A digital marketing strategy is imperative for any business or organisation that is selling products and services online. But where do you begin if you want to build a digital marketing strategy? Here’s 9 ways to help you begin.
A digital marketing strategy does not necessary require a comprehensive analysis, or even the services of a digital marketing consultant; it merely requires a set of objectives and goals that you are looking to achieve. Yet despite this simplistic approach it appears that many businesses do not have a plan in place to execute a strategy. Whether you have one or not, first you need to benchmark where you are now so that you can compare it with where you are in the future.
#1. Become focussed.
Businesses without a digital marketing strategy do not have clear objectives for what they want to achieve online. Either in terms of gaining new leads, sales or building relationships with existing ones. Without objectives it’s unlikely you will assign resources to achieving your goals and evaluate and measure your achievements. For example, are you aiming to drive more traffic to your website? If so, how much traffic do you want to increase it by? Do you need more leads or direct sales on your website? If that’s the case, how are you going to do that?
Creating a digital marketing strategy forces you to answer these crucial questions. Furthermore, it will develop your online value proposition, define your target audience, and help to consider which methods will enable you to execute your strategy.
#2. Know your online market.
You must know your market. The dynamics of digital marketing differ from traditional channels due to different customer profile and behaviour towards traditional and online marketing communications.
Recognise the differences between traditional marketing/advertising compared against digital marketing. Traditional methods blast communication in the event that it will hopefully reach someone interested in the product, convey techniques that target all audiences. Digital marketing on the other hand narrowly defines the audience by segmenting and offering tailor-made approaches for higher engagement.
#3. Competition is ruthless.
If you’re not devoting enough resources to online marketing or worse, have no clearly defined strategy in place, you’ll most likely have a problem. Why? Well your competitors are ruthless. Sooner or later, both existing and newer competition will eat into your digital market share.
In our mass digitalised age, newer, vibrant and dynamic companies (for example startups) are doing just this – shaking up corporate behemoths by matching them online. Startups understand the need to gain traction with an audience already and to determine product market fit. If you are not reaching potential customers where they are browsing, i.e. online — a new company will do that.
#4. Customer retention is today’s acquisition.
A clearly defined digital marketing strategy encourages existing as well as new customers to engage and remain loyal. Retention is just as important as acquisition. Successful brands and companies do not just stop at getting a sale from a customer, they continue to attract them with offers and free content, ensuring that their company remain front of mind when they purchase again. It’s the old saying, easier (and cheaper) to sell to people who have bought from you in the past, as opposed to finding newer customers.
Plus, customers today expect to communicate in more ways than traditional methods like the telephone. Messaging a brand via LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook and expecting an instant response is one of the best ways to keep your customers loyal and not go elsewhere for better customer service.
#5. Know your customers well.
It is often said that with digitalisation you can measure everything. But Google Analytics and similar tools will only report volumes and not customer emotion. Use user feedback tools to identify your pain points and then address them, for example seeking customer reviews and feedback forms.
If you don’t gage different customer behaviour, profiles and even worse, the nature of your competition then you’ll be unable to target your customers needs. Don’t merely offer your customers a product, offer them a solution to their needs.
#6. Get everybody onboard.
It’s easy to separate your digital marketing strategy into various channels – pay per click ads, social media, search engine optimisation and so on. Whether you do all this personally or outsource to freelancers or a digital marketing agency. It is easier to package marketing into convenient sections – person A does task X and person B does task Y. Yet doing this can fracture your strategy and limit’s it effectiveness. Digital marketing works best when integrated with all media channels, traditional et al.
For example reach out to friends and influencers to promote social media posts. If you have a event or webinar, promote it via social media AND email marketing. Running PPC ads? Then ensure that your landing pages are packed with keywords you are bidding on and are search engine optimised. Blogging? Then ensure it is promoted in social media groups and forums. Then you will have a fully integrated digital marketing strategy.
#7. Allocate sufficient resources.
Insufficient resources to both plan and execute a digital marketing strategy is probably the biggest mistake people make when embarking on a digital strategy. More often than not this is not down to financial reasons, but find the time and people to implement. When embarking on digital marketing, ask yourself – can I put the effort in to make it work? Digital marketing takes time to produce lasting results. You cannot try it for a while and “see” what happens. If you take this attitude then it will fail.
When considering your digital marketing strategy plan for the long term, then you can determine how much you will need to allocate and whether you need to hire additional resources to execute. This way you can budget more effectively and expect your goals to be achieved amongst all involved.
Within your business, it is crucial to maintain budgets and use cost-effective marketing methods that can reward in higher profits. Beyond any doubt, a thoroughly devised strategy will help you in predicting your future expenses.
#8. Optimise your strategy.
Everyone who is serious about business and has a website, does have analytics. Having a strategy in place enables you to benchmark where you began and how you will optimise your digital marketing strategy to achieve greater results. This can include improvement of your website’s user experience, paid and organic search marketing, social media marketing and so on.
Failing to consistently optimise is not only doing your efforts a disservice but will place you out of touch with your customers. Regular examination of your written goals and monitoring success should be built into your digital marketing strategy.
#9. Making your business more professional.
Having an active digital marketing strategy signifies to existing and potential clients that not only are you into the process of business development, but are there for your customers once they purchased. Ability to find your products, services and other related information with minimal fuss sends a clear and simple message: I am easy to do business with!
Social media presence is a good example of a way to demonstrate consumers how they can find products and companies like yours. Having a clear strategy in place ensures that your business not only stands out from your competitors, but beats them. It fosters loyalty amongst your customers and they become brand evangelists, promoting you to others. Digital information today is easily shared and in real time – so make it easy for your brand to be found, shared and spoken about.
Creating a digital marketing strategy does not have to be hard work. You can get started fairly easily. Your first step is to write down your goals and how you will implement them, whether that is finances, time resources, more staff or outsourcing to others to execute your ideas.
One key point to remember: if you are not doing it, your competitors are.