The start of a new year is a great time to evaluate goals and adjust digital strategies. Utilizing comprehensive data from the past year will give you the ability to make data-driven decisions and adjust your digital strategy for success. But where to do you start? It’s obviously much easier to stay the course and do nothing. But if you take a step back, think about your goals, and make some adjustments, you might start the new year with higher returns and a better sense of where you are headed.
To start, it’s important to think about your goals. What does your business want to accomplish in the next few months? How about the next several years? Seek input from multiple teams as you determine answers to these questions. Get everyone on board with the results.
For example, perhaps you want to start a new product line or expand into a new market. Maybe you want to reach a new type of audience or push specific services. What needs to happen for your company to reach these goals? Think about realistic micro goals you can set to help get you there. Make sure your goals are SMART:
This will ensure you are making progress that contributes to the completion of your larger goals.
Get to Know Your Audience
Before you work on adjusting your strategy, it’s important to define your audience. If you haven’t already, now is a great time to develop a customer persona. Based on what you know about your customers, think about age range, income level, job title, geographic location, marital status, education, parenting stage, and any other identifying information that you can use to target your audience. Then, take the buyer person a step further by considering these questions:
- Where do they spend the most time online?
- What are their specific pain points that other businesses perhaps aren’t meeting?
- What other brands have they tried?
- What are their hobbies?
- How do they normally engage online?
- Can you detect any patterns in their purchasing behavior?
You may be wondering at this point how you go about learning such detailed information about your customers. We recommend trying several strategies:
- Social listening software
- Product testing
- Studying the successes and failures of your competition
- Analyzing CRM data
This will help you to build an audience based on real data and target your efforts more effectively.
Choose Your Marketing Channels
In today’s digital landscape, there are many channels and tactics to choose from. In many cases, it can be difficult to sort through all of the channels to find the ones that are right for your business. Some of the many channels to choose from include:
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
- Paid Search (PPC)
- Paid Social
- Content Marketing (blog posts, videos, eBooks, infographics, etc.)
- Programmatic / Display
- Email Marketing
- Influencer Marketing
- Video Marketing
If you are unsure where to start, consult an expert to help drive the conversation. Oftentimes, they will have the ability to provide research on the channels that will work best for your business and your identified goals. Then, devote time to testing before further developing your 2020 digital marketing strategy to ensure your marketing budget is performing efficiently.
Create Audience-Focused Content for Different Stages of the Sales Funnel
Once you’ve identified your audience(s) and channel(s), you should create experiences that match different stages of the user's journey. The benefit of taking the time to develop a detailed buyer persona and learning which marketing channels perform best for your company is that you develop a good idea of the types of content your audience wants.
For example, outdoor enthusiasts might like how-to videos and blog posts on how to properly set up a tent and how to choose the right hiking boots. Fitness buffs might want downloadable exercise schedules and nutrition lists. Providing your audience with the right type of content will ensure that your customers are getting the content they need from a source they can trust.
However, just knowing the type of content to serve doesn’t go far enough. You must also tailor the content to meet potential customers at each stage of the sales funnel.
Before anyone can buy your company’s products or services, they must first become aware of them. This is the first stage of the sales funnel, and it requires advertising to your target audience in places where they’re likely to spend the most time.
During the next stage, consideration, your prospects are likely searching for your products and services but trying to find the right price or the right vendor. They’re seriously considering whether what your business has to offer can address their pain points while adding value to their life in some way. The final stage is conversion, meaning the customer is ready to purchase. This stage is the goal of every digital marketing team.
Distribute Your Company’s Content on the Most Appropriate Marketing Channels
Now that you’ve created specific content for each stage of the sales funnel specific to your audience, you’re now ready to get it out to your prospects. There are many ways to get your content in front of prospective customers.
The first is to publish a blog on your own website. It should provide genuinely useful information for the reader without coming across as too salesy. While a light call to action such as providing your business contact information is fine, remember that the purpose of blog posts is to get the reader interested so they engage and ask more questions on their own. It positions you as a thought leader so when they are ready to purchase, they think of your brand. Video and image content can be a great way to provide your users with useful information as well.
Another option is using Programmatic advertising to get your assets in front of the right audiences. Programmatic advertising uses algorithms to put your advertising assets on websites that your users are visiting on a daily basis. It puts your content and brand in front of your target audiences during the highest stages of the sales funnel.
Maybe you have done your research and still feel unclear about the best channels to share your content. If it’s something you have the capability of pursuing, a digital marketing agency can conduct research for you, analyze the results, and advise on which combination of channels would be most likely to bring results.
Repurpose Content for Different Mediums
Work smarter, not harder. This is a concept that can apply to content development just as much as anything else. Rather than spending hundreds of hours creating content, some of which you may only intend to use one time, a better use of your time and budget would be to develop content you can use on multiple channels.
For example, create a video to share on your own website as well as on YouTube or Vimeo. Write a blog post and add it to Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. It’s also a good idea to repurpose old content, update it, and publish it again to reach new prospective customers.
Don’t Forget to Leverage Analytics
Developing an amazing digital marketing strategy is nothing without Google Analytics. Optimizing your website analytics is the best way to know what is working and what is not working with your strategy, so you can adjust and pivot where necessary. Leaving your analytics unattended is a great way to bleed marketing dollars and reduce the efficiency of your digital marketing efforts.
Other forms of online advertising like Facebook or Instagram ads provide real-time analytics that allow you to see views, hits, and conversions, but seeing all of these channels in one place will help you view the whole picture and start having conversations around digital attribution.
Be Willing to Adjust Your Strategy as You Go
Sometimes all the research in the world can still lead to disappointing results. If this happens, you must be willing and able to adjust for results. Nothing is certain in the world of digital marketing, so re-evaluate when necessary and take steps to pivot when you need to pivot.
If you feel lost or need a partner to help you with a data-driven digital marketing strategy, feel free to reach out. Our team has had experience driving successful digital marketing campaigns since 2003 and would be happy to discuss your needs in more detail.