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Creating Your Strategy and Budget

March 29, 2018

Your business is a functioning machine. Think of your strategy as its blueprint. Creating a digital marketing strategy requires understanding the pieces that hold it all together. Knowing your sales funnel, mapping your customer’s journey, using your budget wisely – these will enable you to create a well-oiled machine.

Developed from real experience, this in an outline for those trying to build and execute their own strategy – all while not having control over the budget.

1. Sales Funnel

Whether you call it a funnel, cycle, pipeline, or process, you have one. It’s the route a prospect takes in becoming a customer, and is critical in building a successful strategy. Optimize your sales funnel, and you optimize your customer’s journey. Developing your best sales funnel begins with understanding your current one. Sales funnels are often broken up into three stages: cold, warm, and hot. For each of these stages, consider how your site or social media channels work together to push a prospect toward the next action. Step by step, they are ideally walking the path you’ve paved toward becoming your customer.

Let’s look at these stages of the funnel and what they mean:

You see this person around and you think they’re cute. Why not introduce yourself?

“Cold” prospects are people who may not even know who you are or what you do. Efforts to grab their attention are usually driven by Facebook ads, Google Adwords, organic search traffic, word of mouth, and other channels.

You’ve gone on your first date, which went well. What next?

A “warm” prospect has heard of you – and you have piqued their interest. So, what next? Answer a few questions about them. What actions do they take when they visit your website? Do those actions signal interest in taking further steps? If you’re a retailer, this might mean that prospect signs up for your monthly coupon via text. If you’re a B2B, it could mean they’re downloading a white paper or toolkit. Your prospect has heard the question and raised their hand to say, “Yes, I’m interested!”

Things are getting serious. You’re ready to pop the question. At this stage, we know we’re close. This prospect is informed, engaged, and hungry for more. How do we convert them into a customer or client? Common methods include email marketing drips, retargeting with Facebook ads, and even snail mail. This is the final stage of the funnel.

2. Personas and Content Buckets

Most digital marketing strategies are driven by content in one way, shape or form. Personas are your different “types” of potential customers. By putting your content into a series of categories (or “buckets”), you’ll be able to develop a strategy based on which content type works best for which persona.

Step One: Personas

Some of your prospects are cat people while others are dog lovers. Some think with the left side of their brain, and others are right brain thinkers. Come up with a minimum of two groups that we can divide our prospects into. Example: Are you looking for a customer who wants one bouquet of flowers AND someone who’s supplying for a wedding florist? Those are two different customer types, two different personas. Many organizations will have three, four, or even five groups, but two is a great start.

Step Two: Content Buckets

The cat lovers are going to be naturally drawn to different content than the dog lovers. Start by making a list of all the content you currently have – photos, videos, and other assets. From there, research your audience on- and offline to develop a list of content opportunities. Start broad (e.g. videos) then get specific (e.g. 10-second funny cat videos that work well on Instagram).

3. Constraints

Consider how much staff time you can commit to digital marketing. Is someone doing this part time or full time? Do you have on person or many people that will be contributing to execution? Simply put, take a hard look at your real numbers. Don’t bother with hypotheticals: plot out the actual amount of time on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis to dedicate to digital marketing.

No-brainer, right? In addition to time, it’s critical to take budget into consideration. Do you have $5 to spend or $5,000? Find the right tools for your budget and use them wisely. By focusing on what you can afford, you’ll do the most you possibly can with your current budget. (This will also enable you to ask for more marketing funds when next year’s budget is being planned.)

Your strategy will no doubt further develop and grow as you move forward. Your vision will sharpen and you’ll adjust your digital marketing strategy with more specific campaigns and exciting plans.

Just remember to track your progress – and bring it to the budget meeting.