Research by Smart Insights, Managing Digital Marketing, shows that 49% of marketers have active digital marketing programs, but no defined strategy at all. 17% have a stand-alone digital strategy, and 34% have integrated it into a more general marketing plan. I am 100% not shocked by any of this.
Before COVID, most businesses had the same excuses. They either claimed they didn’t have the budget for a dedicated digital marketing team, or they weren’t convinced they needed one in the first place. Fast forward to the pandemic, and everyone’s perspective has shifted dramatically. It’s safe to say that now, we all agree on the necessity for a digital strategy, regardless of budget. So, what’s the hold up? Even though everyone knows they need a digital strategy, I’m not sure everyone understands exactly the why and how behind one. The whole world is on Zoom and FaceTime. Online shopping and curbside pick-up are the norm. We know being online is a must. But what exactly are the benefits? And how do we log on in a way that’s beneficial? And does anyone say ‘log on’ anymore?
2020 probably brought you one step closer to believing in the power of digital transformation, but if you’re still not a convert, let me make my case ????????. Obviously, there’s a sea of information out there. But for the sake of skimming this blog, we’ll just stick to three big reasons you need a digital marketing strategy.
1. Know where you’re going. Have a roadmap and a destination.
Throwing up a facebook page and a pretty website is pointless without strategy behind it. A clear digital marketing plan defines exactly what online experiences and content your brand can offer for each site, app, and social presence. Your strategy will clearly set out what goals you need to hit on each online platform. With access to measurable results, you can quickly see what’s working and what isn’t.
If you follow the roadmap, you’re most likely saving time and money on the road trip. Otherwise, you end up detouring to Buc-ee’s and spending $60 on a beaver hat and roasted peanuts. Just me? Well, same truth applies in the digital sphere. With a mapped out digital marketing strategy, your team can determine the budget and skills needed for proper execution. With a clearly defined strategy, budget and team, you will be able to align your resources well and manage your efforts with efficiency.
2. Stay ahead of the competition.
You must be agile enough to not just catch up, but to stay ahead. With an ongoing awareness of what the competition is up to, you can answer key questions that will shape your marketing efforts: are they targeting the same audience as you? Are they reaching segments you hadn’t considered? What campaigns have they seen the most engagement from? Who was the engagement coming from? With a pulse on you competitor’s progress, you can further clarify your own audience, and determine next steps according to customer responses. Think of it as watching the other team’s game tapes or scouting the competition’s game. Go sports! And more importantly… go Stars!
3. Get in touch with your customers- and then stay in touch with your customers.
The customers are online and waiting. So, how will you engage them? Google Analytics and other social analytics tools are helpful in indicating visitor volume, but leave out perhaps the most crucial piece of data- engagement. Engagement tells what your customer needs, thinks and feels, which ultimately helps you adapt and design your product suite. With a – yep, you guessed it- digital marketing strategy, a proposal of intentional questions can provide invaluable data in helping to shape your approach. Where is your target audience? Do they spend their time on YouTube or on Instagram? What do they think about me? What do they think about my competition? What’s the best way for me to get my product in their hands? Ask the questions and get the answers. Allow your customers to influence your online presence.
And once you’ve gotten their attention, keep it! As beautiful as that newly designed landing page is, your customer is going to forget about it before the minute is over. So, keep showing up. Posts in their Instagram feed, newsletters in their inbox, a daily Tweet and a weekly webcast. Be the online neighbor that always shows up and is always ready to help. Think of yourself as a better, less annoying version of Eddie Haskell or Kimmy Gibbler. With a clear game plan driving how and when you reach the customers on each platform, you’re guaranteed to establish a better relationship with your clientele.