Digital marketing success can be highly subjective. In my opinion, companies are either far too focused on the end sale or the conversion campaign, or they’re on the other end of the spectrum and are only worried about the brand and feel-good creative.
So should your digital strategy be focused on driving leads or building your brand? Answer: Your digital marketing must look after both the short term and the long term. Sales and brand.
The long term plays are things like giving value-driven content without the ask, running educational events, building communities, investing marketing dollars on brand attention instead of conversion and direct outcomes.
This may sound counter-productive to a lot of you, but it is these very brand focused activities that eventually impact the performance of your conversion based marketing in the future and long term sustainability and growth. Brand builds momentum.
If we think about the typical customer journey, from the time when they first become of your companies or products existence, through to after they have made a purchase, we can break the digital delivery into the four broad stages a customer goes through:
- See (awareness of the product, service, brand)
- Think (I really need this product or service)
- Do (engage and purchase)
- Care (after sales service, providing new information to a satisfied customer)
Looking at these stages channels and applying them to your digital marketing strategy is important.
Without investing in activities to drive awareness of your product or company you will not be building your brand quickly. You can only rely on word-of-mouth customers who are great, but a slow way to ensure business growth.
This stage is a nice place to play to drive conversions and lead flow. A good example of an activity you should be doing to target customers at this stage is search engine optimisation. That is, improving your search engine rankings so that you are found by potential buyers that are in hunt-mode. This could also involved pushing your ad across Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn to the right demographic that needs your product now to solve their problem. The “Think” stage is where 99% of marketers spend 100% of their budgets.
This is where digital marketing smarts like remarketing and email automation come in handy. Activities targeted at customers at the “Do” stage build trust, urgency and inspire action so you can get that purchase. Without the “Do” campaigns, you are leaving a lot of opportunity on the table.
Focusing on your current clients can be a surefire way to generate new revenue and build longer lasting relationships. Surprisingly most businesses focused and spend large amount of money on the “new relationships” before maximising and increasing the life time value of their current clients.
Campaigns that nurture your current base, educate them around new opportunities that ultimately lead to up-sell and cross-sell opportunities are critical for further success.
A lot of people ask me what channels I prefer for business growth and marketing. The truth is we here at Firefly are completely channel agnostic.
We think every business will have specific, and often different, channels or strategies that will work better than others depending on where their customer lives. Yes, I think certain channels have an amazing opportunity currently and are under priced due to slower adoption and saturation (and some of these opportunities get me seriously excited).
However, like a Swiss Army knife, having an agile approach with many options and reverse engineering your goals to utilise those channels, is almost always the best way to succeed.
It’s very easy to get fixated on just one particular channel (eg Facebook ads) because that’s what everyone else is saying is the best right now.
The thing is that effective digital marketing is not so much about what channel you use, as how well your strategy caters to your customers buying journey.
It is imperative not to write off other areas of marketing that can also drive exceptional results.
For example, just because a particular channel is producing an incredible cost per lead in a certain industry, does not guarantee it will do the same for you.
I am a big fan of all channels and have personally had experience from both a practical and strategy side, and I truly believe looking at multiple channels in your marketing approach also future proofs your business as channels are constantly rolling out new features with the effectiveness changing as they all evolve (particularly social media channels).
Over and above what channels you might use, digital strategy, and looking at the entire picture before implementation is one of the most important factors when jumping into the digital marketing space.