With more and more people opting for digital communication in their day-to-day lives, it is essential for businesses to include digital marketing in their overall marketing plans. But how do you know which digital methods are right for your brand, industry and audience?
In Part One: Understanding Your Marketing Channel Options, we explored the strengths, weaknesses and approximate costs of some of the more popular digital channels — SEO, email-direct, PPC, social media, and content marketing. Now we’ll show you how defining the exact needs of your business can help you choose the right channels.
Part Two: Understanding your business’s needs
Before you can decide on your digital marketing channels, you must first understand the goals, budget, and expertise of your business.
What are your goals?
A thorough and well-executed marketing strategy is essential for the success of your business. So the first and most important question is: what do you want to achieve?
Setting goals for your branding strategies will provide a planned and focused direction, allowing you to better allocate your time, money and resources, and to make investments that deliver returns. Your business goals are likely to be different from other businesses, even from competitors. That’s because your goals should outline what your company needs in order to be successful.
Your goals could be in any number of areas:
- Improving sales and conversions
- Generating leads
- Increasing website traffic
- Increasing email sign-ups
- Building social media followers
- Increasing video views
- Improving brand awareness
- Improving cost management skills
These, of course, are just possible fields of interest; your business goals should be much more specific and refined. You may find the SMART goal-setting method useful at this stage.
You should also now (and always) consider your audience; knowing who your target customers are and how they behave online will help you determine which digital marketing channels are the right fit. Ask yourself these questions:
- What demographics am I targeting (age, gender, location, etc.)?
- Where do my customers spend their time online?
- What products, services and offers will engage my customers?
- What types of advertising will my customers be receptive to?
Obtain the answers through your own knowledge, surveys, analytics reports, online searches and so on.
Another important consideration is how quickly your business must achieve these results. The speed at which you need to drive results will have an impact on your choice of digital marketing channels. As previously discussed, some channels (like PPC advertising) will offer near-immediate results, while others (like content marketing) are better suited for long-term goals.
What is your budget?
Needless to say, some digital marketing channels will be more expensive than others. This means accounting not only for the upfront costs, but also the time, resources and spending required to successfully manage and optimise the channels over time.
Your available budget will also influence how many different channels you’re able to invest in at once. If you’re working with a small budget, you may achieve greater results by focusing on one or a few channels, rather than spreading a minimal budget across too many outlets.
Meanwhile, if you have more time than money (or if you will be unable to maintain the requisite costs of the channel into the future), you may be better off choosing channels that demand more of your time than your budget. Email direct marketing, for instance, is less expensive than other options, and puts you in good stead for long-term returns.
What is your expertise?
With the question of time and money comes another significant consideration: what expertise exists within your workforce that can lend itself to your digital marketing goals?
Branding and marketing agencies like núcleo are able to provide a cohesive range of marketing services to deliver fully-developed campaigns and strategies. But your team may have the skills and experience to undergo some requirements themselves.
For instance, a strong writer on your staff may be able to provide copy for a content marketing campaign, and thus lessen overall costs. Someone with knowledge about SEO could work to improve certain on-page elements, whilst a coworker’s experience with Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn could prove valuable for your social media marketing efforts.
Learn how your team’s expertise applies to your choice of online marketing channels, and explore how this experience could make it easier and cheaper to implement and maintain them.
Of course, having expertise in any facet of digital marketing isn’t a requirement; all of your needs can be outsourced to a marketing agency, which will not only free up your time but also ensure professional results. You just need to check that the additional costs of partnering with an agency are accounted for within your budget.
To sum up: There are many factors to consider when choosing digital marketing channels for your business, and many questions that will need to be answered.
Take the time to explore your business’s unique needs, characteristics, and opportunities. This information will play a critical role in your ability to create an effective channel plan, now and in the future.
In Part Three, it’s time to devise a solid channel strategy. We have three simple tips to help you know where to invest your digital marketing budget.