Why does a brand need a digital marketing strategy? Would you start a business without a business plan? Would you shop for a big Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner for 8 people without knowing what and how much you’re going to cook? A strategy will save you time and money. It is worth the investment to put it in writing. Determine what your goals are, how you will implement the strategy, and how you can measure the results of the strategy in order to make informed decisions to improve upon the strategy. It is a continuous cycle of writing and tweaking.
Here are the basic elements you need in a digital marketing strategy:
Goals, strategy, and tactics
What is your goal? Are you trying to get new leads? How many? By the end of the month or the end of the year? It is important to know the answer to your question. Businesses that lack a clear goal and strategy will lack focus and direction (Bailey, 2016). Make sure your goals are SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. Make sure the goal is clear, have some kind of metric, is feasible, and with a set deadline. The more specific, the better.
Some people include higher level objectives in their digital marketing strategy. It is helpful to remain focused on your objectives while brainstorming goals and strategies. Your goals will help you reach your objective, which in turn will help you reach your brand’s vision. In a way, visions and objectives are like goals, but they’re not specific enough to help you reach them. Setting realistic goals and clarifying your strategies and tactics are the only way your business can get from point A to point B.
Industry and Competition
Do you know where you stand in your community? In the market? What are your competitors? Research your competitors. Find out what they’re doing wrong (or right). Competition in the digital world can be as local as around the corner or as far as across the globe (Ryan, 2009). You’re fighting these brands for the attention and resources of customers. You want these consumers to choose your brand.
One significant tool to help you compete with your competitors is to determine your unique selling proposition (or point). What does your brand do that makes you different from all of the other brands selling the same thing? It will encourage existing and new customers to engage and remain loyal (Bailey, 2016).
It is crucial to study your niche. What do they like? What do they hate? What are their physical characteristics? Level of education? How do they behave on the internet? You need to know your target before you can figure out how to talk to them. Without a clear strategy for engaging with consumers and retaining loyal repeat customers, competitors are going to always have the upper hand over your business (Ryan, 2009). It is important to tailor your messages for the right people.
What platforms and tools do you plan on using to reach your audience? Do you know who will manage the platform or who will create the content? Some content will take a few minutes, others will take weeks or months. If you’re making a video, where will you get the equipment or the software to put it together? If you’re not skilled in creative forms of advertising, how are you going to get the help you need? As a business or an organization, it is crucial to budget and use cost-effective marketing methods to get higher profits (Bailey, 2016). It will remove confusion and messy experiences when skills and resources are strategically allocated.
It is also imperative to not confuse the audience. Make sure all contact points with the consumer are consistent. Digital marketing works best when integrated with all media channels, traditional et al (Bailey, 2016). A unified voice in your messages will provide a strong foundation and credibility with the consumer.
How will you measure the outcome? The best way to determine a measurable goal is to come up with an appropriate number. Maybe you decide that you accomplish your goal after making $10,000 in sales. Or maybe you’re just trying to get 4,000 visitors to your website. Or maybe you plan on monitoring responses for a test audience of 500 people to see if a product should be released worldwide or not. Often senior management does not apply key performance indicators or KPIs (Bailey, 2016). Setting a benchmark will help your brand evolve for the better.
After you reach your goal, is it the end of it? Of course not! Use the opportunity to improve your messages and marketing decisions. Use it to set new goals to continue to work towards reaching high-level objectives. Even if you’re not using a strategy, your competitors are. Don’t jump in without a plan.
Bailey, D. (2016, July 20). Why You Need a Digital Marketing Strategy. Opus Online. Retrieved from https://opusonline.co/why-you-need-digital-marketing-strategy/
Ryan, D., & Jones, C. (2009). Understanding Digital Marketing: Marketing strategies for engaging the digital generation. London: Kogan Page.