Topco Marketing is a digital marketing agency specializing in Internet Marketing and Software Engineering.
As the CEO of a digital marketing agency that promotes a wide range of products and services to a diverse clientele across the country — from small businesses to Fortune 500s, we have seen it all. When we meet with clients to discuss their marketing strategy, the most-asked question we get is: “How does digital marketing work?”
Businesses often know the results they are looking to achieve and which platforms they are trying to break into but lack insight into how to go about doing that.
Successfully getting started in digital marketing can be broken down into three simple steps that can help a business stand out and compete with giants in the field.
Step 1: Learn.
The first job of a good digital marketer is to understand a client’s long-term plan for their business. This includes being able to answer the following questions:
What are the company’s objectives?
Understanding the company’s business objectives and what they hope to achieve from their marketing campaign is integral. It is imperative to allocate budgets and resources that are most likely to achieve the goals set by the business.
If the business is well-established and wants to close more leads, for example, then the campaign focus would be on driving new leads into a funnel and continuing to engage them as well as existing leads. One way you could do this is through a regular newsletter and personalized targeting.
Who is the target audience?
Whether it is the company’s existing customers or a new audience they are hoping to reach, marketers will need to define what the customer personas look like. This will include determining the demographics of different personas, their needs and desires, what they value and their lifestyle. With this, you can identify what messages will best resonate with them and which channels to focus on.
What is the company’s value proposition?
Whilst often we think of tangible features, it is important to also identify how the product or service makes customers’ lives easier or better. For example, a business selling home furniture should not just focus on aesthetics but also highlight how their product features fit into important life moments and events.
What do the company’s existing funnel and assets look like?
Before moving on to strategizing, you will need to assess the current state of your funnel and what assets you already have. For instance, a company may already have a good social media presence but have trouble generating leads from their channels. In this case, it is possible the website is not properly conveying the message to potential customers and, instead, is turning them away.
While this might all seem pretty basic, businesses eager to break into the digital marketing world might rush one of these steps. Either failing to demonstrate the key qualities and strengths that will speak to customers or relying on a blanket marketing strategy will not establish a reliable consumer base. So, no, digital marketing is not astrophysics, but it can be just as complicated and challenging if a company skips steps and fails to strategize.
Step 2: Strategize.
Once you have identified what the overarching business objectives are and what your prospective customers look like, it is time to complete the most important step: developing a long-term plan to build customer confidence in the product or service. To help accomplish this:
• Develop your short-term and long-term marketing goals. Ideally, the focus will first be on quick wins — actions that will yield the greatest results in the short run whilst maintaining long-term growth.
• Determine your lead generation channels and methods. Using the customer personas and current state assessment, identify which paid and organic channels you want to focus on to drive traffic. Partnerships with other companies is also a method that can be used as a lead generation tool.
• Construct the rest of the funnel, focusing on how to convert leads by capturing data that will allow you to continue to engage with them. If it is a financial lender, for example, you might want to capture phone numbers that allow loan officers to get in touch to talk to leads about their requirements.
• Develop a content strategy that is aligned with business goals at the different stages of the funnel. For this, you will need to take into account the channels, mediums and content themes that best resonate with your target audience. To start, you can conduct keyword research to identify what your customers are searching for and then assign a buying intent rating of low, medium or high. Using that and your marketing objectives, create a content plan for the next 3-6 months that covers all parts of the funnel.
Step 3: Execute and iterate.
Once you have explained the process of marketing to your clients and have established a long-term strategy, the final step is executing the plan step by step and not rushing. These steps include:
Creating a review and edit process for clear communication and holding team members accountable.
This process might include things like criteria, revision deadlines and specifying which software programs rough drafts will be submitted to. It is crucial that your review system stays connected to the central plan to avoid bottlenecks. Tools like Coschedule and Asana allow team leaders to be notified when a team member has completed a task that needs revising.
Assigning tasks to specific team members.
Depending on the size of the company and marketing team, there may be several people involved in different capacities. One person may do research and writing, an SEO expert will ensure articles are SEO-friendly, etc.
Creating a realistic timetable with scheduled time for each task needed for the project.
Include buffer time for the inevitable breakdown in communication. Analyze and review analytics periodically. This could be weekly, biweekly or monthly, depending on the amount of traffic a company has on different channels. This is critical as it generates important insights into what is working and what is not, as well as what needs to be changed. Use this information to tweak your execution process.