Digital Marketing Strategy
Your products and services are great, maybe the best in your industry, sector, or niche – but without customers, you will fail. You need to get your business to the right people at the right time. With online marketing, it helps to know how to do this from the get-go. It’s unlikely you have the time, or money, to waste going down the wrong paths. Many business managers and owners accuse strategic planning as being paralysis by analysis – and then lose a fortune. Many of them over and over again. Fail to plan, plan to fail. A cliché, for sure, but one that’s on the money.
An article recently revealed that nearly half of businesses do not have a clear marketing strategy for their internet marketing efforts. That means that companies of all sizes are not taking advantage of all the data that is out there to help them use their resources properly and keep their business alive, starting growing, or taking moderate success to the next level.
Auditing your marketplace
Successful businesses know all about their target customers and what their competitors do to attract & convert them into paying clients. The best starting point for any campaign or project is always going to be with proper market research. A common approach taught on the courses that Google, Facebook, LinkedIn etc, is to look closely at your target clients, before anything else.
Sample personas are an ideal way to define and segment your target customers, set clear objectives for your business, and identify your real competitors – not just the ones you know.
It is difficult for most people to think outside their own perspective in terms of what they would want from a product or service. For business owners, understanding their customers’ needs, wants, and opinions – as well as their demographic and digital information – is key so that marketing strategies are created with the target audience at the core.
Sample personas can help determine how customers are attracted by other businesses so we avoid making assumptions about who your target market is, which channels they use, and what content will attract and convert them. You can also find out about budgets, brand perceptions, and their values in life. Matching those isn’t a bad idea for your business. Trial and error is an expensive strategy- both in terms of time and financial resources. You really can avoid a lot of uncomfortable situations by putting in the right foundations from the word go. Many don’t, many lose a lot.
This approach also allows you to begin to formulate loose content plans, as you find out what they like. You know which segment likes what – so can give them it. You know where they are online, and on what devices – so you know how, where, and when to give them it. Messaging strategies for different groups within your target market are about a lot more than just simple demographics and geographic location. You also find out where they are offline – part of the equation that is key for most businesses; often as/more important as the online piece.
Another massive benefit of proper target market research and sample persona building is finding out who your competitors really are. How much do you really know about who your customers are buying from when it’s not from you? Which segments prefer which brands? Which competitor campaigns do they like? Or, more importantly, do they not like? Businesses need to mimic and match their top-performing competitors, to move past them, but you want to avoid repeating their mistakes as well!
If you are a senior manager, business owner, freelancer, or just someone who cares about what they do – we all think we know our marketplace inside out. I’ve found this to be true in every organisation I’ve worked for, with, or had as a client on every continent on the planet (all of them, apart from the big cold one at the bottom). We’re all full of ourselves and never know as much as we think we do. It’s human nature; when you’re working hard and making progress or having a lot of success, to think you’re at the top of the game. There are always bigger players and smarter strategists – sometimes they are hard to find.
By conducting extensive research into search traffic online using professional tools; you can uncover a huge amount of information about most marketplaces in most countries. In most of the world, you can now get so much publicly available data about your marketplace it can be overwhelming. When you have a clear idea of all of your competitors, you can start looking really closely at their digital entities and learn enough to make you feel like you work for them. Of course, not everything is 100% accurate – it’s usually a little understated in my experience, and that’s a good thing – as it means there is more traffic, more leads, and more customers waiting for your products or services.
Finding out how much your competitors spend on paid digital advertising is pretty useful – and where and when. How often they post new content and the topics they approach is giving you the core of your content strategy for free – do the same, but do it better. Finding out what commercial intent keywords (so, searches) actually drive traffic to their sites gives you more for your content strategy.
Who links to their websites? What links do they “control”? What helps them? What harms them? What tricks are they up to? Where does their traffic really come from? What is their email marketing strategy like? The last one there may not be in fashion these days, but it still converts way better than many tactics if you do it right, for so many businesses, in so many markets.
A business also needs proper research into competitor pricing, discounting, third-party sales channels, and affiliates. It is essential for bigger businesses in competitive marketplaces. All this information is readily available for local businesses as well, you just need to know where to look and what tools to use – and then what to do with the knowledge.
A good starting point would be by combining all this knowledge with what you know about your target market. Straight away you’re going to see opportunities and, places where your competitors are screwing up. Charging too much or too little, not promoting (or selling) in places they could be, wasting time on channels and campaigns that were never going to work.
This is the best kind of data you can have when planning your strategies and campaigns. Your research has done a huge amount of the heavy lifting of decision-making for you already. So, you’re going to be able to focus on being seen, heard, and converting leads a lot faster.
