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November 16, 2016
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The Step by Step Startup Digital Marketing Plan

Digital Marketing Startup

What is digital Marketing?

Digital marketing comprises of any form of marketing that exists online. It’s all about connecting with your audience through online methods. It means meeting them at a place where they spend time, i.e. on the internet.

It is an umbrella term that is used for all your online marketing efforts and investment. To connect with target customers digital channels like Google search, social media networks, email marketing and websites are used. Hubspot defines this area of concern in greater depth by enlightening us about the differences between inbound marketing and digital marketing.

Importance of digital marketing

Smart Insights explain the 10 reasons you need to have a digital marketing strategy. In a summary the blog states that without a strategy you are heedless, you don’t know what you aim to achieve in terms of gaining customers and building a reputation with them. You won’t understand your online marketplace thus you won’t be aware of your drawbacks and the behavior of your competitors. You won’t be having any powerful online proposition neither would you identify your customers. You are not channelling your money in the right direction as your strategy isn’t dynamic and it can’t respond to competitive threats effectively.  According to a research report about ‘Managing digital marketing in 2016,’ it is important to develop a digital marketing strategy. It is commonly said that ‘In this world of intangibles and endless competition branding is everything.’

 

Beginning from Scratch: Laser focusing on your Customers

1. Understanding the importance of your product in the market and audience targeting

The first step in digital marketing is to understand the reason for bringing your product to the market! Is it unique? Is it in a great demand? Is it more updated than similar products? What is your targeted audience? How can you evaluate the importance of your product in the market? So you begin by looking at your competitors and see their strategies and apply something better and more unique to attract customers to your company. You set goals and you build a strategy to achieve them. Some of your goals should be to increase membership signups, having a high revenue and greater amount of social advocacy.

2. Focusing on your customers

What is the most important entity to run your business? If your answer is ‘customers’ then you are on the right track. Building a marketing strategy around your customers can help you build an empire. The basics include understanding your customers, their needs, the challenges you deal with when you interact with them. Learn to build personal connections with them via customer feedback. You need to incentivize, meet customers and study their behavior to understand where and why people fall off in your funnel. You will understand the working of this mechanism more at ‘Why is customer feedback important?’

3. Developing a brand story

Apple has a story. Facebook has a story. We all read how Steve Jobs was kicked out of school and how Mark Zuckerberg is one of the richest men on earth. To be appealing to customers, you need to develop a brand story so that you get the maximum benefit of the emotional nature of your customers. To wield stronger connection with customer use the tool of storytelling. Cultivate your company’s story and publish it on your site.

Also, go for having a unique brand name and a prominent logo that will allow your brand to stand out from the crowd and touch the hearts of people. Creativity is the key to successfully luring customers to your brand.

4. Setting up a budget

Set a budget for everything before as you map out the strategy. Do you need a huge budget? Well, this totally depends on the tactics you employ. With inbound strategies like Search engine optimization, social media networking and content you won’t need a lot of budgets, provided you have a smooth running website. However, with outbound techniques like online advertising and purchasing email lists you need to invest more. Adam Fifield, in his article about ‘5 tips to nail down your 2016 digital marketing budget’ explains how much money to spend on digital marketing.

5. Website architecture and foundations of Traffic Acquisition

Since you have applied to join the online marketing system, you need to have a proper website architecture that is not just functional but it performs all sorts of tasks and is customer friendly. Content and structure are very critical; therefore it is suggested to use inbound strategies like SEO etc. Make your site mobile friendly as well as secure. Ensure that all pages are working and optimize for faster page load times.

The next step after having the most amazing website is to get traffic. You will need free and paid traffic acquisition frameworks for bringing visitors/potential customers to your store and attract them to buy your product.

6. Hiring technical staff and experienced workers

Hire experienced staff members that have the skills and expertise to assist you with your business. You will need people skilled in writing, graphic designing, coding, social media, email marketing etc. Most importantly you need an SEO company that is cost-effective and bring long-term benefits. Ensure that the SEO Company you hire is authentic and it actually increases visibility and organic traffic to your website. You will also need to hire a fancy agency for your PR or you can hire a consultant with relevant expertise.

7. Growth hacking

Apply growth hacking tactics to flourish your business. These tactics comprise of email marketing, A/B testing of the product page, using analytics, having a content strategy and a referral program. To study these tactics in a greater depth, have a look here.

 

Developing Connections with Customers via Media Marketing and Advertising

Social Media Marketing1. Blogging and Guest posting increases your visibility

No business is successful without a blog. Try guest posting on other sites to promote your business. This will improve your strategic positioning. The blogs should be set up properly and designed in a professional manner. The content should be carefully planned. Appoint a team of writers and editors to implement a proper framework. To read more about blogging click here.

2. Facebook ads and other social media advertising

To drive sign ups the best way is to use Facebook Ads. It is one of the best customer reach tool that we know of. They are the easiest and most affordable way to verify your audience and what is your cost-per-acquisition for different demographic groups.

