There is no question about it: Digital Marketing is the way of the future. In fact, this was obvious the moment the internet hit the mainstream markets and became commercially available for almost everybody.
Those who have recognized this and made good use of the internet since then have become legends in marketing and business. Those people include the Gary Vaynerchuk’s and Jeff Bezos’s of the world who utilize the online retail environment.
Nowadays, due to the saturation of competitors and maturity of the internet growth and adoption cycles, becoming a heavy-hitting marketing force that makes an impact is more and more difficult to accomplish.
So, today I want to discuss the best ways to create digital marketing plans and how to utilize the immense outreach that the internet has to offer in order to grow a successful brand or manage your business.
First, let’s dive into what digital marketing entails.
What Is Digital Marketing?
Digital marketing is defined as a component of a business’s marketing efforts that focuses on internet and online digital technologies such as computers, mobile phones, and other platforms that can promote services or products.
Sounds simple enough, essentially, if you use an internet connection to helps you promote your products, it’s digital marketing.
As digital marketing becomes more and more ingrained into business in everyday life, the necessity of employing some best practices becomes increasingly important.
The absolute best practice to employ when creating a digital marketing campaign is to focus on new demographics as opposed to old demographics. Put simply, New demographics will segment a market based on people’s interests, hobbies, and passions. “Old” demographics will segment based on race, age, religion, or gender, etc.
The reason this is absolutely important is because of the nature of connectivity the internet provides us. The internet naturally allows us to explore and join members who are interested and passionate about the same things as we are, despite differences in age, race, religion, or gender.
Before the internet, it used to be that we would only associate ourselves with those who were similar to us in those “old demographic” ways. But now we can pursue our interests and hobbies much more efficiently as well as join groups with similar interests.
The ability to niche markets by interest, passions, and the like is what has allowed marketers to become so successful when promoting their products due to the internet. It is much more useful (and efficient) to target a group that has actively shown interest in a product or service than it is to “shotgun” your marketing campaign and try to reach as many people as possible.
Remember the difference between new and old demographics.
So, when you create a digital marketing campaign, focus on “new” demographics. It will help you clarify and find your target markets in the wide world of the internet.
Planning Your Digital Marketing Campaign
Now that we have considered the demographics you can use to identify your online market, let’s discuss some of the key steps you will have to take to effectively plan a digital marketing campaign.
Step 1: Determine your Online Marketing Goals:
Never try to jump right into a marketing strategy without first considering what goals you are trying to achieve. Considering your goals allows you to adjust and realign during the marketing campaign in order to optimize your results alongside your expectations.
Utilize SMART goals. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. Managing your goals with these characteristics will give you a much more clear idea as to how you expect to benefit from (and achieve) these goals.
Perhaps your goals are to gain a minimum of 5 clients this month, to increase your income by 30% this year, or to engage one hundred people this week. Whatever they are, be sure that they are truly beneficial to the vision you have for yourself or your organization’s future.
Step 2: Solidify a Budget:
The worst marketing mistake you can make is failing to solidify a budget. Why? Because it doesn’t matter how many new clients or leads you receive if you are paying more for them than the profits they provide you. Failing to solidify a budget inevitably translates into the poor management of marketing channels that may be more or less costly than others.
In other words, without a budget, you will not consider the effectiveness of one channel over another in terms of cost per lead or cost per client. This can be critical to your success and the marketing campaigns’ overall efficiency.
Most of the money you spend during your campaign will be used during this planning process on market research and the delegation of money for advertisements on various platforms. Determining how much money you feel is necessary to spend early on In the campaign will set the stage for the amount of content you have to market, and how you create the rest of your plans.
Step 3: Invest in Research:
One of the easiest ways to begin diving into market research is to describe your product, what it solves for the buyer, and who your “perfect customer” is. This will give you a springboard off of which you can dive into the various groups and niches available on the internet that pertain to your market.
Focus on the “pain points” within your market as well. Remember, nobody will buy your product unless they can justify the price to resolve the issue that the product can fix for them. Your market will want to know how their lives are better after utilizing your product or service.
Collect the following information about your product or service:
– Industry Benchmarks/Best Practices: Who are your competitors? What makes them unique?
– Partnerships or External factors that you will rely upon: Vendors? Shipping Partnerships? Product Bundles? What is and is NOT within your control?
– Seasonality: Is there an “on or off” season for your product or service? Can you change that?
– Market Life Cycle: Is the market saturated already? Are there lots of competition?
With these considerations in mind, you need to develop the reasoning behind why your product or service is unique and what you can do to communicate that benefit to your market in a way that distinguishes you from the competition.
Consider writing what I call a “One-Sentence Pitch.” A one-sentence pitch clearly describes your market, your offer, and the benefit you provide to those who partake in your product or service.
This way, with a single sentence you can clearly define and communicate who your market is and what you do as an organization to help them. A one-sentence pitch goes like this.
I help __________ to achieve ______________ by providing_________________.
All you have to do is fill in the spaces. For example:
I help executives increase their profits by providing custom consulting solutions.
