Digital marketing is an undeniable element of successful marketing. Yet, 49% of organizations admit they are doing digital marketing without a strategy. If you’re pursuing digital marketing without a plan of action, it can leave you without a sense of direction or leave different elements of your strategy disintegrated. Without a strategy, organizations aren’t using their resources effectively or maximizing on their capabilities.
Digital marketing can feel like a beast with so many specific elements, and it’s important to organize those elements into clear goals that can make them manageable and effective. Lacking a strategy doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve failed at digital marketing, but it does mean there’s room for improvement. Here are some tips:
WHERE DO YOU WANT TO BE?
The core of a digital marketing strategy is setting relevant goals that support your overall marketing objectives. It’s important to start by thinking big picture. Then, divide the larger goal into achievable digital marketing goals, and then further from there, tasks. You’re using digital marketing tactics for a reason, but it’s important to lay them out on the table and outline what you want to ultimately achieve through digital marketing.
We’re talking specifics. It’s important to know what you’re aiming for, but it’s also important to identify the marks you want your team to hit. You might want to increase an overall element for your company, but it’s vital to make things measurable so that you can analyze your successes. To do this, you have to determine what matters to company leadership and to company objectives as a whole.
But, in order to most effectively set goals, make sure you have something to compare.
WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?
You’ve got to know where you’ve been to know where you go next. Analyzing the successes or challenges you’ve already faced will help you set realistic but relevant goals for your digital marketing team. That way, before you even begin implementing your strategy you can make sure you’re on the right track. Your team will be learning from any mistakes you identify.
Measuring your progress isn’t just something you should do as you implement your strategy, but something that your team should continue to think about. Set benchmarks for yourself and then regroup at intervals to make sure you’re reaching your goals. Additionally, continue to brainstorm new ways to measure your progress. Ask yourself what else you could be analyzing.
Always be specific: What are you measuring? On what platform? How often? What are you trying to reach? By when?
REMEMBER WHO’S IMPORTANT
With all of the information online, you have no excuse not to know about your customers. Gather data from your existing customers in order to most accurately identify the channels you’ll use to reach new potential consumers. Identify how your customers interact with your website and content so you can create platforms that cater to the user, and so you can create content that engages your target audience. See where engagement is strongest and check out the places where you’re consistently losing viewership. This will help you craft a successful strategy moving forward.
Beyond demographics, you should know what makes your customers tick. What do they want more than anything else?
When you start strategizing for digital marketing, it can be really easy to get caught up in the metrics. Metrics are extremely important, don’t get us wrong, but the heart of a digital marketing strategy lies with the people behind the metrics. In order to craft an effective strategy, you have to think people, not data.
WHAT ARE YOU WORKING WITH?
In order to make moves, you have to know what you’re working with. Knowledge of your capabilities means you can effectively divvy up your resources in a way that will help you reach goals. It will save you from wasting money or blowing your budget on one area. Which takes us back to metrics… You have to look at where you’ve been successful in the past and what areas you should focus more money or resources on. Don’t waste on places or things that aren’t generating leads, converting customers or creating relationships. This budget should be dynamic, but should also consider the ebbs and flows of marketing.
Be specific. Allocate resources to each piece of your digital strategy. This will help you stick to the plan, but will also help determine where you were successful when it comes time to decide where you should spend more energy.
Keep in mind that resources don’t just refer to budget. Employees are valuable company resources, and you can’t set goals or implement a strategy without team input. Deciding as a team what you are capable of and where you might need help can guide you when troubleshooting and avoiding long-term issues. Getting team input and brainstorming as a whole unit will align everyone to the same mission.
DON’T GET STUCK
Both the interesting and challenging part of digital marketing is the scope of technology that we can access. New methods are great—they help us reach consumers and new ways and stay creative, but they can affect your digital strategy. Keep this in mind when developing your plan so that you leave room to be flexible. This could involve the flexibility to move resources around or to change up the calendar based on what your company needs at the moment.
What good is a digital marketing strategy if it keeps you stuck in one place?
The digital landscape is ever-changing and your strategy should be too. “Sticking to the plan” is good in the short term, but adaptability is key for staying up to date and getting the results you want. You can’t do everything right on the first try. The most important part of remaining flexible is remembering to document the changes you make. Albert Einstein is credited with the quote, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result,” and we agree. Such things could be programs you use for social media, calendars you use to track projects or different ways you use to measure progress, so don’t be afraid to switch things up.
The end game is to combine your digital marketing strategy with overall marketing strategy. This way, you can successfully integrate your goals and your process. By combining each of these elements you’ll form a strategy that keeps you from becoming complacent and optimizes the use of your resources.