Over half of the global population is connected to the internet – that’s around 4.5 billion people online – and in North America and Northern Europe, internet penetration rates are at 95%.
With the world literally at our fingertips, it’s only logical that companies who want to survive and thrive need a solid digital strategy if they are to reach the connected masses and keep up with their competition. Digital marketing therefore makes up huge part of the modern marketing landscape.
But how do you create and maintain an agile digital marketing strategy? While it might seem intimidating, building an effective digital strategy doesn’t need to be difficult. These 7 steps will get you started.
1. Define your digital marketing goals
Before you get started, ask yourself what your goals are, and how you will measure them. This will help you identify the series of actions needed to achieve those goals, and determine the metrics you will capture to help you adjust your strategy in the future.
Your digital marketing goals should always tie in to the fundamental goals of your business, and focus on both brand awareness (around 60%) and conversions (around 40%) such as clicking a button, submitting a form, or completing a purchase. Where possible, turn your goals into SMART objectives, i.e. Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant, and Time-bound.
Scientific research has shown that people are more likely to choose a brand that they recognise, even if the quality of the product is lower. In order to grow your company, you shouldn’t just stand out, you should also attract.
If increased brand awareness is your goal, actions might include online campaigns that craft a narrative about your brand, publishing valuable or inspiring content that can be easily shared, being more active on social media etc. You can turn this goal into a SMART objective by measuring something like social media shares.
Conversion is all about getting your customers to do something, whether that’s signing up for a newsletter, requesting a quote, creating an account, buying a product or any other action that can take them further on their customer journey with your company.
If your business goal is to increase online sales by 20%, a digital marketing goal could be to generate 50% more leads. Actions might include installing a live chat or chatbot, using an exit pop-up, analysing your web analytics etc.
Conversions are a good example of a SMART objective, as you know exactly what they are, how to measure and achieve them and how they will impact your business.
2. Ask yourself who you are trying to reach and what they need
First of all, define your target group. Who are they? How do they buy your product or service? What steps do they go through before making a purchase? If you can’t answer these questions, you need to explore this before going further.
You should also think about indirect target groups, and ask yourself if you need to consider them too. For example, should you, as a marketeer, focus on the parents, the children or both target groups?
Also, if you have different types of customers, make sure to define several target groups so you better meet their specific needs, rather than risk delivering messages that are too broad.
The best way to do this is by creating personas. Personas help you better identify the values, motivations, needs, wishes, frustrations, and dreams of the ideal customers you’re trying to attract, and help you understand how they make decisions. It can also help you relate to your customers as real humans rather than just statistics.
Secondly, listen to your target group(s). Check different channels to find out what people think about your company. What kind of conversations are people having online? If you see frustrations, what’s causing them? If you see glowing praise, make sure you understand and acknowledge what is working well and continue to develop it.
All this knowledge can help you understand the everyday reality of your target group’s interaction with your company, and thereby help you communicate with them.
3. Choose your digital marketing channels
Use your web analytics to identify and analyse which channels your target group uses. For example, do they visit your website using a mobile device or a computer? You probably have quite a lot of data to work with, so map out everything you have and make sure to use it to your advantage.
There are various channels and strategies that you can use to reach your target group, including:
- social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest…)
- email marketing
- content marketing
- Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Search Engine Advertising (SEA)
- your own website
4. Use the right tone of voice per channel
While you want to keep a unified brand voice across your digital and non-digital marketing channels, it’s worth remembering that the tone of voice can change depending on the situation and channel.
For example, on social media the tone of voice is more informal, while for email marketing a slightly more formal tone may be more appropriate. Make sure you are aware of the differences in style and register for each channel so you can engage with your audience seamlessly.
5. Create a content plan
Think about what you want to say. What kind of content is your target group looking for?
Creating a content calendar for the next three months will not only push you to be creative and varied in your content, it will also give you an overview of the most important moments of the coming months, so that you are fully aware of upcoming opportunities.
Write down when you plan to use which channels and what content you will create.
6. Measure the performance of your digital marketing strategy
Did you manage to distribute the right content to the right customer using the right channel at the right time? Unless you measure and monitor all the steps in the process, you’ll never know. So make sure to gather and analyse the data.
By doing this, you should get a pretty clear idea of what is working well and what isn’t. Adjust if necessary, then repeat.
7. Be creative
- Be inspired by humour.
- Embrace your craziest and most absurd ideas.
- Try new things, find new experiences and experiment.
- Plan creative brainstorming sessions.
- Try approaching your case from angles and perspectives.
BUT always keep your goals in mind!
Use this article as guide to get started with your digital marketing strategy. It should help you identify the biggest challenges and come up with some great solutions. Happy online marketing!
For other Digital marketing topics, take a look at our Digital Marketing Guide.