What are the essentials for a sound Digital Marketing strategy?
I get asked this question by many businesses trying to get a piece of their fair share of the market in order to just survive, let alone thrive.
Do you ever feel like you are in this boat? Are you a Marketing Director tasked with a behemoth of responsibilities without knowing the first step in orchestrating a successful Digital strategy?
I’m going to paint a picture for you, ask yourself if this ever sounds like you. You just got hired as a Director of Marketing, Marketing Manager or Vice President of Awesomeness. Whatever fancy title you’ve been given, you think to yourself, how am I going to get all this done? What internal resources do I have at my disposal, do I have a team to help me? Where do I even start? What do I need? Do we have a website? Is it being found in the Search Engines? Do we have a social account setup? And on and on.
You then think to yourself “I’ll reach out to some companies/vendors to help me, that’s a good place to start” and off to the races you go, right? Not really. You quickly find out that the companies you selected to help you with providing marketing services are mediocre, but how do you really know? You know because you’re not getting the results you need to prove to your bosses that what you’re doing is working. Does any of this sound familiar?
I’m going to give you 3 main areas to focus on in order to achieve an impressive marketing strategy.
First things first:
1. Google Analytics and Data Tracking
The first and most important item on the list is to make sure you have Google Analytics (GA) set up and reporting accurately. If you’re not acquiring accurate data you’ll have no idea whether what product you’re running is good or not. There are many tutorials on how to do this online, like this one I’ve used from Google.
Once you’ve setup GA, you need to set up:
- Search Console
- Link Adwords (you’ll definitely need this product)
- Establish your multiple micro goals
- Establish your Macro goals
Again, there are many tutorials online to assist you with these different setups that are very, very important. One thing I would definitely recommend is getting Google Analytics Certified. This will give you more in depth knowledge of how to correctly implement the items above.
Using Pixels and tracking data along with Google tag manager and UTM tags is imperative to a well tracked marketing strategy. Here is where you will be able to gather the necessary data in order to glean feedback on how all your pieces are working. Imagine a rocket launching into orbit but having no idea what its target is. This is essentially what you’re doing when you aren’t collecting any feedback or data to know where your target is. So make sure this is all in place.
2. The buying funnel
What is the buying funnel you might ask? Here is where most advertisers miss the boat completely. They use one or two digital products, maybe Adwords (often referred to as PPC) or Social, or email. But that’s about the jist of it. Most don’t understand where the products they’re using fit in the buying funnel of their customers. Or, if they are even using the right ones. I often use the Customer journey tool when determining the best product mix for my vertical/industry.
So, now let me explain what this buying funnel thing even is. The buying funnel is the path in which your customers take before they make a purchase of your product or service. This is so important to understand. I will list them from top to bottom.
- This is where you help your potential customers become aware of your product or service.
- The best products to use for this are Programmatic Display or Social. You can however, use multiple product mixes to accomplish building awareness.
- With engagement you need to help your potential customers in this area by using products like Social, Email and Programmatic.
- Here is where you would use products like Search/Adwords, Social, or email will work. You can use some variations of Programmatic too, like retargeting or remarketing.
- Decision or Purchase
- Here is your Zero Moment of Truth or ZMOT. It is important to focus heavily on PPC/Adwords here along with SEO. This is the highest form of intent and a must in order to capitalize on all the hard work you’ve put in on the products above.
- As important as this is, don’t make the common mistake of focusing 100% on PPC or SEO.
3. Cohesive strategy
Here is an area that gets missed so often it’s comical. I come across advertisers that so often have multiple products running and they are all speaking a different message, including their website. I once came across an advertiser that had their adwords campaign with a message geared around their upcoming specials and when you click on the ad you get directed to a homepage that talks about nothing you just clicked on. This is a very small example compared to some that I’ve seen.
Here are the areas that you need to focus on:
- Make sure you are following the buying cycle with your messaging
- Your display/programmatic ads need to flow with what your end message will be on your bottom funnel products. Make sure that you put yourself in your potential customers shoes. Think like the customer you’re trying to attract. When you show a display ad what will they do next? And even if they don’t click on it (when was the last time you clicked on a banner ad) they will still be influenced by it, which is the ultimate goal of Programmatic anyways.
- Your color schemes need to be similar. This is pretty self explanatory, but you’d be amazed at how many advertisers miss this. They use blue on Social, then red on Display, then orange on an email they send. Your potential customer often times doesn’t even know it’s you they’re interacting with each time.
- Timing. Timing is everything. You need to know the buying cycle of your potential customers. Is it one month, two months, three months? It’s terrible when you work so hard on all the pieces in the funnel but fail to engage with your customer at the perfect time with an email or a social message, or even ad copy on your ppc ads.
There you have it. Now you’re armed with the essentials for an unstoppable ability to navigate the complexities of Digital Marketing. Good luck!