Now that we’ve covered a decent amount of potential research methods, it pays to start thinking about what makes the most sense to focus on in the first place. The most productive research is always based on a well-defined reason to conduct research in the first place. A good place to start is with three simple questions:
The honest answer to those three questions above could be a potential prescription for a social media, local SEO, or general organic SEO campaign. There could be a scenario where more than just one of these campaign directives could be relevant to your interests, but by knowing which one should be your main priority, you’ll make sure that your energy, time and resources are intelligently invested.
Let’s start by putting each of these three powers into their proper places. To put it simply, organic SEO is a measure of how naturally your content occupies search engine results pages; naturally, it’s always better for your content to naturally keep a position of high visibility.
The more relevant your content is and the better of a job you’ve done at covering your SEO factor bases, the better of a chance you’ll have at getting good organic SEO mileage.
As mentioned before, a big part of your brand’s social media buzz involves how hot of a topic it is in online discussions. In addition to the social media giants like Facebook and Twitter, slightly lower-volume platforms where your specifically target buyers digitally congregate and mingle are also important to keep track of.
Depending on just how specifically segmented your target prospect is, a smaller social media platform like Google+ may or may not actually be more useful for making an impact on your nice audience than bigger options.
While local search isn’t impacted by most social media sites other than Google+, you can look at it through the same critically context-based lens. Local search power grows greatly from positive reviews left by satisfied customers on sites like Yelp and CitySearch.
Based on what makes the most sense to prioritize, different businesses have a unique need for certain blend of techniques. For local search, the location of your business obviously counts tremendously. Consider whether you've changed your business name or location in the last few years; if you have, then any out-of-date records should be dealt with accordingly.
Consider whether your website is truly up to date and able to compete with other websites gunning for organic search power. If you don't have a full team of in-house marketing professionals at your service, you’ll want to think hard about whether your priorities are still realistically attainable without hiring one.
You should also consider just how big your budget really is in the first place. Based on how knowledgeable your competition is about the web (and how adept they are at using what they know), you might be better off investing parts of your budget into areas where you stand the best chance of coming out ahead.
One of the most popular digital marketing priority-setting models is ICE: Impact, Confidence and Ease. All three letters in ICE stand for 1-10 scores. "Impact" is a 1-10 score that answers the question of "just how awesome would it be if everything went right?". "Confidence" is used to define just how sure you are that you stand a chance at getting a win.
The more objectively well-founded your confidence is, the better. "Ease" stands for just how resource-intensive things are going to get. Just how hard is it to do what you plan on doing? How much money is going to get burned in the process? How many favours need to get called in to make your mission impossible a possibility? How many cups of coffee need to get chugged after midnight for this to have even a slight chance of working?
The closer to 30 that your total ICE score is, the better that you can feel about moving forward with a legitimately great marketing channel. Remember this mantra: ICE before paying the price. Think not only of how much impact a channel might make, but the speed of the potential results too.
After you set an ICE score for all your channels, rank them accordingly. Think about the time of year that you're considering starting your campaign. Make sure that all the time-sensitive elements are polished and fully agreeable with one another. Near the end of the year, you'll want to prioritize making performance comparisons to last year and planning for the new one accordingly.
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