If you’re reading this, I assume you’re either an online marketer, or someone who knows one. You’ve probably been asked countless times about the state of digital marketing, and how to measure its success. Let’s dive into the question, shall we?
What is digital marketing?
To give you a quick overview of what digital marketing is, let’s first discuss the evolution of online marketing. Since the dawn of the internet, marketers have been trying to find ways to reach potential customers where they are, instead of relying on traditional methods like radio ads or billboards. The answer came in the form of web banners and sponsored links – those annoying little ads that appear at the top of your browser when you visit a site. The concept is to sell something to someone as they’re scrolling through social media or a news article. The old model of advertising is slowly being replaced with a conversation-based approach that often relies on technology to fuel the relationship.
Three Phases of Digital Marketing
Now that you have a general idea of what digital marketing is, let’s discuss the three primary phases of the strategy.
1. Attracting, Retaining and Influencing Consumers
This is the most crucial stage of any marketing plan, and it starts by identifying your target audience. For example, you’ll want to focus your strategy on men between the ages of 18 and 34 who live in the Southeast United States. You’ll use several tools and methods to narrow your audience, including:
- Google Analytics
- Facebook Analytics
- Newspaper Articles
- Online Guides
- Video Content
Once you’ve attracted this audience, you can move on to the next phase of the plan. Remember, we’re talking about digital marketing here – not traditional marketing methods. So, while you might want to start out with a blog post or two to build up your audience, you’ll soon find that social media is where the magic happens. You’ll use platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook to engage with your target audience, to encourage them to choose your brand, and, eventually, to buy your product. You might also consider using a CRM tool to streamline your interaction with customers and prospects. For instance, Salesforce Marketing Cloud, which we’ll discuss in more detail later in the guide, can help you nurture leads, track customer behavior, and set automated email campaigns based on specific actions that your audience takes. If you’re looking to get started with digital marketing, stop by my blog’s Get Inspired page for a tutorial on how to create a digital marketing plan using HubSpot. Alternatively, you can view the Mini-Guide to the Marketing Cloud, which is an incredible tool that can really help streamline your workflow. What type of content will you put out there to keep your audience interested? Create a content calendar to ensure you always have content to post at the right time.
2. Developing a Brand Voice
Having content that is compelling and consistent is crucial to establishing your brand’s voice and attracting customers. To continue our example above, you’ll want to create and maintain an online brand identity that is masculine, direct, and youthful. With every piece of content you post or release, from newsletters to blog posts, you’ll want to ensure that it reflects this brand voice.
Since the dawn of the internet, content has taken the form of texts, images, and videos. While videos are still a primary source of content, they aren’t the only one. Virtual reality, Augmented Reality, and the like are all exciting new platforms that can augment your content and attract customers to your brand. For example, if you’re a skincare brand, you could use virtual reality to allow users to try on different products, or use Augmented Reality to show users how a product will appear on their skin. Since every form of content has become an option, it’s important to find a way to stand out above the rest and create something special.
3. Converting Prospects into Customers
This is the final and, arguably, most significant stage of a digital marketing plan. After you’ve attracted the right audience, you can move on to the next step. Instead of focusing on just sales, you’ll also need to look at the entire buying cycle, from attracting potential customers to retaining them as paying customers. You can use several methods and platforms to track the effectiveness of your plan, including:
- Analytics programs like Google Analytics
- Conversion rate optimization
- Customer Acquisition
- Email marketing
- Logo design
- Product reviews
- Retention programs
- Site optimization
- Tagline creation
- Web Analytics
- Website traffic
The bottom line is: if you’re going to spend money on marketing, you might as well make it count. With a little bit of effort, you can easily bring in revenue that is comparable to, or exceeds, the investment. If you’re looking for a tool to help you plan and track your digital marketing efforts, try out HubSpot for free. With HubSpot, you can set up automated email broadcasts, track website visitors, and create marketing funnels – all essential tools for this stage of a digital marketing plan. Plus, you can integrate your email marketing with other platforms (like Shopify and Squarespace) to create fully customizable web experiences. For example, you can have a special offer for anyone that signs up for your email list using the Squarespace signup form. Or, you can use Shopify’s +1 button to send targeted offers to users that are viewing your blog.
In the end, having a well-thought-out digital marketing plan, with a clear goal in mind, is the key to success. Just remember to be consistent, and you’ll be able to bring in the revenue you deserve, regardless of whether you’re just getting started or are already established.
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