The internet is a glorious thing. It allowed us to find gems like Justin Bieber, Grumpy Cat and this hilariously shocked baby. It also provides us with a gateway into the biggest shopping centre of all, where there are hundreds of thousands of brands all vying for your attention.
This is great from a consumer perspective, but if you’re on the other side of things, it makes it difficult for your brand to stand out. This is where having a clear digital marketing strategy is important. Whether you’re an established brand or just finding your feet, a clear plan is essential to help you cut through a heavily saturated market.
And that’s where we come in (or Jay Wright from Search Insights).
Jay is essentially an expert in the field, working alongside brands to optimise their marketing strategy and improve brand awareness. And with clients like Camilla, Aje and Bailey Nelson, we’ll pretty much take his word as gospel.
We asked Jay for some handy pointers, to help you nail your digital marketing strategy.
First thing first, you need to conduct an e-Commerce Performance Review
It makes sense. Before you can improve your marketing strategy, you need to know how it’s performing right now.
Jay suggests taking a broad an deep approach to review:
“Google Analytics, your CMS, Email and Social Media and SEM platforms are just scratching the surface. Correlating and understanding the data that’s generated across all of your platforms to attribute growth is essential. Chances are, one or a couple of channels have been driving your growth, and if true – working out how to invest more into these channels whilst growing other opportunities will frame the development of your strategy.”
If you find a channel or strategy that’s working (and hopefully you do), it’s then important to scale up.
“I met a guy who spent $434,256 on Facebook ads in one month,” says Jay.
“The return was four times this, and this is the way to make real money online. Find profitable channels through testing and scale.”
Keep an eye on your competitors
It pays to check out the competition. See what other businesses are doing and how they are reaching their milestones.
“As a rule our agency follows all of our clients competitors through our daily workings, and active discussion through our networks. This works hand in hand with the innovation workshops we drive in house to stay at the forefront of marketing ideas,” says Jay.
And it doesn’t have to be through stalking their platforms. Instead, here’s a novel idea: talk! Engage your network and place yourself among the people you know are innovating and succeeding.
All this will be useful in developing comparative case studies, to help you see what else you can be doing, but also to provide you with new ideas and references.
“There is so much data out there,” explains Jay. “But don't take anything as gospel and chat to as many people as possible.”
Mind the gap and create a growth plan
One of the easiest ways to move forward is by cutting back on the areas that clearly aren’t working. It’s about closing the gaps, so you have room to move in other areas.
You should also be creating a growth plan. We know this can be a daunting process – it’s hard to know where to focus your energies, or even where to start. So we asked Jay for a few essentials we should consider when putting together a growth plan. He came back with the below key pearls of info:
- Specific targets are not negotiable, they are essential
- Understand your customer: where, how and why they shop with you
- Focus on your existing customer, not new customers. They know you, and are looking for ways to engage with you. Your existing customers will refer your new customers
- Balance long term investments like SEO with short term return-based paid channels, to ensure your medium and long term goals
“No one strategy fits all, which is why you really need to give careful consideration to your specific circumstances,” says Jay.
“Don't go in with a vague idea of growing traffic or getting ‘better sales’. Have a clear goal to increase e-commerce revenue by 86% in nine months.”
It’s about here we asked Jay to slow down. Because while we’d like an 86 per cent increase in revenue over nine months, world peace and a bottomless jar of Nutella also sounds pretty good. To us, it all sounds very much like wishful thinking, right?
Of course, Jay had an answer.
“Growth potential in e-commerce revenue is usually quick and highly scaleable. The key to growth is being able to manage and scale in-house. Inventory, shipping and human resourcing are the backbone to any growth plan. Implementation of a digital strategy can only leverage the maximum internal capacities of a business,” he said.
But it doesn’t stop there. Jay also advises re-investing your returns.
“Don’t rest on any initial success – if you’ve found a formula which works, scale it ’til it doesn’t work.
“Through strategic investment in successful channels we’ve doubled revenue for e-commerce businesses in six months, with time to spare.”
Prepare an execution plan
Once you know where you want to grow, you need to plan out how you’re going to grow. Can you do everything internally or will you have to source help in specific areas?
Taking the time to understand your strengths, and then engaging external help to support these, is essential.
“One of the most intense, but valuable processes we go through in developing a strategy is a discovery session which maps out where exactly in-house resourcing excels, where it struggles and where the business need support,” says Jay.
He also suggests carving out time to execute your systems and get into a good routine.
“Have daily relentless discipline to test everything and improve one per cent per day. In everything: a better Facebook ad creative, a better title tag or piece of content. If you test and have daily improvements, they add up to massive impact over time and can be the difference between success and failure online.”
Tracking and reporting
It’s important to keep a close eye on return when you’re marketing digitally.
As Jay says: “Digital is transparent. I can tell you down to the cent the impact that a digital campaign will have.”
So how often should you be reporting?
Finding the balance is a difficult task.
Too much and the focus can turn too heavily on reporting, rather than ensuring the success of a campaign. For example, many agencies that are built around reporting, invest significant resources in ensuring transparency of their work, rather than the success of a campaign.
Jay suggests medium to long term strategies that allow for reporting within a framework for growth. Reporting here becomes an update on progress, rather than a strict win/loss scenario.
“The most successful campaigns are the ones that play out over the course of years, where we may have a focus on growing email and social databases for easy wins one year.”
What is key here is a focus on ROI as a whole, rather than treating individual marketing campaigns as silos.
“We’ve seen companies turn off social campaigns that weren’t achieving an ROI, and immediately see sales half across the board, including their bricks and mortar stores – the key here is attribution.
So there you have it. You’ll be ruling the web in no time. Now go get to work.
Illustration by Twylamae.