Creating an effective digital marketing strategy is essential for any business to achieve visibility in both search engines and social networks, getting an important yet focused volume of web traffic and ultimately a large conversion rate.
To be able to draw a good plan we need to specify the type of business we work with. In this scenario, let take the energy sector as our business focus.
As this type of business requires a special interest type of a target group, we will have to implement a methodical strategy to guarantee the success of the business.
First, let start with the analysis of the market, followed by the creation of objectives, the implementation of the strategies that best suit our type of business, and finally measuring the results. It’s may sound difficult but it is really very straight forward. Let’s see everything in detail.
Analysis of the current market
Current situation of the business
The first step to take when considering a digital marketing strategy and in the development of the digital marketing plan of a business or brand, is to first know the current and real situation of the business today, following by settling the goals of the marketing strategy.
To do this we first have to divide our work in a SWOT analysis to know how to value with certainty where we are and what we can contribute with that makes us unique and/or different. An analysis of the website positioning and a study of our presence in search engines, social networks, forums, web portals, and other places where our group target may be present.
SWOT is the acronym for Weaknesses, Threats, Strengths, and Opportunities. In the case of our business, we must be able to clearly define these parameters since from here on, we will define the foundation of a winning strategy.
The SWOT is a key tool in any digital marketing strategy, as it helps us rethink the key factors each year.
In these cases it is relatively easy to know what are our strengths and weaknesses since we know best what we are really good at and what we need to improve. Needless to say, this analysis will help us strengthen our strengths and highlight our weaknesses.
In the case of opportunities, it is always more difficult to detect where they occur and what you can do to take advantage of them. This is why we need to study the business and our target goal in details to later lay a clear path to positively approach our target using the appropriate digital marketing strategies for success.
Likewise, threats have the disadvantage that at a business level we associate threat with competition, when in many cases the threat can even be ourselves. If we do not know how to take the reins of our business or adapt to the changes that occur daily in the market. This is why, it is of great importance to be optimized internally before analyzing the competition through treat analysis.
In this type of analysis we must thoroughly investigate the market and sector where we compete, as well as the trend for the near future and the focus market (mature or emerging market). We speak of a mature market when there is a lot of competition, and an emerging market when there is little competition.
When analyzing the market it is necessary to identify who our target audience is, although in some cases there may be several target audiences.
Once we identify our audience, it will be essential to create the profile of our ideal client based on their interests, behaviors, concerns, demographics, etc.
On the other hand, adapting research on our most direct competitors will allow us to know where they have a digital presence, what actions have achieved good results, and what mistakes they have made.
After finishing the optimization of our business digital marketing plan, we then have to work in our web presence to approach our target.
It is of great importance that the business website need to be fully optimized and responsive (mobile friendly) as treating your website as an afterthought can stall your business before it starts. Remember, your website is the face of your business.
The website need also to be catchy and different landing pages should be designed and built according to different group targets based on age and interest. With an optimized website, we can work on the parameters referring to web positioning as they are important because they will tell us what level of visibility our business has in the search engines (basically Google).
In our case the most important areas we should analyze in our digital marketing plan are the following:
- Number of monthly visits received by our website.
- Amount of organic traffic.
- Keywords for which our potential clients find us.
- Positions that our keywords occupy in Google.
- Quality and quantity of links (backlinks)
In the case of traffic that our website receives the best analysis tools recommended are Google 360 and Google Analytics tools. With these tools, we can not only know the amount of traffic our landing pages receive as a “raw” number but a whole series of important data (sex and age of visitors, countries of residence, pages where they land on your site, conversion rate …) all this data will allow a good segmentation of our audience.
The keywords for which your visitors finds us can researched, analysed and properly optimized in the landing pages. The recommended tool to use for keyword analysis is Google keyword planner (former Google Webmaster Tools).
With it, you can define the position that your keywords are occupying in the SERP’s, the volume of impressions and clicks that those keywords receive as well as their CTR.
All this with the possibility of filtering by countries, by type of device, and by dates among other options.
Safely Ahrefs is the best known of the three tools for link analysis because it has a huge database. Among the most important data it offers is the detection of new links that your site receives. Those who lose and also allows you to compare your data with your competition. Something without a doubt will help us a lot in your SEO strategy.
Majestic meanwhile is measuring the quantity but above all the quality of the links through two metrics called Trust Flow and Citation Flow. Of course, it also offers information about all your links. But those two metrics are exclusive to this tool and that is what makes it interesting.
