No-one working in marketing should need to be told about the importance of having a digital marketing strategy – it’s the map on which all campaigns and customer journeys should be marked upon.
But a surprisingly large number of businesses don’t bother with a marketing plan at all and certainly not one which focuses on how they use social media to create an effective digital marketing strategy.
The image above comes from Smart Insight’s latest survey in association with B2B Marketing Expo on managing digital marketing.
If you’re one of those businesses, or if you have a digital marketing strategy but you’re not happy with it or don’t think it’s as effective as it could be, hopefully this blog will give you the necessary tools to go away and create the best one for your organisation.
So, where do we start?
Evaluate Your Present Position
As with a business plan, to know where you need to go, you have to know what the current state of your digital marketing strategy is like. Do any elements perform well?
Is your Twitter game top notch and you’ve plenty of engagement on that platform? Are you using LinkedIn in the best way for your business or is your Facebook company page languishing with only five likes and they’re all your employees?
Running an analysis of the state of your existing business gives you the necessary platform you need when it comes to finding your unique selling point and identifying strengths – and potential weaknesses – in what you’re offering.
Where Next On Your Digital Marketing Strategy?
Next up is determining what your goals and expectations for your digital marketing strategy are. Ultimately, the aim of it is to define the steps you’ll be using in order to achieve a business or company objective and how you’ll engage your audience to that end.
Ask a few key questions before you begin to draw up the strategy. What is your objective? Do you want to increase your social media brand awareness, are you looking for more sales, do you want to drive foot traffic to your premises?
The answers to these questions will determine where your digital marketing strategy is focused and will provide the frame on which you can hang different campaigns and promotions.
Who Are You Aiming For?
Is it going to be primarily aimed at your existing customer base, or do you hope to find new leads and potential new clients? Working out which platforms you need to use will form a main part of the planning process and will inform which Key Performance Indicators you choose to monitor as your digital marketing strategy begins.
Moz has a great video on how to identify the right social channels for your business which is worth watching.
Do You Need Extra Resources?
Have you got the staff to manage your digital strategy? If you plan to increase your visibility on social media and make greater use of email and other forms of digital marketing, do you have experts in the field available?
The skillset for a social media or digital marketing manager is slightly different to those of someone working within traditional advertising. Our blog – 10 Skills Every Social Media Manager Should Have – goes into this in more depth.
But essentially you need to know the people handling your digital marketing strategy know how to make the best of each platform you’re using to engage with existing customers and potential new ones. Can they write catchy copy? Are they visually minded and do they use images to help your brand stand out on Instagram?
Will you be making video content or using SnapChat for quick updates on your business life?
Knowing how you’re going to reach your audience ties back to your goals and to knowing the buyer personas of people who do business with your company or within the same industry.
Smart Insights has a free 90 day template you can download which will help you walk through creating a digital strategy marketing plan. It’s based on the company’s own RACE planning framework which stands for Reach, Act, Convert, Engage.
It’s another alternative for the AIDA method; Create ATTENTION > Peak INTEREST > Develop DESIRE > Generate ACTION
Have You Got The Right Tools?
Pretty much everyone knows that Google Analytics is one of the biggest tools in the digital marketing arsenal. But it’s one which takes a lot of manipulating to get down to the most important data – is your digital strategy actually achieving your goals?
Most social media platforms have their own analytics built in, so in combination with those and GA, you can get the information you need right?
Well, yes and no. All of these methods will provide you with key data which you can then monitor and adjust to tweak your campaigns to be their most effective. But, as I said earlier, it’s a time-heavy job to make sure you’ve got the right segments included in your GA tracking and monitoring.
The latest version of our digital campaign intelligence platform Beacon gives you an overview of all your digital marketing activities with top-level ROI and marketing result reporting so you can instantly see what is working – and why.
For pure insights, Beacon can answer a lot of your questions relating to tracking and measuring campaign effectiveness. You can also attribute business results to marketing activity and discover what marketing drives the most engaged website traffic (see image below).
By providing transparent access to campaign metrics, it allows accurate real-time reporting with actionable insights, which means you can amend campaigns to take advantage of trends or tweak to remove poorly performing channels.
If you’re not optimising your digital strategy through monitoring, you’re wasting the efforts of your marketing department. You can also be wasting money by duplicating marketing campaign methods which simply don’t work for your brand or on the platform you’re posting them to.
How It Will Ultimately Help
If you don’t have a digital strategy, you’re essentially throwing money into the wind in the hope your message eventually reaches the right audience.
You need to know your market and your customer base. You also need to know what other companies within your industry are doing with their marketing. If you don’t have a digital strategy, your competitors will be taking your potential customers because your message won’t be reaching them.
Having a competitive marketing strategy as part of your overall digital strategy will mean you’re not missing any gaps in your messaging and it might reveal areas you’ve overlooked or didn’t think were important but actually fit better for your business.
Coordinating your brand messaging on all channels, and then using tools like GA and Beacon to track their effectiveness, means you can direct your digital spend into areas which actually generate results.
Your digital strategy should include:
- Clear, realistic goals which you can be confident of hitting
- The best method to achieve these goals against your competition
- Sufficient details of the tactics and actions needed to translate the strategy into action
- A means by which to check you are on track with your plans.