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How to Start a Digital Marketing Strategy to Guide Online Marketing

Do you have a digital marketing strategy to guide your online marketing? If not, you are likely not clear what you are doing or if it is having the right impact. It’s never too late to develop a strategy to set yourself up for success.

The digital strategy process begins with a discovery phase. During this initial phase of the process, the goal is to gather the information needed to develop the right strategy for the needs of your business.

Collect Marketing Information

Review materials you already have on hand, such as your business and/or marketing plan.

You may also need to conduct some research:

  • Interviews with key stakeholders, including internal staff, partners, and or customers
  • Review of available research related to your industry
  • Focus groups
  • Competitor research

Ask the Right Questions

Goals

  • What are my marketing goals? Leads, sales, exposure, etc. Be as specific as possible.
  • Do my online goals differ in any way?
  • What are the valuable target keywords for my business?

General Marketing

  • How do I market my business? Review any related documents such as marketing plans, market data, etc.
  • What makes my business unique? What makes people become customers? Repeat customers?
  • What are my current sources of new clients?
  • What is my desired style, tone, voice, messaging, brand positioning?

Audience

  • Who is my target client/audience? Be as specific as possible.
  • Ideally, what should my target client say about me?
  • What do I provide that is of the greatest interest/need to my audience?

Competitors

  • Who are my top competitors?
  • What are the components to their digital strategy?
  • Is there anything that my competitors do online that I know or think helps them? Hurts them?
  • What makes me different from my competitors?

Website

  • Do I need to change my website, including adding or deleting any current content or features?
  • What tools are used to provide content and functionality for my website?
  • What does Google Analytics tell me about how my website is currently used?

Social Media

  • Which social media do I currently use? Document how often and what you post at each.
  • What does my following look like on each social media channel? (Include follower numbers, types of people, and anything else that defines who you are engaging with.)
  • What types of posts result in engagement (comments, likes, shares, emails, etc) from my followers?
  • Which social media do I want to consider?

Online Marketing

  • Where else am I online? (Google it!)
  • What opportunities are available at each location?
  • Considering everywhere I am online, what is working and what is not? How do I know?

Resources

  • What financial resources do I have to apply to my digital marketing? Human resources? Other?
  • How much time can I reliably invest in digital marketing activities?
  • What content sources can I draw from for my digital marketing – That I create? That others create?

Online Marketing Success Starts Here

If this seems like a lot, it is. The more insightful information you collect, the better the digital marketing strategy to guide your online marketing will be.

Of course, I am here to help!

5 Inspired Infographic Ideas

Content MarketingInfographics help you tell a story in a visual way. Online, the visual appeal combined with minimal text can attract more attention than text-heavy approaches.

Creating an infographic takes time. You need to research your message and the points you want to share. And, you need a compelling visual way to present that data.

It can be discouraging to spend hours working on an infographic that get’s no engagement. It is important to have a clear message that engages with your target audience.

Here are some ideas to help you to develop infographics that gain attention.

Solve a problem.

Put yourself in the shoes of your target customer or audience. Then, speak to a problem they need solved. Answer a question that you are uniquely qualified to answer for them.

Be sure that the data and the information you include provides value and positions you as a thought leader in your industry.

Provide a unique point of view.

Share your unique insight and perspective to stand out. This is a great way to position you and your company as subject matter experts to listen to.

Creating content that challenges the status quo can feel risky and will often generate controversy and debate. But these types of pieces tend to get the conversation going and truly differentiate you from others.

Offer insight.

Every industry has a knowledge base that is commonly understood. At least we often think so. Often, we toss around words, phrases and references that aren’t as understood as we assume. This makes for great infographic material.

Explain something that is often glossed over. Explain the origin, the data behind it, and anecdote that illustrates. Offer insight that others aren’t providing.

Interpret data with a filtered lens.

When surveys and research are done, the data interpretation is often very general. Provide value to your audience by interpreting the data more narrowly, focusing on the parameters that matter most to them. Your take may vary quite a bit from more global analyses of the data collected.

Bring related content together.

Your industry and your specific client make a unique combination. Creating infographics that bring separate items together to create context and meaning can illustrate that point. Bring data and information together to tell a story that you are best able to tell.

Location and Your Local Business Marketing Plan

There is no one size fits all digital marketing plan. The “right” plan is custom to your business, your customer and your location. In this article I will focus on the impact of location on your local business marketing plan.

Localizing your marketing efforts will build brand recognition within your community and foster brand loyalty from consumers who support local businesses.

Why you need a local marketing strategy

What’s the first thing you do when you need your car repaired, want to find some local entertainment or want to plan a date night?

If you’re like most people, you turn to Google. “Near me” searches have grown consistently since 2013, according to Google. In fact, these searches are so common that Google’s algorithm routinely provides localized results for most searches.

A local marketing strategy increases your visibility in these local searches. Whether users start with a search query, use Google maps, or go directly to their preferred third-party review site, you want your company to be listed among the options.

How to use digital channels to support local marketing

Getting listed takes specific focus on local marketing strategy. Here are a few tactics that are essential.

Claim your business page on third-party review sites

Google Business, Yelp, Angie’s List, and TripAdvisor are just a few of many sites that people turn to when they want to find a local resource. Claim your business page on these sites to make sure the information is accurate and that you can respond or react to comments, questions and reviews.

Create targeted advertising campaigns

Digital ads offer you an excellent opportunity to target your audience using various parameters, including location. You can leverage posts within Google maps, ads on social media, and ads within review and other sites to make sure your business is seen.

Have a SEO strategy

When creating content for your website, it’s important to factor in search engine optimization (SEO). Understand what your customers search to find a business like yours and use those words and phrases on pages and posts. Make sure that your meta description field highlights keywords as well as information that will make someone click on your search result.

Structure your website for local users

Local users often search for the same information, and it is best to highlight those things on your website. Have your name, address and phone in the header and footer of every page. On your contact page, be sure to include those details along with a map and driving directions from central locations.

Also be sure to mention the areas you serve. Most often, you’ll best serve the needs of people and search engine crawlers by naming specific towns and cities.

It’s good to be local

It wasn’t too long ago that local businesses could not compete online with national organizations with large budgets. All that has changed as search engines react to the trend of users looking for and preferring local business results. This creates terrific digital marketing for those businesses that take time to apply a local marketing strategy to their online efforts.