Five Steps to Creating Your Digital Marketing Strategy
Running a digital marketing campaign without a strategy in place is much like exploring a new city without a GPS, you are likely to take many wrong turns resulting in both frustration and an unnecessarily long route to get where you want to go.
When you are planning a trip, you probably begin by developing an itinerary to ensure you make the most out of your time and budget. The same goes for digital marketing, a plan is necessary for increased efficiency.
Decide where you want to go
When creating an itinerary, you have a destination in mind. When creating a digital marketing strategy, this destination is a defined marketing goal you hope to achieve from your efforts. This marketing goal should be tied back to the fundamental goals of your business. For example, if the goal of your organization is to increase your clientele list by 20%, then your marketing goal should be to generate viable leads to contribute towards that success.
Whatever your goal may be, you also must ensure you are measuring your results. Maybe your goal is to boost email subscribers. In this case, your key performance indicator (KPI) would be increased sign-ups.
Understand the local environment
When traveling, you know the importance of understanding how locals interact - you don't want to seem like an odd tourist. The same rings true for digital marketing campaigns. This means understanding your sales funnel. There are several steps a potential buyer must move through to get to a point of purchase, and ideally become a long-term customer.
The stages may vary, but they generally begin with prospecting, then move to the consideration phase, and finally end with conversion.
Why is this important? Well, it goes back to maximizing your time and money. You want your marketing campaigns to push people through this funnel.
Your prospecting campaign may be focused on establishing expertise and would target decision-makers in ideal client verticals. The KPIs for this campaign type could include reach, impressions, and engagement.
Your consideration campaign would influence and incentivize by targeting those that engaged with your prospecting campaign with a promo or value proposition. The KPIs for this campaign might be traffic to your website.
Your conversion campaign would drive sales by retargeting past website visitors. The KPIs for this campaign could be a meeting booked through a contact form or a signed contract/proposal.
By structuring your campaigns this way, you are strategically moving towards your marketing goal, and therefore your overarching business goal.
Determine who you want to meet
Meeting new people is one of the best parts of traveling! But it wouldn’t be beneficial to try to communicate with someone who has no desire to speak with you, right? Perhaps there is a language barrier, or they simply aren’t interested in who you are and what you do.
This also goes for marketing. You need to develop your buyer personas so that you know exactly who you want to speak with, knowing that they will have a mutual interest in speaking with you.
Keep in mind, the personas you develop should be based on research. Have you had proven success with a certain group of individuals? Great, target them! It is beneficial to be specific. Skip the stereotypes and look into factual insights through readily available tools like Facebook Audience Insights and Google Analytics.
You can begin to identify these personas with basic background information such as job title and location. You also want to determine what this person wants, such as a solution to a specific problem (a problem your business can solve)! Next, determine the best way to reach this person, which leads us to step four.
Pinpoint where to meet these people
If you want to meet local beer connoisseurs, you might choose to visit the local pub. If you want to meet decision-makers in a specific industry, you need to choose where to find them too.
Keep the sales funnel stages and buyer personas in mind. You have a good understanding of your audience and how they buy, but now you need to understand where to connect with them.
For example, if your buyer persona is a 35-year-old journalist who reads the news online, then Twitter might be the best channel for you to communicate with them.
Choosing the right marketing channels will help you increase ROI. There are more marketing platforms than ever before, so be strategic by determining where your buyer personas are located, and connecting with them through those channels.
Personalize your interaction
Let's say you're traveling solo and you pop into a local restaurant to sit at the bar. You see someone you want to speak with, and you know there is an art and etiquette to approaching them. The same goes for your marketing campaigns!
Craft your messaging to resonate with who you are trying to speak with. The voice and content of your campaign should speak to them in a way that they understand. This is where your research and planning from the previous steps comes full circle.
If you've identified where they are in the sales funnel, you should know where to kick off the conversation. If they know nothing about you (prospecting stage), then you begin by establishing your expertise and building trust.
If you've identified their buyer persona and are selling a service, you should know their pain points and can tell them how you can solve their problems. If you are selling a product, you should know their interests.
By taking the time to personalize your interaction, your audience will be far more receptive to what you have to offer, moving you closer to your marketing and business goal.