Today, every business needs to maintain its online presence to be able to reach their potential customers. No longer can a business survive with just a brick-and-mortar presence. Even if you don’t actually sell any goods or services online, you have to develop some sort of digital presence. That may mean building out a website, posting regular updates to a Facebook page or sharing news of things you offer for your followers on Instagram.
The data speaks for itself: The number of internet users in North America is rapidly growing. Nearly 90% of people have access to the internet. (click to tweet) A digital marketing strategy is one of those terms that most marketers have heard of, but seldom have seen it planned and implemented well. If you’re still trying to search Google for “what is digital marketing strategy,” the following steps within this article will help. Salesforce developed some graphics which I found immensely useful to provide us the tools to take a step back and develop a strategy for our digital marketing.
You can’t just throw things up and expect magic to happen. You have to think things through strategically and allocate resources if necessary. What’s more, you can’t expect that all of your customers are accessing digital resources in the same way. Some may be old-fashioned and, on a desktop, or laptop computer, but some may be conducting most of their research and finding information on mobile devices. This graphic outlining the four steps to creating a digital marketing strategy helps offer some insight on the best way to get started.
So, where do you start with your digital marketing strategy?
Before you begin, keep in mind that a perfect strategy is not one that is written in stone. It needs to be comprehensive but adaptable, and you should make tweaks and adjustments as you go. To create a digital marketing strategy, gear up with data about your audience, competitive landscape, current efficiency of your marketing efforts, and the right metrics to track.
Step 1: Know your audience.
In particular, you should know where they prefer to spend their time online and find information.
To engage your audience, you need to do it on their terms. That is, you need to deliver your message through the channels and in the tone of voice they prefer. Moreover, it should align with their customer journey stage. For that, you need to know exactly where they spend their time online and how they search for information. If you don’t know where to start, here are a few effective tips to get you up and running.
Ask your current users.
The power of information gathered directly from your audience can’t be overestimated. This can be done with the help of a quick survey. Depending on your budget, you can select something simple and free like Google Surveys, or go with something more sophisticated. For example, Typeform can turn a simple questionnaire into an interactive opinion survey.
Since your users are busy people, if you really want to receive a substantial number of responses, provide them with value. That could be a product or service discount or an evergreen $10 gift card for Amazon or Starbucks.
Step 2. Analyze your competitive landscape.
No business operates in a vacuum, and to make informative decisions, you need to be aware of your competitive surroundings. Your competitors have likely already built up some online presence, which is the main reason to review which channels they’re using to communicate with your mutual audience. Furthermore, a competitor analysis will help you better understand your current market position and see where your business sits in your industry.
Step 3. Review the channels you’re currently using.
There’s no way to improve something without first analyzing how it performs at the moment. So before turning your findings into an actionable digital marketing plan and setting any KPIs, you need to know how efficiently your channels are currently performing.
To kick things off, go to your Google Analytics Acquisition report and see which channels are currently working best for you.
Pay close attention not only to the quantity of traffic, but also its quality — that is, consider the number of conversions that each channel earns. For instance, even if referral traffic isn’t generating as many visits as social, the percentage of new visits coming from this channel may be higher. Additionally, this audience may demonstrate more interest if the average session duration and the number of pages per session are a lot higher for referral visits.
Evaluate how much effort it takes to keep the traffic flow from each channel. For example, to get enough visits from social media, your team needs to spend a few hours each day curating content, creating custom images, and engaging with the community. It requires substantial resources. However, the amount of interest from this audience is superficial, and they hardly convert. On the other hand, attracting visitors from other channels might not be as time-consuming.
The bottom line is that with this data, you can make informed decisions and concentrate your efforts on the channels that perform best in terms of the resources spent versus the number of acquired visits and conversions.
Step 4. Define your main goal and general principles for measuring success.
This step is critical for your future work. You need to apply all the findings from the previous steps and define how, exactly, you are going to achieve your marketing goals.
Let’s start from the top: Define your high-level marketing goal. If your company has a mission, your main goal should resonate with it and broadcast your mission to the outside world. For instance, remember the example from the beginning of this post: “Become the go-to website for ordering flower delivery.”
Next, move forward to setting high-level KPIs. For example, here’s a nice KPI template to use:
- Template: [Goal] by [value] in [time period]
- Example: [Increase traffic] by [20 per cent] in [six months]
After the high-level goals and KPIs are set, you need to deconstruct them with your team into personal goals and KPIs that each team member can achieve individually.
If the high-level goals can be somewhat vague (“20 per cent monthly growth of traffic and conversions”), the individual goals should be clear to the contributor and easily broken down into particular tasks.
Here are a few additional points to consider.
- Very often, when the actual goals are not clear to the team, reaching target KPIs becomes the goal. Make sure not to let this happen. Communicate the actual goals to your team, inspire them, and make sure they understand that KPIs are just a way to measure progress. Reaching them is not the sole purpose of their work.
- Preach collaboration within your team. For example, if you’re in charge of community management, team up with your colleagues responsible for content and SEO to maximize the efficiency of what you do.
- Set up the rules of ethical and low-risk marketing. Everyone, at some point, considers cutting the line in a race for target KPIs. When talking about personal goals with your team members, make sure to communicate which marketing techniques are beneficial for the business’s reputation, and which are not and should not be used.
Over to you
A defined, documented digital marketing strategy is not a necessity. In fact, many marketers do their jobs without having one. However, if you want to maximize the outcomes of your marketing activities, a clear, data-fueled strategy is an absolute must.
Use the tips and information in this article provided by Salesforce to get started, then revise your strategy as you learn what works and what doesn’t. Use your digital marketing strategy to work together toward clearly defined goals and help your team reach those goals faster.