About 1200 attendees gathered from all over the world to share experiences and ideas about how digital technology is changing the way we use marketing today at the The Digital Marketing World Forum Global 2019 event.
The conference sessions focused on different areas, from content and influencer marketing to eCommerce and digital transformation, and after two full days of great insight and information to take in, here are our key takeaways for content optimization and search engine optimization.
1. Putting customers at the heart of your content works
Catherine Wignall, UK Digital Lead for Microsoft, spoke on how storytelling offers your business a great opportunity to emotionally connect with your audience. Catherine focused on four goals that fuel better conversation and resonate with the public:
- Maximize discoverability
- Unlock advocacy
- Create connected content
- Harvest demand
Many speakers touched upon these four goals. For example, William Bonaddio, Director at Will B Social Ltd. spoke on how a 2016 McDonald’s campaign went viral by simply connecting and listening to their customers. McDonald’s launched new flavors of milkshakes and rather than relying solely on internal ideas, the campaign focused on what flavor of milkshake consumers would like to dip fries in. We personally hope they came up with a salted caramel chocolate flavor!
2. Build trust by listening
With so many other businesses offering similar services, you have to make sure you stand out. A great way to achieve this is to build the trust of your community.
Marisa Thomas, Head of Brand at Bloom & Wild, touched on the subject of the importance of paying attention to your audience’s needs. On Mother’s Day, Bloom & Wild launched an email campaign and noticed that many recipients were unsubscribing, and realized that the holiday was a sensitive subject to a lot of people, for various reasons.
3. Make the most of your own resources and avoid additional spending
When it comes to justifying our marketing spend and proving results, it can be challenging to find ways to do more with less money.
Janis Thomas, B2C Marketing Director at Deltatre, shared a few easy-to-follow steps about that:
- Audit your assets – To understand what you’re already working with, ask yourself a few questions. What different channels do you have? Do you have or need an app? Do you have a website? Which social channels are you using? What form of communication do you have? Evaluate how many people they are reaching, what traffic they’re driving and what part of that traffic is converting. Map everything out and then start thinking about where the gaps are and where you could be doing more.
- Understand your audience – Do not make assumptions, but research instead. Understand what your audience looks like, where to reach them, how to motivate them and use that data to inform your marketing initiatives.
- Drive engagement – Figure out what you’re trying to do and your short term and long term goals.
- Build a relationship over time – Customers are more likely to buy from you if they like you or identify with you. To get there, focus on their needs and learn what they want to be reassured about. Show them your expertise and social proof (reviews and testimonials) and discover their touch points along the way.
- Maximize your conversion – As good as your conversion is, it can always be improved!
- Keep testing and evolving – Test one thing at a time to properly understand its impact and be clear about what success looks like and how you will measure it.
- Use your learnings to move into paid activity – Now that you’ve created great organic content that your audience engages with, complement it with paid search activity and develop your relationship with sites that link to your content.
4. Use the right keywords
On the organic versus paid search subject, all of the speakers agreed to disagree, underlining that everyone should find a balance of what works best for them by combining the two for the perfect recipe. They all agreed that when it comes to organic search, SEO has the biggest impact on lead generation.
Lukasz Zeleny, director of organic performance at ZPG, said that “how” is the most often used word on the internet. Most questions start with how, then with WHAT and lastly, WHY, followed by millions of other words.
He did a stellar job on exemplifying the use of the Keyword Magic Tool, a great way of setting up the right keywords for your website, based on keyword difficulty or ease of ranking. He also stressed the importance of tracking your brand mentions and links to your website, and how you can easily do it by using the right tools, like Talkwalker, Brand24, or Majestic.
Lastly, improving your page speed is crucial and Lukasz’s recommendation to do it efficiently is GTmetrix, an easy-to-use website speed and performance optimization tool that analyzes your page’s speed performance and provides actionable recommendations on how to optimize it.
5. Prepare your teams for digital transformation
Among other things, the need for digital transformation can be a recognition for your business that you no longer have the ability to keep up with customers’ expectations and needs. So how can companies adjust to match this ever-evolving digital landscape?
Nupur Manchandam, COO at Future Learn, along with Ramzi Yakob, Head of Digital Strategy & Experience at Aviva, Tom Baker, Head of Digital at National Trust and Ben Glatz, Head of Digital Transformation at Shell offered in-depth insight on what key priorities brands should focus on implementing and how to prepare their teams to adjust to new technologies in digital marketing:
- Clear constant communication – what is the purpose of digital transformation and why is it important?
- Top-down leadership – establish that this transformation is a priority and filter down to every department of your company. Make sure every single individual understands why this is a priority, reiterate, and embed it everywhere: in goal settings, rewards settings, etc.
- Bring people with you: find the antibodies. These are people that are trying to resist a digital transformation, who have worked in the company for many years that are not interested in change. To reach success with your program, you must find them and make them champions of your transformation.
- Deliver on time and on budget – delivering something valuable early on in the stage of a program will give you attention and credibility.
There is no recipe for success, but keeping up with technology is key no matter what industry you find yourself working in. And no matter what, be genuine and build loyalty with customers.