By Molly Bull
In the world of digital marketing, it’s difficult to decide what to focus on first, especially when it comes to your self-storage business. Today’s increasingly social and mobile world means reaching and converting customers can be time-consuming and hard to measure. Here are four ways to invest your time and money for a digital-marketing strategy that works.
1. Lead Generation
Improve your leads and make the most of your audience by analyzing your online presence and ensuring its effectiveness on all platforms. Start with your website, which should be your most visited touch point because it showcases everything about your business.
First, consider the quality of your website’s mobile user experience—especially if you’re also running an e-mail campaign (many users who click through e-mails are doing so on their mobile device). A website’s usability on mobile is completely different than on a desktop computer, so it’s important to ensure you’re not losing leads with an ineffective site. In addition, creating website and e-mail content that resonates with users will help grab their attention and turn them into leads.
For lead generation, it’s important to maximize your search traffic by implementing a search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. It’ll help users find your site through a variety of channels:
- Organic traffic via search engines
- Paid traffic from search ads
- Referral traffic from other sites containing a link to your site
- Traffic from social media
- Display-ad traffic from online ads
The key to good SEO isn’t just a quality setup and plan but also consistently maintaining and updating your site. This ensures your site stays fresh whenever Google updates its search algorithm. Often, older, less frequently updated sites get pushed to the bottom of the results.
2. Online Reputation
Small-business owners and entrepreneurs know the power of a good referral, and it’s often what keeps things going for many companies. Develop trust and brand power by tapping into the positive experiences of existing customers or past clients and displaying their testimonials on your website.
Also, don’t forget social media. Your current and prospective customers can instantly post reviews on Yelp, Google+ and Facebook. Research tells us that peer reviews are far more trusted than what you publish about yourself, and that puts your customers and prospects in control. Every social review affects your reputation. Without a formal advocacy program in place that enables you to aggregate responses, respond to comments and promote reviews, you’ll surrender your message to the masses.
You can’t control what people say about your brand, but there are steps you can take to ensure you’re positioned in the best possible light. Instead of being held hostage to reviews, try tapping into the selling power of your fans.
3. Website Conversion
Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is the practice of scientifically testing which prospects convert to customers. It gives you the ability to adjust your marketing design and message so you’re resonating with the target audience.
As with any methodical testing, the value comes from identifying and building strong hypotheses about user behaviors and then testing them on your website. This begins with research via tools such as Google Analytics to identify exactly how users are interacting with your site. Heat mapping is another way to gather good data that shows you where users are spending their time on your site. Once you have this information, you can develop a plan to improve user experience, conversion and business outcomes.
4. Digital Analytics
Building on CRO, implementing a data-driven marketing plan on all fronts will help ensure you’re spending your money and time wisely. These analytics will help you know if all your online elements are working—whether your message is reaching your intended audience, for instance, and if your investment is leading to conversions. By analyzing metrics such as cost-per-lead and lead-source performance, you’ll be able to measure the effectiveness of your campaigns, spot the weaknesses and strengths of key digital touch points, and ultimately maximize profitability.
To allocate your budget in the most efficient way possible, you need to understand the performance and source of your leads. But how should you assign credit to conversions? An attribution model—another service offered through Google Analytics to evaluate your site—will help you spend marketing dollars effectively by giving you a framework to evaluate your efforts. Attribution models help you understand how your prospects become converted. A first-click model provides a simple and broad perspective to understand the initial source of each lead.
With a website that showcases your business and uses an optimized search strategy, focused social tactics, and comprehensive analytics to gain actionable insights, you’ll be able to drive qualified leads to your site and make the most of your marketing dollars.
Molly Bull is director of corporate communications at G5, which provides Digital Experience Management software and marketing services to the self-storage industry. With more than 15 years of experience, she’s responsible for the company’s marketing-communications strategy. The company’s offerings include responsive-design websites, search engine marketing, social media, reputation management, lead tracking and management, analytics, and client-performance management. For more information, visit www.getg5.com.