August 7, 2018
Looking to get ahead? Change the conversation.
There is a new way to differentiate your company and its products and services to your target audience, and it all starts with search. We are not talking about just PPC and Organic Search or SEO. Apexx determined that the typical views of digital marketing were inadequate and outdated so we developed SET, Search Experience Taxonomy. SET takes a holistic view of digital marketing strategies and tactics but also integrates offline components – meetings, events, telephone lead generation, etc. – and leverages AI-powered online tools to shape a marketing strategy and tactical plans based on the search experience of your buyer.
SET is game-changing against direct competition because it looks exactly at what your competition is doing and shows what you can do to counter their moves. Many companies over-invest in the wrong areas where it is difficult to differentiate, let alone win, and under-invest in tactics that can get traffic and traction. SET enables us to begin to give you a picture of how to “play to win” with a holistic approach to marketing. It looks at the opportunities in green space as well to help you own content areas that are a natural fit with your brand and customers. SET also requires all areas of marketing to work together, such as email campaign development, media buying, events/tradeshows, sales, PR and content development as well as the web teams.
At Apexx, we view PPC and SEO as one and the same because SET puts the focus outward. We listen to what our target audiences are saying, how they are buying, and the overall experience they go through in their journey of identifying a problem, researching, comparing, and making a purchase decision. We use that information to talk to them in their language, not industry-driven keywords. This results in two actions that increase sales:
- First, it drives more of the right traffic to company websites, meaning qualified prospects with a higher probability of conversion.
- And second, it helps decrease the relevance of the competition. It actually changes the conversations about your products and services. No more spending tens of thousands in advertising dollars per month with mediocre results.
SET is the only way to increase loyalty, gain trust, and drive true profitable growth for your company, both online and offline. Following are some steps you can take to get started.
- Conduct an audit. Dig deep into all of the data you can gather on marketing results, website traffic, and web-related sales. Identify problems, possible causes, solutions, products, and providers. Determine areas for improvement and tactics to employ that could further optimize website traffic and monthly investment in PPC (see graphic as an example).
- Analyze your competition. In the land of search, the first step in the buyer’s journey is to find your company’s website, period. Study the PPC and SEO tactics of your competition to determine if you will ever be able to catch up with them on the turf they are playing in now. If they have a strong leadership position in search, you can spend advertising money more effectively if you think of a different way to reach your target audience altogether.
This extends beyond PPC and organic search rankings to how they communicate with customers on their website. One client of Apexx found that prospects were looking for a text response to online inquiries, and shortly after a form was submitted. This was a big undertaking for our client, but necessary because they were losing potential buyers because they did not offer this timely response. Once it was deployed, the text responses actually took a load off of teams to review and respond to inquiries and in the end created more company loyalty from customers and employees.
- Integrate. All digital marketing strategies need to be linked – organic, email, Amazon, YouTube – it is an absolute must when you are taking the approach of changing the conversation. All aspects of marketing and sales need to reflect the messages and goals of the conversation in order for your company to gain credibility and drive behavior change. For example, let’s say your website and PPC advertising is advertising how your company can help with a consumer tax credit. When an existing or potential customer calls your support line, the service rep should be able to share the same information. It provides consistency on the customer’s part and leverages a proven differentiator to increase sales across all channels.
- Use PPC as a test bed. So how do you know which conversation to start or change? You can learn a lot from how web users react to your PPC advertising. At Apexx, we start with a proprietary AI listening tool to determine what our clients’ audiences are concerned about – now or in the future. Then we use PPC to test multiple messages and keywords to different target audiences. PPC has to link to a web page, so that means we are creating content to match and then watching what happens. The topics and content that resonate best with our target audiences are then expanded upon to become the foundation of an integrated marketing and sales campaign.
- Change the conversation. Now that you’ve gone through the previous steps, you can break away from your competition online with a different approach to reaching your target audience. One example of our success with this is with a water treatment client. They spent a lot of time and money unsuccessfully trying to knock their competition out of top ad rank and organic search rank for treatment solutions, equipment and chemical brands, and operational efficiency topics. Our research showed that the target audience had a lot of search activity around a new drinking water ordinance that required strict maintenance practices in order to protect the public from disease.
What Apexx learned from social listening was that there was a low understanding of the actual laws and ordinances. We quickly acted to position our client as the thought leader on both education about and adherence to the ordinance, what it means for companies, and how they can best protect their business and the public. We met the target audience where they were and helped with education instead of waiting for them to figure out the treatment program they needed, then search and sift through pages of competing water treatment companies. This approach changed the way the client positioned itself in the marketplace and even launched new content-driven marketing initiatives to further increase long-term sustainable profits.
The customer search experience starts well before they are comparing brands and reading product reviews. Learn about what keeps your target audience up at night and give away pieces of your expertise in the area through content that is promoted and positioned via PPC, SEO, YouTube, Amazon… wherever your company has a presence. You’ll help fill a gap in an industry, position your company as the most credible solution, build long-term customer loyalty, and leave your competition in the digital dust.