If you’re a business owner or marketer, you’ve probably heard the term “digital marketing” thrown around. What is digital marketing, how does it work, and what are the differences in strategy and execution? In this article, we will discuss the differences between traditional and digital marketing, key elements of a digital strategy, and the role of marketing analytics in creating a successful digital marketing plan.
What Is Digital Marketing?
Traditional marketing is all about getting your product in front of as many people as possible and motivating them to action. Depending on the industry, this can mean advertising, public relations, sales promotion, or customer loyalty programs.
For years, businesses have tried to figure out a way to combine the accountability of a salesperson with the ease of a telemarketer. Thanks to advancements in technology, we’re now able to offer consumers what we call “brand awareness,” or knowing a brand when they see it. With brand awareness, consumers are able to associate particular products with a specific brand. This type of marketing is considered “inbound” marketing, because its focus is on attracting, engaging, and delighting people to grow a business.
However, today’s consumers are different from those in the past. Thanks to the internet and social media, consumers have access to a wealth of information, and that information is often contradictory. For example, while browsing products at Amazon, you might encounter contradictory claims such as “most reviewed” or “best value.” To make matters more complicated, many customers are researching products online before making a purchase decision, which means marketers no longer have the luxury of being able to market to existing customers. This is why marketing in the digital era is significantly different from marketing in the pre-digital era.
Marketing in the digital era is focused on acquiring new customers, not converting existing ones. This means marketing in the digital era is often called “outbound” marketing, because its focus is on attracting new people to the brand.
What Is Digital Marketing Strategy?
When discussing marketing strategy, you need to decide: How will you invest your marketing dollars? What do you hope to achieve with your marketing efforts? What are your long-term and short-term objectives? It’s important to develop a clear strategy before you begin your marketing campaign because too often, companies leap into digital marketing without a clear idea of what they’re doing or why they’re doing it. It often leads to a complete overhaul of their digital marketing strategy, which is both time-consuming and costly.
The strategy phase of digital marketing is all about laying the groundwork for your marketing campaign. Start by determining which platforms (websites, social media channels, etc.) will you use to communicate your message, and develop a plan for content creation. Developing a content strategy for your company is more than just picking the topics you’ll cover. It’s about understanding your target audience’s needs and wants and anticipating their shifts in behavior as you evolve your content strategy. This entails researching the topics your target audience are searching for, and creating content that answers those questions. For example, if your target audience is looking for information about fashion, you might create an infographic on the most popular items in fashion, or a blog post on the trends in fashion.
Once you’ve developed your strategy, you’re ready to begin executing your plan. For larger companies, this might mean establishing marketing teams to lead the charge on digital marketing initiatives and creating web content, landing pages, or social media accounts to increase brand awareness. Alternatively, you could outsource the strategy phase to an expert development company that has the capabilities to create SEO-optimized web content, design elegant landing pages, or set up social media platforms.
Key Elements Of A Digital Marketing Strategy
A successful digital marketing strategy must have the following components:
- A mission statement – why are you doing this marketing campaign?
- A vision statement – this is where you lay out your long-term expectations for the brand.
- Key goals – what do you hope to achieve through this campaign?
- An objectives — this is a list of the specific steps you’ll take to reach your goals.
- A budget
- An implementation plan — this is a list of the specific tactics you’ll use to achieve your goals.
- Measurement — to determine if your efforts were successful, you’ll need to set benchmarks and track the results of your campaigns.
- Continuous improvement – this is where you document your experiences and the lessons you’ve learned, so you can improve your strategy for next time.
While the above list of components might seem overwhelming, creating a digital marketing strategy isn’t difficult–once you have all the proper documentation, it’s easy to lay out the strategy in a crisp and concise manner, and then begin the technical implementation. Before we begin discussing implementation, it’s important to remember that a digital marketer’s day can be very hectic, so it’s important to establish a routine to ensure you stay organized and on track to meet your deadlines. Setting aside two hours per week to follow up on emails, monitor social media accounts, and ensure your content is being published regularly can help ensure you don’t fall behind on your workload.
If you’re not familiar, marketing analytics is the practice of collecting and analyzing data about a company’s marketing efforts, to determine what worked and what could be improved upon. The data can come from various places, such as website traffic, social media platforms, sales figures, and more.
Marketing analytics can be a very useful tool for marketers. The data can help determine which campaigns were the most successful, identify untapped markets, and pinpoint the qualities that helped a product or service stand out from the crowd. For example, you might discover that your most successful campaign was a Facebook Live video, reaching a target audience that would have never given your company otherwise.
Thanks to tools like Google Analytics, you’re able to keep track of all your marketing efforts in one place, and determine the results of your campaign at a glance. With Google Analytics, you can set goals and objectives for your marketing strategy and track the results of your campaign along the way. For example, if you’re looking to increase web traffic to your site, you might set a goal of one thousand new visitors per month, and use Google Analytics to track your efforts along the way.
If you find that your marketing efforts are performing above average, you might consider expanding into new cities or countries, or using different channels to reach new audiences. You could also experiment with different tactics, such as creating a contest or a social media campaign for people to engage with your brand.
Why Is Marketing Analytics Important?
The data collected by Google Analytics can be extremely valuable, helping you identify the qualities that helped a product or service stand out from the crowd. However, if you’re not careful, the data can become very overwhelming, resulting in you losing sight of what is important, and what is not. For example, you might discover that your product has very high customer satisfaction due to careful listening to customer feedback, or that your web traffic is mainly comprised of people searching for information about your industry. The truth is, you don’t need to focus too much on customer satisfaction or web traffic for your product or service. You need to set these findings aside and ask yourself this question: “What did I learn from this data that will help me improve my product or service?”
By keeping all your marketing-related data in one place, you’ll have an accurate record of all your company’s efforts, and the ability to track the results of those efforts, allowing you to refine your strategy as you go.