What’s your take on digital marketing? If you’re still relatively new to it, you might feel a little overwhelmed by all its demands. It’s something of a moving target and it requires a complete transformation in the way you think about marketing. In a recent webinar, by Dr Dave Chaffey, approximately 59% of attendees were undertaking digital marketing without any sort of strategy at all, and less than a quarter had a fully integrated strategy.

The value of digital strategies for SMBs

For small and medium sized businesses with resource constraints, digital marketing can look like a big commitment and many marketers are unsure of how to first initiate a strategy and then integrate it with their traditional marketing endeavours. However, like all large tasks, the key is to break it down into stages—and this is where utilising the RACE Planning framework can bring a rational structure to what sometimes seems like an impenetrable maze!

By using RACE Planning, SMBs can reap multiple benefits:

  • it provides a simple framework for maximising the advantages of digital marketing
  • it allows businesses to review and prioritise the options that will work best for them
  • it utilises best practice web analytics techniques to improve ROI on digital marketing
  • it helps in objective-setting by indicating which KPIs should be used to track performance
  • it clarifies which online activities should be optimised at each stage of the sales funnel

RACE Planning – how does it work?

RACE stands for the four key online marketing activities that need to be managed as part of a successful strategy, with the addition of an initial phase of planning:

  • PLAN—before doing anything, you need to create an overall strategy and set key objectives. You’ll need to plan how to manage and optimise a range of digital channels against defined targets.
  • REACH—this involves building awareness of your brand, products and services to drive traffic to your main website, microsites and social media pages. It means maximising your reach over time, both on and offline, to create multiple interactions using different paid, owned and earned media touchpoints.
  • ACT—this is short for interact. Encouraging online interactions to generate leads is the main challenge of digital marketing. You need to persuade visitors to take the next step and the best way of doing this is by offering them something of value to them. Interactions can include viewing your product, finding out more about your company, reading a blog post or downloading content. Your specific goals in this area need to be defined and there should be clear navigation pathways go guide your audience on their journey.
  • CONVERT—that moment when a prospect becomes a sale. It’s the vital next step which creates paying customers, whether they buy online or offline.
  • ENGAGE—over the long-term, you want to develop an enduring relationship with your customers. Building customer loyalty will result in repeat purchases, recommendations and the opportunity to upsell, so this is about using communications on your site and social media to boost customer engagement. It can be monitored via repeat actions and allows you to assess customer satisfaction.

For a further, in-depth explanation of RACE Planning from its co-creator, Smart Insights’ Dave Chaffey, download our recent webinar: 

How to Drive Digital Marketing Success

Presented by Dr Dave Chaffey

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