In this article, I am going to explain a seven-step process to develop your own digital marketing strategy for your new app, enterprise software, or software-as-a-service (SaaS).
Step1: Digital Marketing Situational Analysis
This step is important to understand where you are standing right now and use that understanding to build sound digital strategies. In this step, you need to analyze your internal environment, competitive and macroenvironment and illustrate that into strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT).
Step2: Digital Segmentation and Target Audiences
In this step, you need to identify who are your target users or customers. Besides traditional segmentation approaches like age, location and income, there are more advanced approaches in digital marketing. Segment your users by shopping behavior, by online usage behavior (e.g. how many apps they have or how many times do they watch online media on their smartphone or tablet). Segment users by how they shop and how much time they take in their shopping journey. This makes your life easier in reaching your target audience at the right time, device and location.
Step3: Digital Marketing Goals and Objectives
Next, you need to identify your objectives. Ask yourself, what do I really want as a goal before identifying specific objectives? Do you want to have more awareness, more people know about your brand? Do you want purchases and sales? Do you want to build a community or a customer base? Then, identify your SMART objectives (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-bounded). Identify your performance metrics and how frequently are you going to measure them.
Step4: Strategy: Growth Hacking and Advertising in Digital Marketing
The fourth and most important point. There are two approaches you can choose from. You can go growth hacking or paid ads. Growth hacking is an organic way of marketing that is about creating a new idea or value for users so they talk about it and use it and you build a customer base from that. In paid ads, you just pay to be on the top of the results or to have a banner somewhere to build a customer base.
Choosing between growth hacking or paid ads, or maybe a mix of the two, depends on your objectives, your budget, and resources. Obviously, if you don't have enough budget to do paid marketing, you might want to use the growth hacking. However, this will take time to convert to sales or conversions. If you have the budget and you want faster results, you might rely more on paid ads.
Growth hacking tools are basically around value. What kind of value can you offer to your users for free basically? So, invest in your content strategy. These include written content, audio, video, images or blogs. Think about investing in search engine optimization (SEO) (i.e. ranking high in Google search results for specific keywords). Think about email marketing and customer relationship management (CRM).
If you choose to go paid ads, you can pretty much advertise on anything. You can do search engine advertising, social media ads, you can advertise on online media and smart TVs, game consoles. Also, you can do voice search advertising and advertise on wearable Technologies like smartwatches. You can recruit social media influencers to talk about your products.
Remember, you can always mix and match between organic or growth hacking strategies and paid strategies. As a matter of fact, most startups do. Also, you can mix online with offline experiences like for example what do users see in the retail space vs. what they see on their smartphones.
Step5: Identify Digital Marketing Budget
After you developed your strategy, it is time to identify how much exactly are you going to spend and when. There are different budgeting approaches. One is like a top-down approach where management identifies a ceiling for marketing spending. Another approach is the bottom-up approach where marketers estimate the cost to conduct all those activities and justify that spending. Another approach is matching the competitors marketing budgets.
Step6: Identify Digital Marketing Channels and Platform Selection
Should you create your campaign on Facebook or Instagram? The answer is to go back to your target audience. What platforms do they use the most? What platforms do they use to make a decision and what platform the use to buy? Also, you need to know the cost per click (CPC) and the cost per impression (CPM) on those platforms. For example, how much you are going to pay Google for a click in search results versus what you are going to pay Facebook for the same click to your website? Also, look at the growth of those platforms. Is there a specific platform that is gaining momentum and attracting a lot of users?
Step7: Building Digital Marketing Activities Plan
Now, you need to build a schedule of activities to execute your digital marketing strategy. It is like a project plan or a Gantt chart that explains exactly what are the activities that are going to happen, who is responsible for each and when they start and end. For example, revamping the website, implementing a Facebook advertising campaign, doing an offline event with a live video feed, recruiting influencers.
Indeed, no business plan goes exactly as expected. There are going to change, and that's fine. You need to continuously monitor and track your activities and see what kind of reactions you should do and adjust.
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