A freelancer's guide to digital marketing
Most experts consider a digital marketing strategy (DMS) to be the process of planning, implementing and evaluating your vision and aspirations for your business or website. Elements that make up a full strategy will arise from your business or marketing plan or your online blueprint. Here I will cover the basics of a DMS, writes Paula Wynne, author of Pimp My Site.
Pimping your site with a DMS
When setting out the most effective route to market or ‘pimping’ your site’s product or service, you need to decide on your goals, how to achieve them and how to promote your brand online. To keep things simple, I suggest that beginners to DM use a basic outline. As you grow in confidence and strength, and as your website shows improved KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), you can add to the plan and see it evolve, fatten and grow healthily to become a fully fleshed-out DMS. You may even need to create more detailed objectives to reach your main goal.
DMS – your basic template
Start with a structure to research and analyse your current site’s situation:
1. Situation Analysis
5. Action Plan
7. Measurement and Iteration
1. Situation Analysis
This is where you get to understand yourself and your site and ask, “Where are we now?” You may want to do an audit and SWOT (Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities, Threats) analysis to gauge customers and competitors. It would be good to include trends and industry sectors.
Next you should evaluate and understand your customer or client who starts out as a visitor. A clear understanding of your target audience(s) will impact all aspects of your campaign, marketing media used, channel, message, layout and structure and content, right down to the words and language you use to describe what you do.
If you have several different audiences, such as B2B or B2C, rank them in order of importance and break down the categories further. You may have existing clients as well as future or prospective customers to flesh out, and you could possibly be talking to both B2B and B2C audiences.
So you should segment your audience down several layers to define each persona that you want to reach, albeit in different ways. Then allocate resources accordingly as you may not have time and ‘bodies’ to look after each audience. Once you understand your audience’s expectations and goals, you are better suited to prioritise which ones you will tackle first.
Experts often refer to ‘being in your visitor’s shoes’ as building a ‘persona’, almost like an author would build a fictional character. A creative writing or screenwriting course will teach a new writer how to create a skeleton or bio of a character and then add meaty character traits to outline a whole, 3D, fully-formed personality. For your DMS, you too will form a persona with human needs and behaviour in order to recognise who your customer, visitor or client is, what they do and where
Brainstorm your persona or use mind mapping techniques to fatten your persona’s torso. Try some of these ideas:
· Educational stage
· Experience level
· Technical, mechanical or industrial ability
· Online aptitude
· Relationship position
· Financial status
· Products they buy
· Publications they read
· Where they network, such as Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook
· Channels they visit, for example their favourite TV channel or radio station
If you were to draw a large circle or pie chart to find where this ‘persona’ goes for making decisions about purchases, Google will most likely take up most of the pie with YouTube following closely on its tail along with other search engines. Networking sites, such as Facebook and social media platforms, gobble another chunky slice of your pie (- all of which are discussed in the subsequent chapters of Pimp My Site).
(See Part 2, to follow)
Excerpted from Pimp My Site – available from November 18th 2011, by Paula Wynne,whose permission was given for this edited reproduction on Freelance UK.
16th November 2011