As we kick off a new series of topics for the eBiz Marketing Academy, we review basic digital marketing concepts.
What is Digital Strategy?
Digital Strategy is the necessary planning phase before you enter the realm of digital marketing execution.
Just as you wouldn’t take the field in a game of football without a game plan, it’s not advisable to dive hastily into advertising efforts without knowing who your market is, what they need, or what you intend to offer them.
Our goal is to help you become your own marketing guru, capable of driving your marketing strategy and building a successful enterprise using tried and true methods.
Each week we will build on the information that came before. This week we focus on laying the groundwork for the groundwork, helping understand basic concepts so you can plan your strategy effectively.
What is Digital Strategy and Why Does It Matter?
Digital strategy is a detailed game plan mapping out your customers, your digital assets (social media profiles, websites, mobile apps, etc.), and the interaction between them. It is an important part of your marketing plan, which is vital for any business.
- 70% of companies either have a digital transformation strategy in place or are working on one
- 21% of companies think they’ve already completed a digital transformation
- Surprisingly, however, less than 2/3 of small businesses (64%) have a website
You may have heard the term “digital marketing campaign”. The term is often used interchangeably with “digital marketing strategy”. The way we intend to use the campaign is for more specific efforts centered around a single customer and platform interaction. Basically, for our purposes, if the strategy is our playbook, each campaign is one of many plays.
Without a digital marketing strategy, your company will be at risk of jumping onto new trends or trying campaigns without fully vetting the benefit to your customer. That will ultimately blow your budget out of the water before you have a chance to see the payoff that comes with an effective game plan.
Choose the Right Channels
The channels you don’t choose are as important as the ones you choose. That’s because small businesses are limited by time and energy resources. It’s far better to focus on a handful of digital platforms you see results from than to spread yourself so thin that you can’t give enough energy to any of them to make a difference.
I can’t tell you how many times someone told me they tried advertising on a new platform only to discover thousands of dollars later that their efforts went unrewarded. Don’t let this be you!
5 Key Components of a Winning Digital Strategy
1. Define Your Customer
If you want to win in the digital space, it’s crucial that you know your market. Selling to the wrong customer can end your journey before you begin.
One of the mistakes I see a lot, and it’s a reasonable one to make, is that they simply define their audience too broadly. There is no way you can target the 24 year old single graduate student with 3 roommates and the 40 year old soccer mom with the same ad. But it’s pretty routine that people define their audience as 20-40 year old women!
One of the strategies that can help you accomplish this goal is building the right persona.
A persona is a way of visualizing your best customer, by defining all aspects that make up who they are. Doing this will make it easy for you to accomplish the next step. You will come up with data points such as:
- Education level
2. Create a Customer Value Proposition
The Customer Value Proposition, or CVP, is the exclusive selling statement of your company. Itanswers the question “What Problem Do You Solve?” The customer value proposition, in essence, is a concise, minimalistic version of your 30-second pitch.
Here’s an example of a customer value proposition:
Drip makes your ecommerce marketing easy. Grow your revenue with powerful email, SMS, and social media marketing tools, all in one place.
You’ll notice certain two major points about this value proposition. It focuses on eCommerce marketing, and ease of use. Right there, they have identified their customer (eCommerce business owners) and their biggest area of need.
Lest you think we forgot about price, the price point is built into the CVP. Think of the CVP as triangle with 3 parts:
- The customer
- The need
- The price they are willing to pay
All of these will need to be validated based on assumptions. We like the Lean Startup methodology, which helps you validate each before spending a dime on production.
Simpler is better, when it comes to your CVP.
3. Create a Customer Journey Map
Now that you know who the customer is and what problem you’re solving for them, you need to understand which channels their most llikely to come from, and what they’re feeling when they first interact with you. Doing this will help you plan out the myriad of ways you will come in contact with the customer.
You will notice a few aspects to the example above.
- Customer persona
- State of mind
- Swimlanes detailing every category of interaction
- Nodes for each experience, including inner thoughts and interactions with your brand or product/service
- The post purchase experience
You can have as many swimlanes as you want. Building out such a map will help you understand the channels you should be concentrating on in your effort to reach the customer at their greatest time of need.
Now you know so much about your customer, problem, price point, and journey, you need to shift the focus to your brand. What makes a great brand is more than just a logo, yet most small business owners stop well short of branding their company effectively.
So what’s in a brand?
Your brand is all about the associations your customers make when they interact with your company. They shoul dbe something that is valuable to your customers, which is why it comes after the first 3 steps.
Your brand identity will consist of a few major assets:
- Brand statement
- Style guide
- Value proposition
What’s in a plan without a budget? Now that you know the basics of how you will be connecting with your audience, you need to understand what your spend will be. There are no hard and fast rules here, but in general, the SBA recommends that you spend 7-8% of your gross revenue on marketing.
Based on your journey map, you should know whether most of the interactions will be online or offline. You should devide up that piece of the pie accordingly.
Over the coming months, we’re going to be taking you through a journey through not only each of the points above, but beyond, into the realms of building an effective website that gets you customers, effective Search Engine Optimization, Search Engine Marketing, Social Media, Digital Advertising, Content Marketing and Email Marketing.
It’s going to be a fantastic journey, so stick around and we’re sure you’ll learn a ton.