How to develope an online Digital marketing strategy


Differentiation between online marketing strategy




Before we delve deeper into the topic of online marketing strategy, it is important to become aware of the difference between tactics and strategy, as there are often misunderstandings when naming.

Strategies are larger visions that are aligned with higher-level corporate goals. Strategies are planned in the long term. Tactics are the daily operations and tasks for implementing the strategy and pushing it forward for protection for online marketing strategy
.

Strategies are often conceived at meta-levels with a view of the existing corporate mission statement. Strategies are often developed, planned and presented in mind maps or with other visualizing tools.

How to develope  an online marketing strategy?

Tactics are developed at the micro-level and result in direct actionable actions. Tactics are often planned in task lists in a specific cycle or chronology, such as the continuous optimization of AdWords campaigns. for protection

Roughly speaking, strategies are more likely to answer questions such as

How do we achieve a goal?
By when do we reach a goal?
With what budget do we achieve a goal?
Tactics tend to answer the questions:

When?
Where?
How?
The following basic properties describe a strategy:

Strategies require a vision. Without vision, no strategies can be developed.
Strategies have a long-term character, for example for several years.
Strategies include bundles of measures, not individual measures. For their realization, a decomposition into such tactical individual measures is necessary.
Strategy is intended to coordinate the company with the environment and must be constantly checked for its correctness.

The development of an online marketing strategy. Where do I start?


What questions does the development of a suitable online marketing strategy for my company begin with? I think the focus should always be on the offer and the target group. Let's start with the offer.

The products or offers

We regularly receive requests from customers who want to use SEO, AdWords or other online marketing services, but have not done basic homework. In the first conversation, the important question often comes up why should anyone be interested in this? or why should someone order from you? So the question of the USP or added value. (see also Good Online Marketing no guarantee of success in the absence of USP or When SEO makes no sense: The problem with the nails )

In principle, the customer and his needs should always be in the foreground when developing a business model or products. Accordingly, one should first of all answer the question of whether one can offer added value to the target group with what one plans to do. Too often, the answer to this question is not done and the first fundamental mistake has been made. For a product/brand/service without communicable added value to conduct online marketing is thrown out money. We as online marketeers are not magicians and cannot make money out of such....e.

Have I developed an offer with added value is laid the foundation and you can think about online marketing? A variety of tools are available in online marketing. But in the real world, most companies have limited resources to test all online marketing tools. That's why it makes sense to focus on the most promising channels and methods for offering in an online marketing strategy. To develop the strategy, you should ask yourself the following questions:

Is my product/brand/service known or a market novelty?
How emotional is my offer?


The target groups, demand groups and personas

The second important question, which can often not be answered immediately, is "Who are my target groups or personas?". Even here, some companies still find it difficult to answer this question.

For the development of strategy, it is important to deal with the target and demand groups and their needs and events that affect them.

Demand groups are usually a small part of the target groups. Namely, this part, in which there is both the need, the will to act and the power to act. The demand group includes all people who can interact with focus on the objective at the current time. More on this from Karl Kratz.

Personas are important so that landing pages and advertising materials such as Facebook ads or display banners can be matched to the target person. It is important to tailor the personas to the possible targeting functionalities of the individual online marketing channels. More on this in the article How to create personas for online marketing.

For target groups, you always think of the potential customers at first, but the target groups include all people who can be in any way related to the company and its offerings. Whether as a customer, multiplier, opinion-former or employee. I have summarized the most important target groups for (digital) marketing.


Especially for the development of a brand are not the customers, the important target groups, but influencers such as popular persons, editors, journalists, existing satisfied customers, but also industry experts. The perception of a brand as a relevant brand by potential customers arises primarily through the brand's interaction with influencers, existing customers and other multipliers. The quality of relations with these market participants is relevant. A brand cannot develop itself into a relevant brand.

The Customer Journey at the Heart of Online Marketing

The days when you had to concentrate on just one channel in online marketing to reach potential customers and, above all, to lead to purchases are over. The competitive pressure in search engines, social networks and generally on the digital advertising space is great and customers want to be convinced all the more today. In most cases, contact is not enough.

