As you enter the digital waters, it becomes important to understand the differences between traditional marketing and the new approach necessary for digital marketing success. Traditional media is basically sales driven. You create a message that touts the usefulness, affordability, or benefits of your product or service. You place ads, drive traffic, and measure results in customers through the door and sales generated directly attributable to your efforts.
Digital marketing is much more subtle. The approach is informational, not sales oriented. The Internet has leveled the playing field in terms of pricing and availability of product. To achieve success and develop brand loyalty through digital marketing, you’ll need to directly address your audience’s pain points and informational needs. Understanding the needs of your target audience and then providing information to help them through the buying process is the means to develop relationships with your customers that translate into leads and sales.
The essential key to success lies in developing an effective digital marketing strategy designed to achieve and sustain growth, marketing momentum and leverage. In fact, a recent study conducted by Marketing Matters Inbound and Ascend2, the B2B Digital Marketing Strategy Report, found that 51% of B2B professionals say that the lack of an effective strategy is the number one obstacle to digital marketing success.
Developing An Effective Strategy
Social media sites like Facebook or Instagram offer businesses low or no cost entry to digital marketing. After several weeks or months of little or no engagement, many business owners give up on digital marketing because it “just doesn’t work for their business.”
The fact is, there are literally hundreds of channels and, as a result, business owners are often confused about how to approach or develop a digital strategy. First, define and develop a strategy that follows structure, people and an idea. Second, understand that profits and ROI are not strategy, but rather outcomes. Digital, unlike traditional marketing, is cumulative and needs a long lead-time and consistent message to be effective. Let’s look at the initial steps for developing an effective digital marketing strategy.
1. Plan and Assess – First, define your goals. Take stock of where you are as a brand and analyze your brand’s current perception, and resonance with your customers. What makes you special, unique, and valuable?
2. Target Customers – Understanding where your customers gather information, what specific information they need, and what motivates them to purchase is the way to connect with customer touch points and motivate consumers in a multi-channel environment.
3. Create and Launch – Once you’ve defined your brand and customers, it’s time to create and launch your message. Ask yourself:
• What is my story?
• Does this connect with my customers emotionally?
• How does this address the immediate needs of my target audience?
• Will this information drive them to reach a buying decision?
Your message enables you to use social channels to convey your story. Brand stories are what drives interactions with customers, gather information and deliver targeted content to fulfill their needs.
4. Choose The Right Channels – As you’re crafting your message, you’ll decide which channels and technology to leverage as part of your digital strategy. Consider your audience in terms of age, location, lifestyle, and technology. Analyze engagement and adjust accordingly.
Understanding the process, assessing your brand, developing your message, targeting your audience, and choosing your channels are the keys to success when developing a digital strategy. Remember, consistency and engagement is the way to build your audience, meet their needs, and drive sales. Be realistic in your expectations, and continuously evaluate and adjust your strategy to ensure success. If you’re not sure where to start, we are always here to help.
Take a look at the recent trends as reported by fellow marketing professionals with the full B2B Digital Marketing Strategy Report. Simply click the button below and download your free copy.