If you were to ask your marketing team what the most important part of a successful SEO, email marketing, or social media strategy was, what do you think their responses would be?
- Is it solid design?
- Compelling copy?
- Engagement, engagement, engagement?
What would surprise you is that while all of these responses contribute to a successful campaign, they’re not the actual foundation. So what is it? The answer lies in your calendar.
Take a look at your marketing calendar. Are there a rhythm and a pattern for communication? Do you plan out your messaging in advance? Is there a finite task list to have work completed at regular intervals? Scheduled promotions? An overarching strategy to guide it all? If you answered “yes”, then you’re already on the right path. If not, you’re lacking the secret ingredient to a successful online marketing campaign: consistency.
Consistency, while not as flashy or exciting as the design elements that usually bring a campaign to life is critical to any communications effort. When you’re consistent, your audience can not only become accustomed to receiving communication from you, but it also invites trust and even an expectation of receiving your message. Just think about that – your customers EXPECT to hear from you. This is huge.
Much like the relationship you have with your marketing team, your customers – once they opt in to receive your messaging – come to depend on regular communication to motivate them to action. They actively seek deals or coupons, they check their inbox before shopping, or they do a quick search of your site, social media channels, and Google to see if there’s a new item or a new deal to be taken advantage of. When you establish a regular rhythm of communication, a comfortable relationship can form, which is the ultimate goal for any marketer – a long-standing, trusting, and mutually beneficial relationship.
But let’s look a little bit deeper. What other value does consistency bring to the table?
On Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, or whatever flavor of social media your organization prefers, consistency allows for conversations to occur. If users can expect your updates at certain times, that opens the door for engagement. They’ll know that they can ask a question, tweet a response, or give feedback and there’ll be someone there to respond. That engagement is what makes or breaks a brand’s reputation, not to mention, enhances the overall communication and customer service process. If you give your audience a chance to get your message and respond, you can build that relationship you’re looking for. (Plus, having an active social media presence often correlates with higher search rankings and improved online visibility). You should also note that consistent messaging in tone and type can help you build a brand persona, which can further facilitate trust and authority.
Consistency also means producing regular, fresh content for indexation and for search engines, the freshness factor matters. In fact, it’s baked right into the algorithm so that content that is new, timely, and valuable tends to get preference in rankings – even if it’s only for a short period of time. That short period of higher ranking may be just enough to get the notice you’re looking for. Additionally, consistency in optimization approach (meaning that you have a consistent format for UX, navigation, meta tags, content structure, code, etc.) can make your SEO process more organized and even more impactful.
Tracking results is also easier when you have a consistent calendar to go from. Utilizing data from your social media management tools, Google Analytics, URL tracking systems, or other sources can help you evaluate what works and what doesn’t in your timing, approach, or audience segment. It’s easier to report success when you have a consistent pattern to work from. The more sporadic your messaging, the more difficult it can become to assess what’s working and what isn’t. Track EVERYTHING. The time something is sent, the duration of the conversation, the day of the week, the time of the month or year, the channel, the audience segment targeted. The more data you have on these key metrics, the easier it’ll be to make decisions on your overall online marketing strategy. Plus, this gives you the edge of being able to make soft predictions of what will happen in future marketing efforts.