“You can’t build a great building on a weak foundation. You must have a solid foundation if you’re going to have a strong superstructure”- Gordon B. Hinckley
Looking to build a new house or planning for your next digital marketing campaign? Foundation is of significance in both the scenarios. A digital marketing system is combined of 3 main aspects the foundation, the funnel and the flywheel.
While, flywheel is used to drive traffic, funnel is used generate revenue and foundation finally makes sure that you have not made any mistakes, which could at a later date impede the successful completion of the other two aspects.
You will see that over the years, especially the recent one’s, digital marketing has developed and so has the way in which these digital marketers carry it out.
Want to know the reason for the development of digital marketing? One main reason for the popularity is the precision in tracking. The most relevant difference between mainstream media and digital media is also the pixel perfect tracking as well as the analysis. You will see here that whatever function we perform online can be easily traced. Hence, it also tells you that the efficiency of an offline activity, will be no where close to the online activity, which is traceable. This is one profound reason for the boom in digital marketing over these recent years and it is also expected to reach a growth of 200bn by 2030.
Back to Digital Foundation Again;
Look at an example here, Imagine that you are a retailer selling designer clothes online and have a website set up, which drives a certain amount of traffic. Until, suddenly you find that you have some traffic, but you have no idea what they are upto once they get there. Missing on something? Then, you realise you don’t have the tracking enabled on your website. You could always set it up for rest of the visits,but you would have lost out on valuable data, since you did not have it enabled for earlier visits. In effect, its like starting from the beginning.
Now, do you know why it is imperative to have a solid digital foundation. It should also be scalable as you grow, for best effect. Do this first prior to starting work on your acquisition channels to drive traffic.
See here, in depth on how to set up digital foundation with the industry leading tools, but in a very cost effective manner, so that the marketing can be completed in a jiffy.
How to set up for marketing?
1. Audience Persona
You can create a fictional character who represents your Target Group on the basis of real data collected via market research. Known as Audience Persona, it helps marketers and content writers to better understand their target group and make better use of marketing strategies or create better content. Sometimes, you may have to create several audience personas because your TG may belong to different segments. Without an audience persona, your business may waste a lot of time and money trying to sell or market services and products that are not suited for your target group. It also helps to:
- determine customer challenges and needs
- know your customer preferences and interests
- know where they spend most of their time
2. Traffic Generation
The ways could be either paid or organic to get this. Now, if a business does not have any traffic it could mean the business is dead online.
The organic method used to obtain this are On-Page SEO, Off-Page SEO, Guest Blogging, Digital PR, Influential Marketing, Effective use of Social Media, Referral Marketing and more.
Then for paid methods there are Search and Display ads, Paid ads on Social Channels, Media Buying, Affiliate and so on.
This would be just a tip of the iceberg. There is obviously more to go, but for now let us get back to measuring the digital foundation.
3. Tag Manager
Marketers normally make use of multiple tools so that they can keep track of, analyse and optimise the visits of customers online. For each modification that happens in the marketing ecosystem, they would need some support from the developer who would be able to include the same. It would be a breeze for emerging startups were everyone functions as a team.
However, when it comes to the most basic of marketing changes, it is not anything more than copy pasting the snippet of code into the source code of your website. Well, sounds easy? Actually it is. It can be done by a marketer himself if he has access to the source code and there is actually not much need for a developer. But, how to get it? This is where tag manager can help.
For those slight alterations needed in real time, you need not go to a team of developer. You, as a marketer can do it yourself if you have the help of tag manager. It will also help to ensure that a marketer is self sufficient to manage all of the marketing specific integrations, thus saving time and also boosting the efficiency of operations in the long run.
What you have to do is very simple. Just call your developer once, to ensure that tag manager is set up for the entire website pages. That is all. After that, all you need is to go to the dashboard of the relative tag managers and then install the new tags and deactivate things that you are not using any longer.
For information, Google Tag Manager is highly popular and totally free available from Google.
Would you like to know what a user is doing on your website? To collect information as to how the user behaves on your website, or if they are actually performing the required action for the business, you can use analytics. With its help, it is possible to see what works and what does not.
Now, one of the highly popular analytics tool that is free to use worldwide is Google Analytics.
