Are you wondering how to get the most of your digital marketing investment? Is Google proving to be increasingly difficult to produce results and, consequently, ROI?
It might be time to reevaluate the framework of your digital strategies. If you’re still trying to get results from high volume, keyword optimized Google organic SEO or conversion-optimized Adwords campaigns, it may be time to step back and look at your digital campaigns from a different viewfinder.
Experienced marketers are aware that the days of profiting from single touchpoint campaigns are mostly over. Consumers have an ever increasing number of companies to purchase from, and they are more savvy and willing to do their research before purchasing. From checking online reviews to asking their peers for recommendations, a purchase may now take multiple days or touchpoints to be completed.
A typical buying journey now is hardly ever linear. Consumers may have to find you several times online before completing a purchase. Some of these touchpoints may include a google organic result, an ad on Facebook, and email promotion, and an Adwords remarketing ad. How do you get consumers who are constantly bombarded with ads to find you and become your loyal customer, even if they’re not necessarily looking for what you have to offer?
In 2018, it’s time for your methods and strategies to receive an upgrade. Forget single touchpoint campaigns, and start thinking of multi-channel campaigns where you nurture visitors down the buying stages using various channels and creatives.
Step 1: How to Feed the Top of the Funnel
What channels can you use to feed visitors into your buying funnel? Facebook ads, Google organic, and Google Adwords are powerful on their own, but when you create a strategy to get each channel working in tandem with the next, you have the potential for a truly powerful marketing engine.
Don’t Wait for Consumers to Come to You Anymore
By using Facebook as a way to test audiences and feed the top of the funnel, you can generate unprecedented interest and demand for your product or service from an endless supply of potential customers.
You don’t have to wait for people to search for your keywords. Instead, use Facebook interest targeting and lookalike audiences to find them on Facebook and tell them about your product or service.
It’s true that few people go on Facebook thinking, “What am I going to buy today?” They are on Facebook checking in with friends, watching funny videos, chatting, and mostly wasting time. As a marketer, you have to walk a fine line for creating target audiences who have the highest likelihood of being interested in your product or service, while understanding that they are not on Facebook necessarily looking to purchase your product or service right away.
With this in mind, the goal of your awareness campaigns is to test different audiences to determine which are the most effective and start feeding visitors into your sales funnel.
When selecting audiences, think laterally and be as thorough as possible while researching interest groups. Are there any organizations in your industry that your target audience belongs to? Can you use job targeting to cherry-pick specific people who are decision makers? Are there competitors you can target by creating an audience of people interested in them?
Your initial audiences based on interest groups are nothing but that—preliminary. They are simply a way to get the ball rolling and for people to enter into your buying funnel. Every visitor that comes to your site can then be used to create additional audiences.
Creating Custom Audiences
Once you use generic interest targeting, the next step is to create custom audiences.
Engagement Custom Audiences
These are audiences created from people who engage with your content, whether it’s watching a video, visiting your page, or clicking on a call to action button. If someone watches the first 30 seconds of your video, you’ll know this person has a slight interest in your brand. Maybe they commented on your ad, or performed your desired call to action. Already these users have taken another step into your buying funnel.
To create lookalike audiences, you have to start by having existing audiences that have at least a minimum number of people in them. You can create lookalike audiences from your engagement custom audiences, as well as from other sources such as your email list, your data partners, and visitors to your website (based on your pixel).
Facebook will take demographic and psychographic data from the users who belong in that audience, and will find other people who have qualities in common. You can create up to 500 lookalike audiences from a single audience, and you can select the size of your lookalike. Typically, the smaller the audience, the more qualified the audience is. Ideal source audiences should have between 1,000 and 50,000 users.
The goal of Facebook awareness campaigns is primarily audience creation, and increasing those audiences through:
- Relevant interests
- People visiting your landing page
- People watching your videos
- People liking your page
- People adding to their cart
For example, say you are a real estate professional and you create an audience targeting people who are interested in Realtor.com The goal is to get them to click through to your landing page. Anyone that gets to your landing page from this ad will get added to a lookalike audience based on your pixel. This lookalike can then be as large or as small as you’d like, but will give you a new set of people to target in your awareness campaign.
