Ashley Zeckman

Cutthroat Digital Marketing: 5 Rules to Help You Crush the Competition

Ashley Zeckman     Digital Marketing

Cutthroat-Digital-Marketing-Rules

Yesterday, started like any other Sunday. We went to brunch at our favorite spot and sat down to enjoy the breakfast arepas that I dream about all week.

Then, out of nowhere, I recognized someone sitting at the end of the bar. It was Cutthroat Kitchen’s Alton Brown. It took everything I had not to fangirl on him and walk up gushing about how life changing his show has been.  

Instead of interrupting his meal, we decided to “play it cool” and offer to order a round of drinks for the Food Network star and his guests. Once he found out that we had offered this gesture, he came up, introduced himself and asked if he could take a photo with us. Does it really get any better than that?

If we’d taken a different approach, he likely would have been friendly and we would have gotten something out of it, but we wouldn’t have offered any value to him. Similarly, today’s digital marketing marketplace is flush with marketers all trying to reach the same customers but not understanding the true rules of engagement.

In the world of cutthroat marketing, there can only be one winner. Will it be you? To increase your odds, follow these 5 rules.

Rule #1 – Be Understanding

Key to a successful digital marketing program geared at your customers is understanding what it is that they really want. In today’s marketplace, simply knowing which keywords to include on your website in order for search engines to index your content properly will not suffice.

There are many a multitude of ways to uncover what your customers want including:

  • Asking current customers directly.
  • Conducting surveys and research reports.
  • Digging into Google Analytics to uncover your most popular content.
  • Doing research to see the top questions being asked via search engines related to what you do.

Rule #2 – Be Honest

Why is it that over 92% of consumers trust individuals over brands? Because, whether it’s always the case or not, consumers believe that a brand will have everything to gain, but an individual is sharing their honest opinion.

In order to build that same (or close to) credibility and trust with customers you must always strive to be as transparent and honest as possible with your marketing programs. What does that look like in the real world?

If someone is running a query on a search engine they’ll likely click on one of the first organic results that appear. The reason that those results appear at the top is because they provide credible content that is optimized for what many people are searching for. Alternatively, if there is a search result that promises one thing, but offers a very different experience once the reader lands there, that website will not be considered to be a credible source.

As tempting as it may be to hook your audience with a clever title, you had better make sure that you deliver on the promise made.

Rule #3 – Be Innovative

The more that marketers create more and more content for the same groups of customers, the harder it is to hold and keep their attention. In order to stand out today, marketers can’t be afraid to innovate in large and small ways.

A small way to innovate could be adding video to your digital marketing strategy when many of your competitors are not. On a larger scale, there are many opportunities to create interactive and individualized experiences for your online audience in a way that not only creates one-time customers, but repeat customers and brand advocates.

Rule #4 – Be Valuable

There is no way to win at marketing if you’re not providing as much value to your customers as possible. The more we see the worlds of sales and marketing collide and align, the more it’s apparent it is that marketers need to play a strong role in assisting pre and post sales to give customers what they need.

Value can come in many forms and is often simpler than you think, it can be creating a website that is well designed and easy to navigate (yes on mobile too), creating killer content that answers their top questions or even having an FAQ or service number that customers can quickly find to resolve issues and answer questions.

Every business will have a different value to add and every customer will have a slightly different need. Make sure that you understand what problems your brand can help solve, as well as the different scenarios your customers may be experiencing.

Rule #5 – Be the Best Answer

In the time that I’ve worked at TopRank Marketing, I have learned an incredible amount about what it truly means to be a good marketer. One of the most important lessons I’ve learned from our CEO Lee Odden is deceptively simple, in-short it is to “be the best answer”.

All of the marketing strategies and tactical marketing activities in the world won’t mean anything unless you are doing everything you can to be the best answer for whatever your customers are looking for, wherever they are searching.

In order to be the best answer, it requires an omni-channel approach that takes into consideration the habits and needs of your ideal customers to create a consistent experience across all digital marketing channels.

Cutthroat Marketing Rules for Success

Following the rules above won’t guarantee a win, but it will give you an edge above your competition and provide your customers with a better and more meaningful experience. Are you ready to commit to follow these best practices and prepare for whatever “sabotage” may be thrown your way?

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Ashley Zeckman About Ashley Zeckman

Ashley Zeckman is the Director of Agency Marketing for TopRank Marketing. In addition to finding innovative ways to showcase the exceptional work of her team, she is also responsible for creating digital marketing programs that drive customer acquisition and growth for the agency. Her background includes expertise in everything from content marketing strategy to branding, account management and social media.

Outside of her role at TopRank Online Marketing, Ashley prides herself on being a great home chef, painter, prankster and dog mom.