Let me lay it straight to you. For you to succeed in this day and age, you need digital marketing. Depending on your resources, you must use as many components of digital marketing as possible, for maximum results. Don’t fret. It is very easy, once you understand its underlying concepts. In this post, I’m going to explain what digital marketing is, and how to create an effective digital marketing plan. Finally, I’m going to share some industry best practices to give you an idea of how it all works.
Digital Marketing Explained
Before we begin, let’s see if you are already using digital marketing.
Are you a small or mid-sized business? Then this questionnaire is for you:
If you answered Yes to even one of the above questions, you are already using some aspect of digital marketing. Social media marketing, content marketing, email marketing are all elements of digital marketing. You are on the right track, all you need is a little bit of strategy to get better results.
So what are the components of digital marketing? Alex Chris from reliablesoft.net aptly answers this question, with a simple illustration.
Image Source: Digital Marketing Pro
Create a Digital Marketing Plan Right Away!
To create a good digital marketing plan, you need to clearly define a few aspects. Here are 7 questions that will help you in defining these aspects:
Set a realistic objective that you can measure. For example, you wish to target 100 leads per month by email. This is realistic. You can measure your progress by monitoring the number of leads who subscribe to your email newsletters.
Define and lend a personality to your buyers. Create a few buyer personas, which capture the demographics and needs of your target audience. Go beyond basic demographics; work with marketing, sales, public relations, etc. to identify precisely what keeps your target audience up all night.
Find out your USP (Unique Selling Proposition). Then use it to tell your story. People remember stories. So, state your marketing mission and explain how you are using digital marketing to help customers.
The mantra for success in digital marketing, set by Smart Insights, is Reach, Act & Convert, Engage.
Reach: First, you must decide what tools you will use to reach your target audience and create awareness about you. Examples: SEO, PPC, Social Media Marketing.
Act & Convert: Next, you must decide what tools you’ll use to build awareness and convert your audience into customers. Examples: Lead generation, A/B Testing.
Engage: Lastly, you must decide the tools to use to engage your customers and retain them by instilling brand loyalty. Examples: Content Marketing, E-newsletters and promotional emails.
Content is king. Content can make or break you. This is why you need to find out what kind of content you will produce – blogs, ebooks, videos, white papers. Ensure that your content matches the needs of your target audience and answers their questions in the best possible way.
Identify online spaces that your target audience frequents and regularly update these spaces. Share and publicize your content widely for maximum results.
To optimize your work, you must keep updating and evolving yourself. Monitoring and measuring your performance helps you find out what works and what doesn’t. You must define realistic KPIs and check your ROI to see how you fare. Ensure that these KPIs resonate with your business objectives.
Four Digital Marketing Models That Work
Here are four digital marketing strategies that have worked for others to inspire you and get you going!
- Digital Branding – These are companies focused on building and renewing brand equity. Simply put, these companies use innovative digital media experiences to engage their customers and instill brand loyalty. A great example of a business using this model is Coca Cola. Their Coke Zero contest on social media for “my favorite dance moves” was very popular. The winning dance went viral worldwide. Coca-Cola was recognized as the marketer of the year at Cannes in 2013, in large part due to its innovative approach to marketing through shared content. (Source: Strategy+Business)
- Customer Experience Designing – These are companies focused on building their business around customer insights and experiences. Airlines and hotels are popular industries that use this model to shape their business. (Source: Strategy+Business)
- Demand Generation – These are companies focused on driving maximum online traffic through their online channels and converting as many sales as possible.
Walmart is a great example of this type of model. The company is focused on converting visits to its website, social media properties, and mobile apps into actual sales. The company’s in-house media platform, Walmart Exchange, is a robust ad-serving platform that allows brands to target shoppers precisely, measure the ROI of both online and offline impact, optimize content and assortment of products, and track non-Walmart.com digital ads to see which sites are driving traffic to Walmart.com (and whether users are making purchases). (Source: Strategy+Business)
- Product Innovation – These are companies that use digital marketing to identify, develop, and roll out new digital products and services. An example is Henkel. The company encourages employees in the marketing and R&D departments to participate in the innovation process through idea-generation contests and incentives. (Source: Strategy+Business)
You can choose to use a single model, or a combination of one or more models, depending on what your business goals and objectives are.
Selecting the right model and using it strategically will give you the edge that you need, when competing in an industry with established thought leaders.
Not Sure Which Digital Marketing Component to Use? Try Email Marketing!
The sheer number of options available is enough to confuse even the smartest marketer. If you want my advice, I would say opt for email marketing. You may come across several articles online proclaiming the death of email. Do not listen to that. One of the best ways to boost ROI, that has stood the test of time, is email marketing. It is also one of the most cost-effective solutions. According to econsultancy.com, email marketing still remains the best digital channel for ROI.
Why email marketing?
Everybody checks email, frequently. People love receiving useful advice via emails – it is like delivering effective solutions at their doorstep. Also, it is fast, cost effective and easy to set up. Lastly, you can easily track your ROI.
How to use email marketing?
Before sending emails, you need to do your homework. Understand your audience and find out what their needs. Use this information to create compelling and useful content. Share this content with your email list. Before you know it, you have more customers and more business. Better ROI and money well spent.
Digital marketing isn’t easy. It requires a lot of careful planning and detailing and often, the results aren’t instantaneous. Yet, if you do it right, you will reap the fruits of your hard work.
I’m a big believer in learning and sharing. If you have a story to tell on your experience with digital marketing, or you have pearls of wisdom to share, please feel free to do so in the Comments section below.