Why you need a Digital Marketing Strategy/Plan for your business?
Let’s start with some really basic thinking… would you setup a new business without first having planned out How is it going to be financed, Who is your target audiences, What will you sell [services or products] and Where will you be based? NO! It would be madness! The right approach is to develop a business plan to guide you towards success. So when you consider your Online Business why assume that it is okay to go ahead without a properly crafted Plan?
Okay, before we move forward, let’s be clear about Why you have an online presence in the first place?
In other words, why do you have a Business Website, Facebook page, Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram accounts? Why do you need these digital platforms and how are you using them? Have you genuinely considered what it is that you want to achieve as a result of using these platforms? In a surprising number of cases, many businesses do not have a clearly defined strategy for using these platforms. As such, you are missing out on the real potential these digital platforms have in developing your online business.
Consider this – if you don’t have a digital marketing strategy for your business, then you have NO clearly defined Goals or KPI’s to measure performance!
Research carried out according to Smart Insights in June 17 shows that 49% of businesses don’t have a clearly defined marketing strategy. Many companies believe that they have a digital marketing strategy in place because they have someone in the office doing a bit of work on Facebook and Twitter and their employees are on LinkedIn. Someone is posting on a semi-regular basis and letting followers know about their products or services, special deals and so on. Isn’t that enough? Put simply, NO! This is not a strategy, even if you get some likes and shares. This is the ‘SPAY AND PRAY METHOD’ – not part of an overall plan to get genuine attention for your business online from the clients/customers you want to do business with.
Think Of Your Online Business As An Actual Business
You should consider your Online Business as an actual business in its own right. There are two main reasons for taking your business Online, the first is to generate a sustainable income stream by selling your products or services and the second is to develop your Brand and Reputation. For companies that are not directly selling products online, your key objective is to acquire Leads that will result in new sales opportunities. So, is there any logic in thinking that this can be done without planning and without a carefully crafted strategy? Not realistically!
Let’s move on to what is required:
The 5 Most Important Aspects of a Digital Marketing Strategy
- Understand your Goals and Desired Outcomes:
- Why develop an online business and What do you want to achieve
- Your Goals need to be realistic and achievable so it is wise to use the SMART approach throughout
- Understand the financial investment required to achieve your desired outcomes – be realistic!
- Employ a number of Objectives to help you achieve your Goals
- Get to Know and Reach your target audience online:
- Get to know your audience, their likes and dislikes and their personas
- Quality SEO will help you reach your target audience and is key to getting found online
- Know where your audience resides online – the channels they most often use when online
- Talk to your audience in a way that is relevant and meaningful to them
- Develop Quality and Relevant Content for your target audience:
- This starts with your Website, which needs to be designed to facilitate the User Journey
- Create and Curate content that is relevant and interesting for your audiences
- Develop your Social Media Channels and provide relevant and engaging content for your audiences
- Develop and Build your Content Calendar – absolutely essential for success
- Measure Your Success:
- Use a set of analysis and measuring tools to enable you to see the progress of your campaigns
- Key Performance Indicators will enable you to measure success
- Statistical Reporting – produce real-time reporting to keep you informed of progress or issues arising
- Analyse & Iterate:
- Once you analyse performance you can begin to implement changes
- Implement changes to improve your return on investment (ROI)
- Use an Iterative approach to continually develop your campaigns and your online visibility
- Reassess your budgets – keep them realistic and achievable based on your desired outcomes
A well planned and integrated digital marketing strategy provides a foundation for clearly defining your Goals and Objectives, planning and delivering your key online marketing content and activities and measuring the outcome based on your KPI’s. This provides a framework for growing your online conversation with your target audiences in order to develop a sustainable income-stream from your online business.
In the same way that you require a business plan in order to develop your off-line business – you also need a digital marketing plan to prioritise realistic and achievable goals, develop key objectives and KPI’s to monitor your progress and create and distribute a range of carefully crafted content material to meet the needs of your target audience. All of this provides a structured approach towards developing a genuine and meaningful conversation with your audiences. On top of this you need to monitor and evaluate the outcome of these interactions with your audiences. To do this you need to have a managed structure for delivering and evaluating your online activities.
Measure & Evaluate
Measuring and Evaluating are key parts of your digital marketing strategy. In order for this to be successful you will need to use a range of tools that includes Google Analytics, Google Tag Manger, Social Media Analytics, Key Performance Indicators alongside on-going content evaluation. One of the key strengths of a well-designed digital marketing strategy is being able to track the performance of the work you carry out online in relation to your goals and objectives. Traditional marketing cannot be tracked and measured in the same way as digital, where you can see exactly who has landed on your pages, see real-time statistical reporting on campaign performance and have the ability to immediately re-market to your audience. In a nutshell, the opportunity for companies is incredible, if they get on board with a proper digital marketing strategy.
Digital marketing also requires an ‘always on’ approach to marketing. Rather than traditional burst of single campaigns, you can never switch off. Your website must be optimised to meet W3C and Google Standards in order to be highly visible and easily found when your customers are searching online. It needs a constant stream of high quality content to build reputation and to entice Google to present your website as a ‘Best Fit’ for customers searching for your products or services online.
As mentioned earlier – research carried out by Smart Insights in June 17 shows that 49% of businesses don’t have a clearly defined marketing strategy. However there is an amazing opportunity to get started right now, grow and innovate, measure meaningful results and learn from past mistakes to improve the return on your online investment.
Consider the above content carefully before you embark on investing money in your online presence WITHOUT a Digital Marketing Strategy/Plan in place.
Stay in touch to get more information on developing a Digital Marketing Strategy/Plan: