Digital marketing has become a broad area with lots of interrelated pieces. I commonly see small businesses implement fragments of digital marketing tactics, not get the desired result and then give up. Without understanding the complete picture, having a digital marketing strategy in place and combining the right tactics you can very easily waste time and money.
The Benefits of a Digital Marketing Strategy
- Businesses of any size can reach their ideal customers cost-effectively.
- Measurable – you know what works and what doesn’t in real time.
- Speed and flexibility – spot a campaign opportunity and go live the same day.
- You can make adjustments during the campaign, optimising for success as you go.
- Connect with your prospects and build real relationships with social media.
It all begins with wanting to promote something – whether it’s your business or a specific campaign for a product or service. The foundation of all good digital marketing is your website.
Your objective is to attract the right visitors to your website, have them complete an action that you guide them to, such as putting products in their shopping cart or filling in an enquiry form. Close and win, whether they buy the products in the shopping cart or convert through your offline channels. And finally delight, they have such a wonderful experience they come back again and again because it’s so easy to deal with you. And recommend you to others.
If you’re completely new to online marketing, this is a great free guide to get you started: the Beginners Guide to Online Marketing.
A Simple Framework to Create Your Strategy
We’ve all felt the frustration and disappointment of campaigns that we thought would be winners but instead fell flat. It’s never easy, and anyone that tells you it’s easy is probably trying to sell you something. So, let’s take a deep breath and reboot.
Reflect on Where You’ve Been
- What digital activities have you already tried?
- Which of these activities were successful or showed promise?
- If you could go back in time, what would you do differently?
Take Stock of What You’re Doing Now
- Is your product/service already popular or not?
- How large is your audience? Do you know their demographics and characteristics?
- Is your audience genuinely interested in what you do?
- Analyse your competitors – what are they doing well online?
What Do You Want to Achieve?
It’s essential to nail this – every campaign can have a different purpose.
- Do you want more sales?
- Achieve lower marketing costs?
- Gain more feedback from customers?
- Grow in popularity?
How Will You Reach Your Goal?
This is where you either repeat the digital activities you’ve tried, but with improvements, or replace them with new digital tactics. Here are a few tips.
- Be very specific with the audience you want to target and focus only on them. Don’t try to target a random or a large audience, especially with a small budget. Remember that you can’t please everyone. You’ll have way more success by focusing your effort.
- Develop a clear Call to Action. Put simply, tell people what you want them to do – call us, complete the form, buy today. Done right, they work well. A good Call to Action should be attention grabbing with the help of clever copywriting, interesting graphics or video.
- Expand your reach with social media. This is where people are more likely to see you, including B2B subjects. Scroll through your LinkedIn and Facebook feed to see real-life examples (they’ll be labelled as ‘sponsored’). If the ad has comments and likes, what do you think they have done right to engage those people?
- Optimise your content with SEO to drive more traffic. Be strategic with the keywords you write into your content and the links you create. Use the Google Keyword Planner tool to choose keywords with a mid-range search volume per month. Very popular keywords will be too hard to rank for.
How Much Will It Cost?
Choose a budget as early as possible so that you don’t risk wasting it on meaningless tasks and tools. Be lean and efficient, remember the 80/20 rule – 80% of your result will come from 20% of your effort. Digital marketing is affordable, and much of the cost is transparent, for example, Facebook will estimate the number of people you can reach before finalising your ad budget, allowing you to scale up or down.
Who Will Do the Work?
If you don’t have the in-house resources to write the copy, create the graphics, update your website or set-up the ads, there are many agencies and digital marketing consultants that can assist you. If your budget is really stretched, find a helping hand through Airtasker or UpWork, but be very clear with your brief to get a decent result.
What Tools Do You Need?
Using the right online tools will make the whole process much easier, and you’ll work a lot faster. There are hundreds of helpful tools, both free and paid but I’ll name a few of my favourite ones:
- Website analytics – Google Analytics
- SEO and keyword research – SEMrush
- Email marketing software – MailChimp
- Graphics maker – Canva
- DIY websites – WordPress
- Social media – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn (all have analytics)
How Much Time Is Involved?
Digital marketing activities take a surprisingly long time to plan and implement properly. Once up and running, you must continually monitor and modify throughout. It’s tough to estimate how much time, but be sure to schedule a time to monitor daily. When you’re paying for every click, you want to know immediately if the clicks are coming from irrelevant people who leave straight away so that you can adjust the targeting.
Lately, I’ve been reading stories about smart little businesses, who in the beginning had no marketing budget or knowledge and had to read and learn everything they could about digital marketing. Many entrepreneurs actually began this way. They immersed themselves in self-learning, and then tried and failed until they figured out what works for their business. When the revenue started flowing, they were then able to hire or appoint specialists so that they could focus on their true strengths.
There’s no reason why you can’t find this same success with planning, monitoring and persistence.