Digital marketing success is all about making connections. People do not make purchasing decisions the way they used to. Because of the changing habits of consumers, traditional (offline) marketing is not as effective as it used to be. To connect with your audience, you need to meet them online.
Digital media is an umbrella term. It encompasses all the ways your company connects with current and perspective customers online. This includes business websites and social media, but also things like blogs, video, online reviews, etc.
Digital media options are constantly expanding and changing. This can leave small and medium-size companies feeling over-whelmed. But the truth is that digital media levels the playing field in many ways. Even a business with limited capital and resources can succeed online. The key is to take a strategic, step-by-step approach.
What are the 5 Steps to Digital Marketing Success?
- Set S.M.A.R.T. Objectives
- Perform a Digital Media Audit
- Develop a Digital Marketing Strategy
- Measure Your ROI Regularly
- Adjust the Strategy Accordingly
Set SMART Objectives
Everything you do online should align with clear objectives. And each objective should support meaningful goals. Your goals can be broad and abstract, like “enhance our brand”, but your objectives must be S.M.A.R.T.:
SPECIFIC. MEASURABLE. ACHIEVABLE. RELEVANT. TIMELY.
So long as you lack a clear vision of what you want to accomplish, your efforts are likely to be scattered and inefficient. With S.M.A.R.T. objectives in place, you are able to refine your focus.
For example: If you know your customers use Twitter, one of your goals may be to “drive sales and leads through Twitter”. This is a worthy goal. But how will you know if you are achieving it? You need to set a S.M.A.R.T. objective like “average a 5% click-through-rate on tweets by the end of the year.”
Perform a Digital Media Audit
Once you have solid goals and SMART objectives, you may be tempted to jump into action. This would be a mistake. To get where you want to be you must start by knowing where you are! Before developing a digital marketing strategy, you need to take a long, hard look at your current online presence.
A digital media audit assesses your current digital media use and how it is working for you. It identifies who is currently connecting to you via digital media, the quality and effectiveness of each platform, and how you compare to your competitors.
To ensure that the audit is thorough, start by taking an inventory of your existing digital content (website pages, blogs, videos, social media sites, etc.). Record everything using a spreadsheet or text document, by page titles or URLs. Consider out-sourcing the audit to a third party. It is important for the digital audit to be objective. This can be difficult if staff are being asked to critique their own content.
Develop a Digital Marketing Strategy
Creating goals and objectives, and auditing your existing digital presence is hard work. But once it is done, you will be ready to develop your digital marketing strategy. The strategy document will identify the best platforms, ideal content formats, and target audiences. Ideally, it should also address matters like who will create and manage digital content.
At this point, it may be necessary to provide training to staff members who will have digital marketing responsibilities. Key staff may need to learn more about things like:
- Curating and creating great content
- Managing content using tools like Hootsuite or Google Analytics
- Reading and understanding ROI measurements
Depending on the size and structure of your business, and your goals and objectives, you may want to out-source some activities, like social media or SEO. Alternatively, it may be practical to create an in-house position specific to digital marketing.
Your digital marketing activities (like everything else you do) must match with the financial and human resource realities of your company. Do not get discouraged! One of the great things about digital media is the ability to accomplish great things on a limited budget. Creativity and good planning are worth more than dollars.
On the subject of dollars…
Measure Your ROI Regularly
Your digital marketing strategy should identify how you will measure the return on your investment (ROI). There are two types of measurements: Quantitative and Qualitative. Both should match with your goals and objectives and measure specific progress.
It is relatively easy to measure the quantitative aspects of digital marketing success. These include things like traffic, conversions, and shares. Simple tools like Google Analytics can show you who is viewing and engaging with your web pages and social media posts. These tools can also provide advanced analytics and reporting options. And social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter offer insights about when your fans are online, how many are seeing your posts, and who is viewing or responding.
It can be trickier to measure the qualitative elements, like brand awareness. You can use indirect forms of measurement, like how many new followers you have on specific platforms, or how many times content is viewed or shared, but you should also take a more direct approach. A good example would be conducting periodic surveys. Ask people how they heard about your brand, and what their thoughts are, based on what they heard.
Direct feedback from customers can help you gauge how effectively your digital content is creating a positive, memorable connection between your target audience and your brand. At the end of the day, the qualitative measurements of digital marketing success are arguably the most important. These represent the deeper connections you are making with people, which translate into long-term success for your brand!
Adjust the Strategy Accordingly
Your Digital Marketing Strategy is a living document. Update it at regular intervals. Make changes based on the results of your analyses. Do more of what is working well and revise things that are not working well.
Over time, by taking a strategic approach and aligning your online activities with clear goals and objectives, your company can enjoy digital marketing success and reap a multitude of rewards, including increased sales and greater brand recognition.
Article written by Kim Scaravelli, CEO, Trust Communications Inc.
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