Digital Strategy for Kiwi Businesses

6 dimensions of digital maturity - Business Coach | Digital Strategy

Today the NZ Herald published an article, based on an interview with our Business Coach & Principal, Debra Chantry, about Digital Strategy:

 

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/spark/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503943&objectid=11664274

 

It talks about one of the clients, Baby Sleep Consultant that Debra works with as a Business Coach. Debra has worked with Baby Sleep Consultant to develop their Business Strategy as well as their Digital Strategy.

 

A Digital Strategy has 6 components:

 

6 dimensions of digital maturity - Business Coach | Digital Strategy

 

The article explores the Social Business Strategy that Baby Sleep Consultants have undertaken & the results that they have got from that.

Spark: Social media wakes up a sleeping business

NZ Herald – 28/06/16

When Emma Purdue started her business, Baby Sleep Consultant, just over three years ago she found Facebook a natural place to connect with potential customers.

“In years past, mums were mostly talking to each other on the phone but these days we’re socialising on social media – and with mums that’s particularly on Facebook,” says Purdue. “It’s important for us we’re engaging with them there so, when they are ready, they’ll end up coming to our website for more information or booking a consultation.”

In the early days, the business – which focuses on baby (and parent) sleep problems – found it easy to reach and grow its community on Facebook for free. However, when changes on the social media platform meant it was no longer getting the same organic reach from its posts (and they were increasingly being pointed towards paid advertising to increase reach) they needed a new strategy.

The business began developing VIP customer Facebook groups in some of the different geographic locations where its consultants operate.

Clients are invited to join the groups, members gain immediate online access to their local consultant (who manages the group), other sleep-related information and special discounts on baby and child products in their area.

Purdue reports the groups have grown organically as members – who feel they have an ‘exclusive’ relationship with the business – invite their friends, bringing more business the company’s way.

“In those VIP groups, our customers actively promote us; they’ll advocate we’re really good at what we do and they recommend us – which ends up in bookings.”

The company now has VIP Facebook groups operating for communities in Adelaide, Brisbane, Tauranga and Dunedin and has plans to roll them out across New Zealand.

Demand for Baby Sleep Consultant’s services in Adelaide, where the first VIP group was launched, has increased so much, Purdue says the company’s consultant there has given up her part-time job to focus on sleep consulting full time.

Purdue says her business coach Debra Chantry – a coach with The Icehouse business growth centre, who also runs her own business Ventell – pointed out Purdue needed to stop working so much in the business and start working more on strategies for growth.

“At the time I thought, ‘I can’t stop working with clients’, but actually about six months ago I did; from that point on, there’s been a massive change in the business – sales figures have tripled.”

Chantry describes what Purdue has achieved with the social side of her digital business strategy as ‘nirvana’ – hitting a sweet spot where customers are so engaged, they’re creating their own community to help each other as they’re helping the business.

More broadly, digital strategy is described as the activities, vision, goals and opportunities spanning everything in a business covering the IT, online and mobile spaces.

Given the increasingly digital nature of all our interactions, Chantry says it’s a broad remit: “If you really look at it, the list of things that come under that digital strategy banner can seem endless.

“In a small business context I think people can forget just how many of these digital tools we use these days – your accounting software, all the apps on your phone, marketing communications tools, social media and even internal tools for things like chat and messaging.”

However, to sharpen the focus, Chantry outlines six key areas that digital strategy generally encompasses.

The first, she says, is human resources – who’s responsible for digital, who’s leading it and who could benefit from it; then there are tech resources – the technology that’s actually being used; and data strategy – where and how data is stored and used.

The remainder include content strategy – what content is produced, where it’s kept and how it’s kept up to date; channel strategy – how digital drives relationships in the channel; and social business strategy – encompassing how social media is used within a business, as well as to grow external communities.

Chantry admits most small businesses have yet to find the bandwidth to come up with strategies spanning all six aspects. Many, she says, will instead tend to carve off a specific project within one of those areas.

“As a starting point though, the best approach is to get the key players in the organisation together and literally map out every single piece of software, data, and hardware they have – because that highlights how much ‘stuff’ a business already has, who’s responsible for it, whether it’s up to date and whether it integrates with other tools the business is using.