Its small and simple and easy to remember, which is great for when you connect with people and have to describe what you do! They will surely remember who you help and how you help and will likely seek you out when they require your specialized services.
Clarify Campaign Channels
Now that we have done some market research, found our targets, and defined how we are unique in our ability to help them, we can now delegate our budget among the various marketing channels you can use to reach your niche.
Some of these channels include (but are not limited to):
– Email Marketing
– Social Media Marketing
– Content Creation
There are almost too many to count But let’s discuss the basics of these channels and what they can do to help you in just a few sentences.
The specific campaign channels that you utilize will determine how you plan your marketing strategy. They cannot all be sued for the same purpose, as we are about to discover.
Be sure to keep analytics in place that help you track the successes of these campaign strategies in order to make the most efficient use of them in the future!
Email marketing is affordable, customizable, and can reach millions of people. However, the inherent downside is the irritability of consumers when they perceive your offers as spam messages, the lack of a more niched audience, and difficulty in targeting only a relevant niche.
Based on these considerations, use email marketing when you have a very versatile product that can be self-explained and is relevant to the “shotgun” approach of outreach. Keep the refined and niched products or services fro a separate channel.
Social Media Marketing
The inherent pros of social media marketing are the low cost, large audience, and brand loyalty that can be maintained through consistent outreach. However, the cons include a long ROI cycle (difficulty in conversions), time-consuming upkeep, and the loss of control on negative publicity.
Keep in mind that social media is the land of the “viral media” that is, anything that a person says or does about your brand may be related back to you, whether it is true or not.
Social media marketing is a great way for a brand to break into the mainstream by increasing outreach and awareness, yet conversions are often more difficult to produce and much more time-consuming, to say the least.
SEO and SEM/PPC
SEO or Search Engine Optimization, and SEM/PPC or Search Engine Marketing/Pay Per Click are somewhat similar.
SEO is your ability to optimize your website to make it more organically “discoverable” by people who are searching for relevant products or services. SEM is your ability to leverage a search engine to make yourself more noticeable in a way that is less organic and more “push” marketing.
Essentially, SEO will result in pull marketing, and SEM is more related to push marketing. With SEM you are actively paying a search engine provider to promote your website for relevant keywords.
Depending on the authority ranking of your website in the search engine, and the age, quality, and SEO you have, you may want to employe SEM as a way to gain early traffic to your site and gain potential consumers as a result. If you have a more established site that is more organically found, paying for SEM may be a wasted effort.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is an organization’s approach to managing their interaction with the consumer. It utilizes data and analytics about the consumer to increase the effectiveness of the company’s engagement efforts.
The key focus of CRM is to increase customer retention and sales growth based on an existing consumer base. This is useful if you have such a consumer base, however, if your clientele is small and insufficient, you will have a difficult time maintaining business growth.
Utilize CRM to drive sales when you feel you have maxed the internal limits of your company to take on new clientele. This way you can increase profits without taking on much additional work.
The thing I am doing right now, blogging, is a form of content marketing. Content marketing is the creations of consumable media or information that can be exposed to large audiences in order to build a consumer base or targeting an audience.
Content marketing is great if you wish to solidify yourself as an expert or thought-leader, but can take lots of effort, time, and hard work to maintain over the long term. For example, blogging consistently will only help you gain tractions and readers after about 6 months of blogging.
Obviously these outreach-centric timeframes can be reduced by using more marketing channels, but content marketing alone is a time-consuming task. Yet, it can be rewarding to your organization in the future.
Familiar Content can include blogging, vlogging, publications, features in other articles, web posts, and more.
Events and demos are great ways to become more personal with your audience, however, it is difficult to maintain in an online setting. Usually, events and demos exist as content marketing, but live events can be streamed online as well with some degree of consumer interaction.
Ultimately, events and demos are best used in person only, this is because the inherent benefits of events and demonstrations can be easily lost in a digital setting and have a difficult time in creating engagement from a specific niche.
Automation marketing is a technology or tool used to automate several repetitive tasks that are often undertaken in a standard marketing campaign. Automation tools may not be able to do everything for you, but repetitive tasks can be taken care of.
Some of these tasks include sending emails, posting to social media, making offers to clients, sending coupons and promotional materials, posting to groups and forums, and basic outreach.
Generally, using automation provides less direct control, but more free time for you as a marketer to pursue more important or more effective means of marketing efforts.
Now that we have discussed what digital marketing is, how to niche in a digital setting, and the channels you can use to make the most use of it, you can begin to weight the pros and cons of each of these marketing channels to determine how to allocate your budget.
Keep your goals in mind when choosing these channels and study which ones have worked for similar organizations in the past, using this data can help you gain an advantage and most efficiently allocate your budget based on which channels can produce the desired results.
Thanks for reading!
Work With Austin
-Austin Denison is a management consultant and coach from Southern California and founder/CEO of Denison Success Systems LLC. He is the author of The Essential Change Management Guidebook: Master The Art of Organizational Change as well as The Potential Dichotomy: The Philosophy of a Fulfilling Life.