There are two distinct ways to go about digital marketing: the one-size-fits-all blanket approach, or the strategic approach. My preferred digital strategy (obviously) has always been the latter.

Digital marketing success always comes back to audience segmentation. I see absolutely no point in throwing money into digital advertising and marketing campaigns to garner as many impressions as possible with no regard to who is seeing your content.

It’s like limply lobbing 100 Velcro balls towards a Velcro wall and seeing if one actually sticks. It’s pointless, hardly works and not strategic. Even if one ball does stick, what can you learned from it? Why did that one ball stick? What worked with that one that didn’t with the other 99?

What you’re looking for is precision – a well-aimed Velcro ball that hits a defined Velcro target in the centre of that wall with just enough pace to stick. And whenever you miss, you adjust your throw – until you are a Velcro ball ninja.

The reasons I back precision and incremental adjustments are simple. The audiences that digital marketers are dealing with are far more savvy now than in years gone by. They know when they’re being advertised to – and being interrupted by advertising – and they know how to block ads if and when they want to.

Focused on digital marketing success

You also have to consider the fact that the digital space is so cluttered with different channels, resources, fake news, etc – with billions of words of content added to the clutter every day. Then you’ll understand why the brands seeing success online are those that stay focused on strategy.

To succeed, you have to know exactly how you’re going to engage your target audience to achieve digital marketing success.

That focus can be demonstrated by a study of the success – or otherwise – of one of the earliest tools of the digital marketer: the email. Researchers at Experian found that customers who receive multiple emails from online retailers about their abandoned shopping carts are 2.4 times more likely to complete the purchase than those who receive only one follow-up email.

It sounds simple, and it is: you’ve got a lead and you follow up on it. But few brands have an effective digital strategy in place that allows them to understand (and then market to) users who abandoned their shopping cart, or (for a non-ecommerce website) users who didn’t follow through with a specific on-site action.

More and more often, I’m driving my clients towards a digital strategy centred on audience segmentation and the consumer buying cycle. Each audience group has its own distinct needs and channels (mediums) that they prefer. It’s crucial for brands to break their audience into groups, and understand where those groups are active online and what they care about.

Once these foundations are in place, it’s all about guiding individual audience segments through the buying cycle: inching them closer and closer to the brand’s end goal – whatever that might be – by first winning their trust and then building on it.

Devising digital strategy

We have had huge amounts of success devising and managing this type of digital strategy for our clients. We benefit from the fact that digital media is fully transparent, agile and ROI-focused.

We’re able to define strategy, put foundations in place with audience groups and then optimise on a daily basis. By understanding what is working and what isn’t, we then make small changes that result in incremental increases in performance. Hard work and analysis drive digital marketing success, as much as innovation and great content.

Strategy trumps the scatter-gun every time. If you’re not putting audience segmentation at the centre of your digital strategy, you’re opting for the scatter-gun.

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