“Then it’s important to look at the customer journey, what the digital touchpoints are from start to finish, and how any of those could be enhanced.”

 

If you would like to talk to Debra Chantry or one of our Business Coaches about your businesses Digital Strategy, then please contact us – hello@ventell.co.nz.

13 ways to make your customers’ day

From handwritten notes to just-baked cookies, a simple gesture can go a long way toward shoring up customer loyalty in a competitive marketplace. Even just a quick phone call can do more to earn your customers’ long-term trust than any coupon or discount code—really. To find out which methods have been most effective for my peers, I asked thirteen entrepreneurs to share one special way they get more word-of-mouth referrals and thumbs up. Their answers may surprise and delight you—and give you some great ideas to test drive in your own company:  

1. Writing Notes

During our first holiday sales season, one way we inspired word-of-mouth support for LSTN Headphones was by writing handwritten notes to each customer who purchased a pair of headphones. It seems simple, but it made a huge difference! – Bridget Hilton, LSTN Headphones  

2. Setting the Bar High

Most companies make it a mission to have satisfied customers, but satisfied customers aren’t compelled to share their experiences. The factor that inspires word-of-mouth support is having happy customers. To achieve this, you must set the bar high by going above and beyond what your customers expect of you. Underpromise and overdeliver. Shock them with delight. Wow them with service. – Charles Gaudet, Predictable Profits  

3. Sending Cookies

At Speek, we use AppSumo religiously for great deals on the tools we use to run our business. One day, I got a box from Noah Kagan (the CEO of AppSumo) that contained some amazing cookies—completely out of the blue! It was a random, simple gesture that meant so much to me as a loyal customer. I thought it was absolutely brilliant of Noah to do this. – Danny Boice, Speek

4. Providing Personal Service

PeoplePerHour has a community of more than 500,000 users, but one of the main delights for customers is getting support tickets answered by myself—the CEO and founder. Customers get delighted when they see the guy at the top take time for this and consider customer support important. – Xenios Thrasyvoulou, PeoplePerHour  

5. Getting to Know Your Customers

Learn your customers’ names and some brief personal information. Establish a basic friendship with them because you’re looking to meet their needs. – Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance    

6. Valuing the Little Things

From time to time, we send gifts to our clients, such as their favorite tea or coffee. Another great thing all of our VAs do is really care about the client and ask about their kids and parents. It’s great because you really build a strong relationship with the client. – Alfredo Atanacio, Uassist.ME    

7. Being a Customer Advocate

Real customer advocacy means looking out for their best interest, even if it means a short-term loss for you. Is a customer paying too much for your product? Ask him to downgrade. Did you screw up? Refund him proactively. Does he have a charge complaint? Resolve it in his favor until you can prove the opposite. Small gestures like this can build real fans for your brand. – Pablo Villalba, 8fit

8. Saying Thank You

Send handwritten thank you cards and fruit baskets during the holidays to show your appreciation. – Phil Dumontet, DASHED    

9. Retweeting Customers

We follow many of our clients as they come in the door, and then every once in a while, we retweet their tweets. They get a notification that we’ve done this, and it shows we are paying attention to them and that we’re on the same page. It establishes a bond that goes beyond client service. It shows that we respect what they are saying. – Dave Nevogt, Hubstaff.com  

10. Treating Them to Birthday Coffee

We always make sure to ask our customers when their birthdays are. They soon forget we asked this until their birthday rolls around. When it does, they receive a birthday card from us with a gift card for coffee. Our customers are inspired and excited to see that we remembered, thanked and recognized them on their special day. – Matt Shoup, MattShoup.com  

11. Sending Them Postcards

As a token of gratitude for anyone who reads my blog or book and has the courage to reach out via email, I ask for their mailing addresses and send handwritten postcards. The postcards match my brand and have a fun quote or saying on the front, and readers seem to really appreciate the human touch from someone they previously assumed would be inaccessible. Plus, who doesn’t love snail mail? – Jenny Blake, Jenny Blake  

