From the initial advertisement1, to the venue2 where you place the ad, to the Web page3 the ad leads prospects to, all the way to the service being offered4 on the page, each of these facets must gel.
In this way, your campaign should seem like several parts of a whole rather than four loosely-related marketing pieces.
Now we’ll elaborate on how, specifically, to pull those four things together in a winning digital strategy.
Step 1: Gain intimate knowledge of your audience.
Seems obvious, but even seasoned businesses drop the ball here for various reasons. The top reason I’ve seen for failed campaigns launched by clients, colleagues, peers, and even my own companies at times is not knowing (or remembering) who you’re targeting.
- Is your ideal client mostly male or female?
- How old are they?
- How tech savvy are they?
- At what level of the organization do they work?
- What are their buying habits?
- Are they actually the decision maker when signing up for your service?
- How much time do they spend online?
- Do they access the Web more from smartphone or mobile?
- What times of day are they usually online?
- What kind of language attracts them?
These types of questions and more should be fleshed out in your company’s Ideal Client Profile.
If you haven’t created those—and most small businesses we encounter haven’t—then you’ll waste a ton of time and money floundering around with your marketing.
Conversely, when comprehensive buyer profiles are ready at hand, you’ll know what your target prospect reads, what websites he visits, at which times of day, what type of language he connects with and what turns him off, and more.
Then, it becomes easy to create marketing materials that tug right at the heartstrings of your ideal client.
Step 2: Create ads for your ideal prospect(s)—and no one else.
Many companies make the mistake of applying a blanket digital marketing strategy across all ethnicities, genders, and age groups, etc. And in doing so, they end up isolating a large part of their online market (as you’ll see in Step 4).
For instance, marketing to African Americans often requires a quite different approach than marketing to Caucasian Americans.
Marketing to young adults requires a different approach than marketing to retirees.
And marketing to women often requires very different messaging than when marketing to men. Just how different depends on the service you’re promoting.
When crafting every marketing message—press release, article, white paper, pay-per-click ad, social media post, video, etc.—write to attract specific persona(s) to avoid diluting your results.
Step 3: Find your audience where they are.
Even if you think your service fills a universal need, “the universe” won’t feel they need it at every given moment. So focus only on the people who feel that they need it at the present moment.
That’s the obvious point. But consider the much more subtle question of how to find your audience when deciding on a granular aspect of your digital marketing strategy… like which social network to use for business.
How would you know?
Does your target buyer use Facebook or LinkedIn more?
If she uses Facebook more… is Facebook the best social network on which to promote your service?
Despite the lower volume of leads you get from LinkedIn, are they better qualified… then making LinkedIn the better choice?
When you truly understand your market, these questions become easy to answer.
Step 4: Time your marketing intelligently.
This can mean something as basic as determining your firm’s best times to post to social media, or as intricate as gauging the climate for a specific campaign.
Improper timing can have disastrous effects.
For instance, in CNN’s #AskACop campaign, CNN tried not only to downplay difficult issues about which a large sector of their audience—African Americans—are passionate, they also seemed clueless about the very demographics of the venue they chose.
Amid public outcry over wanton police shootings (against people of color in particular), CNN thought it prudent to do a segment called “Cops Under Fire” … about the justifiable use of deadly force. And they launched it on Twitter, which has a larger African American demographic than many other social networks.
As another example, Starbucks’ #RaceTogether campaign seemed inauthentically thrown together by a decidedly non-diverse corporation in order to ride the “diversity” wave.
Again, in an already racially on-edge America, asking baristas to write on cups to raise dialogue with sleepy coffee shop customers about race seemed neither intelligent nor truly forward-thinking. Ironically (though perhaps not surprisingly), Starbucks’ SVP soon felt compelled to delete his Twitter account to escape the very race-related conversations the campaign was designed to spark.
These very public social media fails exemplify how horribly—and quickly—things can go wrong when too little thought is given to marketing timing and implementation.
Step 5: Deliver exactly what your ad promises (right away).
When a digital marketing strategy is well-planned, your firm’s well-placed, well-timed ads create desire in your prospects’ minds for something specific.
Does the ad then lead them to a Web page which satiates that desire? Or does it leave them hanging?
For maximal results, your website landing page must be an extension of the ad used to drive leads there. This means not only is it highly targeted and obviously related to the ad, but this should be apparent right at the top of the initial screen.
Then after the Web page delivers, your offer must deliver what the campaign led your audience to expect. Without properly delivering, one can expect high bounce rate, few leads, low lead-to-client conversion… or even high contract reversals after signing, or a clan of dissatisfied, disloyal clients.
Building a solid digital marketing strategy may not be “hard,” but the many facets a consultant or advisor has to consider make it a complex puzzle. We can help you crack the code to reach more of your ideal clients with predictability each month.
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