The digital space is a battlefield, where every business online is fighting for attention.
Whether you are a B2B business owner or a marketing professional looking to leverage digital marketing to grow your business, you need a clear game plan to stand out from all the noise and win customers.
That’s what a digital marketing strategy is: A game plan for success. A game plan to close the gap between where you are and where you want to reach.
According to the Managing Digital Marketing Research Report by Smart Insights, 45% of businesses don't have a clearly defined digital marketing strategy.
Without a clear digital strategy, you will be shooting in the dark, and end up wasting precious time and money in the process.
Before you actually start building a strategy though, you need to answer 3 very important questions that will lay the foundation for your entire digital marketing strategy.
Here they are:
1) Who is my Ideal Customer?
There’s a phrase: “If you’re selling to everyone, you’re selling to no one”. This means that you can’t sell every product or service you offer to every single person on the planet.
Why? Because not everybody needs or wants what you’re offering! A great salesman can sell ice to an Eskimo. A great marketer knows better.
Needless to say that going after the wrong audience is a monumental waste of time and money.
That’s why, when building your digital marketing strategy, it’s important to know who your ideal customer is.
In other words, what kind of customers are your products and services most suited to? Who will see the most value in what you’re offering and therefore pay the price you want them to pay?
A 22-year old, straight out of college with student debt, working an entry-level 9 to 5 job that pays $40,000/year, won’t pay $80,000 for a luxury sedan, when all he/she wants is a car for their daily commute.
Similarly, a large multinational company with tens of thousands of customers worldwide and millions of transactions will choose an enterprise-grade sales software that is customizable and scalable, rather than an off-the-shelf solution from a vendor that caters to small and medium-sized businesses.
People have different needs and wants depending on various demographic and psychographic factors, such as age, gender, job title, income, geographic location, aspirations, challenges, fears, etc.
Segmenting your target audience on the basis of these factors, a.k.a creating buyer personas can help you tailor your marketing strategy for each segment and drive higher conversions.
Once you know who is will buy from you, it becomes a whole lot easier to plan which channels/platforms you should market on, what type(s) of content you should publish, what time of the day you should post at, what your messaging should be and so forth.
When all your marketing content, including your website copy, speaks directly to your ideal customers in a language they understand, you attract the right audience, drive more relevant traffic and generate more leads & conversions, all of which eventually help you build a larger, more loyal customer base.
This is the first step in the long journey of converting strangers into customers and ultimately brand ambassadors.
Bonus Tip: Analyze your existing (happy) customers to create buyer personas. Your future customers are likely to be similar to them.
2) What is my value proposition?
Do you think your products/services are great? So are hundreds and thousands of other products or services in your field!
Do you think your offerings are unique? So are hundreds and thousands…well you get the point.
The harsh reality is that whatever you’re doing, odds are you’re NOT the only one doing it (though we all wish that were true!).
In fact, in the time it takes you to read this article, thousands of other people would have started a business selling exactly what you sell. That’s how competitive the world has become.
That brings us to the second question you need to answer when building your digital strategy - Why should people buy from you? What value do you offer?
Bear in mind that just telling people you are great or you are unique is not enough to win their business. You need to clearly demonstrate value.
That's why, when you’re building a digital strategy, you need to be very clear (and honest) about your value proposition.
People often confuse value proposition with Unique Selling Proposition, or USP.
Here's what a value proposition statement looks like this:
We provide [products or services] for [customer] that helps them[benefits]. We solve this problem by [solution with the big differentiators].
As you can see, your value proposition has 4 major components:
• What you sell
• To whom you sell
• Benefits for your target customer/pain points you solve
• What’s different about your solution or brand
It’s important you think long and hard before you nail down your value proposition, as it’s going to be an integral part of all your digital strategy and marketing communications.
Buyer personas(discussed in the first part), come in very handy when you're creating your value proposition statement. Once you know the biggest pain points/aspirations of your ideal customers, you can map the benefits of your solution against them and demonstrate how you offer value, both in absolute terms as well as relative to the competition.
Bonus tip: Ask your existing customers why they chose you over the competition. That will help you gain insights about your perceived value of which you may be unaware.
3) What are my marketing goals?
You know who your ideal customer is, and what value you provide them. The third very important thing you need to be clear about when building your digital strategy is your marketing goals.
And no, “I want to grow my business” doesn’t count!
When establishing your marketing goals, we recommend using the S.M.A.R.T framework.
Let us explain.
S.M.A.R.T is an acronym that stands for: