Every industry, company, and digital marketing channel is different. That’s why it’s not enough to know about the latest trick or hack to be successful—what works for one company might not work for the other.
If you want to create a powerful digital marketing strategy, you need to understand the fundamentals. We’ve created a framework that will help you get results as quickly as possible.
Persona and Funnel
First, you want to figure out who you’re targeting (a.k.a. your target persona) and which stage of the funnel they’re in. This will make every later decision 10x easier to make. A target persona is a representation of your ideal
It’s a combination of demographics (age, gender, language, location, etc.) and psychographics (interests, desires, opinions, values, etc.) For example, a target persona might look like this:
- Darren and Louis
- 32 years old
- Planning for their dream wedding
Creating a target persona will help you better understand who you’re marketing to—beyond just numbers like visitors, users, or sales. Imagine if you had to write ad copy for camping equipment company based on one of these descriptions:
- Description #1: Males between 30 and 45 years, old living in the US who like camping.
- Description #2: John Jones, a 40 year old business owner, father of a 10 year old, who enjoys traveling around the US in his RV going from one rock climbing spot to the next. He is deeply concerned about global warming and tries to reduce his carbon footprint as much as possible—some of the things he has done include going vegan, installing solar panels on his RV, and only buying recycled-fiber clothing. It’s pretty clear which of these will make your work easier, right?
It’s pretty clear which of these will make your work easier, right?
And it’s not just writing copy—ad targeting, partnerships, channel selection, budgeting, pricing…and many other decisions will be easier once you have a target persona.
The process to do this typically looks like this:
- Find demographic data about your target customer
- Find psychographic data about your target customer
- Build a target persona
- Share with your team and keep tweaking based on new learnings
Next, you need to figure out which stage of the sales funnel your target persona is in.
A sales funnel is just a model for how a person goes from being a complete stranger to becoming a customer, repeat buyer, and advocate for your product.
There are many different versions and variations, but this is the most basic one—and we’ve found that it works for almost every business. At a high level, this is what each stage means:
- Top-of-the-funnel: This is where you seek to attract or get the attention of as many people belonging to your target audience as possible. Think of it as your “mass market” stuff.
- Middle-of-the-funnel: At this stage, your objective is to convert visitors from the top of-the-funnel into leads. This usually consists of gathering an email or some other piece of information that will allow you to contact them again.
- Bottom-of-the-funnel: This is where you convert leads into customers. Simple.
- Retention, monetization, and love: The stage a lot of beginners forget about. This is where you try to retain customers (in subscription-based business, for example), get them to purchase the same product again or purchase a different product, or just refer other potential customers.
Your job as a digital marketer is to design, implement, and optimize tactics that take the most people from one stage of the funnel to the next.
Let’s look at some examples. Let’s say your company that sells camping equipment just launched a new loyalty program. Which of these tactics would be a better idea to promote it?
- Launch ads on national radio.
- Launch an email campaign to people who have already purchased a product.
- The latter will clearly be more targeted and is likely to generate a higher return on investment.
I know this all sounds very theoretical so far. But trust me. By combining personas and sales funnels you will be able to create better digital marketing strategies that ultimately generate more customers and sales.
The Digital Asset
This is just a fancy way to say “the content the user will consume.” Most people immediately think of a blog post, but it doesn’t have to be just that. The digital asset you use could be a bunch of different things: an email form response, a product review, a social media post, a video image, a podcast, or an ad on social media.
Maybe it’s even a digital tool that you created or a product demo. For example, if you’re targeting young gamers who also enjoy watching epic fiction series, you might decide to create a quiz titled “To which Game of Thrones family do you belong?”
Choosing a digital asset depends on who the target persona is and the stage of the funnel they’re in—your job is to use this information to pick the best digital asset to use.
Medium and Channel
Once you’ve decided what your digital asset is going to be, the next steps are to decide where it’s going to live (the medium), and how to distribute it (the channel.)
In general, the most common medium will be your own website, but it doesn’t have to be. Your medium could also be YouTube, Google Places, Yelp, Amazon, Pinterest, or maybe the App Store. Each medium is usually fit for a specific type of digital asset.
For example, a long video is probably a better fit for YouTube than Twitter or Instagram. When you know the medium, you need to pick the way you’re going to get this asset on this medium to its target audience—in other words, pick the channel. Like anything else in your strategy, your channel selection depends on decisions you’ve previously made.
This is, very simply, just doing everything you need to do to maximize the number of users who get your asset through the channel you picked.
If you pick digital advertising to drive traffic to a landing page, optimization will include things like testing ad graphics, copy, placement, targeting, budget, etc. If you pick SEO to drive traffic to a blog post, optimization will include things like performing keyword research, optimizing your post content, building links, and fixing technical issues. If you pick email marketing to drive webinar registration, optimization will include things like testing subject lines, calls-to-action, send times, and subscriber segmentation.
You get the point.
Each channel is a different animal—you need to learn how to get the most out of the one you choose to use.
This is the most important aspect of the framework. In simple terms, the nudge is how you push users to the next logical step down the funnel.
The nudge is about getting results. It’s not enough that you get people to consume your asset. A great digital marketer always has to think about what the next step is.
If you have a blog post that’s attracting a ton of new traffic (top-of-the-funnel), a nudge could be a call-toaction to download a bonus in exchange for an email address (middle-of-the-funnel). If you have a webinar with a lot of attendees (middle-ofthe-funnel), a nudge could be an offer to enroll with a limited-time discount (bottom-of-the-funnel).
Whatever digital asset you create, you need to think about how it will help you get your users closer to purchasing.
Putting it All Together
So how does all this work together?
Here’s how you can use this framework to create an entire digital marketing strategy:
Pick one target persona and start at the top-of the-funnel
- Decide your medium (where you will put your
asset) and channel (how will you get people to
view your asset)
- Define the digital asset you’ll use
- Determine the steps necessary for you to
optimize and get the most out of the channel
and medium you chose
- Figure out the nudge you’ll use to take people
to the next stage of the funnel
- Repeat steps 1 through 5 for the other stages of
- Repeat steps 1 through 6 for your other target
personas (if you have more than one)
If you want to learn how we do these seven steps, or need help you can always get in touch with us!