Set holistic business goals — Think broadly (12 months) and then scale back (6 months, 3 months, and the current month).
Determine key performance indicators — How will you know you’ve met your digital strategy goals? The answer will vary, but be realistic. For instance, it’s unlikely that a small staff could crank out 2,000-word, high-quality blog posts five times a week.
Create a digital marketing plan — Which online tools will you use and how?
Execute your strategy —Consistently implement your goals and monitor your progress.
Analyze the outcome —What worked well? Where should you add value? What changes need to be made going forward?
It can be challenging to determine which marketing channel to use first. But there are six digital marketing channels that every company can benefit from:
Google AdWords offers budgeting options and measurement tools that keep you in line with your digital marketing goals.
Content Marketing and SEO can generate organic traffic to your website.
Use email lists to engage your audience and elicit action, ideally within a specific time frame.
Social media advertising givesaccess to diverse groups of people who frequently utilize social media.
Display advertisement placements: banner ads, video ads, interactive ads and similar advertisements on third party websites.
Affiliate marketing is especially helpful if you don’t have the manpower or time to market online.
How do you determine which channel will work best for you? With the assessment you conducted of your current state of affairs and your future goals.
As a general rule, by advertising (AdWords, social or display ads) rather than indirectly promoting through content marketing, SEO or email, you’ll gain valuable data almost immediately. This allows quick testing of ad copy and conversion rate. Once you’ve found a winning campaign, roll it out to other mediums.
Assess your needs and put a plan into action, but don’t overextend yourself. You simply want to determine how you can develop your brand’s presence while appropriately serving its audience. Focusing on one or two channels is more effective than attempting to master all six.
Tweets, images, videos, and blog posts are all content. Here’s how to create content that supports your digital marketing plan:
Make sure your web theme is responsive. A generous portion of your web traffic will come from mobile devices. When your web pages adapt to a users’ screen size, you don’t lose this traffic.
Next, you want to tell a story that asks your audience a question. Here, you need to have epic content:
Research — Go to where your audience is, and then research the kind of content they need.
Brainstorm — From your research, generate a list of content ideas to best serve your audience. Look at competitor’s content by using Buzzsumo, Ahrefs and other analytic tools.
Conduct content research — Look for reports, trends, white papers, videos, and any related content that can support your content creation goals.
Plan — Determine how to share the content. Will you record a video, create an infographic, record a podcast, write a blog post, or something else? Whichever path you choose, create catchy headlines and hashtags to grab your audience’s attention.
Create and Review — After creating your content, ask yourself (or colleagues) whether it can be improved upon. Does that content really help the intended audience? Is the concept communicated appropriately? Should you make a video instead of an infographic?
Implement and Assess — Present the content to your audience. Was it shared? How often? On which digital media channels? What can be improved? Can it help in months and years to come?
If you’ve interviewed experts, compile their insights into an eBook.
Transition PowerPoint presentations into slides and embed them into a blog post.
Create tutorial guides and e-courses from an old blog post series.
Make checklists out of long form content, webinars, or videos.
Approach content repurposing with the intended user in mind. Add additional insights or expound on points that were only briefly addressed originally.
With content amplification, you rely on other people and their networks to spread your influence.
There are two roads to content amplification: unpaid and paid.
Unpaid content amplification involves developing a relationship with influencers who you want to share your epic content. But before you contact them, first share their work, leave comments on their posts, and visit them wherever they hang out online — to show that you’re genuinely engaged with their content.
Once a relationship has grown, then you can ask them to share your content or submit a guest post to your blog.
Another unpaid content amplification option is to join online communities like forums and social media groups. Offer your help, participate in discussions, and add value instead of being promotional. Community members will share your content because you’re a likable person.
Paid content amplification is also an option. Boosted posts on Facebook, promoted tweets on Twitter, and sponsored content on LinkedIn — these ads appear in the timelines of newly targeted audience members.
Building a Digital Content Funnel
Now it’s time to map out a digital marketing content funnel. This will determine the road you want your readers to take towards action.
It helps to begin with the end in mind. What action would you like your audience to take? Purchasing a product or service? Sharing their contact information for future correspondence?
When you know your intended outcome, you can develop a reciprocal relationship with your audience. For example, if your company sells loose leaf tea, you can consider four parts of a digital marketing funnel:
Awareness — Someone searches for information on the benefits of green tea and finds your blog through an organic search. Your blog post offers a content upgrade for green tea smoothie recipes. They give you their email address, and then immediately download the eBook.
Interest — This person opens every newsletter you send out and begins leaving comments on your website. You send them a bonus newsletter with another helpful eBook guide.
Desire — The reader frequently visits your tea selections, and then reads more product descriptions and blog posts about those teas.
Action — You offer a promotion for low-cost tea samples in one of your newsletters. Due to the discount and quality of your digital content, the reader becomes a customer and purchases tea samples from your website.
With this digital content funneling plan in place, it’s likely that this customer will return to your website to purchase larger portions of tea leaves.
The Art of Co-Creating Content
An alternative approach to brand loyalty lies in welcoming your audience to create content with you:
Start a campaign that invites existing customers to showcase your products in their own unique way.
Ask customers to connect personal memories to your product.
Invite social media followers to share lyrical and pictorial expressions of your product or service, and then compile that information into an advertisement.
User-generated content is a great way to know exactly your audience craves from your business. Customer reviews and peer recommendations heavily influence consumer behaviors. Content creation isn’t a one-way street anymore.
Monitoring and Measuring Digital Marketing Plans for Startups
When monitoring and measuring digital marketing plans, categorize buzz and impact separately. Likes, shares, and retweets are all be considered buzz. But backlinks, clicks, comments, downloads, and views are considered effective engagement with your content.
It’s important to monitor both, but how do you measure the influence one has on the other? As a start-up company, measure impact by:
Comments and conversations generated from content
Visitors’ path to your website
Email list metrics
Tracing visitors’ engagement while on your website
Actively Search for Digital Marketing Opportunities
Digital marketing moves fast. To remain abreast of the changes, always search for new opportunities.
UseFacebook for larger organizations with a full digital marketing staff.
LinkedIn is best for business-to-business marketing needs.
Pinterest promotions favor those skilled at content curation, while Instagram has the lowest learning curve.
Snapchat displays quit updates.
Having a solid content marketing strategy for 2020 can help further your growth and promote new sales and conversions.
With a digital marketing plan in place, your startup can successfully communicate with its audience through appropriate digital marketing channels, sharing valuable content, and by encouraging content co-creation.
What’s your plan for 2020?
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