Developing a Digital Marketing Strategy for Startups
You’ve developed your product or service. You’ve done all the legwork involved in actually getting a business started. Now it’s time to get the word out about what you offer and start attracting customers. You can’t do that without a digital marketing strategy. Without a strong digital strategy, and one designed specifically for your business you’ll be faced with lackluster results.
What Is a Digital Marketing Strategy?
A startup marketing strategy for a product launch or a new brand is a road map that you’ll follow in building awareness online about your company, and your product or service. It details all the vital elements needed to achieve success. Without a digital strategy, you lack a cohesive plan for the various channels and platforms available to you. It’s also possible that you’re missing “big picture” things, like your potential customers’ pain points, or even who your target market actually is. In other words, a digital strategy for a brand is a codified program of action that details what steps you’ll take to reach specific goals.
How to Build a Digital Marketing Campaign
The actual steps involved in creating a digital strategy for any brand will vary a bit from one company to the next. Factors like goals, industry, the product or service in question, your target audience and the like will all feed into your digital strategy and resulting marketing campaign. However, there are a few commonalities that every business will need to consider when creating a digital marketing campaign.
Understanding Your Audience
Without an understanding of your audience, your startup marketing campaign is doomed from the outset. Simply put, you can’t market a product or service if you don’t know to whom you’ll be marketing. Obviously, you probably have some sort of idea of who wants or needs what you’ve got to offer, but you need to dig deeper.
You will need to develop customer personas to target your marketing, and then you’ll need to employ them. Each persona determines critical elements of your approach, including the language you use, the channels you’ll harness, and the techniques and tools utilized. You need to use language that resonates with your target audience, and reach out with media that appeals to that persona. For instance, video is an essential consideration when marketing to Millennials or Generation Z, but email might be better for Baby Boomers and Generation X.
It’s also important when developing a digital strategy for a new brand to understand the journey that your customers take to find your business. Where does that journey start? Is it usually an organic Google search? Are you capitalizing on those keywords? Does their journey start from a social network? Do you have a presence on that network? What stops do they make on their journey – do they research their problem first, or do they automatically search for a solution?
As an example, let’s suppose that your customer’s journey starts with a Google search. You need website content that capitalizes on the keywords they would use to find information about your products or services. Ideally, you would create a landing page based on the content of the search, and the URL for that page would rank highly in the search results. Your customer would click that link, and land on the page, where they would be presented with content marketing that addressed their underlying problem or challenge (including video content). From there, they might move to another touchpoint – say agreeing to join your mailing list in exchange for a free report. At that point, you can continue to market to them, but directly to their inbox.
Of course, you also need to understand what might prevent a customer from making a purchase even though you’ve addressed their pain point. Is the price in line with their income? Is the product of sufficient quality? Do they live in the right geographic area?
Know Where to Find Your Audience Online
There’s a misperception out there that you can market anything to anyone online. That’s true in a superficial sense, but when you really get into the nuts and bolts, it’s not. You need to know where they live online in order to market to them. Your channel or method of connecting will be based on where your personas spend time. You must go to your customers – they’re not going to come to you (at least not without the right enticement). This involves developing an understanding of the various channels online.
SEM: SEM, or search engine marketing, includes things like PPC ads and other paid search tools that help to generate targeted traffic to your website from search engine results.
SEO: SEO, or search engine optimization, includes SEM, but many other tactics. Really, it boils down to ensuring that accurate keywords are used correctly in all copy and text content on your website, social profiles, blog posts and more. It also includes concepts like back-linking, social sharing signals, bookmarking and URL structure to name just a few.
Social: Social media marketing is immensely important, and includes a range of potential ways to interact with and engage your audience. Video is one of the most important elements here, particularly in regards to Facebook. 500 million people watch videos on Facebook each day. In general it’s no longer all about “organic”… paid-social is needed in order to scale… so invest in high quality-content and then support it with marketing spend around realistic goals.
Video pre-roll / Display: Display ads can be almost anything, from images to video and audio spots. They differ from many forms of online marketing by obviously being advertisements, rather than blending in with other content. Pre-roll is often a user’s very first interaction with you, so make it count! Get people excited about you… so use more sizzle than steak.. later on, you can talk about what to “name your child” with your explanation videos… this video is about that “first date” so dress your best.
