Now that you have read Digital Strategy Step 1: Create A Plan, it’s time for some action. You have identified your digital goals, key performance indicators (KPIs) and hopefully have a sense of what tools and platforms you will be using to reach your target customers.
Let’s start with keyword research. If you haven’t done so already, use a tool like Wordtracker to look at some of your top industry keywords. These tools will show you estimates of search volume for these popular keywords and suggestions for other useful keywords and phrases to consider that you probably hadn’t thought of. You’d be surprised what your customers actually search for when looking for your products or services. Keep in mind, they aren’t as experienced as you are in the terminology of your particular business, so it’s often not what you’d expect. When you engineer your content and advertising to match these popular search terms, in essence, you’re just thinking like your customer. You are placing yourself where they will find you, on their terms (literally).
Before we go any further, I need to tell you something important. If you are doubting your website in terms of usability, call to action, design hierarchy and overall content quality, you might want to consider optimizing it first. You can spend a lot of time and money designing pretty ads and developing strategic content, but if the final destination frustrates or scares visitors away, what’s the point of all the work?
The next step is deciding exactly what your content and campaigns will look like. This will be a mix between content strategy and advertising campaign creative. Your campaign copy, text-based ads, banners, blog content, and even the selection and placement of your ads and content must be driven by your target customer(s). Ask yourself, what will grab their attention? What will they respond to? What advice do they need? Remember, your content and ads should be built around them, not you. Start jotting down some simple, common sense themes. Think about recurring questions you get from customers and answer them.
Your content should not only grab their attention, but it should inform, persuade, entertain, or be a combination. A successful digital strategy keeps an open dialogue and a connection to your customers after the first interaction, and doesn’t end in a click through and a bounce from your website. There is no value in a new website visitor if they never come back.
Now is your opportunity to get creative and try new things. When you build out your online ad campaigns, make sure to create many variations of your ads. It’s important to test your ideas. You never know when a single word variation can dramatically increase the performance of an ad. So do it! Design an ad that is edgy, one that is more conservative, one that is short and sweet, another that is primarily visual, one that is abstract, etc. Start with as many different techniques as possible, without straying away from your brand guidelines. Test a different call to action in each variation of an ad, swap out images, or switch the order or hierarchy of your wording. You will be able to add, delete, and optimize later, so don’t worry if you think some ads don’t perform well. This is expected. Some platforms will even automate this process by pausing ads that perform poorly, while keeping the successful ads running.
Ready to start brainstorming? Here are some good tips for copywriting from Apple, one of the best over the last 10 years at being persuasive and simple at the same time with their ads. Or, if you want to start with creating some content, use some of your top keywords to develop concepts around them. Keep in mind, these concepts are not what you want. These are the topics that will teach, engage and resonate with your customers. Don’t forget to focus your content around the KPIs you’ve established. Keep your original digital goals and KPIs top of mind at all times to ensure that you stay disciplined.
Now that you have chosen platforms and initiatives, it’s time to execute. Start with a video on YouTube, post a blog or white paper to your website, or create an infographic and share it through social networks. Then, it’s all about analyzing and optimizing your budget and performance to reach your goals. Read Digital Strategy Step 3: Analysis