Follow the guidelines below and you’ll be on your way to developing a successful digital marketing strategy in no time.
Be Specific and Realistic in Your Digital Marketing Goals
While “excel in a digital campaign” is a positive goal to set, what does that actually mean to your business? Are you hoping to get more leads, or attract more visitors to your website? Do you want to improve customer engagement, or are you building the reputation of your brand? Are you trying to wrestle market share from a competitor, or increase the average value of each purchase?
Get specific not only about your goals but also the metrics you will use to measure progress against these goals. Key performance indicators (KPIs) are available for nearly all digital activities, but they’re likely to look different than what you’re used to. Figure out the important KPIs for your needs, and look at some of the marketing analytics services you might use to see what’s commonly used. A Google Analytics account will allow you to measure your conversions and traffic, rank your content’s effectiveness and analyze your social media engagement, for instance, and it provides several metrics you could incorporate into your strategy.
Define Your Budget
While it’s nice to think that a digital marketing strategy can be low-cost and viral, the most effective marketers still spend money. Paid search is the single biggest advertising market online, and it has a proven track record for delivering results. To begin, first determine what percentage of your total marketing budget you plan to spend on digital endeavors (the average today is about 35 percent and rising, according to Forrester Research. Then, you need to determine how you will allocate your digital budget across different media, such as paid search,content creation, display advertising or sponsored social media content. Find someone who really understands Google AdWords so you can get the biggest bang for your buck with keywords and avoid rookie mistakes.Before you begin crunching numbers, evaluate your human resources, too. Do your current employees have the bandwidth and ability to reach your goals?
Build a Timeline
Rather than firing the gun and having everyone involved run at the same time, you’ll get more done and spend less effort if you have a realistic timeline for everything you want to accomplish. Some actions may build on others, too. Most companies will need to optimize their website, consolidate their contact lists and develop some content before they begin ambitious social media campaigns, for example. Set your goals for both one- and three-month internals, allocate a budget for those activities and plotting individual tasks on your timeline. This way, it becomes easy to do a health-check on the campaign and show the powers that be (who may still be thinking free viral marketing is the way) that you know what you’re doing.
Go Beyond Buyer Personas to Create Influencer Personas
It is important to know who you’re addressing before you craft your messages. A buyer persona is a picture of your ideal customer (i.e., your most profitable customer). If you don’t already know this information, use the audience reports tool in Google Analytics to identify the key characteristics of your target persona such as age, sex, profession, etc. Build a profile of the person you want to attract to your brand. To be truly effective, go beyond buyer personas and identify the people who would influence them.
Those people—influence marketers who will pick up your brand and run with it to their own audience—are the Holy Grail of digital marketing. If you can impress a few of them, they can impress thousands of their followers on your behalf. So go beyond buyer personas and also map out the influencer personas.
Choose a Marketing Automation Solution as Your Foundation
Next, get your core technology in place. Central to this should be marketing automation that ties to your CRM. You definitely don’t want your digital marketing to be a largely manual process, and that’s where automation comes in.