With just a couple of months to go before we welcome in the new financial year, it’s time to begin planning for the year ahead. With the online world growing at a rapid rate, one area of your FY15-16 budgets to take into greater consideration this year is your Digital Marketing Strategy.
Earlier in 2015, a study completed by Monda suggested that 80% of companies were planning to increase their digital marketing budgets over the next 12 to 18 months. Keeping up with your competitors now means staying ahead of the pack when it comes to maintaining and increasing your online presence. Any loss in online traction could negatively affect your overall business.
Before I launch into how to begin developing your strategy, these are a couple of things I think are critical when it comes to digital marketing. I want to get these in your mind before you think about developing your strategy.
First up, don’t fall into the trap of just pouring time and money willy-nilly into whatever your next-door neighbor says they do. What works for one business may or may not work for another. It’s important to create a strategy based on your business and set a clear (yet flexible) pathway for the next year.
Secondly, I mentioned it briefly above but an important factor with any digital marketing is to keep the strategy highly flexible to change. With the rate in which new technology is introduced or “best practices” change, it’s critical you don’t lock-in a concrete strategy for the year. Be flexible and apt to change if and when it’s needed.
Finally, no one knows what will and won’t work for your company. Everything in digital is trial and error, and while you can make educated guesses based on customer preferences, feedback, UX and other factors, there is no hard and fast rule for success in the online space. Be prepared to try things and fail (or learn!), and try other things and succeed.
The first step is gaining an understanding of what you want to achieve for your company, brand, product or service in the coming year. Make your objectives realistic and measurable. Some questions you might want to ask yourself include:
An important part of determining your objectives for the New Year is assessing how you went last year. You will almost certainly need Google Analytics or another analytics tool to assess your current digital presence in order to help define where you want to head this year.
This might sound like an obvious step, but it isn’t always that simple. You need to define who your digital customer is. Keep in mind that your digital target market may be different to those your target through ATL marketing. You can gain demographics information from Google Analytics which can help you determine who you online customer is (at a very high demographical level). You do need to turn this functionality on and I would highly recommend doing so immediately (you’ll require full access to the Analytics account to turn this on) as it only begins tracking data from the day it is activated.
You can have more than one customer segment. Try to break your “total” customers into segments that help define them at a lower and more personal level. This will help in the next step.
Now that you know which segments you are targeting, you need to work out where they are and how to talk to them! With so many different digital platforms available to use, you really need to consider your target market (or each segment individually) in terms of demographics like age, gender and location in relation to the various technologies and social networks that these customers are most likely to use. Knowing who you are targeting and gaining an understanding of the platforms they use can help you really leverage your digital marketing presence.
Just some of the digital platforms you might consider may include email marketing, social media, blogging and/or guest blogging, banner advertising or PPC advertising – just to name a few.
Create a marketing calendar to visually represent the digital platforms, the times you will engage each platform, the budget for each activity and the expected ROI (with space to track your actual ROI when the year begins).
Consistency and relevancy is key to digital success. So ensure you have outlined strategy that allows for regular and ongoing communications through digital channels. While this falls a little into content strategy, you should also keep an eye on your communications and messages through the various platforms and try to keep a consistent voice and a consistent message.
As I stressed at the beginning of this article, one of the critical things to remember with digital marketing is that it is part of a very fast-paced and constantly changing world. This means that your digital marketing strategy needs to be flexible to change.
Keep up to date with the performance of your website as well as the digital marketing platforms you are leveraging every month. Stay on top of your digital profits and digital ROI and be ready to change the plan when things look to be working or not working in your favour. Don’t be scared to try something new in digital – you never know what and what won’t work until you give it a go.
Don’t have the time or expertise to manage your digital marketing? Arcadian Digital can help! Based in Melbourne’s CBD, we can assist with everything from recommending your digital strategy, to implementing your digital marketing and providing detailed reports on your digital presence including conversions and ROI. With website developers on site as well, we can provide recommendations on improving your full digital presence beyond just digital marketing. Contact us today to find out more.