Currently, the average Australian consumer is spending almost six hours online every day. Whether it’s at home or otherwise, at least one in every three minutes of this time is spent on social media. That’s a lot of time spent online (predominately on mobile) and a lot of time for advertisers to capture your attention.

If we were to follow marketing ideologies, like The Rule of Seven, we can understand how important it is to engage your audience multiple times on different mediums. These mediums, or touch-points in a digital customer journey, are how we influence an audience to purchase a product, good or service. This is why I love digital marketing.

If we take something like social media, the rising star of digital marketing, we can attribute sales of a product to an Instagram Story a user engaged with last night, which they were targeted after seeing a video on their Facebook Feed and tagging a friend over 60 days ago. The easy attribution and measurement of digital marketing tactics is just one, very obvious, reason to invest.

Digital marketing isn’t just social media, of course, people often talk about digital marketing in terms of:

  • Owned: website, blog, content marketing, email marketing.
  • Earned: media relations, influencer relations.
  • Paid: affiliate marketing, online advertising, banner ads, Google Ads.
  • Shared: Social media, word of mouth, referrals.

If we look at the media landscape today, early April, 2020, almost everything has moved online. Brands have had to rethink how they approach their audience and digitally transform, fast.

People are looking online more than ever before and many are still ready to purchase. So much so, that brands like Kmart have had to create waiting rooms to ensure their website can continue to meet the speed of customer demand.

So, you want to move digital and don’t know where to start? Let’s work through it together.

1. What are you working towards?

It may sound like a simple question, but sometimes it isn’t easy to decide on the answer. Or, more often than not, you want to work towards multiple goals simultaneously, which can potentially dilute resource and effectiveness.

Before investing time, resources and ad spend in digital marketing strategy, you need to know what you’re working towards. Your goal.

This could include: 

  • Building brand awareness. 
    • This includes taking a look at your brand identity.
  • Establishing share of voice/brand authority. 
    • To do this effectively, you'll need to understand your value proposition.
  • Increasing brand engagement. 
    • Although it could be argued that this has become a little defunct now, especially on social media, brand engagement can contribute to brand authority. 
  • Up-selling existing customer base.
    • This has a lot to do with your customer journey for existing users. How are you speaking to your audience who has previously purchased? 
  • Generating qualified leads. 

This is where your marketing funnel comes in to play. There are many names for each segment of the funnel, but they all generally speak to the same aspect, which includes: awareness, consideration, conversion, loyalty and advocacy.

Once you understand your goals, it’s important to make them SMART. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-bound. 

2. Know your audience

Once you have a greater idea of what you’re working towards in the short term (and long term) you should take a closer look at your audience. After all, your tactics will be built on your audiences’ behaviours, so you’ll need to understand what mediums they engage with to know where to target them.

Knowing who you want to target and implementing strategies to do that is called audience targeting. This is where you use data to segment consumers (by demographics, behaviours or interests) to engage the right person at the right time. This will form the basis of your target customer personas.

Here are a few things to do to help you get there:

  • Invest in audience research upfront.
  • Do a SWOT analysis of competitors and their audiences’ behaviours.
  • Understand social sentiment around the product or service.

3. Create personas before you create content

Customer or buyer personas are the people you want to target. They’re detailed representations of your target audience and built off initial customer research. They map what segments of your target audience you want to focus on. 

Effectively spending time on building personas means you will implement more effective marketing campaigns and content strategy – because you’ll be speaking to your target audience, on platforms they engage on, in a language that resonates with them. 

4. Build your marketing funnel 

Even if you haven’t heard of a marketing funnel before, make no mistake, your business has one. This is how you’re promoting your product, good or service to your audience.

So, here’s my iteration, with examples of tactics to engage with your audience every step of the way.

Note: Tactics are not limited to what’s outlined below.

Stage of Funnel: Awareness. Some call it TOFU, but let’s skip the abbreviations.

Audience insight: This is where a person recognises there’s a problem or need for the product.

Activities/Tactics: Google Ads, news-jacking trends/PR, SEO, podcasts, organic social media.

Stage of Funnel: Consideration 

Audience insight: This is where our customer is considering their options. So, what are you doing to make your product stand out?

Activities/Tactics: Content marketing; eBooks, white papers, reports, email marketing, templates and toolkits, webinars.  

Stage of Funnel:  Conversion 

Audience insight: Your audience has been introduced to the idea, they’ve been sold into it, evaluated the alternatives and now they’re ready to purchase.

Activities/Tactics: Conversion social media advertising.  

Stage of Funnel: Loyalty 

Audience insights: This is where you need to make a one-time consumer a repeat consumer.

Activities/Tactics: Loyalty offers, email marketing, customer stories, testimonials.

Stage of Funnel: Advocacy

Audience Insights: These are the Promoters in your Net Promoter Score. They’re the ones that live and breathe your brand and will hero you through word of mouth promotion.  

Activities/Tactics: UGC, contests.

At every stage of the funnel, you need to draw on audience insights to build tactics to reach your customer segment or persona. To be able to do this effectively, you need to invest in content marketing.

Content marketing spans most digital marketing efforts in some way or another. This focuses on how you’re going to talk to your audience at every stage of the customer journey.

5. Test, measure and evolve.

You’ve built your digital marketing plan, you understand your audience and how you’re going to target them at every stage of the funnel. You’ve invested in content marketing and design – so the plan looks as good as it sounds. You’re ready to go.

Now, it’s important not to get complacent. Without a wide variety of historical data it’s easy to build a strategy that doesn’t lead to good results. So, if you’re creating your historical data as you go – save at least 10% of your budget for a test and learn segment of your strategy.

Know what you’re doing at your core, measure weekly, monthly, quarterly and compare results to the same time last year. If you’re not working towards where you want to go, pivot. Try new things. Even trying a tactic and learning it isn’t successful helps set you on the path to success.