The Importance of your Goals and Key Messages in your Digital Marketing Strategy
Chapter 1 of the digital marketing strategy guide
If you’ve decided to read this guide, the chances are you’re tired of relying on word of mouth and awkward networking events to get people to hear about your business and buy from you.
Online marketing can help you radically change that. But you know the internet is an ocean, and unless you get yourself a good compass to guide your actions towards your goals, you will either be at the mercy of a good current or hopelessly drown.
This digital marketing strategy guide will help you build a strong, if uncomplicated, body of research that will help you understand your clients and industry to enable you to take decisions with more confidence and save time and tears in useless ‘buzz’-based marketing.
Timeless marketing books (such as Selling the Invisible by Harry Beckwith, or Kotler on Marketing) will tell you that, unless you want to compete on price, you must develop a brand that differentiates you from other options. You don’t do that by waiting to ‘have some free time to do some marketing and get the word out there’. No.
Following this guide will be a long-term investment of your time and energy. This is not a ‘get-rich-quick guide. I warn you: only follow this strategy template if you are 100% committed to completely changing your business.
This strategy is for absolutely any type of business or organisation, whether it is B2B or B2C, but it is especially valuable for entrepreneurs, small-business owners and freelancers who offer a great alternative to a problem they have previously identified.
Whether you are planning to market your restaurant or your start-up business, the procedure will be the same, but the recommendations that will come out of it will be very different each time. There will be more or less emphasis on SEO or paid media. The one thing that you are invariably going to need, unless you want to spend a ridiculous amount of money on ads, is to create and promote unique, awesome content that will convey your key messages in a way that helps your target audience enormously.
Once you have invested the 15 to 20 hours it will take you to put together this strategy, you will already be in a much better position to start. You won’t need a team, you won’t need complicated MBA charts or anything you won’t understand. My focus is that you start executing and measuring as fast as possible.
All you will need to do to successfully complete your strategy will be to ask yourself questions. After 13 years researching both academically and professionally, I’ve found that questions are the best way to focus your enquiry. The questions I will give you will put you on the path to success. Here is the first one:
Where do you want your business to be in 3 years?
Whether you are creating this digital strategy for a start-up, a restaurant or a small business, this is perhaps one of the most important questions you must ask yourself.
Over the years, I have found most small-business owners (and many employees at larger brands and corporations) cannot confidently answer this question. The mere thought of it can be scary. As my coach Dan Warburton says, if you don’t have clear long term goals to aim for, you will give the same importance to whatever lands on your desk today, which will make you feel productive but take you nowhere in the long run. Instead, visualising how your life or your business would look in 3 years’ time can help you choose the right actions. It will also make your strategy work much easier.
Your goals are up to you.
Do you want to triple your revenue so you can expand your team and buy more time for what you really love doing?
Do you want to show your boss you are able to take the business to the next level and make everyone win?
Are you working towards a cause that will change the world and you need to grow your tribe internationally?
Whatever your goals are, make sure they are SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound.
- In 3 years, I will be making 400k a year revenue, spending a maximum of 20 hours a week in the business and I want at least half of my clients with a clear purpose beyond revenue.
- In 3 years’ time, my business will have a system whereby 90% of leads are coming through our website and social media.
- In 3 years’ time, our charity will help 10,000 homeless people a year get a once-a-week hobby.
What are your website goals?
You already know what your goals are for the next 3 years. Now think about how your online media will help you achieve those goals:
- My website and social media content will generate at least 10 new leads each week.
If you want, you can start reverse engineering what needs to happen for those leads to contact you:
…If two out of every 100 visitors become a lead, I would need 500 visits every week.
…To have 500 visits every week, I need to be creating and promoting informative content that will draw those visitors to my site and leave them no choice but to call us.
Here is where you get started.
What are your key messages?
Your goals will be supported by your key messages. Your messages embody the narrative that will represent your business, build your brand and show your potential and existing customers that you are the perfect alternative to help them succeed in their goals.
Do not underestimate your message, and take your time to answer this question sensibly, because this is going to be the cornerstone of your marketing.
Your messages will also help you support all of your content. This will prevent you from falling into rabbit holes of providing irrelevant information or simply copying others.
Needless to say, you need to practise what you preach by solving your customers’ problems in coherence with your message.
For instance, Virgin always believed that customer service could be much better, and they put a great effort into satisfying their customers (despite the challenges that their scale presents to them).
At Gozen Media, our key message is that in order to succeed in the online game you need to base all your actions in a thorough understanding of your business and the industry. This will save you tons of time and expense doing things that everybody else is doing but are not good for your business. In turn, the time you save can then be invested in the aspects of your business you enjoy the most.
As you preach your message, you will no doubt optimise and refine it. But even if you optimise the wording, do not forget the core of it, because if you lose the vision then you won’t be anybody’s leader and your whole strategy will collapse.
Who is your enemy?
Your key message is invariably an alternative to something. Do not hesitate to shout out loud who is your enemy.
For example, The Happy Startup School built their message on the basis that business can be very different to the aggressive and ruthless image that TV shows, like The Apprentice or Dragons’ Den, project to people. These TV shows and their ethos are their enemies.
So, who represents a vision of the world that is somehow opposed to what you are bringing to the same arena?
Who are your tribe?
We will go through this more in depth in chapter 2, but here you have the opportunity to scribble a couple of sentences about who are the receivers of your message.
At Gozen Media, our tribe are entrepreneurs and small-business owners who believe the internet provides a channel to communicating their unique ideas and solutions in a way that inspires people all over the world to develop authentic relationships with them and, in the process, create gravitational pulls that will enable them to spend more time doing work with purpose and satisfaction.
A bit of a long sentence, I know, but you now understand where I’m coming from when I say ‘scribble’.
In the next chapter, we will cover much more about researching your audience and your industry. We will provide some tools that we use and we will explore what customers themselves are writing online about their experience so that we can understand what their pain points are and what they value from the businesses they buy from.