In a previous post, I promised to discuss in details how to go about setting up a professional digital marketing campaign for your brand, from strategy formulation to performance evaluation. This blog post is geared towards doing just that. Even though the title says digital marketing in Nigeria, I believe this approach will work in any market.

It All Starts With A Strategy

Of late, I have been having series of meetings with prospective clients and one of the first questions I ask at the discovery stage is: “what internet marketing strategy do you have in place”? The commonest answers are “we advertise on Facebook”, “we have employed somebody to manage our Twitter and Facebook account”, “We have banner ads on XYZ sites”…….Little wonder virtually all of these companies are reporting little or no ROI from their online marketing activities.
There are several internet marketing channels that you can utilize to market your business online but, selecting the right one(s) “depends”. Depends on what? That question can only be tackled on the strategic level. But first, let us define what a strategy is:

What, Mr. Man, Is Strategy?
A plan of action or policy designed to achieve a major or overall aim. Strategy helps you answer the question, “What are we trying to accomplish?” As can be inferred from this definition, you can see that you cannot say you have a strategy if you do not have a clear objective.
A strategy is different from “tactics” which help you answer the question, “How are we going to accomplish our goal?”.  A commentator on Jeremiah Owyang blog puts this most succinctly when he said:
“One helpful trick to check if you have a strategy (usually timeless) or tactic (tools/technology dependent in your hand is changing the tools and see if it still applies. For example, a timeless strategy is – “Connect with customers while in our store and increase sales.” If you this is 1901, you’d post large posters and have employees running around and talking with customers. If it is 1987, you’d have electronic boards with specials, if it is 2012 you’d have an HTML5 page or an app that helps you connect to customers and in 2015 you’d fully support Google glasses. The strategy never changed, the tactics did”.
So, without a clear strategy, your online marketing effort is doomed to failure.

Digital Marketing Channels
After choosing your strategy, the next step is to review the range of channels available to you for
realizing the strategic objectives. For Digital marketing, the available channels include:
Pay Per Click Advertising
This involves bidding for placement on search engines. It is keyword based; meaning your ad appears when relevant searches are made. E.g. Google Adwords and Bing Ads
Display Advertising
This involves placement of ads (banners, video etc) on third party websites
Email Marketing
This is the process of collecting email addresses from people and marketing to them via email messages
Search Engine Optimization
This is the process of earning in the free/organic results of major search engines like Google, Bing, Baidu, Yandex, etc
Social Media Marketing
This is the process of leveraging social media platforms (like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn etc) to market to your target audience.
Affiliate Marketing
This involves incentivizing other sites to promote your products in exchange for a share of the revenue they drive.
The list above is by no means exhaustive.

Digital Marketing Channels Compared

To also help you in putting the digital marketing channels in proper perspectives and have a framework for understanding the cost and benefit advantages of each channel, we will employ a POE media model ( which is a slight modification of the POEM model)
The POE model classifies all digital marketing channels into three distinct subgroups: Paid Media, Owned Media and Earned MediaDigital Marketing Channels

Your Company Goal: What are the top objectives of your company’s online marketing effort?
Brand Awareness: Your objective is to achieve greater brand visibility and increase the likelihood that consumers recognize the existence and availability of your company’s product or service.
Boost Sales: You objective is to make more sale. Period.
Market Education: Your product or service is new (or has new features) and potential customers are yet to realize that the problem they need to solve.

Available Resources: This could be material or human
Budget: How much do you have to spend on your digital marketing activities?
Human and Intellectual: What personnel with what range and level of competence do you have available? This includes Development personnel, Creative personnel, Writers etc
Lastly, there are two other primary variables that can be added to the selection process that falls under the realm of strategic market analysis. Namely an understanding of your customers and the competitors.
If your company has (or develops) a strong understanding of customer needs and behavior, then it will be better able to target those customers to achieve the company goals.

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