When it comes to businesses today, there’s no doubt that having a digital marketing strategy is key for continued growth and success of a company, but what is a digital marketing strategy and what is the best way to execute it? There are many aspects of running a business that can be overwhelming, and adding a digital marketing strategy can seem like the cherry on top, but it doesn’t have to be that way. With the right digital marketing tools and information, companies can reach their goals.
What is digital marketing strategy?
The word “strategy” may come off as intimidating to many, but digital marketing strategies don’t have to be difficult or intense to be successful. A digital marketing strategy is the plan and steps a company has in place to reach their company goals through decided online marketing channels. Online marketing channels can include paid, earned, and owned media.
Ultimately, a strategy is a plan in place that helps achieve a certain or multiple goals. So, a digital marketing strategy is using online marketing channels to help achieve a certain or multiple company goals.
If you are a smaller business, you might only have one digital marketing strategy with one ultimate goal. Or, if you’re a larger business, you could have several digital strategies, each one with different goals and many different moving parts. Building a digital marketing strategy includes research, knowing and understanding your audience, objectives, analyzing past strategies, and more.
Don’t panic! We have put together five easy steps to follow to ensure your digital marketing strategy is working to the best of its ability for your specific goal.
How to execute a digital marketing plan:
1. Set your overall mission and digital marketing plan objective
Your digital marketing strategy should fit in and be in line with the company’s overall mission. The digital marketing strategy is only one piece of the puzzle. When coming up with the mission of your digital marketing plan, ask yourself “what is the overall objective we want to achieve with our digital marketing?” when you come up with that answer, that is your mission.
Once you have a mission, you have to set key performance indicators (KPI). When brainstorming KPI’s, you want to be extremely specific. They should be realistic and achievable as they are what keeps you and your team accountable. Keeping your digital marketing strategy KPIs realistic will help with a positive increase of what you’re currently doing and will also help you lower your expectations if they are too high.
Once you have decided the digital marketing plan’s key performance indicators, identify how you will be measuring each one. Will you be using Google Analytics? Social media analytics on each social platform? Or some sort of engagement tool? Maybe you are going to use all three. Before you begin planning your KPIs, find out which metrics matter most for your objective.
2. Learn from your past
Before entering the ultimate planning period, you should always analyze past digital marketing strategy wins and losses to help focus on creating the best digital marketing plan for your business. This step is important when brainstorming and setting KPI’s, so you may want to complete this step at the same time as step one.
The best way to analyze the past is to determine a time frame you’d like to look at. If you’re using Google Analytics, you can set the time period to that specific time. For example, you can look at your previous quarter, month, or year. Look for trends and identify what worked and what did not work. Think about things like, should you be changing the times you post your content? Should you be focusing more on organic reach? Should you be changing the copy on PPC ads? These are all things you should be considering in the analyzing stage.
In this stage, it’s smart to analyze your competitor’s digital marketing strategy. In your Google Analytics account you can visit your benchmark reports. These reports compare your performance with your industry peers and is a great tool to use.
3. Who is your audience?
Sometimes when planning a digital marketing plan, it’s easy to get side tracked and forget about the actual people you’re trying to reach—your customers. To make sure you don’t make this mistake, make sure you put your audience at the forefront of the digital marketing strategy. When creating a target audience for your digital marketing plan, consider target marketing. Target marketing is when you aim specific tactics and specific groups of people. Target market segmentation is cost-effective and provides a focus to specifics in the digital marketing plan. The best way to put your target audience first is by creating personas.
How to create a persona for your digital marketing plan:
- Write down all the demographic information you know like age, gender, and location.
- Identify your audience’s pain point. This is where you have to dig deep and identify the program you are helping your target audience solve.
- Think about their conscious and unconscious desires and think through their emotional goals, fears, and interests and write them all down.
- Head on to Google Analytics and explore your Audience Reports. Audience Reports will help identify major characteristics like age, sex, career, interests, etc.
4. Identify your budget
Before execution, you have to understand and identify your means. To understand your means, start with defining and deciding on your overall digital marketing budget. Consider everything in this stage. Do you have to hire someone new? Do you need more resources? Can you cut something out? Now is the time to ask yourself and the team these questions. Looking at analytics and data history will help in this phase.
- As a team, decide if you are going to use paid promotion. For example, will you use Google Ads or paid ads on social media? Or will you focus on organic reach? If you choose to use paid promotion, allocate individual budgets for each digital and social channel you want to use for paid promotion. Use your analytics to see which digital channel will be the most cost effective.
