6 Phases of Digital/Internet Marketing Strategy
You may be a businessperson or an entrepreneur who wants his/her business to benefit from the huge marketplace provided by the internet.
The starting point is to first own a website. Or you can own a page in any social networking sites like Facebook.
Then you can showcase and sell your contents and products from these webpages.
Depending on your products and your efforts, you may or may not be able to drive traffic to your website and/or webpages.
However, you need a digital marketing strategy to get traffic to your website, generate leads, meet your sales goals and make profit.If this interests you, then keep reading.
What is digital marketing?
Wikipedia describes Digital marketing as an umbrella term for the marketing of products or services using digital technologies.
It involves the promotion of products or brands through one or more forms of electronic media such as the Internet,mobile phones, display advertising, video and any other digital medium.
It also involves methods for analyzing marketing campaigns across these channels in order to identify what is working and how to improve it.
Digital marketing activities include Content Marketing, Search Engine Marketing (SEM), Social Media Marketing (SMM), E-Mail Marketing (EMM), Mobile Marketing and Video Marketing.
Digital marketing is very essential because most of your potential customers constantly online and can be reached through digital marketing. Since your competitors are online, digital marketing will help you to compete favorably and grow your business.
In this article, I want to share with you my steps for setting up Digital Marketing Strategy.
A PROVEN Systematic method for setting up your marketing strategy
This has been developed from my experience in trying to get traffic to my website, engage in some internet business and make some money
Let’s get started.
From the 4Ps of marketing, for there to be a market there must be a Product positioned at a Place that People can come and buy at a Price.
The Product can be tangible or intangible (digital or service).
The Place represents any medium through which the product is presented to the buyer.
(This can be a shop or any advertising or promotional channel)
The People who are interested in the product (Lead) are purchased it at a Price (potential customers).
Finally, the Price is cost or the value of the product.
From above, every marketing activity depends on the product. You need to know your products, its features, the benefits it offers, the type of people (target audience) that needs it, where they are and why they buy it. Along with these, you also need to know what your competitors are doing and the price they are offering similar product.
Phase One: Analyzing your market
However, for you to develop an effective digital marketing strategy, you must first analyze your market. This involves your business, products, processes, competitors and customers. You should be able to define your goals and how to achieve them.
An easy way to analyze your market is to answer some questions like:
Know your business:
Is my business ready for digital marketing?
How well can I promote my products and services online?
Do I have the technology, skills and infrastructure?
How will digital marketing fit into my processes?
How can we build brand confidence and maintain a sales follow-up strategy?
How ready can you and your staff accommodate change?
Do you have a website/webpage? Is it properly setup for digital marketing?
Know your product:
What problem does your product to solve?
How does our product make the life of your customers’ better?
Does your product present an opportunity to improve the lives of your customers?
How do they feel without the value that our product offers?
How your customer look and search for your product, what info do they need?
What questions do your customers typically ask before buying (how are they re-assured)?
Know your competition:
Who are my competitors?
What are they doing online? Emulate what they are doing right and learn from what they are doing wrong.
Is there any online opportunity they are not tapping?
How can you differentiate yourself online? What do you need to offer that they are not offering?
Remember, online competition is global, not local.
Know your Customer:
To develop an effective digital marketing strategy you must identify and understanding exactly who the client will be (his age, nationality, level of education and more) and more importantly his/her needs, problems and desires with relation to our line of products.
Who are your customers?
Why do they buy your product?
Are you looking for business from a completely new set of customers or demography?
Who are your target customers? Are your target customers online?
How can you engage your customers?
How can we make the sales process easy and effortless for your customers?
Answer to these questions will help you to understand your business, define your digital marketing goals and strategies to achieve them.
Phase Two: Planning Your goal or setting a goal
You can start planning your digital marketing by setting your goals that you want to achieve. Setting clear, measurable and achievable goals is a key part of your digital marketing strategy because you are looking for ways to help your business grow.
Your goals might be more customers,
generate online sales,
create a source of targeted sales leads,
improve your brand awareness and recognition
or may be something completely different.
Therefore, your goals are the yardsticks against which you can measure the progress of your digital marketing campaigns. The goals can be defined relative to the business, products, customers, sales, competition and/or a combination of these factors.
A lot of strategy and precision goes into digital marketing and having a goal helps you know what to focus on.Whatever the case may be, starting with a solid goal in mind greatly increases your chances of success.