As you run different ads with different creatives and A/B test the same ad across different audiences, you’ll get an idea of which audiences are the most qualified and can give you a strong source for creating new lookalikes.
What ads should you serve these visitors? Direct response ads will not work well for you at the top of the funnel. Instead, think of only one word: Multimedia.
Facebook greatly rewards ads that contain multimedia. The most powerful ad formats are Facebook live videos, regular videos, and slideshows. Facebook wants users to be entertained by your ads, and wants their users to interact with your creatives, and multimedia ads are most effective. Avoid flat, old-school image ads as they simply do not perform as well as multimedia.
Pro Tip: Partner with Influencers!
Combine influencer marketing with Facebook live for over-the-roof relevance scores and performance. Work with influencers to partner with your brand and create Facebook live videos talking about your products or services. Request them to give you access to their page as an advertiser or administrator so you can run the ads on their page from your business account. Your relevance scores will not only be significantly higher, but engagement rates will also improve.
Are there keywords that have low buying intent, are highly informative, and may have medium to low volume? Those are the keywords you’ll want to identify when creating top of the funnel strategies for Google organic.
When it comes to Google organic, everything starts with Keyword Research. Your initial goal will be to identify “long Tail” keywords that have low competition and are “low hanging fruit”. If the competition is low but there’s at least some volume, you can realistically rank for those terms and start getting some traffic to the pages optimized for those terms.
Keyword Research & Targeting
Forget your head terms. These may be highly competitive and require months or years of work to achieve top rankings. Instead, think of terms that you can rank for quickly based on your domain authority and competitive ability. Does the keyword only have about 100 people searches per month? No problem! Once you have 100 of those keywords, the traffic starts adding up!
How do you find these terms?
- Google Search Suggestions: Go to Google and type your head terms into the search box. At the bottom, you’ll see search suggestions. Consider targeting those terms.
- Google Knowledge Graph: These are the questions that appear in the middle of many Google search queries.
- Competitor Research: Who are your top competitors? What are they ranking for? Use a tool like SEMrush to help you figure out what keywords they are ranking for, and choose the ones that are most relevant and which have a low barrier to entry.
- Keyword Research: Good old keyword research is valid here, where you simply find relevant and related terms to rank for.
Once you have a strong keyword list, you need to go to the next stage: targeting keywords by creating content.
Editorial Calendar Creation
Now that you know what keywords you can rank for, you need to have optimized content on your domain targeting these keywords.
In the past you could target keywords by adding keyword rich anchor text. Now, you need to have topical cluster hubs interlinking, where each page is optimized for a primary keyword, with secondary keywords all linking to each other. Then the authority will be passed down through the hub & spoke approach.
Finally, use blogger outreach to gain links from external sources to boost the authority of your clusters.
Every page would, in turn, be optimized for the target keyword by including the keyword in the meta title, meta description, URL, H1, H2, body text, image names, image tags, and anchor text. Old-school on-page seo tactics apply in order to create the most powerful on-page signals. Of course, topical relevance goes beyond the page— to semantic analysis, topical clusters, and much more. Don’t forget to have a dedicated, optimized page on your site for each target keyword.
Once you know that every page you create will be optimized, and you have your keyword list, you need to create your editorial calendar.
Identify Themes, Personas, and Content Types
After performing your initial research, break up your editorial calendar into themes, personas and niches. This will allow you to specifically tailor the content based on these categories.
Themes are topics relevant to your industry or niche. If you sell flowers, themes you can explore are seasonal topics, different types of flowers and their meanings, special occasions, etc. If you sell jewelry, you can talk about weddings, how to choose engagement rings, different occasions to give jewelry as gifts, how to propose, etc. If you are creative and use lateral thinking, there are always lots of different angles to explore when it comes to your industry or niche.
Personas are the different target audiences that you are trying to reach. You can develop your personas to map out their demographics, psychographics, and more. For example, for a company selling flowers online, a target persona can be Tom, a 45-year-old husband who works 60 hour weeks and is always busy. He is the CMO of a parts manufacturer, drives a Lexus, and goes on a cruise every year. He sends weekly flowers to his wife to apologize for working late so often. Using these details when creating your content calendar, you can write to topics relevant to both your industry, theme, and persona.
