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Lee Odden

Optimize Your Marketing Efforts With This Online Marketing Audit

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

An increasing number of companies feel they have a solid content marketing strategy and tactical mix in place. Now it's time to think about how to integrate an "Optimize and Socialize" approach into the overall online marketing program.

Two key considerations for implementing a scalable "Optimize and Socialize" content marketing approach involve where SEO and social media optimization fit within the content planning and publishing process and the skills of Social Media and SEO content creators. Here is a small business example that uses an Online Marketing Audit to start finding the answer to those questions about process and skills.

Small Business Marketing Problem: No Time For Content

Tom started his own video game accessories business 5 years ago and has enjoyed steady, yet modest growth despite a fluctuating economic environment. Tom is a very hands-on boss with his small business and is doing much of the marketing himself through his website, which attracts about 75% of the orders through natural search, links and some social traffic. He also manages an email newsletter and does some PPC advertising.

Tom has tried starting and maintaining a presence on Facebook, Twitter and several industry forums, but his available time for social networking has reduced considerably. An ex-corporate marketer, Tom realizes the importance of content for his website as well as a social presence. However, he simply doesn't have the time or resources. Or so he thinks.

Recommendations for Tom's Video Game Accessories Business:

If Tom is going to continue performing the marketing tasks for his small business himself, he'll want to be more intentional about how he uses his website to reach customers vs. simply maintaining the site with content about products and services information. Paying an outside resource to conduct an Online Marketing Audit of his website, blog and social media marketing should be a consideration.

An audit will provide a roadmap that identifies goals, key customer segments and what motivates them to engage and buy his video game accessories. Armed with these insights, Tom can prioritize his time to work more efficiently on marketing tasks with the highest impact.

For the sake of this example, let's say Tom's approach to content will focus on answering key questions his ideal customers ask during the consideration and decision portions of the buying cycle. Knowing that it would be very difficult to achieve industry authority for generic search terms and social topics, Tom's best bet with limited marketing resources is to capture prospective customers with content that answers important buying questions before purchase.

Tom's Online Marketing Audit will identify relevant search keywords and social topics that are in demand as well as the content types and formats that will best attract, engage and inspire his ideal customers. With a more intentional and customer-centric online marketing plan in place, he'll understand what types of content needs to be created and the channels where that content should be promoted in order to attract the right customers.

Online Marketing Skills Training: Tom will need to reconcile his current skills and internal resources with what he'll need to know for content planning, optimization, social promotion and measurement. What he can't do himself, he may need to source internally, re-prioritize or look externally.

For example, if the audit indicates customers will be most motivated by video content, then he'll want to brush up on his video editing skills or find a reasonable vendor he can outsource to. If Tom has other employees that have product expertise, he'll want to offer some kind of training in order for them to help with SEO copywriting, social network development and engaging with customers on industry forums and social networks.

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About the Author:
Lee Odden is the CEO of TopRank Online Marketing, a provider of innovative Internet marketing consulting for progressive B2B companies ranging from Marketo to PRWeb to McKesson. Odden has been recognized for his expertise with enterprise social media, SEO and content marketing strategies by The Economist, Advertising Age and Mashable. He writes a monthly column called Social Media Smarts for ClickZ and his blog at TopRankBlog.com has an active community with over 46,000 subscribers, 12,000 Facebook Fans and has been rated the #1 Content Marketing blog 3 times by Junta42. He is also the Author of "Optimize: How to Attract and Engage More Customers by Integrating SEO, Social Media and Content Marketing" published by Wiley.
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