In the modern landscape of business, one of the largest components of a marketing strategy is digital. Both consumers and businesses are essentially constantly online. In order to create a successful digital marketing campaign, a business should aim to reach their target audience and observe their behaviour to determine where they spend their time, and just how much time they are spending on their website.
For growing businesses, the ever-changing landscape of the digital space can easily become overwhelming. Businesses are left to wonder how they should, and could, create new content, constantly adjust and maintain a dynamic digital marketing strategy and campaign.
What is a Digital Marketing Strategy?
A business’s digital marketing strategy is essentially the course of actions that is going to assist them to achieve their specific goals using online marketing techniques and tactics. There are many businesses and owners that may find the term ‘strategy’ intimidating and hard to comprehend, however, building an effective digital marketing strategy does not need to be overly complicated or difficult.
In the most simple and stipped down terms, a strategy is just a plan of action that is used to achieve a desired goal, or in some cases, multiple goals.
For example, an overall goal for a business may be to increase leads generated by their website the previous year by 20%.
Depending on the size and scale of a business, their individual digital marketing strategy may include many various goals and many moving parts that need to be taken into consideration, however, by a business reverting to this simple and clear way of thinking about marketing strategies can assist them in maintaining focus to meet these objectives.
Regardless of the clarification and simplification of the term ‘strategy’, it is undoubtedly difficult to begin actually create one that can effectively build a business for online success.
What is a digital marketing campaign?
The terms digital marketing strategy and digital marketing campaigns are often confused, however, there are clear distinctions between the two.
As digital marketing strategies are the course of actions that a business takes to achieve their overall marketing goals, a digital marketing campaign are the building blocks within the strategy that assist businesses to approach those goals.
As an example, should a business decide to set up a campaign to share their best-performing content on Facebook that will generate more leads through this social media platform, that specific campaign is part of the overall strategy to generate more leads.
It is important for businesses to understand that even if a campaign should operate over the course of a few months, or even years, that it still does not define action as a strategy. This is still a tactic that works alongside the campaign to form the strategy.
Now that we have outlined the basic details and points of difference between a digital marketing strategy and a digital marketing campaign, we will delve into how to successfully build a marketing strategy.
According to recent studies, many brands and businesses do not have a defined digital marketing strategy. Without a meaningful and specific strategy in place, a business cannot be expected to grow and innovate and measure significant and relevant results.
We have selected some of the most important steps and factors to consider for a business to ensure that their efforts in their digital marketing strategy are making a real, tangible impact on the bottom line. Here are the ways in which a business can begin building a plan that create a lasting impact.
Set clear objectives:
One of the first steps in creating and setting clear objectives for a digital marketing strategy is for a business to determine a coherent mission.
Businesses should begin by clearly defining their overall mission and objectives first and foremost. The mission of the digital marketing strategy has to comply with this objective. This can easily be achieved by assessing what the main objectives are and what the achievements for the digital marketing strategy are. For example, should a business want their company to be the number one provider of spare care parts in Australia, this will then become their mission.
Next, it is important for businesses to set and measure their KPI’s. Businesses should begin to get specific and familiar with the KPI’s that will they will hold accountable for achieving within the strategy. Before planning the KPI’s, it is important to define which figures are the most relevant and which numbers matter the most to the business overall.
When setting these KPI’s, it is crucial to analyse and compare the figures from any previous digital marketing strategies to ensure that there is a distinctive aim to increase these results, while also acting as an indicator of what the projected results may be. Setting expectations of digital marketing strategies too high can deem the entire strategy useless as it does not provide an accurate projection of results.
In this process of building a digital marketing strategy, businesses should also select a method of measuring the results of each of the KPI’s. One of the most popular tools that are used to measure conversions is Google Analytics.
We have provided a helpful template for businesses to use to measure KPI’s:
(Insert Goal: Increase conversions) by (insert figure)% in (Insert number of months).
Examine past results:
It is essential that businesses do not attempt to dive into the early stages of planning in the dark. By analysing and assessing past digital marketing strategies, and their subsequent successes and failures, it can help businesses to focus their attention on deciding on the best KPI’s for their goals.
To begin analysing past results, a business should establish that time period in which they would like to examine and evaluate, and subsequently set their Google Analytics calendar to match these dates.
It is also beneficial for the business to analyse and compare their competitors marketing strategies againsts their own. To do this, an analysis spreadsheet should be created of their online activities using the SEO tool SEMrush to identify their strategies. This tool can be used to gather data such as to measure the keywords that are gaining the more organic traffic onto a website.
Remember to keep your target audience in mind:
Often businesses can become too focused on the details of their digital marketing strategy with setting KPI’s, becoming overwhelmed with setting and sticking to budgets and choosing the right channel to drive results, that they forget the people and target market that they are trying to reach.
