Without a doubt, digital mediums for information, communication, and entertainment now rule every aspect of our lives and businesses.
The ease, affordability and effectiveness of search engine marketing make it a very powerful medium. And one that all business cannot ignore.
With more than half of the global population making use of the Internet 24/7, brands have no choice but to focus their attention on winning their audiences on a platform their customers love to hang out.
So where to start on how to develop your digital marketing strategy for your business?
Truth to be told, creating a marketing strategy, whether for digital or the more traditional route, simply just going back to the basics.
- Why You Do What You Do?
First know the Why of your organization. Knowing the reason for your business will help you create a brand story and content that your target customers would be able to relate to.
- M.A.R.T Goals
As stated, get back to the basics. And the way you set down your goals should be such that: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely (SMART).
In all your digital marketing efforts from Google Adwords, Facebook ads or other social media ads, SEO, email marketing, content marketing strategies, always have smart goals.
This is all the more critically important especially when you’re handling the marketing for your clients. Clients will always want to know the end-results, and almost always it is stated in numbers (i.e. how many sales, how many attendees, how many new subscriptions, etc.)
One tip: state everything clearly and make sure the client understands each step of the SMART goals.
- Create a Compelling Brand Story
Before you lay out to the world your brand story, always ask if the story that you’re telling will matter to your audience.
As Jack Ma, the founder of Ali Baba, once said, create a business or company that will help to solve people’s problems, or something to that effect. This is the same also for your brand story, people will pay attention to your brand story when they can clearly see how your company can help them with their ‘problems.’
So ask yourself, what ‘problem’ are you solving with your brand story?
- Develop Audience Personas
Whenever you develop your content for your blog, social medial channels, always try to picture in your mind the audience personas that you’ve created for your business.
Audience personas are basically your ideal or target customers for your company. Develop about 2 to 3 personas and make sure that the people within your organization or those working for you know this important piece of information.
Sample Checklist of Audience Persona:
- Photo (Sample picture if possible (male or female or family)
- Career or job status
- Civil / family status
- Goals / Ambitions
- Interests and hobbies
- Decision-making tendencies
- Place of residence
- Place of work
Don’t try to do this on your own as management or as the marketing manager, brainstorm with the people within your organization. You can even conduct interviews or poll surveys to get a more detailed picture.
Once you’ve created your various personas, post them on your office wall or desk board for everyone to see and as a reminder to whom you should craft your content.
- Create a Client Journey Map
A journey map is a way for you to visualize how your current audience interact with you online, and how your potential customers will do so also.
In creating your client journey map, begin with these questions:
- How did they (user) find your business online? Or is it offline?
- What are the important trigger points when the client makes a decision?
- What makes them leave your page or site and what makes them come back?
Remember, creating an effective and powerful Client Journey Map all begins with how well you’ve researched your target audience, including habits, behaviours and interests.
- What’s Your Key Channels
One of the biggest mistakes that organizations make is to try to cast a too-wide a net in the ocean hoping to catch everything that happens to be there.
Always keep in mind the Audience Personas that you’ve created when choosing the right social channels for your business. If your target audience is more on LinkedIn, then your strategy should focus on paid ads and creating connections on Linkedin.
- Content Marketing Strategy
So write for your audience, not only for yourself. If they’re interested in a particular topic or discussion, then give them what they want to see or read on their Newsfeed or on your blog.
Aside from knowing what to content, make sure you’re being consistent with your writing style, brand tone, and even the type of images that they expect from your brand.
So how to know what type of content to develop?
There are many ways, but one great way is to take at your past content or posts that became a hit amongst your audience. You can either repost the same content or craft a similar post. Doing a part 2 or a series is not a bad idea if it’s applicable.
Another way is to brainstorm again with your team. Of course, nothing beats directly asking your audience what do they want to read about? It’s a wonderful way to engage them also while advertising in advance what you’re up to.
- Calendar Writing on the Office Wall
It may seem sound a bit outdated in the digital age, but having Calendar of Activities posted on the wall for all to see should never go out of style.
With just a glance or one look at the calendar wall, everything that is important and planned for the month should be seen and understand by everyone who has a stake on the search engine marketing efforts of the company.
Planned posts/content topics, major events, benchmarks, etc..should be up there. Of course, this is not to say that a great project management software should be discarded altogether. They should, in fact, complement each other.
Assign someone in-charge to update the calendar wall as the company’s project management tool being used by all the people involved are updated or edited.
- Plan Your Finite Resources
With so many options and resources available in the Internet age, it’s so easy to digress or take a detour from your planned digital marketing goals.
But it’s so critical to plan for your finite resources. Be realistic and be practical, especially with your or your employees’ time and capabilities. Calculate the amount of effort it takes to achieve a goal, and make sure that that effort is well worth the effort.
- Data Measurements
Data measurements or Google Analytics are like your compass to know how well you’re doing in your digital marketing efforts.
Whether you’re doing it for clients or for your own brand, this last step may be a tedious one to do, but it’s the only way to know with certainly whether you need to adjust, change or do away with your current strategies.
You’ll also need the numbers and info gathered here for reporting to your client or top management.
In the end, bear in mind in order to be a digital marketing strategy to become successful, it needs to be collaborative, fluid, and data-driven.
Over to you.
What are online marketing efforts that brands must do and prepare for?