One of the questions I get asked when I introduce myself as a Digital Consultant focused on strategy the question that often follows is, “Ok, so what do you DO?”
As a digital strategist, I view myself as the cornerstone of every project that has a digital footprint. We strip down an idea to its bare bones and bridge the gap between; a. the overall business goals, b. the specific project goals and c. the KEY components that need to be understood to make the idea not only a reality but one that achieves real impact and supports the big picture.
Often the simplest things are the most overlooked so whenever faced with anything major, I go back to basics.
Building your own digital campaign for your next project? Before you spend one or one million dollars, lay the foundation with a solid strategy.
If the term “strategy” feels like a bit much, think of “a plan of action” designed to address the 4Ws – Who, Why, Where, What, of ANYTHING.
Who – Define your target. And no, it’s never EVERYBODY.
Depending on what your goal is, ideally, your target should be both willing AND able to partake in your offering.
Ask; do the people I am targeting have any real reason for being interested in my offering? If yes, the next thing to ask is, do these same people have the resources to partake in my offering? This can be money, time, or any other thing you are asking for in return.
If not, you risk targeting people who are not your customer and wasting your resources. (Quick caveat: If your goal is growing FUTURE customers through awareness, you do not have to be hard and fast on these criteria being met immediately)
Once they have met these criteria your next step may be to segment or group your targets based on similarities (think demographic, geographic etc.). Ideally, you will walk away with no more than 3 segments which you will plan for specifically.
Pro Tip: If you are doing this for the first time and have no customers you can do a couple of things;
1) look at your competitors & their audience and use that as a guide
2) define & test your ideal customer profile
3) let your audience define itself – a risky & expensive endeavour, especially if you have limited resources.
Already have a customer base? Audit them. Sometimes whom you DESIRE as a customer doesn’t align with the current customer base. If that’s the case, try and find out why. If there is alignment, double down on that audience profile and cater to them.
Why – Identify a purpose (for yourself & your audience)
Just because you care doesn’t mean your digital audience will. Every day and every dollar spent online is spent trying to get the attention and interest of the people that matter. You are exchanging valuable time & money for this interest.
Ask; What do I want to achieve from this campaign? One campaign can have MULTIPLE goals. Identify them in broad terms; growth, awareness, lead generation etc. (Ideally your top 3) and keep them close! You are going to use these to define your success later.
When it comes to your audience, they too are exchanging their interest for a reason.
What better way to capture their interest than tying their motivation to the value of your offering? Makeup brands market confidence, luxury speaks to your sense of self-worth & ego, educational programs play upon that urge to be more, and the list goes on.
Ask; how will my offering BENEFIT my customer base? Remember you may have several offerings that appeal to different segments. Identify how these benefits align with the value of the target and use that as the foundation for your communications.
Pro Tip: Single services can be tailored to the values of different segments as well. Think of something as simple as deodorant… the communication to a youthful female audience will differ from that of the older male even though both products do the EXACT same thing.
Strike a healthy balance between audience value and service offering.
Where – Find your audience
Each digital platform has a varying audience, demographically and otherwise. And many digital platforms have research and insights on how people use them and with what frequency.
Ask; on which platforms am I most likely to find my target audience(s)?
Match your target profile to these insights and choose the platforms you will be focused on based on how available your audience is in this space (again, no…it won’t be all of them)
Pro-Tip: Don’t guess. Trends in activity & audience behavior are CONSTANTLY changing. Regardless of how much you know about the digital space take the time to look for the latest numbers and trends while planning your strategy. Google is your friend.
PS- Caribbean numbers can sometimes be hard to access. Not to worry, US high-level stats tend to translate into this market. Pair this up with the Hootsuite yearly digital usage report for your current year. They offer a great breakdown of trends by country! (Including those in the Caribbean). Once you start your campaign, tweak based on your results.
What – What kind of content will you produce
Content creation is the hardest, most crucial (and often most expensive) part of the digital campaigning process. This is because at this stage that your primary messaging culminates in the creation of assets that will be shared with your audience
Knowing what to create (video, text, audio, photo, graphic), the frequency with which to release it, what works best on what platforms and the other nuances of content creation require some knowledge & expertise so if you are thinking of “Just posting something” …please don’t.
If you are doing this on your own, there are tons of great articles to read that will answer most questions you have on how to get started. Chances are though it will not be enough unless you are committed to investing the time in learning some of the technicalities of the content creation process.
Don’t be shy about getting support from an expert in this space to help you build out a content strategy & support content with resonance for your target.
Pro Tip: Don’t approach a content strategist/ creator empty-handed. Outlining a base strategy (like this) for your campaign is the first step. Then take the time to identify brands, pieces of content and happenings you like in the digital space and why. It provides a guide of your preferences making it easier for them to factor in your preferences in their creation process.
Tried something before? Share it and the results, good or bad.
Define Your Success
Remember how we touched on defining your goals in the WHY phase? Now it’s time to quantify them. Good goals are SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound) and yours will be no different.
Identify & define the metrics associated with the platforms chosen that you will be referencing e.g. fan count, reach, website visits, video views etc. and set a quantifiable target.
- Platform: Instagram
- Goal: Audience Growth
- Metric: Follower Count
- Target: 500+ new followers in the next 30 days
If this is your first time, this can be difficult but again some research on general trends of the platforms of your choice will be helpful.
· Duration of Campaign – this will help you plan out your content strategy. A short flight or duration may mean a higher frequency of content release & vice versa
· Budget of Campaign – the size of your budget will impact content creation, platforms you can support and additional tools you can utilize (e.g. digital ads, management & reporting software etc)
· Synergy – your platforms MUST work together. Map out a customer flow for your campaign, identify their touch points with your content and how you ideally would want them to move through the interaction/experience to help you achieve your goal. Mapping is an extra step however it helps identify gaps or instances where your need to employ additional resources to assure the customer experience with your brand online.
If you’ve made it to this line, congrats you would have set your cornerstone and started on your journey to creating a solid foundation for your campaign.
Remember, the digital space & its tools are multipliers. Start off with GOOD and even BETTER will follow.