- Look at your current team and assess what is realistic. Identify whether this digital marketing plan will need more people or whether you have enough staff to do it. Ask yourself if you will be able to do all of the digital marketing efforts in house or if you will need to outsource. For example, if you do not have a video team in-house, you may have to outsource for videography. Consider this when figuring out the budget.
- Now, analyze your current digital marketing and social media marketing channels you use and choose which channels to keep and decide if there are any new ones you would like to invest in. Decide on a goal for each digital channel you choose and make sure to have at least one key performance indicator attached to each channel.
5. Create the plan
Now you are at the final stage. Even though you have taken all the correct steps to get here, it may not go as planned. Once management or the rest of the team sees the plan, you may need to make changes and that is okay. Your digital marketing plan is a living document. While you have gone through all the necessary steps, you can never predict how your customers will behave or react to your digital marketing tactics. This is why it’s important to always measure and monitor what you are doing and readjust and change elements when needed.
What is market orientation?
Like discussed above, your customers (target audience and personas) are your most important aspect of the digital marketing strategy. One great way to put your audience first and reach the right people is by market orientation, or target market segmentation. When you target segment, you divide your large target market into distinct groups or consumers who have similar characteristics, needs, or behaviours. Market targeting focuses on identifying customers wants and needs and meeting them. When a company uses a market orientation approach, they focus on designing and selling goods or services that satisfy a customer’s needs. They react to what customers want and the decisions they make are based on the customer’s wants and needs.
Many successful businesses use a market orientated approach because in recent years, customers have become more knowledgeable and require more variety and better quality products and services. In order to compete, businesses need to be more sensitive to their customer’s needs.
A great marketing model to follow is the STP model in marketing. The STP model stands for segmentation, targeting, and positioning. This model helps marketers better craft their messaging and develop tailored and relevant messages that engage their segmented audiences.
What is the Golden Circle?
There is so much competition when it comes to businesses and the products they sell and the services they offer. How can marketers help their businesses stand out? One way to do this is by following the Golden Circle marketing model.
The Golden Circle Model was first popularized by Simon Sinek, an author who writes books on leadership and similar topics. The whole concept behind his Golden Circle idea is to try and explain why some people and organizations are able to inspire others and differentiate themselves and be successful while doing it.
The Golden Circle model helps digital marketers focus on how their businesses can stand out from their competitors by communicating its differences. The Golden Circle thought model asks three questions: why, how, and what? The “why” is at the core of the circle, the “how” follows on the next ring, and the “what” is the final ring. After his research, Sinek found that most companies were working from the outside in – the “what” ring being at the most importance. But the “what” is not what influences behaviour, ultimately, it is the “why” that influences behaviour. Below we will go through what Sinek meant when he created the model.
The “why” answers why the organizations or businesses do what they do. The “why” in a business or organization is not about making money. Money is only the result of that. The “why” is the organizations purpose, cause, or belief. All in all, “why” is the only reason an organization exists.
The “why” is arguably the most important. It is the most important message that a business or an individual can communicate, because the “why” is what inspires others to take action. It’s the purpose or reasoning behind what you do. As a business, if you can successfully articulate your “why”, you will inspire people to believe in what you’re offering.
The “how” is how the organization does what they do. These are the things they do that make them different or set them apart from their competition. The “how” could include their strengths and values.
This is the most self-explanatory ring because it is quite clear for an organization to articulate what they do. For example, the products they sell or the services they offer. The “what” of a company is not as much of a driving force for customers because he argues that the “what” messaging only engages with the part of our brain that is rational.
Find out more about Sinek’s Golden Circle model by watching his TED talk here.
Digital Marketing Tools and Online Marketing Strategies
When it comes to digital marketing strategies and tactics you can use, there is a lengthy list. When it comes to deciding which tactic will work best for your digital marketing plan, it is important to look at each tool and gauge how much you know about it. Do research and figure out which will be the most effective for your plan. Look at acquisition marketing and see where your current consumers are coming from. To help you get started, we’ve created a list of essential digital marketing tools to consider for your next online marketing strategy.