A well thought out and executed digital marketing strategy will instead put their audience at the heart of their strategy. The strategy should aim to appeal to their emotional needs, evoke an emotional response and fulfill their deepest desires at the core. This can be achieved by creating detailed and well thought out persona’s that the business can cater their strategy towards.
To develop a useful and valuable persona, the business should begin by noting all of the analytical information that they already possess about the ideal target consumer. These analytics include their age, gender and location.
Once the basics have been outlined, in order to identify the problems that the business can help to solve, they must dig a little deeper into their target persona by evaluating their emotional desires, goals, ambitions and fears. It may be useful to jot down all of the factors that evoke an emotional or physical response – consider both of their conscious and unconscious motivations.
Should the business find it necessary, they can make use of their Google Analytics account in the ‘Audience Reports’ sector and determine the fundamental characteristics of their target persona, such as their age, sex, career path and interests.
It is during this period that it is the perfect time to recognise and identify the people that will have the biggest influence on this target persona. This will become useful later when deciding on the influencers that the marketing strategy should target.
Know your means and stick to the budget:
There are 3 important factors to for a business to identify their means and they are their budget, the digital channels and the team of people that will execute the strategy. Before deciding what else a business may need, they should take stock of all of their resources to become familiar with what they have available to them.
It is during this stage that the business should begin to create an audit of the current digital channels and to decide if they should seek to outsource particular sections of their digital marketing strategy, or if they should set aside a section of their budget to hiring new employees with specific expertise within the business.
When it comes to a business identifying their means of their budget, they should begin by simply defining their overall budget for the strategy. Next, examine the history of previous strategies and determine what has worked well in the past, for example whether any particular digital channels have delivered quality leads at a reasonably low cost.
A business should then determine if they will use paid promotion, in any form. This includes paid ads, Adwords and paid social media ad promotion. Decide which channels will work best for the business and allocate a dedicated portion of the budget towards these paid promotions. Once again, Google Analytics is a practical tool to utilise as it can assist businesses to assess what digital channels are the most effective, the channels that have the largest reach and the lowest Cost Per Click conversion rates. It is important for businesses to remember that if a particular element of the paid promotion section of the digital marketing strategy isn’t delivering the results that they desire and as long as they are reasonable, they may revisit and reinvest the allocated budget towards another channel that is driving the best results.
When assessing and identifying human resources as a means, a business should evaluate their current team of people and determine what the team is capable to achieve. It is important that when a business is determining these factors that they are realistic on their goals and the capabilities of their team to ensure that no-one is over stretched as this can just lead to detrimental results.
It is at this point that the business can determine whether all elements of the digital marketing strategy will take place within the organisation or if they will be required to outsource some elements to a third party who has expertise in the field, and this is all dependent on the budget and the resource of time.
To assess the means of a business’s digital channels, they should begin by reviewing their current digital marketing channels and deciding if they should either keep their existing channels, or invest in other avenues. Each digital channel should be clearly outlined and communicate what their purpose and achievements are.
Implement and launch the campaign:
This step may seem easy. All of the hard work, planning and analysis has been completed, however, it can take days, or even weeks, to perfectly launch an digital marketing campaign.
It is important that each of a business’s web assets go live at an optimal time and that all software is running efficiently.
As with most elements in a business, the majority of digital marketing campaign launched do not adhere to the set schedule. It is important for businesses to remain realistic about the time that needs to be set aside to launch the campaign and to ensure that there is a form of measurement in place that will allow for the tracking of every element.
Using the Google Analytics tool is an ideal way to identify the progress of the campaign through tracking the number of clicks, conversions, emails and inquires that have been made as a result of the campaign.
Don’t stick to the plan:
This is one of the sections of the digital marketing campaign that may cause some businesses to panic. One of the most important things for businesses to remember is that the plan will never be perfect or 100% accurate from the get go. It is impossible for every hypothesis to be exact. Even if the strategy and campaign have both been carefully crafted with the right time set aside to consider every factor, this cannot still predict the ways in which a customer will behave. This is why it is extremely essential that the digital marketing campaign performance is constantly and consistently monitored and that the strategy is flexible enough for elements to be changed along the way should it be required.
This can be achieved by businesses taking the time to create a measurement and monitoring plan that will fit in with the set KPI’s. It is imperative to monitor the success of each individual element of the digital marketing campaign and strategy at a constant rate.
If there is an element of the campaign that is not performing well, a business should separate this element and identify why it is not performing well. This can include a number of factors such as the time of day that the content is being posted, or the keywords that are being included in the content.
Once this has been determined, the business should refer back to their previous analysis, target personas or their budget allocation and try a different method to achieve a different result. It is important to also clearly define these new methods in the KPI’s.
Utilise these steps to build a smart and consistent digital marketing campaign for your business.