Is your company waiting for customers to beat a path to your company doors begging you to take their money?
For most companies, even successful ones, this is not how it works.
Most successful companies today have an effective digital marketing strategy that helps them build brand awareness, acquire users and drive revenue.
This includes companies like Grammarly, an online spelling and grammar checking tool, who bootstrapped their way to 6.9 million daily users, Kabbage, a company offering business loans and now worth $1.3 billion as well as for companies in emerging markets like South African fintech company Yoco.
Crafting an effective digital marketing strategy in the fast-paced and complex digital world we inhabit today where new marketing channels and tools emerge constantly can be though. Yet is it imperative in order to succeed and grow your business.
That’s why in this post we will look at how you can craft a successful digital marketing strategy that will grow your business and what elements you need to consider.
Digital Marketing Objectives
Every successful digital marketing strategy needs to have clearly defined objectives. If you don’t have clearly defined objectives it is hard to know whether you are successful or not.
While there are an infinite number of objectives one could have, most generally fall with one of these 3 categories:
- Brand awareness
- Lead & user generation
- Revenue generation
Your objectives will form the foundation upon which the rest of your strategy will be built on. Pick them wisely.
Key Performance Indicators
After you have determined your objectives your next step is to select key performance indicators that can give you a clear indication whether or not your marketing efforts are paying off.
There are a huge variety of different key performance indicators. The ones you choose depend on different variables such as your marketing objectives or what marketing channels you use.
For example, if your objective is to increase brand awareness on search engines good key performance indicators could be the number of branded searches or incoming links to your site.
Once you have selected your key performance indicators it is important that you work with a dashboard to hold your team accountable and to keep your digital marketing efforts within close sight at all times and constantly optimize while you execute.
After you have determined your digital marketing objectives and decided on the key performance indicators that you will measure your success by, the next important step is to make sure your tracking is set up properly.
Even though this step is absolutely crucial, it is often glossed over and does not get the attention it deserves. Make sure you have tracking set up and that it is working correctly.
When it comes to tracking it is also important to make sure you stay up to date with changing regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which applies to you if European users exchange data with your business.
Don't make the mistake of taking tracking lightly. You will regret it dearly later.
Your audience is probably THE most important element of a winning digital marketing strategy. If you target your product or service at the wrong audience you will fail no matter how good your product is or how sexy your ad copy.
That is why you need to think very carefully about what kind of audience you want to target for your business. Fortunately, today there is a lot of information and tools out there that can help you research your ideal target audience.
By taking advantage of Facebook Audience Insights, leveraging Similarweb or using Google tools, you will exponentially increase the chances of turning your digital marketing strategy into a success by targeting the right audience.
These tools can give you a sense of what demographic to focus on, what behaviours to target, what channels to use and other important insights that you will benefit from.
Use them in crafting an effective digital marketing strategy. They are powerful.
The number of marketing channels have risen dramatically in the last 20 years with the arrival of the internet. Be it Search Engines with SEO and Pay Per Click, Email Marketing, Push notifications, Apps, Display, Social Media with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and many others. Plus, new channels are constantly emerging while others are declining.
It can be a real challenge to decide which marketing channels to focus on as they mostly have different target audiences, maybe with the exception of Google and Facebook which have a massive reach. Plus, different channels also require different skill sets in order to maximize your chances for success. Getting a Search Engine Marketing Specialist to do your Social Media campaigns may not get you the best results.
While there are countless marketing channels today, the main ones you should be thinking about include Search including SEO, Pay-Per-Click and Social Media including Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram, Youtube as well as Email.
Image: courtesy of Shopify
The return path - how you will get your users and customers to return - to your product should be a core part of your digital marketing strategy. If nobody comes back to your business it will find itself in trouble very soon.
According to Localytics, 23% of users abandon an app after 1 use. Simultaneously, Salesforce says it takes at least 6 - 8 touches to generate a sale. With the rise of new technologies and marketing channels, customer journey's have grown more complex which means building a return path is essential.
For this reason, designing an effective return path boosts your brand awareness, revenue, customer retention while acting as a key competitive advantage over your competitors. As such, it is advisable to spend some time, money and resources on designing an enticing return path for your product.
There are numerous ways how a return path for your users and customers can be designed. Many different factors such as the type of product, usage intervals, customer needs and others need to be taken into account..
However, here are some ways that you can use to build a return path:
- Build a fantastic product that meets a real need
- Content Marketing
- Push notifications
- Alerts and reminders
- Social media updates
Neglect building a return path at your own peril, because neglecting retention will become your company's silent killer. Make sure you make retention a fundamental building block of your digital marketing strategy - otherwise all the hard work you and your team put into executing your strategy will be futile.
Your digital marketing strategy is obviously going to heavily depend on the type of budget you have available. If you have a lot of budget available then you can invest in paid traffic on Google or Facebook and start seeing fast results.
Whether those are the results that are congruent with your marketing objectives is another question, but at the very least with traffic you can starting testing your funnels, offers, ad copies and more.
However, do not get hooked on paid marketing. As Andrew Chen, former head of growth at Uber and now a general partner at venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, argues relying on paid ads as primary marketing kills many startups. It’s hard to sustain at scale.
If you are on a tight budget a good practice can be to invest some money upfront in paid advertising to create a seed list of say 1'000 - 10'000 email subscribers which you can then use to generate referrals, increase brand awareness and generate more subscribers and customers from the initial seed list.
The rate of change is accelerating and one place where that is very evident is by looking at the marketing technology landscape. In 2018 there are now close to 7’000 different marketing technology solutions available from sales & automation all the way to analytics.
As such, it is important to consider what technology you may want to use to execute your digital marketing strategy. The choice of technology will be influenced by a number of factors such as budget, marketing channels used and available skill set within the company.
For example, if you decide to make Email marketing an integral part of your digital marketing strategy then it makes sense to look for the Email marketing solution that best fits your company's needs.
Given that all technology solutions promise to make marketing execution easier in some form you need to consider which solutions are best suited for your digital marketing strategy and how the different solutions integrate together.
Digital Marketing is fast paced, complex, ever changing and fun. To be successful with your business building a powerful digital marketing strategy is key and so is the willingness to learn, do experiments and adapt your company to ever changing market realities.
Roy Morrison is passionate about emerging technologies, digital marketing, and technological innovation in emerging markets. He also runs a blog Rise Africa Rise focused on scaling innovation across Africa and beyond using digital technologies.