As a Business-to-Business (B2B) Marketing Director headed into 2017, are you ready to craft a marketing plan that stands out, drives change and makes a difference?
Have previous marketing strategies involved re-evaluating what was done in the past and then brainstorming with a few others in your organization for a newspaper, radio or television campaign? Maybe you were even given the OK for a few PR posts on your company Facebook page. Those days are far behind us. And you know it.
Drive Change in 2017 with a Digital Marketing Strategy
2017 is the year to move from traditional outbound marketing to digital inbound marketing that gets results. Your marketing program needs to be focused on where your audience is every day—online.
According to HubSpot, the number of companies practicing inbound digital marketing is already at a whopping 85%. Only 13% did not use digital marketing at all. No company wants to be in that group.
So, how do you start a digital marketing program? Or how do you elevate your current digital tactics into a strategic plan that achieves the ROI you want for your marketing department?
Get a Digital Marketing Program Off the Ground
The first thing to understand is the difference between inbound digital marketing and outbound traditional marketing. In short, inbound marketing places content and digital experiences online that answers the questions your audience is searching for online. Outbound marketing throws out advertisements and promotions with the hope your target audience will see it.Instead of yelling your brand from the mountain tops, inbound marketing allows you to create something that provides a solution to your customers. You nurture them with relevant and useful content, build trust and lead them down the sales funnel. Data and analytics tell you what is working and what is not working so you can make real-time changes. Let the data do the heavy lifting.
Strategy Before Tactics
A key to making a digital marketing program work is having the right strategy behind your plan. Many companies want to jump into tactics, such as posting on Facebook or implementing a new website; however, they are disappointed because they aren’t seeing the results they think they should. Why? Because they skipped the strategy phase and jumped to tactics.
Strategy sets the course for the journey. It answers the why, who, what, when and where. Strategy is the road map for how you’ll achieve your goals. Establishing a strategy involves researching, analyzing data and having an in-depth understanding of your customers and your competitors to arrive at a measurable plan.
Tactics are the how, the actions necessary to implement and manage in order to achieve the measurable goals.According to the State of Inbound 2016 Report, 81% of marketers who indicated they had a successful strategy credited it to inbound marketing.
Know Your Buyer
An inbound marketing strategy methodically covers every stage of the buyer’s journey from stranger to brand advocate. It delivers the right information, in the right channel at the right time the way your potential lead, prospect or customer wants to receive it. And when aligned with sales, generates even greater returns.
In order to develop the right content and deliver it in the right channels, you need to create Buyer Personas that tell the story of your customers. Buyer personas provide insight into your customers’ and prospects’ goals and challenges, pain points, where they go to find information, what questions they are asking, what answers they are seeking online.
With the personas in hand, you can begin to define and set goals and outline content that maps to the sales funnel for your product or service and the journey your buyers go through.
Re-evaluate Your Current Marketing Program
Re-evaluate your current marketing program. Go through all of your current fact sheets, white paper, brochures, emails, etc., and ask yourself, “do these speak directly to my desired persona? Is the content telling the same story? Is the content answering the questions my customers and prospects are seeking?
No one said it was easy to develop an inbound digital marketing program. It’s complex, but effective and a must-do in today’s digital world. Oftentimes, the most difficult part is getting started. You want to get a strategy in place but also know upper management wants to see tactics. What should you prioritize? Where can you make an impact?
The sooner you get a plan in place, the sooner you can reap the rewards.
Gain expert insight on starting a digital inbound marketing program by having a digital audit conducted. Our web developers, digital strategist, content specialists and team of experts can assess your website, social media, emails, content and other areas to help guide you in the right direction.
Contact us today online or give us a call at 419.629.0080 for your free digital strategy session. Learn how a digital audit can help you get your program off the ground in 2017. Know where to start, what to prioritize, what will make the most impact.