12. Remembering Important Dates

If a client shares an important milestone for the company, the date she opened the company or even a birthday, you should remember them! People like to know that you were listening when they shared information, and a surprise card, cake or gift on that milestone will let clients know you are on their team. – Caitlin McCabe, Real Bullets Branding  

13. Checking In

It’s nice for clients to know you were thinking of them even when you didn’t have something on the calendar. With coaching clients, I try to reach out and check in with them or send articles I thought they might like in-between scheduled sessions. – Elizabeth Saunders, Real Life E® Read more: http://articles.bplans.com/13-ways-to-surprise-and-delight-your-customers-today/

Developing a keyword strategy

Read this article to learn how to construct your first list of keywords and to get pointers on the overall keywords strategy.

How to come up an initial list of keywords

When you first start brainstorming keywords, it can be difficult to know where to begin. Your keywords strategy will evolve over time as you research various long-tail keywords, but here are a few questions that can help get you started:
  • What products or services do you offer? Come up with an initial list of the products or services that you offer to your leads and customers. Try to focus on long-tail keywords over broad keywords.  If your company sells shoes, you should create a list of keywords that includes all the different types of shoes you sell. It’s the difference between “shoes” and “nike red running sneakers.”
  • What problems do your leads have that your company can help solve? Create a list of keyword phrases that matches the problems for which potential leads search for solutions. If your company sells iPhone cases that make an iPhone waterproof, your leads would probably be searching using keyword phrases like “Waterproof cases for iPhone” or “How do I waterproof my iPhone?”
  • How would you describe your business to someone who has never heard of your company? Leads might not know all the industry keywords for your products or services. They will instead try searching using keywords that they are familiar with. Also keep in mind that various keywords may vary in different parts of the world. For example, the terms that describe what your company does can vary by region. What is “pop” in one part of the world might be “soda” or “cola” in another part of the world.
  • What common questions do your leads ask? When you read through the blog user guide, you’ll learn that answering your lead’s most common questions in blog posts is a great way to produce quality blog content. Any of your salespeople should be able to tell you what questions their leads ask. Once you identify what these questions are, create a list of keywords that match all the different ways these questions can be asked. Leads typically have questions about what your products or services cost, what features they have, how they can purchase them and what support your company offers.

Additional tips for generating keywords

Below are a few more tips for generating an initial list of keywords:
  • You want your keywords to be what people are searching for; therefore, you shouldn’t just focus on adding keywords that you think search engines will find easily (ie the exact name of your business). Think about how you would search for your own business. Also, come up with some keywords that you think someone who doesn’t know your product would search. Someone wouldn’t necessarily know to search for “Lyric snowboard 142” but they would search for “best affordable snowboards” if they were interested in buying a snowboard.
  • Make sure that your keywords are relevant to your content. People will read the keywords in a search and then determine whether they want to read the article, website, etc. You wouldn’t want to mislead visitors and give them a false idea of your topic.
  • Have a strategy for your branding so that you can focus your keywords in the same direction. For example, if you constantly describe your business using different terminology on your site, your keywords will be less consistent. Consistency in your language on your site can help your site rank for keywords that you repeatedly use in your content.
  • When coming up with long-tail keywords (see this article for an explanation of the different types of keywords), be specific to your company’s products or services. You should also have some location-based keywords. For instance, instead of “bakery” you could use “cupcake shop Savannah GA.”
With thanks to hubspot for this great article – http://knowledge.hubspot.com/keyword-user-guide/how-to-develop-an-initial-list-of-keywords

Personas 101

Personas 101 – A Quick Guide to developing marketing personas
Most marketing experts will tell you that in order to be able to optimize your inbound channels for your target audience, you should dedicate sufficient time and resources to creating personas. A persona, in its simplest form, is a fictitious character that embodies a segment of your target audience. The main premise is that by developing very specific characters, you empower your marketing team to be more strategic in terms of catering to each demographic. As you go through the process of establishing your personas, it’s best to go through a set of questions (such as “how old is he/she?”, “what is his/her job?”, “what is his/her biggest pain point?”, etc.), the answers to which will crystallize your characters. Ultimately, by answering those questions for each persona, you know much more about your target audience’s preferences, behaviors, and attitude, which enables you to target them more strategically.

