To start a business, you need to do a lot of preparation beforehand. You need to sharpen the ax before you start chopping down the tree.
Having a digital marketing strategy is important because it encompasses all aspects of marketing, is well researched, and can be adapted as needed.
Why Have a Strategy?
Why digital, you may ask. I can give you three reasons.
- 54% of the world’s population is online
- 1.79 billion people will be shopping online in 2018
- 46% of brands don’t have a defined digital marketing strategy
The number of potential customers you could have can be seen by looking at these figures. If you have a digital marketing strategy, it will be easier to reach your target audience.
Remember that a strategy is a plan of action designed to achieve a particular goal, whereas a tactic is a specific action or an approach to achieving that goal.
The digital marketing strategy is the series of actions you take to achieve a specific goal. For example, if your goal is to increase your sales by 15% in the next twelve months, your strategy will involve different tactics, like marketing and discounts, to reach that goal. The tactics you use are the components that make up your strategy.
Here are some questions to ask before you start formulating yours:
- Does your business operate mostly online or offline?
- Do you do business locally, or do your products and services cater to a global market?
- Are you planning to run your marketing campaign yourself, or will you be outsourcing all or parts of it?
Answering these questions will help you determine your course of action in the future.
1. Determine What You Want to Accomplish
What are your goals for your digital marketing campaigns? Do you want to build name brand recognition? Generate leads? Get more sales, or email subscribers?
Great! You need to be specific about what you want.
This is another way that marketing and online dating overlap. This is not a good way to find a partner. It is more likely that you will find your match if you have a list of specific traits that you are looking for in a person.
The goals you set are important, and you will need to take specific actions to achieve each one. This will be addressed in more detail later on.
2. Understand the Digital Sales Funnel
You need to understand the digital sales funnel concept before you can develop an effective marketing strategy. The process of becoming a customer comprises of a few different stages that potential buyers go through to reach the point of making a purchase and/or becoming long term customers.
Depending on who you ask, the stages may vary in number and in their exact name, but they generally include the following:
- Discovery. People hear of your brand or product for the very first time ever.
- Research/consideration. Some name brand recognition has been established, and the user is willing to look into your products or services to learn more. They may also research your competitors at this stage.
- Purchase. Users are willing to become customers and purchase from you at this point.
- Loyalty. Repeat clients may become loyal to your brand or product and eventually may become advocates for your brand.
People who are just finding out about a product are not going to respond to advertising the same way as people who are already loyal to the product. Your digital marketing strategy will need to take into account the different ways and platforms on which your customers will interact with your brand.
3. Create Buyer Personas
To create your strategy, you’ll need to understand your audience and what motivates them. This is essential because it will help you understand which marketing platforms they use, how they interact with it, and what they want to see from you.
Buyer personas should be specific. When creating a persona, you should not just label them as “young moms” and be finished. The target audience for this product is Supermom Mary, who is 25-29 years old, has at least one child under the age of five, and is on a budget in a middle class home. She’s striving to be a good mother and wife, but fulfill herself personally by working. She is trying to live an organic lifestyle, but she still goes to McDonalds on busy weeknights. This tells you a lot about your audience, their pain points and what you can do for them.
4. Determine Where to Find Users At All Funnel Stages
Now that you understand your audience well, you need to figure out how and where to reach them. 07 Look at your analytics and compare them to your buyer personas to see what needs to be changed.
Let’s say you run a home renovation contacting company. You provide a wide range of services, from repairing water-damaged floors to giving people the kitchen of their dreams. You’re likely to have diverse audiences at every stage of the funnel who are looking for you.
Here are a few examples of how they might:
- Someone who is taking a lot of time to plan an expensive bathroom remodel might discover you by googling phrases like “bathroom design ideas” or searching on Pinterest. If they find your blog post featuring images of remodels you’ve done, that could be how they discover you and look to hire you.
- A person whose home was flooded after a leaky pipe is going to be looking for someone right now to come fix that flooring before the mold sets in. Your best bet will be to connect with them through Google Ads, because they’ll be searching for those services and you want to be competitive.
- Some customers are feeling just okay about that run down bathtub but don’t have the money to fix it. You run a Facebook Ad campaign showing how affordable and high quality refinishing tiles or glazing tubs could be and create a demand for someone who wasn’t otherwise looking.
- A past customer is thrilled with the work you did installing recessed lighting into their home. You follow up through email to let them know that you’re offering a special on home security upgrades, and they get in touch.