A key digital marketing tool is SEO. SEO, known as search engine optimization, is a very large and successful tactic used by digital marketers in all industries. SEO is important because it helps customers find your website organically. When this happens, you can see huge spikes in your ecommerce growth. Rather than paying for Google to show your website at the top, you can incorporate relevant and specific keywords to your content to help reach organic website visitors. When you incorporate SEO in your digital marketing plan, you will create relevant keywords and meta descriptions for your website and content. When SEO techniques are used, your website has the potential to reach millions of people you couldn’t have before.
One growing and popular digital marketing tool is content marketing. Simply put, content marketing is the creation and sharing of online content such as videos, articles, blog posts, and social media posts that does not explicitly promote a brand, but is intended to stimulate interest. The ultimate goal of content marketing is to attract and retain an audience, which will ultimately lead to profitable customers who take action.
Content marketing is a very popular digital marketing tool for online marketing strategies with a focus on social media channels. To run a successful content marketing plan, you have to be creative and consistently coming up with new ideas to promote your product or service. For example, content marketing could be as simple as using user-generated content to boost your brand on Instagram.
A great digital marketing tool to consider for your next strategy is using remarketing. Remarketing is going after customers who have already seen your content but maybe didn’t respond to your site’s banner ads the first time. This tool requires analytics data and a budget, but if done right, can be very successful.
It works by tracking visitors through cookies and creating ads on related sites. For example, if they visit your website once, they could see an ad for your product or service on the side of the next website they visit or when they are swiping through Instagram Stories later that evening.
Ultimately, remarketing helps you stay top of mind with potential customers, helps with brand awareness, and ideally increases conversions.
Online marketing campaigns can become pricey, but what if they don’t have to be? If you are a small business or working on a tight budget for your digital marketing strategy, consider influencer marketing.
Influencer marketing is a mix of old and new marketing. It is typically a collaboration between a brand and influencers. Rather than thinking big and only thinking of celebrities with large followings, influencers can be any one. It can be a fashion blogger on Instagram or it can be a successful marketer on LinkedIn. No matter what industry you are in, there are influential people – you just have to look for them. Once you research and find the right influencers, reach out to them and ask them if they would be willing to promote your brand. Every influencer is different, some may have PR media kits and have a fee, while others do it for product exchange.
If you choose to run an influencer campaign, remember to be organized and have an objective. Have a strategy, a budget, and be patient. Be sure to track your results to know your return of investment. For example, you can do this by offering specific promotional codes to each influencer.
Did you know that 6 out of 10 people would rather watch online videos than TV? Video is here to say and it’s growing exponentially. Businesses are starting to incorporate video into their digital marketing plans because it’s proven to be a successful medium online. Especially on mobile, as this digital marketing statistic says: 75% of video plays are on mobile devices. And, as we know, people are on their phones all of the time.
This digital marketing statistic shows 87% of businesses are using video as a digital marketing tool. No matter where you post videos, whether on YouTube or not, you have to directly address a specific audience pain point. For your business, maybe that is answering questions, showing a tour of your studio, or testimonials. Whatever your company chooses to do, remember your audience just wants to see your business look more human. This goes back to Sinek’s Golden Circle model, it answers and further explains the “why”. If you’re struggling to find a way to showcase the “why”, personalized videos are a great way to pull back the curtains and bring your audience in.
Examples of great internet marketing strategies
Digital Strategy Used: Owned Media & Instagram Product Tags
Rather than using Instagram for just beautiful pictures, Wayfair uses them as an extension of their website. They take advantage of Instagram’s product tags, which are a great way for Instagram users to shop and purchase on the shop. Wayfair’s beautiful home interior shots paired with the products and the price is a recipe for conversion.
2. Red Bull
Digital Strategy Used: Owned Media & Lifestyle News
Instead of creating a digital marketing strategy surrounding Red Bull, the drink itself, they engage with their audience with articles and videos about everything going on in the extreme sports community. They have placed themselves as a forefront sponsor of all things extreme. Instead of selling the drink itself, for their digital marketing strategy they choose to sell the lifestyle that their customers live.
Digital Strategy Used: Earned Media & User-made Video
Since GoPro is famous for its amazing point-of-view action packed video, it’s the perfect opportunity for them to take advantage of the content and footage its most loyal users are generating. Instead of creating their own content, GoPro encouraged their fan base to take adventures of their adventures and to post it online. This is an incredible digital marketing strategy that uses user-made videos, entirely earned media, to spread the word about GoPro’s product line.
If you follow all of the tips, ideas, and examples above, you’ll be off to a great start on your next digital marketing strategy!
Thanks for reading!
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