Let’s look at the questions that you as a marketer would like to get answered as a result of your persona development, as well as the questions that you can ask during the discussion.

How can you best reach them? In order to communicate effectively with your audience, you want to know where they hang out (in person or online) and what media they prefer. Questions may include:
How much time do they typically spend on the web?

  • When looking for advice, where do they go?
  • How big is their social and professional network?
  • What are their preferred social media channels?
  • How do they manage their inbox?
  • What devices do they primarily use when interacting on the web?
  • Do they prefer written or verbal communication?

How can you attract and keep their interest? Once you know where to find your target audience, you want to identify how you can pique their interest, drive them to your content, and keep them engaged. Questions may include:

  • What sites do they visit most frequently and why?
  • How much interaction and engagement are they seeking?
  • What type of content is most important to them?
  • How much time do they have to interact with you and/or your content?

How can you help them? Remember our golden rule: Always Provide Value. Therefore, it’s crucial that you determine how to best serve your audience. Questions may include:

  • What problems are they trying to solve?
  • What are their biggest pain points?
  • What do they want to get out of interacting with you and/or your content?
  • What’s their level of expertise in their industry and in your industry?

How do they make purchase decisions? It goes without saying that ultimately, you want to convert your visitors into leads and your leads into sales. After all, you’re running a business. As a result, you will want to know as much as possible about your personas’ decision making processes, so that you can nurture them appropriately along the way. Questions may include:

  • What are the driving factors when it comes to purchasing decisions?
  • What is their role in the decision making process?
  • How quickly do they make decisions?
  • How much research do they do before making a decision or recommendation?
  • If they are not the decision makers, what types of deliverables do they need to bring to the decision maker?

As you can see, just by answering this short list of questions, you can quickly establish several marketing personas for your business and optimize your strategy to target them in a more effective manner. What are some other questions that you would want to consider as you are developing your marketing personas?

 

With thanks to Spectate for this excellent article: http://spectate.com/2012/03/personas-101-a-quick-guide-to-developing-marketing-personas/ 

 

KISSS your customers – Keep it Simple SEO & Social Media

In early January, I was privileged to be able to give a presentation at the Kickstart Workshop at The Icehouse:

Debra Chantry – “KISSS your customers to get results”Keep It Simple SEO & Social Media!How does your website perform for the search terms that your customers are using? Do you have a Facebook, Linked In, Pinterest or Instagram account and don’t know what to do with it? Debra will take you through the basics of SEO & Social Media, to improve your inbound marketing. Get your customers touched in the right ways and have them coming back time and time again.

 

Here is a link to the presentation:

KISSS your customers – Keep it SImple SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) & Social Media

Inbound marketing…. what is it? How can my business use it to get results?

We recently presented to 54 owner-managed businesses, doing the Icehouse Owner Operator Programme.

 

The topic was “The changing face of marketing – how to use digital and inbound marketing to get results for your business”.

 

Here is what Debra presented to the workshop – Digital & Inbound Marketing Workshop – OOP.

 

Debra is a Business Coach and EiR (Executive in Residence) at The Icehouse.

How to develop a digital marketing strategy that gets results – Part 5

Written for The Icehouse by Debra Chantry and published here.

Wow – we’re almost at the end of our journey…. I do hope you have used my tools / tips and are well on the way to having a strong digital strategy.

Now is the time to put it into action!

The last step in any marketing plan is the execution of the tactics.

The best way to get results is to do more of the things that work and less of the things that don’t.

The first step in execution is thinking about how you can test & measure ideas.

Test, Measure & Improve

The great thing about digital marketing is that things are infinitely measurable and easily changed.

So, if something is not working, you can test something different and see if you get improved results. You can even often test things side by side – called A/B testing or multivariate testing.

If something is working, then keep doing more of it, until doing more of it makes no difference or starts to cost too much.

Which brings me to my next point.

What do you measure?

This will be very dependant on your digital marketing goals.

However, do think carefully about what you are measuring and why?