5. Goal Creation (Purchase, Lead, Subscription, Views)
On the basis of your business model, it is best to define your goal. The goal could be anything ranging from urging purchase, generating lead to subscribing or even only views of particular pages. Install the goal and it will help you to get a more precise picture of the conversations, while one the go.
6. A/B Testing
For the websites that gets regular visits, it is significant to set up the A/B testing. This can also help with the configuration to not only get more results for the same effort but which can also be iteration while in progress.
For example, if you were to iterate the registration with the 2 different audience sample at the same time, it will give a clear picture of which of the variant will function properly and which will not. A/B testing is used for this.
One of the best free tool to do this correctly is the Google Optimize. Some other popular tools are Optimizely, VWO and so on.
7. Conversion Tracking
What is a conversion? It consists of actions that are of significance for a business. Take an examples here. It could include the purchase done on the website, filling up forms, subscribing to a newsletter or blog, registering on the site and so on.
Meanwhile, while tracking these conversions make sure to track for paid campaigns and for organic visits separately. This should tell you the campaign that is working or which is not. For this, please make sure to set up a conversion tracking mechanism with all the campaigns on all the social networks such as Linkedin, Twitter, Google, Facebook and other third party channels.
8. A free goodie, Offer, Content based on the type of business
Be it the first purchase, subscribing for a newsletter or even entering contact data on the website, every single time you could endorse it with the concept of “something in return” for the customers.
Consider time, you may have made the first purchase or subscribed for a newsletter online, i am sure you might have received something. You could woo your customers helping them with the decision making process by offering discount, offering valuable content, research reports, industry insights, free demo, e-books and so on. This helps with not only building trust, but also to lure the customer towards the brand. The offer can be relative to the business you are in.
See the example here:
An ecommerce business offer 10% discount to those who have subscribed for the newsletter. This will assure you of not only a newsletter subscriber but a potential sale as well, resulting from the instant offer made available.
Another example is of the b2b business world. They could offer the industry insight white paper to the customers as an alternative to collecting their contact details, which can be used later to retarget the interested participants so that they can help boost their services later on.
9. E-mail List – Sendgrid
Same as collecting the user analytics is important, so is building the email list. Even if a user comes to your site, they may not be making any purchase or contacting you on the initial visit. However, it is possible to lure them to sign up for a newsletter, if they are intrigued by an interesting piece of blog. So, present a user with options to subscribe for the blogs, across the website. This can help you with retargeting them at a later stages, using marketing automation.
The tools for email marketing include Mailchimp, Sendgrid, Aweber and so on. They offer freemium plans
10. Landing Page
There are websites for every business. This may contain information such as what the business is actually about. However, if your idea is to market for a specific product or service of your business, the website alone may not be able to help. This is where, landing pages come in.
While building the Landing page, the core focus should be on a specific objective in mind. If your plan is to sell a service, the landing page will talk mainly about the service and how it will address the customer pain points. This will help to give a more clear picture on what they are offering.
The main purpose of the landing page is to collect the contact details, so that you can offer them discounted sales or ongoing promotional offers and so on. Most of the pages, which promotes a single core objective is called the Landing page.
Unbounce is a paid tool that you can use to create a Landing page, which helps to drive high conversion for your campaigns.
11. UTM Tagging
Have you come across links like the above in address bar when you click on a ad or any particular link from brands? UTM is the short form for Urchin Tracking Module (UTM) and you will see this is a standard format that Google use to track the URLs.
So, whenever you use UTM to tag your campaign, the results from it can be easily extracted from the analytics tools such as Google analytics.
Have a look at the various parameters considered for a UTM tagged URL:
Ad source: (e.g. google, newsletter)
Type of ad: (e.g. cpc, banner, email)
Product, promo code, or slogan (e.g. spring_sale)
Identify the paid keywords
Use to differentiate ads
You can enable the auto tagging and tracking template feature with the help of Google Adwords
12. Retargeting Pixel Integration
For your business to make an impact, social media traffic is equally important. You can find your customers online. So, if you want to target them, you should also be there. You could implement the retargeting pixels from the multiple platforms so that it helps you to re-target the visitors at a later time on that particular platform.
