How to Create Digital Marketing Strategy

How to Create Digital Marketing Strategy – As digital marketing continues to expand, it has become more important than ever for companies to learn how to succeed. Planning a digital marketing strategy is essential to getting ahead of the competition. The ability of a business to thrive in today’s economy is based on how well that organization is able to adapt to digital media.

From social networks to smartphones to tablets, the digital tools available today make it possible for consumers to interact on a global scale. As a result, regardless of your business’s industry or size, it is imperative that you learn how to leverage the ability of consumers to interact and engage.

The right digital marketing tool can help your company to expand your marketing efforts, and even save time and money.

Without the right strategy, you are simply wasting resources. The key is to begin by developing an understanding of your customers, identifying the goals you want to achieve, then selecting a digital marketing strategy that will help you to reach both your target audience and goals.

Without identifying a solid strategy, it is impossible to determine whether the digital marketing tools you are using are actually helping you to meet those goals.

Developing a successful digital marketing strategy is as simple as:

  1. Identifying your target audience.
  2. Developing your business goals.
  3. Designing and implementing a strategy for meeting those goals.
  4. Monitoring your chosen strategy.

Creating a Digital Marketing Plan

The following steps show how you can create a simple, but effective digital internet marketing plan to build awareness & get going online.

Where to begin

A successful digital marketing or channel strategy starts with and has a clear sense of three things:

  1. What your organisation wants to achieve.
  2. Which customers you’re trying to serve.
  3. The particular value that you want to deliver.

In plain English this simply means breaking your plan down into six elements:

S stands for Situation Analysis – which means where are we now?
O stands for Objectives which means where do we want to go?
S stands for Strategy which summarises how we are going to get there.
T stands for Tactics which are the details of strategy.
A is for Action or implementation – putting the plan to work.
C is for Control which means measurement, monitoring, reviewing, updating and modifying.

Where are we now?
Where do we want to be?
How will we get there?
External factors include:

– Technology developments
– Marketplace trends
– Competitor activity
– Relevant legislation
– Key events

Step 1:  Know thy Target Audience intimately

Who are they? Where do they hang out? What newspapers/trade journals do they read? One way to  define your target audience is to create Personas. A Persona is a description of a specific person who might want your services. The persona usually  includes a fictitious buyer’s demographic information, day in the life of,  needs, preferences, biographical information, and a photo/image  to make it real. Take Catarina for example….

Step 2: Spy on your Competitors (nicely)

Put together a spreadsheet of your top competitors and research them to see how they are using digital marketing channels to reach customers. Be a private detective , do a bit of mystery shopping,  impersonate your customer to find your (and your competitor’s) products or services online. Did you find theirs first, or yours? If you find theirs first, try to uncover what they are doing within the digital channel to make a connection online.  Write down each connection you make  in the spreadsheet. This research  will be used to prioritize your tactics in the next step. You can use SEO tools like Raven Tools to get to the nitty gritty with your competitors keywords & backlinks. I’d also check out SEMrush marvelous for Competitor Research and the amaze balls Rival IQ saves so much time and saves hours of research.

Step 3: Prioritize Your Digital Tactics & Channels

Look at each digital channel  and think about how valuable or important the channel is to your organization. e.g Google plus, email marketing, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram or a combination. Value can be defined as existing referrals, % of new visitors, No of new leads etc. Then, look at the effort required to implement your plan across each digital marketing channel. The value-effort score will show you which channels represent “quick wins”. Think about the following options to narrow down the list:

  • Company Goals – What are the top priorities for the business to achieve? Brand Awareness, Education, Raw Traffic or Sales?
  • Budget – How much do you have to spend on your marketing effort(s)?
  • Available resources – What personnel or outsourced people do you have available?

Step 4 : Quick wins

A variety of digital channels & tactics will be ‘right’ for your business depending on your business objectives & customers. For example if you want to raise brand awareness & improve customer services social media marketing tactics will fit the bill. If you want to generate sales & web traffic a combination of Search Engine Marketing, Google+ & email marketing may be your best fit. In reality most businesses have a variety of business objectives & audiences so take a ‘pick ‘n’ mix approach, test effectiveness & monitor results.

  • Display Advertising
  • Email Marketing
  • Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC)
  • Online Public Relations
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Affiliate Marketing
  • Social Media Marketing (SMM)
  • Viral Content Campaigns
  • Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)
  • Blogging
  • Microblogging
  • Blogger outreach
  • Video marketing
  • Local search marketing
  • Mobile marketing
  • Groupon/offer sites
  • Corporate web site
  • Free content (eBooks, white papers)
  • Online communities/forums
  • Webinars
  • Podcasts

Also see SEOmoz – which digital channels are right for my business?

Step 4: Measuring results

Create SMART performance indicators that are  quantifiable and measurable. Examples include:-

  • Increase online sales by 20% from x to y
  • Increase natural search traffic by 20%
  • Increase social media engagement on Facebook by 25% quarterly

Step 5 : Is it working?

You can test whether your marketing campaigns are working by tracking your traffic, goals and conversions in Google Analytics and other metrics like Facebook Insights. You can also use Clicktale to see where potential customers are exiting your sites. Heatmaps are visual representations of where people are clicking on your site so its worth evaluating this to draw out insights. Monitoring & reporting enables you to see how well your digital marketing is performing and gives great insight into next actions.

Step 6 : Monthly review

Take time out to review where your marketing tactics are driving results regularly and adapt your campaigns to take advantage of new opportunities.

 

What’s your goal?

What do you want your strategy to achieve and how will you know if it’s successful?

How will you measure progress? If the ultimate goal is longer-term, make sure you put milestones in place.