- November 27, 2013
“Facebook didn’t exist; Twitter was a sound; the cloud was in the sky; 4G was a parking place; LinkedIn was a prison; applications were what you sent to college; and Skype for most people was a typo. All of that changed in just the last six years.” – Thomas Friedman
The influence of digital media has been drastic—we all know this. Just take a look at some Canadian stats (comScore):
- Canada continues to be a leader in online engagement: We spend an average of 41.3 hours a month online.
- 92 percent of Canada’s online audience watches video. An average of 291 videos are viewed a month.
- Canadians visit an average of 3,731 pages per month.
Search engine optimization, search engine marketing, blogging, email, content, mobile, social media, online advertising, Google Analytics—we’re in a day and age where marketers and businesses of all shapes and sizes are bombarded by a revolving door full of digital tools, tactics, strategies and jargon.
The constant pressure to evolve our digital marketing strategies is a predictable side effect. Our audiences spend their time in the digital world, so it only makes sense to connect with them there. This connection is the very purpose of digital marketing.
So this leaves organizations asking: how on earth do we market digitally!?
Well, it’s easy, right? All you really need is a great looking website, a blog, a few social media channels that have ‘likes’ and followers, and if you’re really good, a mobile app… right?
This is where “traditional” thinking comes into play. As you would have clearly defined goals for your traditional marketing efforts, the same applies online.
Businesses always did and still do have missions, goals, objectives and—let’s not forget—a budget. Traditionally, when a business pursued a new marketing initiative, the rationale behind doing so was carefully planned out—everything was tied to a clear business objective. An equal amount of thought and effort should be put into your digital traditional strategy. In other words, simply making a Facebook page won’t drive sales (sorry).
To simplify, ask yourself these questions:
How does a digital presence support our business objectives?
Is the objective of your business strategy to increase brand awareness? Then your online presence could then be geared towards driving traffic to your webpage. Is it to drive sales? Perhaps then it will be to increase the number of people clicking the ‘confirm’ button on your e-commerce site. Depending on the objective, the way you approach your digital presence will greatly vary!
How will we know if we are meeting these objectives?
Determine the key performance indicators (KPIs) that relate to your objective. As defined by WebSideStory, KPIs are quantifiable measurements that help decision makers define and measure progress toward organizational goals. In the case of driving traffic to your website: Is the number of visitors increasing or decreasing (number of page views)? These measurable metrics will let you know if your investment in digital is properly optimized.
Who is our target audience, and what interests fuel them?
This is where the expression “Content is King” comes into play. Content can be seen as the driving force behind online strategies. By continuously creating quality content, you will be able to engage your audience in a relevant way. Research your audience, monitor their online behavior and create content that they can’t live without!
Where does our target audience spend their time?
Determine the channels that your audience spends time on—are they on Facebook, Twitter or other online channels? Then begin creating a relationship with them there. Remember, social media is supposed to be social. No one likes someone who only talks about themselves (80/20 rule: if 80 percent of your content is not focused on you and your business, then 20 percent can be).
Review your objectives and evaluate your online presence.
Review the metrics that you set for yourself a few weeks back. Is your website traffic going up? Are you getting more ‘likes’? If so, keep up the good work. If not, look into that handy thing called web analytics and try to determine where you’re going wrong!
Can you see it all coming together? Your digital presence is now becoming more of a measurable strategy, and less of an unknown!
Ultimately, it is easy to get caught up in buzzwords and trends. If digital marketing were as easy as making a website and a few social media pages, we would all have a hundred thousand page views a month. In reality it’s complex, and takes research, time, measurement and analysis.
Take a step back, think about your goals, and then look into creating your online presence. And keep in mind: when it comes to digital marketing strategy, think traditional.