Many business owners, including myself, when they first started using social media and content to try and reach customers online, did so without any plan.
And we know what happened as a result of not having a plan — aside from offending or worse, boring our few existing fans — Nothing. Nada. The thousands of Web visitors we dreamed we would get, mountainous likes and shares of our content, loads of email leads, lead-conversions, none of it came to pass.
If we had defined our goals on what we wanted to achieve with social media and content and found out more about our target audience, our efforts would have resulted in something worthwhile: Brand awareness and loyalty, engagement, lead generation, and, ultimately, lead-conversions into paying customers.
All is not a loss. You can always restart your digital marketing and create a strategy that will work.
To do so, there are three important steps to creating an active and successful strategy:
- Set achievable goals or objectives
- Define the right target audience; not just anyone, but people who want to engage with the content you create and share
- Create and publish campaigns that connect with your audience, involve them, and convert them into leads
In this post and accompanying Slideshare, you will learn how to set goals and objectives that are achievable through social media and content marketing.
You will also learn how to define your target audience—the right audience who will connect with your content.
Lastly, in the Slideshare below, I give you ideas on what type of content draws fans, creates loyalty, and converts them into leads, and customers.
The Digital Marketing Funnel
The first step to take in setting up an effective digital marketing strategy is to set achievable goals or objectives. Of course, the overarching goal for any business is to generate leads, convert them into to customers, and increase revenue. But before you get to the apparent goals you need to have what I call pre-objectives.
For instance, my primary goal for my business is to get clients who need social media management or article writing services.
How do I do this? Send them to my Website where I have a landing page with a robust lead-conversion process in place. To get them to this landing page I have to create awareness about my brand and engage my audience.
Creating awareness is my pre- or immediate objective.
My mid-range purpose is to send traffic to my landing page, where they will convert into hot leads.
My long-term goal or objective is to turn those leads into paying customers.
Brand awareness is critical to any digital marketing strategy. Achieving brand awareness is done by publishing targeted social media posts; publishing an informative blog, and sharing useful content from other websites and industry leaders.
Every time you publish, share and engage, your audience sees your brand name. If the content you post and share is high quality and gives them useful information, this creates authority and trust.
And trust is the number one factor in your digital marketing strategy.
Keep in mind, what you publish will be related to your industry, and to your audience’s interests, which is why you must define your target audience before taking any steps.
Next, you further nurture your prospects to convert warm leads to hot ones—prospective customers start taking action with requests for consultations, pricing, or directly for a proposal.
And finally, you’ve got your conversion, your paying customer.
Keep in mind: digital marketing using social media and content is a long-term investment. However, it comes with long-term payoffs.
Those people who didn’t go down the funnel the first few months or even a year may do so at a later time, as long as you keep producing quality content, correctly target your audience when you share it and have a reliable lead-conversion process in place.
1. Set Your Goals
Determine what objectives will help you reach your long-range or ultimate goals:
- Do you have a search engine optimized Website already in place, and want to drive more traffic to it?
- Do you have a blog and want more subscriptions, so you can later target you subscribers with conversion campaigns?
- Perhaps you want to create gated content, such as a free ebook or white paper, that people can get by signing up with email?
- Or maybe a landing page on your website, or on a social media page will encourage visitors to call your business for more information on a deal you’re offering?
Setting your immediate goals and objectives is the beginning of creating an active social media and content marketing strategy.
How you’re going to get people to come to your Website or blog, and fill out a contact form, or call the number listed, is what takes place in Step 3 of an effective social media strategy: Creating campaigns that convert.
Creating high converting campaigns is part of what I cover in detail in my upcoming book: “Create a Successful Digital Marketing Network: 7 Steps to Create a Unique Network That Will Get More Traffic and More Leads.”
But for now, we’re going to Step 2 of creating your social media and content marketing strategy: Defining your target audience.
2. Define Your Target Audience
In traditional marketing, you’re seeking to connect with a target market based on their immediate need(s). Social media and content marketing is not so direct as traditional advertising.
For example, I am a real estate professional in Calabasas, California where I help people sell and buy homes. My ideal target market in traditional advertising would be someone who is ready now to buy or sell a home.
For my social media and content marketing strategy, I’ve got to think of not only the immediate prospect but also the future customer.
The useful and engaging content that I create for my target audience is not to convince them to let me help them sell or buy a home, but to provide them valuable information they can use now. If the content I share with them is outstanding, they will sign up for my real estate/lifestyle blog or email list to get more great information.
The prospect who subscribed to my blog may not be an instant client. But with careful nurturing by providing more engaging and useful content, and sharing in the online space where they socialize, later when they are ready to buy or sell, they’ve already become familiarized with my name. They know my brand and trust me because of the valuable content I’ve already shared with them.
Who is Your Target Audience?
Here are few questions to ask yourself when defining your target audience.
It’s part of a larger range of questions that I pose in my book, but it will get you started thinking about who you’re trying to reach, which will help you develop content that will engage them.
- What age and gender is your ideal customer/audience?
- What is their profession?
- What stage are they in their family life cycle (newly married, young children, empty nest)?
- Where does your ideal customer live or have their business?
- What leisure/hobby activities interest your ideal customer?
- What are their values, beliefs, attitudes?
There’s a great deal more you can ask, and different ways of going about defining your target audience, but these questions will help you get started.
If I use the example of being a real estate agent, based on some of the questions above, the profile of my partial target audience will cover:
- Do-it-yourself homeowners
- Millennials (the next generation to buy homes)
- Apartment-dwelling millennials
- People who read home topic-related magazines
3. Create Campaigns that Convert
The third step in your digital marketing strategy is to set your pre-objectives into action with conversion campaigns, such as contests, ebooks or other downloadable giveaways, webinars, and blog subscriptions.
The people who sign up can then be further nurtured into warm leads, with repeated sign-ups for your webinars, free e-books, and questions submitted via email or via social media.
As a real estate agent, in my social media and content marketing strategy, the type of content that will engage my target audience may be:
- Home gardening projects
- DIY Home Improvement
- Real Estate Market Reports
- Hi-Tech Home Gadgets
Here are some general content and campaign ideas to create to capture leads. Require that people sign up to receive these for free.
- In-depth market/industry report (make sure it has info that cannot be obtained easily online)
- How to eBook, i.e. for my business I wrote a book titled: Social Media Marketing Guide for Real Estate. In it, I offer in-depth analysis on which networks work the best for real estate businesses, and tips for optimizing them.
- Webinar that gives hot business tips
- Podcast with a leader in your industry
- Sweepstakes or other contest. Make sure the prize is related to your business, such as a free service or product offering.
There is much more that goes into creating an overall traffic-driving, lead-generating, customer-converting social media and content marketing strategy.
Doing keyword research, creating social media and content campaigns that convert, measuring and tracking your goals to gauge your successes, and failures, are all a part of a lead-generating, and ultimately customer-conversion digital marketing strategy. The ideas and questions above will help you get started.
Here are a few more posts and a free e-Course that will help you create, and implement a social media and content marketing strategy:
Free eCourse: How to do keyword research
To get in-depth, step-by-step information on how to create, set up and implement a successful digital marketing strategy, sign up for my book “Create a Successful Digital Marketing Network
Sign up now and get the book Creating a Successful Digital Marketing Network for $0.99!