Digital marketing planning is no different than any other marketing planning. In fact, companies shouldn’t separate plans for ‘digital’ and ‘offline’ since that’s not how your customers perceive your business.
But we’re often required to have plans for “digital” based on the way teams and reporting is structured within companies. A way of aligning the two needs to happen at the start. It’s likely to facilitate buy-in for both that way.
To get you going in the right direction, here are 7 core criteria when creating a digital marketing
FOCUS THE PLAN AROUND CUSTOMERS, NOT PRODUCTS AND TACTICS: Always start with the customer, their characteristics, behaviors, needs and wants, often expressed through keywords. Create Buyer Personas to establish a segmentation of the people who buy your products. Buyer Personas are examples of real buyers who influence or make decisions about the products, services or solutions you market. They are a tool that builds confidence in strategies to persuade buyers to choose you rather than a competitor or the Status Quo. By focusing the plan around consumers, you bring out the best in your products.
LEARN FROM COMPETITORS: Online is a prolific place to do research on competitors. For one thing, the information is at your fingertips. For another, there are so resources to help. For information on competitor’s website usage, there is Alexa and Compete. You can compare the social media presence of your brand versus competitors in terms of Likes and Followers or engagement terms like Comments and Shares. You’re likely to gain more than a few good idea for your brand in the process.
IDENTIFY CONTENT RESOURCES: After the product or service you offer, content is a brand’s most relevant asset. In a digital marketing plan, you’re going to need a lot of content. You should not only consider the communications but the form it takes such as an email, blog, infographic, video or podcast. Know who will publish it and and how often it will go out. Make a Content Calendar a backbone of your plan.
HAVE A CLEAR VISION FOR THE YEAR; PLAN FOR 90 DAYS: Articulate the desired results, expressed by the metric that matters most to your organization – sales, revenue, profits, leads, conversions – and the reason why it will be achieved based on what your brand can stand for to its customers. Have the plan that is going to make it happen for the first 90 days but be flexible to change. Situations and plans change, especially online, so ensure plans are usable by having a clear vision for the year and keeping real detail to a shorter term.
MAKE PLANS FACT-BASED SO IT’S EASIER FOR OTHERS TO BUY INTO: 90% of consumer buying decisions begin on the internet according to Forrester Research. 87% of consumers research products online, then buy offline according to Internet Retailer. 79% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations according to Search Engine Land. These are just a few ways to gain the attention of people in your organization to support your plan. So, consider using facts throughout your digital marketing plan to win the approval of the people who may not totally understand digital but are smart business people who sign off on it.
KEEP IT JARGON LIGHT: Digital has a tendency to go into a whole new type of nomenclature. Don’t go there. Instead, use the same language as you would for traditional media channels but support it with the facts, resources and metrics that give digital an even greater credibility.
CREATE AN ACTIONABLE SCORECARD: End your digital marketing plan with a scorecard of the measurements that matter most, your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Show how you will source them and review then regularly to look for insights. When you review, take actions to keep your business strategy on track.
To put these guidelines into steps every company should take to achieve success in digital marketing, we follow a process of Crawl, Walk, Run and Thrive. You can learn more about it on the sidebar of this website.
Did these criteria help you in creating a digital marketing plan?
Web analytics is not just a tool for measuring web traffic.
Off-site web analytics refers to the measurement of a website’s potential audience (opportunity), share of voice (visibility), and buzz (comments) that is happening on the internet as a whole. On-site web analytics measures a visitor’s behavior once on your website. This includes its drivers and conversions.
Taken together, web anlaytics provides a complete picture of your audience and their attitudes and behaviors toward your brand. Web analytics is the most valuable, useful, cost-effective and timely resource a business has to answers key strategy questions.
Google Analytics is the most widely used web analytics software. Google Webmaster Tools shows traffic for each keyword separately; it gives more information about website performance. There is even a Google Analytics Academy to learn all about how to use web analytics done online on the participant’s schedule. They’re all free to use so there’s no reason a company shouldn’t dedicate some time and attention to examining web analytics.
If you need more convincing, here are 37 key strategy questions web analytics answers.
WHO ARE OUR CUSTOMERS?
Who do we attract?
Who do we want to attract?
Who is visiting for the first time?
Who is returning for more visits?
What cities or countries are most people visiting from?
What search keywords are sending us traffic?
What percent of traffic comes from mobile devices?
Who are our most valuable segments?
Who is worth doing marketing efforts to based on their business potential?
Are we doing better or worse?
WHAT ARE THEIR BEHAVIORS TOWARD OUR BRAND?