Think about which marketing channels your audience members are using and what stage of the funnel they’re in. This text is discussing how important it is to consider your target market when planning your digital marketing strategy. It is important to think about which channels you should be using to reach your target market and what messages will resonate with them.
5. Implement Specific Guidelines to Reach Your Goals
You’ve selected your marketing mix and you know how your audience is supposed to react. After completing the previous steps, it is now time to start developing strategies that will help you achieve your overarching goals.
A few of these tactics might include:
- Placing lead generation widgets or lead magnets on the sides of all blog posts, along with featuring a CTA at the end of posts to get in touch.
- Sharing influencer’s content on social media in order to build a relationship and increase visibility and brand recognition.
- Encouraging testimonials with email plugins that you can then place on your site, or request that users submit reviews on Google business to improve your local SEO scores.
Again, specificity is key here. In order to achieve your goals, you need to create a detailed plan of the specific steps you will take.
6. Incorporate Automation & Personalization
As you become more experienced with running campaigns, you will want to find ways to make your campaigns more impactful and effective.
To improve customer service, you can either make it more personalized or more automated. And in many cases, these two can overlap.
The most personalized and relevant marketing messages will be delivered as a result of the audience’s specific actions. This includes ads that show users products they’ve viewed on your site, or email autoresponders that show customers similar products to what they’ve seen in the past.
Use audience segmentation, personalization, and automation to write focused copy for specific groups of people and their relationship with your business. This ensures that your message will be well-timed and relevant to the recipient’s needs. This will take your strategy one step further.
7. Look for Holes in Your Digital Marketing Strategy
This final step can be seen as a way to “fix” your funnel. Your digital marketing strategy is up and running. You should regularly check how well your strategy is working, both in the beginning and over time. Since there are often multiple elements, platforms, and campaigns involved, this can be tricky.
Google Analytics is a tool that can help you to see how your website or app is performing. It can give you insights into how people are finding your content, what they’re doing on your site, and how long they’re staying. You want to find out how customers and leads are responding to your campaigns, and how that is affecting your progress towards your goals. Even if your blog post gets a lot of engagement, it won’t matter if it didn’t help you meet your goal.
You can use Google Analytics to set goals and track your website’s success in meeting them. You can also use behavior maps to look for potential problems with your website’s design or functionality. You can do this with any platform. If you are receiving a lot of clicks on a PPC ad with no conversions, or opens on an email with no clicks, you may be wondering what is going on. Look at why. Look for any clues that could explain why users might be dropping off at a certain point in your app. This can be done by finding the place where users are dropping off and looking for any tell-tale clues. Perform some experiments to see what can be discovered.
Establishing a Target Audience
The best thing about digital marketing is that you can do it more precisely, easily, and enjoyably than ever before.
There is no knowing who will see your TV ad when you run it. You can choose to run your commercial at a specific time of day, which will put your ad in front of your target audience when they are most likely watching a program. However, you can get even closer to your target audience by using digital marketing. You can target consumers very precisely using all digital marketing tactics. Some people are very detailed oriented, while others are more broadminded.
If you know who you are trying to reach, you will be more likely to be successful with your digital marketing campaigns. When thinking about how to reach your target audience, consider the digital places they spend time, what time of day they are most active, and how often they visit those places. Also think about what content formats work best.
Determining a Budget
When creating your marketing strategy, you will need to establish a clear budget. This will ensure that you are able to appropriately allocate your resources and gauge the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. Your budget will help you decide what tactics to use in the future, depending on what you have to work with and what you want to achieve. Come up with a spending plan by writing down all of your relevant expenses. Be very realistic about this. A time will come when you will have to put money down to finance something.
You shouldn’t divide your budget into concrete tactics just yet, but you should know how much you can invest moving forward.
Establishing a Time-frame
You can start with a broad goal and set a time for achieving it. Once you start working on specific tactics, you can give yourself deadlines and milestones for each.
Don’t let your campaigns run endlessly. Each needs to have a clear starting and endpoint. If the same tactic is working, you can keep using it. But you need to stop at some point to be able to evaluate it.
Defining Key Performance Indicators
There is one more thing you need to do before you can move on to the next stage. I will again use the KPIs acronym, which many people throw around, but many don’t use properly.
KPIs are important for measuring the success of your campaigns. If you do not have these things, you will not be able to know if your strategies are working well or if they are working better than you thought they would.
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