BEFORE WE GET STARTED... an introduction from the author, if you will:
If you've been following us for a while, you've probably heard about the marketing roadmap. An easy four-step process to digital marketing success. Now, I'm writing a blog about the 7 steps to digital marketing success, what gives, Victory?
I've been so excited to write this blog and share what I'm learning but I've wanted to make it very clear that the roadmap isn't really changing - it's just more clear. In the past, I covered several actions inside of one step and what I found was that folks would choose the things that appealed to them and skip over things that were really vital to happen in that same step! So, in an effort to make things crystal clear, I expanded it. I know, I know, 7 steps seems like a lot... but this happens over the course of years, for some businesses, decades. But, this is the pattern I see success service-based businesses follow to scale their marketing and consistently see a return on investment.
Navigating the digital marketplace can seem daunting, but with a clear roadmap, you're already ahead of the curve. Let's break down a 7-step guide, drawing insights from our own marketing strategies, to ensure your brand thrives online.
1. Business Identity: Your Foundation
It starts here.
- Define the basics about your business - think business name and services you offer.
- Next, is the most important step in my book - digging deep and setting your big picture goals.
- Define your mission, vision, and values. These core tenets anchor your brand.
- Pin down your unique selling point (USP). What sets you apart in a saturated online space?
Now, remember - even if you're not a brand-new, baby business, setting goals for the future of your business from here is the FIRST STEP of this process. I'm always surprised by how hard this is for our clients and even for myself. This usually requires some soul-searching. 'Cause I'm not asking for "I wanna make more money" here - I'm asking for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound goals here (SMART goals, eh?)
2. Structuring Your Marketing Strategy
You've got the foundation; now let's build.
- Identify your target audience. Understand their needs and preferences to engage them effectively.
- Complete a complete and thorough Competitive Analysis. (Yes, even if it's triggering)
- Define your Market Position (AKA are you the Honda of the car industry or the Rolls Royce - same industry, but very different target markets)
- Create an action plan with all of this information, which we usually call a Marketing Plan.
SIDE NOTE: If the thought of doing a marketing plan is super overwhelming, we get it - it is for most folks. Because of this, we actually put together a completely free mini-course on the topic. Check it out here.
3. Branding: More Than Just Aesthetics
Your brand's visual and tonal consistency is key.
- Prioritize design elements: logos, color schemes, and typography matter. This brand needs to be strategically designed to attract your target market and appeal to the experience they're looking for.
- Develop a consistent voice for all communications. This means, defining words you use, don't use, how you want to present yourself. For example, here at The Social Brand, we're a fairly conversational and try to embrace words like "human" and "team" vs. employee. These are just a few quick examples from our brand voice.
I always remind my clients that the worst thing you can do is design (or pay someone to design) a logo that only speaks to you. The point of your branding is attract your ideal audience to your business. Now, am I saying that you should hate your logo? NO! What I am saying though is that it's bigger than you - you're building something amazing your clients. If your clients aren't connecting with your brand, it's usually something in this step that's been skipped or completed with the wrong strategy in mind.
4. The Customer Journey
Understanding the steps your customer takes is pivotal.
- Map out the typical touchpoints from discovery to the point that they're finished doing business and referring their best friends from the golf course.
- Identify and address any friction points to ensure a smooth journey.
Sure, some might say, "Isn't this more about customer service than marketing?" Well, they're not entirely wrong. But here's the thing: every interaction, every touchpoint shapes your brand's narrative. It affects how people perceive you, talk about you, and ultimately, whether they stick with you or jump ship.
It’s more than just service; it’s your brand's storyline unfolding in real time. So, even if it does overlap with customer service, it’s influencing your reputation and business growth. Let’s ensure that the story is one of seamless experiences and rave reviews!
5. Content: Quality Over Quantity
Effective content drives engagement.
- Plan ahead with a content calendar, ensuring regular and relevant output to nurture your audience.
- Diversify the types of content you produce, catering to varying audience preferences.
- But, also don't be afraid to re-use content. It's perfectly ok to post about a long-form piece of content more than 1 time! Studies show us that algorithms only show posts on social media to a small fraction of our followers, so it takes consistency and repetition. Lean into that.
Without the nurture phase, this whole system breaks down. And, please hear me when I say - content isn't just social media. I get it - so many of you are burnt out on social media. But, content is about finding creative ways to serve our audience value! That could be static social media posts (graphics/photos), free downloads, videos, email newsletters, interactive quizzes, free tools and so much more.
6. Lead Generation: Attract and Engage
Drawing in potential customers is an art and a science.
- Implement best practices to increase your brand's visibility. Depending on who your target market is and what your industry is - this can be very broad and diverse list of activities. Some examples:
- Paid digital ads (Social Media, Google, Amazon, etc.)
- Search engine optimization
- Influencer marketing
- Event marketing
- Affiliate marketing
- Guesting on blogs, podcasts or webinars
- Even traditional marketing can go in this list!
That is obviously not an exhaustive list of lead-generation ideas, but it should be enough to get your noodle going on some things that may work in your industry for your target market!
PRO TIP: I love a good nurture strategy from the content phase being pushed in the lead generation phase. An amazing example of this would be running an ad on social media to increase sign-ups for a free e-book, rather than trying to sell to new people right out of the gate, you lead with value and earn their trust by giving them free value. It works fabulously!
7. Analyze and Refine: Continuous Improvement
Stay adaptive in a dynamic digital environment.
- Leverage tools like Google Analytics, heatmaps, and continuous A/B testing to gauge success and areas for improvement.
- Iteratively refine your strategies based on insights and feedback.
This is the ultimate goal, to make it to step 7. Where all the plates are spinning, and you're just fine-tuning the machine while leads flow into your organization. It's not an easy balance but it's so worth it!
Armed with this 7-step guide, you're poised to create a robust and resilient digital marketing strategy. The digital landscape constantly evolves, but with a clear plan and commitment to adaptability, your brand can not only survive but thrive.
If you found these insights valuable and want to dive even deeper, why not give us a shout? We're all about helping businesses thrive in the digital world. So, ready to take your brand to the next level? Let's chat! Click here to connect.