6 Steps to Creating a Results-Driven Digital Marketing StrategyJanuary 8, 2020
Do these questions keep you awake at night?
- “Why is my digital marketing strategy not working?”
- “What am I not doing right?”
- “Is there something I’m missing?”
If this is you, you’re not alone.
In a research report published in 2017, nearly half of the businesses polled (49%) we’re doing digital marketing, but they didn’t have a defined strategy. Without a digital marketing plan in place, the tactics you use may be similar to throwing spaghetti on the wall—you’re just hoping something works.
Instead of tossing and turning at night or stressing out during the day, give us the time to walk you through everything you need to know to create a results-driven digital marketing strategy.
In this post, we’re going to cover the following details:
- Set your goals
- Focus on your audience
- Make some noise
- Start a conversation
- Seal the deal
- Measure your results
Let’s get started!
#1. Set your goals
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
Benjamin Franklin shared this pithy quote over 200 years ago, and it’s still relevant today.
There are times when you’ll need to act fast on your gut-instinct for your business. But overall, you should prepare to make a plan and work your plan. This doesn’t mean you can’t make any changes along way. Far from it. But you have to at least set one or more goals to aim for. If not, this would be like shooting a gun randomly into the woods without aiming to hit your target. Not a good idea.
The first step you need to take, in creating your digital marketing strategy, is to set your goals.
For many of you, when you read this statement, your first and perhaps only thought was sales!
Well, when it comes to creating a digital marketing strategy, making a sale isn’t your only goal.
Now, before you burn me at the stake for sharing blasphemous business ideas, hear me out.
There’s a reason every tactic in your digital marketing strategy shouldn’t have the same goal.
Let me explain.
There are three basic steps every buyer takes—including yourself—when it comes to purchasing a product or service. This process is often called the buyer’s journey, and here’s the progression consumers usually go through when making a purchase:
In your digital marketing strategy, you need to set goals for tactics that will capture the attention of your target market (awareness), prove yourself as the best solution (consideration), and compel people to do business with you (decision).
To help you take this first step, here are several goals you can consider:
- Improve brand awareness
- Generate new leads
- Boost keyword ranking
- Enhance click-through-rate (CTR)
- Increase website traffic
- Grow social media engagement
For the goals you set, here’s the primary thing to keep in mind:
Set goals that will influence your business goals. In other words,instead of setting goals exclusively focused on sales, aim for goals that will influence your sales. There’s a subtle—yet essential—difference between the two.
You see, a goal based on the number of sales is a results-oriented goal. You can count the number of sales you make on a regular basis, and tracking your sales is essential to the livelihood of your business. But knowing the number of sales you make are nearly useless for creating goals that will actually increase your sales. You’re counting the end result—not the tactics you used to drive your sales.
This is why you should set goals that will influence sales.
For example, in your business, if someone downloads a white paper or requests a demo of your product or service, then they may have a higher likelihood of making a purchase. So, in this scenario, you’d want to focus on increasing the number of people who download your resource or request a demo because you know these two measurements will directly influence your number of sales.
These types of goals are often called lead metrics, and they’re the types of goals you’ll need to set for your digital marketing strategy. Aiming for this type of goal will help you to focus, optimize your efforts, and generate better results.
Action Step: Write down 1-3 goals you want to accomplish with your digital marketing strategy.
#2. Focus on your audience
There are countless ways you can reach your target market.
Do you want to reach people on social media? No problem.
Interested in connecting with someone on their mobile device? Easy peasy.
Want to get into someone’s email inbox? Consider it done.
But here’s what you need to know about your business, and the people you want to reach:
Your product or service isn’t for everyone.
What is more, unless you have unlimited resources (money and staff), you don’t have the time or money to promote your business everywhere.
I know this isn’t what you want to hear. But what you have to offer is for the people who will benefit the most from what you’re selling. So this is the target market you want to focus on reaching.
Here are some questions you can ask to clarify who you’re trying to reach:
- What is their gender?
- How old are they?
- What is their profession?
- What is their salary or how much does their business gross?
- What is their level of education?
- What are their values and beliefs?
- Are they single, married, divorced, or remarried?
- Do you know their dreams, passions, and interests?
There are more questions you can ask and information you can find on your target market. But answering these questions will help you to get started.
Action Step: Identify 1-2 target markets you’ll focus on in your digital marketing strategy.
#3. Make some noise
Consumers in the United States make purchases online every day.
In fact, according to one study, 96% of Americans shop online.
Now, are they interested in buying what you have to offer?
I’m not sure, but I’m certain about this:
Before someone can buy something from you, they have to know your business exists.
Practically speaking, for your digital marketing strategy, before you launch a promotion selling your products or services, make plans to create awareness first. Here’s how:
##a. Choose your channels
For your digital marketing strategy, here are the primary channels you can use:
- Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Social Media Advertising
- Display Ads
There’s a chance all of these channels will work well for your business, and there’s a good chance that only one will gain you traction, which is all you need at one time.
To get started creating awareness for your business, refer back to your target market and answer these two questions:
- Where do they spend time online?
- Who influences their opinion?
The answer to these two questions will help you to narrow down what channel(s) you should use to create awareness for your business.
Action Step: What channel will you focus on to reach your target market?
##b. Keep track of people
Don’t skip this step in the process.
The rest of the steps we’re going to walk through are dependent upon keeping track of people.
Let me explain.
When you run ads to people unaware of your business, your goal isn’t only to make them aware of your company. You want to eventually lead them to like you, trust you, and do business with you in the future. Regarding this last point, one key to compelling people to do business with you later is to pixel them.
Now, I’m not talking about sprinkling magical fairy dust on people.
I’m talking about adding a pixel (or a tag) on your site.
