According to a study by Smart Insights, 46% of businesses don't have a well-defined online marketing strategy, 16% of the businesses have a strategy but hey haven't integrated it into their marketing activities.
As said by Chinese Philosopher Sun Tzu- "Strategy without tactic is the slowest route to victory. Tactic without strategy is the noise before defeat." If you don’t have a plan in place how can you expect to grow and innovate, to measure meaningful results and to learn from past mistakes? Thus, a well-thought strategy and proper execution are the key ingredients of a successful business.
But the key question is - how do we define a successful online marketing strategy? Well, all online marketing strategies are different and there is no set rule for defining a great online marketing strategy. However, there are some key ingredients which should be considered while creating an online marketing strategy and a plan.
Define your goals and objectives
This is the most important ingredient and the backbone of all your business's survival. Your business's objective is why your business exists. Key questions to ask are
- What problem(s) is your business trying to solve?
- What are your business goals? The goals should follow the SMART goals format. That means your goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based. An example of a SMART goal would be "Increase organic search traffic to the website by 25% by end of December".
Understand your customers
You already know who your target audience are but a lot of times business owners forget the target audience in the noise of self-promotion and goal setting. Your target audience should be at the heart of your strategy. Not only that, you should use all the means available to connect emotionally with your target audience, understand their needs and cater to their desires. You can achieve this by creating personas.
So, how do you create persons?
- Start with the very basic demographic information about your target customers like age, gender, location, profession etc.
- Identify the problems you can solve for your target customers
- What are the emotional desires, goals, aspiration, fears of your target persona?
- What are the influencing factors for your target personas?
- How educated are your target personas about your products/services?
Document all the information about your personas and use their language to communicate with them.
Do an analysis of your past and learn from it
Analyzing your online marketing strategy's past successes and failures can help you learn and build a stronger online marketing strategy for future. So, the next main ingredient is a comprehensive audit of your online marketing presence and activities. Your audit should include research and analysis into the available market opportunity and where you stand in terms of market share. Don't forget to look at your competitors' online presence while doing this audit.
Your tactics should be well-thought of
You don't have to be on Facebook just because everyone else is. You need to use your resources judiciously. The key questions should be:
- Where do my target customers/personas go for information (or where do they hang out online)?
- What is my budget?
- What would each of the tactics and channels achieve for me?
Measure, Measure, and Refine
If you don't measure it, you can't improve upon it. When you close the gap between Measurement and Marketing, you can not only answer the question “How is my business doing?” but also the more important question, “How can my business do better?" At the very least, you should implement Google Analytics on your website to track website visitors' interaction.
Your strategy should include a measurement plan which contains your important KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). Those KPIs and goals should be aligned with each other.
On a regular basis check the progress of your KPIs and decide what you can do to make it better.
Your strategy document should be a work in progress document
Remember, online marketing is always evolving and you should always expect a shift in your target customers from one channel to another. So, you strategy document should always be a work in progress document.
Defining and executing a great online marketing strategy is what we do at Chhlin. If you need help in brainstorming online marketing strategy for your business, don't hesitate to contact us.