When doing marketing for your business, the end goal is usually earning and retaining customers. With so many forms of marketing available (each with their pros and cons), a question always arises as to where to spend and how to split your marketing funds.
Think about where your customers are, and you’ll soon realise that most of them are online – for most of the day. In fact, as of this year, there are over 4.33 billion active internet users all over the world. This is why digital marketing is a marketing channel that should be considered for your business.
Selecting the best digital marketing channels for you can get quick confusing. Some of the common types of digital marketing include:
- SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)
- Google Search Ads
- Google Display Ads
- Google Shopping
- Paid Social Media
- Email Marketing
The Steps to Selecting Types of Digital Marketing
While it can be confusing when you’re first starting out, we’ve put together these 8 steps to help simplify the process.
- Define your target customer
- Set your budget
- Define your online goals
- Sales funnel health check
- Current acquisition channel performance
- Create a strategy
- Implement your strategy
- Test, measure and test again
Step 1: Define your target customer
Understanding who you are targeting is absolutely critical to choosing the right types of digital marketing channels to use. Best practise is to complete ‘personas’ which are basically fictional characters created to identify and represent a customer type based on demographic information (like location, age, gender and income) as well as insights into their behaviours and attitudes. By correctly defining your target personas, you will begin to have some knowledge about what digital marketing channels might work due to the preferences and behaviours of your target audience.
Step 2: Set your Budget
Budget is another consideration when determining which digital marketing types to use. Some budget restraints might rule some channels out, while other restraints may just mean you can’t put your eggs in too many baskets (you may only be able to select one or two digital marketing channels to use).
Step 3: Define your Online Goals
Having a goal is imperative to digital marketing. Understanding where the goalposts are means that you know what you need to achieve and have a benchmark to measure your marketing activities against. As well as longer-term goals such as increasing web traffic or goal conversions or sales over a period of time, you can also consider shorter-term goals that might be affecting your business immediately. For example, if you need an instantaneous boost in traffic or leads/sales, SEO probably isn’t your best choice, as it takes time to come into effect. Paid Search might be a better option for those short term goals.
Take time to understand what your long-term goals are and the digital channels that might be best suited to achieving those, as well as reviewing those shorter-term goals along with appropriate channels to achieve them.
Your goals will also influence how you use the channels. Looking at Google Display, for example, if your goal was to build awareness you might choose to target sites that are of interest to your persona. On the other hand, if the goal is to generate qualified leads, you could use Google Display to only target people who have previously landed on a particular page on your website – with the Display ad moving them closer to converting.
Step 4: Sales Funnel Health Check
Your digital sales funnel basically looks to understand how your online presence is performing from generating top-of-the-funnel awareness through to bottom-of-the-funnel conversions. The diagram below shows the different stages of the funnel:
Awareness can be loosely quantified by how many unique users are visiting your website each month. To access this data, open Google Analytics and go to Audience > Overview. Select the time period you want to analyse (it’s usually best to compare to a previous period or previous year for growth statistics too).
Interest can be identified through the aggregation of data including the time spent on the website, pages viewed per session and bounce rate. While it is normal to have small fluctuations in this data each month, you generally want to see an overall trend towards improvement annually. In some cases (particularly if interest is high and you are happy with the numbers of each of these elements), you should be happy with these numbers simply remaining quite stagnant (flat trend line) each year and would only draw concern if they started trending downward.
Decision defines the “thought” of converting. For non-eCommerce stores, deciphering “decision” vs “action” is difficult as often they will own the same action. However, for eCommerce stores, you can quantify the “decision” as the number of “add to carts”. To do this, you will need to have set up a goal in Google Analytics as Add to Cart Clicks (and allow data collection time before you begin analysis). This will then appear under Conversions > Goals > Overview.
