Why you need a digital marketing strategy?
The simple answer: because without one you’ll miss opportunities and lose business. Formulating a digital marketing strategy will help you to make informed decisions about your venture into the digital marketing arena and ensure that your efforts are focused on the elements of digital marketing that are most relevant to your business. It’s a crucial first step towards understanding how the constantly evolving digital marketplace relates to you and how it affects the relationship between your business or brand and your customers and prospects.
- It doesn’t matter what business you’re in; it’s a fairly safe bet that an increasing number of your target market rely on digital technology every day to research, evaluate and purchase the products and services they consume.
- Without a coherent strategy of engagement and retention through digital channels, your business is at best missing a golden opportunity and at worst could be left behind, watching your competitors pull away across an ever-widening digital divide.
- Unlike conventional forms of mass media marketing, the internet is unique in its capacity to both broaden the scope of your marketing reach and narrow its focus at the same market.
- Using digital channels you can transcend traditional constraints like geography and time zones to connect with a much wider audience. At the same time, digital technology allows you to hone your marketing message with laser-like precision to target very specific niche segments within that wider market. Implemented effectively, it can be an incredibly powerful combination.
- It’s often stated that the internet puts consumers in control as never before. But it’s also important to remember that the internet also delivers an unprecedented suite of tools, techniques and tactics that allow marketers to reach out and engage with those same The marketing landscape has never been more challenging, dynamic and diverse.
- And therein lies the crux of our need for a cohesive digital marketing strategy. If you’re going to harness the power of digital marketing to drive your online business to dizzying new heights, you need a thorough understanding of your market, how your customers are using digital technology, and how your business can best utilize that same technology to build enduring and mutually rewarding relationships with them.
- As digital channels continue to broaden the scope available to us as marketers, so they add to the potential complexity of any digital marketing campaign. Having a clearly defined strategy will help to keep you focused, ensure that your marketing activities are always aligned with your business goals and, crucially, ensure that you’re targeting the right people.
Defining your Digital Marketing Strategy:
Once you’ve decided that you do, in fact, need to pursue some form of digital marketing, the next step is actually to sit down and define your strategy. Unfortunately, there is no ‘one size fits all’ strategic panacea here. We don’t have a magic recipe to ensure your digital marketing success, and neither does anybody else. Basically, every business needs to ‘bake’ its own unique strategy based on its own particular set of circumstances. While the available ingredients are the same, the resulting strategies can be radically different.
If you sell apples to local grocers by the truckload, your strategy will bear little resemblance to that of a company selling downloadable e-books and reports on financial trading, which will in turn be very different to the strategy adopted by a sports clothing manufacturer who wants to cut out the retailer and sell directly to consumers over the web. Different products, different markets, different needs – different solutions. What it ultimately boils down to is this: the best people to define your digital marketing strategy, curiously enough, are the people who best know your business.
Laying strong digital foundations:
The good news is that you’ve almost certainly already started the process of defining your digital marketing strategy. Probably been thinking about digital marketing in the context of your business, about what your competitors are doing online and why, about how your customers and prospects are integrating digital technology into their lives, and about how you can best exploit these new and exciting digital channels to foster longer, more productive relationships with them. These are the components that will form the foundation of your digital marketing strategy:
- Know your business: Is your business ready to embrace digital marketing? Are your products or services suited to online promotion? Do you have the right technology, skills and infrastructure in place? How will digital marketing fit into your existing business processes, do those processes need to change, and are you and your staff ready to accommodate those changes?
- Know the competition: Who are your main competitors in the digital marketplace? Are they the same as your offline competitors? What are they doing right (emulate them), what are they doing wrong (learn from them), what aren’t they doing at all (is there an opportunity there for you?) and how can you differentiate your online offering from theirs? Remember, competition in the digital world can come from just around the corner or from right around the globe. The same technologies that allow you to reach out to a broader geographical market also allow others to reach into your local market. When you venture online you’re entering a global game, so don’t limit your analysis to local competition.
- Know your customers: Who are your customers and what do they want from you? Are you going to be servicing the same customer base online, or are you fishing for business from a completely new demographic? How do the customers you’re targeting use digital technology, and how can you harness that knowledge to engage in a productive and ongoing relationship with them?
- Know what you want to achieve: If you don’t know where you’re going, there’s a pretty fair chance you’ll never get there. What do you want to get out of digital marketing? Setting clear, measurable and achievable goals is a key part of your digital marketing Are you looking to generate online sales, create a source of targeted sales leads, improve your brand awareness among online communities, all of the above or perhaps something completely different? Your goals are the yardsticks against which you can measure the progress of your digital marketing campaigns.
- Know how you’re doing: The beauty of digital marketing is that, compared to many forms of advertising, results are so much more measurable. You can track everything that happens online and compare your progress against predefined goals and key performance indicators (KPIs). How is your digital campaign progressing? Are certain digital channels delivering more traffic than others? Why is that? What about conversion rates? How much of that increased traffic results in tangible value to your business? Measure, tweak, refine, re-measure. Digital marketing is an ongoing and iterative process.
The process of formally defining your digital marketing strategy forces you to sit down and analyze the market in which you’re operating with a critical eye, and to really think about the different components of your business and how digital marketing can help you to achieve your business goals. Don’t get down in the technical details – remember, digital marketing is about people communicating with other people; the technology is just the bit in the middle that helps it to happen. Your strategy should provide you with a high-level framework – a bird’s-eye view of the digital marketing landscape with your business centre stage; the details will come later.