Planning for Digital Success
April 16, 2018
Your business may already have embraced digital marketing, or you may have your marketing focus elsewhere, yet in today’s world of fast moving technology it’s clear that every business needs a digital marketing strategy, or you risk missing opportunities to grow. Your digital footprint can tell both potential and existing customers a lot about you. A great website can, for example, inform prospective clients about your unique services and turn their research into awareness, interest, desire and action. Yet a poorly executed website, or no digital presence at all, will have the opposite effect as online browsers will simply look elsewhere.
Covering websites, content, SEO, social media, online advertising, email marketing and more, digital marketing is wide-ranging and offers huge opportunity for any business to reach their ideal customers, whether locally or globally. When utilised effectively its much cheaper than traditional marketing channels, can be highly targeted to specific market segments and can offer a fantastic return on investment. Formulating your bespoke customer-focused digital marketing plan will give you and your team clarity and direction with your digital activities, helping you to create tomorrow’s competitive advantage in a fast moving and crowded digital marketplace.
So where to start? For some businesses creating a digital strategy may seem a little overwhelming, but it doesn’t need to be difficult. A lot of it is about embracing traditional planning fundamentals, before you communicate. Here’s a list of six effective steps that businesses in all industries can follow to provide structure and focus to their online growth:
– Assess your current situation – what are you doing already that’s working? What’s not working? What should you be doing? For example, if you already have a website how effective is it? What changes can you make to improve the overall user experience and ensure it speaks directly to your target market? Research and understand your online market, its opportunities and risks. What are your competitors doing and what can you do better?
-Set clear SMART digital objectives that support your overall marketing and business goals. It’s vital that you know what success looks like to have any chance of achieving it. For example, if you’re looking to boost the reach of your brand to new markets, define where these markets are. Add a value to each goal. A great benefit of digital marketing is that there’s so many metrics available that allow you to look at potential reach and regularly measure how your activity is performing against targets. This means you can easily test and learn, switching campaigns on and off at the touch of a button.
-Understand who you are marketing to and any new markets you’d like to reach. Know your existing and target customers and where they go online.
-Define your brand positioning. The internet is a crowded place so it’s vital that your brand has a unique, clear and compelling identity and a defined tone of voice so you can tell your brand story.
-Once you have the above fundamentals defined you can communicate. A great place to start is with your website as this is your online shop window and all other digital activity really should point to it. Then implement one channel at a time, testing, learning and refining.
-Measure. See what has worked well and plan for any improvements. Follow the steps above to revise your strategy if needed.
The digital revolution is here and how your business embraces this may have more of an effect on its growth than you may yet realise. Investing in preparation and planning before executing digital tactics will ensure the you leverage the diverse range of marketing tools offered online to their best effect, and in turn provide your business with the best possible return on investment. As Bill Gates once said: “The Internet is becoming the town square for the global village of tomorrow.” That town square is here, how well is your business presented?
Debbie Smith – Marketing Consultant,
Debbie is an IDM qualified marketing professional with over 20 years’ experience. Debbie provides marketing support to a wide range of SME’s, assisting with strategic planning and campaign delivery, most often via digital channels. You can