In 2020, advertisers spent an estimated 356 billion US dollars on digital marketing, a number that is only expected to grow. This data emphasizes the significance of digital advertising for companies of all sizes.
More and more money is being invested in digital marketing campaigns, making it more important than ever for businesses to have well-thought-out strategies to guide their efforts and maximize ROI. Injecting millions into a campaign that is aimed at the wrong demographic is a surefire recipe for failure. One method for developing an all-encompassing strategy that will help you achieve your business objectives is to follow the 5 Stages of the Digital Marketing Life Cycle.
Why Is Digital Marketing Important?
The term “digital marketing” describes the practice of reaching out to a specific demographic through electronic channels. The significance of online advertising is rising in tandem with the prevalence of smartphones and other digital devices. Even if you have the best product on the market, you can’t guarantee that your target audience will find you or buy from you just because you’re selling it online. Now more than ever, a company’s success depends on its ability to reach its target audience through various digital channels (such as search engine results, social media, and email) and to provide the information these audiences require to make a purchasing decision (AKA make a purchase or secure services).
Increasing customer loyalty, reaching the right demographic, building brand credibility, knowing exactly how effective your campaigns are, and generating a steady stream of leads are all tasks for which digital marketing is indispensable.
The 5 Stages of Digital Marketing
It’s one thing to recognize digital marketing’s significance; it’s another to learn how to effectively employ it. If you want your business to succeed and grow, you can’t just plug in some digital ads and expect it to do the job. There is no definitive endpoint to any of the 5 Phases of Digital Marketing; rather, they are meant to be viewed as an ever-evolving working strategy rather than a sequential progression that ends when Phase 5 is completed.
Phase 1: Implementing a Successful Digital Marketing Plan
Starting with a plan is the first step in the digital marketing process lifecycle. You need to have a well-thought-out plan in place before you launch your digital marketing campaign. First, you’ll need to identify the problems you’re trying to solve, evaluate the obstacles you’re likely to encounter, and think about the benefits you want your ads to provide to potential customers before you can formulate a viable initial strategy. A few key questions to ask yourself in order to zero in on these aspects are:
- Who is your target audience?
- What sets your offerings apart from the competition?
- When designing your product, what issues do you hope to address for your target audience?
- For online content creation and distribution, what is the most effective medium?
- Have you thought about how you might evaluate the efficacy of your digital marketing efforts?
- What exactly are you hoping to write and share with the world?
By learning more about your target demographic and where they are in the customer lifecycle, you can better determine where your energy is best spent in terms of achieving your objectives. Using this data, you can create a content marketing strategy that will serve to bolster your presence across various channels. Also, make sure your website has analytics installed so you can monitor traffic and use the information to guide your business. Use this information, if you have it, to see which channels have brought in the most money for your business (organic, paid, social, email, etc.). After this, you’ll have the building blocks for a digital marketing strategy tailored to your business’s objectives and audience.
Phase 2: Implementation and Traction
Although the first step is difficult, it paves the way for success in the subsequent stages of implementation and traction.
In this phase, you’ll put your digital marketing plan into action using the data you gathered in the first phase. A digital marketing campaign’s pace should be set in light of its ultimate goals and available resources.
The trick is to get to know your target demographic while compiling as much relevant data as you can from analytics. Use this information to start sketching a picture of how your intended audience is responding to your brand across the channels you’ve prioritized. Relationship building with your intended audience and purchasers should be a top priority. Getting involved with your audience, preferably on a personal level, is an effective strategy for this goal. Solicit their feedback on the quality of your services and suggestions for how you can enhance them. At this stage, you want to get your name out there, introduce your brand to potential customers, and answer any questions they may have about your product or service.
Customers prefer to deal with real people when making purchases. Make it crystal clear to your target audience that this is the case behind your domain or company name.
Phase 3: Conversion and Expansion
Running a digital marketing campaign typically has a primary goal of transforming the audience of the campaign into paying customers. You need to strike while the iron is hot, after you’ve been engaging your target audience for some time. At this juncture, you can present your target audience with a simple conversion point and encourage them to advance to the next stage of the customer lifecycle.
The time is now to convert and expand your customer base, whether your goal was to boost sales, strengthen brand loyalty, or schedule more patients. To help move your audience along the conversion path, you may want to consider serving targeted ads or sending personalized email offers. In addition, you can use this time to encourage repeat business from satisfied customers by rewarding them for bringing in new ones through referral programs.
While you’re at it, take stock of how well your digital campaign has been going. However well your current iteration has gone, a critical evaluation will undoubtedly reveal some room for improvement. Take a close look at everything you have at your disposal, carefully analyze it, and then act on what you learn. Pay close attention to the demographics of your converting customers and the average cost of converting each audience segment you’ve defined.
Phase 4: Understanding Client Desires
You have probably already determined the success or failure of your digital marketing campaign. If it wasn’t, try to figure out what went wrong and correct it rather than giving up. Don’t think you’ve got everything figured out just because you achieved success.
Data can provide a holistic view of customer wants and needs, as we discussed earlier. Watch where they’re leaving your conversion funnel, how they’re getting there, and what kind of messaging they respond to best. Your audience may have indicated that they prefer more personalized or relational communication if you find that email marketing is more profitable than paid advertising. In a similar vein, you may discover that many of your customers interact with your brand on social media, but they rarely open your emails. The situation may call for a greater investment in social media campaigns.
It’s also a great time to poll your target demographic and find out what they’re into. You can find out how interested people are in your new products or communication method by sending out a survey. You can learn more about the success or failure of your digital marketing campaign by soliciting feedback from those who have interacted with it.
Phase 5: Re-plan and Research
This information should now be put to use. Explore not only the successes but also the failures of your approaches. Phase 5 of The Digital Marketing Lifecycle is very similar to the beginning of the process. Your strategy can now be fine-tuned and adjusted as needed. Verify that the people you intend to reach out to initially are the right people to target. Investigate the continued viability of your products’ and services’ distinctive selling points. Investigate which of your posts were more well-received than others to find out what struck a chord with your readers. Make use of everything you’ve learned to make changes and get yourself back in the game.
Due to the ever-changing nature of digital marketing’s underlying technology, now is the time to keep an eye out for emerging patterns in your field and adapt accordingly. Analyze the offerings of similar businesses to see if there is any value you could be providing but aren’t yet. You should keep an eye out for emerging platforms (did someone say TikTok?) that are having an impact but which you haven’t yet explored. Check to see if your organic performance (search results) is satisfactory, or if there is room for improvement.
Adjust your digital marketing approach based on your findings. Move on to Stage 2 if you want to continue playing.
Enhance Your Digital Presence
We can’t deny that consumers’ shopping habits have shifted, but the question is, are you keeping up? The mission of Be Found Online, a digital marketing agency, is to make digital marketing efforts more accessible by keeping clients up to date, helping them reach their goals, and operating in an open and honest manner. We can help you develop a flexible digital marketing approach, whether you need assistance with Paid Media performance, Organic Performance, or a basic understanding of your business’ data and analytics BFO. Have questions about making the switch to digital marketing? Call or email us today.