If you just started your business or you have an existing business, defining your digital marketing strategy should help you reach your strategic goals.
So let's say that your strategic plan is to increase sales. And your goal is to grow sales by 50% in 2020. This gives you the guiding light of what you're trying to achieve; now, you need to determine how you'll do it and what channels you'll do it in. Just saying grow sales by 50% doesn't mean it's going to happen.
First, before we move on, if you said grow sales by 50%, that needs to be described further. 50% of what? You need to make the number clear. If sales last year were 50k, then we're trying to move from 50k to 75k. If sales were a half million, and we want to get to 750k, your digital marketing strategy may be different. So first, define what an increase of 50% in sales means.
So let's say we have a strategic plan to increase sales and that is a goal to increase sales by 50%. Let's say we want to grow sales from 500k to 750k, and that is an increase of 250k over the next 12 months.
Now that you've made clear goals, break it down over 12 months so you can see what that increase in revenue needs to look like over the next 12 months. Remember that it may take some time to ramp up, so allocate smaller amounts of growth in the first few months, more growth in sales after the first quarter and increasing each quarter after that.
If you have seasonality that will impact your sales, you'll also need to take that into account when laying out what those sales look like each month.
Breaking Revenue Goals Down Throughout The Year
So now, let's say that we have this goal to increase sales by 250k over the next 12 months. That could be 20k every month, or we could take into account seasonality and ramping up our new campaigns over the first quarter.
Over our first three months, we may see smaller growth in sales, but we'll want to be aggressively seeing an increase in sales starting Q2. Let's map out a gain of $5k in Jan and Feb, $10k in March $20k April-October, $30k in November and $60k in December.
So now, we have determined what our sales goals are and broken that goal out for the year. Now we need to focus on how we're going to do it. We now need to break that monthly revenue goal by tactic and tie it to a channel. So, for example, for the month of January, we have a goal of increasing sales by $5k. We need to look at the channels, derive campaigns, and have a goal for each one.
One example could be to generate $2k in sales from an email campaign. The goal of the campaign is $2k, and the tactic could be to introduce a new product to our customer base.
We're going to focus on digital marketing channels. However, if your business isn't purely digital, you should also take into account your other channels such as wholesalers, sales teams, catalogs, direct mail, conferences, resellers, and distributors.
Now, there are various types of digital marketing channels to help you carry out your tactics. This includes:
Most of these channels should align with your Google Analytics default channel grouping, so you should be able to see how traffic and sales breakdown within these channels in the past and in the future by looking at your Google Analytics data for your website.
Now let's look at each one of these channels in detail.
The first one is affiliates. Affiliates are generally other websites or social media influencers who have their own following or website traffic. They're likely reaching the same targeted market, so offering your products or services for a referral fee or acquisition fee could be mutually beneficial.
There are a few affiliate programs such as Shareasale and Commission Junction. The key here is to get motivated affiliates to help you sell your products and services. If you already have an affiliate program going, you know how lucrative it can be, if you've never used an affiliate program, know that it is not a channel that should be ignored, but it does take some time to recruit affiliates, create assets for your affiliates and nurture those relationships by rewarding super affiliates for their extra efforts and results.
Next is direct. Now direct traffic is a result of your branding. When people remember your website, or think of your company or brand and type it into the browser, that's direct. So how can you increase your direct traffic? That could be from brand awareness and reach campaigns; it can also come from existing customers or offline marketing tactics like print, radio, television, and billboards.
Email is a great way to drive traffic by collecting email addresses from your web visitors through online forms, and pop-ups . Email can help you to reach previous website visitors with information about sales, promotions, company information, and the launching of new product offerings.
Email is one of the marketing channels that provides the highest ROI's, so if you are not collecting email addresses from your visitors, get started today!
Organic traffic from the major search engines such as Google can drive qualified traffic to your website throughout the buying cycle. While organic search traffic can take some time to acquire, traffic from the search engines will reward you with potential traffic and sales long after the work has been done.
Paid Ads can include pay per click traffic from Google Ads, marketplace options such as paid ads in Amazon Seller Central, Walmart, and eBay, display advertising, video ads, remarketing and paid ads on social media sites.
Paid ads have the ability to cover the entire buying cycle with advertising that covers brand awareness, reach, consideration, and sales.
Depending on your goals, you can target the lower part of the sales funnel with paid search, or you can begin introducing potential customers to your company through awareness and reach campaigns. Paid ads have various types of pay structures, such as pay per impression, pay per click, and pay per acquisition. Depending on your goals, you'll have the opportunity to determine what is most valuable to you.
Social media helps you get the message out to your followers. A simple message, with links and attractive images, can send your followers to your site to purchase your products and services.
Referral traffic can help to build trust quickly with visitors as another site is essentially recommending you. Although building referral links (also referred to as backlinks) can take the time, they can be well worth the wait if you can build them with sites that reach the same targeted market.
We've finally done it; we're ready to talk about just how we're going to drive sales.
