A crucial part of just about any business’ marketing strategy today is going digital. Consumers are almost always online and on-the-go, and brands need to be able to reach them and monitor their behavior when they are online and target them where they spend their time. Surprisingly, many companies are still quite unprepared when it comes to their digital marketing strategy. This means that they don’t have the strategy, tactics, or tools needed to market their business well.
According to Smart Insights, 45% of companies don’t have a clearly defined digital marketing strategy, while 17% do have one in place but it’s separate from their marketing plan. This means that they don’t have a (integrated) strategy, tactics, or tools needed to market their business well.
Through digital marketing, your business can reach an audience in a way that is both cost-effective and measurable. A digital marketing strategy will give your company direction. Having a plan in place ensures that you have the details needed to help your company grow consistently and understand what brings the highest return on your digital investment.
If you are a small to middle-size business owner and ready to make a transition from offline to online and wondering how to go about having a digital marketing strategy, you are at the right place. Below, we are going to share with you four easy steps to creating a digital marketing strategy that works.
1. Setting Goals, Objectives And KPIs
The first step is to identify and define clear, constructive goals – determine what it is you want to achieve. Next, you need to put objectives in place to help you achieve these goals. Having clear goals and objectives helps in making effective decisions. It’s also essential to set KPIs – performance indicators that will let you know how effectively you are achieving your objectives.
Goals are short statements of your desired outcome over a long time frame (usually three to five years). Common examples of goals include; maximizing profits, increasing efficiency, and growing revenues. Objectives, on the other hand, are specific, actionable targets that need to be achieved within a short time frame (a year or less). It’s the action or activity involved in achieving a specific goal.
When working on this part of your digital marketing plan, you can use the SMART goals framework; Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely goals. Other important factors to keep in mind:
– Goals should be in line with your company’s mission, vision, and values
– Be concise – set 2 or 3 main goals and 3 to 5 supporting goals
– Break goals down into smaller, step-by-step milestones
Lastly, you need to set your KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and metrics to measure success. Commonly used KPIs in digital marketing include; unique visitors per day/month, conversion rates, cost per conversion, pages per visit, and ROI per content.
It’s not easy to focus on a lot of metrics at a time, so you will want to focus your attention on just a few – the ones that impact your company the most. These will typically include traffic, conversions, and optimization.
2. Define And Understand Your Target Audience
As a brand, you want to be reaching the right people – those that are interested in buying your product or service. The better you understand your target audience, the more you will be able to focus your ads and reach the people most likely to convert into customers. To communicate effectively, you need to understand who they are, and what their true needs and desires are.
Identifying your target audience requires a bit of investigative work because you need to get a detailed understanding of who you’re targeting. To do this, you need to gather information on your customer’s demographics and behaviors. Here are some key factors to consider:
- Size of your market: The market size is the total number of potential buyers within a given market. To determine this, you will need to figure out what market you’re operating in – is it new or established, niche, or mainstream. Also look at who the competitors are (big and small), as well as market expectations, and areas you can disrupt.
- Who are your customers: Are you targeting parents, gym bunnies, health fanatics? You should know who you’re targeting because the goal is to create content that fits their unique needs.
- Where they spend their time: You need to be present on the social media channels and websites that your target audience frequencies. For instance; health fanatics spend time on sites like Livestrong, Avocadu, and Healthline.
- Where and how they buy: Do customers shop for your product online, or is it something they prefer to see in person and purchase in-store? Are they comfortable with recurring payment options, or would they prefer a one-time purchase option? Knowing where and how customers buy will help you develop an effective digital marketing strategy.
3. Creating And Implementing Your Digital Marketing Strategy
Now that you’ve laid the groundwork, you should have the necessary tools to create a solid digital marketing strategy. Firstly, you will want to identify the marketing channels that best suit your business. There are many to choose from, some of the most popular being; Email, SEO, Social Media Advertising, Content Marketing, TV Commercials, and more.
So how do you go about choosing the best channels for your business? Here are a few tips:
- Focus on the channels that your customers use (i.e. Social Media, TV)
- Focus on the channels that give you the most independence and control (i.e. email)
- Focus on the most popular channels
Once you’ve identified the channels that you want to focus on, it’s crucial to test their performance. Testing will show you exactly what works and what doesn’t work, giving a good indication of any changes that need to be made. Typically, the tools used for testing are linked to the channel (e.g. Google offers google analytics). The goal is to get two to three channels working well before you add any more.
Next, use the information you gathered during step 2 to create the kind of marketing content that will appeal to your target audience. Your content should attract attention, be fascinating, discuss a problem or challenge, and offer a solution to the problem. Also, you have to differentiate yourself from the competition. Tell your customers exactly what you’re offering, how it will benefit them, and why they should choose you.
4. Auditing And Improving Your Marketing Campaign
When engaging in an online marketing campaign, there is a ton of data available to you. This data is often very detailed and immediately accessible. You need to know what to measure and how to use this data to make informed decisions about and improve your digital marketing efforts. The fact is, the above three steps aren’t very useful if you don’t measure your performance.
To be successful, you will need a plan that helps you to capture, report, and analyze data. If you don’t have anyone in your company who is trained to do this, it’s worthwhile getting help from an agency.
Having a solid digital marketing strategy in place is a lot more critical than many companies realize. It’s an actionable plan for success, and without one, it isn’t easy to find direction. The above four steps that we’ve detailed are an excellent place to start and should give you a good indication of what your strategy should entail. The key is to have clear and well-defined goals, know your target audience, choose marketing channels, create content, and lastly, measure your performance.