Digital marketing summed up in six simple points

Last Thursday, I led a 2-hour version of the six hour version of the 10-week Digital Marketing class at General Assembly. I really enjoy teaching these short, impactful sessions that serve as great introductions or primers for folks who want to learn to talk the talk in Digital Marketing or determine if they’d like to pursue a career in DGM. Last week’s class was no exception to the rule that these classes are always fun.

I’ll be teaching the DGM Bootcamp again at the end of July. That’s the six hour version that dives a little deeper and gets the attendees actually digging into their own digital marketing situations during class.

Here’s the summary of the class, which also happens to be the very high level summary of the 6-hour and 10-week version, if you just want to know what’s covered, again, at a very high level.

  1. Your brand is everything you do. We start out every class asking “what is a brand?” and we always get lots of different answers. Logo, identity, perception, etc. Your brand is everything you do, from how you answer the phone to whether or not your personal email signature is branded. Everything you do includes every word on every web page, blog, and social post; every video, podcast, image, photo, and infographic. If you put it on the interwebz, then you just made it part of your brand. Digital marketing starts with your brand, and you must be intentional about defining and maintaining your brand.
  2. Measure everything, but focus on a few KPIs. The biggest difference between what we call ‘digital marketing’ today and ‘marketing’ from yesteryear is that we have the resulting data immediately, so we can constantly run experiments and learn very quickly and inexpensively…IF we are setup to measure everything. It’s easy if you start off that way, but much more difficult if you are already marketing without the proper tracking and analytics. But it’s never too late to start. Build it into the DNA of your marketing organization that you will be setup to measure absolutely everything, and then focus on a handful of KPIs, which will change as you grow and succeed.
  3. Do the math of the marketing funnel for every campaign. Every campaign is completely different, even if you’re marketing the exact same thing on Twitter vs. Facebook. Those users are different and they take a different journey to your web property, so treat each one as its own campaign. Then measure you reach, click through rates, conversion rates, orders, average orders, units per order, revenue per lead, and cost per lead for every campaign. Doing so gives you the ability to determine exactly which campaigns worked and which did not, and then be able to predict the outcome of every future campaign once you have a baseline of data.
  4. Content is king, and you already have tons of it. Just like your brand is everything you do, every post, blog, video, podcast, image, and photo is your content. You may not think you have content, but you do. Everyone has a story, and every entrepreneur and startup has a very interesting story, as well as a reason for existing. You know something of value to someone. That’s your content. In addition, every event, product, team member, victory, feature, update, news, and market shift is your content. What happened yesterday and what are you planning for tomorrow? All of that is your content. Content is king in digital marketing, because when your audience consumes your content, they trust you just a little bit more, and are that much more likely to trust you when it comes time to make the purchase. Tell your story!
  5. Digital ads are cheap, powerful, and hyper-targeted. Google Adwords, Facebook Ads, and Twitter Ads are very simple to purchase, very inexpensive to try, and so very targeted to use that any startup or small business can set aside a few dollars a week or month and make an impact on their business immediately. Every social channel will eventually offer ads, but for now, these are the big three, and each offers very specific methods for attracting users, promoting posts, downloading software, or generating leads. The best way to approach these very effective tools is to start small, experiment, learn, and then step on the accelerator with what works best for your goals.
  6. Plan everything, so you have the freedom to win. I enjoy telling the #winning stories like the Oreo SuperBowl tweet and the Arby’s Grammys tweet, but I also have to throw in the IAC Justine Sacco nightmare, just to make sure people really understand the power of digital media, for better or for worse. The wins come when the organization has a plan, heavily relies on a content marketing calendar to plan nearly every post, and has a solid branding that its team understands and can execute. Oreo and Arby’s did well. IAC, not so much. It all starts with the brand, which leads to culture, which influences content. Then it comes full circle. The marketing calendar is your best friend, or your worst enemy, because nothing hurts like a date and nothing helps like a plan.

I’m looking forward to another 6 hour class in a few Saturdays, and also to the official 10-week class that starts on Tuesday night, August 18th.

What do you think about that?

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