Are You Optimized?

I listened to a wonderful podcast last week from interviewing Lee Odden, CEO of  TopRank Online Marketing, who also recently wrote the book Optimize: How to Attract and Engage More Customers by Integrating SEO, Social Media, and Content Marketing. The 30-minute interview was packed with great advice and insights regarding holistic marketing optimization.

According to Odden, companies need to view the integration of search (SEO), social media, and content marketing holistically in order to maximize optimization and engagement with regard to their online marketing efforts. In part due to Google’s ever changing search rankings, and in part due to the fact that people are searching for relevant and valuable content as a means to making decisions about purchases, it is important to take a step back and look at the whole picture before determining how to best approach your digital marketing strategy.

Crafting Your Digital Marketing Strategy

For an example of how one company is optimizing their digital marketing approach, watch the below video interview with Charlotte Blank, social media manager for GM:

Step 1: Content

As mentioned in the video, the basis of forming a digital strategy should always begin with a heavy focus on the consumer. Odden suggests asking the following questions prior to embarking on any content marketing strategy:

  1. Whose going to find this?
  2. Whose going to read it?
  3. Whose it for?
  4. How will we know it’s successful?

The answers to these questions will form the basis for your holistic approach. Once content is hashed out (click here for an excellent infographic outlining the different types of content marketing formats to consider), SEO and social media can be utilized to leverage content and increase engagement. Now, the question becomes: how can you best leverage SEO and social media to get better results?

Step 2: Search Engine Optimization

According to a recent post on Mark Schaefer’s blog entitled “Marketer Claims SEO as We Know it is Dead,” Odden discusses the term SEO. He argues that the notion of search rankings is no longer predictable given personalization, social search, personalized search history, the geographic location of where a person is searching from, and now the integration of Google +, making traditional SEO not as relevant as it once was. However, SEO still plays a large role in helping to optimize your content despite the fact that such circumstances are constantly changing. According to one study just released by Forrester Research, search, not social is what’s currently driving sales online.

So how does one keep up with these ongoing changes, while at the same time being able to successfully measure effectiveness? According to Odden, the only thing you can really do any more (aside from hiring a top notch digital agency or expert to assist with optimizing your site for customers!) is to compete against yourself, make a relative comparison, take a snapshot of where you are, envision where it is you want to be, and compare.  From there, look for a trend over time based on analytics to chart your progress.

Step 3: Social Media

In order to be relevant, you need to show up at the right time, in the right way, and with the right information, as I discussed in a recent post regarding Google’s “Zero Moment of Truth” theory. One way to achieve this is of course by focusing on the use of sharing content via social media so that it can be consumed, shared, and discussed among both existing and prospective customers.

In the above video, Blank talks about GM’s social media efforts and how she feels that social media in particular plays a role in all stages of the sales funnel, specifically as a “top of the funnel” activity with engaging customers who are just entering into the sales cycle.  For example, GM uses the various Facebook pages and Twitter handles for its name plates (vehicle brands) to engage with particular types of customers, with the goal of matching up the lifestyle interests of target customers to its brands. For example, GM increased engagement on their Facebook page for the Sonic launch with millennials by offering early access to Spotify, since music is a passion among the group.

In closing, to achieve optimization, always remember that your approach must be customer-centric in nature, holistic, and perhaps most of all a continuous process of hypothesis, implementation, measurement and refinement.

Now it’s your turn: what are some examples of companies that you are familiar with that have truly optimized content?

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