Many people in business try to create marketing plans based on lofty goals, which may look good on paper but fail to achieve their claimed objectives.
You can have great ideals, but if it doesn’t resonate with your customers, you might as well not even have a plan.
Philip Kotler helped develop social marketing, the basis for social media marketing that is a key to today’s digital marketing strategies. He also believed that organizations should pursue, as a whole, plans that focus on motivating consumers’ behavior to make their lives safer and healthier. Kotler understood “how the organization’s strategic objectives will be achieved through specific marketing strategies and tactics, with the customer as the starting point.”
Now, let’s look at how to develop a winning digital strategy.
First, let’s take a look at the strengths and weaknesses inherent in your business, and how to identify them. Whether you’re looking at this informally or want this as part of a formal strategy, you should choose a team that represents various functions and levels inside your company.
- Strengths: this is what you do well, and what distinguishes you from your competitors.
- Weaknesses: this should focus on employees, systems, resources, and practices that need improvement.
- Opportunities: these are things outside your business that affect it, but can give you an advantage over competitors.
- Threats: these are external obstacles that can endanger your business.
Consider this from a digital marketing perspective. Sally in HR says one of the company’s strengths is its hiring competent salespeople who understand how social media marketing works. Meanwhile, the summer sales intern Ted, who’s been working on his Master’s with a focus on social media marketing, suggests one weakness is the company’s lack of video marketing.
Matt – one of your mid-level IT managers – says this sounds like an opportunity, and suggests doing an explainer video, while the CFO declares the threat of an impending recession nixes a budget for such a venture. Ted then responds that the real threat is not doing anything and falling further behind the competition.
An entry level employee in the warehouse, Janet, pipes up about one of her strengths, which is making viral videos, to which the CFO reminds everyone again about budgetary restraints. Matt agrees that the lack of budget is a weakness, while Ted suggests using a free film editor like FilmForth, which easily allows a novice to do cuts and add audio soundtracks, and a smartphone.
And this is how Janet’s assigned the task of making an explainer video about one of your key products, while Ted edits it for social media using a free video editor called FilmForth.
Let’s look now at creating SMART goals around another current problem facing many organizations. While many people are sick of the coronavirus pandemic, it creates problems that digital technology can easily solve.
Here’s a specific digital marketing problem and a solution. With travel shut down and many of your employees working from home, or even spread out across the world, how do you sign legally-binding agreements? How do you conduct business with travel restricted and in-person meetings unfeasible? Your goals should be based on:
- Specific: Creating a system by which all legally necessary documents can easily and inexpensively be signed and delivered to the appropriate person.
- Measurable: Say 95 percent of the documents your business uses won’t require an in-person signature, so aim for this. Also, quantify the savings that doing this will mean, without the need for in-person meetings and the travel related to such.
- Achievable: Look at specific technology – e-signature technology is increasingly being used during the pandemic – that would make this achievable.
- Realistic: 20 years ago, this wouldn’t be practical, as most countries required documents be signed in person, with pen on paper. Now, most countries consider e-signatures legally binding, which makes this goal realistic.
- Time: This can happen almost immediately. All it takes is obtaining the right software and some training for those who will use it.
There are many different software applications available for making electronic signatures, but what it gets down to is security. You want something like e-Original’s SmartSign, which according to one review has the “most secure vault system on the market.”
We’ve already identified two hypothetical problems and created digital solutions for both, saving money and utilizing your organization’s strengths in the process. Let’s now look at specific aspects that should be in every digital marketing strategy.
- Content: Creating original and relevant content is key to attracting consumers. The type of content you’re using and the platform are key. If you’re marketing to Gen X and Baby Boomers, Facebook’s a better platform, but if you’re marketing to Millennials and those under 20, concentrate on Instagram.
- Keyword research: SEO is imperative in content to improve your organic search rankings. Look at the keywords people use who seek products like yours.
- Positioning: Here you’re looking at why consumers will choose you over your competition. Think about what you offer that they don’t and promote yourself on this.
- Social posts: Developing content and not promoting it is like making a commercial and not releasing it. People need to see your product! If you don’t have the expertise to understand how best to utilize social media or which platform to use, hire a digital marketer.
You also need to consider your audience and the content that appeals to them. Think too about the tone you’ll use – whether authoritative or conversational – and what topics you’ll discuss, along with how often you’ll publish.
It’s not over, even after developing a detailed digital marketing plan. To ensure that it worked, you’ve got to analyze the results. Analytics is critical to this.
Some very basic metrics you’ll want to consider are:
- Mobile Traffic: Over half of traffic comes from mobile devices and through apps developed for them. Additionally, if you’re a brick and mortar store this kind of traffic means the person’s more likely to buy.
- New & Returning Traffic: Look at increases in both new and returning users. Is your campaign bringing in new traffic or is it creating more return customers?
- Site Traffic: Look at how much overall traffic has increased. Remember, establishing a base line prior to a campaign is essential.
- Sources: Knowing how people are coming to your site will help in future campaigns. Knowing what keywords they used or what website brought visitors to yours will help you determine where to put your advertising and marketing resources.
Looking at these and other metrics will help you determine whether you got a good return on your investment. And then shift your strategy if a campaign’s goals aren’t being met.