designed to perform a specific function that suits the intent of customers while aligning with your content strategy. For example, create FAQs to suit voice search queries or OTA widgets to give customers the best booking price across multiple platforms.
Optimize for entity and voice search
For businesses to be visible on SERPs or be the voice search answer, optimizing the entity is critical to ensure the most important attributes of the business are tracked. Use schemas to describe your business and products to the search engine. By doing so, the details of your business and your products (taking customers to your website) have a better chance of showing up as a rich result and be the voice search answer – which could increase your online traffic by 20-30%.
Get your website content voice search ready
Analyze the type of questions that customers could and will ask about your business online. Throwing in a mix of branded and non-branded queries is the trick. To help you get around this challenge, make use of FAQ manager tools that will reflect trending queries, and then relate them to your business.
Use FAQs to create voice search actions
Your FAQs (about details of your business) can be converted to a voice search action. To ensure this, Milestone has created a seamless workflow to automate FAQ creations for them to be voice search actions. Optimizing the speed of your website to suit mobile searches and having FAQs wrapped with schemas will improve the chances of your content being converted to a voice search action. In addition, make sure that your FAQs have an omnichannel presence (Google, Bing, Yelp, Yahoo, GMB, etc.) to cover all possible touchpoints with users online.
Ensure that business details and listings are accurate across all channels
To avoid the chances of losing out on potential customers, having accurate business details and listings across all channels, and enhancing your business details across the local ecosystem is imperative. Rich local listings and consistent data on Local and Google My Business have proved to have a significant impact on engagement and conversions (foot traffic and online bookings).
Optimize for the right answer and traffic
When Google announced BERT, they said it would affect featured snippets, meaning that relevant and conversational content have a better chance of being featured in the “zero-click” box. Focusing on giving customers the right answer to their queries is of prime importance.
Know your Universal Search Results and your SERP saturation
Knowing the type of Universal Search Result that your content is featuring in and where your business is saturating on SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages) tells the story of your content (if it is matching the customer’s intent) and the possible growth trajectory to saturate on Page 1 of the results page.
Aim for a top-notch user experience
To ensure your website gives customers the best possible user experience, follow these 5 pillars:
- Your domain should be authoritative (with quality inbound links, local citations, etc.)
- Your SEO should be spot on (Local citations, GMB optimized, schemas, optimized URLs, PPC campaigns, authority backlinks, etc.)
- Your content should be relevant (localized), fresh and conversational
- Your page speed should be optimized to suit mobile devices (AMP, PWA, Mobile-Friendly)
- Your website should be clickable (enhanced entities, rich snippets, interactive UX)
Optimize your website to enhance the experience of visiting customers
Your website should be part of the experience of the customer’s journey and not merely a domain for conversions for your business. Your website should be optimized to a point where it gives customers a taste of what they are in for. Believe us, it improves conversions. Check out our ‘Plan your day’ feature, it creates an excitement for customers and gives them a taste of the good times in store for them.
You can monetize your right answers
Of course, we stress on giving customers the right answer (the ones they wanna hear) but who said you can’t have any monetary benefit from it? For example, Link the right answer to your events calendar page – you’re basically driving traffic to your website to make a booking of an event they wish to attend.
Align your digital marketing strategy and business objectives
To build a winning business model, your digital marketing strategy and business objectives can’t be independent of each other but should align to achieve a common goal. For both to be a success, understanding your target audience (age, location, gender, preferred devices, interests) is the key to achieving brand loyalty and recognition online
Once you’ve put all this together, it’s time to turn Knowledge into Wisdom and this is pretty much the most critical aspect for your business in the long run. Use key insights about your business’ engagement on SERPs and identify what’s working and what’s not sitting well with your customers. This is practically the path that helps a business understand its customers perfectly and strive towards customer satisfaction.
Over the last 2 decades, Milestone has been walking businesses through the customer journey for them to fulfill their objectives. By molding the perfect digital strategy – by keeping a track of trends, customer behavior over the years, and Google’s updates, we’ve drawn the road map for businesses to reach their customers, create an action, push conversions and engage with their customers to achieve the status of brand loyalty.
Does your business need a winning digital marketing strategy using Milestone’s Idea Lab? Contact us at +1 408-200-2211 or mail us at [email protected]