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Step By Step Guidelines – Digital Marketing

There is no doubt that most businesses today rely on digital marketing strategies to succeed and beat their competitors. Customers and companies alike are always online, so it is the responsibility of entrepreneurs to ensure they reach them and note their behaviors.

As you grow your company, the ever-evolving business landscape can become overwhelming. You already have so much to do. Is it possible to design, fine-tune and also maintain a digital marketing strategy? Can this strategy help you stay ahead in business?

This post will help you understand what digital marketing is, and outline numerous strategies you can adapt as an entrepreneur or marketer to help your team and business growth. Read on to know more.

What Is Digital Marketing?

The promotion of products or services through digital or online channels like the social media is known as digital marketing. Although the Internet is the most closely and popular channel entrepreneurs rely on for digital marketing, you can also use mobile instant messaging, mobile apps, digital television, electronic billboards, radio channels and wireless text messaging.Digital marketing is very different from how traditional marketing was conducted; it involves a company experimenting different methods and using online channels to understand and analyze the effective digital marketing campaigns, what should be improved and what should change. It is the responsibility of digital marketers to monitor online activities like the goals, sales conversions, the content that customers like and what doesn’t work, what customers view mostly, and for how long and how often.

Since a consumer’s life revolves around the digital marketing channels, digital marketing focuses on finding numerous ways to provide the right adverts and content to the customers at the most appropriate time.  And while print still strives to grow stronger, readership has dropped. People have switched from cable to the on-demand shows digital companies offer. Simple text messages direct the customer’s attention away from billboard ads. The radio is slowly being replaced by streaming music.

 

More people use mobile devices to chase details, scan barcodes and get inexpensive products or services online. Due to all these changes, businesses must capture the consumer’s attention on the different online platforms by standing out.

 

Digital marketing often becomes overwhelming because of these many tools, interaction points,and channels.

There are three different forms of media marketers use online: owned, paid and earned. Owned media are channels like the list of consumers you sent regular emails to, your website and blog. Paid media is what you have invested in like display marketing, Google adverts and Facebook paid ads. Earned media encompasses your efforts: Any articles you have written, social media accounts including mentions on other blogs.

 

These digital marketing channels overlap simultaneously depending on how a potential customer interacts with them. Together, the channels act as digital marketing foundations. Digital marketing is all about putting your company in front of the global audience and offering guidance through your ads, content or any other thing that helps you accomplish your marketing goals.

Now that you understand what digital marketing is let’s examine what a digital strategy entails and how it helps with digital marketing.

 

Digital Research

Every digital marketer has already conducted a digital research either knowing or unknowingly. It is always easy since all the necessary tools are always located at your fingertips and carrying out any kind of marketing research is always very easy. Online questionnaires, web searches, customer feedbacks among others are some of the common tolls that one can use in carrying a digital marketing research. They all help a researcher to gather credible information about the market trends, customer demands and expectations and the future prospects of your business. The technological advancement has presented many tools to the entire business sector and with these resources, even a small business can conduct a cost-effective market research thus promoting their marketing activities.

The following simple techniques can be used to gather valuable market information with the help of a few keystrokes and mouse clicks.

1. Keyword search: You can carry out a simple web search for certain keywords that the customers can use to find your services and products on the web. Check how much people are interested by a certain keyword and what your competitors are doing. You will also update yourself on new product niches that you were previously not aware of, how many sites have a similar product and how many sites have used the same keyword. This will help you to be smart when choosing your keyword.

2. Competitors links: A simple keyword search can help you check your competitor’s prices and their offerings. You can also type ‘link:www(your competitor’s name).com and by doing so you can find out all other sites that may be linked with your competitor’s website plus their publicity plans.

5. Read blog posts: Bloggers always update their blogs more regularly compared to the traditional website, so by reading them you will keep yourself updated on the public opinions and the emerging trends in the digital marketing arena.

6. Carry out online surveys regularly: This is one of the best ways of gauging the public opinion in your marketing niche. This is different from phone surveys or in-person survey because this is a cost-effective and simple way of conducting a online research to know whether a given product is appealing to your customers. This will guide you in decision making and also help you to make necessary adjustments in your marketing strategies.

In your research, focus on the following.

Product research and brand analysis. You have to research more about a given product by carrying out product tests. Brand analysis, on the other hand, has similar features and one focuses on the users of a certain brand, and the reasons behind the brand royalty.

Database mining. This is whereby one focuses on the data available based on the consumption behavior of a given product. This includes the purchase records; this can reveal the buying habits of different groups of people, customer incomes, temperament, level of and other important aspects about the consumer.

