Ever spent all day fishing just to return home empty-handed? Comedian Steven Wright once quipped, “There’s a fine line between fishing and just standing on the shore like an idiot.” Unfortunately, some digital marketing campaigns turn out to be just as disappointing if they haven’t been well planned and patiently executed.
Successful fishing is more than casting a line and hoping fish will bite. It’s all about strategy, timing, and finding the good fishing holes. Just as a good fisherman knows he has to find the fish, a successful online marketer finds the audience.
So how do you find that ideal fishing hole? Where is your audience?
With digital media, it’s about discovering where your audience looks for information. Producing compelling content is half the battle; getting people to read, watch, or listen to it means that you have to distribute it via their preferred method of communication.
Email is probably the most direct method of contacting your audience. It’s direct, personal, relatively simple, and low or no cost. In some cases, thanks to the widespread use of smart phones, it’s instant communication. Therefore, email can be a powerful marketing tool, as it is much more direct and timely than any other method.
Most advisors already have an email list of clients and perhaps even prospects. Unfortunately, most are not good at keeping in touch with this database regularly. Creating valuable content and using email to distribute it can improve your web traffic, build credibility and rapport with your contact sphere, and is widely known in the industry to be effective for client retention and referrals.
Social media includes platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn. Knowing which of these outlets to use depends heavily on your audience. Again, remember to consider you you are looking to reach and where might you find them. Facebook may be best for communication with your existing clients while Twitter and LinkedIn are more likely to help you reach new prospects and referral partners. Video is arguably the best converting form of online marketing. YouTube has over 1 billion viewers per month and its usage increased 50% just last year. Add in the fact that YouTube is owned by Google (thus it carries heavy weight with the search giant) and it doesn’t make sense for an advisor who is serious about their digital marketing not to have a strong YouTube presence. Create unique and compelling content and it will be shared by those who read or watch it, thereby increasing your reach. It’s easy to see how a snowball effect can result, with you reaching a wider and wider audience each time your content is shared. That’s putting the exponential power of social media to work for you.
Using a blog in conjunction with email and social media platforms helps drive people back to your website and is a critical step in any online marketing campaign. Regular blogging will also improve your website’s search engine optimization (SEO) and improve your search engine ranking, making it easier for people to find you online. Going back to our fishing analogy, blog content/articles are your bait that attract more fish. Advisors who consistently produce great blog content and distribute it well with email and social media typically end up with a steady stream of web visitors.
Now that we’ve identified three potential avenues of content distribution, how do you know which is the right one? Generally, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Much like finding the great fishing holes, discovering your sweet spot with online marketing can take a bit of trial and error. It’s often best to distribute your content in a variety of ways, and then analyze the results to discover the habits of your target audience. Much like fishing, this part of the process requires you to adapt to your environment and go to the fish. Have patience, and be willing to adjust your technique based on results, and you’ll soon find your audience online.