A Checklist For Delivering a Compelling Online Marketing Message
In 2021 Delivering a Compelling Online Marketing Message is Essential!
Most brands and product companies have a website to deliver their marketing message to their online audience. But are they providing a compelling online marketing message? Unfortunately, many business websites fall far short of that critical objective. Today, we want to show you where most websites fall short, and what you can do about it.
What Online Impression Are You Creating?
What do your visitors think when they land on your site or social profiles? Most people searching online are looking for solutions to their problems. To connect with your potential clients and customers, you need to clearly state how you can solve their problems and why you better choose your competitors.
Give your prospects a compelling reason to do business with you. If you want online visitors to become customers, you’ve got cut through the noise of all the other advertising. You’ve got to tell them what you can do for them, quickly, clearly, and simply – in both your written and visual content.
To ensure that our clients are ready to develop and implement a compelling online marketing strategy, PixoLabo has developed a comprehensive online marketing checklist.
Compelling Online Marketing Checklist
Any compelling online marketing campaign requires several components that need to work together seamlessly for your marketing efforts to provide measurable results. Having missing or incomplete parts of your digital footprint will work against you right from the beginning.
To ensure our clients are ready to start online marketing right from the beginning, we perform a comprehensive online audit of our clients’ online marketing presence. Here are the main areas we focus on and why they are essential.
A practical and noticeable brand and brand strategy are essential. And an effective brand is much more than just a logo. An effective brand message answers these basic questions:
- Why are you in this business? (Or, why did you create this product/service?)
- What do you promise to deliver to the customer (include benefits)?
- How does your product or service make your customer’s life better every day?
- How do you communicate your brand message? (What voice do you use?)
Our Brand Evaluation focuses on the following:
- Is your brand instantly recognized?
- Do you have an effective brand logo?
- Is your brand logo high quality?
- Is your brand logo using the appropriate colors to appeal to the emotions of your target audience?
- Is your brand consistent across your website and social channels?
- Is your brand consistent across traditional and digital marketing channels?
- Does your brand make effective use of imagery?
- Does your brand relate to your service, product, or industry?
- Do you use a consistent brand voice to communicate your message?
- Do you have a strong personal brand? (Very important for individual service providers and small businesses.)
Your online content not only needs to convey what you do, how that benefits your target audience, and why you are the best solution for their needs. More importantly, it needs to connect to your audience on an emotional level to be effective. People need to feel good about buying your product or service.
They won’t buy your product or service simply because you provide the most features for the lowest price. If you want to create a compelling online marketing message you must focus your efforts on content creation.
Since people buy based on emotion, you’ve got to appeal to the emotions of your audience. Engage readers and speak to their feelings. If your marketing message doesn’t speak to what your reader wants, you won’t keep them on your website or social profiles long enough to hear your message, let alone start their journey of conversion.
Our Content Evaluation focuses on the following:
- Is your content written with the reader’s interests in mind? Does it talk to what your audience wants?
- Are you asking questions? Questions are essential for audience interaction.
- Is your content personal and engages the reader? Are you using a conversational tone?
- Are your headlines and keywords related to the problem your intended audience is trying to solve?
- Is your content persuasive, and explains the benefits (not the features) of your product/service?
- Does your content educate your prospects about your product/industry to help them make an informed buying decision?
- Are your benefit statements clear and prominent?
- Does your content tell/show your intended audience how your product or service stands for something important to them? Are you inspiring the prospect to take action (or want to do business with you)?
- Do you offer your prospects something of value for free (a coupon, a free service, product sample, or valuable information)?
- Does your content include a “call to action”? Are you asking visitors to contact you for more info, sign up for your newsletter, get an estimate, or download a white paper? Make it easy for your audience to take the next step.
- Do you keep an active blog? Once a month is a bare minimum, more often, such as twice a week, is better.
- Do you create content for other sites, such as guest blogging?
Keep it simple. Your website must be easy to navigate and pleasing to the eyes. Keep the visuals to a minimum and use a lot of white space. A visually distracting site with too many images, graphics, and animations can overwhelm readers and muddle your message. You only have 8 seconds to grab your readers’ attention. So your message must be presented in brief, catchy chunks of information.
Make it easy, entertaining, educational, and personal. Connect with your audience by telling a story. Humans communicate in a pattern called storytelling. What’s your company’s story? Why are you in this business, and what can you tell me about why I absolutely must have your product or service? What will you do for me that your competitors can’t – or won’t – do? In order to be effective, your online marketing message needs to be centered on that.
