There’s never been a more exciting time to be in marketing. Thanks to the Internet and cloud computing, marketers are now capable of reaching more people than they ever thought possible at a fraction of the cost of a more traditional marketing campaign. More and more marketing professionals are realizing the opportunities that exist, which means that an ever increasing number of companies are finding out how to build a marketing network for their businesses.
In today’s digital age, companies that aren’t actively engaged in conducting digital marketing campaigns are, without a doubt, falling behind their competition and losing customers to companies that are taking advantage of digital marketing. Whether you are an experienced digital marketing professional or just starting out in this “new age” form of marketing, there are several steps you should take in order to run a successful digital marketing campaign.
How to Build a Marketing Network
No matter how carefully you plan your digital marketing campaign, it will all be for nothing if you don’t have a network that will support your needs. Start with the basics – like does your website have the bandwidth to support the increased traffic load? Is your CMS (content management system) adequate for the task at hand – or (more importantly) do you even have a CMS? Do you (or someone on your staff) have a thorough knowledge of search engine optimization and search engine marketing? Do you have the tools in place to effectively analyze your campaign and measure your success? The first step in beginning a digital marketing campaign is to fully understand how to build a marketing network.
Identify Your Target Audience
If you’re an experienced marketer, the notion of identifying your target audience is certainly nothing new. But what may be new is how this is accomplished within the framework of a digital marketing campaign. Defining your audience involves creating personas. A persona is, quite simply, an invented fictitious customer – one that you envision would be interested in your products or services. Marketing pros often create several different personas at the start of a digital marketing campaign, and the persona usually includes biographical information (age, gender, etc.), the persona’s location, the needs and/or interests of the persona, etc. It may sound odd if you haven’t done it before, but personas can be extremely helpful in identifying a broad range of people that you believe comprise your target audience.
Name: Nancy Carson
Yearly Income: $130K
Education: Undergraduate degree in Finance from UCLA
Marital status: Single now, but would like to get married someday and raise a family.
Resides: One-bedroom apartment in Portland, Oregon. Nice neighborhood, close to downtown her office and downtown district. Rent is $2,000 a month.
Goals: Would like to become a partner in her accounting firm by age 35. Plans to pursue an MBA in preparation for her career goals.
Hobbies: Enjoys mountain biking on the weekends during the summer and skiing in the winter. Likes to spend time in local coffee houses on most weekends. Loves reading mystery novels. Nancy doesn’t like to cook, so she goes out to dinner frequently and/or picks up food to go on her way home from work.
Brand Affinity: Similar to many of her friends that are her own age, Nancy is very brand conscious. She looks for certain brands in everything from clothing to cars. She has several favorite brands that she buys frequently – most of which are marketed toward people in her age group.
Online Habits: Nancy is active on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. She checks all these sites multiple times throughout the day. She enjoys reading blogs revolving around the financial industry and believes that learning more about her profession through online articles will help her to advance her career. She regularly reads finance articles using her iPhone on her lunch hours. Two of her favorite sites are the Wall Street Journal and MotleyFool. When Nancy makes online purchases, it’s typically through sites like Amazon.
Develop Your Own Unique Value Proposition
It’s challenging to connect with your target audience without a value proposition that resonates with them. Consider how your product or service fulfills their needs. How will they benefit from what you have to offer? What is important to your target audience and how does your product or service tie in with what matters to them? Your value proposition should be as unique as possible when compared to your competition and should create a true and deep connection with your target audience.
Example Value Propositions:
Toll Brothers: “America’s Luxury Home Builder”
TempurPedic Sealy International: “Iconic brands. Storied history. Industry-leading innovation.”
Education Management Corporation: “Education that builds careers.”
Ann, Inc.: “Our purpose is to inspire and connect with women to put their best selves forward every day.”
Know Your Competition
It’s hard to compete if you don’t have a clear idea of what you’re up against. That’s why over the past several years marketing pros have analyzed their competitors. While a competitive analysis is nothing new in marketing, the information you gather about your competition when preparing for a digital marketing campaign is different. The most effective way of beginning is by compiling a spreadsheet showing your competition and which forms of digital marketing they’re using to reach customers – website, social media, e-mail, etc., and how they’re utilizing each of these different channels.
Define How to Measure Your Own Success
It’s hard to know how successful your campaign will be without determining how to measure that success right up front. Your criteria might include a measurable increase in online sales of a certain percentage, or it might be an increase in website traffic or revenue. However you decide to measure your success, make sure that you define it exactly – including specific percentages, for example – and do so early on, before you actively begin your campaign.
In Part 2 of our blog series, we’ll examine the “Best Digital Marketing Channels 2015: Choosing Efficiency.” In the meantime, contact the experts at PointClick for more information about how to build a marketing network that will support your digital marketing campaigns in the months and years to come.