Over the course of my 17 year journey within the Digital Marketing arena and the owner of a Digital Marketing Agency, I’ve witnessed first-hand the remarkable evolution of the digital marketing industry, from the very early days of companies being reluctant to invest any budget into any form of online marketing, all the way through to the point of where it is considered ludicrous to not have an online or digital marketing strategy in place. It’s not just an industry to me, it’s become a huge passion in my life that has driven me to explore, adapt and innovate in ways that can help others and build long term business relationships and in many cases friendships. In today’s digital landscape, where change is the only constant, I’ve come to appreciate the ever-growing importance of making well-informed decisions when it comes to crafting digital marketing strategies for businesses.
To us, there are 5 distinctive areas that need to be focused on, this is based on whether you are looking into the digital marketing world by yourself, on a low budget, hiring staff or hiring an agency to look after your digital marketing needs. Take these 5 steps into account, and you will be heading in the right direction. Always remember though, these are just the main considerations of many aspects of the digital marketing journey you will be going through, as well as loads of adaptations that you will face as your journey evolves over time. Budget is a huge consideration too, we will look into that in future blog posts, but let’s get an idea of what we need to look at first of all.
1. Understanding Your Audience
This may seem straightforward and logical, but lots of companies fail to consider this, your digital marketing success and journey begins with a deep understanding of your target audience. Without a clear grasp of who your potential customers are or understanding what are their needs and their preferences when comes to making a decision on your product or service, your marketing efforts are very likely to fall flat. When it comes to understanding your audience, there are some very important key points to consider –
- Your Audience Segmentation: make use of data analytics and tools to segment your audience into distinct groups based on demographics, behaviour and interests. This allows you to tailor your marketing campaigns to specific customer segments. The are multitudes of tools out there that you can make use of, some are free to use and others will have a cost to them, but there will always be something there to assist you.
- Customer Journey Mapping: understanding your customer journey, such as identifying touchpoints and pain points is essential. This helps you deliver personalised content at each stage of the buying process, giving you a suitable conversion rate. Conversions rates could be one of the most essential part of your digital marketing considerations. If your conversion rate is hampered by poor planning or understanding, your whole digital marketing plan could be severely jeopardised.
- Data-Driven Insights: you will need to consider leveraging your customer data to gain insights into your consumer behaviour and preferences. Once taking this data into account, you can make use these insights to refine your marketing strategies and messaging, and adapt where needed. There maybe various strategies you need in place, depending on your product and service, these will always need to be considered in your plan, otherwise you are potentially missing out on a whole segment of your target market.
- Competitor Analysis: you need to understand what your competitors are doing and how they are targeting your shared audience, as with any business, it is paramount to understand what your competitors are doing in the market place. Work on Identifying gaps in their strategies, new areas of focus in the market and new trends. Staying on top of these, will help you stay ahead of your competitors and lead the way. You need to remember, your competitors will be keeping an eye on you too.
- Personalisation: According to a recent survey by Accenture Interactive (https://www.accenture.com/us-en/insights/interactive/pulse-check-personalisation), 91% of consumers are more likely to shop with brands that provide relevant offers and recommendations. This makes it even more important to ensure that your personalise your content, offers and recommendations to enhance your customer engagement and conversion rate.
2. Content Strategy and Quality
When looking into your content, it is important to understand that the quality of the content is the benchmark of any successful digital marketing campaign. Whether you are writing blog posts, incorporating videos, your social media posts and updates, your newsletters or retargeting content, you must ensure you resonate with your audience and provide value. Here are a few important things to consider –
- Content Calendar: you need to create a content calendar that outlines your content creation and distribution schedule. Consistency is key in building a loyal audience, but remember that consistency can also cause similarity, so it is important that your content strategy and adaption fit in with the current environment and audience mood, based on your product, service and even season etc.
- SEO Optimisation: It goes without saying, you need to implement an effective SEO strategy, allowing you to improve your content’s visibility in search engines. Making use of keyword research and on-page optimisation fits in well with achieving this, but it also needs to fit across multiple aspects of your marketing strategy, including emails, social posts, creative content amongst a multitude of others.
- Visual Content: visual content such as videos and infographics is gaining more and more importance recently. According to HubSpot (https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/video-marketing-statistics), 85% of businesses use video as a marketing tool, and it’s expected to grow further in the coming years. Keeping up with the latest trends or technology is a really important aspect to keeping up to date on relevant.
- User-Generated Content: other important strategy is to encourage user-generated content. User-generated content can boost credibility and authenticity of not only your brand, but your product and/or service too. Sharing customer reviews, testimonials and other forms of feedback to the wider world helps build trust in your brand and offering.
- Content Distribution: This may sound logical too, but creating various channels to distribute your content, including social media, email marketing, and content syndication is essential. Reaching and synchronising your content across all of your channels helps achieve all aspects of we have discussed above and more. Not only is it far reaching, but synchronising your content across all distribution channels provides uniformity and professionalism which in turn builds trust in your brand as well as your product/service.
