There are many things that we must consider in order to drive new visitors to our business. It is these new visitors that in turn become the life blood of our future and this point is therefore why we all must be single-minded with our approach to online marketing.
Part of this overall marketing arena is to ensure a connected approach is adopted to therefore gain the maximum return from the budget you allocate. Having a digital marketing strategy as part of your overall marketing plan is crucial. A good digital strategy should be well informed, targeted and focused, but also realistic.
But where do you begin and what do you include?
Determining your objectives
A good understanding of your objectives is the first step in creating an effective digital marketing strategy. Without knowing what you’re aiming for, chances are you won’t hit it. Make your goals as specific as possible. For instance, you may want to increase brochure downloads by 20%. In order to measure the success of your plan, you will need to start by understanding your historical data.
Understanding historical data is imperative in delivering a truly connected campaign. No digital strategy can be put in place without first understanding what people are looking for and how they progress through your site. It’s all well and good to think of the last touch before buying as the important metric from your visitors; however, if you knew the first touch, then doing more of that will drive more potential sales. Connecting this path to your off line marketing provides more of the message and again delivers you the information to put a truly integrated strategy together.
Identifying your audience
A successful digital strategy also depends on understanding your ideal customers. If you don’t know what your customers issues/concerns are, where they can be found or what motivates their purchasing decisions, you can’t effectively sell to them. Ensuring that you understand the persona of your ideal customers is the first step.
Create ‘Persona Profiles’ by gathering as much data as you can about your target audience. The more you know about your ideal customers, the better you will be able to develop the marketing messages that are most likely to speak directly to them.
Now that you’ve got your objectives and your audience identified and you understand a little about the path they take, you can now begin to create your strategy. Although everyone is different, there are four main areas to consider when forming your strategy:
Your website is by far your biggest and most interactive advertising platform so your website strategy should not be taken lightly. Does your website talk to your personas? Have you considered their journey through your site? Have you considered where your visitors come from and go to either side of their visit to your site? If a redesign is on your agenda, do you have a 301 redirect strategy? Does each page from your old design forward to a relevant page within your new? Are you clear about your desired branding, messaging and your unique value proposition? A new visitor to your website should immediately get a sense of what you stand for and what you have to offer. From responsive design (mobile friendly) to protecting your current website assets, there is a lot to keep in mind when building a new website so employing the skills and experience of an experienced web design company is by far your best bet.
It’s not about appearing natural, it’s about being natural!
Great content is an essential foundation for both your website and social media strategy, and therefore fundamental to your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and paid advertising (PPC). Creating a calendar of monthly topics will not only give you an opportunity to showcase your unique story and differentiate yourself from the competition but can also bring you a steady stream of loyal followers. Remember, however, to keep your target market in mind when creating your content. Content MUST be relevant!
- Social media
If content is the backbone of your marketing plan, then social media can be thought of as one of the engines that helps drive it. But don’t just do it for the sake of it. Decide on the social media platforms that best suit your abilities and will best reach your audience. Once you’ve decided on your platforms, create a social media calendar to ensure you stay on top of the conversations. Start with the content you’re creating for your blog and build from there.
Traditional advertising once relied heavily on print. But with more people online than ever before, digital marketing is now taking the lead and cannot be ignored. Keep this – and your persona profiles – in mind when developing your advertising plan. Where is your audience? Can you track your ROI (return on investment)? If you haven’t thought of PPC (Pay Per Click) advertising, now might be the time to try it and will display be a quick fire way of producing immediate traffic?
- SEO should be the bedrock of producing unique, relevant content and good integrated code. These in turn drive natural visibility as you are an authority in the area of business you provide. If you get this right, then your SEO will deliver your ‘bread and butter’ visibility and lead your push for market share.
- PPC has increasingly been the answer for those that have poor SEO visibility and can therefore be expensive. If you utilise your paid advertising as a strategic process to support and inform your SEO rather than a drag net to capture market, then you are making the most from your budget.
- Display can then be an important part of delivering immediate and targeted traffic. By being targeted and understanding exactly what you are after, this can truly deliver an immediate response from your budget.
- Offline once again becomes important to drive brand and deliver people to your interactive online message. The important thing here is to understand what you do and then be able to track this through your analytics to prove a ROI.
Putting it all together
Putting a truly connected advertising strategy together is the answer. How each element informs and is led by the other enables one to make real decisions that actually provide a true ROI.
Although every digital marketing strategy will be unique, there are some fundamental steps that will apply to all:
- Have a clear understanding of your marketing objectives
- Research your audience – create your persona profiles
- Implement your plans – use a calendar to keep you organised
- Learn and evolve – monitor your results and modify when necessary
Keep these steps in mind when creating your strategy and digital can be the most effective sales person in your team.