The internet provides businesses with a range of opportunities to reach out and connect with existing and potential customers. It also affords customers the opportunity to research and review a company’s products and services and to connect with that company in real-time. With the wide range of digital channels available, the customer has never before been in such a position of power when it comes to influencing other consumers.
If your customers are online, then your business needs to be online. While at times, it may seem that the customer is in the driving seat, there are many tools and techniques available that businesses can utilise to ensure that they are optimising their digital platforms.
Here are 5 tips for companies looking to develop and implement a digital marketing strategy:
1. Choose the right social media channels for your target audience
Not all social media channels may be relevant to your current or target customers. In terms of the types of customers you are trying to reach, what does their average day look like? Where are they spending their time and are there opportunities for them to see or hear about your brand during their day? Where do they look for information? Who do they ask?
In 2016, Ireland spent over €114m advertising on social media platforms, double what was spent in 2015 (IAB Ireland Adspend Report FY 2016). With over 90% of Irish adults having a presence on at least one social media account, it is more important than ever to ensure that your company is engaging with your customers on the right social media platforms. Research how your customers consume content and make sure you’re there. Once you establish their touch points for making a purchasing decision, you can then create online communications to directly target them. Remember – One size doesn’t fit all!
2. Map the customer journey
An important point when developing a digital marketing strategy is to map out the customer sales funnel. A clear understanding of your typical customer journey will show how they progress from the initial awareness stage through to making an actual purchase and on to retention. You can then design messaging that is relevant to each stage in their decision making and map it against the relevant online channels for your customers. For example, at the board awareness stage your target customer will be looking for more general information about your company and the range of services and products you offer. Whereas, at the decision making stage, they will be more interested in the detail around service delivery, after sales support, price comparison, testimonials and case studies.
3. Create an adaptable digital marketing strategy
Given the evolving nature of digital marketing, with many new trends / tools / techniques / platforms emerging on a regular basis, your digital marketing strategy should be as flexible as possible to allow for these new opportunities. Having a well thought-out strategy will provide guidance on the direction of your digital marketing activities as well as a roadmap for implementation. It should clearly outline the role of each channel or platform within the overall marketing strategy, but it should not be set in stone. Rather, the strategy should be able to evolve with the company and its customers over time, responsive to changing market trends and able to incorporate new tools, techniques and platforms.
4. Set goals, assign targets, track activity and measure performance
It can be easy to make significant investments in your website, online advertising and social media platforms but these investments need to be reviewed and analysed on a regular basis to ensure ROI. Clear performance metrics and KPIs need to be outlined and activity tracked and measured against these targets.
Online advertising, including ads that are posted on social media platforms, should be A/B tested and tweaked where necessary to optimise their performance. Similarly, when developing a website, it is important to have clear objectives and performance targets with analytics in place to measure and monitor activity. Social media can be time consuming, so it is vital to have a clear focus to the activity and defined objectives set.
Different online channels and platforms will have different uses within an overall marketing, and specifically a digital marketing, strategy. A key benefit of digital media lies in its accountability – through careful planning and measurement it is easy to see what is or isn’t working well and adjust accordingly.
5. Resource adequately
It should be evident from the above that in order to create and implement a digital marketing strategy, it will require investment in terms of staffing, time and financial resources. Depending on the size of your business, the resources available and the level of online marketing activity planned, you may require a dedicated person or even a team. But for many smaller organisations responsibilities could be incorporated into a current staff member’s role. However, for any digital marketing strategy to succeed, it is important to ensure it is adequately resourced and a central part to your overall marketing strategy.
If you would like to learn more about the development and implementation of an impactful digital marketing strategy and how we can help your organisation build an integrated marketing plan, talk to a member of our consulting team.