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:
Let’s quickly look at what each of these means and how you can apply this to your business.
Specific: You know the problem with the goal “I want to grow my business?” It’s too vague! What does growing your business mean anyway? Does it mean you want to increase your revenue? Does it mean you want to expand into more territories? Does it mean you want more leads or more customers??
When your goals are vague, you cannot effectively plan a strategy to achieve them. So, your marketing goals need to be specific, eg. Generate more qualified leads that match [XYZ criteria], or Grow blog subscribers, or Drive more organic traffic to [Product A] page.
With specific goals such as these, you know which direction you need to put your marketing resources in, rather than just shooting in the dark. As they say, if you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.
Measurable: Can you measure the goals you have set? Are they quantifiable? If not, you need to go back to the drawing board.
Your digital marketing goals should be measurable so that you know exactly where you need to reach. eg. Increase qualified leads that match [XYZ criteria] by 20%, or Grow blog subscribers to 1000, or Increase organic traffic to [Product A] page by 30%.
The advantage of digital marketing over traditional forms of marketing and advertising like TV, Print or Billboards is that practically everything you do can be measured, so when you set measurable goals, you know exactly where you stand with respect to your KPIs.
Attainable: It’s good to be ambitious with your goals, but you also need to be realistic. For example, if you generated 100 qualified leads/month in the last quarter, you can’t suddenly expect to generate 1000 leads/month in the next quarter.
You need to look at what resources it took to produce 100 leads/month, how much can you increase your budget and optimize your efforts in the next quarter, and then come up with a realistic projection of what numbers you can achieve. Otherwise, you’ll be setting yourself up for failure and disappointment.
Relevant: Are your digital marketing goals aligned with your overall business goals? Businesses often make the mistake of setting marketing goals that aren’t tied to real business outcomes, such as customers, revenue, profitability etc. When this happens, you end up chasing metrics that aren’t really relevant and don’t contribute to the bottomline.
Marketing professionals in organizations that have a dedicated marketing department have often been found guilty of trying to achieve their own marketing KPIs, losing sight of the end business objectives in the process.
So, all your digital marketing goals need to be relevant to your business and aligned with top-level business objectives. Eg, By increasing our qualified leads from 200/month to 250/month, we can get 25 new customers @10% conversion rate that will add approximately $25,000 in monthly revenue.
For marketing professionals reading this, always remember that it's easier to get management buy-in when your marketing goals and budgets are tied to real business growth metrics like revenue, costs and profitability.
Time-bound: So, your goals are specific, measurable, attainable, and relevant. But do they have a time limit, a deadline? Without a deadline, you could go years without achieving your goals and waste tons of money in the process.
That’s why every digital marketing goal you set must be time-bound, i.e it should have a realistic time-limit. Eg. Go from 300 qualified leads in the last quarter to 400 leads in the next quarter, or hit 1000 blog subscribers by Dec 31, 2020 etc.
Once you’ve answered these key 3 questions, you are all set to start planning your digital strategy.
Need help building a winning digital marketing strategy?
At Allura Digital, we specialize in building completely personalized digital marketing strategies that help B2B businesses stand out from the noise and boost their traffic, leads and revenue. Book a free 30-minute discovery call to discuss your marketing goals and take the first step towards building a solid marketing strategy for 2021 and beyond.