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Private Equity Digital Marketing Playbook

Published: 5 December, 2021

Health Warning::Digital Marketing Is Hard

Where should private equity firms start when it comes to expanding multi-location businesses? What are the most key parts of a modern digital marketing strategy? When speed and flexibility are critical, what matters most?

When faced with high sales targets for a new multi-location business, you’ll need a scalable, time- and cost-effective digital marketing platform. Anything less will result in inefficiencies throughout your locations, slowing growth and disappointing investors.

To that aim, we’ve looked through our client list to identify the necessary parts of high-growth multi-location firms’ digital marketing strategies.

Essential Components of Successful Digital Marketing Strategies

While every market and company is unique, you can use this guide to figure out where to start with your plan. You can apply the five main areas below to examine potential flaws in your acquisition’s digital strategy, whether it’s a new acquisition or a future merger.

1. Website

The basis of your company’s digital presence is its website. All roads, including search engines, local search experiences, advertising, and so on, lead to it. Without a solid website that is designed for search engine optimisation (SEO), user experience, and conversions, you simply cannot support scalable marketing strategies.

When it comes to launching a new brand or introducing new acquisitions, one of the most difficult decisions private equity firms must make is what to do with current web assets. Do you combine all of your acquisitions into a single large brand? Do you keep track of each purchase separately? What’s the greatest method to build on the brand’s existing reputation and equity?

The answers to these questions have an immediate impact on website strategy. To begin, keep in mind that high-growth, multi-location businesses want a website that can scale with them—what we call “future-proof web design.” Second, you’ll need to account for a sound SEO structure regardless of how you handle each web property (merge, keep distinct, etc.). Your SEO approach will fail if you don’t have a good website base.

See Your Website Structure and SEO: A Primer to ensure that your businesses are supported by SEO-friendly best practices that allow search engines to locate, crawl, index, and rank them.

 

2. SEO

Consumers nowadays go to Google for information. People go online first for more than 60% of “purchasing occasions,” according to Think With Google. “35 percent of buyers have returned to brands/retailers they originally discovered online,” according to the study. When you need something, it’s just quicker to pick up your phone.

Nevertheless, your brands must rank highly in these types of searches. Your websites should, ideally, rank when your target consumers are looking for answers, comparing products, and verifying vendors. In this way, if you want to boost organic visibility and generate visitors to your website, you’ll need a solid SEO strategy.

Three key pillars should guide your SEO strategy, according to us.

Technical Optimization

The foundation of any website’s SEO is this. All other efforts will fail if the foundation isn’t strong enough. You must consider SEO when creating your website at the code level, so to speak. That means being up to current on the most recent Google algorithm changes (Core Web Vitals being a recent example). The following are examples of technical SEO:

  • Building organized site architecture and URL structure
  • Implementing structured data
  • Assessing and optimizing site speed
  • Adhering to Google’s Core Web Vitals metrics
  • Adding XML sitemaps
  • Removing duplicate content
  • Using language tags
  • Setting up 404 pages and redirects

Content

Code and other essential web elements are one thing, but the content is at the heart of SEO and how visitors find your website through search engines. When creating a thorough content strategy, you must consider the many stages of the buyer’s journey and create appropriate content for each. Each piece of content you create should ideally be targeted for target keywords while also providing value to your audience.

Link Building

Links are used by Google to assess the quality of a web page. It considers it a good signal if numerous websites connect to it. Link building is an important step in establishing authority, improving rankings, and driving referral traffic to your website. To gain a mix of quantity and quality links in an organic fashion, link building operations should be diverse. We’ve discovered that link-building efforts have a snowball effect, with links naturally collecting over time as you continue to create high-quality content.

Keep in mind that good link building is better achieved in collaboration with public relations teams, as you’ll need to do niche editing, guest blogging, forum commenting, and then reclaim old links, clean up defunct pages, and fix redirects.

Finally, as a digital marketing business, we’d be remiss if we didn’t warn our clients that SEO takes time. You won’t be able to climb to the top of Google in a month, let alone three. Significant advances in competitive marketplaces can take up to a year. So, when you develop each part of your SEO plan, make sure to include paid media in your budget to create a more direct pipeline (more on that below).

3. Local SEO

People are increasingly looking for products and services in their close surroundings. Consider healthcare consumers: “near me” searches for health-related services have increased since 2015, according to Think with Google. It’s significantly easier for folks to get what they need in their own backyard in many situations. Local SEO, on the other hand, is a distinct subset of a larger campaign, with its own set of best practices, methods, and strategies.

Google requires multi-location firms to establish their relevance to local search queries. The best method to get there is to optimise each website or web page to appear in Google Maps’ Map Pack. Follow these local SEO best practices to do so.

Location Page Optimization

For a number of trust signals and content indicators, Google and other search engines look to the actual content on the location page. You’ll be able to compete on a hyper-local level if you fully optimise the information on each location page.

