How to Develop a Digital Strategy that Engages Your Customers

JB

By Dinesh Jebamani

Digital Marketing or Digital Strategy are buzzwords these days in certain markets and maturing in developed markets . Idea is to engage with your customers .We find many people are interested in learning same or up skill themselves in order to remain relevant and create demand for their Jobs. Some have begun to unlearn and learn to create better experience to customers and be considered for diverse roles in different sectors.

Info-graph below shows few elements of Digital Marketing channels that creates engagement:

Above indicates the landscape is evolving and the need to stay updated and be geared to create relevant engagement efforts via digital mediums.

Few years back this is how the landscape looked:

Channels and landscapes keep evolving and we need to always look at whats relevant to our business and where our customers are in order to develop agile strategies and keep changing as and when required.

What are the skills of the future as described by world economic forum writers :

Above skills need to be mastered overtime in order to be agile digital marketers with analytics mind set.

Why analytics will play a key role in effective Digital marketing and customer engagement in the future.

  1. Big data environment enables better management of data in a effective manner that supports to understand customers and varying needs.
  2. Data today is in structured and unstructured formats that need to be integrated to have a seamless view of the customer.
  3. All data generated through digital and off line channels can now be integrated to data bases to carry out effective data analytics.
  4. Machine learning tools and relevant algorithms will support in analytics.
  5. Data analytics enables companies to derive meaningful insights from complex data sets.

Info graph below describes the analytics that could be carried out using massive data sets via big data technology:

Managing all types of data will enable companies to know hindsight’s (to know what happened ), insights ( why did it happen) and foresights (what will happen, actions to make it happen).

The role of content marketing in an effective Digital engagement strategy:

Content marketing has come a long way and its critical for effective Digital marketing strategy since content remains king but the format and styles have changed .

Info graph below indicates content types:

When developing content always consider the customer journey and develop to targets each stage of same as follows :

How the Paid, Earned , Shared and Owned media landscape has evolved over the years :

How the current media landscape looks like now :

State below few steps you need to develop an effective Digital engagement strategy to remain relevant in the future:

Nurturing the present team to up skill and providing proper resources : Its important to have the right staff who have the required knowledge , hands on experience to handle Digital Marketing. They need to have the passion , willingness to continuously learn the evolving landscapes and understand trends . Further they need to collaborate with external partners and internal stake holders . The idea of expecting marketing or brand teams to handle same will not be the correct strategy but you need to ensure they have the basic level knowledge.

Have mobile first designed website: Its important to have mobile friendly site which is updated constantly and has best user interface (UI) which provides the best user experience (UX) to engage visitors , reduce the bounce rate, and grow repeat visitors. Remember today majority visit your site from handheld devices.The website will be the center of your owned media channels that will enable effective inbound marketing and land visitors from various channels to your web pages for conversion to leads or re-marketing and creating two way communication and interaction.

Search Engine Marketing and Optimization:(SEM, SEO) Effective search engine marketing and optimization strategies will enable your website to rank better in organic search results pages and compliment SEM efforts driving more visitors to your website and potential leads .Further this will support your inbound marketing efforts as well.Identifying and prioritizing relevant, high-volume keywords and adding same to marketing messages to support organic rankings , drive traffic from Digital space to website and drive visitors to inbound marketing funnel is what effective SEO/SEM will do.For better SEO/SEM one must constantly read all updated blogs from google , know how to garner insights from Google analytics.

Social Media Marketing :Its important to understand the current and trending SMM channels and develop tactics for each channel will be key for engagement and building communities around each channel . This will help in creating awareness of your products and services plus growing your business volumes over time.Say if you chose Facebook , you need to know the type of targeting and advertising you could do and have knowledge of using audience insights tools to identify the persona you intend to target with the correct content strategy.Channels to watch out for in 2018 will be FB, Messenger, Instagram, Linkedin , Whats app, Viber.

Content Marketing: CM is a critical component to enable any organization to create a conversation by developing relevant , timely content that talks with your audience and relates to them. Choosing the correct content formats is very important IE Blogs, Videos , white papers, info-graphs, case studies, testimonials etc . For each digital marketing channels you need to have a customized content approach. Effective content marketing is done when you build your buyer personas which represents your ideal customer online. Buyer persona will vary depending on your line of business either B2B or B2C.

Use of Customer Relationship Management/Lead nurturing tools:What is your key objective in carrying of effective Digital Marketing? either its brand awareness, or lead generation and the latter will determine your ROI. Generating leads for nurturing and conversion will the ultimate test of an effective campaign. Having a effective CRM/Lead tool will be critical for tracking such leads and developing personalized campaigns or offers to enable such leads to be driven down the conversion funnel that leads to sales and repeat purchase .

Big Data,Machine learning and Analytics: When your in Digital you will generate tons of data from each channel ,activity and from the information provided to you by each channel on your customer .In the age of Digital everything can be measured. Each channel as specific tools to extract such data egg, Google analytics, Facebook audience insights and free intelligence tools such as Alexa.com and Social bakers . Understanding each tool and knowing how to use same to extract and visualize such data , interpret same to each of your business to develop actions to reach your customer or improve your Digital efforts will be critical.

Digital keeps transforming and will evolve at a rapid pace .To be successful will require collaboration, thoughtful planning with the inclusion of every stakeholder in your organization. It’s important to break down silos and have an integrated approach where knowledge on digital strategies is shared and adopted by every business owners for same to be effective.

Stakeholders that do not know Digital should be humble to listen to people who have practical experience and hold their hands ,work with them to grow their business lines in partnership with shared goals. This will help in development of business models that will be agile, adaptable ,designed for the correct user and thrive long into the future where change is the only constant.