Making the move towards digital and planning an effective marketing strategy is an important step in helping to keep your business competitive in today’s market landscape. However, not all digital strategies are created equal and the digital space is full of clutter from businesses that have tried and failed. In order to get started on the right track with a successful digital strategy, it is vital to create a solid framework during the planning stage that will be used to guide the entire process. Here are 10 important things to consider during the planning stage for any digital marketing strategy:
What are the main goals of your digital strategy?
A digital strategy can focus on many things. One business might use the web to generate leads for their salespeople, while another business might focus on a high-quality and educational online experience designed to drive foot traffic to a physical store. Identifying these main goals for your business is vital to understanding the overall direction your digital strategy will take.
Specifically, how will you measure success?
Identifying Key Performance Indicators (KPI) from the start will help you to measure the success of your digital campaign. An example of a specific and measurable goal would be “increase lead counts by 20% year-over-year.” Defining these specific goals will help keep everyone involved accountable and provide a more concrete goal to work towards compared to just “increase lead counts.”
What can you learn from your previous efforts?
Be sure to leverage free tools like Google Analytics to gain a solid understanding of what has and hasn’t worked for you in the past - and why? If bounce rates were high on important pages, or conversion rates were much higher on some pages than others, try to use the data available to you to gain valuable insights into why this is happening and leverage it to ensure future success.
What is your competition doing?
Monitoring your competition’s online presence will allow you to see what is and isn’t working well in your competitive landscape and gain key insights into how to craft your own strategy. What are some things you like about your competitors’ websites or how they are leveraging social media? Are their opportunities they are missing out on or important things not included on their website?
Who are the buyers of your products/services?
Take identifying the traditional “target audience” of your business to the next level. Who are the people actually buying your products or services? Having brand advocates and people who are interested in your business is great. However, for an e-commerce business typically around 97% of the traffic doesn’t convert. Identifying the demographics and understanding the behavior of your buyers now will help ensure your digital strategy better aligns with this valuable segment of your target audience and increases conversion rates.
What are the best channels and mediums to engage and connect with this audience?
A digital strategy combines the use of many different channels and mediums to engage with customers on the web. This can include the use of a digital platform, paid search marketing, and social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc.) Once you identify your customers, try to identify what channels and mediums they are using to make their purchases. Additionally, knowing which social media channels your buyers are using will help to hone in on an effective overall strategy.
What are your key differentiators to help make your business and website stand out from competitors in the industry?
What makes your business different and why should customers choose you over someone else? Information about your competitors is just a few clicks away on the internet. Once you have the attention of your potential customers, be sure these messages are clear throughout your online presence. Identifying these early on in the process will help craft and articulate the story you are telling online.
What is the “voice” and “personality” of your brand?
The tone and voice of your online messaging needs to be consistent throughout and match the personality of your brand. In the digital space, first impressions are important and it is vital that the way the content is written and presented is in line with what your customers expect.
What devices are potential customers using to find information and make purchases online?
Mobile devices account for nearly 30% of all online traffic now, and this is expected to continue to grow. Knowing what kind of devices your customers are using and how they are using them is an important aspect in crafting a digital strategy. Ensuring that you have a strong user experiences through responsively designed websites and mobile-friendly strategies are crucial to not missing out on this 30% of traffic.
What is your business capable of handling internally?
Taking on the planning and implementation of a digital strategy is no small task. It can involve designing and developing a new website that meets today’s ever-changing standards, creating the content and copy for new web pages, creating and optimizing a paid search campaign, and managing interactions and engagements across the whole realm of social media. It is important to understand how much work might be involved before getting in over your head. Is this something that your company is capable of handling internally, or does it make sense to work with experts with proven success in the digital marketing space?