12 days of digital – the best marketing present ever

On the 12th day of…digital…I had a strategy.
We’re officially on the countdown to Christmas and I’m in a particularly giving mood.
I’m giving you 12 steps for putting together a digital marketing strategy. If you tick off a step a day (depending on what you already have in place) you can have the direction of that strategy ready by Christmas, and implement in 2015. It will be the best marketing present you have ever given yourself.
Digital marketing by far is one of the biggest pain points for small to medium enterprises. It seems so vast, daunting and different from all the old school and traditional marketing strategies that have worked so well in the past.
The worst part is that there are savvy young people out there, that have grown up with the internet, and they have many of us convinced that anyone born pre-Google without a smart device permanently attached to their arm, couldn’t possible master digital marketing.
Understandably overwhelmed, many smaller businesses don’t venture down the digital path at all, while others hand over hard earned cash to those savvy young entrepreneurs billing themselves as digital marketers.
Businesses in the modern world can’t afford not to have a digital marketing strategy. This is because digital marketing by definition is the use of electronic devices, digital technologies and platforms to engage with stakeholders, and the majority of said stakeholders engage in these digital channels. The infographic below explains this in more detail.
So while digital marketing is critical it also has several benefits, such as the ability to reach a wider customer base at a time and place convenient to them and in an interactive way.
Fortunately there are plenty of credible young and not so young digital marketing experts who can assist and if you can afford it, by all means go for it – just make sure they are reputable. It’s usually a case of you’ll get what you pay for.
However if you want to develop your own digital marketing strategy, I am here to demystify it for you and give you some simple steps to make it happen.
Before I get into the spirit of my 12 days of digital, I want to give you my take on Digital Marketing.
Digital Marketing is not (or doesn’t need to be) vastly different from traditional marketing.
It is simply using traditional marketing and communication methods that have stood the test of time, but applying them to digital channels.
To give you a Christmas inspired analogy, where in the past many people may have sent out hard copy Christmas cards to their loves ones, they may now send an email, e-card or post a social media update, but they all serve the same purpose. The purpose is to share news of the year with your loved ones.
The purpose and messaging essentially don’t change, it’s just the delivery methods that have evolved.
What we’re really talking about when it comes to digital marketing strategy is your marketing and communication strategy that incorporates digital channels.
The core part of this strategy was, and still remains, valuable content that engages and boosts the customer experience.
It’s no coincidence that another jargony term ‘content marketing’ popped up around the same time as digital marketing.
So let’s forget the jargon and remind ourselves that if we know how to market and communicate effectively with our stakeholders, we now just need to incorporate digital channels and make the most of them.
On the first day of digital…
  1. Brand and positioning – before you dive into the digital deep end, take a moment to revisit your brand and positioning messages. As I said digital marketing is about content and you can’t create valuable content unless you understand and can effectively communicate your brand and point of difference. 
  2. Customer personas – similarly you should take a look at your ideal customers and their profiles, to make sure you use the right digital marketing channels for your target market. 
  3. Website – review your website and whether it’s up to scratch in terms of functionality and site structure. You should be looking at it from the view of your customer and making it as easy as possible for them to engage with you/purchase from you. Look at design and speed as well as search engine optimisation (SEO). The great news is that you don’t need to be a website developer or have technical expertise in coding to create an effective website. 
  4. Social media – having a social media presence and keeping it up-to-date is a critical component of any digital marketing strategy. The most important thing to consider here is what social media platforms are best for your target market and how to create valuable content
  5. Blog – a blog is a great way to maximise your digital marketing presence and improve SEO. If you go to the trouble though of creating a blog be sure to post regularly and leverage your content as much as possible
  6. E-newsletter – there are some fantastic tools out there (including free options with http://mailchimp.com/ ) that provide ready-made optimised e-newsletter templates that you can send to your database. They also provide great analytics, database and subscription management. You can create sign-up forms on your website and social media pages. If you write a blog you can provide highlights in your e-newsletter
  7. Visual content – visual content such as videos, images and infographics are great digital tools that promote SEO and encourage engagement. Videos can be loaded on YouTube and on your website. You could also create memes or reaction gifs. Think broadly about different types of videos you could create: testimonials, Q&As, events, instructional videos.
  8. Advertising – advertising may be a traditional marketing tool, but it still holds a valid space in digital marketing. Pay per click Google Ads and Facebook particularly can be very affordable advertising options, and you can gauge effectiveness very quickly. You can be very specific about what types of pages you want your ad to appear on and really zero in on your target audience. Twitter and Instagram also have popular advertising options. 
  9. Mobile marketing – marketing messages via mobiles and SMS can be extremely effective particularly for some industries. Special and limited time offers, reminders for events and appointments and competitions work well on mobile. Texts are reported to have a very high open rate as well (as a general rule).
  10. Other written content and tools – depending on your customer personas and their stage of the sales cycle, you may need specialist written content and tools that can be uploaded to a digital space, particularly your website. These may include ebooks, data sheets, white papers, calculators, testimonials, media releases, reports, submissions, testimonials, games, apps, quizzes, resources. Whatever written content you’re producing, ensure it meets its purpose and is tailored to your target audience.
  11. Integrated strategy – now that you have identified what digital tools you may need, go back and incorporate them into your broader marketing and communication strategy. 
  12. Monitor and evaluate – like any good marketing activities, monitoring and evaluation is very important. There are some really good digital marketing evaluation tools that are very accessible such as google analytics
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Kylie Fennell
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