Now we're going to discuss how we'll use marketing campaigns to carry out marketing tactics through the various digital marketing channels to reach our sales goals outlined in our strategic plan!
If you've had your business for quite some time, then you likely have some historical data and understanding of how different channels perform for you. If you've just set up your website, then you'll need to do some testing and adjust based on your findings.
First, look at what you have available to you. Do you have a large thriving email list? Do you have existing search engine traffic that is driving traffic and leads to your website? Do you have a large following on social media? Do you have an affiliate network?
If you do, then we can begin to look at those at things that we know we can use to help us reach our goals.
Now, the first thing you want to do it brainstorm some ideas. Here is an example of what that brainstorming looks like.
Let's take the example of having a new product that we're launching.
We could do pre-sales of the new item before we launch
We could do a limited time discount that's only available the first week we launch the product
We could combine it with another product or service for anyone who buys both items, they could get a discount.
We could offer free shipping on that our new product for the first month
We could offer the product at 50% off to those who have submitted product reviews in the past in exchange for them reviewing our new product.
We could give our partners promo codes to offer the product to their customer base at a discounted rate, or use it to give them a kickback for referrals.
This brainstorming piece is essential. Some of these ideas are going to be good, some bad, but the goal is to have some good ones that we can implement in the various channels to drive revenue.
Now let's take some of these ideas and begin to create actual tactics to meet our goals. Keep in mind that if you have historical sales data, you can add in more and informed numbers; otherwise, you will be putting in estimates of what you are going to attempt to achieve.
You will want to track all your sales and make adjustments based on what your actual sales numbers were, so your plan should be fluid with the ability to make changes throughout the year.
Affiliate Program Tactics
If you have an affiliate program, here's an example of a tactic for our new product launch. Our marketing tactic could be to Drive $1,000 in additional sales from affiliate partners in January, February, and March.
Let's say that we have an affiliate program, and we currently offer them 10% of the sales price to our affiliate partners.
For our new product launch we could offer 15% to our partners for the first three months.
We would need to create assets to provide our affiliate's, along with communication so they are aware of what they'll receive, the start and stop dates, etc.
Direct Marketing Tactics
A tactic for direct could be to increase sales by $500 each month by placing an insert in shipments with a 10% off coupon when they order our new product.
Let's say you have 1,200 orders each month that you are fulfilling; you would insert a coupon code which could be tracked, into all those orders throughout the year with a coupon code to save 10% off your new product.
If you have historical data that can help you estimate the results of using coupon codes in with your orders, that will be helpful. Otherwise, we need to estimate.
Email Marketing Tactics
A tactic for email could be to drive $1500 in sales from your existing customer base and $400 from those who've never ordered from you.
Email gets the best results when you do not treat all subscribers the same. The idea is to segment the emails and send a more personalized email to different subscribers on your list.
For example, for existing customers, maybe you'll send them an offer, or perhaps it's just an email that gives them early access to order the product. While those who've never ordered from you, you may offer them a discounted offer to entice them to place their first order with you.
Organic Search Marketing Tactics
A tactic for organic could be to drive $1000 from organic traffic each month, starting in month 4.
To achieve this, you'd have to optimize your product pages and any supporting content pages for the new product. Then you'd begin looking for referral link or inbound linking opportunities. Maybe that is creating additional content through blogging, reach out to your partner and ask them to link to the new product, etc.
Make sure that related products link to the new product page, and make sure that any existing supporting internal content links to the new product page when appropriate.
Paid Ad Tactics
Tactics for paid ads can vary but can help you if any of your other campaigns are not performing, if you have the budget.
Some tactics for paid ads could be to drive $1000 in sales per month by adding the new product to your Amazon store. Or, drive $1000 in sales per month by with a remarketing campaign to existing customers, or those who've visited your website in the last 30 days. Another tactic could be to drive $500 in new sales from social retargeting ads.
Now paid ads to have costs associated with them, so the ROI will not be as high, as you need to take into account the cost to acquire a new customer.
Social Media Marketing Tactics
For social media, we could look to drive say $400 per month from our social media followers. This could be by sharing specific offers unique to our followers, or giving them a discount to share with friends and family.
We could also pair this with paid ads to get the most out of those who visit our website or take actions, such as click on our links, visit our website, add products to cart or abandon the shopping cart.
We could aim for referral tactics to generate $300 from coupon websites like RetailMeNot, Groupon, Coupon Cabin, etc. The idea would be that you could create coupon codes for each of these websites and submit them.
Many customers go to find coupons before checking out, for those who want a good deal, they may use these sites and it could mean the difference between a sale or no sale. Consider using these sites as part of your strategy.
Another tactic could be to generate $1000 from backlink acquisition through blogging. Some blogs take free and sponsored blog posts that you can create content for and submit to them. They then add it to their site. If they reach the same targeted market, this can be a lucrative option.
I hope that we've given you some ideas on how to take your strategic plans and create a marketing strategy and marketing tactics.