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What is a digital marketing strategy and how can it help your business?

At a glance

  • Whatever industry you work in, having a clear and well-implemented marketing strategy is a key factor in helping your business to grow
  • As the number of consumers using digital devices rises, there are now more channels and opportunities to access your audience online
  • But what is digital marketing and how can such a strategy help you attract new customers? Hannah Gordon-Smith, Digital Campaign Manager at Zurich, explains more.

A marketing strategy is a structured plan used to promote your brand, products and or services, to achieve a goal or multiple goals. A digital marketing strategy can be described in the same vein, but instead uses various digital electronic or online media to deliver these messages.

As a rule of thumb, the main objective of a digital marketing strategy will depend on the business itself and the nature of its existence. For example a non-profit organisation develops its strategy around longevity and engagement rather than profit potential, whereas a business with a ‘limited-time only’ product or service will design its strategy around quick-wins and profitability rather than long-term growth.

Regardless of their main objectives, most businesses, organisations and marketers will have one common end goal – to attract and convert customers and clients. Here are three key considerations when tailoring a digital marketing strategy towards your end user:

1. Know your customers, your business and your competitors!

Your digital marketing strategy must begin with your overarching customer centric goals and objectives. Begin by identifying the strengths and weaknesses of your business, alongside a review of your current customer or client base.

Layer this with a similar analysis of your competitors. From here you can not only identify any threats, but also opportunities you have to differentiate yourself in the market, whether it be diversifying a product, service or the audience you target.

2. When, where and how

Once you have established your opportunity and you’ve identified your audience, you’ll need to plan ‘how’ you’re going to get your message in front of them. Communication is an important factor in within a digital marketing strategy, but will only be successful if you’re talking to your audience, at the right time, the right place on the right device.

Going digital with your strategy allows you access to an array of contact points to communicate with you target audience. Popular tools include:

  • Blog
    An increasingly popular way of delivering content, a blog isn’t just a platform to discuss your products or services but can act as a content platform to promote articles or piece of thought-leadership. A blog is a longer term digital strategy that can act as a content hub to drive further traffic to your website and begin to suggest other articles or areas on the website the reader may be interested in.
  • SEO
    There is no point having lots of interesting content if your audience cannot access it. Search Engine Optimisation (or SEO) techniques will help your content appear at the top of search engines such as a Bing or Google. SEO concentrates on a long game plan; it can take a few weeks or even months to really see any results, however once you start seeing the benefits, you’ll not just notice an increase in the quantity of traffic, but also the quality of traffic too.For more information on SEO, Moz have several links and guides to help you on your way!
  • PPC
    Unlike SEO, Pay Per Click (or PPC) is a digital marketing strategy that gives you instant results, by placing paid ads at the top of search engines. PPC allows you to place your ads in front of an audience that are activity searching for a product or service that you provide but you only pay for your ads every time someone clicks on them. Furthermore, there are opportunities to target your customers by location, time of day and device) to ensure that your media spend isn’t wasted on people who are less likely to be interested in your services/product.
  • Display Advertising
    Display Advertising (or Display Ads as they a commonly called) are paid for adverts that are shown on other relevant websites across the internet. Display Ads give you more complex and sophisticated targeting opportunities than PPC, which means (if done properly) you can directly access your audience whilst they are browsing online. Unlike PPC, this audience may not be in market to purchase your product or service right now. Instead Display Ads give you the opportunity to access your audience before they are in market, which is why traditionally Display Ads are usually used to help promote your brand. There are lots of different types of ad formats available through Display, such as video, animation and native ads, which allows you to promote your brand, product or service without getting in the way of a user’s browsing experience.
  • Social networks
    Social media is a popular and diverse channel in which to communicate, not just because there are so many different platforms now available, including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram (to name a few), but as it allows you to target a specific persona anytime and anywhere through the use of paid for advertising. However just because you have options available, it doesn’t mean you have to be present across all of them. Think about your strategy and which networks your audience are most likely to be actively engaged with. For example, if you sell business to business (B2B) it’s likely that LinkedIn will be a better platform for engagement compared to Facebook.
  • Email marketing
    You may have also seen your subscriber list take a hit when the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force in May 2018, however this has allowed many business to cleanse their data and deliver content to an actively engaged audience. Many people believe emails are not read but if the content is relevant and engaging this isn’t the case. A newsletter is a perfect way to send a regular update to your subscribers and keep them engaged with your brand. Mailchimp have provided benchmarking data so you can compare your business to industry standard.
  • Video
    According to hubspot, 54% of people want to see more video content from marketeers. Video is a creative way of communicating valuable information to your target audience in an easily digestible manner. Many online platforms such as YouTube have made it easy to create channels where video can not only be stored, but interacted with and subscribed to.

In addition, you can use the techniques above to take some popular offline marketing communications tools online:

  • Events
    Hosting events online through webinars is a great way of engaging without your target audience without the restrictions of time, location and cost. Furthermore, social platforms such as Instagram allow you to live stream to an audience anywhere, at any time.
  • Partnerships
    Partnering with a business or advocate who complements your brand, products or services can be a great way of extending your reach with minimal costs. This can be as simple as sharing each other’s posts or collaborating on an original piece of content, video or newsletter.

Regardless of which channels you decide to use to access your audience online, the most important thing to consider is how all of these different channels talk to each other. All strategies need to be integrated with each other to get the very best for your money. Without an integrated strategy, the risk of wastage increases, and the experience for your potential customers and clients decreases.

3. Don’t just create a report, create insight!

As part of your digital marketing strategy, you should monitor the results of your actions to understand what can be dropped, what should be maintained and what can be improved and optimised. The mantra across our digital team is if we can’t measure it, we don’t do it!

Digital channels are a popular choice for marketers as it allows you to track the success of your strategy in real-time. Any strategy must be closely followed and then critically analysed to ensure your efforts are on track or whether you need to adapt – we call this ‘actionable insights’.

Finally, remember that attracting your target audience is only the first step. You need to ensure you have the relevant strategies in place to convert them into your customers. Strategic planning must be continually monitored and followed to ensure you are achieving your expected results.

Image © Getty

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