As a medium the web provides multiple channels of promotion and marketing. Each of the internal channels seem capable of catering to different marketing goals and also seem to require individual attention of specialists. However, structured and ‘have-been-successful’ online campaigns have leveraged on the power of these channels as a cohesive unit, rather than separate processes within the same campaign. And this is true from the smallest of publishers to the biggest names in online publishing.
The Ingredients of an Effective Online Marketing Campaign
The essential mix of an online campaign usually runs on liberal doses of Search Marketing, Email Marketing, Banner Advertising and Viral Campaigns with which Social Media is usually clubbed. These are the most basic marketing channels on the web, with other campaign tools being derivations of the above. And given the scope and goal of the campaign each channel carries its own weight to the table, which we digital marketers then use. However, in whatever little marketing experience I have had on the Internet, I believe a sound social Media strategy can create an excellent foundation for all other marketing experiments. Like I said in the title, it can be the backbone of a successful integrate marketing campaign online.
I don’t want to get into the nuances of individual successful cases to prove the point because Social Media being Social Media is unique to every campaign. Therefore, I will list down the reasons that prompt my belief that every online marketing campaign should start with a Social Media strategy if it plans to use all the marketing channels of the web.
The basic premise of the idea lies in the fact that the web is an information hub, that people are most likely on the web to hunt for information. That’s why search engines are the most popular publishers online. Search Engines like new content for the same reason, they like sites which constantly have new content that they can share with their users. Let us hold that thought there.
Now since the dawn of social bookmarking, refreshed content by the minute has become a reality. With fresh content becoming available almost on a constant basis on sites like Digg, Delicious, etc. it wouldn’t be wishful thinking to suggest that search engines crawl these sites on a regular note. And what do they find when they crawl these sites, links to other sites, much like yours, and the spiders go through these links as well, that’s how they build their web. The first bone on the social spine begins here.
Now what works on these bookmarking sites? What would make users bookmark your content on these sites? Unless your product itself is engaging, it has to be content that holds some value to them in sharing, either monetary of psychological. Now a corporate site, as beautiful as it can be might not essentially be able to give information which delight readers enough to share. This is where social media platforms like blogs, and media sharing sites come into play. A crazy humorous list post, a slick funny video are cliche examples of content that are viral in nature, and they are cliche for a reason, they work. So it is these kind of content that find themselves bookmarked (Ok, I am not saying only these kind of content are bookmarked, but they sure do). So there comes the second social step, blogs and vLogs with viral content.
But blogs aren’t there just as the platform to display content. Properly handled it can become a full fledged sales letter to build a targeted fully aware email list. Internet marketers swear by their email list and usually use long drawn sales pages to build them – those yellow and white pages with colorful bold text and N number of testimonials by those who got rich with the product the dude is selling. Now imagine a blog with enough information about your product, with comments by people who have used it, and link backs to the blog by credible bloggers (the idea of social proof) and you have to my mind a better sales page than what anyone can make. And you can have your target audience subscribe to your blog through emails to build your social driven mailing list. Social step three for you!
That would mean, you need to update your blog often. That would result in your site having new content regularly, wait we have heard that before.. yes search engines love new updated content. Search engines will love your blog. We just did a full circle with social media, and we have search marketing and email marketing covered with viral content. Your very own integrated marketing campaign.
Given the restraints of a generic topic we can’t get into deeper details and therefore what we just read can be the proverbial tip of the ice berg. The idea obviously is to factor in the influence that social media has on the various marketing channels online and to use it as a tool rather than as a channel on to itself. Also, mere bookmarking or having viral content isn’t the end all of a social media campaign in anyway, in fact it doesn’t even contribute to a strucutred pure play social media marketing effort. I hope this helps others like me starting out in digital marketing to plan campaigns better.