Need to digitalize your traditional marketing? Don’t start with random tactics.
We at The Indigitals are devoted to helping tech organizations grow by further optimizing their digital marketing efforts. While the tech ecosystem is our focus, we often get contacted by companies operating in industries that are still predominantly offline. We all know software is eating the world, and there are hardly any businesses left that can afford to ignore the global trends. From a buzzword that didn’t mean much to anyone, digital transformation has become a reality today, with 34% of companies already undergoing a digital transformation (Forbes), and 56% of CEOs saying digital improvements have led to revenue growth (Gartner). While the focus of digital transformation has been heavily placed on technology, experts keep preaching that organizations need to figure out their business strategy before they invest in any tooling, platforms, and solutions.
Digitalizing marketing, as part of the bigger business transformation goal, mandates that organizations go back to square one and start with redefining their overall marketing strategy. Digital marketing is not yet another marketing channel or a tool in your marketing arsenal. Digital marketing has disrupted the way buyers walk the path to taking the decision to purchase, making the actual purchase and receiving service post-purchase. The new level of customer centricity demands that businesses provide always positive customer experience and access to products, information, and service anytime, anywhere.
Instead, when discussing digital marketing training needs with organizations, we often get inquiries on specific channels, tactics, and initiatives:
- Can you help us with some advice and best practices on [insert advertising platform here] ads?
- Can you teach us how to blog?
- What’s your advice on building a successful digital campaign?
- We need a new tagline.
If digital marketing is still an afterthought in your organization, don’t start from shaping your social media strategy (or any other tactic).
Go back to square one: where would you start if it were traditional marketing that you had to work on? Exactly. The competition.
1. Analyzing the competition
While you probably regularly follow a few important competitors, the digital marketing aspects of analyzing them adds a new dimension:
- Every organization that aims to expand its digital footprint should care about organic traffic. Gradually increasing organic traffic is what you’d like to achieve in the long run. To get there, however, you need to have a better understanding of your buyers’ search patterns and where the competition stands in this regard. Start with investigating the keyword combinations your competitors are trying to optimize for and where are they on SERP.
- In the digital world, the website is your most important asset. It’s your store or showroom, at least. You would like to know how your competitors’ websites look like in terms of traffic volume, type of traffic, user journey, where they get their referral traffic from, etc. For you, digital marketing addicts here’s a quick list of 25 free tools to help you spy on competitor websites, put together by the brilliant Neil Patel.
- According to the Content Marketing Institute’s definition “Content marketing is focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.” At this point, we’d like to know whether the competition is already invested in content marketing and what type of content have they produced.
- Finally, let’s dig a bit deeper into competitors’ digital marketing channels: what do they most heavily rely on? What did they do well and what – not so well?
2. Defining the target persona
While having an in-depth understanding of your target persona is essential for the purposes of marketing, in digital marketing the importance of intimately knowing your customer gets amplified by the fact that communication is never face-to-face and personal. Hence, the significance of getting it right from the first time – not only is users’ attention span short, but you also might not get a second chance to present your brand to the same users again. That’s why it’s important to do your homework before proceeding to implementation:
- Define who your target persona is and what’s her role in the purchasing process (an active user, influencer, decision-maker?).
- Define her pain points at the moment and how she’s trying to solve them.
- Outline how your product/service can help her solve these pain points.
- Derive your positioning statement from your solutions to the persona’s pain points. Remember, this is the positioning statement for this particular persona. If you have more than one persona, do the exercise again for all of them.
- Now that you’ve done your competition research in phase 1, you can leverage your knowledge to complement the analysis of your target persona’s search patterns to finally zero in on 2-3 keyword combinations you’d like to optimize your website content for.
- Did we mention the website? Yes, it’s time to focus on your most important asset before your prospects start coming:
- Apply SEO best practices (both technical and content-related) to ensure long-term success for your organic traffic building efforts.
- Now that you’ve analyzed your target persona in-depth and you know her behavior, desires, aspirations, etc., you can shape her user journey across the website to match your lead funnel conversion goals. Would she buy the moment she lands on the home page or does she rather read a bit more about the product?
3. Congrats! You made it to the operational part of your digital marketing plan
. While there’s still a lot of planning to be done, now’s also the time to explore in detail your arsenal of digital marketing tools and tactics.
- Building your campaign and editorial calendars: stepping on your findings from the target persona research and definition, put together a campaign plan mapped to the buying cycle. Similarly, assemble an editorial calendar with themes and topics that touch on your target persona’s pain points and how your product helps her solve these.
Don’t forget, the campaigns and content that you create should be ultimately helping your target persona understand how your product solves their needs. Don’t get sucked into random activities as these will drain your energy and spread your resources thin.
4. Outline your campaign blueprints
A well-targeted digital marketing campaign includes:
- Campaign name and description
- Target persona
- Campaign objectives
- Deliverables: landing page, external ads, videos, etc.
- Timeline and inter-dependencies (what needs to happen when)
- Channels to be used – how we plan to reach our target group: SM owned and paid, advertising (relevant 3rd party media sites, advertising platforms), email marketing, influencers, blog, etc.
- How do we measure results?
5. Tracking and analyzing results
One of the best perks that digital marketing offers is the ability to measure results from every single dollar spent. While we end the blog post with tracking and measuring results from your digital marketing efforts, there are certain activities that need to be done ahead of launching your campaigns:
- Set up your website’s Google Analytics account, implement the necessary code snippets, and create funnel and conversion goals. Ensure your marketing team is familiar with the GA reports and metrics. (Google Analytics can offer a lot more than that but it’s a good place to start).
- If you are planning to leverage advertising platforms such as AdWords, Facebook, Twitter, Quora and the like, be sure to implement their own code snippets which will help you track lead conversions and link them back to the respective channel.
- Make sure your team is familiar with and planning to use tracking links for the various external ads and copy that will be linking back to assets on the website or a landing page.
So this is in short a way to structure and streamline your digital marketing efforts. As you see, crafting your social media messages or selecting a topic for your next blog post is only a small step in the entire plan, and certainly not the first step.
This outline may seem overly simplistic to those of you whose calling is digital marketing. It’s meant to help marketing professionals with less digital experience build some structure around their digital marketing efforts.
If you need any additional assistance with your digital marketing or are in need of training your marketing team, give us a shout, we at The Indigitals are here to help.