On this issue, one has to be patient in conducting the surveys and gathering the necessary information that will help one to come up with well-formulated marketing strategies.

What Is Digital Strategy?

A digital marketing strategy is a series of actions designed to help you attain your online marketing goals. Most people find the term “strategy” to be intimidating. Fortunately, it is not difficult to build an effective digital strategy for your business.

 

A strategy can be simply defined as a plan of action taken to attain the desired goal or numerous goals. For instance, you may have an overarching goal of generating 30% additional leads through your site this year than you did last year. The digital marketing strategy you have may involve many moving parts and multiple goals depending on your business. However, by thinking about strategy in simple terms, you will be able to stay focused and meet your objectives.

 

Although we have simplified the definition of strategy, there isn’t any doubt that it can be challenging to start building one. It’s important to know that a digital strategy is very different from a digital marketing campaign. Here is a simple definition of what a campaign looks like.

 

Digital marketing campaign

To succeed in your marketing goals, you can’t afford to confuse your digital strategy with the digital market campaigns. As outlined earlier, a strategy encompasses the series of actions you need to take to achieve your marketing goals. A digital campaign is the building block or the actions within the strategy that helps you move towards achieving the goals. For instance, you may choose to run a campaign that involves sharing your best content on a social media platform like twitter so you can generate more leads.

 

Remember that a campaign cannot be a strategy even if it runs over the course for a couple of years. A campaign is just a tactic that you can use to form your strategy. Now that we have defined digital marketing, the basics of a digital strategy as well as a digital marketing campaign, it’s time to know how you can build your strategy. We shall outline the steps you need to take to come up with an outstanding digital marketing strategy. Keep reading to get more insights.

Essential steps for building a powerful digital marketing strategy

There are many ways of slicing and dicing a strategy, but most importantly, it should serve as a framework, a blueprint or a roadmap.

It also needs to be well-structured so that it can help you stay on track when the email numbers start increasing and flexible enough to help you make the necessary changes when your new campaign flops.

Below are essential steps you can rely on to create a digital strategy that meets the needs of your organization.

Define Your “Why?”

Everything begins here. Do you know why your organization exists? Although this sound like an easy question, you have to dig deep to find your answer. You need to know what your company does. Once you have identified the core “why” it will be easier to craft an effective story for your brand, engaging content and authentic messages.

 

Additionally, knowing and articulating your company’s reason for existence also assist you to select and retain your talent as well as the workforce. Most millennials who are planning on keeping working with their current employers plan to do so because they know their employer’s sense of purpose.

 

Analyze the Past and Draw Lessons from Your Mistakes

Creating your new strategy in the dark would be unwise. Begin by analyzing the success and failures of your past digital marketing strategy. This helps you focus on getting the most suitable key performance indicators (KPI) for your company. Select a period you will analyze; it is better to set the same duration as the time length your new marketing strategy will take. For instance, you can analyze the previous month, quarter or year.

 

How to analyze?

Once you have determined the period, you want to analyze, set the Google analytics calendar and ensure it matches this time frame. Check the benchmarking reports Google provides on your analytics account and compare the progress with that of your competitors.  Remember to analyze the marketing strategies your competitors use. Create a spreadsheet that shows their online activities. For example, you can rely on SEMrush to know your competitors SEO strategy. It will help you know the keywords that drive more organic traffic to their site. You can as well use it to compare both the paid and organic traffic of various websites, meaning you will know how much they have been spending.

 

Be sure to ask yourself if there is anything else you need to analyze that you haven’t thought about before –should I test the time I post my content or the kind of photos I use?

 

Draft Your Brand Story

Research has shown that most consumers across approximately 20,000 brands each day but only 12 of them leave an impression. If you want to be among the 12, you need to have a brand story that will touch the hearts of many. This is what 73 percent of customers want.

 

Another way you can create your brand story is by articulating the brand promise. This is the statement you usually make to the audience that pinpoints what they expect when they choose your products or services. So, what is your company’s grand promise? What is your story?

 

Outline Your  Digital Marketing Strategy Objectives

To know if what you did worked, your goals need to be measurable and achievable whether in a short or long term. Would you like to increase online donations by 20 percent? Do you need to get 5,000 new signatures for a certain online petition? Are you planning on engaging more members and you want to add more people to your email distribution list? No matter what your reason is, remember to be smart.

 

The goals must be specific, relevant, attainable, measurable and time-bound. Identify all your objectives and write them down. Repeat them severally, and this will guide your marketing strategy.