What actions do people take?
Are they taking the actions we want?
How do people find us?
How do people travel through the site?
What sort of experience do we create for our users?
What percent of users view at least 3 pages per visit?
What percent of users remain on site for at least 3 minutes?
Where do our most active visitors come from?
Where do visitors click?
Where are our most valuable users coming from?
Who shares our content?
What content works best?
What percent of users comment on content?
Who recommends us to a friend?
What social networks and social media metrics are worth tracking?
What do they buy from us?
HOW DO FIND MORE PEOPLE LIKE THEM?
How do we find more people like the ones who are most valuable customers?
How long does it take for someone to decide to do business with us?
How do we know if our site is doing well relative to competitors?
How do we know if our marketing efforts are working?
How has advertising worked?
Was advertising worth it?
How can we identify the ideal marketing mix?
How do analytics help us understand how the business can make the most revenue and profits?
What key metrics should be used for Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
What is the best way to measure ROI?
Do the answers to these questions matter to your business? Do they convince you to dedicate time and attention to web analytics? Does your company need to learn how to use web analytics better?
Social Selling is the use of social media to interact directly with prospects, to answer questions and offer thoughtful content until the prospect is ready to buy.
Social selling is not hard selling. In fact, it’s the opposite. It’s about discovering people who may eventually be interested in what you’re selling – then making yourself useful to them. For salespeople, especially in B2B industries, its purpose is to establish relevance to prospects rather than interrupt their daily lives with cold calls and sales pitches.
It’s not a buzzword. It’s a real way for generating revenue and results. Here are 27 facts about salespeople who are Social Selling.
IBM saw an Increase of 400% in sales in a Social Selling Pilot Program (source: IBM)
A brand voice is how a brand speaks to its audiences.
It connects a vision, mission and values to a personality; done well, it’s is relevant, timely and builds relationships that last. It’s the human face for a business or company. It’s an expression of the people behind the brand. It sets your company apart and builds trust.
Particularly in the digital channel, with the depth of information on a website and publishing opportunities available through social media, it is an essential consideration to your brand platform
Here are 11 ways to find your brand voice.
GET IN THE PRACTICE OF STORYTELLING: In marketing a product, you search for a “unique selling proposition.” For your brand voice, you tell your “unique story.” Every brand has one. They just have to find it. Tell it is small, manageable chapters to learn what resonates with your audience. Don’t be afraid to re-tell it.. If it means something to your audience, they’ll want to hear it again.
LOOK FOR YOUR ARCHETYPE: To help tell your story, the term “archetypes”, as it is used in marketing, has its origins in Carl Gustav Jung’s theories. He believed that universal, mythic characters— archetypes—reside within the collective subconscious of people the world over. Archetypal images represent fundamental human desires and evoke deep emotions. There are 12 archetypes which symbolizes a basic human need, aspiration or motivation. For example, Disney is the Innocent; Jeep is the Explorer and Nike is the Hero. There is an archetype that is a fit with your brand to guide in telling your unique story.
DEVELOP YOUR LANGUAGE: To address the needs of our audience, develop the language that stands for the problems your brand solves. Your expertise. What your business does, or makes or provides better than anyone else. It’s not only your differentiation but the keywords help be found on the internet.
CREATE BUYER PERSONAS: A representation of your ideal buyers based on market research and real data about your existing customers are buyer personas. They provide tremendous structure and insight for your company. Buyer Personas help you to have better conversations that attract the most valuable visitors, leads, and customers to your business
SHOW YOUR AUDIENCE YOU SHARE THEIR VALUES: How you relate to your audience is not just what you offer but the values you have in common. They are established through conversation, dialogue and action. They form bonds that can carry you through a crisis.
DEFINE YOUR COMMUNICATION CHANNELS: 54% of people find a website through natural search; 32% through social networks and 28% from links from other websites according to Forrester. While it’s important to broadcast, it is more more to know the different benefits of each channel. For example, Twitter may be the best channel for spreading your content, Facebook for sharing, LinkedIn for comments and email marketing for speaking to key customers. This help to manage your time and expectations.
PRACTICE THE 80/20 RULE: There is an 80/20 rule the Content Marketing Institute finds to me true about content for brands. 80% of content should be about your customers and trying to solve customer challenges. 20% can be sales-related and talk about products and services. This is a good guideline to observe.
BE AUTHENTIC, CONSISTENT AND HUMAN: Regardless of what product or service you offer, customers are drawn to brands that deliver on honesty and authenticity. Whether it’s through tweets, blogposts, webinars, or any other type of communication, make sure you’re a true problem-solver. Since it plays a crucial role in ensuring brands come through on that act of integrity, brands need to engage in conversations to build long-term relationships.
