What template did you use to create your integrated digital marketing strategy?


#1

You know, one minute you’re reading great blog posts about remarketing using Google’s Smart Lists. Then next second you’re reading about AdRoll being better for remarketing because it can remarket to Google’s audiences AND Facebook audiences. I say, hmm, let’s just go with AdRoll so I create these remarketing campaigns on one platform instead of two.

Then I see how we can leverage content marketing and see that if we give away ebooks for download, we may be able to get emails so we can throw them in a marketing automation engine.

My brain is on overdrive thinking, ok, I drive initial traffic with paid Google Adwords, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn campaigns, then I show retargeting ads to the “abandoners” showcasing particular content rather than an ad that makes them go back to the same landing page and I’m thinking whoa, that’s such a great idea!

Fast forward to my brain now being full of these create scenarios and I begin the get scared. Why? Because I’m starting to think of the logistical nightmare it would be to create all of this.

But then, what if I had a great plan, a flowchart that shows the steps and also keeps me on track for UTM parameters - this logistical ‘nightmare’ just becomes a set of todos and I can be on my merry way!

Like Abraham Lincoln said: “Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I’ll spend the first four sharpening my axe”.

To create this strategy, I don’t know where to start! I’m sure many of you have come to these cross-roads and to those of you who say “just get started” - you have no idea what kind of a spaghetti clusterf–k you’re getting into when there’s no rhyme or rhythm to your marketing plan.

So  my question is did you guys use some form of template that walks you on how you can bring 

  • PPC, Organic (Acquisition)
  • Content Marketing (Acquisition/Nurture)
  • Marketing Automation (Nurture) 

etc all together so everything works harmoniously without overlap?

Thanks!


#2

Hello Mark,

Awesome question and I think many people will shy away from this because most startups and small businesses don’t have this mastered, mine included.  For example, at Nexus Conversions we do not have any marketing automation in place. 

There are many reasons why we would struggle to implement it, but the biggest reason we have not tried it is that I don’t want to risk being impersonal at this stage.  We do not have a flood of inbound requests and at this stage we benefit from building the personal relationships on a one-to-one level. 

What does this mean to you?

I am not sure what stage your business is in, but planning to the moon is something that can be counterproductive.  Can’t tell you how many hours I have spent evaluating different offerings that were never a viable option for us or genuinely the most profit driving task. 

Focus on what will be the quickest way to acquire customers.  Then work step-by-step on doing it more efficiently and finding your next win.  As you grow, begin to chase efficiency and sophisticated ways to bring in more wins.

Summary : Test the water before you build a huge ark.  Use small budgets testing and learning from these ideas.  Grow reasonably and build your marketing “ark” week by week.

:slight_smile: hope my lack of an answer had some value for you…

Best of luck,

Joe


#3

Guys, my humblest apologies for a response that’s far more than delayed. Let me thank each and everyone of you for your replies!

Corey, Johnathan & Joe - thanks so much again. 

The underlying message from all of you is basically try avenues and/or stick to one and get good at it. I should have provided a little more context.

What started this post was that we took over a client a month ago whose marketing resembled this:

There was no rhyme, rhythm, process or structure to this! We’re good at a handful of things - but definitely not at everything else they’re doing. Their mind is in the right place, they’re just doing it in the wrong areas. 

The biggest problem we encountered is how marketing messages were mixed up. Nurture messages mixed in top of funnel campaigns with bottom of funnel campaigns, GA showed conversions coming from an organic campaign rather than clicks from an Outbrain content campaign. For example, if a Search campaign brought in bottom-of-funnel traffic, they have a Retargeting campaign that has a nurture display ad sequence of waves - but they all bring the user back to the landing page that the search campaign originally had. While that’s a huge problem in itself, the glaring problem was attribution.

Very haphazard their setup may be, it somehow works!
This led to all of us bringing our heads together figure out a way to start the arduous process of untangling this mess. And that’s when it hit us - what then?!

The client may lose the “amazing traction” they see right now while we’re cleaning up a mess that they don’t see. More importantly, now that everything is untangled - how do we structure it properly and put it back together?

To answer that, while I put up the question here - I have been looking for ways to visualize (flowcharts + post-its) what a clean flow would look like to finalize a workflow of sorts. This included tools like gliffy and workflowy. 

And I think that’s where the answer lies - a way to visualize (like IT companies use Vizio) & use that procedure to deliver a structured solution:

Hope this gives some context to my madness, haha. But yes, if someone has a defined way of going about this - I would still love to know. 
Thanks!


#4

Hey Mark,

I empathize with you because nobody wants to break the old beat up car that somehow get’s the person from A to B!  So it sounds like you are in a great spot though because if it’s succeeding haphazardly, when you rebuild their strategy they should see a noticeable impact.  

You have identified their current strategy’s weaknesses:

  • attribution
  • funnel stage campaigns
  • retargeting to nurture
  • sources effectiveness
  • etc.

 So now you are logically looking for roadmap to how it should look.

Go to Hubspot.com and SmartInsights.com.  Sign up for each of their free versions and study their methodologies.  

Download their e-books that show the stages - if I recall correctly SmartInsights has one that speaks directly to integrated digital marketing systems.

