We all claim to hold marketing in high regard, but only 46% of companies have a defined online marketing strategy, while 16% have a strategy but have not yet integrated it into marketing activities. What these statistics say? That the thinking behind online marketing is very poor. After all, how can you have the expectation to grow and innovate if you don't have any staying power?
That a large part of marketing activities nowadays take place online is undeniable. Both consumers and businesses can be found online and therefore there are plenty of opportunities for marketers. But despite all the opportunities online marketing offers, it is quite a chaotic and fast-paced world. And just say if you don't have a marketing strategy: where do you start? This is precisely why it is important to ensure pillars of support. What should we think of when we talk about handholds and pillars of support? Exactly, that one magic word: strategy. We would be happy to help you with your online marketing strategy.
Mission: as if your life depended on it
A good online marketing strategy is always at the heart of achieving an objective. Yet developing a marketing strategy is easier said than done. An online marketing strategy therefore stands or falls with preparation. In order to develop a strategy at all, a number of things need to be in place first. Where it all starts? The mission - it always starts with the mission.
After all, the mission statement describes what your organisation stands for. Formulate briefly and forcefully who you are, what you stand for, what you do and what you want to achieve. In doing so, also think about what your company's strengths and weaknesses are. Before the online strategy can be drawn up, it must be 100% clear what the mission is. Therefore, involve the entire organisation in shaping that mission. After all, it is quite difficult to communicate a mission to the outside world if it is not supported internally. The entire marketing strategy must have unconditional support internally.
What do you know right now?
You can't move forward without knowing where you want to go. And to know where you want to go, you have to know where you are now. Of course, these are raunchy, and most importantly, sweeping one-liners, but they are true. Because to determine an online marketing strategy, you need to be aware of the current state of affairs. Therefore, ask yourself a lot of questions and get to grips with the answers: what are the number of monthly sales or currently? What is your company's brand awareness among potential customers in your region? What is the ROI on your online marketing activities in 2018? And how does this compare to a year earlier? These are just a few sample questions you should ask yourself to get to know yourself.
Based on exactly where you currently stand as an organisation, you can decide for yourself where you want to go, what your course will be, or in other words what your mission is:
- Overall objective: First, define your company's overall objectives. The marketing mission, in turn, should fit within these objectives.
- Main objective: What is the most important goal you want to achieve with your online marketing efforts? The answer to that, that is your mission.
Because missions are a long-term goal, they require constant evaluation. And to provide direction, you need to have measurement tools. You do this by providing critical KPIs that must meet the following conditions:
- Be specific: because, of course, assessments must follow to show whether or not the predetermined targets have been met.
- Be realistic: do so by first analysing previous digital marketing efforts. That way, you avoid having too high expectations.
- Define the measurement channels: Set up a method for yourself that can help you measure all KPIs. For instance, you can use Google Analytics to measure conversions and social media can be used to make a judgement on the engagement of your target audience.
Learn from your past
Following a new direction, of course, does not mean groping in the dark. You can already provide a lot of guidance for yourself by analysing past successes and failures. Past results may not guarantee the future (delicious cliché), but they will help you set realistic KPIs.
Ask yourself what the ideal client should look like
All marketing plans, whether online or offline, are all about one thing: your customers. The most successful strategies start from a specific profile of the ideal customer. This also means that you may be particularly detailed in describing that ideal customer. Just start with a few simple questions and then work through as many criteria as possible: think demographics such as gender, age and education level, and then provide more and more answers. Go for that ideal profile. Also check out our blog on conducting a target audience analysis.
Speak the language of your ideal customer
Only once you have determined the above for yourself can you think about how you want to reach the ideal client. With all the issues about KPIs, budgeting and marketing channels, it is still too often forgotten that it is all about the ideal customer. Also, try to keep that at the centre of the marketing campaign you have in mind at all times. Is your ideal customer a male teenager between 14 and 17 years old studying at havo or vwo? Then make sure you also speak the language of this ideal customer.
Provide the online marketing strategy resources
Three things are important for identifying resources: the budget, the (online) channels and the people. Keep in mind that the budget also affects the other two resources: the allocation of people (staff) and channels.
- Budget: First set the overall marketing budget. Look at the budgets you have already used in the past and determine whether you were satisfied with the ROI on them. Then divide the budget between the different online marketing channels: for example, a percentage for email marketing, a percentage for social media, and a percentage for remarketing campaigns.
- People: Look at your current team and decide what you want to achieve with these people. Each team member has their own strengths and weaknesses and determine what role these people can play in your online marketing strategy. Are additional people needed? Then think about the ideal composition of your team and assess how much extra time and money you will spend on it.
- Channels: Take your current online marketing mix and determine which channels were used. Are there channels that have proven to be above average and that you want to use again? Then invest extra in this channel. Do the opposite for channels that proved less successful, but also establish why this did not work. Determine which goals you want to achieve with which channels and ensure an ideal mix between, for instance, social media, e-mail marketing and content marketing. Again, link KPIs to this so you can even better measure whether the goals have been achieved.
Devise a plan (but be flexible)
Coming up with a plan but being flexible? Doesn't that go directly against each other? Yes, perhaps, but we have to remain realistic. In theory, we can want to stick so tightly to predefined plans, but we all know how different practice is. Many online marketers insist too much on meeting targets that turn out to be completely unrealistic along the way. You will always find that there are unforeseen events that cause part of the plan to go haywire. So before we start panicking, the main thing is to remain flexible and assertive.
After all, you may want to steer the behaviour of your target audience, but it could just be that your ideal customers react very differently to your online marketing campaign. This is precisely why it is important to constantly measure the progress of the online marketing strategy to draw interim conclusions. Notice that changes are needed? Then don't be afraid to make them. In the end, the results will be a lot better as a result, believe us.
Link your mission, resources and plan
Now that you have already done all the preliminary work for yourself, it is time for the real work: linking the mission, the resources and the oh-so-magical plan. The time has come to bring together the objectives and online marketing campaigns. Each chosen online marketing channel needs everyone to do their own job, but ultimately this is done as part of a bigger picture: the mission. That the objectives again depend on what your ideal customer looks like brings things full circle.
Want to know more?
Want to know more about the details of a powerful online marketing strategy? Then take contact with our team. Our online professionals will tell you more about it.