SVP Marketing of CUJO AI, 13 years experience marketing for tech companies, PhD of Economics, more than 48 articles in economics magazines.
The digital marketing paradigm is evolving from simple, time-tested digital strategies to innovative experiments, and I believe this evolution will continue.
While there is a lot of information on digital tactics out there, not everything is applicable to your business. This means it is crucial to understand what approach works well in your particular industry and niche. Digital marketers prioritize omnichannel, personalized experiences these days, but is that a good idea for your brand?
It is essential to answer this and other important questions to create a comprehensive digital strategy that suits your business’s marketing needs.
In my experience, the digital marketing teams who focus on and document their approach are more likely to be successful than those who don’t. Despite this, SmartInsights found that 44% of companies are engaging in digital marketing but don’t have a solid digital marketing strategy.
This is a clear opportunity for your business to get ahead of the competition by creating and executing a successful digital strategy. As of February 2020, Statista reported (paywall) that marketing executives were devoting 13.2% of their companies’ revenues to marketing on average (up from 7%–10% in previous years).
It’s important for organizations to have a solid digital strategy to reach out to their customers and appeal to them. Make sure you work on the following fundamentals of a successful digital strategy to kick-start your online marketing campaigns.
Research, Research, Research
Start by thoroughly researching your competitors, target audience and the market expectations or indicators for your industry. This will help you better understand the goals and audiences you need to target with your strategy.
Here’s what you should know:
• Your audience: Understanding your audience, their buying patterns and their behavior is paramount for successfully communicating and interacting with them.
• Your competitors: It is imperative to understand your competitors’ activities online to help you decide whether the same approach can work for you. By analyzing how your competitors market and promote themselves, you can glean valuable insights and turn them into viable tactics for your brand.
• Market expectations: Competitor analysis will also show you emerging patterns and industry standards. Augment this data with an in-depth study of users’ demands, and you’ll have a reasonably good idea of what you need to do to attract them online.
Define And Set Goals
Setting goals and objectives for your digital strategy may seem like an obvious task. However, many companies fall short here.
It is important to establish specific targets in the initial planning stages, and one of the best ways to do so is to leverage the SMART approach. Your goals should be:
• Specific: You should clearly define your goal and outline what you aim to achieve.
• Measurable: Your goals and objectives should consist of metrics that you can monitor to determine your strategy’s effectiveness and success.
• Achievable: It is crucial for you to be able to complete the tasks necessary to achieve your goals. You should set achievable goals and have adequate resources, money and time to make them possible.
• Realistic: The goals and objectives should be attainable and realistic.
• Time-bound: Set a specific period for achieving your goals. At that point, you need to assess whether or not you were successful and gauge whether you should continue to pursue this goal.
When you prepare your goal document at the inception of your strategy, you can refer to it along the way and analyze your progress. Also, doing so gives you measurable targets that help your team.
As you’re forming and implementing your strategy, you’ll have to include the stakeholder groups at your company. This includes your marketing team, PR team, sales team, upper management and so on.
Getting their input can enhance your overall digital marketing efforts as you improve your process to align them with your organizational goals.
While stakeholder insights are crucial during the initial stages, this can be complex if the involved parties micromanage your activities. Ensure that you establish clear boundaries so everybody knows where their feedback is needed and that your digital marketing goals align with your stakeholders’ objectives.
Often, companies get so involved in carrying out their digital marketing activities that they overlook planning their core messaging strategy and identifying what they aim to communicate.
Furthermore, your messaging should align and be consistent with your company-related and marketing goals. For instance, e-commerce websites focus on promoting seasonal offers or products. Their purpose, after all, is to boost sales. On the other hand, B2B companies may ask individuals to connect with them to get more information about their offerings or promote their credentials.
It is better to have a few central messages in your digital marketing strategy plan and promote it through your campaigns. Also, try to keep your messaging consistent and clear by focusing on 1–2 themes to help your audience better absorb the messages.
Maintain A Cross-Channel Presence
A well-defined digital strategy, coupled with multiple platforms and channels, can effectively help you reach the right audience and get your message across more successfully.
You should concentrate on generating engagement and interaction with your users while establishing several touchpoints simultaneously across the web.
For example, suppose there is a shift in your customers’ buying patterns on different channels. In that case, you need to tailor your messaging and content for those specific channels to cater to them.
When you’re promoting a specific campaign, keep your message consistent and coherent across all platforms and customize the content to leverage each channel’s power.
A well-planned digital strategy will ultimately enhance your marketing efforts and boost sales. However, you need to leverage accurate insights and information to achieve your campaign’s primary purpose. It can be downright impossible to create a solid digital campaign if you don’t already have a concrete foundation that’s built on timely, accurate and relevant data.
Take adequate time to understand and successfully implement these fundamentals into your digital strategy. You should see an increased return on your investment and a more unified digital marketing team.