Defining Your Digital Marketing Strategy

Defining Your Digital Marketing Strategy

In this lesson, you’re expected to:
– understand the importance of structuring your digital marketing plan
– learn about the key aspects to consider when defining your strategy
– discover the RACE framework

Recent research conducted by Smart Insights shows that many organizations are doing digital marketing but don’t have a proper strategy in place.

The reality is that digital channels are still relatively new and fast- changing, so many businesses haven’t responded adequately and their business is at risk.

Businesses need to first define a separate digital plan to quantify the case for investment in digital marketing and change their approach to managing digital marketing.

Importance of a Digital Marketing Plan

It’s important to create a detailed digital marketing plan defining the digital channel strategy for each major market/proposition to provide focus and direction for the future.

Make sure your digital plan is well integrated with all marketing communications and aligns with your business objectives.

Source: smartinsights.com
Enlarged image: http://bit.ly/2k7T5TS
Why do you need to plan your digital marketing activities?

Businesses with a more strategic planning approach to their digital marketing are more likely to succeed in the long-term, despite the fact that many businesses don’t have a long-term digital or marketing plan.

It’s not the case that those with a more ad-hoc approach aren’t capable of doing great marketing that can get results. Rather, these companies may miss out on core digital marketing techniques that need to be prioritized and resourced over ongoing campaign activities.

For digital marketing, strategic agility requires these characteristics and requirements for an organization to be successful in its strategy development:

1. Efficient collection, dissemination and evaluation of different information sources from the micro and macro-environment.
2. Efficient process for generating new strategies based on creating new value for customers.
3. Efficient research into potential customer value against the business value generated.
4. Efficient implementation of prototype of new functionality to deliver customer value
5. Efficient measurement and review of results from prototypes to revise further to improve proposition or to end trial.

Purpose of digital marketing
What you often find when dealing with companies, both large and small, is that they do not actually have a written plan that they have developed.

The purpose of a digital marketing plan for any organization is to force you through the process of researching and clearly articulating the aims and goals of your digital initiatives, along with clearly targeting digital personas, and methodically choosing which channels to go after them and how.

Benefits of long-term planning for Digital Marketing    

Long-term planning enables consistent strategies and resource allocation to be followed in line with company product launches and campaigns and anticipated changes in the marketplace.

In digital marketing, a similar approach is recommended. Although digital media change rapidly, the long-term transformation needed for effective digital marketing means that you won’t be able to transform your organization in just a few months.

Success Factors

An effective digital strategy will help you take the right decisions to make a company successful online. A strategy process model provides a framework that gives a logical sequence to follow to ensure inclusion of all key activities of strategy development and implementation.

A Digital Marketing Strategy should involve a review to check that all of your capabilities are in place to help your organization manage all of the digital touchpoints. But which capabilities are important and which do you need to review?

Structure of your Digital Marketing Plan

Following this basic structure should be enough for you to get started on your digital marketing strategy and plan:

1. Market Research and Competitor Analysis
2. Objectives and Goals
3. Audience Setting and Value Propositions
4. Channel Strategy
5. Implementation
6. Measurement

Important Aspects of a Digital Marketing Plan

1) Initial Marketplace Analysis for your product or service – overview of your market, realistic assessment of your performance in this space and competitive analysis.

2) Articulation of clear Business Objectives of your digital marketing programme – such as increase brand awareness, increase sales, increase customer retention, reduce cost per lead, reduce cost per acquisition of customers – these are all standard business objectives but on their own they do not give you a pathway to implement them digitally.

3) Next step is to deconstruct these business objectives down into digital goals.

So, for example, to ‘increase sales’ – as a digital goal, it would look something like: increase the conversion rate* on my website, reduce cart abandonments on my checkout process, increase average order size etc.

‘Digital Goals’ give your plan a clear direction – you can then start to adopt tactics that will deliver these objectives.

* Total Conversions is the number of people who did whatever it is that’s defined as converting (make a purchase, subscribe to email newsletter etc.).