For example:

TIME ON SITE / PAGES VIEWED

Does people spending a long time on your website & visiting lots of pages mean that they are engaged with your brand? Or does it mean that they can’t find what they are looking for?

EXIT PAGES

Does tracking the pages where more website visitors exit the site tell you the pages are naff? Or that they were perfect and the customer found what they were looking for?

FACEBOOK LIKES

Do these mean anything unless they’re engaged? Did they just enter because you offered them a prize for entering but have no interest in your product or service? What is the value of these likes?

CLICK THROUGH RATES

Are these important if you’re looking for brand awareness? Or is it the number of people who have seen the advert? And how many sales did they lead to? What is your conversion rate from click through to sale?

CONVERSION RATES

35% of people in New Zealand purchase items online. 34% of these researched online and then bought offline…. So where do they feature in your conversion rate? Do you have a unique 0800 number for your website so that you can track people who research online and then call and purchase? Or do your staff ask how what prompted them to buy from you?

There are so many things to measure in the digital marketing environment, and it’s difficult to cover them all in this article – just make sure you’re measuring things that lead towards your ultimate business goal.

To finish off talking about measurement, there’s a great quote that I love to use:

“Only a truly capable manager is willing to measure their results as it quantifies both their successes and failures.” Anonymous

Nothing is really a failure though – it’s just an opportunity to revise your thinking and try again!

There’s a great article on testing –

http://lukethomas.com/running-marketing-experiments-with-purpose/

Social Media Listening

Social Media Listening is one of the terms that has appeared over the last few years.

What is really means is having your eyes & ears open to see what customers are saying about you in the online environment – and monitoring the trends.

  • Are they saying more good things than bad?
  • Is there an increase in people talking about your product or service?

There are many different tools that you can use to do this but the key thing is, what can you do with it?

  • What can you do when they say bad things?
  • Can you do something to turn a negative situation into a positive situation?
  • Can you amplify the good experiences?
  • Can you surprise & delight your customers?

One thing about social media, is that you can’t control the environment and if you start to block or hide ‘negative’ comments then it will come back to bite you.

There is never a right & a wrong in a situation…. Just 2 different viewpoints J

The best thing you can do is try to put yourself in the customers shoes and see what you can do to make things right in their perception of the world.

Try to never have a disagreement online or in the digital space… these very quickly become viral!

If you’re not keen to engage in social media as a business then you don’t have to broadcast but don’t stop listening. You need to understand when customers are saying things about your business and product / service.

At a very minimum, have a way to jump in and take the conversation offline to see if you can help them.

If you can continue to do more of the things that get good results and do less of the things that don’t appear to work then you will have a digital marketing strategy that works.

However, just with any other form of marketing or channels, customers & the marketplace change over time…. What worked last week may not work next week.

So, continually review your objectives, strategies & tactics and make sure that you are still getting the result that you need!

That’s all for now folks… Please don’t forget to celebrate success & have some fun with it!

If there is anything in my articles that you don’t understand, you disagree with or you’d just like to have a chat to me about, then please feel free to contact me – d.chantry@theicehouse.co.nz.

How to develop a digital marketing strategy that gets results – Part 4

Written for The Icehouse by Debra Chantry and published here.

Welcome back!

You’re now well on your way to developing a digital strategy. You know what you need to achieve…. Now it’s time to think in more detail about how, what, who, where, when & why?

Decide on your strategy & tactics

Your strategy and your tactics will very much depend on your digital objectives, which fall out of your business objectives.

People often get them confused, so I love to use this example that I found online:

 

Goal:                 Win the war.

Strategy:         “Divide and conquer.”

Tactics:

  • CIA spies gather intelligence.
  • Navy Seals knock out enemy communications.
  • Paratroopers secure the airports.
  • Armored Divisions race in and divide the opposing army’s forces.
  • Drone attacks take out the enemy leadership.
  • An overwhelming force of infantry invade.
  • Hand-to-hand combat

But how does that translate into digital marketing?