The beauty of digital marketing is that you can measure and compare your advertisement results.
You can track everything that is happening about digital marketing activities and compare your progress against predefined goals and key performance indicators (KPIs).
And you can answer some questions like:
How is your digital campaign progressing?
Are certain digital channels delivering more traffic than others? Why is that?
What about conversion rates?
How much of that increased traffic results intangible value to your business? Measure, tweak, refine, and re-measure.
Digital marketing is an ongoing and iterative process. At this phase also, you need to setup the necessary analytics tool in your website to gather necessary statistics that will help you analyze the performance of your digital marketing activities.
Phase Three: Develop a content strategy
After developing your goals, you need to develop a content strategy that will magnetize the web visitors and convert them to subscribers and lead them through a buying process (marketing channel) to become customers or clients.
Developing a content strategy involves choosing and focusing on an area(s) based on your goals, your products, processes and target customers.
And develop your content which can be text (articles or blogs), images, and video anda combination of them.
For naturally visual products such as food, property and clothing you would be using images and videos.
Technical products may require writing some articles, content-rich web-pages or publishing PDF downloadable material.
A professional looking website will be essential to convey your message along with your content.
Based on your answers to the questions in phase 1 above, you will be able to know how the used content to
Promote your business, product and achieve your goal,
Make your customers comfortable and confident that you truly understand their needs,
Describe and display your product in way that creates interest in the buyer and answers their important questions, and
Entice your website visitor to submit an inquiry, provide his/her contact details or buy directly from the website.
Outside of your website, you will be using this content to drive organic and referral traffic to your website from search engines (like Google), social media (such as Facebook and LinkedIn) and other websites.
Within your website, you will then use this content to move the website visitor through the buying process sometimes called a marketing channel.
The marketing channel is a mapped out journey from when your web visitors are complete strangers to when they become a lead. You might want to put some strategies in place that will encourage them to move through the funnel and turn them into customers. This is called a lead magnet (something valuable that people can download or request) in your website to be able to capture prospects’ details (landing page) and start communicating with them via email or personally (with permission). Things like lead magnets, calls to action, opt-ins and offers are all effective pieces of a funnel. The four parts of the marketing funnel in four parts: Awareness, Interest, Desire, and Action.
This is achieved through a well-written sales letter.
Thus, your content strategy must be able to attract the attention of your target customer (create Awareness/Attention), generate his/her Interest and Desire (Decision), and encourage them to purchase (take Action). The next phases explain how to use these elements of marketing to achieve your goals.
Phase Four: Awareness –Driving traffic
In order for there to be people to drive into your marketing funnel, there first has to be traffic (web visitors) on your website using your content.
The potential customers are looking something they need. You have to make him/her to be aware that what they are looking for is in website. You have the product they need and/or you can solve their problem through your services.
At all times, there is someone online. People use the internet differently and interact with brands and products in different ways. But the major reason people go online is to search for information. Therefore, for you to drive traffic to your website there is the need to place your content at the right place and at the right time. Where it will command the attention of you online target customer. It is necessary to focus on driving targeted traffic that fit into your target market to your website in line with your goals. Then you can use a lead magnet or call-to-action to give the customer a valuable resource related to your product or service (i.e.: what they need) in exchange for more information about themselves like their email address, phone number, profession and current needs. Find out who they are and why they came to you.
There a variety of places and/or ways you can drive traffic to your website. Some common successful ones are discussed below:
SEO Optimized Content: Based on your content strategy, you can start developing contents like blog posts, press releases and articles about it. Improve the quality of the content by ensuring there are original, fresh, rich, readable, professional and Search Engine Optimized (SEO). To make your content SEO optimized, you need to use a tool like Google Adword to do some keyword research to see what people are searching for in Google or on the topic you are blogging. Inserting related keywords into your content and obeying SEO rules will help your content and website show up more in search results, which leads to higher volumes of web traffic as well as improve email list building.
Share your Content: Sharing your content on social media sites and groups will help you leverage the power of already existing large groups of people. To increase the number of direct visitors and build confidence in your brand, you can insert links to your website in your content and share them on Social Media sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and so on.
Posting your content with appropriate pictures, videos and media will also help your posts get more engagement. For a social media like Facebook, you may open a dedicated page for your blogs and share your articles there. By turning your articles to slide presentations or PDF documents, you can drive traffic from popular websites like slideshare.com and scribd.com. Sharing your content can increase your Search Engine ranking, enhance social media following and populate your mailing lists.
