Most marketers are responding well to the tide shift from traditional marketing efforts like print and TV, to digital efforts such as email marketing, social media, and paid search. But how many are looking at their effectiveness against one another? Determining the right platforms and channels will depend on your specific target, and goals, but it can also be valuable to understand which ones have the best chance of being successful. 

At BT Marketing & Design we recommend to our clients the digital marketing tactics that are right for their specific business and have been proven to be most effective. Although there is still value in print advertising, collateral design, and direct mail, the majority of our client’s marketing dollars are guided towards digital strategies and execution.

Not only is digital proving to be more effective, it also costs less. According to Mashable, digital practices produce 54% more leads than traditional outbound practices. And according to Hubspot, digital marketing costs 62% less per lead than traditional outbound marketing.

So what digital tactics are the best at generating leads, engagement, and sales? Smart Insights conducted a study that asked marketers, in their experience, to rank the below digital initiatives in order of effectiveness. Following are the results:

Email                                                          51%

SEO                                                           45%

PAID SEARCH                                           34%

SOCIAL ORGANIC                                    33%

SOCIAL PAID                                            21%

ONLINE DISPLAY                                     19%

Simply being in these spaces is not enough. In order to get the most from the top digital channels you need a strategy to help you optimize the effectiveness of the effort. Let’s take a look at the top three channels to see how you can increase your chances of making digital work to its fullest potential.

Email Marketing
The effectiveness of an email blast starts with the subject. Good subject lines should be short and allude to content within the email that provides some sort of useful or beneficial information. To get a better idea of which type of subjects work the best consider conducting A/B testing. Send an email to half of your list with one subject and the other half with another. You can then measure the results to see which subject line received the most opens.

Next is the content. Email content should engage your audience by providing information relevant to their needs. Depending on the goals of your email marketing campaign, and brand position, the content should be informative, educational, and/or entertaining. Gauge the open and click rates of your emails to determine how much content should be promotional in nature. For more in depth information about how to develop an effective email marketing plan click here.

Some marketers still shutter when they think of SEO. This harkens back to the days (just a couple of years ago) when SEO meant that a programmer was going to be sitting at a desk in an undisclosed location doing unknown things to the back end of your website. These SEO programs often cost an arm and a leg, and it was always difficult to determine if work was actually being done.

Today SEO is all about content. Relatively new Google algorithms place significant importance on the quantity and quality of website content. As a result the more well written articles, white papers, blogs, news and page copy that you have on your site the better. Because we’re talking about SEO, relevant keywords are essential to the success of the program. In addition to the words themselves, the placement of them in copy plays a big role.

Paid search is getting more and more appealing for marketers, particularly for smaller businesses targeting specific industries and/or geographical locations. LinkedIn is proving to be a good option as they allow you to target by industry, geographical area, and even title. The geo targeting on LinkedIn, however, is somewhat limited, as they only allow for targeting to metro areas, vs. by zip code. The reason is that you only have access to LinkedIn profiles that have entered the targeting criteria within their profiles. Not everyone fills out his or her profiles completely.

Facebook on the other hand allows you to drill down by zip code and target using a variety of other criteria. This is a good option for a business with products or services that appeal to a more general audience. Adwords is also effective at geo targeting, and they can be a good option for a business looking to attract buyers using very specific keywords. The big negative with Adwords, however, is the cost. For small, and even mid sized businesses the cost per click is often cost prohibitive.

Digital marketing is an evolving machine due to the constant introduction of new features and platforms. One thing that will never change, however, is the importance of developing a strategy that places your marketing dollars in the most effective media spaces available.