Whether a start-up, SME or multinational corporation, at some point in your life cycle you will have to address your organic marketing
. There are very few organisations that have the funds to outright buy themselves the traffic
or site visibility
they desire; and even if they do, it is unlikely that most would be able to sustain it. To completely neglect the organic side of your digital strategy would be short sighted (to say the least). So why is organic marketing (search, social, content & reputation) such a vital ingredient when it comes to building your website’s (digital properties) asset value? Put simply, organic marketing is the ‘bricks & mortar’ for any website as it delivers relevant audiences to your owned property and earns you recurring visitors.
Organic Marketing vs. Paid Media
So where do we start? Well let’s begin by differentiating between different media types. It’s common practice to divide media into three main categories - Owned, Earned and Paid Media.
At inception, the only property you can truly label as an asset is your owned media. By owned property we typically mean your website, blog, mailing lists and social media accounts or social pages (although you never really own your social media property and there is a remote chance of losing this asset should the platform owners have different plans). These owned properties are your assets that need attention and focus in order to increase value.
Earned, by definition requires effort. But it’s not effort alone that produces results. It can also depend heavily on the brand, the USP’s and / or UX. But when focusing on digital marketing, applying effort to content, organic search and social media marketing will hopefully earn you trust, authority and reputation.
Paid media, although very effective, rarely builds you true assets, especially if you are a start-up or SME with limited funding. Using another property metaphor, think of paid media as renting and organic marketing as paying off your mortgage.
Which organic marketing components drive asset value?
We’ve already touched on the role your brand plays in earned media. Looking at the bigger picture, we have to assume that your business has some sort of USP - perhaps clever technology, maybe you are solving a problem or you have a viable product or service to sell. If not, there is no amount of marketing in the world that will make a difference.
What elements of the marketing mix can increase asset value?
What better place to start than with Content? – ‘The cornerstone of digital marketing’. After all, without content what do we have? The aim is to build asset value page by page; producing relevant, quality, unique, in demand content. You may choose to answer popular questions or help solve popular problems. But why is content important? Well each viable piece of content will generate eyeballs via organic search traffic and will feed your social channels or give you a reason to engage in helpful conversations with your audiences.
In an ideal world we want as much evergreen content as possible. The great thing about evergreen, quality content is that it generates relevant visitors virtually for free (over time) and gives you the opportunity to re-share time after time.
Here’s our simple equation:
1 x evergreen content = 100 visitors / month = 1200 visitors per year
10 x evergreen content = 1000 visitors / month = 12000 visitors per year
Not only does organic content marketing drive visitors
, but the more quality pages on your site, the better your rankings in search engines. Your CPC (cost per click) on content will reduce with every visitor and your website’s value will go up. You’re on your way to building asset value for your website.
Optimise your content for Search Engines
You will need relevant, quality content to do well in search. Beyond that you need to be smart and target search terms which demonstrate clear intent from your audience in line with your proposition. Don’t go for volume or search terms that are too generic - employing this strategy costs too much time and effort; furthermore, it exposes your site to potential risk if google implements algorithm changes. Go for longer-tail keywords, structure your website and optimise all your pages.
You will still be at the mercy of search engines, but the more targeted your optimisation, the less risk of losing organic search traffic.
SEO is not optional
There is absolutely no excuse for not following best practice SEO
when building websites and producing content. On average 42% of all website traffic is generated via search
. A well optimised website, with focus on a clear relevant search audience, will generate organic visitors. This is one of the best ways to solidify your site on search engine results pages - a great way of adding asset value.
Social Media - Choose your platform wisely
Here we need to operate with a little more caution as you never truly own your social properties. Hence, social media will affect the asset value
of your site in a slightly more indirect fashion. For this reason we would suggest you don’t allocate your entire budget to social media marketing.
It’s important to be efficient. Firstly, you need to work out the reason you are choosing each channel and the outcomes you hope to achieve. Once ready, only build reach on social channels your target audience use. There is no point spending time producing a regular stream of content on Facebook, if all you audience are on twitter. More specifically, if you are trying to attract a B2B audience you would focus on Twitter & LinkedIn as opposed to Facebook which tends to be more B2C.
Do not put social on a pedestal. It is not the Golden Ticket and great social media is not your main goal. Remember you are trying to drive traffic to your website. See social as a way to build reach for your brand and to find audiences referring back to your website. Do not use your website audience to build reach on your social channels. You do not own your social platform, you are just a guest.
Your content will be instrumental to your social success. Share your content and always link back to your website. Social is less about numbers and kudos, more about engagement, shares and interaction. Everything is interlinked and you will need your social channels to help promote your content marketing and drive search rankings.
Let’s break it down into four points to show how it’s all connected:
• Poor content = no social shares / engagement
• Poor social reach = no audience
• No audience = no content engagement
• Great content = more social engagement = better search rankings
Drive traffic to your content with 'Outreach'
We see this as the ace in the pack. In any business, networking and reaching out to people and partners that can help, will make all the difference to success. A great outreach program can generate quality links and referral traffic from affinity sites, mentions from influencers, as well as exposure on news and sector relevant authority sites.
Outreach connects your brand with potential partners, opening collaborations, traffic and revenue generating opportunities.
Don’t underestimate the volume of traffic that can be generated via a great listing on a popular forum. An example of this is with the website that sources ski transfers aptly named ski-transfers.com. It was listed on one of the ski travel forums 5 years ago and generates 10k highly relevant visitors year on year – for free!
So how do we actually go about turning targets into traffic? Social reach and connectivity is a great way to make yourself known, open up doors and start conversations. It’s also important to showcase your Content. Providing it is of a suitable level it will help to show off your credentials. Successful Outreach can come in many forms - from social mentions, content placements, to referral links and affiliate partnerships. Each new connection will increase your visibility and reach; adding significant value to your digital asset.
Once you have your strategy in place and you are in delivery mode, you will want to work out the value of your asset? This is difficult to define and turn into a numeric value. The reason being, it is dependent on other criteria such as your USPs, technology, opportunity, market size etc. One simple way to evaluate your asset is by multiplying your organic traffic with your average paid CPC rate in your industry.
Here’s what we mean:
Organic search equates to 100k/year
Your social is 50k/year
Referrals equals 50k/year
Average CPC for paid media: £0.85
Then your asset value = £170k