Effective marketing begins with strategy: understanding where you are now, where you want to be, and how to get there.
Whether your aim is to increase sales, drive traffic to your website, boost profits, or satisfy your customers – a comprehensive and well defined strategy will help you to achieve your goals. If you are not sure where to start, follow my tips below for a digital marketing strategy that will deliver tangible results!
Analyse your current situation
It can be really tempting to jump straight in with creative content on Facebook or Twitter and an exciting new paid campaign, however, one of the most important steps behind any digital marketing strategy is to analyse your business’ current situation.
It’s important to gain a full understanding into your business, your processes and operations, your place in the market and what’s happening in the industry. Doing this will help you to gain a more comprehensive understanding into where your business is now, what it is you can achieve in your online space, and the you need to take to get where you want to be.
Undertaking a SWOT analysis at this early stage of planning is one of the best ways to get started.
- Strengths – What are your strengths from an internal perspective? How do these feed into your USPs?
- Weaknesses – What are your weaknesses from an internal perspective? How could you improve?
- Opportunities – What external opportunities are available online for you?
- Threats – What external opportunities pose a threat to you?
One of the most important things to remember when it comes to creating a digital marketing strategy is that it should not be created in isolation. It should be done in line with the overall business strategy, so that all business operations are working together towards a common goal.
Create buyer personas
Fully understanding your customer base is important for each element of the marketing mix. Create buyer personas for each segment of your customer base and take the time to understand and analyse them, considering what it is that motivates and inhibits them.
By getting information from potential customers, you can start to get a clear picture of likes, dislikes, and buying behaviours.
Your customer analysis should answer these key questions:
- Who – who are our present and potential customers?
- What – what do our present and potential customers do with our products?
- Where – where do our present and potential customers buy our products?
- When – when do our present and potential customers buy our products?
- Why – why do our present customers and potential customers buy our products? Or – why don’t they?
Details like age, gender, location and demographics are all important, but so are their interests and other brands they like – especially any that are in the same market sector as your own.
Once you have put your customers into different market segments, you can then look at developing customer profiles. Profiles that describe specific segments will allow you to envision a person interested in your product and give you a better understanding of what would motivate them to find your business and buy from you.
Analyse the competition
Analysing what your competitors are doing and seeing what works successfully for them can help you to catch up ground and even over take their marketing efforts.
You can look at their service offering, and the way they present this on their site – are there any content opportunities for you? See what keywords and phrases their landing pages are ranking for, and see if you can do the same.
Look objectively, and analyse what it is that they do better and worse than yourselves. You might find ways to tap into their customer base, or widen your own. There are a vast array of tools out there for looking into your competitors such as SEMRush for a detailed analysis, but on a basic level looking around and picking up general ideas and trends is a great starting point to see how you can up your game going forward.
By analysing what works for others, and looking at how they do it, you can use this as a starting point for your own content. Take a few of the best ideas and build on them in a way that resonates with your own brand and audience.
Define your Unique Selling Point
So you’ve looked at the external environment, considered your customer base and taken a look into your competitors. Next it’s time to outline your value proposition, and assess this in an online capacity. You might have a great product, but it if doesn’t engage your online customer base and encourage the right action, it’s not beneficial (in terms of your digital marketing strategy).
Consider your USPs in terms of your digital marketing activity, what benefits will your customer gain from visiting your site from an ad or email? How about if they read and engage with you content?
Constantly be thinking how your proposed digital marketing activity appeals to your target market, how this stands out from your competition and how this will feed into your overall digital marketing strategy and goals.
Read more about finding your USP here.
Work out your key performance indicators
In order to make sure you have something to work towards and measure your success against, it’s important to establish objectives and KPIs. Your objectives should be SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, timely) and in line with both your digital marketing strategy and overall business strategy.
Part of creating a SMART objective is making sure that the objective is measurable, therefore setting your KPIs is really important here. They provide a tangible metric that you are able to measure against to objectively say whether or not you have met your objective, and therefore are really important in measuring the success of a campaign.
Your KPIs will depend on the nature of your business, your digital marketing activity and what it is you want to achieve. However, they could be metrics such as sessions, impressions, clicks or conversions.
Find your keywords
In any digital marketing strategy, creating a priority keyword list is essential. High quality keyword research provides a strong foundation for any sound PPC, SEO or content strategy and can help to provide a basis to work off going forward.
Within a priority keyword list, it’s important to evaluate the entirety of the business service offering and outline (as the name suggests) the priority keywords associated with each service. It’s important to choose keywords that have a high search volume, are relevant and have search intent.
A comprehensive priority keyword list will provide you with a list of keywords to refer to in the creation of a content piece or, PPC campaign set-up in the future.
Find out more about using keywords for SEO here.
Decide on what tactics you are going to use
Consider what methods and channels will most effectively target your audience, and achieve your digital marketing goals. This must be in line with internal constraints such as budget and resource of course, so whilst two businesses may both want to raise brand awareness, they will not have the same digital marketing strategy, and will not use identical channels in order to meet this objective.
You know your business needs to have a great website, beyond that, however, your platform choices seem endless – social media, e-newsletters, and video marketing are just some of the options available. It’s best to just focus on a couple of tools to start with and not just to jump on the latest craze because other brands are doing it.
Whilst content marketing and SEO are widely used in digital marketing, techniques such as display advertising and social advertising will be dependent on a company’s customer base their product/service offering, and what it is they want to achieve.
Create a content calendar
Once you’ve established the types of content you want to create that will work for your business, it’s important to create a calendar to work from. Using a content calendar will act as a central place to refer to when content requires creation and publication. Whether you’ve got a small or large business, it’s best practice to have one to keep everyone on track!
Keep it up!
It happens to a lot of businesses – they start out with the best of intentions, posting on their business’s Facebook page daily, or start sending out an e-newsletter, and then, sooner or later, the updates stop. Don’t let it happen to you.
Whatever platforms you choose for your online marketing, you need to keep it up in order to reap the benefits. If you find it difficult to come up with new and original content, or you just don’t have the time, consider outsourcing your Internet marketing efforts.
Monitor, Analyse, Tweek
Now that all the groundwork is out of the way, it’s time to put your plan into action. But a successful digital marketing strategy doesn’t stop there – it has only just begun. It’s time to start assessing the success of your digital marketing efforts.
Collect relevant data, look at your KPIs and asses your objectives. Are you working towards them? The data you collect throughout will help you to make informed decisions as to what to change in your strategy execution, in order to better work towards your goals. Perhaps you need to change who you’re targeting in your PPC campaign, or it could be you don’t have the budget to run your display campaign for as long as initially planned. Measuring and monitoring your campaigns is the best practice to learn how to fine tune your strategy going forward.
Make sure to assess each campaign against its brief, SMART objectives and KPIs in turn. You should be making tweaks and adjustments based on your results throughout, this makes sure you don’t just achieve your digital marketing objectives, but you exceed them.