Take the example of a user who is coming to your website from the facebook or the search engines. If they are already have their facebook open and logged in on the other tab of the browser, then it would be easier for you to target them on Facebook after sometime on the basis of their interest.
Thus, you can see that Retargeting pixel is the main factor in brand recall and re-engagement. It is also significant to have retargeting pixel that are platform specific, included prior to starting any campaign to collect the info required to retarget the users, at a later stage.
The programmatic ad platforms with these feature includes Facebook, Linkedin, Google etc.
13. Optimization & Engagement
Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)
Ok, so you have the ecosystem all set up and it helps to drive traffic to the targeted audience, so that you can expect for conversions after sometime. In such a scenario, you could think to optimise the all the conversions.
See the example here; Look for ways to increase the conversions, even with the same audience set. It could be anything from Sessions recordings analysis, A/B testing, modifying the signup flow, heatmaps and more. Everything that is used to determine the latest avenues and boost the conversions is an aspect of the CRO process.
What you need to know is that just the conversion is not enough. You have to nurture them and guide them to make a sale, from filling up forms or registering on website. It could also result in ongoing engagement, calling for marketing automation and personalisation
Marketing Automation & Personalization
Do you know what marketing personalisation is? It is all about customising the marketing communications on the basis of the needs of an individual user. Now, if you send out similar follow up emails to all those who register with your site irrespective of their requirements, it will be totally useless. It could also result in you losing a interested client.
Marketing automation is very simple. But, it needs to be tailored if it has to make any impact. For example, you will see that the friend suggestions on social networks will be different for every person as it is completely personalised based on geolocation, alma mater, mutual friends and many more. Sameways, try look for ways to personalise the user experience on your product.
Now that you have the marketing automation all set up, it becomes easier to build multiple user funnels and also personalise the marketing communication on the basis of the functions operated by the users. It is believed that this way of marketing will deliver better results, as in it the user will feel more of a personal connection in all the interactions they have with your business.
Tools used for automated marketing personalisation, consist of the Intercom, Drip, Activecampaign etc. Now, the strategy to be used for every business will change on the basis of business type.
14. Feedback & Improvement Loop
Survey and Feedback Mechanism
Wish to improve the products and services of your business? Then go onto gather feedback from the customers. Businesses will find this useful as it would help them to adjust to the altering market conditions that can at a later stage be adapted. It can also be shifted quickly, according to the needs of the evolving customer, because of its core offering. Businesses can opt to either bring in a feedback module, themselves or they could use a third party service, which can be used to acquire this.
As and when the user feedback is required, Hotjar, Qualaroo can be used.
Session Recordings, Heatmaps – Hotjar
Analytics is awesome as it can tell you the number of visits to a website, the visitor location, bounce rate, visitor funnel and more. But it fails to tell you if the user was able to navigate though your website without much issue or if he had to face difficulty. That is why you need to have session recordings.
With the help of session recordings, you will be able to determine of how a user is navigating across the site and which area they were having difficulty with. It will help you to enhance the user experience, thus helping your business to grow. Heatmaps, can help you with screen capture of entire clicks the user has completed on the site, via the mouse or hand.
Hotjar is a tool that can be used to record the user sessions with the help of heatmaps.
Finally, you should be aware that it is possible to identify what your competitors are up to. You can also analyse what tools they have used so that you can arrive at a better foundation strategies, as needed.
Majority of the small medium scale businesses will need the basic foundation, if they have to maintain the online presence. Still, you see that businesses or startups who have a vision of mass scale will have to try even more aggressively to develop with almost all types of digital channel and strategies they would have to adapt if they have to drive high growth along with competitive edge.
It is seen that a large number of the potential business idea are stuck at the point of new user acquisition, following a certain period of time. This could be the saturation period, and businesses will need to adopt the loyalty program if they have to retain and employ the existing users, thus boosting its development referral program and the connected user based activities.
If you are a digital marketer, then you would need to understand the matters of digital ecosystem, if you have plans to specialise in one domain such as the SEO, PPC, ASO or if their plans include being a total strategist on the digital space. On the other hand, as with any of the industry, the landscape evolves aggressively while you seek more ways to understand what it will take to be different online. If you have proper understanding of the basics then you can go further without much issue, same as with any other subject.