6 Timely Ideas to Drastically Improve Your Digital Marketing

An animated image of social and digital marketing elements.

Summer is typically a slow time in the marketing and agency world. I’ve found the summertime is ideal for early-stage annual planning. Despite a surprising economic recovery in recent months, many corporate marketing budgets are being trimmed. To alleviate the pressure, I encourage senior staff to step away from the desk for a few hours, take a fresh look at digital marketing initiatives and look for creative ways to stretch existing budgets and improve overall campaign performance.

Here are six ideas to get you started.

Get a fresh start 

Digital marketing is a moving target. What’s worked in the past may not work moving forward. Strategies you’ve dropped may be worth revisiting as well. 

I recommend starting with a comprehensive audit of your digital marketing strategies (metrics and goals), overall online presence, and competitive benchmarking to determine where you are, where you’ve made progress and where you’re falling short. When in doubt, don’t rely on third-party research or “experts.” Test new theories yourself. I recommend allocating 20% of your digital marketing budget for testing.

Particularly hot areas to evaluate include improved data and market segmentation and evolving digital advertising options. In terms of segmentation, break down your database and markets into personas and develop personalized messaging and calls-to-action that resonate with each market sector. Tools, formats, and inventory constantly evolve on the advertising front, and overall spending is increasing. 

The larger search and social networks have vastly improved and expanded advertising options, providing more ways to take your money. This is also an ideal time to evaluate how artificial intelligence (AI) is used within your marketing organization to streamline efficiencies and improve output. 

Explore new roles

Besides looking at digital marketing strategies and tactics for 2024 and beyond, consider adding new people. 

How can you be successful in an ever-changing digital marketing landscape utilizing the same individuals and job descriptions? 

Your team must evolve with the marketplace. Here are a few new roles to consider, particularly if you are a larger organization with a strong brand presence:

Chief storyteller: One of the recent trends in digital marketing is the concept of “storytelling.” Rather than relegate the responsibility to your PR, search, or social team, why not hire a professional storyteller to ensure your marketing messages are framed within the storytelling framework, are consistently communicated, and reflect your brand and culture?

This person may have a Master’s in English, come from the ad or film industry, or be a gifted marketing professional. All that matters is that they are the keeper of the stories for your brand.

Content curator: With the rising interest in content marketing, information is being created at a record pace. With so much content being made by many different people in many locations, who is responsible for collecting, organizing, integrating, and measuring for your organization?

Someone with a comfort level or experience with content curation plays an essential role. Think retired librarian or even a financial analyst for the position. Anyone comfortable organizing content and making it easily accessible is ideal. Related statistic: Customer testimonials have the highest effectiveness rating for all types of content marketing, with a rating of 89%. Who’s managing your customer testimonials?

Data evangelist: Data is generated at every turn in the digital world, from website analytics and social media to sales and marketing automation. Unfortunately, all this information is being collected by different teams and platforms and is not likely to be shared or managed consistently.

The data evangelist ensures all departments are talking to each other and leveraging the data for greater insight. If you’re serious about leveraging data to move your business forward, hire this role today.

Customer service marketing liaison: The line between marketing and customer service has been blurred, particularly in social media. While customer service representatives often have the ideal mindset for customer interactions in social media, they may not have the experience or sophistication of marketers when it comes to being power users of social platforms and tools.

Ensure both departments benefit from a marketing liaison’s close interaction and collaboration. This person will be able to speak the language of both customer service representatives and marketers alike and understand how both can work together to be more effective.

Social media marketing evangelist: I’ve described the importance of this role in previous articles, but in essence, this role is more strategic than a typical social media manager. If you haven’t upgraded or otherwise retooled your social media team, consider this role and the impact of leveraging the horsepower of your entire organization to move the needle in social media.

Get deep, immersive and personalized with content

I’ve been saying for years, as have other digital marketers, that content is king. In 2024 and beyond, content will take on new forms, meaning, and impact on marketing, particularly with generative AI entering the ecosystem. Highly technical, aka “deep” content, continues to be rewarded by Google’s E-E-A-T algorithm updates. You no longer must worry about burying your highly technical or detailed content deeper into your website architecture. Google will find and elevate it in search focusing on contextual relevance.