Improving your search engine rankings performance, while also improving visibility on other digital channels allows you to ensure your digital marketing campaigns reach your potential clients.
Using the information about which keywords your competitors get traffic from helps you to prepare a content marketing plan. Step-by-step you can use the information to plan your blog posts, your next piece of content for social channels, paid media, or a new landing page. There are many other ways you can creatively use this knowledge in your digital marketing plan to improve long-term content marketing results, generate leads and grow your business. offer businesses of all sizes the chance to get smart insights and use them
You need to know your business and how it is performing – or why it is not. This is not just looking at how fast your website is loading or if you are posting on Facebook the right number of times per week. Sure, those things can be important, in certain circumstances, but they are not at the heart of your sales and operations. When developing a strategy for a campaign, or wider objectives, it is critical to self-evaluate and determine your current performance – internally and externally.
Having the right processes in place so that you can make the most effective use of resources – be those large or small – is the only way a business can progress. Having the right team members – either as employees, contractors or suppliers – that follwo those processes, and make them better, is key. It is all very well having it all planned out, but as many an entrepreneur and senior manager alike find out (me included) and has to try and learn (I’m still trying!!), you cannot do it all on your own. You have to get the right support where you need it and be able to trust your team to deliver on their KPIs, while you focus on yours.
Planning who takes responsibility for what and ensuring they have the required skillset for the tasks at hand is a key part of your digital strategy. We all try, and enjoy, learning new skills and have those we are great at, and our weaker areas. But if you try and do that before, or during, the project – how are things likely to go? How is that going to impact on budget and on any collaborators that there are.
Auditing your website
There are a myriad of tools and reports available. You need to focus on the key metrics and think about your customers. So, clearly, you are going to have to working out your starting positon before you hunt for new business. Your website is likely the centre of your business online and so it is a good place to start.
You need to do some website SEO analysis, a site security audit, benchmark against competitor website performance, look at the backlink profile and how it matches up against them as well. The speed your site loads and if it is properly optimised for mobile devices is now a ranking factor, so claim Google. They have always been an important factor for converting your clients and ensuring visitors have a positive impression of your brand.
Auditing your digital footprint
Most businesses these days have a whole host of different online entities – social media pages and profiles, maybe a microsite you built on another domain, maybe you’ve done the odd podcast – maybe even had a pop at YouTube. Or maybe not; but you are likely to have a few things that need to be looked at.
Most of your digital footprint online can be optimised and potentially monetised. There are many opportunities to support your business goals and objectives – and to make money. You need to make sure you are presenting a uniform brand image across all the channels your customers use, and ensuring you are present on their news feeds one way or the other (paid, or organically).
Once you have done all your research, it is now time to make decisions, get planning, and get moving.
Fully Integrated Digital Marketing Strategy
You need to take control of your sales funnel. You know your business performance and you are fully benchmarked against your competitors. You need to refine your products and services and how you present them online.
Fix your website’s technical and on-page SEO (so, content) issues while at the same time setting up and optimising the channels you need to be on to reach your customers. Get your content prepared and work out an editorial calendar for each channel. Budget for paid advertising somewhere, even a little can make a difference, and for the content, tools, and services your business will need.
Once you have completed your well researched, thought-out, and carefully planned strategy – it will give you the chance to do the following for your business:
- Identify market gaps and plan to fill them
- Reach a wider audience
- Better targeting of your potential clients
- Spend less time, money, and resources
- Increase traffic, leads, and conversions
- Discover more business opportunities
- Use appropriate tactics for your market and level of competition
- Measure the performance of your campaigns and success
- Improve brand recognition and name
- Scale your business up
- Compete with bigger businesses than yours
- Reach your sensible targets in the time frames you need to
- Manage the use of your project’s financial resources
If you do not plan your digital marketing strategy properly, you fail to:
- Define clear goals
- Identify and fix digital marketing mistakes
- Grow your sales pipeline
- Leverage available marketing channels
- Outperform your competitors
- Allocate and spend your digital marketing budget wisely
- Build your customer base
- Establish brand confidence
- Deliver sales leads
- Increase traffic flows and conversions
- Grow your industry expertise
- Provide an excellent customer service
- Engage with prospects across platforms
- Take advantage of marketing trends and sales opportunities
The approach we take to Content Ranked’s SEO Services is to gather expert insights and knowledge about your project, company, market, and competitors. We use tried and tested techniques, and the best paid tools, that benchmark your business performance locally, nationally, or internationally.
We then develop your results-driven strategies with achievable objectives. We can help you to reach and activate your audience, converting them into paying customers and Brand Advocates for your business.
Success requires solid research before strategic planning then tactical execution – with ongoing SEO to take opportunities, not miss them