Coming up with a digital strategy is hard. In fact, it might make or break your business if you get it wrong. But – it’s going to be okay.
We’ve put together a lot of tips here, but there are three things you should always come back to. Think of these are your trinity, your triumvirate, your three amigos:
1. Plan. 2. Create 3. Assess.
With that in mind, here are some ever-so-handy tips when creating your digital marketing strategy (and if you’ve got more we’d love to hear them):
1. Create a clear brand identity
Make different versions of your logo, think of how you want to be described, use word association exercises, look at online resources if you’re saving the pennies or bring in the experts if you just don’t have time. It’ll be something you, your employees and your agencies can come back to time and time again.
2. Now that you’ve got one, don’t sacrifice your brand identity. Ever
Not for your new flyers. Not for a few laughs on Twitter. Not for anything. It’s this consistency that will keep you afloat in hard times and keep your customers passionate about your business. Think of all the Twitter fails over the past couple of years where a big brand’s tried to be human and, well, failed.
3. Know your limits
If you don’t know the first thing about video, for example, don’t make it an integral part of your digital strategy. You’ll look silly.
4. Use everything as data
A failure tells you what you shouldn’t spend your money on in future. Or it’ll tell you what you should change when you’ve got your strength back. Either way, it’s not a total waste of time.
5. Identify and understand your audience
Try and learn all you can about the people you want to sell to (or, more accurately, the people-you-want-to-like-you-enough-to-buy-from-you). Use user testing, focus groups, panels, anonymous questionnaires, email marketing, street questionnaires, free trials, reviews, CRO – anything that lets you see that intangible X factor that makes people buy from you rather than Amazon.
6. Word of mouth is digital: Social must be part of your strategy
Twitter is the equivalent of a person shouting in a shopping mall if you give them bad service. Facebook is someone telling all their friends that you messed up their order and gave them a latte instead of a cappuccino. It’s the little things that irritate the British; social is important, so stay on top of it.
7. Use as many channels as you can afford
Doing this gives you flexibility. If you’re having a bad week via Twitter referrals, you can lean on your PPC budget or your email marketing and still get the leads. (We would do a post listing all the channels you can use as a digital marketer, but that might crash the internet.)
8. Paid search can seriously help new businesses
It gives you exposure, traffic and a wealth of data you can use elsewhere. Also very helpful if you’re launching in a new geography or a new brand to just get eyes on the page and have your brand out there.
9. Keep up to date with trends
This isn’t just in your sector, but in marketing as a whole. Think back five years: no Vine, no Pinterest, no iPads. Things change fast with digital and it’s really easy to get left behind. Some good blogs to follow (apart from ours, of course) are Marketing Land, eConsultancy and Moz. There is also a pretty unknown section on Google called “Think With Google” that features cool/viral/interesting advertising. Nice for ideas
10. Don’t panic
This should probably be a caveat to everything above. Digital means flexible (Hermione Granger moment: it’s a derivation of “digitus” which actually means “finger” in Latin) but you get the gist. If there’s something wrong with your site: change it. If you sent out a badly-timed Tweet – delete it. There is no sure-fire right and wrong thing, so keep trying and re-evaluating until it’s perfect for you and your audience.