September 20, 2016
Happy birthday Internet.
The Internet recently celebrated its 25th birthday and, in that time, it has evolved tremendously. The biggest changes are the Internet’s speed, availability of access and the evolution of the devices used to access it.
In the early days of the Internet, you could only access it from a desktop computer of some sort and you had to use a modem to connect to it over a telephone line. You had to make a concerted decision to access the Internet and be prepared to spend some time doing it because browsing the Internet was not very quick.
Today everybody is accessing the Internet all the time. People connect to the Internet using Smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktops and it is all done through high speed broadband and Wi-Fi connections, either at home, in the office or at the local coffee shop. If you can’t get a Wi-Fi connection, you can get a 3G or 4G connection on your mobile device almost anywhere on the planet. It’s even possible to use the Internet on the International Space Station.
The evolution of digital marketing
As the Internet has evolved, so have the opportunities for digital marketing. In the early days, companies just needed to have a presence on the Internet through a website and the ability to send and receive e-mails.
Now, companies have so many more options through the various social media platforms as well as more traditional Web-based marketing tools that it is easy to become disillusioned if you are not seeing results. Company owners are all too ready to jump on the latest digital marketing fad and spend their money in the hope of finding new customers. Most of the time this leads to disappointment.
What company owners need to do is adopt a strategic approach to their digital marketing that will give them a much higher chance of success.
What’s in a strategy?
There are six key steps to developing and implementing a digital marketing strategy. These are:
1. Develop a detailed understanding of the product or service you are looking to promote;
2. Develop a detailed picture of the target audience;
3. Review each of the digital marketing options available to you and decide which tools should be used in this strategy;
4. Develop a plan for your digital marketing – what you are going to do, who in your team is going to do it and when it is going to be done by;
5. Take action;
6. Use digital marketing tools to measure success.
Detailed picture of the product
Build up a detailed picture of the product or service you are looking to promote digitally. This should include a detailed description of what the product or service is, what problems it solves, the benefits gained from the people using it, how much it costs to produce, how much you can afford to spend on marketing it, profit margins that you are generating, whether there are any associated products you can upsell, whether these are likely to be one-off or repeat purchases.
Develop a detailed picture of the target audience
The detailed picture should include age, gender, existing or new customers, location, what their needs, wants and fears are, how they are likely to want to be approached, what their likely budgets are going to be and whether they are business customers or consumers.
Review your digital marketing options
Now that you have a detailed picture of your product and customers, you can consider all the options available to you for digital marketing. You need to consider which are the best social media options to reach your target market and how best to use more traditional Web tools. For instance, LinkedIn is the place to really target business-to-business customers.
Your choices here are also guided by how you think they will be looking for your product and service.
Develop a plan
Your plan should detail how you are going to use each of the digital marketing options, when you are going to use them, how you are going to use them and who is going to be doing these for you. You should also include details of budgets available because although some digital marketing options are free, others will need to be paid for.
This may appear to go against the advice this article is laying out, but it is important to take action, quickly once you have your plan laid out. One of the slogans that Facebook use in its offices is “Break things – Fast,” which is good … provided you fix them fast too.
Measure your success
Make use of all the available digital marketing tools to keep an eye on your digital marketing campaign. Use Google Analytics to see how visitors to your website are increasing and what they are doing, use the analytical tools available on social media platforms to measure the effects of your social media activities and use other tools to track your progress up the search engine rankings.
Rob Osborne is the owner of Red Knight Solutions, a U.K.-based digital marketing agency working with SMEs to help them get the best from their digital marketing. Rob specializes in the use of video to help businesses with their digital marketing, especially using photos and graphics to help business owners avoid the pain of appearing on camera.