If you haven’t implemented a digital marketing strategy for your business you are behind the curve, however, don’t start panicking just yet! We are here to help!
With nearly 3 billion people online, it’s only natural that the current marketing landscape is digital, which is why you need a digital marketing strategy to survive in today’s world. In 2014, a study by Salesforce found that 67 percent of marketers attributed an increase in sales due to their digital strategy, while 64 percent reported higher engagement rates and 61 percent experienced increased ROI.
However, only 34 percent of marketers have a documented strategy in place. For the remaining 66 percent, they are essentially walking around in the dark with no clear path to follow to generate successful results.
A digital strategy provides the framework your company needs to make the best decisions for strategy development and implementation. So here is how you go about starting a digital marketing strategy.
Determine Your Customer Base
The very foundation to your strategy relies on a firm understanding of your customer base to generate leads and produce conversions. The more you’re able to narrow down your focus, the more results you’ll generate by eliminating irrelevant prospects.
In fact, according to a study by Juniper Research, a targeted approach has the potential to improve conversions rates by as much as 355 percent from email marketing alone, potentially increasing profits by 781 percent. To begin defining your customer base:
- Analyze customer profiles.
- Evaluate current and future customer cycles.
- Observe and predict customer response and purchase behavior.
- Define customer channel preference.
Channels are incredibly important. Where are your customers? After you find that out, make sure you are marking in those areas.
Understand Customer Pain Points
Your strategy needs a unique approach that offers customers what your competitors are lacking. To better understand your customers’ needs, walk a mile in their shoes to discover their pain points and how you’re able to resolve their issues. Research what customers are saying about you and your competitors to look for the pain. Listen to what your customers have to say by asking yourself:
- What’s the problem?
- What do my customers need to fix the problem?
- At what time during business does the problem occur?
- What can I do to resolve the issue?
Craft a Value Proposition
Too often, companies focus on proving people wrong when they should be proving what‘s right. With a unique proposition, you’ll show customers why you deserve their time, trust, and money. Use your positive reputation and company values to create a distinctive plan that will echo throughout the industry. Basically, you need to offer your customers what your competitors do not by:
- Developing a unique, tightly focused approach that’s appealing to the customer.
- Build a strong personality within the industry with statements that adds value.
- Strategically craft your campaigns with tailored marketing tactics.
- Leverage industry personalities and influencers to strengthen your message.
Determine How Much Business You Want to Generate
The growth goals behind your strategy will move your company forward by giving you something to work towards. By determining how much business you want to generate, you’ll have achievable goals to stay focused. You should aim to increase your planned growth by at least 70 percent each quarter. To accomplish this, determine the number and frequency of your goals by:
- Evaluating your current position.
- Setting 1-2 core goals and 3-5 supporting goals.
- Choosing a growth path that’s specific and realistic (you cant just make numbers up, make sure the marketing mediums actually yield the business your are projecting).
- Determining a means to reach the goals.
- Creating a long term path to follow for future growth opportunities.
- Quick note, do not forget to account for attrition in your business model.
Align Your Internal Growth Strategy with Your Lead Strategy
With your projected business growth in place, establish how you’ll generate enough leads to achieve your goals. Without the support of a lead strategy, your growth will become stagnant. Using the goals you’ve created:
- Audit your current marketing funnels.
- Narrow your target to include a relevant customer base.
- Leverage existing databases.
- Appeal to customers to understand their needs.
- Work to build referrals and repeat business.
- Offer incentives to capture leads.
- Give customers what they want.
Evaluate SEO, Email, Affiliate Marketing, Inbound Marketing, and Online Advertising
Digital marketing involves many avenues that need to be pursued. You can’t rely on social media or SEO alone, or you’ll be missing a huge chunk of opportunities. All digital marketing channels must be implemented and work together by creating:
- A targeted SEO strategy that’s supported by a content marketing campaign for searchability and engagement.
- Utilize email marketing to generate leads and conversions and to re-market.
- Benefit from affiliate marketing (make sure you have a variety of pipelines).
- Implement inbound marketing to attract more leads.
- Use online advertising channels, including social media ads to produce visibility and engagement.
Set Your Budget
According to a study by Gartner, digital marketing budgets will increase by 8 percent in 2015, which other studies report increases by as much as 25 percent. When setting your budget, don’t think of it as a cost but an investment that will pay for itself as your business grows due to digital marketing.
Spend 70 percent of your budget on avenues that you already know are effective, with the remaining 20 percent focusing on safe new options and 10 percent on experimental channels. 47 percent of your budget should focus on SEO and SEM, with 10 percent targeting mobile marketing and 34 percent dedicated to display advertising. Use your remaining budget to target email marketing and content marketing.
Give It Your All
When implementing a strategy, you can’t be afraid to fail. Jump in with both feet, but don’t become discouraged if you don’t see results immediately. Often, it takes trial and error to find the perfect approach to generate the results you expect. Through this process, you are creating your own lead generation machine. Building it is the hard part. Once it is in place all it takes is a little maintenance.
Closely monitor your data (through analytics) to make adjustments to your strategy where needed. Don’t be afraid to experiment from time to time as the digital landscape and trends are constantly changing. If you stay with one tried and true method, you will be limiting your marketing potential. Success requires patience, determination, and consistency, so give it your all.
- “How Accurate is Targeted Marketing if You Can’t See Your Target” American Marketing Association
- “Marketing Spending Plan for 2015” Marketing Charts