Our Web Design Evaluation focuses on the following:
- Is your website mobile-first and provides a great mobile user experience for the Google Mobile-First Index?
- Does your website load fast? Page Speed is a Google ranking factor that you must not overlook. Large images and slow-loading graphics can turn visitors away.
- Does your website use a consistent style throughout? Consistency is essential to avoid confusing your audience.
- Are you using consistent and easy-to-use navigation menus? If you confuse your visitors, they will leave your site.
- Are your page header and footer graphics consistent on every page and do not distract the visitor from reading your page content and marketing message?
- Is your brand logo consistent on every page?
- Is your website design aligned with your critical online marketing strategies?
- Are you effectively using imagery, graphics, and multimedia to enhance your marketing message? Telling your story through video and audio messages is very compelling.
- Do you include your contact information on every page of your website site? Including your telephone number, email address, and physical location if you have one?
- If you do business only in a specific geographic area or areas is that clearly stated on your website?
- Is your website designed to allow your audience to find the content and information they are looking for quickly? Most people prefer easy to read text and simple visuals.
- Do you have any unfinished, incomplete, or (gasp!) placeholder content?
- Does your website provide you with a way to capture leads, such as a short email optin a prospect can complete, send you a quick question, or request you contact them?
- Does your website support live chat?
- Does your website include opt-in forms, such as a newsletter sign-up?
Is your website search engine optimized for specific keywords, and your business name?
- Does your website reference social networking sites as appropriate for your business?
- Does your website allow for easy social sharing of your content?
- If you have an e-commerce site, are all your products up to date? Do you have product descriptions, images, and reviews?
- Do you have a transparent checkout process, such as PayPal or Stripe?
- Do you allow social login for your customers?
A compelling online marketing strategy must include search engine optimization if it is to provide targeted results. You may have the most fabulous product or service in the world, but if people don’t know you exist, they will never find you or your business.
Search engine optimization requires a systematic approach aligned with Google guidelines and follows White Hat SEO practices. Not considering SEO as part of a compelling online marketing strategy from the very beginning results in content not aligned with your intended audience’s expectations.
Our SEO Evaluation focuses on the following:
- Are you currently using SEO as part of your online marketing strategy? If not, why?
- Do you have Google Analytics installed and configured on your website?
- Are you using Google or Bing Webmaster tools?
- Have you performed keyword research and analysis, including competitor evaluation and comparison?
- Do you have a documented SEO strategy?
- Are your keywords relevant and competitive for your industry and audience?
- Is your content optimized for your keywords?
- Does each page or post on your website have a unique keyword or phrase? Google specifies that each keyword or phrase can only be used once on each site.
- Is your focus keyword or phrase part of your page title and URL?
- Are you using H1, H2, H3, etc. headlines correctly? Only your page title should be using the H1 tag.
- Do you have a minimum of 300-500 words per page or post? Longer content ranks higher on search engines.
- Are you using your keyword or phrase for maximum effectiveness? If you use it too much, Google will rank you lower.
- Does each page or post have at least one (1) image that illustrates the keyword or phrase?
- Do the image file names and alt tags include the keyword or phrase?
- Does each page have a meta description and other meta tags as appropriate?
- Do you have appropriate calls to action (CTAs) throughout your site?
- Do you have appropriate internal links throughout your site? CTAs help visitors explore your content.
- Do you have an XML site map?
- Do you have a robots.txt file?
- Is your domain registered for a minimum of two (2) years? 5 or 10 years are better. Search engines do not index any site that has a domain registered for less than two years.
- Do you have a Secure Socket Layer Certificate (SSL)? SSL is a Google requirement since 2018. It is essential for all e-commerce sites.
- Do you have unnecessary redirects, such as to a mobile version of your site?
- Do you have broken or orphaned links? Google considers them to be ranking factors.
- Do you have any spammy links or content?
- Do you have any hacked content?
- Are you blacklisted or considered a spammer by search engines?
- Are you using paid search, such as PPC or AdWords campaigns?
- If you are a local business, have you claimed your local listings for each location?
- Do you have a mobile app?
Your business website is the focal point of any effective online marketing strategy. But that does not mean you should ignore social media. No matter what service or product you provide, or what industry you are in, you can share your online marketing message with your intended target audience through social media.
While your business doesn’t have to be on all social channels, you should consider having a presence on the big 8:
Our Social Media Evaluation focuses on the following:
- Are you using social channels as appropriate for your business and industry?
