7 steps before investing in paid media

Owning a strong digital presence to promote products or services online is no longer optional in the “new normal”. A digital marketing approach is a must-have for businesses to grow and reach new audiences, especially because the shift in online behaviour is likely here to stay.

For businesses that want to take advantage of cheaper than usual digital advertising rates to invest those hard-earned dollars, there is some groundwork that will ensure the best possible results. From customer surveys to marketing automation, here is what to do before investing in paid media:

Step 1. Listen to your customers

Don’t assume you know who your customers are: ask them. Send a satisfaction survey, build a customer persona, understand their purchase journey, their likes and dislikes.

From there, make any necessary changes to your offerings, website and social media channels based on your customers’ point of view.

Determine the ideal target audience based on their demographics, interests and behaviours.

Step 2. Make your brand reflect your values

Branding is not just the logo – it is everything your company stands for. Go back to your mission, vision and values and make sure you are honouring them in your customer service, employee engagement and all other relationships with stakeholders.

Then, brief a graphic designer to revamp your logo or create other branding elements that reflect those values. A consistent look and feel will help your business rise above the crowd.

Step 3. Define your marketing objectives and KPIs

You will never know if your marketing approach is working without setting up your goals first. Gather all your current figures (sales, website traffic, social media followers, engagement, customer satisfaction rates and any other performance data) to analyse and establish how much you want them to grow.

Write down your marketing objectives, metrics, key performance indicators (KPIs) and activities to get there.

Step 4. Craft a content strategy

This step is extremely important and will make things a lot easier in the long run, so you might consider getting some professional help to make sure you have your messaging right.

It starts by establishing the content pillars (key topics), tone of voice and content calendar as the foundations for content creation. Then, it takes into consideration your target audience, channel coherence and consistency.

Finally, it adds relevant call-to-actions and hashtags.

Step 5. Set up your channels

Starting from your website, make any necessary changes based on your customers’ feedback, new branding elements and content strategy. Build landing pages that have one specific call-to-action (e.g. subscribe, download, add to cart).

Finally, review and update your social media channels and your Google My Business page to reflect your brand’s latest information and visual identity.

Step 6. Automate

There are several marketing automation tools with free plans or at a reasonable cost. From WordPress plugins and MailChimp’s email automation to Hootsuite or Hubspot for social media management, they are real timesavers. Not to mention the insights they offer, which takes us to the final step.

Step 7. Advertise and monitor

You are now ready to boost your social media posts, and most channels will make it quite easy for you to advertise in just a few clicks. Make sure you have selected the relevant target audience – remember step 1?

Start with a small budget to invest in different creatives and understand which ones are performing better. Review and refine based on your KPIs.

All seven steps will converge at some point, and that’s when you know you have a digital marketing plan in place. Some activities will be like trial and error, but when they are based on data, they dramatically increase your chances of success.

Planning seems like too much work sometimes, but it will certainly save you time and money moving forward.

Article originally published on Business Australia.