Get in touch MENU

7 Steps to Creating a Successful Digital Marketing Strategy

ARE YOU STUCK IN THE PAST?


Traditional marketing is dying by the day as more companies turn to digital. It is more cost effective, provides a greater reach, covers the entire buyer’s journey, and offers a far greater level of measurability. But you knew that, right? That’s why you’re here.

Whether you’re looking to improve your strategy or are just taking the leap from traditional marketing, this article has been written for you. I’m sure this article will give you a few good insights on how a successful digital marketing strategy is created, as well as ways to iteratively improve performance as you go.

IT’S NOISY OUT THERE


With the amount of content out there for customers to consume it is a challenge to create a strategy that will attract their attention, let alone getting them to place an enquiry. To connect with customers in this busy digital age, marketers are forced to rethink their strategy and focus on creating quality brand experiences rather than just high volume ad exposure.

Advertising is crucial to acquiring new customers but the secret is to understand customer intent. Selling to them at a time when they have no intention of buying is a complete waste of your ad budget. That’s where understanding your user journey comes into play. We’ll come to that in a bit but first let’s start with the basics of a strategy.

So, where do we begin?

STEP 1: DEFINE YOUR GOALS

First things first: Know where you’re going. If you don’t have a destination in mind, you’ll be driving aimlessly forever.

Even before you set out to develop a strategy, it’s important to first lay down what you’re looking to achieve from it. Is it brand awareness, visibility, leads, email subscribers or all of it? Then, categorise your goals into primary and secondary objectives. While these may all seem interdependent, it helps knowing what you want to focus on the most.

A cool technique we use at Grow is to ask “Why?” five times. This helps really get to the bottom of your reasons and helps you isolate what’s most important. For example:

I want brand awareness. Why do you want brand awareness?
So that more people know about me. Why do you want them to know about you?
Because that will get me more leads. Why do you want more leads?
To generate more sales. Why do you want more sales?
Because it’ll lead to more revenue. Why do you want more revenue?
Because I want the company to increase profits.

So we now know the main goal is profits, not brand awareness. This tells us that from a marketing perspective, the first thing we should work on is lead generation, or even pricing & positioning if that will increase profits.

Here’s another exercise you can do to align your digital marketing goals with your business objectives. Pen down your short-term and long-term business objectives and work backwards to identify what you need from your marketing efforts to get there. For example:

Short-term objective: Increase the number of leads
Long-term objective: Educate the market

This tells us what to focus on for quick wins as well as a larger marketing strategy to achieve longer term goals. In this instance, I would focus on marketing channels that generate leads quickly (such as Google Ads) as well as optimising the website for a higher conversion rate. For the longer-term goal of educating the market, I would produce video content for YouTube as well as blog content that provides the required education. The educational content would provide great assets to use for social media and email marketing, and would boost SEO at the same time.

Once you know what you want and where you want to be, you can efficiently lay out a plan that will pave your path to success. The key takeaway here is to start with the end goal in mind and work your way backwards.


STEP 2: KNOW YOUR TARGET INSIDE OUT

How can you influence someone or attract their attention if you don’t know what makes them tick?

The base of a strong digital strategy is having a deep understanding of who you’re going after. Start by laying out the basics. Who are they? Where are they based? What age range do they fall in? What do they like and dislike? If it’s B2B, then you might also want to put down the roles of the decision makers and who in the organisation carries out the research. These are just a few questions to ask. You can take a deeper dive. Remember, the information you pen down is going to help in developing your strategy, so add as much as possible. You might be surprised what comes out of it.

Once you’ve covered the basics, ask yourself who is your ideal customer? Ideal customers are a section of your target audience that are perfect for your business and help it achieve its main goals. They might have a higher purchase value, they might purchase more frequently, or they might simply be easier to work with. Also consider the fact that the ideal customer should be the one who LOVES what you provide. The business is geared for them, and they will therefore be extremely happy as a result.

Happy customers become repeat customers, and loyal advocates as well. All of this combined means that they are much more profitable in comparison to other customers.

You may want to focus most of your marketing efforts on your ideal customers, because your marketing message will resonate more effectively with them, so more of them will convert, in addition to them being more profitable than average. This will result in a much higher return on your marketing investment.


STEP 3: UNDERSTAND THE BUYER’S JOURNEY

The buyer’s journey is a way of visualising the different stages and mindsets of your ideal customer as they experience your brand. Starting from the very early stages of discovery, through to making a purchase, and then beyond; towards becoming a loyal advocate.

Your marketing can and should span this entire journey, although it does take more resources or more time to get to that point. If you are limited by either of these, it’s still very worthwhile to plan out the full journey so that you have a long-term mission as well as helping identify where you should focus your efforts first.

Keep in mind that each platform has a specific purpose. At each stage of the buyer’s journey, your buyer has a different mindset. The platforms and mindsets should match up. For example, if the buyer doesn’t know they have a need for your product/service, they won’t be searching on Google for it. Instead, display advertising might be a more effective way to raise awareness and help your buyer realise they need your solution. At the same time, you don’t want to ask the buyer to make a purchase when they are in that mindset, because they won’t be ready. It’s like asking for marriage on the first date. Tailor your messaging to the stage in the journey, so that your buyer feels comfortable and has a positive interaction with your brand at every step.