This, in turn, will help when creating Facebook ad campaigns. You can use content created as part of your editorial calendar as a creative for your Page Post Engagement ads. When you combine the concept of writing for specific personas with interest targeting on Facebook, you can use this content to segment your ads based on interests.
What types of content should you create? Blog articles, white papers, topical guides, landing pages, ebooks, checklists, infographics, and presentations are powerful content types to create when you are pulling visitors into the top of the funnel through Google.
Create both short form and long form content. You need to go wide when it comes to your long tail, and have a lot of articles addressing the different keywords pertinent to your niche. At the same time, Google favors long form content so make sure you are writing extensive 1500+ word articles that go into a lot of depth and show EAT (expertise, authority, and trust). Make sure the content you create is unique and not just a regurgitation of content found elsewhere, you want to truly offer a unique perspective that can’t be found on other websites.
More in depth content types like whitepapers, ebooks and presentations are also helpful in attracting links and in establishing the EAT that Google is now requiring.
Blogger & Influencer Outreach
Blogger & influencer outreach is a powerful method to get the links you need to increase your site’s authority.
To gain the attention of high profile bloggers and journalist, use the content assets you created as part of the content creation part of your marketing campaign. Whether it’s an infographic or a study you’ve releasing with unique data, you’ll want to use these content pieces to give bloggers and influencers something to talk about.
Influencers can also be a powerful way to bring visitors into the funnels. Not only can they build links for you, they can also be a source of direct traffic. Since your influencers will likely already have an audience, this is another way to increase your audience.
The Alpha-Beta campaign structure is a perfect way to use adwords as a top of the funnel method. Your beta campaigns use small ad groups with broad match modified keywords. These are created to go “fishing” for search terms that are an exact match and show high intent.
Similar to audience testing through interest targeting on Facebook, beta campaigns are a way to go “broad” when finding people that may be interested in your products or services. You allocate part of your budget to these beta campaigns knowing that this budget is focused on “testing” and helping you to find your alpha keywords.
Alpha keywords are those that have positive metrics, whether they have the right CPA or a high number of conversions. They are the exact search terms that have performed positively. As you push users down the buying funnel, you’ll create an ever increasing number of ad groups in your alpha campaign.
Getting Visitors into your Remarketing Audiences
Many marketers think of remarketing as an after-thought; in reality, remarketing is an essential component to pushing consumers down the buying funnel. Changing your perspective from simply measuring traffic or conversions to focusing instead on filling up your pixels with remarketing audiences can drastically change how you market.
The goal at the top of the funnels is to use your marketing channels to build audiences on your remarketing lists on Facebook and Google, to add new email addresses to your list, and to create the first touchpoints of brand awareness and recognition with consumers. You’re not even thinking about conversions at this stage, just simply growing the number of visitors so you can create lookalike and remarketing audiences out of these visitors.
If visitors convert right away, you can use remarketing to market to them in the future. In addition, you can use them to create audiences of people with a similar profile.
In the next stage, consideration, you’ll have ample opportunities to create additional touch points and push them closer to conversion.
Nurture Your Visitors in the Consideration Stage
Once your visitors are in your funnel and have interacted with your brand, they are technically now in the consideration stage. At this point, your goal is to get them to see your ad creatives as often as possible to push them down the funnel to the next stage, conversion.
Your consideration campaign will be comprised of remarketing audiences. These can be created by video views based on your awareness video ads, page engagement, and landing page visitors. Here are the different types of engagement audiences that can be created:
Video View Audiences
Did you know that you can segment your audiences based on how much of a video they saw? Here are the different types of video view audiences you can create:
- First 10 seconds
- 10 seconds -25%
- 25% – 50%
- 50% – 75%
If someone watched 95% of your video, you can then serve them an ad focused on conversion. If they only saw the first 10 seconds, perhaps they need more consideration ads to continue nurturing them towards conversion.
The challenge in the consideration stage is to produce enough creatives to keep up the cadence of ads that you are delivering to your audiences.
You need new video creatives to continuously serve them relevant ads with new ways to interact with your brand. Whether you invite them to a webinar, expose them to different products, talk about different features or benefits of your product, etc.—the key is to keep promoting your product and push them to the final step, conversion.
