How do you create your own Digital Marketing Strategy? Before you can ever decide if you’re in a position to use any sort of marketing automation platform, you really need a digital marketing strategy in place.
What exactly is a Digital Marketing Strategy?
In my opinion a Digital Marketing Strategy is a part or subset of a larger Digital Strategy for your overall company. A digital strategy for the company would go beyond just the marketing component of how you reach your customers. It would address the entire organization defining what digital assets you would use to automate many different business processes, sell to, support customers, even track assets and share information. The Digital Strategy is really a bigger plan for the overall company.
In the context of deciding whether or not you’re ready for marketing automation however, we can skip right to the Digital Marketing Strategy.
This is really how you reach your audience and interact with them through digital marketing channels. It’s all part of defining
- who you’re trying to reach
- what problems they have
- how you can solve it
- know what digital channels you can get to them through, and
- what you’re going to do with them in those digital channels.
Are you just going to speak to them, are you going to engage them, and how are you going to engage them? Really it’s what do you tell them to get their attention, to get them to buy into your digital channel, and then either consume content, or services, or buy from you. So before investing in any platform you really want to define all this stuff and you want to document an actual plan.
1. Define your audience
First, we go through this typical marketing process of saying who is your ideal customer? Then, what you want to do is profile them. You want to come up with what their demographics are, and a normal step is to create avatars to represent the personalities of your ideal customer(s). How old are they? What are their interests? Maybe even come up with a name for them; Johnny, Sally, Susie. Maybe your customer is more B2B rather than B2C, so you want to define that. Then as part of those customer avatars you want to define what problems they have and how they search for solutions to those problems.
In the digital world, search is a huge component of figuring out ‘how do I come up with a solution’. We know that probably 75% percent of all purchases are researched on the Internet before they’re ever made. Whether purchases are made on the Internet or whether they’re made offline. What you want to understand is how a particular problem that you solve; how those clients are searching for solutions. This information is going to be really critical when you’re building out your digital strategy.
2. Define all the steps in their Buying Journey.
What steps does that Ideal Client follow to solve the problem that you help them with?
This is the psychology of what someone follows as they search for the solution to a problem that they have. This is where we put ourselves into the buyer’s mindset and imagine how they get to the point where they are going to buy from you (or someone else).
The first stage of their buying journey is that they have an Awareness of a Problem.
During this phase you want to list out all of the questions they might ask, what information they might need to bridge them to the next phase of the buying process. Write this out as a description and make a list of the top 3-5 questions that would be asked by a potential client at the point where they realize they have a problem.
This leads to the second step in most buying journeys when the client is Seeking a Solution. This is where they’re getting serious about finding an actual answer to the problem.
In Stage two where your Ideal Customer is seeking a potential solution, you want to define what is your solution to each of those problems that your ideal client might have and what are the frequently asked questions that you need to answer?
- What terms are being searched in search engines (keyword research)
- Who are your competitors?
- How are competitors being found – what terms is your audience finding competitors under?
How are competitors reaching the ideal client at this point? What channels?
- Organic Search
- Paid Search
- Social search or referral?
- Video sites like YouTube, Facebook or DailyMotion
You want to do the research on this to understand and document this as part of defining the Seeking A Solution stage that your potential customer is going through.
Also what questions are they answering. This then allows you to document where your solutions fit.
What is your Message and Positioning?
You want to define how solutions are being found and know– when people are looking for a solution — are they finding the information you’re providing? If not, you want to figure out a way to get that into your ideal clients’ hands at this point. Also comment on how your message relates or differs to the messages of competitors.
So in other words, what is your key message and how do you position that against other approaches to the customer problem?
Stage three of most buying journeys is when the client is Looking at Options. Who will solve this and with which solution, when and at what price?
You want to know what the options are. What are the characteristics of competitors? What are the pros and cons of doing business with each? What are the pros and cons of doing business with you?
At this stage make sure that you are providing content and tools to make sure you stand out in that discovery process by the Ideal Client.
This goes a little bit back to your competitive research. You want to understand what tools you can create to uniquely answer frequently asked questions in stage 3. This where you are getting more specific about differentiators and positioning.
Since the buyer is in the home stretch when they are consuming content in this phase what you need to communicate is that you are the expert in this arena. You have the answers to their problems and you are the company they trust the most to contact and choose.
Again write this out and explain your approach to demonstrating expertise through content, tools and other resources.
What content do you want to put out to into the world to be part of that final stage of that buying journey? Examples might be
- relevant blog posts on how to make choices
- comparison charts between options and features, benefits
- videos on making choices
These are all useful things. You really want to define how each of these lead to a Call to Action or opt in.
They are opting in and raising a flag within your marketing automation process to say, ‘Hey, this person’s getting ready or is ready to buy something.’
Make sure you have a way to get them to buy or that you have a way for a real human like a business development rep or salesperson/consultant to contact them to be part of that final stage of their buying journey.
3. Traffic and Conversion Plan.
Your digital marketing strategy all comes to this point where you’re going to create specific campaigns with key messages.
Once you’ve defined this you’re going to figure out what traffic sources are ideal to deliver those key messages to your ideal client, so allowing your ideal client to find your solution through some sort of a traffic source. These will include:
- organic search
- paid search
- social search and referral
- video traffic and referral
- email lists
Conversion Points and Calls to Action.
- landing pages with opt ins to lists
- apps to download
- Likes and Subscription on Social channels
- Ecommerce sites to facilitate transactions
So you want to document specifically how you plan on getting traffic and then how do you get those Ideal Clients that are visiting your sites or visiting your digital properties to do something? Be specific.
What is the action and what steps do you you want them to take?
Once You Have This Plan Documented
Now that you have this in place you have a guiding light to help you plan and implement campaigns. Then you say, ‘here’s how we’re going to use a marketing automation platform.’
Here’s an example of what a one page visual map of a Traffic Generation and Conversion model might look like at the end of it.
We used the example of Lawyer 1 Marketing. Basically we’ve identified
- What are the traffic sources for Lawyer 1 Marketing in both the paid, organic, and social
- How do we get them into some sort of a conversion point or an opt in?
- What do we want them to buy from us?
- What’s the call to action? How do we get them to do something specific?
This kind of graphic will be helpful to create once you’ve defined all these things. You can see the flow from traffic, to opt in, then conversion to being a customer.
That was an overview of how to create your own Digital Marketing Strategy. Once you have a strategy and begin to implement it you will want to use marketing automation tools that provide feedback mechanisms. This is so you know if the strategy is working or if it needs to be adjusted. This is where analytics come in. Be flexible and make course corrections based upon information on traffic, opt in and conversion to improve campaigns.
You can download a template here to build your own Digital Marketing Plan Template
If you need help we work with clients across different verticals to define not only a Digital Marketing Strategy but also implement the Marketing Plan. Lets Chat
Let us know your thoughts. Does your business have a Digital Marketing Strategy in place? Are you ready for Marketing Automation?
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