Steps in Crafting a Digital Marketing Strategy

Climbing stairsThe Importance of Strategy

Any activity with an end goal ,whether it’s winning a war, building a city or selling a product, should have a blueprint or map in place for every person in the organisation to follow in the process of achieving it. A strategy needs to cover the questions of who you are, what you are offering and to whom, as well as why and how you are doing so. The steps and questions below cover what an organisation should be aware of when creating and implementing a strategy that will meet its objectives.

1.     Context:

 • Who are you and what is it about your identity that makes you useful?

• Who are your customers and what needs and wants do they have?

• Who are your competitors?  These might extend beyond organisations that compete with you on the basis of price and product and could also be competition in the form of abstracts such as time and mindshare.

• What is the context in which you are operating (social, political and economic factors) and how is this likely to change in the future?

2.     Objectives:

Digital marketing has technology at its heart. It is therefore crucial to involve both technical and aesthetic minds in the initial stages of strategy formulation. The objectives should speak to both system and story and the tools afforded by technology should be a starting point in the process of developing strategic objectives.

The second factor to consider when setting objectives is that all channels of a brand operate as part of a greater whole. Digital marketing objectives should be aligned with the brand’s greater strategic objectives.

3.     Value-Exchange:

What value are you adding to the market, what are you trying to achieve and how will you know if you are successful?

Digital can achieve many things in terms of users and value creation. Once you have defined what constitutes success and have delineated your prime objective, you can examine other goals that support this objective.

4.     Tactics and Evaluation:

A diverse variety of digital tools and tactics are available once you have defined your digital marketing objectives. The strength of the tools is dependent on the type of objectives set for the brand – for example, acquisition (or gaining new customers) may be best driven by paid search, while email is one of the most effective tools for selling more products to existing customers.

Below are the  most popular tactics available to digital marketers and their possible outcomes.

TacticsDIGITAL MARKETING TACTICS

 Email Marketing

A form of direct marketing that uses electronic means to deliver commercial messages to an audience. It is extremely cost-effective, highly targeted, customisable on a mass scale and completely measurable – all of which make it one of the most powerful digital marketing tactics.

 Outcome

Email marketing is a tool for building relationships with both potential and existing customers. It should maximise the retention and value of these customers, ultimately leading to greater profitability for the organisation as a whole.

 Online Advertising

Online advertising encompasses advertising in all areas of the Internet – search engine results pages, adverts placed in emails, adverts placed on social networks and adverts on the Google display network.

Outcome

The main objective of advertising is to increase sales by raising brand awareness online. It can also be more interactive and therefore less disruptive than traditional advertising or non-interactive online advertising, as users can choose to engage with the advert or not. Online advertising can be optimised by targeting it to certain geographies and specific markets and contextualising it.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is a system of reward whereby referrers are given a “finder’s fee” for every referral they give.

Outcome

Online, affiliate marketing is widely used to promote websites, with the referrers being rewarded for every visitor, subscriber or customer provided through their efforts. It is thus a useful tactic for branding and acquisition.

Search Engine Optimisation

This is the practice of optimising a website in order to rank higher on the search engine results pages. SEO involves working with the parameters set by search engines to ensure that search engines index it when people enter a search term that is relevant for a product or service.

Outcome

SEO has a key role to play in acquisition, as it ensures your organisation’s offering will appear in the search results, allowing you to reach potential customers. A site that is optimised for the search engines is also a site that is clear, relevant and well designed.

Pay Per Click (PPC)

In a pay per click or PPC system of advertising, the advertiser only pays for each click on their advert. It is most often used for the advertising on search engine results pages. It is also used in banner advertising ,where the advertiser pays per click on their banner.

Outcome

For the advertiser, the beauty of PPC adverts lie in the fact that they are keyword based. This means an advert will come up in response to the search terms entered by the consumer. PPC therefore plays a role in acquisition and retention. It allows the advertiser to reach people who are already in the buying cycle or are expressing interest in what they have to offer.

Social Media

Social media, also known as consumer generated media or Web 2.0 are media ,in the form of text, visuals and audio created to be shared. It has changed the face of marketing by allowing collaboration and connection in a way that no other channel has been able to offer.

Outcome

From a strategic perspective, social media is useful for branding, raising awareness of the brand story and allowing the consumer to become involved in the story through collaboration. Social media platforms also play a role in building awareness, due to their shareable, viral nature.

Once the objectives and tactics have been set, these should be cross-checked and re-evaluated against the needs and resources of your organisation to make sure your strategy is on the right track and no opportunities are being overlooked.

5. Metrics:

Metrics are important in defining what successful value-exchange is worth to an organisation and how this worth will be measured. This step needs to be considered in conjunction with value-exchange. As previously discussed, digital is an empirical medium and digital marketing should start with ROI in mind. Setting up the analysis and measurement tools early on in the online strategizing phase will enable you to measure returns from inception. The metrics that matter to your business objectives are referred to as key performance indicators (KPIs).

6. On-going Optimisation:

The growing necessity for an organisation to remain dynamic and agile ties in with metrics and should be considered in the early stages of strategy formulation, as well as being a continuous process in refining and optimising tactics.

Summary

Strategy is an imperative first step in establishing the positioning of your brand within the digital market context and providing a roadmap in order for you to achieve your end goals.

There may be many different paths to reach these goals, but an effective strategy weighs the available options and makes a choice, based on the internal and external brand situation. Digital marketing has technology at its heart and understanding the value that technology can add to people’s experiences of your brand. The variety of new tools and tactics offered by the digital medium should inform your strategic choices.

Digital marketing strategy is highly empirical and your strategic thinking should start by being mindful of Return On Investment (ROI) and the ways in which this can be measured. This measurement-focused thinking will allow you to optimise your tactics and performance in order to create the most valuable, deliverable brand story, the most optimised conversion funnels and the highest ROI.

 For Digital Marketing Training, contact Chipo at chipomaps@gmail.com

 

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About chipomaps

A brand reputation, marketing and new media trainer and consultant. Constantly curious, constantly learning.
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