The strategy is the what and the tactics are the how & who…

Examples:

(Note – these goals need to be defined properly as SMART objectives)

 

Goal / Objective Strategies Examples of tactics
Increase leads for the sales team / sales from the site Increase awareness of digital channelsDrive on-line customer acquisition – Keyword strategy- Affiliate marketing- Search Engine optimisation- Drive traffic to website in off-line advertising- Online classifieds- Social media- Micro-site- On-going email communication- Mobile Application- Existing customer database

– SMS to customer base

– Referral programme

– On-line tutorial

– Welcome emails

– Community Leader endorsement

Focus on search engine marketing to drive traffic to the site – Run google adwords campaign on xyz product / service- Banners on key sites
Improve the conversion rate of traffic to the site – Run A/B testing for different processes- Engage a conversion rate specialist
Improve Customer Service to reduce calls to the call centre Develop the website to answer 90% of customer enquiries – Review the website- Research with call centre to see what the enquiries are about- Develop materials to answer questions online – video tutorials, search engines, Online chat with customer service reps
Improve customer retention Improve user experience and site optimisation – Website redesign- Website content- Improve readability of the website- Provide top customers with the ability to feedback / participate in the enhancement- Straight through transaction processing- Increase payment options online- Launch Mobile Phone Application- Email engagement programme- Abandon cart messaging – to encourage them back- Improve current email programme

– Facebook page / Google Plus

– Leverage off-line sponsorships

– Community Consultant

– Customer Ideas Centre

Extend the service and channel portfolio
Drive customer engagement

These are just some examples of digital strategies and tactics.

In most businesses, the key digital asset is the website and so can logically be a starting point.

Website

Take a good hard look at your website.

If you are looking for increased leads or increased sales, explore how well your website performs in terms of people searching on Google.

If you are looking to offer customer service to reduce in bound phone calls then think about how easy it is for people to find the answers to their questions… And do you have on-line customer service or a prominent phone number so that they can call you if they get stuck?

Generally people are looking for increased brand awareness and increased leads / sales, so the first place to start is to think about the keywords that people will use to search for the product or service that you offer.

You can find this out in a number of ways

  1. If you have some website analytics software (like Google Analytics), then take a look at what keywords people are using to get to your website.
  2. Use a tool such as Google trends (http://www.google.com/trends/) or the keyword tool within Google Adwords to see what your potential customers are searching on.
  3. Work with a reputable SEO firm who will help you better understand the market and come up with a keyword strategy.

Next you need to build your website around these keywords. Your page titles, your page descriptions, your heading and your copy all need to reflect what people are looking for.

In many cases you can do this yourself, but I would recommend working with an SEO expert. They can usually immediately help you increase traffic to your site.

There are so many digital marketing things to think about:

  • Your website
  • Search Engine Optimisation & keyword strategies
  • Search Engine Marketing – banners & Google Adwords campaigns
  • Your customer database & CRM (Customer Relationship Management)
  • Email marketing
  • Mobile websites
  • Videos
  • Blogs
  • Social Media – Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, Google +
  • Places / Geomarketing
  • Directories
  • Competitions

I can’t possibly cover all of them and how you can use them for your business in one article, but remember that they are all just marketing channels.

So, here are some tips / pointers around how you decide what is relevant.

Tips / Pointers

  • What channels are best for your target audience?
  • Which ones can work for the objectives you need to achieve?
  • WIIFM? – Ask yourself the question – What Is In It For Me? Not literally you, but from your customer’s perspective ie: Why will they come to your social media site? What will they get out of it?
  • What can you afford to spend? Both in money & in time to maintain it.
  • Don’t forget the humble email. If there’s a WIIFM then you will get results.
  • Make sure that you have the resources to execute on your plan and that there aren’t any bottlenecks in your environment.
  • Use a timeline & resource management (or fancy project management software if you have it) to make sure you can deliver all that you need to.
  • Have a social media diary that outlines what you will write & post and when.
  • Don’t post the same thing to every social media site – they attract different audiences so customise your message.
  • Don’t forget the off-line environment! – Ensure that your offline tactics support & reflect your online tactics. Have your website & social media addresses on all of your offline materials.

If you need any help with developing your digital marketing strategy then The Icehouse has digital strategy workshops, where you can work with an experienced digital strategist to come up with the framework for your plan. Feel free to contact me if you are interested – d.chantry@theicehouse.co.nz .

