Marketing organizations had two big things on their minds towards the end of last year: helping sales close end-of-year business and teeing up their marketing programs for 2018. Digital marketing teams, in particular, faced exciting new trends that impacted their strategies and gave them fuel to blow out their numbers this year. Here are five best practices that top the strategic to-do list all through 2018:

1. SEO – Worth the Effort

Probably no surprise here, but search is the #1 driver of traffic to content sites, beating social media by more than 300 percent. Building an SEO/SEM action plan involves deep analytics on terminology to optimize your search reach, understanding the nuances of search algorithms, and best practices for content placement. Enlisting the services of trained SEO experts generates the best ROI, proving that it is important to ensure that your team is sufficiently trained. You’ll also want to track results and possibly change course along the way, but that’s the nature of the beast in the SEO world.

2. Enabling Digital Sellers

Digital marketing techniques have paved the way for more enlightened thinking in the sales organization as well. Digital selling puts a premium on leveraging social channels, analytics and better collaboration with marketing to improve customer targeting and heighten the overall buying experience. The only problem: most sales teams aren’t that good at digital and social selling yet. To cite just one study, 64 percent of social sellers see an increase in sales revenues, but 72 percent of sales professionals consider themselves less than proficient at social selling. Many of today’s marketers already have the digital expertise, so engaging sales and supporting the digital selling process will pay dividends for organizations.

3. Getting Personal With Your Customers

Customers these days are as choosy as ever and with good reason. There is a wealth of marketing content out there to be absorbed, and with brands targeting consumers with personalized content on social media and with finely-tuned campaigns, they can more easily (and more quickly) make educated purchasing decisions. Over 78 percent of B2B buyers expect companies to personalize interactions based on information from their online activities. Digital marketing and digital selling teams that leverage marketing analytics to learn buyer preferences and reach individual buyers on social media with fresh, personalized content and messages continue to win the battle for awareness and keep their leads from finding their competitors.

4. Building Content That Serves a Purpose

Especially in the B2B world, business consumers aren’t just shopping around for the latest gadgets and toys. They are looking for solutions that help them accomplish their business goals. The content you push out to your various audiences should be geared with a solution in mind, and this notion is catching on with marketers in a big way. Now, 72 percent of marketers say relevant content creation is their most effective SEO tactic. Whether it’s a blog post, featured article, thought-leadership whitepaper or a webinar, it connects the dots between an important trend, the product or service provided, and the real benefit a customer can expect. 

5. Gaining Insights With Social Intelligence

Most digital marketers are all-in when it comes to social media marketing, but tracking social activity is proving to be harder for marketing teams than expected. While 92 percent of marketers say social media is important for their business, only 42 percent say they are able to measure their social activities. Social listening has become a crucial skill in marketing, and tools like Zignal Labs and Hootsuite are helping to surface and track social conversations and prove how well a brand is being viewed in social channels.

Every year in digital marketing, new tools and techniques take us by storm, and this year is no different. Refining your digital marketing skills will keep you squarely in front of your competitors, so take advantage of online digital marketing skills certification and training and become a digital marketing champion in your organization.

About the Author

Christina LeeChristina Lee

Christina is a marketing communications and project management leader with over a decade of demonstrated experience and expertise. As a certified Pragmatic Marketer and Project Management Professional, Christina brings together the art and science behind these two disciplines to drive awareness and visibility to brands, while creating a functional environment that fosters creativity, operational effectiveness and high performance within teams. Her enthusiasm to work on strategic marketing initiatives and develop integrated campaigns really brings to life the creativity and interdisciplinary skills required to engage customers, prospects and business partners.

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