Defining Digital Marketing
Before we deep dive into digital marketing , lets have a quick look into ‘ what is digital marketing’? To begin with Digital Marketing is an umbrella term for all your online marketing, including search , social media, email, and your website. Your digital presence compromises of your digital assets like digital content, online audience, social media handles, channels and much more.
Digital Marketing Strategies
Let us look at how can you design a Digital Marketing Strategy for your business.
- Start with your sales goals and break them into marketing goals across each segment of your customer’s buying funnel. Differentiate between your digital and non-digital marketing goals. At this stage, we need to remember that digital marketing extends beyond lead generation into lead conversion and in client retention. While its ok to start with lead generation as the primary goal of your marketing activities, not exploring the role of digital marketing in the rest of the customer’s buying funnel is self-limiting.
- Understand your audience, their profiles, their pain areas, their expectations and how can your business meet these expectations. This information will further help you to orchestrate your digital marketing communications in a way that resonates with your target audience. This in turn will also ensure that your marketing budgets are utilized optimally. Platforms like Hootsuite, HubSpot, Xtensio etc. all have good customer persona templates that you can use for free to initiate this process.
- Map your competition to understand the options your customers have while deciding on a purchase. Compare your business against this and identify gaps that you need to address. In the digital world this is easily achievable through a variety of tools including the free tools from Google Search Console to paid tools like Spy Fu, SEMrush etc.
- Identify each customer touch point and the metrics that you can gather, across marketing channels . Integrate this with the marketing goals to pin down the data that you need to gather at each touch point to analyse campaign performance accurately.
Executing Digital Marketing Strategies
Now, we are ready to move into the execution of these strategies
- Website Marketing – Your website is the one digital asset which you completely own and control. Hence it is imperative that you optimize your website to generate an automated flow of visitors and leads. SEO is the beginning point to be discovered by search engines like Google. You should invest in both on-page and off-page SEO. Keep your competition analysis in mind, as you put together your website pieces. You should also ensure that your website is optimized for your mobile audience. You should start capturing analytics about your visitors and leads behaviour, right from the very beginning at this stage.
- Content Marketing – With digital marketing, your content takes central stage. Today content includes, blogging, vlogging, podcasts, newsletters, social posts, articles, whitepapers, infographics, eBooks, survey reports, case studies, webinars, templates, and free tools. Remember to include a Call to Action (CTA) with a registration form to each of your content to benefit from the time and effort you will put into building this content. Simultaneously start capturing analytics about your audience’s appetite to your business offerings at this stage.
- Social Media Marketing– Digital Marketing today has the tremendous advantage of also being socially sharable. This is so widespread that the phrases “Digital media marketing” and “Social media marketing” are often interchanged, though wrongly. Social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn , Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube occupy the spotlight. All the platforms offer both personal and business accounts. It is mostly a good practice to create business social media handles to promote your business online. For the beginner marketeer, its advisable to optimize a single channel first, before adding the second and the third social channel. While we are all aware that we should select the channels based on where our target audience resides, its also important to evaluate if your target audience responds to you on that channel. You can explore both organic and paid campaigns based on your marketing budgets.
- Customer Database– With the above steps in place, you will start collecting customer database. You should start segmenting the database , right from the beginning with tags such as existing/ new customers, locations, engagement levels, product/ service interests, source of data etc. Remember to get the right permissions from your audience to market to them, while you go about collecting the data. Retargeting plays a big role when it comes to lead conversion. You can retarget both your own database collected through forms and the social media plus website visitor database. The difference is that you will have the contact details of the former, while you may only have data on the later( without contact details)
- Measures, Analytics, and Insights-With your website you own the database and can deep dive into your customer behaviour too. At the same time, social channels give you astonishing variants of in-depth data too. The most common metrics that you should track include, website performance, site and channel traffic, traffic to lead conversion, lead to customer conversion, customer acquisition cost, returning customer ratios and other related ROI metrics.
- Marketing Budgets– Last but definitely not the least if your marketing budgets. While its great to explore zero budget marketing and freemium plans, they obviously come with limitations. For the early marketeers , if you see an increasing gap between your marketing goals and actuals during the zero-budget marketing phase, it is an obvious indication to start investing marketing funds. Marketing is not a “Fill it and Forget it“ Phenomenon. Rather it is a keep “ feeding me” kind of pet. Just like your financial SIP ( systematic Investment plan) invest in a monthly/ weekly budget on your digital marketing with a structured and systematic plan.
Digital Marketing is a huge ocean and its best approached with a structured and systematic plan in place. Spend that time investing in researching, strategizing, planning before jumping into action. And continue measuring, analysing after every action to continuously improve and get the best of your marketing resources- be it time, people, assets, or money.
Are there any tips you have to share when it comes to creating your digital marketing strategies? Please let me know in the comments below!
About the Author
Neetu Vijoy Bansal is a marketing coach, working with small and medium business owners. She helps them create and navigate their SMarketing (sales and marketing) strategies. She guides business owners in aligning their marketing and sales strategies to create measurable results through the triad of People, Process and Technology. She advocates “Customer Perspective” passionately across every function of marketing and sales.