The Dummies’ Guide to Digital Marketing Strategy.

Tumukunde Brenda
April 21, 2020

A digital marketing strategy is a series of clearly defined modular steps that help you archive clearly defined goals through online marketing channels. A clear strategy should be visible in all marketing efforts.

Many businesses start with execution, build a website, run ads e.t.c. The problem with this is that execution won’t be effective as there isn’t a clear objective as to why something is being done and why it’s being done.

In the preceding sections, we’ll show you how we create solid digital marketing strategies that act as the true north for all our client marketing efforts.

Building a digital marketing strategy that works

Below I will list a series of steps that if followed should help you come up with a good working plan. Keep these steps in mind as you evaluate your process. Whether you will do the implementation yourself or are planning to hire a digital marketing agency, have regular reporting, measuring, and optimization built into your execution.

Step 1: Listen to the market:

This is probably the most important step in creating a working strategy. Listening allows you to know your audience’s needs, your competitor’s weaknesses, what works and what can be improved.

Digital marketing strategy: Listening phase
listening or discovery phase.

One of the great things about digital marketing is that you can know what makes your competitor tick and learn from it.

A law firm was struggling to find content for their website, we investigated the most popular content creators in the law field and suggested a new content strategy based off what was already working. this led to an increase of 500% in traffic.

What should you be listening for?

You should always listen for these 5 things as a first step in creating a digital marketing strategy: your brand, industry, competitors, best executioners and target audience.

  • Listening to your brand: Through various channels, e.g social media, newspapers, surveys, listen to what people say about your brand. How do they feel about it, what are the good and bad things they say about it. Knowing what consumers are saying will help you prepare responses for common questions and grievances.
  • Your competitors: Listening to your competitors will save you a lot of mistakes. Listen to what consumers say about them and what they say about themselves. Find out what they are doing on social media, what’s working for them, and what’s not. Make a note on what you can do better.
  • Listen to your industry: Find out what people say about your industry. What is the general sentiment, what is your target audience interested in. Understanding the conversations around your industry will help you understand your space more broadly.
  • Best executioners: Benchmark and keep a list of businesses similar to yours who are executing exceptionally well. E.g if you want to execute a subscription modal, listen to International companies that are doing well in Uganda e.g netflics or Amazon, or Deezer. If you want to sell online, have Jumia on your list.
  • Your target audience: Find a group of people that represent the audience you want to reach out to. Understand their language, the phrases they like to use, how they interact with each other, who is getting attention, who the niche influencers are, what are they interested in.

Pro tip: Research about your competitors on all social media channels and study their strategy. Indicators such as likes shares can give you an indicator of how your competitor’s content is performing.

Step 2: Have clearly defined goals:

The goal is what you want to achieve, this could be sales, subscriptions, bookings e.t.c. When your goals are clearly defined, then it’s easy to craft a strategy whose every executable drive towards the defined goals.

Illustration of man with goals for his digital marketing strategy
Set well defined goals for the short and long term.

The strategy is the steps and methodology you will use to achieve your goals.

Step 3: Know your target audience:

This is another area where many Ugandan businesses falter. Casting a wide net makes marketing efforts ineffective and expensive. You should intimately know your audience i.e their hobbies, likes, interests, concerns, habits, priorities e.t.c. This will help you do precision marketing reaching them with the right message, at the right time, through the right channels.

Tips for effective audience targeting in your digital marketing strategy.

Defining your target audience and tailoring content and ads specific to them leads to better results in your digital marketing efforts.

Take, for example, when running Facebook ads, you can target by region, sex, interests, behavior e.t.c. There are several digital marketing tools that can help you to target effectively and reach your target audience.

Defining your audience with detailed specificity allows you to be more strategic in your approach thus better marketing results.

Most businesses do large audience targeting by choosing larger cohorts e.g “Men between the age of 27 and 40″ who want the best for their family”. This is extremely vague! Everyone wants the best for their family. Most people don’t want to refine their audience because they don’t want to limit their reach.

