We may be a small agency, but we know digital marketing and have a lot of big clients to show for it. After seeing flaws both client and agency side throughout his years working in the industry, Curated Digital founder Simon Douglass came up with a collection of frameworks to help both sides get their heads around digital marketing.
Speaking at Figaro’s digital marketing summit, Simon dispelled some myths around SEO and laid down the law when it came to getting the best for both the client and the agency using Curated’s own frameworks.
Couldn’t make it? We’ve got the low down for you.
Get your goals right
Something we see quite often at Curated is clients mistaking strategies for goals, which Simon touched upon at the beginning of his talk.
“Reading between the lines the goal is going to be something related to visibility or traffic or sales or revenue or leads or whatever that thing is. A lot of the time I spend now as I spent 15 years ago when I started doing this is trying to understand what that client’s business goals are.”
“When we talk to clients about goals – we’re talking about traffic, customers, leads, sales, ROI, revenue and even engagement. They can all be goals. Things that aren’t goals: ranking number one on Google. It’s a decent thing to ask for, there’s nothing wrong with asking for that, but it’s not a goal.”
It’s not all about ranking number 1
As Simon points out, we get this a lot from clients but it’s not an actual aim. Besides, changes and current update to Google’s algorithm tend to favour paid ads, making ranking less important than it was a few years ago.
“Ranking number one on Google wouldn’t necessarily have an impact on their bottom line especially with the way that Google has changed the search engine results page and prioritised paid search advertising. Similarly, people come to us and say we want to do SEO, we want keyword rankings, we want likes on social media, we want more followers – none of these are a problem it’s just a case of us then trying to translate that into a business cause.”
So what about SEO?
The same thing happens when it comes to SEO, which is also not an actual aim, but simply a tool to help achieve business goals.
“People come to us and say we want to do SEO and we want keyword rankings. As an agency, we try and package these ‘tools’ into a wider plan the client can understand to help them better achieve their business goals.”
“In order to help explain this to clients, we created a framework of three processes to tackle each section of digital marketing. Two of them are strategic methods, and the other a tactical approach to help break it down for business and get them started. They are the prioritisation matrix, the gap analysis, and 7 steps.”
The Matrix is real
The prioritisation matrix is a framework to help focus businesses on products or services from a digital perspective. We created it to overcome how many clients tend to move forward – tackling too many areas at one time. The process itself can be split into three steps: List all products and services the client offers; choose 5-6 business criteria, either quantitative (revenue) or qualitative (perceived business value) and score each criterion from High (3), Med (2) or Low (1).
“In terms of putting that matrix together, it’s basically a really effective way of working with our clients. We should be working with the client collaboratively to understand who or what their key products and or services are.”
To best way describe how the prioritisation matrix works in practice, shown in his application of the matrix to his favourite tipple.
“I decided to put a wine prioritisation matrix together, pretending I had a wine company and a wine website. I listed all of the different wine types and I put where I think my website ranks for those particular types of wine and how valuable those customers are to me. It then comes out with a number and in this particular case, I saw I needed to optimise around Tempranillo, who would have thought it? I didn’t know that before I ran this matrix formula. It’s a starting point that helps you figure out where you need to optimise.”
Find your gap
Whilst we can all admit that content is still king, finding the best route to create content is difficult and many businesses can get it wrong, simply by churning out content for the sake of it. “Depending on who you speak to, there are lots of SEO’s who all think differently. Some will argue that you can still do this to a lesser extent, but we don’t. We do this process a little bit differently.“
The tool we use to get to grips with content is a gap analysis, which is a research methodology that seeks to uncover the discrepancies between what people want to know when they search for information online, and how well those needs are being met by existing content. Using search data as a starting point, the process analyses competitor websites for language, UX, media, and tone, to paint a picture of the complete experience a user might have. We’re then able to identify where our competitors’ efforts fall short and create focused content to fill these ‘gaps’.
“It starts with an SEO base, as it always has done. But then it moves to an editorial one – starting with some basic facts and things we know then actually progresses to writing content that’s going to engage with an end user.”
We understand high-quality content is incredibly important. Our gap analysis, although time-consuming, is the best way to really achieve this from the outset. “We create content to engage the reader first and foremost, but we have also seen that it can be used to sell indirectly – it’s a very powerful thing. So that’s how we feel about content.”
“The last one is a little bit more tactical focusing on paid advertising – it’s a framework called the seven steps. This works by giving you an idea of how you’re going to achieve your aim by breaking it down into smaller chunks. It starts with keywords, audience, competitors, writing ads and then there’s tracking and reporting towards the end.”
Although we pride ourselves on agility, this framework has allowed us to deliver campaigns more efficiently for two key reasons. It provides an internal guide for our media team to be consistent when planning and delivering projects and also allows us to effectively show our iterative process to clients and demonstrate the level of planning and data we use for our tactical delivery.
We think where a lot of people go wrong is that they come up with a PPC strategy and then fail to follow through with it, but as Simon says, “PPC can’t be left, you need to test and test and test and test.”
He also advises tracking everything. “People are not tracking everything when you’re spending money on digital, especially in the paid channels. You need to be attributing everything back to some sort of ROI.”
In summary, Curated came up with the three frameworks to break down the seemingly daunting task of trying to get your business noticed in the digital world, as well as strengthen the relationship between agency and client.
Simon’s speech was easily transcribed using Trint – to find out more about how Trint transcription services could help you, visit their site.
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