Becky Lawson

Future Proof your 2018 Online Marketing Strategy

The significance of having a clearly defined and collaborative online strategy is crucial to help unlock your online growth potential.

Our digital strategy team have collated what they consider to be the seven most important aspects to future proof and plan ahead for 2018 with some tips to assist you when taking steps to formulate your digital plans, so you can maximise online success in the New Year and beyond!

1.Define what success looks like for your business and set measurable objectives

Having clearly defined objectives is key to measuring success and is critical for us at Visualsoft when producing online strategies for our 360 Marketing clients. Objectives help to shape the direction of the strategy and set priorities to ensure that all channels are working cohesively to achieve success.

When setting objectives, think about the current position and future aspirations of the business. Objectives are normally derived from the desire to grow, improve efficiencies or perhaps recover from historic challenges.

TIP: Objectives should always be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely so progress is easily monitored and regularly reviewed.

2. Identify your target audience and be confident when describing your ideal customer

Knowing what motivates your customers on their path to purchase provides plenty of opportunity to engage with your key demographics across different online touch points.

Having insight into your target audience and being able to describe your ideal customer can help to identify triggers that can be useful when deciding on acquisition, engagement and retention tactics which all form part of producing an effective strategy.

As part of Enterprise 360 Marketing, we research and analyse different audiences personas to really understand the motivation across different audiences and touchpoints.

TIP: When identifying your target audience, Google Analytics is useful for identifying your top converting demographics. It’s helpful to know their age, gender, location, whether they’re a new or returning visitor, perhaps they are a loyal customer who require special attention to really drive tactical and relevant messages. Any information relating to how a customer shops with you can be critical when identifying different triggers on their journey.

3. Create a relevant tone of voice that resonates with your target audience

Having a clearly defined tone of voice is essential to achieve consistency across all online marketing channels and customer touch points. Capturing a tone of voice that resonates with your key demographics unlocks the opportunity to deliver exciting and relevant content to really engage with your audience.

TIP: When identifying your brand tone of voice, this should be part of a wider Brand Guidelines piece. We start by compiling a sample of existing content and a sample of content from an aspirational competitor to compare and contrast. At Visualsoft, we work with clients to help identify their brand’s mission, vision and values if these aren’t already in place, to feed into the tone of voice along with considering any brand, creative styles and tactical messaging.

4.Think about the position of your brand within the competitive landscape

Conducting competitor research provides insight into the online activity of your competitors and enables analysis of their strengths and weaknesses to identify opportunities within the marketplace. In addition, having deeper insight into your competitors promotion, pricing and product strategies will provide more perspective and context around your competitive positioning.

TIP: Start by selecting the competitors most relevant to your website to draw accurate comparisons. Conduct research into unique selling points, tactical messages, pricing, products and promotions as well as taking yourself through the customer journey from entry to basket page. At Visualsoft, we have a comprehensive competitor research framework that for 360 Marketing clients that we complete to capture all of the critical information to identify strategic opportunities.

5.Encourage collaboration between multiple online channels to maximise momentum

Driving collaboration between multiple online channels increases momentum as all channels are working in parallel with the same direction rather than working in silo with different priorities. Having multiple channels working in tandem towards the same overarching objectives means intensity can be fluid to accelerate growth.

TIP: Execute multiple online channels to acquire, engage, convert and retain your customers instead of relying on one or two core channels as this approach will help maximise momentum and return. Sometimes this approach can be difficult if you’re restricted to individual marketing channel retainers and specific deliverables, which is one of the benefits of 360 Marketing as this package provides access to all online marketing channels to deliver results against specific objectives.

6.Leverage all online channels to deliver and amplify hero campaigns

Extend the collaborative approach even further by executing campaign-led strategies in addition to the traditional outputs that we would expect from online marketing channels. This approach helps to drive plenty of momentum, as multiple channels are contributing to the amplification of the campaign. This adds value to the overall strategy, especially at times when seasonal drops are expected.

Campaign planning and delivery can be difficult task especially if this approach is new to you. To begin, think about the objectives, audience and opportunities within the industry to shape the direction of the campaign.

TIP: Think outside the box when it comes to the concept. It can be product-led if there is a lot of depth in one range or brand or to support a new product launch, or it could be specific to achieving a particular objective or reaching out to a new audience perhaps. Campaigns can be executed in various ways (video, competition, GIFs, surveys etc) and should leverage multiple channels to amplify the campaign fully.

7. Create a fluid, flexible strategy that is reviewed quarterly to monitor trends and seasonality

The aim is to create a proactive strategy that encompasses all quarters of the year, however, it’s important to keep in mind that the process must be fluid and flexible. Set achievable objectives and track performance KPIs every month with a thorough review each quarter to realign and (perhaps!) reset objectives.

The quarterly strategy should take seasonality into account, to bridge any performance gaps, which will be more obvious after full analysis into historic performance.

TIP: Start by immersing yourself in the historic data to identify times of the year that are sensitive to seasonality or that have previously shown peaks to emulate. This approach helps to create a tactical plan based on previous data and enables you to benchmark performance when it comes to reviewing and determining how successful the quarterly strategy has been.

If you’re in need of a helping hand when it comes to setting your 2018 Digital Strategy and want some pointers from the experts here at Visualsoft, get in touch! You can discuss your needs with our team and collaborate with us to ace your objectives and maximise your marketing returns. To discuss further, contact a member of our team on 01642 988 416.

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