Let’s talk about digital marketing for a minute. I know, you’ve heard it all before and you know social media is important. You’re probably wondering why no one is contacting you even though you’re posting every single day! You shared a free image and said how awesome your business was…That’s supposed to work, right?
Here’s the thing. Most small businesses aren’t finding success with their social media, email marketing, blog writing, and other digital marketing because they don’t have a strategy. They’re throwing stuff (like spaghetti) at the wall, hoping that because they’re doing the thing, it will just work.
Don’t get me wrong, it does work for some businesses. Chances are, it won’t in this competitive and authenticity driven consumer landscape.
Businesses succeed when they are producing authentic content following a digital marketing strategy. Here are five steps to create an effective digital marketing strategy:
Step 1. Build Buyer Personas
Buyer personas – a semi-fictional description of your ideal customer based on research and data – are necessary. They don’t have to be fancy, but it’s important to deep dive into your prospective buyers. In most cases, you’ll have several different buyer personas. For this exercise, pick your top two (three at most).
For each buyer persona, give them a fictional name, i.e. Perfect Pam.
Then define them. What is Pam’s age, job description, gender, income level, education level, personality, lifestyle, and her daily concerns? What are Pam’s values, hobbies, and interests outside of shopping for the perfect item at your store? What solutions does Pam want? What other brands does Pam like?
If you can’t answer these questions for Pam, then go find an example of Perfect Pam. You can observe Pam in her natural environment (shopping at your store), or Pam at the park; maybe Pam at the coffee shop. Find out what makes Pam tick, then shape that into your buyer persona.
Step 2. Research Keywords
Now that you know all about Pam, its time to figure out what keywords Pam is searching for to find your business. There are a ton of paid keyword planners. These are great if your budget allows. If not, get creative.
I like to conduct keyword research from a boots-on-the ground approach. I put myself into a consumer’s shoes. I like to think, what would I type in if I knew nothing about the business or topic?
Then, I create several variations.
For example, if my keyword is content creation, my variations might be content creation for small business, creating content, content creation help, etc.
Learn more about keywords here.
You will also want to think about search intent – the goal of the person using the search engine. Understanding the intent behind the search will affect your keyword choices and impact your overall search engine optimization (SEO) of your content.
Step 3. Identify Your Goals
Your strategy is only effective if it solves a problem. Getting more likes is not an effective problem to be solved.
However, getting more qualified leads, website conversions, or email subscribers are effective goals. Your goal will drastically shape your strategy. Go beyond the marketing campaign and think in terms of growth. How can you position your strategy into a sustainable, revenue-generating model?
Set realistic expectations that match your intended goal with a way to measure your success.
I will achieve ______________ by _____________ to know that _____________ was effective.
Step 4. Evaluate Existing Assets
Look introspectively at what you have currently – social media platforms, blogs, email lists – and evaluate their success (or lack thereof).
If they haven’t been successful, is it because you aren’t producing the correct content?
Is it because your audience doesn’t hang out in that space?
You will also want to determine what resources you can invest in your strategy, i.e. people, money, and time.
People – Do you have the appropriate staff to help you execute?
Money – Do you have money available to invest? If so, how much?
Time – How much time do you have to reach your goal?
Step 5. Start Creating
Now that you’ve decided what is (or isn’t) working you can start creating. Create content that solves your buyer’s problems and deliver it to them where they are.
Create a social media campaign answering frequently asked questions
Produce a YouTube video showing your customers how to use something
Write a blog with your most popular recipe
Post images on Instagram pairing your boutique's clothes for different occasions
Host a webinar showing customers how to use your software
Creating an effective digital marketing strategy requires a whole lot of trial and error. Don’t be discouraged if you aren’t successful right away. Marketing, no matter what type, is tricky to navigate and takes time to understand your audience.