Today, most marketing messages are communicated through some form of digital media.
Whether it is social media such as Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, or other online venues, understanding the digital media world is crucial to your marketing success.
Here a few tips to get started on a successful digital marketing plan:
1. Figure out who your best customer is.
Resist guessing or assuming you know your audience. Think about your best customers. What characteristics do they have in common? How do you typically come into contact with them? What online communities do your customers belong to? Once you’ve compiled a list of your “best customer” traits, you have a good start on your target audience. Next, ask yourself which audiences might include great potential customers. Now you’re ready to think about your digital marketing message.
2. Craft your message in customer terms.
Ask your customers why they do business with you. Why did they choose your organization over another? Pay special attention to the language they use when talking about their needs as they relate to your offering. This will be helpful as you craft your messaging for digital marketing. Try to weave the phrases you hear repeatedly from customers into your messages when describing your benefits. Ask yourself, “Does my message answer the question ‘What’s in it for the customer?’”
3. Know your customers’ community.
Where does your customer go to for information when purchasing services or products like yours? Expert online communities? Industry forums? Online news groups? LinkedIn? Facebook? Online searches? There are several ways to learn where your customers search for information. For example, you can ask them or perform basic online searches for information in your industry to find out where information is aggregated. Also, identify your top competitors, and find out where they are contributing online. Chances are good that if your competitors are there, you should be, as well. Resist being a “me, too” marketer, though; craft your digital marketing content to be unique and to set yourself apart from the competition.
4. Create conversation.
Today’s marketing and sales process takes the form of conversation. Often a customer’s starting point when seeking to make a purchase is to ask friends or colleagues for a recommendation. These conversations and recommendations take place in social media communities such as Twitter, Facebook, Forums, LinkedIn, and others. Think of your marketing message in terms of a marketing conversation. Develop ways to engage your customers by answering their questions online and offering free information and tips. By providing ongoing expert advice, you can engage your customers in a conversation which creates sales leads.
[RELATED: Prove the ROI of your digital efforts after hearing these top-rated case studies in March.]
Of course you’ll want to have a strategic digital marketing and communications plan to ensure all your tactics are working together to help you reach your organization’s goals.
Nancy Bohman is principle at Bohman Marketing & Communications. A version of this story first appeared on the agency's blog