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Thriving as a business in this digital age requires a well-structured digital marketing strategy.
How do you get started and structure a plan of action?
Let’s dig in and help you outline your process now.
There’s tons of advice packed into this post. Make execution easy with these templates:
Using these resources, you can document your strategy in a way that’s tailored to the channels and tactics most relevant to you:
Let’s get straight to the point.
It all starts with who you want to target. Who is your buyer? What kind of person are they? What are their preferences?
If you haven’t yet established a clear picture of your buyers’ persona, now’s the time to do it.
You need to define who your ideal buyer is. Know what their desires and goals are — dig deeper into how they perceive and understand things.
Once you become as familiar to your buyers as their psychologists are, you’ll know what to offer them and how to connect to them in a way that’s most appealing.
You’ll become very precise about it.
For instance, a healthcare network can have Mary-the-Working-Mom as their primary customer characterized as follows:
See how a healthcare company can make use of the above info?
If you’re a healthcare provider, and you’re targeting the Marys out there, you now have an idea of the specific personality you are targeting — a frame of reference as to who the end receiver of your campaign will be.
A buyer’s persona gives you focus. You’ll know who to reach out to and what to offer. You can now position your offer in a way that solves their problems directly.
If you can show the Marys of the world that you understand them, then they will look to you the moment the occasion calls for it. All because you’ve tailored your services to them.
You’ve cared enough to put all your efforts towards one persona.
That’s the power of knowing your buyer’s persona.
The power of digital marketing over traditional advertising is the fact that you can target someone as specific as Mary and put the right message in front of the right people at the right times.
Now it’s time for you to create your own persona.
You may be able to imagine your target audience’s preferences. Let’s refine that picture and make sure you have a clear representation of your ideal customer.
Let’s create your buyer’s persona.
Research. It’s the very first step to making your buyer’s persona as defined as possible.
Here’s what you can do.
Track trends within your contacts database (your email list) about how leads and customers find and consume the content you put out.
This step will be helpful if you are already an established business and have a list of prospects, and if you’re just refining your audience.
(If not, just read on and see what more you can do from here.)
You’ll likely identify different segments within your database. Some are super interested in your content, while others are half-hearted. Still, some give the once-over, and you’re not engaging them at all.
Now you’ll have a better clue as to who loves you and your offer, your service, or your line of products.
List down these people’s characteristics. Create a mental picture of a person who has all these qualities.
Create fields within your forms that will allow you to capture pertinent information. For example, their company size — that is, if you’re targeting business owners in a particular field.
Again, you should be able to do this if you’re already thriving online or offline, and if you’re aiming to refine your process and your audience.
The idea is to know the types of people you’re already attracting.
Do you already have a returning customer? Good. Interview them.
Simply use incentives to attract these people to interview with you. You’ve probably come across this strategy in many companies.
For instance, a telecom company may ask its long-term customers to answer a survey, and it’ll give the customers some rewards points or bill rebates as an incentive.
If you’re still looking to reach out to prospects, you can do the same. Interview them through a survey, then give an incentive in the form of a discount code, or something of that nature.
Interviews, however, should not be limited to survey forms. You can invite a few insightful participants to an actual, physical, ‘next-level’ meeting.
You may do a round table discussion. Give these people snacks and pay for their fare and accommodation. Treat them with VIP perks.
In any case, make sure to ask the ‘why’ questions. Which product of ours do you like most, and why? Why do you prefer service A over service B? Which offer is most appealing to you, and why?
Once the interview has ended, you should have gained a well-rounded picture of your buyers’ persona. You’ll gain an insight into what really appeals to them, and your intuitive mind will start running ideas to make your business even more attractive to them.
I may have done an overkill talking about buyers’ persona at length, but you just can’t underestimate its power.
Moving on, the next big thing is to pay attention to the result of your marketing strategy.
What is your main goal?
The best digital marketing strategy is one that’s aligned with your goals.
Sometimes, you could get lost in a sea of goals. Many marketers do, which is why it’s crucial to know what phase you’re at.
Let’s say it’s your first time to define your buyer’s persona (aka your avatar). Then I’d suppose you’re still in the starting phase. In this phase, it’s obvious that you need to get more leads.
After all, the sales process — whether it’s in the digital or the conventional business world — can be summed into three stages.
Leads. Conversions. Sales.
Your current primary goal could fall into any of these three, and all you need to do now is to know where you’re at.
Which then gives you focus.
You also need to define your vision.
Your vision may sound like this:
To be the trusted healthcare company that all busy, working moms in the U.S. would turn to when their kids become sick.
Notice how your chosen persona or avatar partly defines that vision?
Now your mission may sound like this:
To provide a professional, quick, and reliable healthcare response to moms with sick kids under 18 — even in the comfort of their homes.
Now, your objectives — this is the part that may cause you some headaches, especially if you’re starting.
Still, I promised to guide you all the way. You could have two to three objectives.
The second one on the list looks like you’ll need some leads. This objective is one where at least one digital marketing strategy could come in.
How does one generate leads? You might ask. A highly-optimized website may be your best bet if your prospects are mostly found online. Facebook ads are an option, so are Google ads.
