Six Steps To Achieve Digital Marketing Excellence

Jun 26 2018

When working with a client to create a digital marketing strategy, the first thing to think about is what they want and expect to receive from you.

For us, it is about providing customers one thing: the right direction to reach digital marketing excellence. As an agency, we don't just think about our customers -- we have to think about our customers' customers. Achieving digital marketing excellence means being able to reach the right audience, creating content to be more successful, understanding your buyers' pain points so you can better address the problem, and working toward building a better, stronger service or product based on what your customers say or think, among other things.

When starting to build a digital marketing strategy that is customer-centric and focused on achieving this excellence, you should first take a deep dive into your current efforts and determine what needs to be done in order to improve it.

Based on a framework created by Smart Insights, here are six digital capabilities you should start to review in order for your organization to thrive and achieve the level of digital marketing excellence that meets your needs.

1. Start with a strategy.

Determine where you are right now and evaluate what you need in order to get to where you and your client want to be. Establish a vision and validate your priorities. Create a roadmap and carefully design how you will benefit with this digital transformation so you can get every person you need on board.

Many companies start their digital marketing action plan without a strategic approach, which could cause them to oversee or miss out on greater opportunities. An initial strategy will provide you with direction, focus and a better, deeper understanding of your customers.

2. Establish ways to track (and improve) performance.

Establishing key performance indicators (KPIs) is crucial for monitoring the success or failure of your digital marketing efforts. Use lifetime-value KPIs with a structured conversion rate optimization (CRO) program in place.

You need KPIs for each stage of your digital marketing strategy:

Stage 1: Reaching Your Audience

• Advertising: Impressions, cost per click, cost per conversion

• Trade Shows/Events: Registration, attendees, satisfaction

• Website/Blog: SEO effectiveness, user sessions, engagement rate, conversion rate

• Social Media: Connections

Stage 2: Getting Your Audience To Take Action

• Website/Blog: Subscribers, backlinks, downloads

• Social Media: Engagement, conversions

• Leads: Quality, conversions

Stage 3: Converting Your Audience 

• Website/Blog: Returning visitors, transactions (e-commerce)

• Leads: Cost per lead

Stage 4: Engaging Your Audience

• Website/Blog: Open rate, click-through rate, unsubscribe rate

• Social Media: Customer Advocacy

• ROI: Customer lifetime value, cost per acquisition (CPA), NPS

You should have the right analytics tools to interpret the data correctly and improve performance. You also need to obtain the correct customer feedback, define goals and KPIs and have a clear vision and web analytics strategy.

3. Get management buy-in.

Achieving management buy-in/involvement is part of the six elements to obtain digital marketing excellence. We should be seeking agreement from top-level management to construct the path we want to achieve. They should become an integral part of the strategy development to ensure an appropriate investment.

This way, we can set specific goals and strategies and integrate digital marketing into other business activities for better results. Also, it doesn’t hurt to have management advocate your efforts for future projects and develop a better relationship.

Developing a workshop with the management team at the beginning of a project helps companies understand what you are going to help them do, and who needs to be constantly involved for a better execution. For example, integrate your sales and marketing teams to communicate and align department goals for the project. Both teams sharing goals helps them coordinate better.

4. Make sure you have the right resources.

You should work to have the right balance and blend of marketing skills or outsource this mix. It's not just about having the right people but providing them the right resources for them to work together, with the right tools and budget.

5. Leverage the most effective data.

Having the right data helps us make better decisions. You should be looking to obtain integrated systems and technologies that provide a holistic view of your data.

Technology is a crucial element for marketing nowadays, and you don't need a big investment in order to have access to this key data points. Some examples of useful technologies to obtain smarter data include:

• Site Audience Comparison: Alexa, Google Analytics

• Digital Analytics Tools: Google Analytics, Adobe Analytics, Kissmetrics

• SEO Keyword Analysis: Google AdWords, Google Trends, SEMrush

• SEO Rank Checking: Google Search Console, MOZ, SEMrush

You need to be able to analyze the attribution of every effort, and without the right technologies in place, you won't have the data.

6. Integrate customer communications and experience.

A correct integrated customer communications strategy means your multichannel communications strategy is developed for individuals who are at a different stage in their buying journey. It has to deliver the right message with the correct value proposition across the different devices and channels we have.

For example, if a customer clicks on a link in your email or constantly interacts with a piece of content on your site, you should be able to trigger a personalized message with relevant recommendations.

It is important to have a strategy that is media-optimized for ROI and that, at the same time, maximizes your customer lifetime value (CLV)Put an integrated, personalized site in place with the correct mix of paid, owned and earned media attribution.

These six capabilities will help you prioritize and determine the right plan for you to move to a more advanced level. Don't think about going from 0 to 10 -- it is about moving at the correct pace and always having your customer at the core of everything. Achieving digital marketing excellence doesn't mean being a more profitable company necessarily, it means being a better company.

Author: Forbes Agency Council