What Is A Digital Marketing Strategy, And Why Do You Need One?Kenneth Nel
Before we get too hung up about what we mean when we talk about a digital marketing strategy, let’s just dial things back a notch and refresh our brains as to what we mean when we talk about digital marketing in general. Or maybe we should even take it back a step further, and remind ourselves what we mean when we talk about marketing. Good old, plain and simple, reassuringly tangible marketing.
There is so much arm waving and jargon-spouting going on in the digital marketing arena at the moment that anyone who even knows how to spell SEO thinks he’s an expert. So it’s not surprising that, when surrounded by all the smoke and mirrors, you may just lose sight of what it is you’re actually trying to achieve with all this puffery.
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Well, here’s the answer to that one: You’re trying to sell more stuff.
That’s it. At the end of the day, you’re not looking to be the Heston Blumenthal of the online world. You simply want to sell more stuff. And be awesome. And have your customer love you. That, in a nutshell, is the goal of marketing.
So, What Is Digital Marketing?
Marketing has always been about engaging with your customers in the right place at the right time. Digital marketing simply means engaging with them in the place where they spend a huge chunk of that time – on the Internet.
The Internet is like a magic portal to a world of potential customers to whom you can introduce yourself without ever meeting them. It’s a fantastic way to get in front of the right people – people who have been looking for you but didn’t even know it.
These happy inhabitants of Internetland don’t respond too well to paper. They don’t like printed stuff, and they’re hard wired to ignore anything that looks suspiciously like an advertisement. What they do like is screens. Big ones, small ones, and ones in the middle. Grab their attention on screen, and you’re already well on your way to turning an interested person into a committed customer.
And here’s the real kicker:
Digital Marketing lets you see how well your strategy is working in real time. This gives you a huge advantage of over putting an ad in the paper, for example. For a start, you can’t target print advertising to your specific target market, you just have to cast as wide a net as possible in the hope you might actually catch a few of the right fish. And you have absolutely no hard and fast way of knowing how successful your ad has been. If you do see a rise in sales, it could be for any number of reasons, and you can’t categorically trace it back to your ad.
With digital marketing, however, you can do exactly that. Using highly customisable analytics software, you can measure your return on investment (ROI) on each and every aspect of your marketing campaign.
What Is A Digital Marketing Strategy?
So here we are again, back to our original question. But this time, hopefully, with a deeper understanding of the value that digital marketing can add to your overall marketing efforts.
A digital marketing strategy is essentially your detailed plan of action. It gives you a clear idea of how you’re going to implement your business marketing goals and objectives and channels your marketing efforts to make sure they’re appealing to the right audience at the optimal time.
Sounds like a no-brainer, right? But, apparently, not so much. Up to half of all businesses admit that they don’t have a defined digital marketing strategy!
I know, right?
A detailed strategy spells out all the tools and tactics you need to achieve your sales goals. It details what you want to sell, to whom you want to sell it, and how you’re going to generate the leads that result in those sales.
It’s like a triple choc fudge sundae with extra sprinkles – who wouldn’t want one?
When working on your digital marketing strategy, it’s important to understand that there’s a difference between strategy and tactics. Basically, the difference is this:
- Strategy – your plan of who, what and why you’re doing what you’re doing
- Tactics – how you’re going to do it.
It’s important to have a solid strategy in place before you work out your tactics, but you must make sure you have both. Think of it as an old married couple – neither one works properly without the other. Ancient Chinese general, military strategist, and philosopher Sun Tu famously said, “Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory.”
So how do you go about creating this all-important strategy?
It can be tempting to look at what a successful competitor is doing and just do that. Bad idea. Why? Because what works for him may not work for you. Every brand, every business and every customer base is different, and different businesses need different strategies.
But working on our earlier premise that the ultimate goal of any marketing effort is to sell more stuff, then your strategy should include these things, among others:
Clearly Define your Goals and Objectives
Defining your business’ overall objective or mission first is key, as your marketing efforts must tie in with this grand plan. In other words, what is the Number One thing you want digital marketing to do for you? When you’ve answered this, you’ve got your mission.
Target audiences have become extremely segmented and specialised, so you have to have a clear understanding of who they are and how they work. Are your customers risk-takers, or more conservative? Are they leaders or followers? Old school or hi-tech? And how often do they purchase what you offer? And in what quantities?
Who are your competitors and what have they got that you don’t? There may be seven billion people in the world, but they don’t all want to buy from you!
So, you need to be able to describe what you do in a way that will not only appeal to your specific audience but will also convince them that your product or service offers better value than your competitors. Are your products better quality, or available in a wider variety of styles? Or maybe your service is more comprehensive? What have you got that gives your business a competitive advantage? It’s all about creating brand preference.
Ah, the dreaded B word! Have we got you really excited about the wonders and opportunities of digital marketing only to slam the door in your face and say, “Sorry, you can’t afford it?”
Would we ever do that to you?
(The answer to that is “Of course not!” just FYI!)
One of the truly fantastic things about digital marketing is that it offers serious bang for your buck. There are so many different tactics available for reaching out to every conceivable audience niche, that there’s a mix to fit the tiniest budgets. Even small businesses and humble startups will find options that don’t necessitate any selling of body parts!
Your digital market budget, as with all expenses, needs to come out of your projected gross sales. Of course, if you’re a new business, this may mean borrowing a wee bit, or financing it yourself, but we can absolutely and confidently promise that if you have a well thought out digital marketing strategy that is executed well using the right tactics, you will see a tangible, bankable return on your investment.
For even more Digital Marketing awesomeness, check out Digital Coach. We make it our business to grow yours.