Modern online marketing takes into account the purchase journey also called customer journey over all phases and touchpoints. Therefore, the customer journey model is very suitable for the development of online marketing strategies.

The Customer Journey is divided into different phases before and after purchase. There are different step models here. Google, for example, relies on a very simplified four-stage model with a special focus on the Zero Moment of Truth for zMOT.

The Zero Moment of Truth in the Customer JourneySource

The stimulus describes the triggering event that causes a potential customer to initiate a research process and join the customer journey.

In the ZMOT, the conscious or subconscious decision for an offer takes place. The First Moment of Truth is the moment when the potential customer is in front of the offer in the store or the online store and the final decision is made to buy it or not. The Second Moment of Truth is the period during which the customer holds the product in his hands and gathers the first experiences.

I do not find this model sufficiently detailed, especially in the pre-purchase phases, and would, therefore, like to use a seven-stage model from us.

Customer Journey Model of Vocal

Online marketing strategies along the customer journey

For the development of an online marketing strategy, it is important to be clear about the different characteristics of the channels and instruments. This must be reconciled according to the usage habits of our target groups or stakeholders and to achieve as many positive touchpoints as possible with outstanding user experience or customer experience on the way through the customer journey.

These as many positive touchpoints as possible serve as anchors in the brain and are a decisive success factor for brand building.

Through these best-case positive experiences, target and demand groups build a relationship with the company, brand and products.

This process is also called customer experience management.

Online marketing strategy in Upper Funnel

The Upper Funnel includes the Customer Journey phases Pre-Awareness, Awareness, and Consideration. These phases serve on the one hand for touchpoint extraction and thus for brand building.

The upper phases of the customer journey are often characterized by low advertising acceptance. The target groups are often not open to advertising in the pre-awareness and awareness phase, especially if it is product-related.

In these phases, one should try to build up a relationship with the target groups, especially with pull marketing tools such as PR, social media marketing or content marketing. In this move, the target groups should be captured via retargeting tracking, interactions with Facebook, registration in e-mail distribution and/or recording in customer relationship management systems. This is best achieved through good content developed in the form of content marketing campaigns with a primary goal of leads. Especially for B2B business models, this strategy is often the best way.

If possible, you should still qualify the leads, assign them to the target or demand groups and, for example, achieve additional touchpoints via e-mail marketing. Marketing automation systems are dedicated to this process. If you would like to learn more about this, you should take a closer look at the topic of inbound marketing.

The first product-related push-advertising measures can be used in the Consideration phase. Beforehand, content should be advertised as part of the content promotion.

Targeted SEA campaigns (search engine advertising) also make sense here, as target groups begin to search for potential solution providers at this stage.

Online marketing strategy in Lower Funnel

The Lower Funnel starts in the Preference phase and extends to the after-sale/loyalty phase. Here we are no longer talking about target groups, but rather targeted target groups.

Especially in the preference phase, the demand groups are open to product-related push measures, such as display displays or sales contacts. In the best case, sales should already contact warm contacts who had already made contact in the form of touchpoints in the upstream phases. Here, the information from the CRM and/or the marketing automation system can be very helpful.

As in the Consideration phase, search engine advertising makes sense in the Preference phase, especially on keywords with transaction-oriented search intentions. In other words, search terms that indicate a purchase-oriented interest.

The topic of search intention of keywords generally plays a very important role for measures in search engine advertising and search engine optimization. More about this in the article All information about keyword types, search intention, identification user intention.

The descriptions in the final sections are recommendations that can be applied to many business models. Nevertheless, there will be some examples to which these models cannot be applied one to one. The development of an online marketing strategy must be carried out very individually on the respective case. B2C and B2B business models can be very different in their online marketing strategy.

Tactical vs. Strategic Online Marketing Goals

The target definition requires a tactical to distinguish between strategic online marketing objectives.

Tactical online marketing goals

Tactics often follow directly measurable and quickly achievable goals such as generating visitors to a website via SEO. Strategy goals are often defined as more channel-independent or cross-border. Typical tactical targets are e.g.