Also make sure that you post regularly about your products/services on social media networks like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn etc.

3. Digital PR, the necessity of time!

A digital PR and partnering program is needed to drive traffic, communications, network and partnering, to monitor online reputation, conversation and word of mouth (WOM). Here Twitter is your best tool to drive revenues. To read further on customer and business development communications read this blog.

4. SEO has no starting or ending date. Implement it ALWAYS!

To enhance your business you need to work closely with an SEO agency that will drive more traffic to your site and enable audience expansion. You also need a link spreading strategy that is in tight coordination with the digital PR and social media market. Use keywords, but ensure proper research and development. Once you are done with the SEO, don’t think that your business will prosper without it. Google changes algorithms regularly and makes updates so you can never be done with SEO.

5. Viral videos

To help amplify your business and increase awareness go viral video and guerrilla marketing programs (both for B2B and B2C environments). Too much hurry can backfire so be patient and always use original ideas and content. Be creative and add some humor, you will get the best viral videos that cost next to nothing. Get your viral videos posted on different Facebook pages like UNILAD, The LAD Bible, 9GAG etc.

6. Email marketing

Start sending emails to your customers, at least two per month. Share your content with your subscribers and attract them towards your products. Use proper marketing automation software to make you able to send personalized messages to your customers. You can use email marketing tools that actually work and drive traffic to your site.

7. Content marketing strategy

Content-based online PR is what you need for your business. It’s more than just blogging. Use content like articles, guides (like this one) videos and webinars drive visitors to your site. Your main focus should be on building trust and producing the best quality.  Produce exceptional content with appropriate backlinks and social shares. Do not use plagiarized content.  You should work on your niche to generate amazing results. Start with what will be amazing for your business instead of what we can create. To read more on this check this post on Forbes.

Developing a better outlook

Social Media Branding1. Improve graphics

Use compelling graphics on social media channels to engage more customers and attract even more. Create a beautiful imagery. If you can’t do it on your own, hire a graphic designer.  If you are not able to afford a graphic designer you can use many affordable sites that offer stock photography. Make customized posts and banners to attract customers. Change the layout of your website according to the season, i.e. for Christmas season you can make your posts more red, white and green with Santa and Christmas trees, and add more videos and images in your posts and on your website. Pay special attention to this area as improper or lack of graphic designing can lose many customers of yours.

2. Social Media Posts

Most of the people all around the world are using social media networks like Facebook and Twitter. You need to connect with people from all around the world by posting on these networks. These posts should link the audience to your website or online store. Ensure that all the posts are catchy and captivate the reader. Amitabh Verma, the CEO of AMP Digital says in his blog that make use of Facebook groups, has Q & A sessions and chats with your visitors.

To gain more reach, share images because we all know posts with images get more engagement. You can use Pinterest, Instagram and Snapchat to share images related to your brand/products/services. This blog shared all the social media tactics and it helps you in planning your content and updating your social media accounts. Read it to get your content properly promoted in an organized manner.

 

Self Evaluation

Evaluation1. Evaluation of your website

Once you applied all strategies you need to evaluate your website. See how your business measures up, once you are aware of your competitors. You should be asking yourself these questions; is my web architecture aligned with standardized websites? Do my pages provide a clear message? Can visitors easily navigate through my website and understand the content? Have I included calls to action in key areas? Is my content valuable?

2. Setting up analytics tool

Without measuring your online services and efforts you will end up losing the customers you have. You need to understand what works and what doesn’t. Analytics work best to find out where your customers are coming from, via social media or any other web marketing technique you have deployed.  They help you know what works best for your business and by figuring out your strengths and weakness you can reach your audience easily and learn how to leverage your communication efforts. According to this blog, ideally, you should analyze these three things.

  • What am I measuring?
  • How am I measuring?
  • What to do with what I have measured?

And you should use this approach to measure the data

  • Capture data
  • Analyze data
  • Interpret data

You can also use Adobe Marketing Cloud, GoSquared, Moz and Webtrends as analytics tools.

Conclusion

A high impact digital marketing can have a positive impact on your business. Make sure you begin your planning using the right strategy and implement the right tools. Your digital marketing plan should start with the end goal and work its way up. Within no time you will gain increased visibility and will engage customers. The secret of being a successful entrepreneur is to have a deeper look into every little detail of your business, to speak the language of your target audience and to maximally engage customers by incentivizing as well as using catchy social media posts. Ensure that the budget you allocate to set up the foundation of your digital market is used in the right places. Work closely with the agency and workers you hire and see monthly/yearly reports of your brand to identify the flaws and improve on them.

M. Faisal Suleman
M. Faisal Suleman
M. Faisal is founder of the FUTR Media and an Internet Marketing Expert based out of Pakistan. He is well-experienced in technical SEO, Content Marketing and Growth Hacking, You can follow him on Twitter at @faisy007.

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