Email/Chatbots: “One to One” marketing remains one of the most important tools in your toolbox, although it’s best used when you have obtained a person’s permission to market to them. Unauthorized, or spam, emails are usually deleted without ever being opened. You can also combine inbound 1:1 marketing with video to generate even more powerful results from your marketing campaign. Just included the word “video” in the subject line of an email can increase the chances of the recipient opening the message by almost 20%.
Again, the channels you use will depend on where your audience spends the most time, as well as the personas you’re marketing too. You’ll need to tailor your efforts to match those requirements. For instance, if you’re selling essential oils to a Gen Z audience, you’ll probably want to invest in social and perhaps include videos. If you’re selling office cleaning services to small businesses, you’ll probably want to invest in SEO/SEM, and email marketing.
Know Your Sales Funnel
A sales funnel, or marketing funnel, is a critical part of a digital strategy. Really, this is nothing more than a map of a customer’s journey from beginning to end. The funnel widens at the beginning, which is where your potential customer is exposed to brand awareness building marketing content. Then they’re exposed to interest-building content or collateral. The next step is to build desire within your customer, and then to incite action (convert to a customer). You must know every step within your funnel and how your customers travel through it. Your funnel should be mapped out completely, and your digital marketing strategy should account for how you’ll feed your audience into the top of the funnel. Then, you need to know how to route your customers through the funnel correctly once they engage with you.
Know Your Goals and KPIs
Of course, a digital strategy is useless if you lack goals or an understanding of the key point indicators along a customer’s journey. Set goals for every stage of your marketing strategy and then determine how you’ll reach those goals. Use data to make sure that your marketing efforts flourish and scale.
Why Should You Have a Digital Marketing Strategy?
A digital marketing strategy provides protection for your business. A well-defined strategy will help you to make sure that your startup is safe from any potential threats.
Marketing strategy is a foundation for continued marketing growth. Developing a digital marketing strategy will help you to stay ahead of the competition and develop your business with a strong foundation.
Having a well-defined digital marketing strategy provides you with some immediate perks. Wasting time and money on marketing campaigns is a common brand fear, but lacking critical information about your marketing intentions and decision-making process can be an absolute nightmare. When you develop a digital marketing strategy, you’re able to test and confirm specific marketing data points. Establishing a clear digital marketing strategy lets you stress-test your marketing assumptions, which becomes especially useful when you’re targeting certain audiences. At the same time, you’re building a foundation for continued marketing growth with your digital marketing strategy. These questions become much easier to answer when you already have a well-defined digital marketing strategy.
Developing a digital marketing strategy is important for any startup company. A successful digital marketing strategy will help you to set goals and analyze your competition. Measuring your brand awareness and attraction over time will help you see things on a higher level and make smarter decisions with more leverage.
Digital Marketing Strategy for E-Commerce Business Owners
Digital marketing strategy for e-commerce business owners. It’s more than just paid ads and memes, but also includes SEO, social media, email, and other digital channels.
Amazon actually has a robust social media marketing strategy, designed to inspire and engage with potential shoppers in unique, meaningful ways. For example, when your e-commerce brand interacts with customers on social media, the entire world can see how you handle both customer compliments and customer complaints. By recognizing the power that social media interactions have, e-commerce sellers can identify unique ways to interact and connect with consumers.
What channels make up digital marketing?
Digital marketing is an umbrella term for the set of activities that organizations undertake when engaging with their target market online. These channels are used to build relationships, generate leads, and drive sales.
Digital marketing can be broken down into three main channels: Paid Search, Email Marketing, and Social Media. One area that is often neglected by younger/smaller companies is TV… more specifically CTV (Connected TV). This means Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire plus TV consoles built in digital apps.
TV marketing is a very popular platform for digital marketers. Television marketing is a huge industry.