Understanding what stage your customers are in when they engage with your brand will help you tailor a unique communication strategy for each individual platform you choose to use.

So ask yourself: Where do customers hear about you? What platforms do they use to research the products/services you offer? How do they prefer to contact you? Once you have all the answers, create a visual representation of the same. Below is a visual map of a simple user journey for reference.

Buyer Journey 2

Breaking this down into steps, first, ask yourself what your customers would have in mind through each of these stages. Second, consider the emotions they would be feeling and how motivated they are to procure your product/service. Then, put down the steps you need to get them closer to your brand. If they’re having doubts, help them resolve it by building trust in your brand or answering questions they might have. If they’re feeling frustrated with your competitor’s products/services, press on that pain point to increase their motivation. Tell them what you can do for them to make things better.

The buyer’s journey map will dictate the platforms you choose to work on and the way you engage with your customers on those platforms.

STEP 4: DISCOVER YOUR KEY PLATFORMS

There are a number of channels out there that you can use to market your brand but it’s advisable to restrict your time and resources to the ones that will give you the highest returns in the shortest time. Focus on the greatest impact first, especially if you are in the initial stages or have a limited budget.

Having said the above, it is risky to put all your eggs in one basket. Moreover, speaking from experience we’ve seen that an omnichannel approach works best as it creates a synergy, improving the performance of each individual platform when deployed together. So, definitely look at using multiple platforms but limit yourself to the ones that have the highest potential.

How do you identify which platforms are best for you? Download our platform overview guide to get started.

Discover the best platforms for your business

STEP 5: DEVELOP A STRONG AND PERSONALISED COMMUNICATION STRATEGY FOR EACH PLATFORM

Say the right thing, at the right time, in the right way.

Once you know your target audience and have listed out the platforms you’d like to use to reach out to them, the next step is for you to work on what you’re going to say. Consider the mindset of your target on the individual platforms when working on a communication strategy. For example, you can have a salesy copy on Google Ads as the ads will be viewed by users who are actively looking for your services. But if you are considering reaching out to potential clients on LinkedIn organically, you might want to cut down on the salesyness and instead provide them with value first.

This is where the buyer’s journey comes in. Understand where the platforms lie in your customer’s journey and create content accordingly. If they are in the consideration phase and are actively looking for you or your products/services, you can go all out, talking about what you have to offer and how they are going to benefit from it. However, if they haven’t heard about your brand yet and you’re reaching out to them on a platform where they aren’t actively looking for you, make sure to introduce your brand slowly instead of going for the kill and bombarding them with content they will not appreciate. The last thing you want to do is develop a negative feeling towards your brand.

One extra tip is to remember that it’s not only what you say but how you say it that matters. 95% of decision making is emotional. You can use positive power words like enjoy, remarkable, delighted, etc. to bring out a positive emotion that will then be tied to your brand. You can also use negative power words like limited time offer, for example, to motivate users to take a desired action. If you’d like to learn about power words and other psychological techniques in marketing, join us in our next neuromarketing workshop. Drop us an email on we-can-help@grow.ae for details.

STEP 6: GET TRACKING

You could create a fantastic strategy for your business but on day one it’s still very theoretical. Whether you hit the ball out of the park or drop the ball entirely, there’s always room for optimisation. But how can you optimise if you don’t know what’s working and what’s not?

You might start out with three platforms and realise that one of them is performing better than the others, or that a certain strategy on a platform is doing really well. Setting up tracking will give you access to this information that you can then use to make informed decisions. You could increase the investment on the platform that’s working better and optimise or pause campaigns that aren’t performing well.

It will enable you to get the most out of your time and budget and increase your ROI with every passing month. To give you an example, we’ve been working with Circle Cafe in the UAE for over the last 7 years. The month on month optimisations have now increased their ROI to over 600% from the ecommerce website, without taking into account the revenue generated through catering leads or footfall to their restaurants. That wouldn’t have been possible without proper tracking and subsequent optimisations.

So, track as much data you possibly can and analyse it to design the way forward.

STEP 7: ASSESS PERFORMANCE FREQUENTLY & OPTIMISE

As discussed above, optimisation is the key to increase ROI and therefore it’s crucial to stay on top of the wheel and assess performance frequently. It will help you identify opportunities for improvement sooner rather than later, which will translate into faster growth. One caveat to this is not to watch data too closely. You need at least 1,000 “interactions” before the data is statistically significant, and without that you could make decisions on the data based on an anomaly. We find that the best balance is weekly analysis of new changes, combined with monthly analysis of the larger strategy.

Lastly, it’s important to remember that the success of a digital campaign is highly influenced by the expertise involved in creating the strategy and a highly competent team who understands the best practices and processes in executing it. So, make sure you have that with you before you begin.

If you’re looking for an agency to support you in this aspect, we’d love to hear from you. Feel free to send us a message, or drop by our office for a warm cuppa coffee. :)

LET'S GROW YOUR BUSINESS

.
.
.
Thank you for your enquiry. We will be in touch very shortly.

OTHER WAYS TO GET IN TOUCH

DUBAI: 04 456 0220
LONDON: 0207 157 9551
Or scroll to explore more