 

Build Audience Personas

To tell a story that can resonate with your target audience, you must understand who the audience is. Accomplishing this requires more than just brainstorming. Aim to create 3-4 personas depending on the type of audience you attract or want to target. Complete personas contain a person’s career, background, goals, values, decision-making tendencies, and reservation.

 

Does this sound overwhelming? Well, you don’t need to create all these details out of thin air. One method for creating useful audience personas that are often ignored is interviewing the audience. You can accomplish this by conducting online surveys and one-on-one interviews to get an accurate portrait of the people you are marketing to.

 

Develop your personas. Post the personas on your wall. Give these fictitious individuals names. Discuss them like you already know them since you do.

 

Develop a Journey Map For Your Digital Marketing Strategy

Now that you know your target audience, the next step is to create a journey map. A journey map helps you understand the different ways people interact with you online including the potential for multiple kinds of interaction. Consider starting with these questions:

 

How does the user encounter your company? Is it offline or online?

What are the most important touch-points the users rely on to make decisions?

What makes users leave and come back?

When you understand your audience well, including their behaviors and habits, it will be easy to create a more detailed journey map. The more detailed a journey map is, the more responsive your digital strategy will be.

 

Get to Know the Key Channels

Here is where you get into the fundamentals of a digital marketing strategy. There are many social and digital channels today, and new ones keep popping up. Most organizations think that you should explore each every channel but the reality is that you need to focus on where your target audience is. In case your audience is not on twitter, you will need to leave that application alone. If the target audience uses Facebook to connect primarily, a great part of your strategy must focus on paid and organic reach on Facebook.

 

In simple terms, you are required to match each of the target audience to the social platforms they often use. The next step is to overlay these channels of engagement onto the journey map. This spices it up giving you a clear direction on the kind of content you should create for your audience.

 

Create a Content Strategy

Currently, we are squarely in the content marketing age because most users are in the digital space and they like engaging a lot with what is more useful to them. Do you create useful content? You need to provide content that people are interested.

You need not re-invent the wheel when developing your content. All you need to do is to find out exactly what your target audience needs and wants and then creatively provide it.

 

People like sharing great content, following what is regular and responding to what is appropriate. You can only succeed when you think consistency, quality,and customization.

 

Draft a content strategy tapestry by sketching the types of content that will likely work for every target audience. The next step is to categorize each step accordingly. Note that it’s okay to experience some overlaps. No matter what you face, the result will be the great content tapestry. You may build this out over a period of time, be it monthly, quarterly or seasonally, depending on your campaigns, robustness and the resources you have at your disposal.

 

Design Your Content Calendar

Regardless of how the digital space changes, calendars don’t go out of style. You also need to know that, strategic goals require strategic tools. Your ideal digital marketing strategy may have multiple branches with different content formats, deadlines, deliverables,and channels. Although keeping track of this may be challenging, don’t let it slow you down.

 

An effective content digital marketing calendar will have everything from listing the staffs that are responsible for creating, approving, and publishing the content to major industry events and benchmarks. Take your time and create a thorough calendar. You can use a color-coded Google Spreadsheet as well as a project management software.

 

Identifying Your Means and Sticking to The Budget

There are three essential aspects you can use to identify you means your digital channel, budget and team. Consider taking stock of all the available resources and then you can decide on what you may need for the subsequent marketing period. Your existing digital channels should be audited since this is the ideal time to do so.

 

This helps you know if you will outsource certain sections of the digital marketing and if you are required to have a separate budget for another new hire.

 

Once you have identified your means, it will be easier to consider the money, time and people you need to invest in and then strategize accordingly. This helps you have a viable strategy and offers more clarity which leads to less overwhelmed and happier employees.

 

Tips for Identifying Your Means

The people

Examine your current team and find out what you can achieve when you work with them. Ensure you are realistic and that nobody will be overworked. Get to know if you have to hire more individuals and if you have the resources to do so. You also need to decide the location where the digital marketing activities will take place. Sometimes you may have to subcontract various components to a third party agency.

 

Additionally, all your employees must review the part they will play and brainstorm some ideas for their marketing strategy in the future. Your employees will be motivated if they have more autonomy in their role.

 

Budget

To define your whole digital marketing budget, you need to check the entire historical data of everything that has worked before.Are there certain channels that managed to bring quality leads at a reduced cost? You then need to decide whether you shall use paid promotion (paid ads, or AdWords on social media). Assign a particular portion of your budget for the paid promotion channels you will likely use (your Google Analytics should help you identify the most economical digital channels that can reach the largest audience and bring conversions at a low cost per each click).