Some fast facts about TV marketing: the average American still watches 4 hours of TV each day, but this includes shows that are streamed only 2/3 of people still subscribe to cable 78% of people have a subscription to multiple streaming service Though cable TV ads are harder to target the right audience, have a low ROI compared to other forms of digital advertising, and seem generally irrelevant in the digital age, there is one type of tv ad that may still be worth it; but it will cost ya.
TV is still watched by Americans and is a very powerful marketing tool. Digital marketers can use TV to launch their campaigns or bring in new customers with TV advertising.
Noble Digital helped a series-funded startup with a team of 15 marketers who build a beautiful brand, website and presence but couldn’t not get customer flow and acquisition to happen. They brought us in to solve that, you can view the case study video HERE. I would not expect anyone to suddenly have 20 years of experience to solve what we solved, that’s why we are hired by startups and big name brands too.
Having said that, TV is considered expensive by some… unless you dig into digital TV which includes CTV, OTT and more. Your video media spend needs to work in tandem with the entire picture.
What’s the future of digital marketing?
The future of digital marketing is online and offline worlds colliding. A recent study shows that the two worlds are becoming more and more intertwined, with the average person checking their device at least once every hour.
The future of digital marketing is to use technology and social media as a platform for advertising. Traditional devices will be modernized to leverage the power of digital media.
Is digital marketing easy?
No, it’s not easy to figure out a digital marketing strategy overnight. You will need time and effort to get your business up and running with a digital marketing strategy. It is difficult for some people, but easy for others. Commit yourself to the learning process and eventually, you’ll have a digital marketing strategy that can support long-term growth.
Most importantly, you’ll need to refine your marketing. Having a well-defined digital marketing strategy provides you with some immediate perks. Wasting time and money on marketing campaigns is a common brand fear, but lacking critical information about your marketing intentions and decision-making process can be an absolute nightmare. When you develop a digital marketing strategy, you’re able to test and confirm specific marketing data points. Establishing a clear digital marketing strategy lets you stress-test your marketing assumptions, which becomes especially useful when you’re targeting certain audiences. At the same time, you’re building a foundation for continued marketing growth strategy. These questions become much easier to answer when you already have a well-defined digital marketing strategy. Marketing tactics need to change as your business grows, as well as when your customers’ needs or expectations change. Constant refinement of your strategy will help ensure better success.
When you have a clear vision, thoughtful execution and solid design from your digital media strategy, it becomes much easier to make the right decisions. Choosing the appropriate tactics will build trust with the right audiences. Having a partner with prior experience with this will make all the difference in how fast you are successful.
Story and Messaging
Getting traffic is probably the easiest part of the equation. The real challenge is what you have to say once you have their attention. This is probably the least paid attention to and the most critical. Facebook and Google have both confirmed that 80% of the return path is a function of creative while media placement and timing of those placements only account for 20% of our success. That means a mediocre media strategy with amazing creative strategy will outperform the best media strategy with mediocre creative.
The best creative can have a huge impact on your ROI. This creative is not just the ad itself but the messaging behind your ads as well as the story across each of your touch points. In the end you need to be able to tell a story, add value and build trust in your audience.
Every persona has a different approach to digital marketing. What works for one brand may not work for another brand, so it’s important to know the customer persona and know what they need. All this is to increase your conversion rate and word of mouth so your customer acquisition flows.
Need a plan to create a winning startup strategy?
We offer custom campaigns including the following:
– Brand Identity/Messaging
– Omni channel activation
– Digital marketing strategy
– Social media strategy
– High end videos
– e-commerce websites
– B2B/SaaS websites, tech startups focus
– Fin tech startups, fintech companies, financial services
– Regulated industries
– Platform design
At Noble Digital we tend to work with unique, funded startups disrupting a category or creating a new product in a new space… but we’ve just about seen it all. We practice the methodology of Stanford professor Steve Blank, who is the Godfather of modern, Venture capital-backed startups. Steve has actually endorsed Noble Digital on his own website.
In the end, a solid digital strategy helps ensure that you know where you’re going, and how you’re going to get there. It allows you to identify your target audience, how you’ll reach them, and how you’ll keep them engaged.
Noble Digital is a creative-performance partner that helps growth companies translate their vision into an integrated marketing strategy that performs.
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