Improve CTR for AdWords ad text
Building backlinks
Improve the rate of interaction with Facebook postings
Improve Cost per Conversion for Bing Ads
Increase views and click on Youtube videos
Improving organic rankings for keyword
Strategic online marketing goals

Strategic marketing objectives - brand-related goals and sales goals can be distinguished.

Sales targets would include:


Increase in online sales by x%
Improve AdWords campaigns' return on advertising spend (ROAS) by y%
Improve the ROI of all push online marketing activities by z%
Improving lead quality
Increase in proportional multiple buyers
Minimization of the return rate
Brand-related goals would be, for example,

Increasing digital brand popularity
Improving brand reputation

About individual channels or Measures can be disputed as to whether a channel-based or action-related plan is also a strategy or a planning of tactical measures. Here it depends individually on which measures are defined and for which goals.

The following graphic also follows:

Online marketing goals
Fig. 2: Overview Strategic and tactical goals in online marketing, © Olaf Kopp, vocal in inbound marketing, 2017

Quality of relationship is more important than the number of contacts
In classical marketing, classic valuation and metrics such as the TKP (thousand contact price) are still a common metric.  For a modern evaluation of brand strength, however, the number of contacts is no longer up-to-date. Strong brands today are based on strong relationships with potential customers and other stakeholders.

Thus, the relationship of the stakeholders plays a very important role in both the short-term and long-term goals of a company and its marketing.

Especially the image and the reputation, i.e. the brand relevance or brand strength, is primarily determined today by the relationship with the stakeholders or the target groups.

Selection of suitable online marketing tools

If goals have been defined and key figures for the measurement of success have been defined and one is concerned about the target groups, it is about defining the online marketing measures through which the goals are to be achieved. The previous steps play a crucial role here.

With an online marketing tool, you should think about whether an online marketing tool is more of a push marketing or pull marketing (more on this in the article The Evolution of Marketing: From Push to Pull or here) and differentiate between owned, paid and earned media.

Online marketing infographic for download
A printer-ready version of our online marketing overview is available for free download via sharing on Facebook, XING, LinkedIn or Twitter. Simply click on the image below.

Download this online marketing overview up-and-away by clicking on the image for free


Branding or performance?
The question of whether an instrument or channel should be used for performance, i.e. direct sales or for long-term brand building, is less the question of modern online marketing today. The strength of a brand has a direct impact on performance metrics such as the completion rate.

Due to the multitude of conscious and unconscious touch points with an offer and/or a brand, branding and performance can no longer be separated nowadays.

More on this in the article Digital Brand Building: The Importance of Brand for Online Marketing.

Competitive situation at SEO and SEA
From the ground up, you shouldn't be afraid of big competitors as long as the business model is well thought out and the offer offers USP as well as added value. Nevertheless, the best recommendation for newcomers to the market is to fill a niche to avoid the budget pressures of financially strong competitors. A look at Google can be very helpful to find out what competition you would have to deal with if you were to run SEO and SEA. AdWords ads should be based on the accuracy of advertisers' ads and the degree of specialization. Amazon, eBay and ask are not currently direct competitors, as they offer almost all terms and pursue a wide-ranging strategy. This is also a good way to analyze the offer of the competition, if available. Here one should ask one another objectively why the customer should not prefer the offer of the competitors to mine.

How strong the competition in the field of SEO is can be checked by looking at one of the backlink tools for the domains of direct competition on the first search results page. If such a tool is not in use, you should check how many listings the direct competition has already occupied on the first Google page. If here still many places through non-commercial websites such as Wikipedia, directories, forums, question-and-answer portals ... that's a good sign. However, I will leave this subject to this brief outline.

SWOT analysis to determine the right online marketing mix
A more detailed way of analyzing bets is the classic SWOT analysis. A SWOT analysis in the marketing context is about comparing the weaknesses and strengths of one's own marketing with those of its competitors.

You analyze your own company as well as the most important competitors and compare them in terms of strengths and weaknesses.