Before you get busy, let me repeat the point.
Your plan — or set — of strategies should depend on your company’s vision, mission, and objectives.
Any effort, otherwise, would be equivalent to a blind shot. It’s like going nowhere. You should make sure that your digital marketing end goal integrates with your business’ grand plan.
Otherwise, what’s the point of it all?
Here’s where we get a little technical.
Targeted campaigns or advertising are offers placed before a specific ‘target.’ We mean your avatar. Your buyers’ persona.
You may ask, How does this step help me with creating my digital marketing strategy?
Targeted campaigns can help you with your research. It will enable you to refine your audience, know what they want, and how they want it delivered.
Let’s say you’re a B2B (business-to-business) company. You could learn a lot from one tactic launched by Lloyds Banking Group. They employed a multi-faceted campaign that began with Direct Mail, with follow-ups via email, digital display, and telemarketing.
Okay, don’t get lost. This campaign targeted about 70,000 businesses from different sectors. The DM featured a scorecard mechanic, inviting small business owners to review their banking arrangements. It also included a quiz, with results that were immediately compared against Lloyds’ banking services.
The result? More than 700 of the targets switched their accounts. The strategy? It wasn’t a one-glance type of thing. It was a private, direct engagement. It was a targeted campaign that focused on Lloyds’ superior regard for relationships and customer service.
Ultimately, the success of the campaign not only gave Lloyds leads. They got actual sign-ups. Real conversions. At the end of the day, Lloyds hit the sales button, too.
The key ingredient? It was an act of research that hit all the right sales process phases.
They didn’t just speak their buyers’ language. They allowed their buyers to speak.
Is it possible that all you need now is a bit of targeted research? Just like Lloyds?
Try out various campaign tactics. Fb ads. Google ads. Messenger bots — DMs, if you may.
The keyword here is to try out. Test.
Need to structure a robust digital marketing strategy? Test the tactics that are right within your reach now. Try recipe A against recipe B. See which one is more appealing.
Test, refine, and test like one crazy scientist. Marketing is psychology. And to me, it’s a science.
I hope I didn’t lose you there. This post is, after all, not an article on different digital marketing strategies. It’s about how you structure your own set.
Let me do a recap before we get to the KPIs. (Which, by the way, means Key Performance Indicators.)
First, you need to create your customers’ persona or your avatar. Secondly, you need your focus. Where are you at? Do you want leads or sales at this point?
Third, you need to brush up on your vision, mission, and objectives. If you don’t have any of these now, you might need to do some targeted market research to know what people want. If you don’t, you’re in no position to give them an offer.
If you can’t offer them anything useful, we’re just beating ourselves up here for nothing.
I hope I’ve made my point across since KPIs will be useless without setting these things straight.
Here’s how you set them.
Just what are metrics? These are the standards for measuring your digital marketing success.
Here are some examples:
We can go on and on and on, but you can study these things for later. You can use Google Analytics, and you’ll learn what these metrics mean as you go.
The point is, you need to list down the metrics that are relevant to your business. You need to focus, remember?
Then make those relevant metrics your priority KPIs. Work on achieving results for them.
I’m not saying you should ignore all the other metrics, but if you want to go deep into a subject or a goal, you might want to filter out the things that distract you — for now.
You can always go back and monitor other metrics; just be sure to set your goals properly in Analytics.
What’s next after setting up your KPIs and critical metrics? You just have to pick on the many digital marketing strategies out there. Only pick those that help you max out your parameters.
Again, these are just examples.
I can’t emphasize it more. You need to measure, measure, and measure some more. Use your analytics tool to give you the numbers. See if your digital marketing strategies are working to provide you with peak performance.
If they are, then you’re hitting your KPIs. And your objectives. Which all help fulfill your mission and vision. Above all, you’re pleasing your avatar.
See the smooth transition?
Now, continuously measure the results from your campaigns. Adjust accordingly if some tactics don’t provide desired results.
You have to consider this, though. People change, and that change is more apparent in this digital age.
You see, digital marketing will always be more fluid than traditional marketing. Our social interaction has never evolved this rapidly before.
Be flexible about your KPIs and campaigns. Set a timeframe for you to test and change your tactics if they don’t work for you.
What’s most important is you have all your data with you.
Data can mean almost everything when it comes to optimizing your digital marketing campaigns. Keep that data and use it to redefine your set of strategies as you progress with your business.
Overall, setting up a well-defined and well-structured digital marketing strategy can be all about three things.
Your avatar. Your current goals. Your intuition.
When you know who you want to reach and serve, everything else should fall into place. Your avatar almost single-handedly defines what you should do and how you should act.
What gives you direction are your current goals. Without focus, you can’t even begin to choose a digital marketing tactic to use, much less a set of them.
Finally, your intuition needs to guide you and keep your balance — a balance between maintaining what you currently do and changing up plans when the time calls for it.
To be honest, any marketing success just goes back to pleasing your chosen avatar. It’s the buyers’ persona all over again. And if that person has changed, it’s up to you to evolve with them — or simply find someone else to cater to.
After all, the power of a digital marketing strategy is not in the plan itself. It’s in the psychology of the customer you’re using it for.
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