Note that you do not need to use all social media platform available. You have to select one or two that is most suitable for your target audience and goals. For example, if you are selling products that are visual in nature, Facebook and Instagram may be a great opportunity for you, if you are selling corporately used products/services, LinkedIn may be a better investment of your time.
Paid Advertising: It is necessary to note that SEO optimized content and sharing your content are free methods of driving traffic. You can advertise your content in social media networks and search engines and pay to drive traffic to your site. It is a good method to ignite and speed up the process of driving traffic. Some of the methods are digital display ads, social network ads, co-sponsored email ads and PPC ads on search engines.
Paid advertising is a fast-track to generating traffic but it can also be a fast-track to losing a lot of money if not properly done. You can use paid adverting to increase traffic, enhance social media following and generate mailing list.
Combining the free methods with powerful content will enhance performance of paid ads, which increases the return on the amount invested.
Phase Five: Interest, Decision and Call-To-Action – Turning interested prospects to clients through a follow-up strategy
It is necessary to state that as you are driving traffic to the content and website, you should be building your email list on your website and followers on social media.
As a matter of seriousness, you should always build your e-mail list and maintain a relationship with your list and followers. Your relationship with your list is asimportant as the list. This is very important because this is the one true asset that you own.
Note that your content strategy may fail. Your technology may become obsolete. Your search engine ranking may become low. But your email list and followers remains.
You may not be able to control what happened in any social media platform but you can control your list based on the relationship that you have with your list. With a good relationship with your email list and followers, you can still turn some of these factors around and sell your products.
You maintain a good relationship with your list and followers by communicating with them. Your email list and followers is people who are aware of your product and are interested in it but have not decided to buy. The way to do this is by offering value throughout all your communication with them. Offer advice, solutions that they can implement, updates that might interest them, giveaways and anything you can think of that they will enjoy receiving, including material that simply entertains.So you can turn your mailing list and social following into clients over time and build confidence in your brand.
If this follow-up strategy is done well, it will take your prospects through a path that builds curiosity for the benefits of your product, improve the trust of your brand and increase the probability of their decision to buy your product and executing your call-to-action.
Other follow-up strategies like SMS, Mobile marketing, Video marketing works very well too when implemented properly.
Phase Six: Performance Review
As stated in phase two above, you start planning your digital marketing by setting your goals that you want to achieve. The goals should be clear, measurable and achievable.
Here, you will review the performance of yourvarious marketing activities in line with the set goals. This will assist you to identify the activities that are performing well and the ones to be eliminated. Or identify the ones to modified and improved upon.
This involves reviewing some statistics provided by the analytics in your website in order to identify opportunities, set more realistic goals, refine strategy and evaluate performance.
In order to achieve this, the analytics system must be able to find out the weaknesses and strengths across yourmarketing funnel, Overall traffic, Leads, Customers, Customer Acquisition Cost, New vs. Repeat Visitors and Effectiveness by Channel
This makes digital marketing an ongoing and iterative process. You may need to through phases one to five to improve the performance.
Finally, all the above considered, I have presented our 6 steps to Digital Marketing Strategy, which is a step-by-step process that drives traffic to your website and leads them through a sales funnel that will convert them to customers.
This methodology is designed to help Small and Medium Scale to understand Digital Marketing activities and method of developing their own Digital Marketing Strategy. This methodology will help you to develop your own Digital Marketing Strategy right the first time.
Contact us to discuss your Digital Marketing goals, needs and solutions to increase your traffic, lead them to become customers and increase sales by sending an email to email@example.com or fill our contact form below:
Thank you very much
Augustus ZEKARYAH, MCPN, MBA, MSC
Principal Consultant, FirstPlus Integrated Business Solutions
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About the author
Augustus has been developing and teaching website design (using WordPress) since 2012. His techniques and methods currently help over three dozens of website designers and businesses to be successful. Also, Augustus uses Moodle to develop e-learning portals. In the last 20 years, he has developed over 40 business plans for businesses in Agricultural, Commerce, Manufacturing and Petroleum sectors of the Nigerian economy. He has written many articles/blogs on website design, e-learning, business and others. Visit http://firstplus-ibs.com.ng to read some articles/blogs or send a mail to him through firstname.lastname@example.org