As far as what tools can help clear the muck, I imagine Hubspot (or one of their competitors) would really help give the oversight and clarity that you are describing.

At this point, you would just document the customer journey’s for each workflow and how the tools you are leveraging will be utilized at each step of the journey.  Obviously, this workflow can start to become very complicated depending on how deep you try and take it i.e. user personas etc.

Again, I have a couple of e-cooks downloaded from Hubspot and SmartInsights.com that begin to give you the basis of these workflows that you are looking for but none of them give it away…that’s how consultants make a living and everyone that designs one thinks it is their secret sauce :slight_smile:

Hope that helps and I know all of the Unbouncers would love to see this mapped out so make sure to keep us posted on your progress.

Best of luck,

Joe


#5

haha your GIF game is on point, Corey!


#6

Hi Mark,

I’m a bit late to this discussion but I have couple of quick personal opinions to add. Remember this is all personal, there is very little hard and fast, you must do it this way in online marketing but I would to ask something if I may.

You’ve identified their weaknesses, which is great, but it’s usually where people stop and then start to plan fixes. What are their strengths? Which bits do they do well, those are the bits to leave alone and replicate.

A single philosophy drives my thought process for these areas, do less of what doesn’t work and more of what does.

The other thing that I find massively useful is to turn myself into about 10-15 customers and see how many routes I can find through their marketing funnels. Then I list what I feel, what impressed me, what annoyed me as I went in that journey. Quite often as marketers we visualise and map the process but fail to actually experience in hand. I think a day or two getting to feel what the customer journey can be like is a great use of time.

If your worried about them losing traction don’t try to fix something that isn’t broken. Start something new and different alongside that can surpass what they do now in results and transition them across slowly. What I’m saying is sometimes it’s easier to start a new marketing project from scratch than unravel a mess. But that all depends on the resources available.

Just my opinion but I think as marketers we want to fix and refine for clients rather than build from scratch what we know are solid foundations that are robust enough to grow without causing messy havoc!

All personal opinions but it’s just my tuppence worth.

Cheers

Stuart.


#7

It is true that without a proper marketing plan and strategy nothing will be acceptable by the web people. It took me quite a while to promote my site but it’s worth it.


#8

Hey Mark.

I share your frustration. I’m the kind of guy that likes to have everything planned out before I get started so I don’t screw anything up or waste any money. Problem is, that plan will be wrong. Every frigging time.

There are frameworks one can follow, but they don’t usually get as technical as you’re talking - some people in our office just learned the Pragmatic Marketing framework, which seems badass. I *think* HubSpot’s tried to build a framework out of Inbound Marketing, which we’re just digging into a little. But to answer your question, we haven’t used one so far. Sorry. I wish we had, because I’m anal about systems, but no such luck.

One talk I watched recently that really resonated was Nemo Chu’s talk here: https://roadtrip.unbounce.com/. In it, he describes how he just “made webinars work”. And it’s not because webinars were the silver bullet, it’s just because he had the competency and determination to make them work. I feel like that’s pretty profound… Anyone could make a specific type of marketing work for them if they’re either really good at it or really determined, but instead, we spread ourselves thin and try PPC, Organic, Content Marketing AND Marketing Automation when we don’t have the resources to do any of them well.

Our one thing that we did really well for something like 2 years was Content. Oli Gardner is an amazing writer (among other things). Legend has it that he wrote a piece of content a day for a couple years (don’t quote me on that… I’m not fact checking). And he was really really passionate about it. That laser focus allowed him to build the Unbounce blog quickly, from scratch. He didn’t have fancy tools… he used WordPress, Twitter and Mad Mimi. The tools weren’t what allowed him to be successful, they were just a means to an end. 

After a couple years, we started dabbling. Now, we’ve got people and teams dedicated to Content, SEO, CRO, PPC, Email, Partnerships, Copywriting, you name it, but everything still revolves around Content - our core competency. And yes, operations and tracking can be difficult. But we have people dedicated to both of those things too.

What I keep finding is that nobody has it totally figured out, but my advice is to play to your strengths and do  something the best in your industry, because it’s  sooo much better than doing everything half-assed.

I know it’s not the answer you were looking for, but I hope it helps.

Corey


#9

Hey there Mark! :slight_smile:

Corey is a beast and gave you some great answers since he’s been and still is on the marketing front line.
What he said with “nobody has it totally figured out” is so sad, but so true.

My favorite analogy in your specific situation is this:

“When learning a new sport, what do you do get better at it? Do you read the rule book until you’re Michael Jordan, or do you get out there and get bumps and bruises?”

I found that the latter works best for me because it helps me learn so quickly too.

We’re a PPC and landing page agency, but we hardly ever do this for our own marketing lol. We’ve found great success with content marketing for example and we’re half-assing our way through MailChimp at the same time.

Are we perfect? Handsomeness wise, maybe. 

But when it comes to marketing, heck no. We’re figuring crap out as we go. 

The cool thing though - we always feel like we’re getting better and better when it comes to improve marketing performance, and most importantly, making moolah.

Hope that helps! :slight_smile:


#10

That’s much harder :slight_smile:

It’s the end of a long day of meetings, so I’m having a hard time even thinking about where to start… let me sleep on it and get back to you.