Have you started building out your digital strategy plan? Do you even know where to start? There are so many technologies, and acronyms thrown out there, what are they and where do they fit into your company's overall digital strategy plan. This article is to introduce you to a framework to build out your strategy.
In the diagram there are four layers of the plan, on each side is user engagement, and marketing. At the top, which is the widest part of the strategy is where user engagement isn't as focused, but potential audience is at it's peak. Marketing strategies change in order to accommodate the various density of user engagement. Let's hit up on the four layers of strategy:
Industry & Digital
Like it is says, this is the outermost level of your digital plan, it's about gathering intelligence. Just as you would with any kind of entry to a market, you would do some market research first. With the web, and digital channels it's the same thing. You want to get a feeling for what people are searching on, what sites they go to, what your competitors are distributing and linking with, and doing industry site traffic analysis. It's all about understanding behavior of your digital industry, and what works, and what doesn't.
At this level, user engagement is spread out, and not focused. It takes some industry insight in order to understand what their behaviors are, and what is going to motivate them to get to the next level and that's site acquisition.
So you have your intelligence, you know what people are searching on in your industry, and what your competitors are doing, and linking up to, now it's time to use that knowledge to get them to your site. At this point you're using your marketing channels that you figured out in the first phase of your strategy, and understanding which channels work, and which don't. The goal here is to not only get traffic but gain an understanding on what campaigns are bringing value to your ultimate goal, and that's call-to-action. This is about using all the channels, your content marketing, SEO, social media, all to tie into what brought them to the site, and what ended up as a conversion. A call-to-action could be a goal you specify like an ecommerce transaction, a lead that translates to a sale, or whatever you deem of value.
Site - They're Here!
Again, analytics comes into play, but now it's about monitor the user's activity on the site, and seeing if your outside marketing converts. It's also about tracking your internal marketing, and seeing if that plays part of the conversion goal. But first let's do a quick math exercise to find out which pay per click keywords are bringing more value to my digital channel.
Say I spend $100 on a PPC campaign on Yahoo, it may be driving a huge amount of traffic to my site, but only 2% conversion rate. On the other hand I may be sponsoring a banner ad campaign on a vertical site related to my industry, the same $100 spend may bring 50% conversion rate even if the traffic is lower. How would I calculate an ROI on my various digital marketing campaigns? I would need to calculate the cost of the conversion between the two sources and find the relative value.
So if I get 100 visits from a CPC campaign with a 2% conversion rate at $100:
$100/2 = 2 sales cost $100
I end up spending $50 per conversion.
Now say on the vertical site, I pay $100 and I get 50 visits, with a 50% conversion rate:
$100/50 = 25 sales cost $100
I end up spending $4 per conversion.
I would be better off investing my money and resources into advertising on the vertical site. By defining campaigns in analytics, I can set a budget for my campaigns, and then gauge the effectiveness of each source against the other.
In addition to gaining building out those KPIs, you're now able to calculate the cost of your campaign efforts against the revenue generated from your call-to-action.
Call to Action
That's what it's all about isn't it? You're online to do business and generate revenue. Now that you built out a strategy to gauge your digital marketing efforts, find performance, and assign them a cost, you can calculate those costs against the transaction. By configuring your analytics package correctly you can create a direct ROI based on the first click that the person does to connect to your company all the way to the transaction, and then find a cost of each activity to calculate against the conversion.
And your CTA doesn't have to be an ecommerce transaction, that's up to your business to decide what creates value for the company. It could be a support site that reduces the amount of support calls, thereby reducing your costs. You could import user data to correspond with your user database to directly gauge web activity against what's going on in the back-end data. It could be downloading your iPhone app, and building out new channels to customers, it's all up to you.
And when that CTA converts, meaning instead of leaving your site after they click that "Buy Now" button, you have your conversion which you gauge your success against, and build out a true ROI of your digital efforts.
ROI = Revenue - Cost to Get That Revenue
And in Google Analytics and other tools, you can place a cost on the channels, efforts, funnels, conversions, etc., in order to calculate that ROI. Establish KPIs by measuring the effectiveness of the channels that you're investing in.
We're only touching the surface of the digital strategy, but the above diagram could be used to describe not only marketing channels, but technology, and content management layers as well. In future articles I'll be covering each aspect in more detail, but I hope this gets you thinking about your own strategy. And feel free to leave any comments on the article, your feedback and thoughts are appreciated.