In wikipedia Strategy (from Greek στρατηγία stratēgia, “art of troop leader; office of general, command, generalship”) is defined a high level plan to achieve one or more goals under conditions of uncertainty.
It is an art and at as art it also need talent to create a good strategy. What is more, in strategy you need to have the ability to be objective, take the best possible decision while being on pressure and at the same time (crazy, I know!) be patient on the way your strategy is evolving.
In Digital Marketing, the strategy is as important as the service or product itself. Therefore, setting up an holistic strategy in digital marketing, you will eventually see your services/products thrive!
After all, nowadays, digital marketing is not something we just consider having in our marketing. It is our Marketing!
In this post, you will find the aspects a digital marketing strategy should have. I will not provide any analysis on them, but rather try to help you understand why you should consider those features in your strategy set up. The following are based on Digital Marketing Institute strategy & planning process.
So, let’s start with a video, that will show you what Zero Moment of Truth is and why marketers, nowdays, need to pay a pretty good attention to that:
In digital marketing, effective strategy and planning is an interactive process that includes four main parts:
Remember the 3i.
- Initiate: don’t create a strategy, but rather identify your customer and then work on the digital strategy
- Iterate: try to learn from your customer and use any information you gather from the engagement with them to your strategic plan
- Integrate: integrate digital channels in a meaningful way and in terms of traditional marketing activities
Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats. You need to include a SWOT analysis in your strategic plan so as to conclude to the best opportunities you need to pursue in order to achieve you goals. Moreover, it will help you identify which strength you need to focus and improve in the future and which are your main weaknesses that need to be carefully treated.
Moreover, in that situation analysis you may, also, measure your current digital activities in terms of your:
- Customer. How effective are your current activities towards your customer?
- Sector. Is your sector digitally rated?
- Competitor. What does competition do?
- Company. What do you do?
The difficulty in that level of the process is to acknowledge and evaluate properly the information you will collect. What you need to do in that stage of strategy, is to see what the digital world believes about you and your main competitors. Moreover, you should also consider what the digital worlds believe about the sector you are about to do business. Check some of the following tools:
- Various search engines
- Google trends
- Google Adwords Keyword planner & Display planner
Define your audience is not an easy task. You need to have a clear interpretation of your target audience in order to be able to implement in the most efficient way the other, important, aspects of your strategy. It is vital to give a detailed description on each audience you will identify as target of your strategy. In that way, you will know, exactly who is your customer, the gender and age, where s/he lives, what are his/her preferences and needs.
In one of my next posts, I will try to focus on that category a little bit more. I will try to help you understand the notion of “fluid customers” and how that kind of a customer is correlated with ZMOT.
Both Google Adwords & Facebook Ads, provide exceptional tools in order to identify your audience. Do try them!
Since we have “realised” who we are, who are our competitors and who are our audiences, it is time to start planning on how we will try to differentiate from our competitors and give to our audience the service/product they need!
When it comes to objective you need to think… SMART:
- Specific: Answer to the questions:
- What you need to accomplish?
- Why do you want to do it?
- How you are going to do it?
- Measurable: set an indicator of progress. How will you know, that you accomplish the goal?
- Actionable: the required actions are within your power. Always ask whether the goal is realistic.
- Relevant: try to create goals that are relevant to your service/product. What that goal can do to your product lifetime?
- Timed: specify when the result can be achieved. It can be in days, weeks, months or years.
The objectives can be relates to:
- Business : you may set up objectives about sales or profit, etc
- Audience: you may need to increase the numbers of feedbacks you will get or the referrals from existed clients.
- Brand: you may need to get more through reputation management and create a buzz after your brand
In digital marketing the main tools in implementing your strategy are:
- Search Marketing (SEO & PPC)
- Social Media Marketing
- Mobile Marketing
- Email Marketing
- Digital Display Advertising
For each of those tools, I will have separate posts, so as for you to have in-depth information.
Specifically for SMEs that are in the area of Greater Manchester, there is the Google initiative, Digital Garage, that will run from 1st of December 2015 till late March 2016. I am going to be one of the mentors on that initiative and you will have the opportunity to get a personal consultation by digital marketing experts. Book a slot and I would be very happy to help you!
You may not need a PRINCE2 project management certification to design and implement an action plan, but surely you need to create a coherent project structure. So milestones, deliverables and resources are issues you need to address as clearly as it can be on your planning.
It is a triangle that each corner is connecting with the other two. Actions – Timeframe – Resources – Actions.
The budget is not just a number with a currency at its left or right! You need have the whole picture of your action plan in order to decide how you are going to sponsor each action. Some of the actions are expensive (e.g. SEO campaigns) and some others inexpensive but not so efficient. You need to weight the importance of your actions and prioritise wisely.
The circle of strategy & planning is concluded with Analysis. After, the implementation of your strategy and the monitoring of the first results, it’s time to find those small details that need to be optimised.
Through monitoring and analysis, you will be able to measure the success or failure of your plan. Through Analytics, like Google Analytics, you may be:
- Able to find out how your visitors locate your website.
- Able to identify which pages and links your visitors click the most.
- Able to segment your visitors
- Able to optimise your website in the areas that seems are more attractive to your visitors
Measurement is the stage were you also calculate your ROI and decide whether the advertising actions you have taken are right or wrong. Do they need optimisation or modification? Should you adjust the budget? etc.
Through proper measurement and gathering of insights you may defend your decisions and take the proper action in the future.
There are a lot of analysis tools that you can use, depending on the objectives that you have put in your strategy.
- Search optimisation (Google Analytics & AdWords Keyword Planner)
- Search marketing (AdWords & Analytics)
- Social media marketing (listening tools, insights & analytics)
- Mobile marketing (mobile analytics)
- Email marketing (ESP reporting & analytics)
- Digital display (publisher reporting and analytics)
Every digital marketing strategy is an iterative process. As the numbers of iteration increases, the goal will be much closer and the strategy will be succeeded.
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Nicholas is an experienced Digital Marketing Professional. He is in the telecoms market the last 13 years. For full CV, please do not hesitate to visit his LinkedIn Page or contact him!
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