In this day and age, the majority of our consumption of content takes place in the digital space. To keep up with the consumer’s growing dependency on technology, marketing needs you to have a strong presence in the digital world. You’re probably asking, ‘how can I do that?’ Great question. Well, the answer is to have a well-founded digital marketing strategy that builds and achieves a concrete presence for your business online. Though it’s a simple concept, it requires an investment of time, effort, and strategy.
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But before that, first things first.
What is digital marketing? This is a broken down step by step process that involves working towards achieving digital marketing goals. It’s accomplished via digital marketing channels. Digital marketing channels include but are not limited to, paid/earned/owned media, digital publishing, and social media platforms.
Now that we have got the basics, let's get to my favorite part.
How do you create a successful digital marketing strategy?
1. Set A Goal
Before setting up a digital marketing strategy, there has to be an aim/objective on the table. A simple question such as, “what do I want to achieve from this?” is a great starting point. However, this step will need you to develop a set of goals that are detailed and specific. The easiest approach is to use the S-M-A-R-T, the commonly used mnemonic way of setting goals. It is broken down into:
A good example of an objective of ‘getting more website views,’ is not a SMART goal. This is because it is a very general statement. It specifically needs to indicate how many views are needed. This may seem unnecessary to quantify, but it’s important as it gives the other steps more direction. It does not include how you GET more views to your website. What platform or tool will you use? What is the relevance of this goal? Other than the obvious reasons, why do you specifically want to increase your website’s views? Is it for the promotion of a new product/service you’re rolling out? Last but not least, what is the time frame that this goal should be achieved? Is it a short-term (a couple of weeks/months) or a long-term (a couple of years) goal?
When the SMART module is followed step-by-step, a goal/aim goes from general to well-detailed with much more direction. A great example of the revised objective stated above to be a SMART goal should now be, ‘To generate 10% more website views via advertising on Facebook for the period 2021-2022.
2. Familiarize Yourself with The Digital Sales Funnel
A Sales Funnel moves your prospect from an interested consumer to a loyal and long-term customer. A brand that has got a strong digital presence can utilize the digital sales funnel to attain its marketing goals. How? Well, by simply following the stages of a Sales Funnel. What stages are they? Below is a simplified breakdown:
The first stage as the name suggests, is making potential customers ‘AWARE’ of your brand’s existence. This could be achieved through online methods such as advertising on social media platforms.
The second stage is ‘INTEREST’ ’which involves distinguishing yourself from your competitors. A customer often needs to be convinced that YOU are the ideal choice for THEM. A great way of (indirectly) communicating this to a potential customer involves mentioning unique features about your brand in digital publications and videos on platforms such as YouTube.
The third stage is ENGAGEMENT which is all about solidifying the relationship between you and the potential or existing customer. This stage is crucial as it’ll either negatively/positively influence a customer’s impression of your brand. This stage is often achieved by engaging clients on channels such as email marketing and engagement on social media.
Lastly, we have got the ACTION stage. This is the stage that comes after the prospective client is convinced and is very interested to buy. It therefore needs eloquent execution. One way is to include Call-to-Action buttons, which encourage the customer to make a purchase. A great way to prompt the action is to offer a limited time discount at the point of purchase.
It’s also important to mention that knowing what stage a potential customer is in the sales funnel can really help. For example, a customer who is not yet aware of your brand and its products/services may not necessarily need the same engagement as a customer who is ready to make a purchase. In as much as they both need conviction, it’s on completely different levels. The first needs to be convinced to pay you attention while the latter needs to be convinced to make a purchase (are your prices the best amongst your competitors?).
3. Create a Content Plan
This is a plan that includes the type of topics that would best feature your brand and its products/services, as well as how they’ll be rolled out. Content is what keeps customers engaged, informed, and interested in your brand and its products/services. We have already established the fact that a digital marketing strategy is made up of a series of actions carried out to achieve specific goals.
Referencing the digital sales funnel, ask yourself this, what kind of content would I need to successfully get a customer through each stage of the funnel to a sale? Content aimed at creating brand awareness would be different from the content that is aimed at engaging potential and existing customers. The awareness creation content would feature unique or rather interesting facts about your brand. For example, if your brand is a leather shoe company that manufactures shoes, an article highlighting how your shoes are made in an animal cruelty-free way would set you apart from your competitors. Informative content achieves brand awareness and interest.
Content aimed at engaging customers would have a slightly different tone. It would be like a one-on-one conversation with the customer. This engaging content would encourage a customer to ask questions (sparked from interest) and even better, make a purchase. An example would be to ask, ‘Which shoe do you prefer, the Grey or Velvet Maroon dinner shoe?’ A question like this invites the prospect to see himself in the shoe and sparks a conversation on price and shoe size to purchase.
Your content plan should also include the publication dates, post location (website, social media platforms, etc), and keywords that’ll be included in each content. Keywords will help potential customers access your content much faster and gain more views to your website/social media page.
4. Analyze Results
Once your strategy is in place and rolled out, you must observe. Very few are aware of the fact that this is one of the most important stages in any digital marketing tactical strategies. Take note of details such as how customers are interacting with you and your content as well as how you’re progressing towards your goals will make a difference for you. This is because your observations will guide you to making specific improvements to your strategy as you learn what worked and what didn’t. Make use of analytics software/tools such as Google Analytics to provide the much-needed direction towards the next step that needs to be taken. Analytics would be able to give you insight into details such as:
- Are clicks turning into sales/conversions? Is mobility occurring through the sales funnel? Why or why not?
- Is engagement in social media platforms being lost at certain points? What could be causing it and how can it possibly be fixed?
- Are you getting traffic from consumers within your target audience or outside of your target audience?
- The insights from analytics can be used to create graphics and data visualization tools such as Super metrics. These tools assist in the creation of comparisons as well as tracking of goals and making presentations.
In conclusion, you need to have a well-founded digital marketing strategy to build and achieve a concrete online presence. Some advantages of a digital marketing strategy are:
- Gives you direction in the online space.
- Helps you identify your niche/target audience.
- Helps you gain an online presence; increased brand recognition.
When creating and building a digital marketing strategy, always remember that the foundational stone of a successful strategy is SMART goals.
A content plan with a sales funnel in mind will guide your achievements at all the funnel stages. Once your digital marketing strategy is running, remember to observe and use analytical software to measure and track both your areas of success and drawbacks. Put the results on data visualization tools/software to help you see what improvements need to be paid attention to through clear presentations. To be successful you must always be consistent in executing your strategy, learn quickly and adjust as you go. Remember, not to be afraid to fail and try new approaches, such as a new type of video or different wording in your emails. Besides, a good quote to know is ‘Every master was once a disaster.’ So start today and don’t give up. We wish you all the luck!