Pro tip: If we try to speak to everyone, we’ll speak to nobody

Audience Targeting

Once you have defined your target audience, you need to understand them by identifying the following. Age, Gender, Location, Interests, Profession, Behavior

Pro tip: If you have an online audience, consider using Facebook Audience Insights to learn all the above elements about your audience

Step 4: Relevant Content:

“Content is king they say”. Knowing the kind of content that interests your audience at a particular time is key to creating a successful strategy. With a lot of available content on the Internet, your content should hit the right nerve to stand out in the crowded market place.

Illustration of content
Create content for your audience not for yourself.

It’s important to share content that is both interesting and make your target audience more likely to buy your products or achieve your set goal.

That being said you should have content that is purely promotional and some that is less promotional but highly relevant to your business.

To illustrate, brands often create content around events like holidays because people get caught up in the holiday spirit. However many brands struggle with making the holiday relevant to their brand. Instead of posting “Happy Whatever Day”, connect it to your business in a meaningful way that is relevant to your target audience and interesting at the same time.

Pro tip: If you are struggling with getting topics for your content or feel that your content isn’t interesting enough, go back to the listening stage to get ideas!

Remember, once you start, you will quickly learn what your audience responds to. Be agile, try some things out and adjust based on audience response.

Step 5: Pick the right tools:

There are a lot of digital marketing tools out there, websites, social media, CRM tools, email e.t.c. You should know and decide early on in the digital strategy creation process what tools will be relevant and most useful in your marketing efforts.

Tools illustration
Focus your digital marketing efforts on platforms most used by your audience.

While in the listening stage, you need to find out where your target audience hangs out the most. If you concentrate your efforts on twitter while most of your audience hangs out on Facebook, you will lose out on a lot of opportunities.

Google search is a great tool for finding out where most of your users hangout. Search for user groups, communities using keywords related to the kind of audience you are looking for.

Step 6: Implement:

Yes implementing should explicitly be documented in your digital marketing strategy. Consistency and knowing best practices are what make this part successful.

Illustration of man implementing the steps from his digital marketing plan
Implement using best practices.

Your strategy should include implementation timelines and specifically point out the person who will carry out the actual implementation for each task. Using best practices is key. Small details like the time you post content or send out an ad can have a huge impact on results.

Step 7: Track and measure progress:

Continuous tracking measurement of progress will help you know if what you are doing is working or if adjustments need to be made to the digital marketing strategy.

Illustration of a man tracking progress from his digital marketing strategy.
Measurable metrics should be got from the goals.

One problem several companies is is that there is a lot of information and data but few insights! As a result companies are reducing the number of metrics they track. Looking at too many things can make you lose focus of what really drives results.

So how do you go about figuring the right metrics to measure? This all starts with a strategy. What you want to achieve or your goals should guide your metrics.

Take for example an ad, if you don’t have clear objectives for the ad, you can’t measure its success. The same goes for posts, if the objective is not getting more likes but drive subscriptions, then a post that has a lot of likes but low subscriptions generated cannot be considered a success.

KPIs

KPIs stands for Key Performance Indicator. This is usually used in judging the performance of digital marketing efforts.

These are relevant in the sense that you can’ typically measure the end-goal, e.g sales, new clients e.t.c, you can measure the things that suggest you are getting the sales or clients. E.g increase in the number of people liking your posts on social media and clicking through to the product on your webpage indicates that you are targeting the right audience and driving interested people to your sales page which should ultimately lead to more sales and clients over time.

Pro tip: A common mistake businesses make is to focus on metrics that don’t matter for their business success. E.g many businesses focus on the number of fans they make on Facebook. While fan growth is indicative of a healthy page, It should never be the KPI, in most cases, they want to increase their reach. So the number of people who see their messages should be the KPI not fans.

Success Story

Illustration of a hand holding a trophy

While working on the digital marketing strategy for a company that produces liquid detergent, the initial request of the owner was to help them sell more.

Their strategy was to sell to all that needed liquid detergent. Currently, there are so many detergents on the market that were advertising big, and with the client having a smaller budget, things had to be done in a smarter way.

We sat down with them, listed all their current clientele and found that most of their revenue was generated from student hostel owners.

We talked them into adopting a sales funnel that specifically targets hostel owners and crafted a strategy with a highly specified niche audience. In 3 months, the company realized a 5 times increase in its profit.

What next

Now that you know the important ingredients for creating a digital marketing strategy, you may want to learn the basics of digital marketing and channels that work for Uganda.



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