Digital Marketing Strategy Condensed – the fundamentals leaders need to know

When your business is strong, and the outlook is promising, you can feel on top of the world. But if you’re like most people, you know your business could always do better, and you’re uneasy about the future.

Although we can’t control the future, you as a business leader want to have the greatest positive impact on how your company handles whatever comes your way.

One of the best actions a leader can take to strengthen their company is to learn the key principles behind effective digital marketing.  

Consider this:

Businesses need clients or customers. You could even say that a business without customers is not a business at all. I’d call it a pricey dream.

So, if customers are so crucial to your business, wouldn’t you want to know precisely how to find and keep these treasures?

Digital marketing has become the most effective way to attract customers, make them happy and keep them coming back. As digital marketing increasingly becomes THE way to remain relevant, it follows that business leaders need to be on top of it. 

Of course, this doesn’t mean you need to have a working knowledge of all the marketing tactics and implementation. That’s what marketing professionals are for. It means that when you, the leader, thoroughly understand its fundamentals, your business’s digital marketing will have more power to do good for your business.

It’s up to you, as a leader in your business, to proactively rally your whole organization behind digital marketing.

Not convinced it’s the best use of your time right now?

Usually, you can’t get stronger unless you build on your weakest muscle. 

Is digital marketing knowledge your weak muscle? If it is, no doubt you want to strengthen it. But perhaps you’re only resisting wholehearted engagement with digital marketing because you’re unsure of what exactly it involves.

We know that uncertainty is paralyzing, particularly when you have many other things on your plate that need addressing. So we’re going to give you a head start by outlining the powerful keys to digital marketing. 

When the fundamentals are clear, you’ll be on track to communicating clearly and consistently with: 

  • your executive team
  • the rest of your organization
  • external marketing professionals

A leader who understands how their marketing translates into strategic digital marketing is better equipped to help everyone in their business feel like they’re on the same page. And thus, they create much-needed stability.

In this post, we’ll define what digital marketing actually is (as opposed to what most people think it is). And then, we’ll lay out the core of what every business leader must know if they want to take full advantage of digital marketing. 

But you’re not sure if digital marketing is relevant for your business?

Just in case you think that other businesses need digital marketing, but not yours, consider the last important purchase you made. You’ll probably remember doing some online research before buying. Whether you needed an accountant, new packaging for your business or a lawnmower, chances are, your purchasing decision started online.

Every business needs digital marketing, regardless of industry, product or service. 

What is Digital Marketing?

Digital marketing is all about meeting your business goals with the help of online marketing tactics. Social media, search marketing and email marketing are the prime examples.

To put it another way, digital marketing has the same core principles as traditional marketing. Still, it uses different tactics so that your business can connect with today’s customers.

Why bother?

Digital marketing done well will allow you to be at the same places online that your customers are. 

And, not only does it remove any hurdles for your customers, it allows them to interact with you. People are no longer satisfied to be told by businesses what they should or shouldn’t buy. They demand the agency of a two-way conversation.

Lastly, an excellent digital marketing strategy will prevent you from making ineffective and costly tactical decisions. It eliminates endless choices and protects you from Shiny Object Syndrome.

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The Digital Marketing Terms You Can’t Do Without

Start at the heart

Most leaders know that their customers are the heart of their businesses. Whether traditional or digital, all good marketing is built around them. So the good news is, you’re off to a good start if you’ve already thought deeply about whom you serve. You need to nail it before you begin because effective digital marketing is exceptionally targeted.

To be laser-sharp on your business’s target customer, carefully consider these questions:

  • Who is your target customer?
  • What are their demographics?
  • What are their goals and values?
  • What are they trying to achieve?
  • What challenges do they face?
  • Where do they get their information?
  • What stands in the way of them purchasing your product?
  • Who influences their purchase decision?

Pay close attention to the last question. If you’re in a more complex business environment, like some B2B companies, don’t forget those who influence a purchase decision but may not be the paying customer.

Your most important investment is the time and thought you put into your customer in this first stage. It will prevent all your other investments from falling on fallow ground.

Of course, your business can have more than one target customer.

Next, look after that heart

If understanding and articulating WHOM you serve is the first step in your strategy, defining WHAT value you give them is the second.

WHY would your customer choose your product or service? This value proposition is a combination of the product and all the other benefits you offer your customer. Digital marketing is particularly good at adding benefits, generally in the form of content and convenience.

Think about what your product will ultimately achieve. It’s easy to forget the drill and hole concept, so we need to revisit it at every point in our digital marketing strategy.

For best results, make sure the value you provide is unique, answers a specific need and is clearly communicated and delivered.

The Customer Journey

To take us to the fundamentals that are more specific to digital marketing, we’ll defer to Ryan Deiss, the CEO of DigitalMarketer and author of Digital Marketing for Dummies. He writes, “The role of your digital marketing is to assist in moving a prospect, lead, or customer from one stage of the customer journey to the next.”

oktorise-customer-journey | Powerful Digital Marketing | | Marketing Consulting & Digital Marketing Coaching
DigitalMarketer’s Customer Journey Canvas

Understanding the customer journey is key to understanding digital marketing. It may sound like jargon, but it’s just the path a person takes from first becoming aware of you to becoming your customer and even your actively promoting fan.

