Ashley Zeckman

Stuck In A Marketing Rut? 4 Signs That It’s Time To Add Engagement To Your Online Marketing Strategy

Turn engagement problems into marketing solutions.When you ask an online marketer what frustrates them the most about reaching customers and prospects online you’re likely to hear the following:

  • Finding a way to connect with their audience
  • Moving prospects through the buying cycle
  • Growing their network and lists

Marketers often talk about their prospects being overloaded with too much information which can lead to an indecisive audience, causing marketers to miss projections and sales goals.  Lets face the facts, consumers are engaging online.  Recent studies show that over 53% of active social networkers follow a brand.  If there are that many people actively interacting and engaging with brands online what changes can be made to reach and engage target audiences?

Sign #1 – The Sounds of Silence – No One is Commenting On Our Blog

The first item to audit when trying to figure out why your blog is not getting the traffic and engagement that you want is to take a hard look at your content.  Is the content being created too broad, too specific.  Does it effectively address the pain points of your audience.  If so, take some time reviewing existing customer research or begin surveying existing customers to determine what type of information they like to consume and share.  Consider adding questions in the conclusions of your blog posts that encourage interaction.  Another tactic involves promoting blog content on your company website and other social channels.

Sign #2 – Is Anyone Out There? – Activity Without Engagement

The key to increasing engagement is to be engaging.  Have you made a point of reaching out? If not spend some time identifying key industry influentials as well as organizations or individuals you are looking to target directly.  Your social engagement will not improve if you are constantly in self-promotion mode.  Put some “skin in the game” by sharing original content which mentions those you would like to connect with, or re-share information they have distributed on their networks as a sign of good faith.

Sign #3 – Our Website is Awesome – But No One is Visiting

First question, is your content optimized?  Is this content optimized for search engines and customer experience?  Optimizing for search engines will undoubtedly increase your visibility online.  However, if you aren’t getting the number of inquiries or even the organic traffic you’re aiming for there could be a variety of reasons.  Take some time to review your Google Analytics and analyze your website bounce rate.  Perhaps you’re ranking fairly well but once people get to your site they aren’t finding what they want or need and are exiting the site immediately and moving on to the next.  It is also a good idea to assess the websites of your top competitors and identify what they are doing that is working and not working to draw in your target audience.

Sign #4 – A Sound Investment – Content Creation Without Representation

Before investing in the creation of white papers, infographics, videos, guides, or research you must first consider your audience.  What type of information do your customers and prospects typically consume and share?  Which websites social or otherwise do they spend the most time on?  By identifying these key pieces of information it should help guide you down the path to creating content that is in the proper format and set up to receive adequate exposure.

What is the moral of the story?  If  you want your audience to engage with you and listen to what you have to say it’s time to do the same.  Work to identify what topics and tactics work best for your audience, and evolve these strategies as their preferences change.  Spend just as much time if not more monitoring conversations as you do releasing information on social sites.

What hurdles have been most difficult for you to overcome as an online marketer?  If you could give one piece of advice to other content and social media marketers what would it be?


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Ashley Zeckman About Ashley Zeckman

Ashley Zeckman is the Senior Director of Digital Strategy 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.


  1. Hi Ashley,

    Thanks for putting up the very basics points to engage with traffic. All 4 signs are very applicable to me. I need to relook at my blog post after this.


  2. Nice job Ashley! Very practical tips, I think one of the main problems I’ve encountered is distributing information to the right audience. For advice, I think you nailed it on the head with your suggestion to spend just as much time monitoring conversations as you do releasing information.

    • Heather-

      If we don’t know what people are talking about how will we know what sort of information to publish? 🙂 Thanks for reading!

  3. Avatar Mark Omohundro says

    Sign #1 is super important. I’ve always known that it is important to know your audience and create content that they will enjoy. However, I think the key point that you bring up is; will they be willing to share it? We need create content that others will wish they had created.

    • Mark – thank you for your observation.  In addition to creating content that our audience will enjoy we must make sure it’s easy for them to find no matter where they are looking.  I also really liked your comment “We need create content that others will wish they had created.”  Awesome!

  4. Ashely, you’ve managed to tackle a difficult, yet popular topic.  And I think it comes down to ‘what is ‘engagement’?’

    The 3rd and 4th point are, to me, critical.  Build it.  Optimize it.  Generate traffic.  Find out what else they want to learn about.  Create new content based on audience needs.

    But it’s the 1st and 2nd that drive me (and my clients nuts).  Why?  Unrealistic expectations on ‘engagement’.  They come.  They spend a good amount of time.  The visit a variety of pages.  They download papers and view videos.  They register for upcoming events.

    But comments are few and very far between.  That’s why I am looking forward to the comments of other readers – and hoping they have figured out how to motivate comments.

  5. Avatar catycat1985 says

    so informative..i love browsing your posts..

  6. Avatar Ajay Jhunjhunwala says

     Good information. Making a blog is not a big deal. But we know bringing traffic and maintaining the traffic is more difficult. Engaging traffic with your blog needs  special attention to the blog. Content theme, relevancy, freshness and appeal plays a major role here.

  7. Avatar Kirsten Wright says

    Engagement should be a core element of any digital strategy. Brands who wait to look at it as a key piece until everything else isn’t working are setting themselves up for failure. No one wants to be talked AT, they want to be talked WITH. Engaging your audience does more than just increase conversation, it shows you care about them, and in turn, what they think. This is the most powerful way to turn a slight interest into a complete sale.

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  12. Avatar Neil Lokare says

    Engagement is the key to content marketing. Our business provides video marketing services because a well-crafted video message keeps viewers on your site longer, reduces anxiety in the sales process, and helps illuminate the characteristics of your business you are seeking to emphasize. There is no formula for creating engaging content that will work, but understanding your current client base and tailoring videos to your target audience is a great start.

  13. I think we all know that engagement is really important. You make a good point with #1. People wont respond if they don’t find the content interesting. From my experience, looking at customer research and even looking at what customers are searching for on your website can help inspire good content.