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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!

How to Make Email Marketing Work for Your Business

I’m seeing a trend with my clients. Those that use email as part of their digital marketing strategy have more success connecting with their target audience. Before and after COVID-19, these businesses build an active community of people.

Every business needs to have an active email marketing strategy. Here are the essentials.

Use an Email Marketing Tool

Don’t try to do your email marketing campaigns from a regular email account. You will be flagged as a possible spammer by either your email service provider or one or more of the servers that receive your messages – sooner or later. That will shut you down from sending any emails until you can find the server that has marked your account and get the block removed.

Anyone who has ever tried to negotiate automated phone systems knows you never want to get on the bad side of a machine. They are inflexible. Unless you do things their way, you rarely win.

Use an email marketing tool like MailChimp (my favorite), Constant Contact or Robly. These tools will make sure you don’t get sent to spammer jail. They take care of being nice to all those servers out their so your messages always get to the intended recipients.

Think Beyond Newsletter

When I talk to business owners about email marketing, most think of the email newsletter. They don’t want to write a monthly newsletter and I don’t blame them.

Today’s users don’t want your newsletter. They want relevant, timely information. They generally want an email that has one topic and one call to action.

Consider this content:

  • Your latest blog post
  • Sales or promotion
  • New product or service
  • Helpful tips or best practices
  • Changes in your business in terms of offerings, hours, locations, etc

Have an Email Marketing Strategy

Don’t just start sending emails. Have a strategy that aligns with your marketing goals and the other elements of your digital marketing. The strategy will help you keep your content on point and all of your online efforts aligned.

Be sure to consider:

  • How people will be added to the email list(s)
  • Branding and template for consistency
  • Editorial calendar that targets subscriber needs and interests as well as your goal
  • Data from emails sent that indicate what works (do more of that) and what doesn’t (don’t do that)

Define Your Voice

Email is a 1-1 communication. You may send 100 or more messages at a time, but each one goes to one person and lands in one inbox. Make sure you provide content that leverages the 1-1 connection you are making.

The best email marketers are able to define a tone and voice and keep it consistent across messages. Users are able to “get to know” the business and, as a result, develop a sense of connection.

Facebook Strategy 2020

Facebook is one of the largest social media platforms in the world. According to the latest data from Pew Research Center seven-in-ten U.S. adults (69%) use Facebook. Despite bad press about privacy and bad actors, it is still a place your business needs to be.

It is not easy to compete with other marketers on Facebook, so I offer these tips for success in 2020. Use these strategies to stand out among your competitors and effectively target your intended audience.

Start with a Facebook Business Page

I am surprised by the number of businesses that choose to market using a personal profile on Facebook. Even with the reduced reach of company pages, you want to use that type of page for your presence on Facebook.

A Facebook business page has its own set of advantages that can help you promote your business. It not only represents your brand but also provides a way for your audience to like and follow your page. Then they can receive updates from your page in their news feeds.

Having a business page also gives you access to Facebook analytics tools, which you can leverage to track your performance. You can also boost posts and create ads. (More on paid strategies below.)

Be sure your Facebook business page is optimized to get maximum visibility and engagement. Your Facebook business page often gives people the first impression of your brand. So, make it relevant and engaging.

  • Be sure your name, address and phone is exactly the same as it is everywhere else online
  • Use your latest branding for the profile image
  • Use a high-quality and relevant cover photo
  • Make your messaging consistent with your website
  • Use relevant keywords throughout your page content
  • Complete all relevant fields and tabs

Layer in Paid Strategies

Facebook has decreased the amount of exposure that brands get organically (free) on the platform. So, to get attention there, you need to have a paid strategy.

Facebook boosts and ads provide very precise audience targeting options. There are several options based on your goals. All you need to do is pick your goal and step through a series of screens to create an ad.

Facebook will suggest a budget, but you can control the actual spend per ad. After you have tried a few types, look at the Insights to gauge what’s most effective, both in terms of ad types and budget. You should be able to have measurable impact for $100 or less a month.

Use Facebook Video

Video is one of the most effective types of content that you can use for your Facebook marketing. Native videos get more engagement and views than any other type of content there.

A recent study analyzed over 187,000 Facebook pages and 7.5 million posts. They found that native videos get 168% more interactions (reactions, comments, and shares) than YouTube videos.

Here are some best practices for posting Facebook videos:

  • Most Facebook users watch videos with the sound off, so use captions
  • Use the Facebook Live feature to stream live videos directly from your mobile phone
  • Q&A or tutorial type videos get the best engagement
  • Make your videos engaging and relevant, rather than promotional

Pay Attention to Your Competitors

Follow your competitors on Facebook so you can model their best efforts and avoid any disasters. Pay attention to their posts and the comments.

Something that gets great engagement is probably something you should model. Learn from any complaints and leverage the insight in your marketing.