From meme generating millennials through to the 71 year old president of the United States, we’re finding the internet is a platform that everyone is on. That’s 49.7% or 3.2 billion people using the internet. It’s staggering to think of the disruptive opportunity the internet provides businesses. Not to mention how we can use digital marketing in our industries to grow businesses and create different experiences for customers. It normally starts with a bottom up approach with a google search, then we attempt to do something that doesn’t work and leaves us with a bad taste of the internet. If digital marketing is to be used effectively, then it’s important to start top down by sizing up the opportunity, building a strategy and then executing on these strategies.

Sizing your digital marketing opportunity

Digital marketing consists of a series of digital activities (content, email, SEO, adwords to name a few) to reach people on digital devices (mobiles, computers, tablets and VR) and qualify them into doing something for our business. Also known as funnels. A strength in digital marketing is that you can measure your success and iterate accordingly.The biggest secret with it really is that success really is founded on old school business principles which we’ll cover in the next few paragraphs. It’s not unusual for people to start looking at digital marketing activities and demanding things straight away like webpage rankings, qualified sales leads.

Digital marketing consists of a series of digital activities

If you’re not sure of what you’re doing, this is a great opportunity for consultants and agencies to come in and provide you with things these things that are pretty but ultimately don’t translate to achieving business objectives or marketing goals. This is where sizing up your opportunity is a great place of understanding what you’re looking for moving away from statements like ‘I want the internet to get me more sales’ and move you to a place where you can either productively engage with agencies or have a go at doing it yourself.

To size up the opportunity begins with your ability to identify your idea customer profile. Your gut instincts should guide you on this one as a starting point which is then validated by two data points. The first data point is your historic sales data, there’s enough information here that you should be able to add into excel and compare what you were thinking vs what has actually happened. The second set of data is external. Where do you find this external data? It all lies within ad platforms. With your understanding of your ideal customer profile, you can hone into their data points to find out the actual size of the audience you can approach and make a start on the strategy.

Building the strategy

Now that you’ve got a general idea of what the opportunity looks like, it’s time to start looking at a high level strategy. I’ll outline the bones of what your strategy should look like in so you can get stuck in. You can borrow your marketing value proposition and creating a digital equivalent. Remembering the key concept behind all of this, digital marketing is one of your funnels that leads to attracting people within your potential audience and qualifying them to perform an action not necessarily perform the sale.

Then you’re going to answer the same questions my year 5 teacher taught me when it comes to writing, answer the following questions: Who are you targeting, what are you planning on sharing with them, when do you plan on sharing this, where (remember: digital platforms) and why are you sharing this. This covers most if not all of what you’re trying to achieve from a strategy perspective within digital marketing. If you don’t know how to approach this space, at least here is where you will find a more constructive point to engage with agencies and consultants. Now you know what your value proposition is and you’ve got a skeleton of a strategy, the next part is to build some stuff to measure.

Remembering that providing some numbers to what you’re looking to execute is the biggest strength you can find in digital marketing. Because the data driven decision making allows your to make slight changes to what you’re doing on the execution side of things. For example, with PPC - how much am I going to spend on a particular add that will display at a particular time in a particular place and what does the ROI look like. Already you can see you’re able to start executing in this space.

Executing on strategy

It’s important to note that execution is what creates a feedback loop between your business and the audience that you’re reaching. Normally when businesses start looking into their digital marketing journey, the google searching leads you here the bottom-up approach as opposed to top-down. However this is the part where you can test different aspects of digital marketing (both free and paid) in order to see what works best for you. Here are some practical things you can do for free and I’ll be writing a series of posts on this: Search Engine Optimisation (sorting out your sitemap, indexing, permalinks and google places if need), setting up your social sites and basic planning of digital assets (written, video, design to name a few). Some digital marketing activies that will require a cash investment include hosting your website, sorting the design and getting all your graphics standardised (so that things can be used on different platforms without looking messed up).

The other side that will be an ongoing financial commmitment is paid advertising on the different platforms (I’m talking about linkedin, facebook, twitter etc) which in many eyes is the strongest foot forward. Why do that when when others are saying that they can get you things done for free? It’s because that’s the digital world we live in. If you want faster results with your digital activities to get your audience into your funnels - you’re gonna have to pay.

Some digital marketing activies that will require a cash investment include hosting your website, sorting the design and getting all your graphics standardised (so that things can be used on different platforms without looking messed up).

So digital marketing is a series of digital activities we can conduct in order to reach people on digital devices. As digital platforms continue to grow, it’s not unusual to start googling away and building a bottom-up approach to digital marketing. We conduct these activities to get people to do something that aligns with our marketing goals. Which all comes together once we size up the opportunity relative to our businesses to drive our strategy. The handshake from strategy to execution is what creates the feedback loop which is important when it comes to getting success from digital marketing as a channel.

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