I wrote this post for the Rackspace.com blog and thought it would be useful to my blog readers as well.
As digital marketing continues to evolve and purchase cycle becomes more complex, marketers struggle to find ways to get the maximum returns on investment. 2012 was no different as social media and mobile became the mainstream digital channels while content continues to be the primary fuel for digital marketing. Adding to the complexity of the digital channel proliferation, the buyers are becoming much more sophisticated. In a recent survey conducted by Forrester Research, 82% of the buyers researched online before making a purchase. This crucial data point is a huge eye opener for marketers who are still hesitant to invest in online marketing.
With 2013 already in play, it is time to evaluate your digital marketing strategy and develop a solid plan to drive improved results. In this post, we will discuss the critical components of digital marketing strategy and how these components work with the other.
#1 PAM (Persona, Audience and Messaging)
The first step in developing an effective digital marketing campaign is to develop a persona. A persona is a very important aspect of any marketing campaign, and it should not be overlooked. Your business must have its own distinct persona and voice. A persona is basically a personality for your business, which you convey in your communications with your customers.
Your products or services could be perceived differently across your customer base. It is critical to understand the types of customers you serve and deliver your marketing message in accordance. As an example, if you sell mobile games, you need to cater for your persona to suit this particular audience. If your customers see they can relate to your company, you will gain their trust and get them to buy your product or use your services. Make sure that your company uses the same persona, and communicates with the same tone or voice in all of your messages.
#2 Digital Marketing Mediums
In your digital marketing strategy for 2013, you must be using as many different marketing mediums as you possibly can. The more marketing mediums you use, the more successful your marketing strategy will be.
Earned media in digital world is a term used for generating traffic and customers through organic means instead of paid advertisement. Earned traffic can be gained through content marketing, search engine optimization, social media or editorial impact. Earned media does not involve advertising, and it is the complete opposite of paid media. It is a way of promoting your business without paid advertisements.
Using paid media is the fastest way for businesses to advertise their products and services. Paid advertisement comes in various flavors and forms. Paid search marketing involves paying for advertisements for your company to move high up in the search engine results page. Your company can also benefit from using display advertising in its digital marketing strategy. Display advertisements are ads that you pay to be placed on websites. Forrestor research forecasts interactive display media to triple by 2013. The chart clearly shows how important paid media is for your overall online marketing strategy.
Owned media is one of the best ways that your company can build relationships with its customers. Earned media and paid media may draw potential customers to your website, but owned media is what can help turn these potential customers into paying customers. Using owned media in your digital marketing strategy is essential. Owned media involves lead nurturing using email marketing. Email marketing is essential in order to build customer relations, and to turn potential customers into customers who purchase your company’s product or service.
Email marketing involves sending out a newsletter periodically, which is filled with useful information for customers. If your company doesn’t already have one, it must develop a newsletter. If a person goes to your website and signs up to your newsletter, but they don’t buy anything, using email marketing is a great way to turn that person into a paying customer. The content in your newsletter must be good, but this is discussed in more detail below.
Types of Content
Content plays an important part in all three media types. Content that your company produces must be of higher quality, authoritative and helpful to your customers, prospects and followers. There are essentially three main types of content:
Dedicated Content: This is the type of content that you use on your website and on any other websites that you use to promote your company. This content must be informative, seo optimized right keywords, be relevant, and also be of use to the reader.
Supplemental Content: This content is used to supplement the main, dedicated content that appears on your website. Primary goal of the supplemental content is to educate your target market about your products and services. It also helps you establish your company as the thought leader in the market.
This type of content includes blog posts, articles, and whitepapers, all of which must be well-written and valuable to customer. If content is poorly written, and does not contain useful information, it will reflect badly on your business. Supplemental content also includes slides and videos, which also must also be of high quality.
Social Content: Social content is designed for the purpose of increasing syndication on social media sites. Social content should be developed to spark conversations, attract comments and generate fan following. This type of content must not only be informative and useful, but it also must be engaging and relatable in order to attract potential customers.
#3 WAM (Web and mobile strategy)
Your website is an important foundational element of your digital marketing strategy. It is also one of the first major interaction points for your customers with your company. The key goals for the website should be to engage or convert or retain customers or all three in most cases. With a huge spike in the growth of smart phones, it is extremely important to add mobile component to your website strategy.
Website strategy is critical to the growth of the customers and revenue as it provides the framework for sales generation. Here are some of the key areas of focus for a robust WAM strategy.
a. Hosting infrastructure : Hosting could very well be the biggest investment component of your web strategy. It is extremely important for you to consider a hosting provider than understands your needs. Some of the consideration points when choosing a hosting provider are uptime, scalability, redundancy, compliance and support.
b. Web dev/design and UX : Web design is another major element to achieve success online. Your customers deserve nothing but the best of web experience and your job as a marketer is to recruit the best teams or vendor to design/develop your site. Customers will bounce away immediately from a low quality site and this could have a significant impact on your revenue.
c. Mobile site : According to Google, mobile online usage will surpass pc usage in 2013. Mobile site is not an option but a mandatory requirement, and your users expect a better mobile presence. You can either develop a separate mobile website for your company or use responsive design so your website is easily accessible on desktop, mobile and tablets.
d. Global presence : When you target global customers then two critical pieces to consider are site architecture and language translation. First, you have to select the right architecture for your international site. It is highly advisable to have a separate country specific top level domain (TLD) to host the international site while .com can serve the US customers. TLD allows you to capture maximum search rankings on international search engines and creates a virtual separation between country specific digital marketing efforts.
Global TLDs can create some web manageability issues, and in this case subdomain or subdirectory is preferable.
The last step is to hire a language translation company to translate web content in local lauguages.
Those are some of the critical components of a digital marketing strategy. We hope this has been helpful. Do you know of any other ways to sharpen a digital content strategy in 2013? Comment below.