Action is converting a prospect into a customer! For eCommerce stores, this equals a sale. For non-eCommerce stores this could mean a contact form submission, quote form submission, phone number click, address click, PDF download, or many, many other things. Anything that is important to you should be added as a goal in Analytics. When looking at this area, you want to assess not only the number of goal conversions (or transactions) but also the conversion rate – as this is what defines how well the website is converting for you.
In the example below, while 38 goal completions looks ok, the goal conversion rate is probably a bit low (industry average for this particular website being around 2%), indicating that some work may need to be done to assist in improving actions.
You can also look to complete a CRO Audit on your site to identify ways of improving your conversion rate. < Link to blog What is a CRO Audit <link to blog>
Step 5: Current Acquisition Channel Performance
It’s now time to review how your website is currently performing. Getting insights into which acquisition channels are currently doing well and those that are not will help shape the understanding of which channels are likely to reside and engage your target market. To access this data, go to Acquisition > Overview.
In the example, you can see that the most amount of traffic for this website came from Paid Search but this channel had 0 conversions – which means that it either needs to be reviewed and optimised to make it successful, or it is not the right marketing channel for this business. Organic Search is tracking along quite well with a conversion rate higher than the site average, and Social appears to be quite an untapped resource for this business – showing minimal traffic for a high conversion rate.
The insights we can pull from the above data include:
- Paid Search needs work – a full review of targeting, ad content, keywords and landing pages. If after optimisation it still isn’t converting, this probably isn’t the right channel for this business. However, if awareness needs boosting in the funnel, the business could consider Display Advertising in place of Search.
- Definitely worth investing time into SEO.
- Definitely worth looking further into Social – which social media networks are driving the conversions and whether investing in paid advertising in these channels is available.
- While email is not converting, it does have a relatively low bounce rate which suggests its a good driver for increased interest. Therefore, we would probably suggest keeping this chugging along with a monthly email send.
Step 6: Create a Strategy
By compiling all the information and data from the initial investigations above, it’s time to create your digital marketing strategy. Make sure to include everything in your plan including:
- Which channels you will engage in and how much time/money you will invest in each per month
- What web pages will be used as landing pages (or whether new landing pages will be created) for any paid advertising
- SEO optimisations to be completed, at a task level
- Who will be responsible for what
- Measurement of success
Some of these factors are a pro or a con of the main digital marketing channels, so they can confirm or challenge the channels you were planning to use.
Step 7: Implement
From there, it’s all about implementation. Get your plan into place and active!
Step 8: Test, Measure, Test again
It’s important not to think too much in the early stages about whether you have the “perfect” plan in place. Overthinking can cause delays in getting started which can sometimes be worse than just trying! As with anything digital, one of the huge advantages of digital marketing is the ability to measure and track results. Even professional marketers (like us!) never know exactly what the perfect formula is for your business. But what we do to make sure we keep moving you closer to that perfect formula is measuring and testing, and it’s absolutely critical that you do that too.
At least once a month, you need to look at how your channels are performing in relation to your sales funnel. If it’s brand awareness you wanted, which are bringing in a good percentage of traffic? If it’s conversions you’re after, which have a high conversion rate? Remember that there are no contracts with digital advertising, so if a channel isn’t working for you, either spend time optimising it and test it again or can it – it’s that simple! You should also use monthly reporting to look at ROI by channel and re-negotiate spend per channel based on which channels afford you the highest ROI.
Digital marketing can be quite a big fish when you’re swimming in unfamiliar territory. While some aspects of digital marketing can be quite easy to start, the difficulty often comes in optimising and ongoing maintenance. If you’re unsure where to start or what to do, it’s often best to reach out to professionals for help. In most cases, you’ll save time and money and get better and longer-lasting results when you engage a professional. If you’d like to discuss how you can get started in digital marketing, reach out to us today! We’re always happy to catch up over a casual coffee to understand your business, pain-points and what your goals are. We’re also happy to ‘divide-and-conquer’ if you want some input into your digital marketing. Contact us today for a chat.