- Is your branding consistent across all your social channels?
- Are all your social profiles filled out?
- Are your profile and cover images the correct size, proportion, and high quality?
- Are you providing links to your website and other contact info on all social channels?
- Are you linking to your other social channels as appropriate?
- Does your website include links to all your social profiles?
- Are you following the 80/20 rule? 80% of your content should be about others and what interests them.
- Is your social content aligned with both your marketing strategy and your audience’s expectations?
- Are you posting at the optimum times for each of your social channels?
- Do you include your SEO keywords and phrases in your updates?
- Do you post regular updates? Frequency depends on the social channel and audience and can range from 2-20 times daily.
- Are you posting too many updates? Engagement declines if you do.
- Are you targeting and following key influencers in your industry on your social channels?
- Are you using appropriate hashtags on your social channels?
- Do you include links, images, and videos in your updates?
- Are you actively growing your social presence by adding new likes and followers?
- Are you actively engaging with your audience on social media? Social media engagement is a conversation; you need to respond to questions and comments, especially negative ones.
- Are you promoting your website content, such as blog posts, on your social channels?
- Are you using tactics such as contests, surveys, and promotions to increase your organic reach on social channels?
- Are you using any paid social advertising?
- Are you using an editorial calendar to plan your social media updates?
- Are you using a third-party service or app to run your social campaigns, such as Agorapulse, HootSuite, Buffer, Sprout Social, AddThis, Commun.it, etc.?
No compelling online marketing strategy or campaign would be complete without the ability to track performance and measure the results. Without a clear understanding of how your audience reacts to your marketing message and delivery, you can not fine-tune it.
Performance tracking can be as simple as counting the number of inbound leads you receive in any given period. Or as advanced as employing heat maps and real-time user monitoring (RUM) on your website.
Our Analytics Evaluation focuses on the following:
- Have you established a set of key performance indicators (KPIs) for your marketing campaign?
- Are you tracking website visitors through Google Analytics or similar?
- Are you tracking social engagement on all your social channels? This option is part of many social media apps like Hootsuite, Buffer, Agorapulse, Sprout Social, AddThis, and Commun.it.
- Do you do any A-B testing of your marketing message or delivery vehicle?
- Do you know what return on investment (ROI) each of your marketing campaigns needs to provide?
- How are you measuring ROI?
- Are you currently using a customer retention management (CRM) system to track prospects and leads?
- If you are using paid search or social campaigns, how are you tracking their performance?
Why You Need a Compelling Online Marketing Message
To turn prospects into customers, you need to create an online presence that can convey your marketing message to your intended target audience as effectively as possible. Design your website and social profiles and content in a way that cuts through the clutter and engages readers. You will keep people interested long enough to hear your marketing message.
When your online presence is meaningful and entertaining, not only will your message be heard, your audience will also share it with others. Your website and social channels may not make the sale for you, but they will be your virtual sales assistant.
Our online marketing evaluation allows you to identify and overcome any existing or potential shortcomings in your existing online presence, content, or strategy. This understanding will help you build your online marketing strategy and campaigns on a solid foundation that will provide measurable results.
The alternative is to start with a shaky foundation, which will result in missed opportunities, ineffective strategies, and less engagement. Continuing on that path will ultimately lead to failure, frustration, and additional costs and time to create the marketing presence you need, or the online marketing message you need to deliver.
Creating Your Compelling Online Marketing Strategy
OK, how many items could you check off on our online marketing checklist? Keep in mind that you do not need a perfect score to succeed or even get started. But if you are missing or not sure about 25 or more of the 100 questions, you must fill in the gaps. And if you rank below the 50% mark, you are not ready for any compelling online marketing.
Hopefully, our comprehensive online marketing checklist illustrated the need to have a plan before you get started. While it sounds simple, delivering a compelling online marketing message is more than just “putting some content out there and hoping it will stick.” You need to cover all the bases to succeed with your online marketing efforts.
You may need to hire a marketing consultant to get you started. Have them help you identify your target audience, the content you need to create to satisfy them and establish some measurable goals and targets. Use these as building blocks to create your own compelling online marketing strategy. We are here to help.
Are You Marketing Your Business Effectively?
Does your online presence include most or all of our compelling online marketing features? Are they helping you attract, engage, and convert more consumers and meet your business objectives? Or are you missing your marketing objectives? Is it because of your online presence?
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Thank you! We appreciate your help to end bad business websites, one pixel at a time!
By Gregor Saita
Co-Founder / CXO