Citation Management

This is an important aspect of local SEO. Are your citations consistent across all venues and channels, including all vital business information? You can help algorithms understand your location and expand your presence on search engine results pages by ensuring up-to-date citations (SERPs).

Reviews

When ranking local businesses, Google considers reviews as a major trust factor. Google uses keywords inside reviews in addition to net promoter scores to help searchers get the best results. So establish a plan not just to generate reviews on a regular basis but also to manage them across the board. See How to Get More from Your Online Reviews for more detailed strategies.

4. Paid Media

Paid media will mostly serve to supplement your SEO efforts for multi-location organisations. As previously stated, SEO takes time, especially for new businesses. You shouldn’t expect to see effects right away. For now, paid media may help you increase your lead pipeline, raise brand awareness, and capture bottom-of-the-funnel search searches. Paid media can also help you rank for a solution- or brand keywords.

However, in order to obtain a high financial return from paid media tactics, you must create the correct media mix to reach target consumers while lowering the cost per acquisition (CPA). The idea is to put the next dollar into the most efficient channel possible. As a result, your media mix will vary depending on your industry, competitors, and level of digital marketing maturity, but it may comprise the following:

  • Paid search (Google and Bing Ads)
  • Paid social (FB, Insta, LI, Twitter)
  • Display (Google Display Network, Discovery, Smart Display)
  • YouTube

We need a multi-channel approach that is strong in four key areas to lower CPA and boost conversions.

Build Solid Account Structure

Keep in mind that Google offers a number of automatic bidding options that can help you increase conversion volume. To employ these automatic bidding tactics, however, you must first arrange your account such that Google has more data from which to learn. The most vital point in paid media is to create a good account structure. Unfortunately, we run across multi-location brands with complex account systems all too often.

We recommend developing granularity at the campaign level only if and when budget control is required. Assess your goals across locations while building your paid media campaign. Do certain locations have their own set of objectives and budgets? If you don’t have enough data to train the algorithm, you can reduce the granularity and acquire more data. The goal is to figure out the best structure for optimising while keeping control.

We can’t stress enough how important it is to have a well-structured account foundation to ensure campaign efficiency and boost advertising ROI.

Leverage Smart Bidding

Google’s algorithms are based on conversion data, which is provided via the correct account structure. For 30 days, we recommend using enhanced cost per click (CPC). This enables Google to get the conversion data needed for smart bidding to work. The data is used by Google’s machine learning algorithms to produce more accurate predictions about how an ad will perform, and the bid is an example in this regard.

Develop Robust Keyword Strategy

This is the most efficient method of allocating ad budgets. You’ll want to target the correct keywords that lead to conversions when you develop your keyword strategy. Keep in mind that upper-funnel keywords are frequently exploratory in nature; customers who use this search language aren’t always ready to take action. People that choose bottom-funnel keywords, on the other hand, have high intent and are looking for a solution. When developing a keyword strategy for new businesses that need to expand their leadership pipeline, focus on the bottom of the funnel. You can adjust your plan and expand to other funnel stages as your brand equity and awareness grow.

Use a Full-funnel Advertising Strategy

A full-funnel strategy can help in moving visitors through the funnel and towards conversion. This strategy to social media ads, in particular, is intended to lower the overall cost of generating a bottom-of-the-funnel lead. Serving direct-response ads to prospects who have never engaged with your brand before can increase CPA costs by more than 400%, according to our research. Ads should instead be optimised for solution-aware, product-aware, and most-aware audiences. See How to Engage Patients with a Full-Funnel Facebook Ads Strategy for additional information.

5. Analytics

Finally, by focusing on data-driven marketing, pay attention to what the numbers are telling you. By focusing on revenue-related indicators, you can ensure that every marketing spend is performing harder across your portfolio. This requires a strong knowledge of the results of your digital marketing efforts, including.

  • Web analytics
  • Organic search traffic
  • Paid media analytics
  • Conversion rate
  • Lead attribution

The foundation for this type of analytics is a solid foundation of integrated marketing technologies. You’ll also need to create attribution models that are unique to each of your businesses (first click, last click, or multi-click). To get there, we advocate assembling a data-savvy team that can help you prioritise investments in martech solutions that will improve your performance visibility.

  • SEO tools, such as SEMRush, Google Analytics, and Google Search Console
  • Call tracking software, such as CallRail
  • CRM and integrations, such as SalesForce that tie campaign data together and tap into revenue management software

A Rinse-and-Repeat Approach to Digital Marketing

Website. Search engine. Local strategy is important. Paid advertising. Analytics. Our digital marketing roadmap for high-growth multi-location enterprises contains these crucial aspects. While this approach is far from simple or simple, it provides a reliable and repeatable method for private equity firms to scale digital marketing.

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