Next week we’ll look at testing, measuring & rewarding success… French Champagne or Central Otago Pinot here we come J

How to develop a digital marketing strategy that gets results – Part 3

Written for The Icehouse by Debra Chantry and published here.

Last week we spent a lot of time understanding the marketplace, our competitors and developing our SWOT and key areas to work on.

This week it’s time to start developing digital objectives.

Let’s not forget that digital marketing is just a series of digital channels that you can use to achieve your marketing objectives, so your digital marketing objectives are going to fall out of your marketing objectives.

So, how do you go about defining your digital marketing objectives?

Step 1 – Define success

I am a huge fan of having fun in business and this includes celebrating success… particularly with a fine Central Otago Pinot Noir or a bottle of French Champagne!

To do this you need to know what success looks like.

Having an objective of increasing sales from the website is great but it’s not a true success measure… Is one more sale enough to be cracking the champagne? Or do you need 150 new sales? And within what time frame?

The key to making sure that you are celebrating the right things is to set SMART objectives.

Definition Description
Specific Objectives should address the five Ws… Who, What, When, Where, and Why.Use action verbs… create, design, develop, implement, produce, etc.
Measurable Objectives should include numeric or descriptive measures that define quantity, quality, cost, etc.How will you and your team know when the goal has been successfully met?  What do you need to measure and can it be easily measured?
Achievable Objectives should be within the teams control and influence – a goal may be a “stretch” but still feasible.Is it achievable with the available resources?Is it achievable within the timeframe originally outlined?Can it be done at all?
Relevant / Realistic Is it possible for your team to perform the objective using Digital Channels?How sensible is the objective in the current business context?
Timely / Time-bound Objectives should identify a definite target date for completion and/or frequencies for specific action steps that are important for achieving the goal.Incorporate specific dates, calendar milestones, or timeframes that are relative to the achievement of another result (i.e., dependencies and linkages to other projects).

Your digital objectives stem from your business & marketing objectives, so look at your business and check if you have SMART objectives for:

  • – Sales forecast – sales figures, number of new customers wanted?
  • – Customer service – how can you improve the service to customers?
  • – Communication – providing information to customers?
  • – Reducing Costs – saving time & increasing your business efficiency?
  • – The wow factor!  – adding sizzle to make your business stand out from the crowd?

 

Now take a look at your digital SWOT from earlier and establish SMART digital objectives to help you achieve your overall business goals.

The key thing in developing digital objectives is that they are RELEVANT. Can they actually be delivered through the digital channels?

Many businesses fail to achieve their digital marketing objectives because they have not been realistic about what can be achieved in the online environment.

Examples:

Overall Business Objective Digital Marketing Objective
Increase sales Achieve an increase of 150% in direct sales from the website within 12 months.
Increase leads for the sales team Gain an additional 25 leads per month from the website by May 2013.Gain 20,000 database registrations by January 2014.
Improve customer retention Increase retention rates of customers online from 35% to 40%, by the end of 2013.
Improve brand awareness Increase visitor numbers to the website from 2,000 to 10,000 by August 2013.Achieve number 1 listing in google natural search for the key search term ‘Digital Marketing’ by September 2013.
Reduce costs Reduce number of customers calling for a brochure from 800 to 500 by end of May 2013.Reduce phone calls to the customer service team by 500 per month by June 2013.

 Step 2 – Benchmarking

At the time of developing your digital objectives, it is also time to look at what you already have and how it is performing:

  • – How many visitors come to your site?
  • – How many people buy from the site?
  • – How many people visit the site to get information that means that they don’t need to call your business?
  • – How many emails do you send? And how many people click through?
  • – How do you rank for the key search terms on google?

 

There are many, many metrics in digital marketing and not all of them are useful.

Think about what is important for you as a business in terms of achieving your goals.

Take stock of how you are performing right now and use this as the baseline that you can measure increased performance against.

Next, think carefully about how you will measure your journey towards your gaols. What will you need to do / implement to measure your progress?

One thing to think about is how much detail do you need to report on?

