Building your digital marketing strategy can be a daunting task. Beginning anything can be daunting. Just trying to write this article was daunting. (I’m always in constant recovery from 20-minute stares into la la land.) Here are 5 steps to starting your digital strategy:
1. Think about your goals. Why do you want to be on digital and social media? By now, you’ve probably realized that if you’re not effectively using digital platforms to your advantage, you’re losing. And you’re probably playing catch up by now. But asking yourself why is the first step in building the framework for your digital marketing strategy, which goes beyond just selling your products or services online. (Avoid being myopic.)
What’s the essence of your brand? Are you looking to use digital media to educate your audience on how your product solves a specific problem? Or are you using digital media to manage your customers’ expectations? Sometimes it can be both. Some brands use digital media to increase the value of their brand’s voice within their industry and to address any immediate customer concerns. Determine the answer to these questions from the start, and avoid the trap of throwing things against the wall to see what sticks. That’s a waste of time and resources.
2. Establish your goals and stick to them. It’s easy to get caught up in a new trend or to adhere to what your competitors are doing. However, certain trends may not fit your brand. And most importantly, your brand’s core strategy should be to differentiate itself from its competitors. If you do follow your competitor, it must surpass their success exponentially to avoid brand confusion.
Don’t get me wrong. You need to be fully aware. Study trends. Study your competitors. But no matter how fast digital marketing changes, your knee-jerk reaction shouldn’t be following any trend or competitor. Here are a few questions to ask before adopting any trend:
- Does it help me reach any of my goals?
- Will I have to immediately change any of my goals to measure its success?
- Will I possibly loose customers if I adopt this trend?
- Can this trend form or be integrated into a long-term strategy?
Ask yourself these questions to avoid looking too trendy.
3. Measure your performance. I can’t stress how important this step is. Have the correct parameters in place to measure your performance. This means deciding how you’re going to measure your performance and what tools are necessary to measure your performance. Do you need to track URL clicks? Are you tagging your website? What software is necessary to complete these tasks? Start by using simple tools. Recognize any missing links in your measurement efforts. Then expand your tool set as necessary. This will reduce training costs and time spent evaluating potential software.
Once you have the correct parameters and tools in place, determine your reporting style. It’s important to tell your whole story. It’s very tempting to only show the good, especially when you’re just starting. However, this can be misleading. Go for the low-lying fruit first. Show immediate impact and results. But do not rely on them. Always show some type of progression towards your long-term goal.
Also, revaluate your short-term goals every three months, and your long-term goals every year. This will help ease any concerns upper management has about your investments. In addition, make sure your team is fully aware of both your short and long-term goals. You may even want to do internal reports (reports that higher management may not see) to address any immediate concerns or successes.
4. Plan accordingly. Have a timeline your team can reference. You want to make sure everyone on your team, including vendors, know your vision and their expectations. Having a thought-out plan is imperative. In other words, write it down and make it plain.
There should always be a go-to document for you and your team to review. Any long-term plan should include your vision and goals explained explicitly. Make sure this vision encompasses your brand’s overall messaging. Once your vision and goals are explained, give a step-by-step direction on how you plan to reach those goals, the resources needed (this includes time) and any other expectations that need to be met. It’ll probably be beneficial to track your progress using Google Sheets, Smartsheet or some other software where tracking your team members’ activities are easy. This opens the line of communication and provides transparency.
5. Reevaluate all of the above. Don’t get to comfortable resting on your laurels. Evaluate your successes and failures. Creating a best practices document will help lay the wireframe for future strategies. Ask your team what they struggled with. Figure out why they struggled in certain areas. Then educate them about it in a document.
Don’t just rely on one of your team members for insight. Keep in mind that one team members experience may not be the same as another’s. Make it comfortable for all team members to share their points of views. Do some research on what’s causing any issues. Once you’ve received all feedback, create a general synopsis of what would have happened if you followed what you have discovered. That way the foundation for your next digital strategy is laid already.
Follow these five steps, and you’re on your way to building an A1 digital marketing strategy. Feel free to contact me if you need help developing your digital strategy.