Convert to deep content; make all information useful to prospects widely available and accessible. Balance the need to create value in the marketing automation process (lead forms) with the reality that people are one click away from finding what they want elsewhere. Break down the walls; you may see the benefits immediately, particularly via visibility through rich snippets. 

Beyond deep and accessible content, Google also loves multimedia content. Businesses and publishers using images, video, and audio in conjunction with text on their websites, blogs, and social profiles have been rewarded with increased visibility and engagement. Fun fact: Social posts receive 94% more attention when multimedia is utilized. Similarly, consumers (and Google) appreciate real-time content and interactions. Consider increasing the number of live engagements with website visitors, including click-to-call, chatbots, and livestreaming in 2024.

One compelling statistic you may have seen recently sets the stage for 2024 digital marketing: 78% of CMOs believe custom content is the future of marketing. While creating custom content takes a significant investment, the rewards can be compelling. A key component of custom content is personalization (targeting), which will become more mainstream as tools become more affordable and companies see the ROI first-hand. What level of personalization are you utilizing in your email, search, and social marketing?

Go SoLoMo

“GoSoLoMo” stands for go social, local, and mobile. Many marketers would say they are already “there,” but I beg to differ. Fun fact: 93% of marketers already say they use social media for business. While that may be true, using and truly maximizing are two different levels of engagement, and you need to know where you are on that spectrum.

In 2024, look for a more balanced social media program. From general awareness and content creation to engagement and conversion, ensure you have thoroughly tested and committed to the big eight platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Threads, X/Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and TikTok. Don’t forget to evaluate secondary platforms, including Reddit, Snapchat, Mastodon and others, to maximize reach and engagement. 

Test various form factors, including animated GIFs, audio/podcasting, vertical video and graphics. Ensure your social profiles are properly integrated into your website, blog, and email communications. Social sharing drives the web, as well as influences rankings.

As social adoption and usage evolve, your company must create and maintain a unique voice and tone relevant to your brand and customers. Equally crucial in 2024 and beyond is engaging in real-time and bringing context. Regarding going local, 91% of U.S. adults have their mobile devices within arm’s reach. What are you doing to take advantage of the new reality of mobile consumption and targeting capabilities? 

Don’t forget to claim, optimize, and manage your local listings, particularly if you are a multi-location consumer retail business. Keeping an eye on reviews is essential for hospitality businesses where decisions are made on the fly and on foot.

Double down on digital advertising 

As much as my background in PR and SEO biased me toward “earned” and “owned” media, “paid” has its place. Now more than ever, that place is front and center in the digital world. While all research points to more significant investments in digital advertising by marketers in 2024, there are hurdles to achieving maximum return that require creativity to overcome. 

Fun facts: 54% of online ads are not seen by their intended audience, and 50 percent of web ads go entirely unseen. While a “cookieless” future continues to evolve, I recommend looking at unique creative and ad-targeting technology to bridge the gap. Look at new dynamic and interactive OOH options. Leverage generative AI to increase personalization in both targeting and creative. Lastly, test evolving ad products on platforms like Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Meta (especially Threads).

Cross your channels and dot your eyes

The holy grail of measurement is understanding how various marketing channels (online and offline) impact your business. Cross-channel analytics has seen significant growth in the past few years. However, medium and small businesses still lack the sophistication to understand which half of their marketing investment is working. The good news is that technology is more affordable and powerful, offering better measurements than ever.

Even without robust multi-touch attribution measurement, you must still have a mastery of your various marketing channels. With omnichannel marketing, integration and consistency of messaging across channels is critical. In 2024, explore the relationship between offline and online marketing, particularly regarding social media. Explore how you drive offline marketing efforts via social media.

One area of continued investment in the coming months will be conversion optimization. To remain competitive, you must maximize online conversions; the best way is through testing. Landing page optimization is the most common technology and process for achieving this goal. Fun fact: Landing pages that included videos see an 86% increase in conversions.

We’re nearly two-thirds of the way through 2023. What are you doing to ensure your digital marketing success? Consider evaluating and adopting one of these seven ideas above to maximize your return on investment this year and beyond. 

Kent Lewis is the founder of pdxMindShare, an online career community and networking group and a digital marketing thought leader since 1996. 

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