Basically, a pixel is a piece of code you can add to your website to track your visitors and promote ads to them elsewhere. For example, you can add pixels or tags from many places, including:
There are nuances to how these pixels or tags work. But, in general, adding the code they provide to your site will empower you to create highly-targeted ads to people who’ve visited your website, became familiar with your business, and will be more inclined to hear what you have to offer.
Not ready to remarket to people who’ve visited your website?
It’s best to add these pixels as soon as you’re able.
By adding these codes now, you’ll be able to collect data on visitors to your site and promote to them when you’re ready.
Action Step: Add the pixels or tags you need to your site to effectively run your digital marketing strategy.
#4. Start a conversation
I know you’re ready to make a sale. But hang tight. It’s not time—yet.
The person you just introduced yourself to online in the previous step isn’t ready to make a purchase.
They don’t know you, and they’re not sure if they want to do business with you.
At this part of the process, your prospect needs more time and information to think through their problem and whether or not your offer is the best solution.
Think about it this way.
Let’s say you build websites for small business owners.
Before one of your prospects finalize their decision, they’re probably contemplating these thoughts:
I could build a website myself.
Maybe I should have my wife’s cousin do the work; he’s a smart kid, and I don’t have enough time.
It’s probably best to work with a reputable company who has proven results.
In this fictional scenario, there are three different solutions your prospect is considering.
From creating a website him or herself, to paying a family member, or hiring an agency to do the work, three choices are on the table.
For your digital marketing strategy, instead of coming in with a hard sale at this time, it’s best to help your prospects to see that your product or service is the solution they’re looking for. One of the best ways you can do this digitally speaking is to promote your services to the people you pixeled in the last step. They’re now warmed up to hear what you have to say.
Here are two different ways you reach your prospects during this part of your campaign:
##a. Get their email address
The best way to stay engaged with your prospects and leads is through email, and here’s why:
- Email is direct
- Email is regularly checked
- Email is laser-focused
- Email is personal
It’s not only a good sign someone is interested in your business when he or she gives you their email address, but it’s also an amazing opportunity for you to stay top-of-mind.
Now, not everyone is just going to give you their email address.
You have to make an offer they can’t refuse.
There are many incentives you can offer your prospects to compel him or her to provide you with their email address. We don’t have the time to cover all of these options now, but let’s pretend you have an incentive you can promote.
Armed with the data you’ve accumulated from the pixels you added to your site, you’re now in a position to promote your incentive to your target market. Again, your goal isn’t to make a sell at this point. Your goal is simply to capture your target market’s email address.
##b. Give them a test drive
Is there something you can offer your prospects for free?
Do you have a discount or coupon you can provide?
Can you provide a demo of your product or service?
Whatever way you can provide a test drive for your prospects, promote this offer to the people you’ve pixeled. Getting people to take a sample of what you have to offer becomes an onramp your prospects can take to do business with you.
#5. Seal the deal
At this stage in the process, your goal is to make a sell.
For sealing the deal, there’s one area of your business website you’ll need to focus on:
Your calls to action (CTA).
Calls to action are essential to leading someone to do business with you. However, based on previous research, 70% of small business B2B websites lack a call to action, and calls to action are really easy to mess up if you do.
To help you think about the call to action your leads should take, you need to answer this question: “I want to _____.”
For example, the answer to this question can be something like:
- Sign up for free
- Get started
- Try for free
For your digital marketing strategy, take the time to review the page you’re directing leads to visit to become customers. Make sure your calls to action are clear, concise, and prominently displayed.
Action Step: Review your sales page, landing pages, or homepage, to ensure you have calls to action prominently in place.
#6. Measure your results
Remember the goals you set in step one above?
It’s now time to pull them off of your shelf to review.
During your review process, you’ll need to review two big pieces of the puzzle:
##a. Review the ads from steps 3 and 4
There will never be a time when your digital marketing strategy is done.
The tactics you use may perform well for weeks or months at a time. But for different reasons, you’ll experience fluctuations, and the tactics you’re running may eventually stop working altogether.
What’s the bottomline?
You’ll need to regularly review the performance of your digital marketing strategy.
For some tactics, such as search engine optimization (SEO), you can get away with reviewing your work once per month. However, there are other tactics, such as Facebook Advertising or Google Ads, that you’ll need to review daily or weekly.
How are your ads performing?
Are they performing well?
Then let them run and even consider doubling-down on your efforts by investing more money into your advertisements.
Is their performance poor?
Then make adjustments.
Tweak your ads. Change the audience you’re targeting. Adapt your copy. Test different call to actions (CTA).
If you’re still not happy with your results after making adjustments and performing different tests, then it may be time to start a new plan.
Action Step: Create a spreadsheet you can use to keep track of your digital marketing efforts.
##b. Review your conversion rate
Let’s face it: Getting new customers and keeping your current customers happy is the name of the game.
When it comes to getting new customers with your digital marketing strategy, you’ll need to keep an eye on your conversion rate. Said another way, how well is your digital marketing strategy converting someone into a customer?
To calculate your conversion rate, here are two formulas you can use:
- Conversion Rate = Number of sales / Number of website visitors
- Conversion Rate = Number of sales / Number of leads
The first formula works best if you sell directly online. As for the second formula, it’s a better metric to use if your sales’ cycle is longer.
Action Step: Determine how well your digital marketing strategy is converting by using one of the above formulas or a different measurement.
Making this work for you
Let’s review the 6-steps to creating a results-driven digital marketing strategy:
- Set your goals
- Focus on your audience
- Make some noise
- Start a conversation
- Seal the deal
- Measure your results
This simple framework provides the building blocks you need to build your own digital marketing strategy.
There are different tactics you can use and additional details you can explore, but whatever you do, use this blueprint to get started and, if need be, go deeper on different steps to optimize your results.