Digital Marketing steps according to experts

Digital Marketing is defined by the Financial Times as ” The marketing of products or services using digital channels to reach consumers. The key objective is to promote brands through various forms of digital media. Digital marketing extends beyond internet marketing to include channels that do not require the use of the internet.src FT

E-Marketing is defined by webopedia as “advertising and marketing efforts that use the Web and email to drive direct sales via electronic commerce, in addition to sales leads from Web sites or emails.” The term e-marketing in this instance is an interchangeable term in this situation with the terms Internet marketing, or online marketing src Webopedia

Wikipedia defines Search Engine Marketing (SEM) as “a form of Internet marketing that involves the promotion of websites by increasing their visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs) primarily through paid advertising.” src Wikipedia

As you see by all of these definition the concepts overlap and cross over and should be all considered together when developing an online marketing strategy. HOW? -you ask!!!

As with any marketing strategy online or offline you need to complete a marketing analyse before you can develop an effective marketing plan. (spoiler alert- there is a Digital marketing template download at the bottom of this article for those that can’t wait) but I would suggest reading through the steps below so you can prepare your online marketing plan more effectively by outlining your goals and thinking how you will track your ROI (Return On Investment).

Step1: Get to know the business and their competitors

Before you can do anything else you need to know what you are dealing with so get to know the business- What is their point of difference? Why should customers choose them over their competitors? Is it their customer service?, fast shipping? long lasting quality products?

What about their competitors? Are their product better or are they just marketing themselves better!! Get a list of at least 3-5 main competitors. Search which social networks and digital channels they are using and analyze their content strategy and marketing strategies. Look at their posting frequency, type and time of day.

Step 2:Identify Business Goals and get a budget- money and time wise

Every piece of your digital marketing strategy should serve the goals you set. “You won’t get far if you don’t know where your going.”

Look closely at the business’s overall needs and decide how you want to use digital media to reach them.

You’ll undoubtedly come up with several personalized goals, but there are a few generic ones that everyone can include and relate to —increasing brand awareness, retaining customers and reducing marketing costs are relevant to everyone.

busgoalsIt is recommended that your digital marketing plan should have two primary goals and two secondary goals. Having no goals means you have nothing to work towards and track and having too many goals means you will not have the resources- time, money and energy to meet them effectively. Even if your budget was unlimited and you had a ton of staff who could work on the many goals  it wouldn’t be effective. Take for example how the big chocolate companies promote their chocolate bars- they don’t have competitions or large marketing campaigns going all at once for all of their individual chocolate bars do they? No they set goals for increase sales of individual bars and then go about achieving the goal. The chocolate company may decide that their goal is an overall increase in sales which is a fine goal but it is a single goal that would define the need for a specific strategy for this goal.

Step 3: Set S.M.A.R.T Marketing Objectives

Once you have your goal you need to have specific objectives so you know if you have achieved the goals. For example your goal could be to get more customers, will one new customer mean you have met the goal or if you don’t get 100,000 new customers mean that you didn’t achieve the goal!! Goals need S.M.A.R.T objectives in order to help you achieve them. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant/Realistic and Time-bound.)

Step 4:  Define the Target Audience

This seems pretty obvious but the target audience can sometimes be a bit harder to define because businesses usually respond to the question “Who is your target market?” with “Everybody!!”  And while everybody may potentially be a customer this approach of trying to attract everyone rather than specific targeted customer groups will more than like result in your marketing efforts being too generic and not specific enough to appeal directly to your “Target Audience” customers.

For your target audience you nee to know -Who are they? What are their buying habits? What social media sites to they use? What  psychographic characteristics can you define for them? One of the best ways to define your target audience is to create a persona of them. A Persona is a description of a specific person who might want your services. The persona should include demographic information, daily habits,  needs, preferences, biographical information. A great “persona” is one so specific that you could actually give them a name.

You should define at least 3 distinct “personas” or target audience groups.

Step 5: Do your keyword analysis

Everybody does this at a different point but the key is that you need to have done your research and found the keywords/phases that will attract your target market and are ideally not the same ones that everyone else is targeting eg you have found your niche markets.

Step 6: “Define your digital marketing strategy”

Armed with the information you have gathered in the steps above you are now able to define your marketing strategy by answering the following questions and completing the downloadable template below.

What is the budget?

What is the business key selling point for their target audience groups ?

What digital tools or environments does your target audience use and at what time of the day or week?

What content resources already exists or can be developed in a timely efficient manner ?

Digital Marketing Template download

Click Here to download the digital marketing template