More than ever, companies are in need of an effective digital marketing strategy to sustain corporate growth. While it is true that several companies continue to thrive without using digital marketing as part of their business strategies, the fact is that more and more consumers are using the internet to make a purchase. Thus, you will notice the growth of advertisements in different social media sites as well as forums online. This is to be expected, since online transactions offer the convenience and ease that traditional transaction methods can not. In light of this scenarios, how can a company create a marketing plan that will help it to stay competitive in today’s digital world?
The following are some of the steps generally needed in order to have a sustainable and effective digital marketing strategy:
1. Define Your Market
In any business, it is very crucial that you have a clear and solid definition of your target market which you can make as a point of reference in formulating your products or services and the way by which you are going to sell such products or services. Create and define your hypothetical customers’ ‘persona’. In doing so, you are allowing yourself to be in your prospective buyers ‘shoes’ by having knowledge about their needs and preferences, as well as their demographic and biographic information. This puts you in a better position to offer such products and services that will help them meet their own goal and objectives. By creating this symbiotic relationship between you and your customers, you are putting your business in line for marketing success.
2. Conduct A Competitive Analysis
In any business environment, it is very important to know who your competitors are. And once you have a clear idea of your target market, the next step you have to do is to make an analysis of your competitors. Knowing about their strengths and weaknesses spells the difference between failure and success. The most basic information you have to find out about such competitors is how they penetrate the market. Since you are targeting the same market as they do, it obviously follows that you will benefit from the knowledge of their strategies. Additionally, you can improve on such strategies for your competitive advantage. Conduct a research that can both predict and characterize your competitors. Being able to predict their future business actions will make you ready to counteract such actions, while the ability to characterize them puts you in a position to differentiate if and when needed.
3. Define Your Digital Channels
Having the results of your competitive analysis in place makes you ready to go about examining your digital channels. For instance, knowing how your competitors are using digital media now gives you a clear idea of how you can use it, too. What digital channels, as per your competitive analysis, have been most useful to your competitors? Taking into account such factors as their future business actions (which you can and may predict) and your differentiation (which you can and may do as per your competitors strengths and weaknesses), will such channels be effective for you as well? Your answers to these questions will be the determining factor on how you are going to use such channels as blogging, search engine optimization, social network participation (such as Facebook), social media marketing, pay per click, video marketing, email marketing, and many others. Due to the sheer volume of digital channels at your disposal, you have to prioritize which among them you are going to focus on based on what will be beneficial to your company as per the results of your competitive analysis research.
4. Concretize Your Success Criteria
When setting up your success criteria, always remember that it must be both quantifiable and measurable. For instance, looking at your digital channels as outlined above, were you able to have an increase in terms of visitors, leads, deal size, and overall sales? Carefully monitor your statistics so you can improve on your current marketing strategies.
5. Make A Test Run Of Your Plan
As with any other business plan, you have to make a test run of your digital marketing strategy before deciding on its full execution. This way, you can have a concrete data that will help you determine which among your plans need improvement, or even an outright revision.
Having the basics of digital marketing strategies as outlined above, you can have a clear idea of how to take advantage of such digital channels and methods as social media sites, social media advertising, digital advertising, as well as online forums. Your marketing success using these channels will now depend on the strategies you use as well as the way you execute it.