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planning sessionWhen it comes to outwitting your competitors at marketing, there are no shortcuts. There are no true industry secrets or trump cards either. To out-market your competitors, it takes hard work and time to develop a holistic marketing approach. While stepping back to create a comprehensive game plan may initially seem daunting and time-consuming, it can pay off handsomely in the long run—and by then, you’ll have a successful marketing framework in place that will serve you and your customers effectively going forward.

The Airtight Case For Integration

You’ve probably heard the saying, “Would you rather be good at many things, or the best at one?” In the case of marketing, it’s important to choose the former (though striving to be the best at many marketing things is always a solid philosophy). There are many elements to building the perfect inbound marketing blueprint: an incredible website, reliable analytics, an active blog, an engaging social media platform, and many, many more. The trap that many businesses fall into is they focus on one or two aspects, and not developing the greater whole.

For example, a company might have an informative and well-written blog on their website, but if they do not implement a sound social media strategy to accompany it, how will they grow readership? What’s the point of meticulously nurturing leads if there isn’t a strategy in place to convert them into sales? A marketing strategy is only as strong as its weakest link. Like an orchestra, each instrument must work together to produce the most harmonious concert possible.

By developing a comprehensive strategy, you unleash the opportunity to create and integrate online campaigns that target your customers and push your business toward a stronger return on investment. As a starting point in establishing a consistent and integrated marketing approach, a company must be able to answer three questions definitively.

How Are Your Customers Finding You Online?

Though driving traffic to your website is an obvious goal, actually developing a strategy involves critical details. It starts with knowing, in and out, your core customer audience. When you understand specifically whom you are talking to, it should be easy to speak to them directly with high-quality web content that will ultimately lead them to your services. Web pages and blog posts should be viewed as conversations with your customers that leave them wanting to learn more.

Of course, there must always be a method to your marketing madness. In the Wild West of the Internet, one key method is search engine optimization (SEO). When potential customers—some who may not even know your name yet—start hunting online for a product or service, you want them to uncover your name after they’ve typed in their search item.

When strong SEO efforts are coupled with targeted email campaigns and social media strategy, you’ll drive traffic to your online home. Really, you won’t need to look for your customers. If you’ve done the job right, they’ll come looking for you.

How Are You Converting Traffic Into Real Revenue?

Having higher traffic slam into your site like a freight train is fantastic. But if you’re not converting visitors into loyal customers—and ultimately, revenue—then it’s all for naught. By presenting prospects with premium offers, a prospect can quickly become a lead. Online visitors must always be presented with clear calls to action.

Generating leads means your customer has taken the next step, and is interested in your product or service. However, this is not a time to pat yourself on the back. Leads must always be nurtured and managed. Only then does a lead become a sale over time, as that visitor not only becomes a customer, but a repeat customer.

How Are You Measuring Your Results?

While many marketers are intimidated by metrics, analyzing your results must be an ongoing effort. Measuring online traffic will allow you to gauge the content that your customers are responding to most, and allow you to track where your successful leads are coming from. Really, it’s a perfect example of a trial-and-error approach.

If you aren’t measuring results, it brings up a stunningly simple question: how do you know if your online marketing efforts are even working? That’s why you can’t be daunted by the stat-rich world of advanced metrics. Traffic analysis not only allows you to understand what’s not working within your marketing strategy, but to uncover what’s most successful, too. Then your marketing triumphs can be applied to other aspects of your overall online campaign.

In The End, You Must Remain Nimble

When adopting an integrated marketing approach, it’s important to understand that the game changes constantly. New avenues are always around the corner, and marketing opportunities will present themselves in the form of tomorrow’s Facebook or Twitter. While taking the time to implement a sound framework will allow you to push traffic, convert customers, and measure the results, the ever-changing and innovative nature of the worldwide web won’t ever allow you to rest on your laurels, no matter how conscientious your strategy, and no matter how successful that strategy becomes.

Refusing to adapt to change can make marketing dinosaurs of us all. For that reason, the holistic marketing approach that you painstakingly created can never be put on autopilot. When that happens, you’ll fly right by new opportunities. However, by putting an integrated marketing framework in place—and keeping an eye on the horizon and a hand on the steering wheel—you’ll maintain the ability to change course, quickly and confidently, when necessary.

How do you feel about marketing integration? We’d love to hear ways you’ve stayed ahead of the curve.

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William McKee

William McKee

William McKee is a founding partner of Knowmad. As a Web architect & Internet business consultant, he is passionate about applying business knowledge & technical expertise to deliver solutions that advance business online. With over 15 years of Web experience, his current work involves designing strategies and creating processes to help business attract, engage and convert website visitors into customers.

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