According to the ‘Managing Digital Marketing’ research report conducted by Smart Insights, 49% of organisations reported that they have no defined digital marketing strategy while 17% of organisations reported that they had a digital strategy but it was yet to be integrated into their marketing mix and related activities.
While a digital marketing strategy has the potential to set you up to take advantage of the ever changing and constantly growing digital sphere, the most important step lies in the implementation and integration.
Yes, you need a strong strategy as well as a solid understanding of your offer, your audience and your competitors, but crafting a solid action plan is what will really help you achieve your goals and ensure all roads lead to the main prize. By integrating your website, content and channels to work together seamlessly, you set your business up for success with consistent messaging.
In this post we look at the essentials you must have in place to make your digital marketing tactics work. We’ll also provide you with tips on how to create a digital marketing plan that will continue to grow and develop with your business.
Set a successful digital marketing plan
Having worked with a number of businesses to develop tailored and customised digital marketing strategies and action plans, we have learnt that the hardest part is often knowing where to start. Well let us make it simple for you.
There are six key elements to a dynamic digital marketing plan:
- Optimise your website
- Create relevant content
- Know your social channels
- Use paid advertising wisely
- Keep building your email lists
- Analyse, reflect, and refine
Starting with the optimisation of your business’ website, we’ll step you through each of these six elements and explain all the things you need to consider along the way.
1. Optimise your website
Your website has the potential to act as a hub of information for your business. This is where many of your customers will come to suss you out, peruse your offerings and make perceptions around your credibility and expertise.
It is important that you get your site ready for when your visitors arrive. It is essential that you make it very clear what you want people to do when they reach your site. You should be aiming to drive your traffic to the pages you want them to visit and encouraging them towards specific actions.
It’s essential that you know the basics of search engine optimisation to be able to set up your website. Think about the structure of your content and the language you use to describe your products or services. Your customers need to be able to understand what you are talking about and have their questions answered. Optimise your content with keywords and keep that list fresh.
- Do you have clear landing pages for core services or topics?
- What tactics do you use to keep people moving through your website? What’s next? Are you asking for the lead? For the sale?
- Are your SEO basics in place?
2. Create content
Content may be king, but there’s a lot of rubbish dressed as royalty on the web and it’s growing daily. Make sure your content doesn’t end up in this category by ensuring it is relevant and compelling. Optimise your content so that it draws people to your site and provides your customers with the answers they are looking for.
Always make sure you are writing for your customers and showcasing what you do in a way that is contextual and applicable to the problems your customer is facing.
- Are you an expert in this, or are you chasing a trend?
- How are you solving your customer’s problem?
- Are you sharing information of value?
- Do you make it easy for readers to share with social media links?
- Are you linking to and sharing information from other experts in your field?
3. Optimising your social channels
If you’ve done the strategy groundwork you’ll have a pretty clear understanding of who your customers are, which social channels they use and what they use them for.
For example, we talk to our friends and family on Facebook so products and services used by your consumers can work well here, but we’re more likely to discuss our professional lives and business ideas with our work colleagues over on LinkedIn where there are less baby photos, memes and puppy videos.
To successfully optimise your social channels, make sure your content is relevant to those using that specific channel, actively engage with your audience and create clear call-to-actions (CTAs) that encourage your desired outcomes.
- Have you identified the key channels to target based on how your audience uses them?
- Do you have good content to share?
- Are you responding to questions and comments?
- Are you ready to try new things? Don’t be afraid to experiment with new features (like Facebook Live) and new channels as they emerge.
4. Consider targeted advertising with clear goals
Smart advertising that is well planned and regularly monitored and optimised can deliver great benefits for your business. Well targeted advertising on Facebook and Instagram can deliver great returns for businesses operating in specific industries, but you need to be clear about what you are trying to achieve and the actions you are trying to encourage.
It’s also important to remember that you can’t build your page likes, promote an event and drive traffic to your website all with a single advertisement. Create a solid campaign, consisting of multiple advertisements, that have well defined goals and messages.
- Are you crystal clear about what you want your advertising to achieve?
- Is your website ready to receive your visitors?
- Optimise landing pages to convert.
- Do you have the skills to create and manage effective campaigns or do you need to outsource?
5. Email marketing and CRM
With overflowing inboxes you might often wonder if email marketing is still effective. With average cross-industry open rates in Australia hovering around 30% and click through rates between 4.5% and 6%, it seems it’s still a worthwhile pursuit for many businesses.
It also has the benefit of giving you methods and reason to build more detailed profiles of your customers and potential customers. But again, the key is content. Relevant and helpful content (not overwhelming and sales driven) is the key to success.
- Are you using list building to enhance what you know about your customers?
- What kinds of marketing automation can you build into your processes to deliver value to site visitors, and grow your lists?
- Is your content written with the reader in mind?
- Is your website ready to receive?
6. Analyse and refine
Before you start make sure you have a solid analytics platform in place – most sites can’t go past Google Analytics. Install it and learn how to use it – you will thank yourself later.
Get into a habit of testing your messaging. For example, find out if questions work better than ‘how to’ guides and trial new things. Make sure you are reporting at least monthly and comparing how different types of content and messages change your visitor profiles.
- What are you learning about your audience? Can you build this into your overall audience profile?
- What are your competitors doing? Look at trends across your industry landscape.
- Are you feeding your results back into your overall strategy?
Bringing it all together
The key to bringing it all together is analysing and refining each tactical element in your digital marketing plan, and reviewing your overall strategy on a regular basis to make sure you are on track to achieving your goals.
Creating a living, breathing strategy for your digital marketing efforts that grows and changes with new technology and trends is vital.
Don’t wait until the next annual strategy review to find out that your plan in failing. Action change now and set yourself up for future growth and success with digital.
If you need help setting your marketing strategy, creating an action plan or evolving your existing ones, contact our friendly team at Thirst Creative today – we love developing tailored marketing strategies that work.