Often companies report on very minute detail when a general understanding of the trend is enough to understand whether you are moving towards achieving your goals.

Think about how much time it takes to do the measurements and does it justify the means to the end?

There are also many tools out there to automate the measurement process – don’t recreate the wheel!

Feel free to contact me – debra@ventell.co.nz for a list of tools that you can use to measure your success.

Next week we’ll be moving onto the exciting stuff – the strategies & the tactics 🙂

How to develop a digital marketing strategy that gets results – Part 2

Written for The Icehouse by Debra Chantry and published here.

Last week we talked about your target audience and understanding them. The next step in developing your digital marketing strategy is to look at where you are currently at.

Analyse your current situation

– Are you currently operating in the digital marketing space?

– What are your current marketing assets / marketing channels?

Your digital marketing assets include:

  • – Website – desktop & mobile sites
  • – Social media sites – Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram etc.
  • – Email campaigns & email systems
  • – Blogs
  • – Webinars
  • – Videos & Podcasts
  • – CRM or Customer Relationship Management systems
  • – Affiliate programmes

NOTE: Think about your target audience and which digital marketing mediums they are using – if you don’t know, then grab the nearest person who meets your target audience criteria and ask them. Repeat this process 10 times and you’ll start to get an understanding of what they use J

STEP 1 – Take a look at your current situation and do a SWOT analysis:

  • – Strengths
  • – Weaknesses
  • – Opportunities
  • – Threats

Don’t forget to compare them to your competitors and the marketplace.

Online tools to help:

You can use some great online tools to review the basics of your website and social media – try http://marketing.grader.com/ as a starting point.

Hubspot also have a range of other free marketing resources – http://www.hubspot.com/marketing-resources/.

STEP 2 – Competitor Review

As part of your digital marketing asset review, take a good look at your competitors websites, social media sites & digital marketing assets and looking at their strengths and weaknesses:

  • – What’s strong?
  • – What’s weak?
  • – What are they doing well?

Look for companies that are listed and have to put out annual reports to glean information about the marketplace. This can be a great way to understand what they are spending on marketing, employees etc. and to monitor their growth over time.

Step 3 – Key Focus Areas

Revisit your business objectives from last week & from the Digital Marketing SWOT, choose 3 or 4 key areas to focus on that will help you achieve your business goals.

Examples:

Looking for an increase in sales leads for your team?

Is your company easily found on google for the keywords that people use – either naturally or through google adwords? Have you set up ways for people to easily contact you & for you to gather customer details? Do you cross-sell and up-sell using tools such as email?

Looking for an improvement in customer service?

What tools do you have on your website to easily answer their questions or customer service issues? Q&A sections? Virtual assistants? On-line chat? Videos? An 0800 number?

Looking for increased engagement from your customers?

Do you have interesting & useful information on your website or blog that they will return to on a regular basis? Do you have social media sites that your customers use? Can customers generate their own content? Can they have community conversations? WIIFM?

If you are a start-up then think carefully about your key (and hopefully niche) opportunities.

A quick note about viral marketing:

Most people think that they can use the digital space to generate huge brand awareness with little or no cost. I hear the term ‘viral campaign’ bandied about as a cheap way to get customers to websites or social media sites.

Reality is that true viral marketing (digital or otherwise) is still very unusual and rarely at little / no cost. Often there is a lot of time and resources spent in both creating and seeding a viral campaign and there is absolutely no guarantee of success.

For each successful viral campaign there is bound to have been millions that have failed… Take a look on YouTube at the number of videos posted with just a handful of hits!

The key thing for a viral marketing campaign is that it has to grab people’s attention, usually through the unexpected, and then be worthy of passing it on / sharing, either through humour or interesting / useful information.

This means that it can’t be a blatant advertisement for your business – your branding has to be subtle and indirect. The issue with this is that it may fail to deliver your overall objective.

So, be prepared be realistic about your strengths and weaknesses and don’t see ‘viral digital marketing’ as an inexpensive opportunity.

NEXT WEEK…

Now you have evaluated your current situation and identified your key areas to work it’s time to develop your SMART digital marketing objectives, which we’ll cover off next week… See you then!