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4 tips to develop a focused digital marketing strategy

This week I’ll be traveling quite a bit. My itinerary is a bit out of whack: Istanbul → London → Istanbul → NYC → Istanbul. That’s way too much traveling in the span of 6 days.

I’m not looking forward to the traveling part, but what I am excited about is speaking in London at Hero Conference, and in NYC at Sheleadsmedia. While Hero conference will be very tactical and conversion rate optimization intensive, Sheleadsmedia is more digital strategy and theoretical. I’m also excited because it’s a conference lead by female entrepreneurs for female entrepreneurs who are trying to grow their businesses and careers.

In this day in age, Digital Marketing has become fundamental in the industry. And it’s always shocking for me to see businesses that don’t yet have even the basics down. Digital marketing is always shifting and changing. It’s funny, a client the other day quoted my book and told me we didn’t put much emphasis or importance on social media. I told him, we wrote that book in 2009, and a lot has changed since then. Who knew Facebook would become this advertising conglomerate?

Another client was deploying Facebook Ads using a small agency, and just from looking at the way the campaigns were set up, I knew that it was going to end up in a major disaster for them. Because you simply can’t throw money at something and hope it’s going to stick. Especially with the way digital marketing is advancing, you need to know your sh** and you need to have a strategy and plan.

For every marketing activity you do, from search engine optimization, to Facebook advertising, to conversion rate optimization: you should be able to set achievable goals, evaluate your past and work towards achieving the set goals with timelines and milestones.

Here are 4 steps that you should keep in mind when building your digital marketing strategy.

1. Analyze past performance of your digital marketing or benchmark the industry

It is important to evaluate your past performance and existing strategies to determine whether you are going in the right direction.

Do not jump into developing your strategy without analyzing the past successes and failures of your digital marketing efforts. At this point, you will be able to know where you are and why you are there as an organization as far as digital marketing is concerned. With this in mind, you will be better placed to focus on setting the best KPIs for your business.

While doing the evaluation, it is critical to put the following into consideration;

  • The period of evaluation — decide the time frame that you want to evaluate. It could be the previous year, past six months or quarter. Let this period be the same as the period you are intending to plan for the new strategy.
  • Your competitors’ strategies — you have to learn from your “enemies” to be better than them. Which methods are they using? How successful have they been and why? There are several methods you can use in comparing your strategies with that of your competitors, for instance, Google Analytics benchmarking reports.

Assess your brand presence in the industry through various platforms. For example, you may check your Facebook page and note the degree of engagement of people with your content. This can create a good foundation upon which new ideas can be applied.

2. Study your audience and its preferred channels

Too many marketing projects are launched without proper due diligence.

Your audience is basically your prospective customers. If you have been in the market for a while, you should be able to know your customers very well.

The type of business you have will definitely tell you who your targeted audience is. Take a keen look at who they are and what they like about your products.

It is worthwhile going a little deeper into the specifics of your customers such as age, gender, occupation, location, interests, etc. Such demographical features are very useful in designing your digital marketing strategy.

You even can try to create personas, archetypical representations of your target audience. They will help you to summarize the knowledge of your target audience in a narrative form, explaining what makes it tick.

In addition to that, determine their preferred channels and platforms. Different personas of your customers prefer different channels. Which ones do they often use? Do they like social media accounts in comparison to emails? Getting to know the right channel will enable you to be more strategic in your marketing. Selection of the platform depends majorly on the type of products or services you are dealing with. For example, if you have a fashion and design company, Pinterest is the most preferred. Use the channels they mostly prefer. Do not be confined into using one particular channel. Explore different options that can give you the best results.

3. Define your objectives per channel and transform them into KPIs

What do you want to achieve at the end of the period? How large do you want to grow your customer base and brand visibility?

To make the most of digital marketing strategy, you need to set goals and objectives. After evaluating your past performance and sufficiently understanding your target audience, it is important to visualize where you are going and how you will get there. The set objectives will help you in the following ways:

  • Giving a clear purpose on your digital marketing strategy
  • Acting as a motivation for what you want to do
  • Helping you to prioritize and focus your energy and resources on a particular task

Your digital marketing objectives will basically be your KPIs.

In setting your objectives, you should be able to have a general objective and specific objectives. This must be able to fit into the grand plan or vision of your company. Make them as SMART as possible without neglecting any important detail. The objectives should be set depending on the channel you intend to use. For example, when you intend to use Facebook, take into account the number of likes, followers, comments, shares, etc. The KPIs must also be as specific as possible. They will be the elements that you be held accountable for achieving.

Alternatively to KPIs, you can use OKRs which stands for Objectives and Key Results. Objectives are the things you want to achieve with your strategy, they are inspiring and ambitious, while Key Results specify the way to your objective, they are measurable and clearly defined. OKRs are a great way to help everyone in the company understand what’s important and how you’re going to measure what’s important.

4. Define your budget

You need resources to execute your digital marketing strategies. Determine the overall budget of the digital marketing strategy that you want to use.

The budget will include the personnel, the channels, required equipment, etc.

Take into account every expense that will enable you to achieve the set objectives. In budgeting, consider the following;

  • Review your historical data of the previous budget of particular channels and how it worked. This will help you know the amount of money you need to allocate to each and every channel. Do not spend a lot of money on channels that do not bring a lot of leads.
  • Allocate money to each channel
  • Determine whether using paid promotion on social media is a viable option and how effective it will be to the overall digital marketing strategy
  • Decide whether your staff team is sufficient to handle the tasks effectively or if you will need to hire more professionals
  • After doing the budget, ensure that you stick to it. This means that you will have to spend a lot of time brainstorming on the various aspects of the budget.

In conclusion, your overall digital marketing strategy should be able to give you a reasonable return on investment (ROI). This will be determined by both the strategy and the implementation efforts. You may have an incredibly superb plan but not proper implementation. Ensure that you follow your plan to the end as you check the KPIs of every objective.

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