To get your Conversion Rate, you divide the total conversions by the number of visitors to your site. For example, a site with 5000 visitors and 50 conversions has a conversion rate of 1%.

4) Once you know what your digital goals are, then you can define what your main Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)* arewhich will help you in achieving these goals.

E.g. – For reducing cart abandonment rates, the Digital KPI should be the abandonment rate goal tracked in your analytics software that tracks how many users proceed to checkout and ultimately get to the payment stage.

5) At this stage, you can then start projecting some nominal KPI targets – for instance, increase conversion rate from 1 to 1.5% or increase average order size from €45 to €55.

The digital plan then becomes how you are actually going to deliver these goals and projections through digital channels.

6) Once you have the objectives, digital goals, KPIs, and targets set, then you can start fleshing out your strategy and clearly defining your audience segmentation:

Develop customer personas (target audience). You should articulate the problems that you as a business solve for specific types of personas, their needs (emotional, lifestyle, informational), where they digitally coalesce, media preferences, perceptions they have of you as a business/brand etc.

When defining your target audience, be as detailed as possible.

7) For each of these Personas, then develop a clear Value Proposition for your business and how it relates to them.

Clearly articulate and answer the question, “If I am your ideal customer, why should I purchase from you over one of your competitors?”

8) Once you’ve identified your personas, then you can research the correct and most appropriate digital channels to target them based on their informational and locational needs as well as their digital behaviors.
9) Now is when you then go into greater detail on your digital channel strategy – be that SEO, PPC, Display, Email, Social, Mobile etc.

Break up your tactical solutions into: Customer Reach, Customer Acquisition, Customer Retention or some variation of this – essentially map the Digital channels on to the Sales/Buyer Cycle.

10) Finally, define how you will measure all of this – for each of the channels you should have a clear measurement framework in place where you can measure the effectiveness of each of the channels.

This will also help to produce a matrix of core metrics that indicate whether you are on track to meet targets or not (and have a plan to take remedial action when not meeting targets).

[Optional] How do you define your digital marketing strategy?
The Race Frameworks
RACE is a planning framework that stands for Reach, Act, Convert and Engage. It helps you to structure, manage and improve results from your digital marketing by defining priorities you should focus on.

Each element covers some essential digital marketing techniques which will inform you of best practices and then show you how to apply them to increase your ROI.

Enlarged image: http://bit.ly/2jG0zjY
Plan: Before you RACE, you have to Plan

This phase involves creating a digital strategy and transformation plan. You’ll review your current use of digital media and technology, create a vision, define objectives and create KPI dashboards to track performance.
1) Reach: Grow your audience online

Reach involves building awareness of your brand, products and services on other websites and in offline media to build traffic to different web presences like your main site, microsites or social media pages.

It involves maximizing reach using continuous inbound communications and planned campaigns to create multiple interactions using different paid, owned and earned media touchpoints.

2) Act: Encourage brand interactions and leads

Act is short for ‘Interact’. Devise the best customer journeys and content marketing to persuade visitors to become leads or prospects when they initially reach your website or social network presence.
3) Convert: Increase sales through CRO*

This is the conversion from lead to sale. It involves getting your audience to take that vital next step which turns them into paying customers whether the payment is taken through online E-commerce transactions or offline channels.

Conversion Rate Optimization: a structured and systematic approach to improving the performance of your website.
4) Engage: Build customer loyalty and advocacy

Develop customer retention plans using communications on your site, social presence, email and direct interactions to boost customer lifetime value*. It’s also about improving customer experience and encouraging buyers to recommend you to others.

This is a long-term engagement that involves developing a relationship with first-time buyers to build customer loyalty through repeat purchases.

You also should try to build advocacy or recommendations through ‘word-of-mouth’.

* Customer Lifetime Value: a prediction of the net profit attributed to the entire future relationship with a customer.
Objectives of RACE Strategy

1) Nurture leads and convert them into sales
2) Build a business
3) Reach audiences most likely to convert
4) Generate more leads
5) Conversion Rate Optimized (CRO) landing pages that work to convert

Jim Rohn