Just as you don’t make a marriage proposal on your first date, you don’t offer your product/service before building a good relationship with your customer. Many companies make this mistake. Sequence matters because right now, only 3% of your market is actively buying, 57% are not ready, and 40% are poised to begin. That means, taking the time to understand your customer’s journey will allow you to provide them with the right information at the right time. Then you won’t get dumped prematurely.

This procedure can be daunting. Thankfully, you can use Digital Marketer’s proprietary and straightforward 8-step process called the Customer Value Journey. Used by the experts, it’s a tried and true tool for crafting your digital marketing strategy.

Stages in summary

Aware: People can’t buy from you if they don’t know you exist, so you need to get on their radar. To get their attention, entertain or inform them, you can use advertising, blog posts, social media, etc.

Engage: This is where you start building an emotional relationship with your customer. They don’t know, like or trust you yet. It’s best to use multiple channels at this stage, which will allow you to deepen your relationship with them. Emails, online communities and customer support are good examples. Engagement doesn’t stop here – it must continue throughout the customer journey.

Subscribe: You’ve built up some trust and now it’s time to ask for a small commitment. When a prospect subscribes to you, they consent for you to email them. Be sure to offer something they want; otherwise, you probably won’t hear from them again. Consider giving a webinar, a free sample or a report, for example.

Convert: Some of your subscribers like and trust you to the extent that they’re happy to make more of a commitment to you (in the form of time or a small amount of money). The key to this critical stage is to give your prospects plenty of value without asking them to put much skin in the game. It’s not about profit here; you might even lose money. The conversion stage is where you aim to transition your subscriber/follower to a customer. You could offer a webinar, a free strategy session, or an entry point offer.

Excite: Your small transaction with your new customer has created excitement by giving them a memorable experience. Now is the time to build up that excitement, inspiring amity and trust. Actually, this is the stage where customers often have their ‘ah-ha moment’. You need to engineer an experience for your customers, where they go from thinking your product would be nice to have to where they must have it. So, to make customers especially happy and move them to the next stage where they will make more valuable purchases, offer tips for getting more value from their purchase or a quick, tangible win.

Ascend: This stage is about repeat purchases and real profits. Until now, you have been investing in your future by converting prospects to customers. Now you want to really look after your customer, so they’ll keep coming back. So this is the time to offer your business’s core offer. You can make their experience with you even better with simple up-sells, add-ons, etc.

Advocate: You now have a happy, multi-buying customer. Satisfied customers generally enjoy sharing their positive experiences. Still, at this stage, they are passive when it comes to telling others how good you are. Therefore, encourage them by asking them to write a review or share a post, for example.

Promote: In this stage, we aim to move your loyal customers from passively to actively promoting your product or service. For their audience of family, friends, fans and followers, they are a trusted source of information. Therefore, their recommendations are precious for your business. These special customers may promote you just because they feel like sharing their great experience or because you’ve also given them an incentive. If ethical and appropriate, consider forming an affiliative or commission-based relationship with these people.

The Final Key to the Customer Journey

You need marketing campaigns to prevent your prospects and customers from falling by the wayside between stages. Because each is unique, it doesn’t work to have one campaign for all the stages. Your marketing campaigns need to purposefully address each stage separately and strategically unite them to optimize the overall journey.

You know your digital marketing is doing beautifully when you see people moving swiftly and smoothly through each of the eight stages of your customer journey.

Some Tips to Wrap Up

  1. Regularly measuring helps you establish what is working for your business and needs to be optimized. Be sure to gather, evaluate, understand and act on the correct data.
  2. Be consistent. If your digital marketing, or any marketing for that matter, is seasonal or campaign driven, you won’t get traction. So your efforts will be discouraging and wasteful. And perhaps more importantly, inconsistency often results in people mistakenly judging a valuable tactic to be ineffectual, then discarding it. So remember to deliver steady, quality information, carefully coordinated with marketing campaigns across different platforms.
  3. Make sure an expert leads your digital marketing. Even though traditional and digital marketing fundamentals are the same, digital marketing is a particular skill set. Unless your excellent marketing colleague has learnt digital marketing, their digital marketing results will usually be unimpressive.

People talk about how digital marketing is constantly evolving and how hard it is to keep up. But really, it’s just technology changing with tactics responding. The fundamentals remain the same. Taking the time to understand our customers, how they communicate, why they would buy our product or service, and meeting them where they are is what it’s about. Gurus and ‘quick fixes’ are just red herrings.

As a business leader, one of the most empowering things you can do is to learn the foundations of digital marketing. This knowledge will give you the confidence to decide what your business does or doesn’t need if a marketing services provider recommends. Moreover, it will equip you to sort the good from the bad when you invest in digital marketing expertise. And you’ll have the know-how you need to rally your organization behind it.

oktorise-024 | Powerful Digital Marketing | | Marketing Consulting & Digital Marketing Coaching
Open new doors and discover customers where you haven’t been before. Never look back.

Digital marketing is part of business strategy. You don’t want to lie in bed at night hoping that someone else has got it covered.

If you’re only as strong as your weakest muscle, it’s great to understand how to build it up. And when you work on it, your business will thank you.

Free Glossary for Business Leaders

The Digital Marketing Terms You Can’t Do Without

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