LISTEN TO YOUR AUDIENCE: If you ask someone what they need, they might not know. But if you listen carefully to what problems they are having, then you just might figure out what they’d really like to see from you.
BE WILLING TO CHANGE: There’s something to be said for staying consistent, but, if you learn something new by listening, be willing to change. An enduring brand voice is one that stays relevant because is able to adapt to changing needs and tastes..
WALK YOUR TALK: Substantiate your voice with your actions. Respond to detractors when they come out. Get back to people in a timely manner. Offer proof points that you deliver on what you say. Do unto your audience as you would like them to do unto you.
Does you brand have a voice? What is it that sets it apart? How does your business tell its unique story?
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are quantifiable measurements, agreed to beforehand, that reflect the critical success factors of an organization. They will differ depending on the organization.
Erica Olsen of OnStrategy explains in this brief video what KPIs are, why you choose the metrics that matter most and how to set up a KPI dashboard as an actionable scorecard to keep your strategy on track.
But it takes work to align a company around common goals, establish key metrics and create regular reporting. Is it worth the effort? Here are 21 reasons every business should have KPIs.
CLARIFIES EXPECTATIONS: What is expected can be communicated in a clear and unambiguous manner
DIRECTS BEHAVIORS: Unless you explain how to measure progress and success, people create their own assumptions and follow them
FOCUSES ATTENTION: When people are faced with so many competing demands on their time and resources, what is measured tends to get their attention – particularly when it is linked to reward systems
IMPROVES EXECUTION: If you don’t measure, it’s a lot harder to know what to execute
INCREASES OBJECTIVITY: Management is by facts instead of feelings and instincts
MAKES PERFORMANCE VISIBLE: It puts what is most important out in the open
FACILITATES FEEDBACK: Feedback in the form of timely, relevant measures is the basic navigational device of any individual or organisation
IMPROVES DECISION MAKING. One of the major causes of failure in decision-making is poor or non-existent use of data
REDUCES UNNECESSARY OPINIONS: Instincts and gut feelings may have a place in business analysis but they are mostly relevant to the person who has them. But one clear visualization of key data can clarify a thousand opinions
QUANTIFIES ACHIEVEMENT: Progress is measured by impact on goals and measured against a standard or target
PROVIDES FOCUS WHEN THERE IS CHAOS: When an unexpected competitive development or operational snafu occurs, there is a clear picture of the direction what really matters
IDENTIFIES ACTIONABLE INSIGHTS: Because key metrics are chosen, insights are clearer and easier to identify
ACHIEVES TARGETS SET BY STRATEGY: If analysis is based on a strategic goal and cause and effect analysis, it’s easier to identify steps that enable your organization to hit key business targets
MEASURES VITAL ACTIVITIES: In addition to enabling company to hit key targets, KPIs identify the vital activities that enable companies to hit them again.
IDENTIFIES NEED FOR RESOURCES: No one likes having their budget cut. When your key measurements are established, the need for funding or staff is easier to justify, harder to refute and better for negotiation
CREATES ACTION: If a group of people meet regularly to look at key metrics chosen around a common goal, “what do we do based on these results” occurs much more naturally and effectively
CREATES CONSISTENCY IN ACTION: Not only does action occur but it occurs more consistently. Big results usually happen when small steps are taken, continuously.
FOSTERS COLLABORATION: The people involved with the business work better together because they share the common bond of establishing the strategy, choosing the key metrics, creating the reports and taking the action that come from regular review of the KPIs
ESTABLISHES ACCOUNTABILITY: When people collaborate around a common goal and key measurements, they more likely to recognize their accountability and it’s more effectively enforced
MEASURES CUSTOMER SATISFACTION AND EMPLOYEE SATISFACTION FOR REAL: A key metric many company choose as a KPI is customer satisfaction or employee satisfaction or both. The KPI process makes this possible. When look at relative to other key metrics, it provides real evidence for satisfaction and dissatisfaction as well as a course of action if improvements need to occur
ARE THE ACTIONABLE SCORECARD TO KEEP STRATEGY ON TRACK: The educator and creator of the Peter Principle, Laurence Peter, said: “If you don’t know where you, you’ll probably end up someplace else.” KPIs are the best means a company to stick to strategy and not end up someplace else.
Does your business have KPIs? Do these reflect key benefits to you? Are there others you would add? Does you company need help establishing KPIs to keep your strategy on track?