 

In case there is a specific element of the paid campaign strategy that doesn’t yield the desired results, revisit it and use the allocated budget to fund a channel that brings you favorable results.

 

Channels

The current marketing digital channels need to be reviewed so that you can decide which channels you should keep or if you need to invest in new ones. In most cases, this is determined by the customer’s location and the available time. Make sure you articulate what all channel will try to achieve and have key performance indicator attached to every digital marketing channel you choose to use.

Digital sales leadership

Sales leadership is simply the ability command respect and lead as an example in your marketing niche. Contrary to what is thought by many, sales leadership is not all about being the top seller in your niche as a online marketer but it means being a great seller that is not only but also to your competitors on addition to making exceptional sales, use the proper sales metrics, guide various activities and coach effectively. By being able to command sales leadership, you turn out to be the ever available solution for your customers.

As a result of technological advancement which has resulted to online business, customers have many options than ever before in history and gone are the days of only a single choice. This raises a need of establishing a sales leadership as a digital marketer. When customers begins to look for solutions, opinions and insights that are beyond what you deal with as a seller, then for sure you have begun your journey of towards becoming a sales leader and ultimately, one ends up being one of the great sellers in a certain niche. Some of the strategies that one can use to establish sales leadership in your niche include.

1. Focus on high value: Putting efforts geared towards creating value at all the stages of sales process instead of just focusing on closing deals will lead to success in your selling activities. For example, you can help your customers solve a certain problem by providing them with credible information and insight via webinars and reports. This addition of value to your customers on addition to the services or products you sell to them will create more trust  and the customers will be confident with your services thus turning you to become a sales leader in whatever you are dealing with.

2. Use proper sales metrics to boost sales activity: Good sales metrics are the milestones towards establishing sales leadership in your niche and getting tangible progress in the online sales activities. Those working with teams can equip their teams with some of the great metrics  and information in order to coach and guide the inexperienced members of the digital marketing team on how to boost business activity and finally command sales leadership.

3. Conduct regular reviews: A regular; preferably a weekly review can help the digital marketers monitor the sales activities and make attainable targets to be achieved in the next business cycle.

 

In the digital arena, sales leadership is easier if one has the right tools to support the marketing activities. By adhering to the right sales metrics, one can easily boost the performance in terms of sales and customer satisfaction and ultimately gain sales leadership.

Making the Plan (Avoid Sticking to it)

Are you wondering why you should create a plan and not stick to it? Well, the project you form can never be perfect from the beginning. The assumptions you will be making don’t necessarily have to be correct. Although you will be careful while crafting your plan depending on the analysis and insightful assumptions, you still won’t be able to predict precisely how the consumers will respond.  Therefore, it is crucial to measure and check your digital marketing strategy’s performance and alter the elements as required.

 

Draft a Digital Marketing schedule –Create your timeline with Google calendars.Calendars created via Google are easier to share with the team members and can be edited quickly if necessary.Ensure you highlight the core campaigns you intended craft and promote and then allocate the time frame for each campaign. Also, document the digital channel you need for each campaign to succeed.

 

Review the marketing strategy and highlight the needed changes – you need to draft a measurement and monitoring plan that fits with your key performance indicators. Be sure to check each digital marketing strategy element’s success continuously. In case something goes wrong, you will have to isolate the elements and identify the exact one that isn’t working. You should also revisit the previous analysis, budget allocation,and personas and try something new. Each new venture should have a clearly defined key performance indicator.

 

Your digital marketing strategy will be customized for your business, and this is why it’s impossible for anyone to design a one-size-fits-all strategy template. Note that, the purpose of these steps is to help you map out all the actions you need to take to attain over the specified period of time. Before diving into any choices, ensure you refer back to your objectives.

Always remember that this is a step by step procedure. You won’t be able to create a journey map if you do not understand the personas of your audience. You also can’t think about the type of content you will create if you haven’t designed your brand story.

Final Words

Finally, it is important to always remember that you can’t achieve what you aren’t pursuing.  So, as far as you may be smart in a discipline success doesn’t end there.  Instead, the epitome of success will be defined by how you managed to keep your fire burning.  Always maintain focus on your targets, have a strong vision, set clear goals, and break into new heights. If you also find it hard hitting your digital marketing goals, don’t give up on them.   The secret is breaking them into smaller bits.  From here, you will be able to estimate how many tasks you can accomplish in a given time.   Besides, it will make it very easy for you predicting your success.  Top achievers set their own records, and break them.   You are not different.  Set your own records, and smash them!

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