At the middle of the funnel, you are creating content that is tightly themed.
Once again using our example of our online florist, at this level the keywords you are targeting show high purchase intent. Buy flowers online, online florist, discounts on flowers, these are some examples of terms you can target at this stage. It’s challenging to create content using keywords with high buyer intent, unless these are shopping cart pages, so you need to be creative when writing your article titles.
With the consideration stage, it’s important focus on earning as many featured snippets as possible. Featured snippets offer an opportunity to earn position 0 rankings—above the number 1 organic listing. Here’s an example of a featured snippet ranking:
These featured snippets create a high volume of visibility and will generally be focused on keywords with buying intent, making them an excellent consideration level focus.
Working with influencers can also help you to generate links and visibility. Links from niche influencers can help increase the authority of your domain. When an influencer talks about your brand on their blog or social media, their followers may in turn choose to visit your site, or to link to you or to create content based on the campaign focus of the influencer.
Your consideration stage adwords account will be your remarketing campaign. Your call to action may be to “learn more” or present your visitors with more features or benefits to your product or service. Perhaps you may choose not offer them a discount ladder just yet, as your goal at this stage is to continue creating touchpoints through the Google Display network.
All of your landing pages should have a lead magnet so you can grow your email list. Not only can these contacts be used to send out email newsletters, they can also be used for your custom and lookalike audiences.
Your lead magnet can be a free ebook, webinar, newsletter, or a free trial—anything that asks the user to share their email address with you. The more unique the lead magnet, the more willing they will be to give you their information.
Next, you can send them emails following a variety of principles:
- Scarcity: buy now before we run out
- Social Proof: send them emails sharing what others have said about your brand
- Time Constraint: time is running out to take advantage of this offer
- Informational: relevant information based on content you’ve created
Keep showing up in their inbox with different types of offers and creatives so they are reminded of your products and services.
Don’t overdo it! Make sure you find the right balance between spam and branding, otherwise, your emails will end up in the spam box.
Conversion: Close the Deal
They’ve seen you all over the place—every time they log onto Facebook, when they are searching on Google, when they are reading the news on sites through GDN, and in their inbox. Now, all you need to do is give them the offer that will push them to convert.
Conversion campaigns are entirely offer driven. At this stage, you want to add your visitors to a discount ladder and offer them multiple discounts to convince them to convert. Start with a less attractive offer and make it better and better until they finally buy from you.
Facebook & Adwords
Your audiences in your conversion campaign are going to be visitors who added to cart but didn’t checkout. The focus is a shopping cart abandonment program to get those people who were about to convert to complete the conversion. As part of the creative, offer them different discounts and incentives to convert.
On Facebook, you also want to promote customer review videos and testimonials as part of your conversion campaigns. Social proof is key to creating a buzz and convincing those that are on the fence to finalize the conversion process. Offer discounts and incentives to your customers to send you video reviews, which you can then add as creatives to your conversion campaigns.
At this stage, your organic campaign is largely a reputation management strategy. You’ll want to create content with positive reviews about the brand, using bottom of the funnel keywords such as:
- Brand + Price
- Brand + Reviews
- Brand vs Competitor.
Monitor review sites and brand alerts to make sure that all the content out there reflects a positive view of your brand.
Post-Purchase & Re-Order Sequence
After visitors have become customers, you’ll want to add them to a post purchase email sequence. As part of this sequence you can send them discount and cross-sell offers, requests for reviews, and reminders to reorder.
Use the post-purchase process to continue creating touchpoints for a strong brand awareness and recognition in the mind of your customers. Next time they need the product or service you have to offer, you’ll want them to remember you right away!
Tracking & Attribution
Now that you know that a single purchase requires a myriad of touchpoints, how do you attribute the sale? Should you give attribution to the first or the last click? Should the attribution be spread out across the different channels?
Whether you use Google Analytics to track attribution or have different software set up for attribution tracking, make sure you select the most relevant attribution model, and use this model for consistent tracking. Look at your traffic as a whole and measure the performance across channels based on the different types of attribution models to determine the efficacy of each channel.
Now that you have the blueprint to create instant visibility for your brand across the most popular online channels, what are you waiting for? It’s time to get your campaigns off the ground, and watch your brand grow to the next level!