Why an integrated digital marketing strategy is essential

Something that I’ve been thinking about recently is the importance of an integrated marketing strategy. This is a marketing strategy that utilises several different channels rather ‘putting all of your eggs in one basket’ and relying on just one. Focusing all of your efforts on just one online channel is highly risky, particularly if that one channel is responsible for generating the vast majority of your business. What is your Plan B if things go wrong? If you don’t have one, you could find your business in severe trouble overnight.

As we’ve specialised in SEO for the last five years, we’ve helped a number of companies absolutely dominate rankings for many of their key terms and, on the flip side, we’ve also had a number of companies approach us, whose businesses were decimated by one of the Google penalties. As they relied solely on SEO, they found their businesses in trouble within 24 hours of the penalty hitting the site, with no Plan B for generating business. Is it any wonder Google’s advertising revenues have grown significantly over the past three years as businesses swap one channel for another and move from focusing on organic listings to Adwords? But make no mistake, you’re still at the mercy of Google and solely reliant on one channel.

Ultimately there are probably tens if not hundreds of thousands of businesses that benefit greatly from either a strong presence in the organic listings or by running profitable Adwords campaigns. Perhaps this sounds like your business; just make sure you have a plan B, because all good things come to an end sooner or later.

Are you taking an overly simplistic approach?

Putting aside the dangers of focusing on just one online marketing channel, for many businesses this approach is far too simplistic, particularly if you are selling high-value items. On the flip side, if you’re selling low-priced physical products, such as sports equipment under £100, then you can likely generate a great deal of business through a combination of strong organic rankings, Google Shopping and Google Adwords. Notice how it’s a combination of the three rather than just one, and once I had profitable and successful campaigns through those three channels, I’d also be looking at other ways to generate business outside of Google.

As I work with a number of accountants, solicitors and investment companies, their clients can be worth many thousands of pounds. Is it realistic to think that someone is going to choose to work with a business in one of those categories after looking at their website for 30 seconds? I don’t think so. For these companies, an integrated digital marketing strategy is not optional, it’s essential. Something that really brought this home to me was Google’s recently released customer journey to online purchase tool, showing which channels are more likely to “assist interaction”, and which ones are more likely to be the “last interaction” i.e. lead to a purchase. The tool shows that it is essential to have more than one channel in place in order to have a successful strategy.

For example, if you run an accountancy practice in London and a small business is looking for an accountant, perhaps they found your business when they searched for “Accountants London”. After looking at your website for a few minutes, they made a note of it. The next day they visited your website directly and again looked at it for a few minutes. At that point they decided to call your business to see if you could help them. Enquiries aren’t always made straight after the first interaction.

Putting this into practice:

  1. What do you want to be famous for? Figure out what differentiates you in the marketplace.
  2. Focus on the channels where you know your target market is present.
  3. Start by concentrating on a couple of key channels, and optimise those channels to make them as profitable as possible.
  4. Study your competitors regularly to figure out how they are generating business. Sidenote: Don’t be scared of testing channels that your competitors aren’t necessarily using, particularly if you can test it cheaply – you might find an untapped goldmine!
  5. Once you have optimised the performance of one or two channels, keep expanding this until you have several different ways of generating business.