By Lucy Bradley
We all know the importance of having plans, goals and objectives, both inside and outside of the workplace, but what exactly is a strategy in regards to this? And more importantly, how does this apply to the world of digital marketing? A strategy is a clear plan outlining a set of actions that work towards an overall long term goal. So in terms of digital marketing, it’s about determining what it is you want to achieve with your digital marketing efforts within your online space, and then outlining how it is you’re going to get there. And how do you produce a killer digital marketing strategy that delivers tangible results? You use our 9 top tips, of course.
It can be tempting to jump in with creative content marketing campaign ideas and an exciting new paid campaign, however, one of the most important steps behind any digital marketing strategy is to analyse your business’ situation and external environment. Whether you’re working agency side, or in-house, it’s important to gain a full understanding into your business, your processes/operations, your place in the market, the industry dynamics and assess this in line with external factors such as the economic climate. Doing this will help you to gain a more comprehensive understanding into where your business is now, what it is you can achieve in your online space, and the steps to implement to get where you want to be.
Undertaking a SWOT analysis is a great tool to start you off here:
Strengths – What are your strengths from an internal perspective? How do these feed into your USPs?
Weaknesses – What are your weaknesses from an internal perspective? How could you improve?
Opportunities – What external opportunities are available online for you?
Threats – What external opportunities pose a threat to you?
One of the most important things to remember when it comes to creating a digital marketing strategy is that it should not be created in isolation. It should be done in line with the overall business strategy, so that all business operations are working together towards a common goal. If you’re wanting to grow a particular side of your business, making sure your HR, Production and Digital Marketing strategies all support this is key.
Fully understanding your customer base is important for each element of the marketing mix, and within a digital marketing capacity ,this is no different. Create buyer personas for each segment of your customer base and take the time to understand and analyse them, considering what it is that motivates and inhibits them.
Think about your customer attributes – you probably already have a general idea of this, but it’s useful to back this up with data from your Google Analytics. Next, drill down into your customer behaviour, in terms of a digital world that is. What device do they like to use your site on, how do they interact with your site, how do they prefer to make a purchase? Again, you can use Google Analytics to help you out here, but at Frogspark we like to use methods such as A/B testing and heat mapping to find out the specifics, and make our strategies as bespoke and relevant as possible. You may also find it helpful to look at customer channels, where you can see where each customer base is in regards to the conversion funnel. From here, you can then make a more informed choice as to how to best target them.
Spying on your competition is one of the greatest things you can do to create a killer digital marketing strategies. You can look at their service offering, and the way they present this on their site – are there any content opportunities for you? See what keywords and phrases their landing pages are ranking for, and see if you can do the same. Look objectively, and analyse what it is that they do better and worse than yourselves. You might find ways to tap into their customer base, or widen your own. There are a vast array of tools out there for looking into your competitors such as SEMRush and ahrefs for a detailed analysis, but on a basic level looking around and picking up general ideas and trends is a great starting point to see how you can up your game going forward.
So you’ve looked at the external environment, considered your customer base and taken a look into your competitors. Next it’s time to outline your value proposition, and assess this in an online capacity. You might have a great product, but it if doesn’t engage your online customer base and encourage the right action, it’s not beneficial (in terms of your digital marketing strategy). Consider your USPs in terms of your digital marketing activity, what benefits will your customer gain from visiting your site from an ad or email? How about if they read and engage with you content? More importantly, how does that time in with your product and/or service. Constantly be thinking how your proposed digital marketing activity appeals to your target market, how this stands out from your competition and how this will feed into your overall digital marketing strategy and goals.
At this point, you’ve got a pretty comprehensive understanding of the situation and know what it is you want to achieve. In order to make sure you have something to work towards and measure your success against, it’s important to establish objectives and KPIs. Your objectives should be SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, timely) and in line with both your digital marketing strategy and overall business strategy. Part of creating a SMART objective is making sure that the objective is measurable, therefore setting your KPIs is really important here. They provide a tangible metric that you are able to measure against to objectively say whether or not you have met your objective, and therefore are really important in measuring the success of a campaign. Your KPIs will depend on the nature of your business, your digital marketing activity and what it is you want to achieve. However, they could be metrics such as sessions, impressions, clicks or conversions.
In any digital marketing strategy, creating a priority keyword list is essential. High quality keyword research provides a strong foundation for any sound PPC, SEO or content strategy and can help to provide a basis to work off going forward. Within a priority keyword list, it’s important to evaluate the entirety of the business service offering and outline (as the name suggests) the priority keywords associated with each service. It’s important to choose keywords that have a high search volume, are relevant and have search intent. A comprehensive priority keyword list will provide you with a list of keywords to refer to in the creation of a content piece or, PPC campaign set-up in the future.
The digital marketing world is so diverse, and there are so many techniques and tools to use – it can get a little overwhelming. That’s why many businesses choose to outsource their digital marketing process to the experts in the field. However, whether you are managing your digital marketing in-house, or have outsourced, the principles are the same. Consider what methods and channels will most effectively target your audience, and achieve your digital marketing goals. This must be in line with internal constraints such as budget and resource of course, so whilst two businesses may both want to raise brand awareness, they will not have the same digital marketing strategy, and will not use identical channels in order to meet this objective. Whilst content marketing and SEO are widely used in digital marketing, techniques such as display advertising and social advertising will be dependent on a company’s customer base their product/service offering, and what it is they want to achieve.
Once you’ve established the types of content you want to create that will work for your business, it’s important to create a calendar to work from. Using a content calendar will act as a central place to refer to when content requires creation and publication. Whether you’ve got a small or large business, it’s best practice to have one to keep everyone on track! We like to hold an ideation session beforehand, and then will decide which content ideas to use, and when. You can put as little or as much detail into the content calendar as you like. You might decide to include a meta title and description and they keywords you intend to target in specific pieces of content, but this will depend on how you prefer to work, and how much time you have available.
Now that all the groundwork is out of the way, it’s time to put your plan into action. But a successful digital marketing strategy doesn’t stop there – it has only just begun. It’s time to start assessing the success of your digital marketing efforts. Collect relevant data, look at your KPIs and asses your objectives. Are you working towards them? The data you collect throughout will help you to make informed decisions as to what to change in your strategy execution, in order to better work towards your goals. Perhaps you need to change who you’re targeting in your PPC campaign, or it could be you don’t have the budget to run your display campaign for as long as initially planned. Measuring and monitoring your campaigns is the best practice to learn how to fine tune your strategy going forward.
Make sure to assess each campaign against its brief, SMART objectives and KPIs in turn. You should be making tweaks and adjustments based on your results throughout to make sure you make the most of opportunities you face, this makes sure you don’t just achieve your digital marketing objectives, but you exceed them.
With any digital marketing strategy, there is no one set formula that fits all. Every business is unique, with different objectives and goals they want to work towards, so naturally the steps needed to work towards achieving these will be equally as different. The important thing to remember is that to fully understand the business, your customer and how they work in terms of the online environment. From here, you can outline which digital marketing tools and technologies to use, and then the tactics within these to better work towards your goals; whether that be to raise awareness, drive lead generation or something else. Luckily here at Frogspark, our digital marketing team work in the crazy world of digital marketing day in day out, on everything from SEO to conversion rate optimisation. Get in touch to see how we can boost your online presence today.