Examples of strengths can be:

Innovative products
High qualification of the marketing team
High marketing budget
Good relationships with influencers
Examples of weaknesses can include:

Poor quality of products
Low brand awareness
High price level
The next step is to identify factors that affect the global market and are only partially self-influencing. These are then in terms of opportunities and risks.

Examples of opportunities can include:

Occupation of niches
High market potential
Sales channels that have not yet been developed
Examples of risks can include:

Very fast innovation cycles
High costs for attracting new customers
High click prices
Strong seasonality
The SWOT analyses are usually carried out in the first step for sub-areas and can then be summarized in a holistic SWOT analysis. An exemplary SWOT analysis for online marketing could then look like this:

Example Online Marketing-SWOT-Analysis, © Olaf Kopp, Aufgesang Inbound Marketing, 2017

In addition to manual research, free tools such as Google Keyword Planner, Google Trends or Similar Web are suitable for data acquisition for SWOT analysis.

Own assets at the heart of the online marketing strategy

Many companies face the same problem in the first years of their foundation or the first steps in online marketing. The digital popularity and own digital communication channels are not available or at least not particularly powerful about their target groups.

It is obvious to rely on the big gatekeepers and via SEO, Google AdWords, Facebook ads, listing your products on Amazon ... for visitors to their website and, in the best case, also to leave sales. Many big players such as Zalando, the companies of the Scout Group (Immobillienscout, Friendscout ...) have grown up especially through SEO and SEA. This path is easier than stepping into some years of advancement until you have built up something of your own, independent - but this strategy is treacherous.

Many companies and online marketers are becoming more and more the game ball of the big gatekeepers Google, Facebook, Amazon ... and align their online marketing strategies with these third-party systems.

The battle of the Internet giants for supremacy on the Internet has been in full swing for years, with the aim of a large part of the traffic, transactions ... on the Internet and capitalize on it.

Here, Google, Facebook and Amazon are in the best positions. All three started at different starting points. Google as a search engine, Facebook as a social network and Amazon as an online bookseller. But the air is getting thinner! Now they are moving fast towards each other. While Amazon is fighting for the products and retailers, the battle for content is currently raging.

The great danger of online marketing is the curtailment of opportunities and autonomy. Imagine that there would only be Google and/or Facebook as the only online marketing channels. One would be hopelessly trapped within the limits of the systems and a game ball in full dependence of the sensitivities without its base.

That's why you diversify, have courage and build your systems in addition to third-party channels, through which you can position yourself via excellent online marketing and products. This can no longer be possible quickly by enabling online marketing in third-party systems. Then at some point, it's just a matter of who has the biggest budget... Don't let it happen!

But diversification of the channels is not enough. Create something independent of your own, which you can fully influence yourself. A strong brand with inbound potential and its target group-savvy and efficient communication system.

It is not an easy and fast way, but sustainable and value-creating. The goal should be to generate at least 40-50% of visitors via brand traffic such as direct access, fire or navigation search essays, feed readers, newsletters, etc. on their website, where conversion and usability optimization directly influences the monetization of one's content. I already have the advantages of brand traffic explained in detail in the article Digital Brand Building: The Importance of Brand for Online Marketing and Digital Brand Building: Why Good Branding Pays For All Your Key Figures in detail.

Depending on the business model, the rest should be a mixture of organic search engine traffic, PPC advertising, visitors from social media, references ... etc. So it is a healthy mixture and the risk of dependence is manageable. A marketing strategy not around your website or systems, but about third-party systems such as Google, Facebook, Amazon ... it is not sustainable to invest.

The brand and its autonomous communication channels such as newsletters, blogs, websites... as own assets, it is custom- to be the central link between all (online) marketing measures. The brand building and the establishment of own independent communication channels should therefore always be at the center of a long-term (online) marketing strategy.

Read more in the article Why Google, Facebook & Co should not be at the core of the marketing strategy.

The online marketing strategy as a critical success factor

While you have been successful in the past with tactical online marketing and channel thinking, you have to rely on holistic multi-level online marketing strategies these days. These funnel strategies have become indispensable for brand building and sales for many offerings and business models. Single-channel strategies will work less and less.

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