Finally, SEMrush is my everyday tool of choice. It is a perfect SEO tool to analyze your competition and the keywords that you have positioned on the first and second pages of Google and that are giving you traffic.
However, although it is less known, there is also a feature called Backlinks. Although it does not have a database as wide as Ahrefs or Majestic, it is a great tool to compare your backlinks with those of your competition.
Social media presence
Today it is impossible to draw a good digital marketing strategy without thinking about the business presence on social networks. That does not mean much less that we have to be in the 400 or 500 existing, quite the contrary. It’s about being present only in those social networks where our potential clients are really located.
To analyze the current situation of our business in social networks we should take into account a series of important quantitative metrics (number of followers, active followers, likes, comments. shares, clicks on the links), in our case focused on the 4 social networks that I consider most important. Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter.
The qualitative metrics have more to do with the level of attraction or engagement that each publication generates in each of the different social networks and that not all the content work the same in all the networks.
Once we collect all the data (SWOT, web positioning and social networks) it is time to start drawing conclusions keeping those strategies that are working for us, forgetting those that do not bring positive conversion and creating new strategies that can give us first greater visibility and ultimately a greater conversion.
Tips: Facebook videos are getting more organic reach in the news feed.
Having that in mind, now seems to be the perfect time to take a closer look at the Facebook video and how to use videos to engage more potential clients on the platform.
Who your business is targeting
Knowing the target our business is targeting is essential to be able to focus all the sales strategy on those people who are really interested in the possible purchase of our products or services.
In the previous point I have marked the number of followers as an important fact to take into account when analyzing the presence of our business in social networks. The number itself is fine but knowing if they are real followers and interested in your products or services is even better.
Knowing how our followers behave, what they like, the type of content they share in their social networks, in which networks they are more active or through which channels it is more convenient to contact them, we will know how to better reach our target group and how to meet their demands in the most efficient way possible.
Objectives of our strategy
What are the objectives of our business? As I said above at the end it is about increasing the conversions and therefore the sales of our products and/or services. It is clear that this is always the ultimate goal of a any business. The problem is that this goal is something abstract, because to reach it before you have to get other “small” objectives.
Some of these objectives, for example, can be:
- Improve the image of your brand online
- Improve the business through reputation management
- Increase sales by x% through website and online channels
- Increase the number of followers on social media by x%
- Increase the number of subscribers by x% to the emailing list
- Implementation of new services and / or products
- Improve customer service in social networks engagement
Increase the visibility of the business website and / or landing pages in search engines
You should also remember that to measure the return on investment (ROI) of your strategies it will be necessary to define SMART objectives.
And, the SMART objectives must be: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and temporary.
There are also other different types of objectives that we can define in the digital marketing strategy:
- Branding: publishing our business and the services or products we sell.
- SEO: optimize web positioning and increase organic traffic.
- Leads: generate a database with potential customers to build a relationship via email marketing.
- Sales: increase the purchases of our products or the hiring of our services.
- Retention and loyalty: strengthen our relationship with customers through exclusive promotions.
Once we have defined what are the objectives we want to achieve, it is time to implement those strategies that are most convenient for us and our business.
Strategy implementation is key in any digital marketing plan.
For example, if our goal is to increase sales in online channels a strategy to achieve this could be to create a social media contest in which participants have to leave an email to opt for the prize. The fact that the contest is free obviously will not increase your sales but the obtaining of those email accounts will help you at a later time to send offers and discounts through email marketing campaigns, as well as to have a greater community to interact with.
Another example: If our goal is to increase sales through the different online sales channels. One strategy could be to hire an advertising campaign through Google Adwords (PPC). Other strategies aimed at achieving the same goal could be to create campaigns in Twitter Ads and Facebook Ads. In this case it is about finding what strategy would be more profitable, so we could try them all little by little and reject those that do not work and strengthening those that do.
Measuring the results of the digital marketing strategy
No digital marketing plan can succeed if we do not measure results in a constant way so we can detect the changes that occur over time and have a “historical” of the evolution of those results.
The measurement is essential to know what actions are being successful and which are making us loose time and, what is more important, our investment.
Tools such as Google Analytics, Google 360, SEMrush, Siteimprove, Facebook Insights or Twitter Analytics can help you collect valuable information, which, if well treated, can maximize the investment we make in our marketing strategy.
In our type of business it is recommended to use and measure results on SEO, social media, mobile marketing, SEM, Content & video marketing, email marketing, Influencer marketing, affiliate marketing, PPC, PPV, Retargeting, reputation management to fully success with our digital marketing strategy’s target.