Joe Dawson

Joe is the director of Creative.onl and oversees all of the design and technical work that we produce. Find him on Twitter.

Marketing can be a nebulous thing. You can put in a huge amount of effort yet achieve practically nothing. 

The big mistake many businesses make is not aligning their digital marketing with what their audience actually wants to see. This is important. Getting it wrong leads to initiatives and strategies that look great on paper but rarely hit the bullseye in reality. CMX or Customer relationship management is increasingly important because of this.

We’ve already written about how to develop a digital marketing strategy that works for your business on our insights blog. To help out further, here are 5 steps to creating a strategy the fulfils on expectations and delivers good results for your customers.

1. Understanding your customer

The customer experience has changed over the last five years. That’s not only down to higher expectations on the part of users where they are beginning to drive the conversation. It’s also because the technology is there to deliver tailored engagement. 

But are businesses succeeding in this area as much as they should be? According to Forbes recently:

Today, 89% of companies compete primarily on the basis of customer experience – up from just 36% in 2010. But while 80% of companies believe they deliver “super experiences,” only 8% of customers agree.”

Your customer is an individual, not a number of checked or unchecked boxes on a list of vague characteristics. It’s not enough to say your user is young or old, male or female. You have to be able to drill down into their identity and find out what is important to them. 

It’s easy to say that benefit X or Y will appeal to this or that person. But why? And is it actually true? Is what they are really looking for? The problem with understanding the customer is that we can be subjective and push our own worldview onto things. We can depend on lists of meaningless statistics and big data.

There are two important questions you need to ask: 

  • Who does your product or service appeal to. 
  • Who does your digital marketing address. 

They are not both the same thing. Your product may get people from a whole range of different demographics excited. But how you develop content for each of these sets of demographics is going to be different. That’s the key to successful digital marketing. 

See also →  How to measure your brand awareness

2. What your customer is looking for

Aligning your digital marketing means you have to understand the needs and habits of your users, whoever they are. For example: 

  • You avid smartphone users may prefer an app to view your product or use your service. Someone who loves their desktop will only look on your website. Both of these entities will have slightly different marketing needs because of the design environments and requirements. 
  • A young professional with lots on their plate might prefer short explainer videos or an infographic while older, more settled users may like to read lengthy blocks of content outlining what your product can do.
  • Someone who spends more time on social media is likely to get to know your brand through Twitter or Facebook and so focusing your marketing in this area will be important. A person who generally looks for what they want through a search engine like Google is better targeted by improved SEO on your site.  

Digital marketing is all about realising what your customer is looking for and delivering as exact a match as possible. For most businesses, there will be multiple channels used to send out tailored messages for different groups of people. 

3. Introducing UX design

User experience or UX has become increasingly important in the design process. It’s no longer enough to have a great looking design, it has to fulfil what your customer is looking for. UX is also more complex than many people think. Yes, it’s about navigation and how your content is set out on the page but it’s about much more than that. 

There are two things you really want to achieve: 

  • You want to maximise the number of people buying your product.
  • You want to deliver on user expectations. 

For some businesses, these two factors often work against each other. That can lead to failure on both sides – a poor user experience and a low conversion rate. Getting it right means you need to deliver on your design and content from the consumers point of view.

You might, for example, carry out a pay per click advertising campaign that targets a range of different kinds of people. You don’t want all these people to be directed to the same page that has the same message. You want to personalise it. That could mean creating different landing pages with specific benefits that will appeal to one sort of person or another.

See also →  5 ways to justify the value of design to cost-conscious colleagues

4. Creating and placing your content

Video, blog and web content, social media messages, infographics and images – there are a variety of ways to get your message across with today’s digital marketing

Long tracts of complicated text may appeal to academics or researchers but they are going to bore the tears out of many other people. Similarly, a talking head video that drones on for 30 minutes and doesn’t get to the point may not be as powerful as a 30 second explainer video that dynamically showcases what’s so great about your product or service. 

Placing your digital marketing is also important if you want to engage with users. You have to reach out to customers, not expect them to come flocking to your digital door. 

If your demographic is hanging out in groups on Facebook, you have to go there. Not only that, you need to develop an engagement strategy that looks less like you are selling and more like you are a good person/business to know. Similarly, if they are searching online, you need to be able to show up with good SEO strategies. 

5. Measuring results, making changes

Last, but by no means least, you need a strategy to measure your digital marketing results. Many businesses could list a whole bunch of metrics regarding their content performance. The key is what this reveals and whether it’s any use or not. 

For example, you may have several hundred people visiting a landing page because of one social media post. But if your customers are not converting and buying your product, then what use is that metric?

Good measurement means good decisions. It enables you to see clearly how your content is performing and then allows you to confidently change things up and improve your ROI. Metrics are what bring steps one to four together, providing you with the concrete proof that you are on the right track. 

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