SEO Tops Digital Marketing Tactics for 2011

Here we are just past the halfway mark in 2010 and we’ve tapped into the stream of future marketing planning with our readers for 2011 with a poll. Our question? What 3 online marketing channels & tactics will you emphasize in 2011? The number one answer? Not social media, not email marketing.

The top digital marketing tactic for OMB readers in 2011 is Search Engine Optimization

Our poll this year provided 44 different answers to choose from ranging from display advertising to no holds barred spam. Over 200 readers took the poll and made their choices. While there are many signs of marketing budgets making a recovery, the vast majority of marketers are still focused on planning the most efficient and effective online marketing mix they can for the new year.

Hopefully the responses from our poll will be helpful in making those choices as budgets and strategies are planned for 2011.

The top responses in this year’s survey reflect a more holistic perspective that includes search, social media, advertising, content and email.  While social media marketing continues to get a lot of media attention and companies are investing more ($1.2 billion 2011, Forrester), search marketing (PPC and SEO) gets the lion’s share of digital marketing budgets ($20.7 billion 2011, Forrester).

A new entrant to the top 10 this year is content marketing which is a reflection of the increasing importance on providing more than just product/service features and benefits to customers in order to get them to buy. Content is the glue for the intersection of SEO and Social Media. Content is often the outcome of social interactions online and content can be shared and linked to, increasing it’s visibility within all kinds of search. I wouldn’t be surprised if Content Marketing jumped a few more spaces next year. According to the Junta42 Content Marketing Spending Report, 59% of marketers surveyed planned to increase content marketing spending in 2010.

Advertising through Pay per click and social media rated well, but not concomitant with budgets. That is more likely an indication of the topical focus of Online Marketing Blog which pays less attention to advertising than Search Marketing, Social Media, Content Marketing and Online PR.

Keep in mind, the results of this single question poll are a reflection of our readers and with 232 responses, isn’t a significant sample size for making broad generalizations. It is however, useful insight for our readers to see what others are focusing on. Online Marketing Blog is rated well as a marketing blog and has a significant readership in the marketing community.

You can see the full set of responses and all 44 digital marketing tactics here.

Are Search Engine Optimization, Social Networking and Blogging your top digital marketing tactics for 2011? If not, what areas will you emphasize next year?

Lee Odden: @LeeOdden is the CEO of TopRank Marketing and editor of TopRank's B2B Marketing Blog. Cited for his expertise by The Economist, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, he's the author of the book Optimize and presents internationally on B2B marketing topics including content, search, social media and influencer marketing. When not at conferences, consulting, or working with his talented team, he's likely running, traveling or cooking up something new.

View Comments (20)

  • I'm not sure "Content Marketing" should be viewed as a separate tactic. Isn't SEO, video marketing, email marketing, etc. content marketing?

    • That's an interesting point Tom, but Content Marketing can be executed independent of SEO or Social Media efforts. Of course, everything published is technically content, but creating content and content marketing are different things.

      Content marketing is about a content strategy that plans, creates and promotes content to address specific customer needs and influence them to buy. Discovery of that content can occur through search, advertising, social media, email or word of mouth. See wikipedia for another definition: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Content_marketing

      Many of the tactics in this list intersect with each other. I agree that we need to refine and simplify it.

      Look at the Junta42 or Content Marketing Institute sites for specifics on how companies are implementing content marketing as a standalone tactic.

  • Nice results,
    definitely agree with social media & seo being top results,
    and our trend prediction is more and more companies actually incorporating seo into their social media efforts, which can by incredibly successful when careful not to be obnoxious about it.
    thanks for posting!

  • Are Search Engine Optimization, Social Networking and Blogging your top digital marketing tactics for 2011?

    SEO as well as Social Networking is the thing that I personally am working on getting up and running.

    If not, what areas will you emphasize next year?

    Local sales and marketing teams, to go on top as the SEO and Social Networking.

  • Lee...Thanks

    Interesting numbers...As someone who is dealing with a great many business decision makers, I still would not throw "cold calling" out the window for 2011.

    Business people "are" looking for new ideas; but, most of them still don't fully appreciate the benefits of various digital marketing tactics. Non-digital marketing communication is still critical. I believe we need to see where the economy is heading around the end of October and the mood of people putting together their 2011 Marketing Budgets. Thanks again...

  • Nice Stats, but I think that the future, and very near will be video marketing (#1) ... Offcourse SEO and whats important for one site, but VIDEO as content will rock...

  • The internet has always been about content, that is why that saying is always true, "content is King".
    What a nice stats, I am just looking for a way to break in into be reckon with when some stats are mentioned.
    So 2011 is already here!

  • Hi Lee,
    As they say content is king. I will continue with providing content through articles, video etc.
    My main aim for the future is to use twitter, not for selling but building relationships.


    • Not contents which are duplicate, only unique contents which are fresh, as for Social Media, building relationships actually and real networking always works

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