3. Mobile Optimisation
It sounds weird stating this in this day and age as mobiles are so embedded into society, it’s a necessity. So many companies and marketing departments overlook this. It is so important to have a seamless mobile experience for your customers and this can significantly impact your digital marketing success. Here are some mobile considerations –
- Mobile-First Design: these days when building a website, it is encouraged to ensure your website and landing pages are designed with mobile in mind and then the rest following, in fact Google has mobile first indexing and prioritises mobile friendly websites in search results over those that are not optimised. Percentage of users making use of their mobiles to browse is continuously growing and in most sectors is the main source of browsing. Keeping this in mind, will keep you notice and relevant in the areas that count.
- Page Speed: according to Google, if your website takes more than three seconds to load, 53% of mobile users will abandon it. You need to ensure that your pages are optimised and your website’s speed is has taken mobile devices into account, you don’t want to be losing users by missing out on something so obvious.
- Responsive Design: your content and emails should adapt seamlessly to various screen sizes. You need to ensure that responsive designs are in place to guarantee a consistent user experience. User experience keeps the user involved. It is way easier to keep a user on the page than bringing them there, so ensure you keep this in mind when putting your website/page design in place.
- Mobile Apps: depending on the product or service you offer, it may be worth considering developing a mobile app. Apps can enhance customer engagement and loyalty if your product or service is aligned to it. Not everything requires an app, so research into your market is essential to discovering whether this is a correct implementation or not.
- SMS Marketing: there are times that exploring SMS marketing can be an option to reach customers directly on their mobile devices. However, ensure that your SMS campaigns comply with relevant regulations and as above, is your product or service suitable to someone receiving a text message. SMS is not relevant in certain instances, but be sure it is to yours.
4. Data Privacy and Security
As digital marketing technologies advance, and with recent circumstances and actions, there are rightfully concerns about data privacy and security. It’s essential to prioritise your data protection to build trust with your audience and comply with regulations like GDPR and PECR. Here’s what we suggest focusing on –
- Data Collection Transparency: be transparent about the data you collect and how you use it, you need to ensure that you obtain explicit consent for data collection and processing, there is no excuses when it comes to this.
- Data Security Measures: invest in robust data security measures to safeguard customer information if you are collecting it, which chances are you are. You need to ensure that you regularly update and patch your systems to protect against cyber threats and other data breaches.
- Compliance: keep informed about evolving data privacy regulations and ensure compliance, there is lots of information available around this topic, especially on the ICO website ico.org.uk. Non-compliance can result in severe penalties and reputational damage which in many cases you cannot bounce back from, even if unintended.
- Customer Trust: we suggest making use data privacy as a selling point by communicating your commitment to data security to your target market and beyond as to build trust with your audience.
5. Marketing Technology Stack
There are so many options out there these days, but your choice of marketing technology tools can significantly impact your campaign’s effectiveness and efficiency. A well rounded marketing technology stack can streamline processes and provide valuable insights. We suggest the following –
- Marketing Automation: budgets, especially early on can impact on what you are able to invest in marketing automation platforms which enable you to streamline repetitive tasks, nurture leads and deliver personalised content. No matter how small your budget, there are platforms that can assist from the beginning, and then as you and your budgets grow, you can adapt accordingly.
- Analytics and Reporting: implement robust analytics tools to track the performance of your campaigns. Utilise data driven insights to optimise your strategies continually. There are a lot of free tools out there to help with this aspect of your marketing strategy, even Google have free options for you to use, make use of them, they will help you fully optimise your strategy.
- CRM Integration: Integrate customer relationship management (CRM) software to centralise customer data and improve targeting and personalisation. This is important and many levels, not only can it help with your optimisation, targeting and personalisation, it can form a big part of keeping and holding your data compliantly. There are free systems out there, but as compliance and data protection is such an important aspect of your marketing strategy, we suggest putting aside soe of your budget to ensure you are as robust as possible in this matter.
- AI and Machine Learning: there is lots of talk about AI around these days. Leverage AI and machine learning to enhance predictive analytics, chatbots, and content recommendations. AI does not need to be the enemy, take advantage of its many positive aspects and it can become an important part of your overall marketing and brand building strategy.
- Cybersecurity Solutions: protect your marketing technology stack with cybersecurity solutions to safeguard against data breaches and cyberattacks. Again, having this as part of your budgeting process is important, but there are options across all budgeting levels to ensure you are safeguarded against and attacks.
In conclusion, digital marketing continues to evolve, and staying ahead of the curve is essential for success in 2023 and beyond. By considering the five key aspects we have discussed, Understanding Your Audience, Content Strategy and Quality, Mobile Optimisation, Data Privacy and Security, and your Marketing Technology Stack, you can build a solid foundation for your digital marketing efforts in the short, medium and long term.
Also, remember that the digital marketing landscape is dynamic, and adapting to emerging trends and technologies is crucial. Regularly assess and adjust your strategies based on evolving consumer behaviour, competitor advancements and industry developments. With the right approach, your digital marketing efforts can yield remarkable results, driving growth and profitability for your company over a long period of time.
Good luck with it all, digital marketing can be daunting, but exciting too. If you would like to chat more about what we have discussed, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org