New year, new possibilities. This could be a year of unprecedented growth for your company. This could be the year your business takes off, the year you become an industry leader, the year you finally take a vacation. But if that’s what you want, you need a successful digital marketing strategy for 2020.
Marketing is much more than coming up with viral video campaigns and clever taglines. If you want to create real, sustainable growth, you need an intelligent plan based on concrete data.
To help you accomplish this, we’ve devised a step-by-step plan for creating an effective marketing strategy. Each of these six steps builds on the step before. We can’t promise that this formula will make marketing easy. Connecting with new buyers is hard work, no matter what.
But we can promise that if you’re willing to put in the effort, these six steps set you on the path to your best year yet.
Step 1: Research Your Target Audience
You know the rule: “The customer always comes first.” It’s true even when it comes to designing a profitable marketing strategy.
As you head into the process of developing a successful digital marketing strategy, you should have a clear customer persona in mind. Then, get to know your buyers inside and out. Research details such as:
- Who is buying products or services like yours?
- What other brands have earned their loyalty?
- What inspires your target buyer to stick with a brand?
- How does your perfect buyer think, talk, and make decisions?
- What are the demographics of your target audience?
- What do they do for fun?
- How do they see themselves? How do they want others to see them?
- What do they value, fear, and need?
- What are their typical purchasing behaviors?
- Where do they hang out online? What social media platforms do they prefer and what digital marketing channel is most likely to reach them?
- How do they engage online? Are they inclined to share content, use hashtags, or leave reviews?
- What pain points do they have? Is there something they need that they’re not getting from your competitors?
This is by no means a comprehensive list of the questions you should be asking. The more insight you have, the better. And you will likely need to break your target audience down into more specific segments. This allows you to tailor your marketing efforts more specifically and provides clearer results when you conduct A/B testing.
A few great methods for target audience research include:
- Conducting surveys (large-scale quantitative and small-scale qualitative)
- Product testing
- Studying market research conducted by other professionals
- Using social listening software and other research tools to notice patterns in the way buyers currently interact with your brand
- Observing the successes—and failures—of competitors who reach a similar audience
Whatever it takes, make sure you know exactly who you’re trying to reach, what they care about, and where to find them.
Step 2: Analyze the Competition and Their Marketing Strategy
Want a successful marketing strategy? Then you need to understand what you’re up against. That’s what Step 2 is for.
Research your competitors to understand how they are succeeding and where they fall short. This process is called “competitive analysis,” and doing it well means taking a comprehensive approach to observing the Other Guy.
To develop a marketing strategy that can hold up in the current market, you should know things like:
- Where your competitors find their buyers
- What strategies they use to connect with their target audience
- How they use messaging to build trust
- What customers are saying about them online
- Which campaigns have worked and which have failed
These insights show you how to keep up and help you identify your competitors’ weak spots. Use this information to avoid marketing mistakes that have already been made and proactively stand out in your field.
Analytics tools like SpyFu even help you observe the competition continuously. Keep track of their content strategy, compare your search engine rankings to theirs, and even discover emerging competitors.
Step 3: Devise a Content Strategy For A Successful Digital Marketing Strategy
This is where strategy meets creativity.
You’ve done your homework. You know where to find your buyers and what they care about. You also know a lot about the ads and content you have to outperform. Now you just have to take all these insights and create an intelligent content marketing strategy.
Now, there is one important thing you should keep in mind as you put together your content strategy.
People buy based on emotions. They don’t care how incredible your product is . . . at least not as much as they care about how your product makes them feel.
This is why your content strategy should not be a collection of sales pitches. Instead, it should be a carefully crafted system of messaging that turns interaction with your brand into an emotionally connective experience.
That’s not to say every marketing video you release has to be a tear-jerker. But you do want to think about:
- Informative blogs that help the buyer solve a problem
- Funny or resonating videos that are easy to share
- Pay-per-click ads that focus on the spirit, strength, values, or potential of the buyer as it relates to your product or service
- Social media content that invites feedback and participation
- Email campaigns that make customers feel like VIPs with insider info and exclusive deals
- Experiential marketing that helps buyers connect personally with your brand
And remember to take cues from your competitors’ successes and failures as you develop your content strategy.
Step 4: Choose the Best Marketing Channels for your Marketing Strategy
In the modern digital world, there are countless ways to reach an audience. But if you try to cover every digital marketing channel at once, you’ll waste resources by spreading them too thin.
By this point, you should know which channels are ideal for your customers and most appropriate for your product. You have also learned which channels your competition is most likely to use and how well they perform. Examine all these insights to determine which marketing channels are likely to have the best ROI.
To clarify, “marketing channels” refers to the avenues through which you connect with buyers. The possibilities include:
- Video marketing
- Content marketing (blog, podcast, infographics, etc.)
- Social media marketing (paid and organic)
- Email marketing
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
- Pay-per-click advertising
- Influencer marketing
To ensure a successful digital marketing strategy in 2020, focus first on the best channels first.
Step 5: Develop a Strategic Marketing Funnel
It’s pretty rare that a buyer sees one ad for a product and immediately clicks “buy.” In order to win new customers, you need to work with the psychology of the purchasing process. This means guiding each prospective buyer through something called the “marketing funnel.”
The funnel consists of three main stages:
- Awareness: The buyer becomes aware of your brand and your product or service. If you sell something completely new or unique, your audience may also need to be made aware of their own need for your product.
- Consideration: The buyer gets to know your business better. They gather more information so they can compare you to the competition. They consider whether your brand can add value to their life.
- Conversion: The buyer decides to purchase what you’re selling.
A good marketing strategy involves targeted advertising to usher each individual buyer through each phase. You can learn more about creating an effective marketing funnel here.
Step 6: Determine Budget Allocation for a Successful Digital Marketing Strategy
Almost every business agonizes over their marketing budget. You know you’ve got to spend money to make money. But how big should your entire marketing budget be? And where should you focus those resources?
Once you’ve completed steps 1-5 for developing a successful digital marketing strategy, budget allocation should be easier. You now know:
- What type of content connects best with your audience
- Which marketing channels have the best chance for success
- How your competitors are investing their resources
- Which digital marketing tools are best to track your success
- What skill sets you need on your team (In other words, should you invest in an additional team member? Hire a marketing agency?)
This information makes it much easier to strategize your budget.
Now is also the time to assign monetary values to efforts and results that don’t come with an obvious price tag. When calculating expenses, factor in the intangibles, such as time spent learning new tools. Then make sure every victory has an assigned value, including site visits and social media interactions. Sounds impossible, but this article on social media ROI helps.
When you convert everything into dollars and cents, you can determine whether your marketing strategy is working. And when you track your results, you can constantly improve your approach.
If this sounds time-consuming, that’s because it is. But trust us: the more effort you put in today, the better off you’ll be in the long run.
And if you just don’t have the time, we’re always here to help you develop a game-changing marketing strategy. Contact us anytime at LookinLA for a free consultation.