What is a digital channel strategy?

A digital channel strategy or digital marketing channel strategy is how an organisation plans to communicate their brand messaging through multiple digital channels in a manner that is consistent but also specific to each of the channels used. There are a number of mistakes that companies make when using this approach and this article is aimed to help B2B make better decisions when implementing a broad digital channel strategy.

Key points to consider for a digital marketing channel strategy

  1. Understand your audience
  2. Create a distinctive message or point of view
  3. Select the channels to best reach your audience
  4. Tailor your delivery through each channel
  5. Decide how you want to track success
  6. Know who to report holistically on performance through the different channels

Where B2B companies are in their thinking

As B2B companies struggle to create content suitable for multiple channels I see companies trying to be relevant through multiple channels. In order to look professional does your organisation need to have a presence on every platform? For a B2B organisation where should the focus be?

I have seen many organisations spreading their efforts thinly through different platforms and from what I have seen this idea is not terribly well advised. I think that the problem that most companies have is a real lack of strategy. There are far more beneficial platforms for companies to be on. This depends on the reach of the platforms and the audiences that are currently engaged using the channel.

B2B companies are slow to innovate and make decisions. Often the mindset is to wait and see what all of the competition is doing and then follow. By the time most organisation moves on a platform the opportunity has been seriously reduced. Most content creators are consuming content on their chosen platform, rather than looking at their competitors they are instead watching the most popular creators on the platforms and analysing how they are creating content for the platform.

This is important but it is the stage where most companies get stuck.

Using customer insights to influence the content that you create

Rather than creating content that is likely to go viral through their chosen channel, companies need to find out the information that really resonates with their audience. This kind of information is vital to understand. This information is held by most companies, but it will be possessed by the customer facing teams such as sales and customer success. Marketing needs to use internal teams’ knowledge, but they also sometimes need to speak to customers themselves or use customer feedback surveys and interviews.

The testing that then needs to be done is then is the way that communicating that message can be done through the specific platforms that the company has a presence.

Testing different channels

Hopefully the message is not being tested, you will have established the things that you want to say it is just the form that the message will take. Ideally your company will be looking at creating their key message through different formats that can be tested through different channels. Early signals like reach/impressions, reactions and comments can be used to see the content that is working through each channel. An analysis of the people that are reacting to your content can give you a good indication of whether the platform is the right one for your organisation. Once you have tested and chosen your desired platform to create your messages through numerous formats.

Here is where the research that you had done on the other successful content creators will come in useful. Imitating their style once confident of your brand’s specific message is important.

Consistency and constant improvement

With any platform without consistency your company will never see the benefits from the channel. So it is a matter of choosing your channel through testing and then going all in on your chosen channel that you think that you will be able to communicate your message through to your target audience most effectively. I would then not move to new channels until there is a process that is delivering effective and measurable results.

Tracking traffic and conversions on your website

The important thing is to ensure that your customers can start sales transactions online. The best, in terms of tracking, is for your website to use eCommerce functionality. The next best thing is for people to book a meeting with a sales rep through a calendar booking tool. The next best way is for the users to fill in a form on your website and then for your sales team to get in contact with them.

These conversions should be tracked on your site using Google Tag Manager and Events that can be monitored in your websites Google Analytics. When driving traffic to these conversion pages you can track the sources of the traffic by using UTM parameters. In order to do this the simplest way is to use a thank you page and track the users that hit that page. You can also choose for specific actions to be tracked when HTML changes take place on the site using visibility events. This article however will not be diving into that, but just letting you know that it is an option.

However you cannot track everything via this method. In order to get another data point it is useful to add “How did you hear about us” to your form to get some qualitative attribution information to supplement the data that you are measuring through your analytics.

Getting further tracking into your CRM and comparing to revenue

Hopefully if you are using eCommerce your back office system will have some sort of connection to your CRM so that you know the buying behaviour of your customers. However for form completions it may be a little more difficult. I will describe the process that I have set up and worked with a number of times. I won’t mention the CRM that I am used to working with (but it is the industry leading CRM in terms of B2B companies). This process relies on the system that you use for forms being connected to your CRM

Each form completion would ideally use a completion action to push the contacts into the CRM once the form has been completed. The form would have other completion actions to send the details of the form completion to the relevant sales and marketing teams. It would also use an assignment rule to ensure any unassigned leads get added to the campaign. Then set the campaign member status to “Submitted” so that it is clear which action they have taken.

Then create a report in your CRM and include all of the contacts that have filled in the form. Within this report contain details of the Lead Stage (this is generally marked as the journey a lead takes before becoming a paying customer), the date the form was completed, any revenue the company generates after the event and the amount of time spent in phone calls and meetings with the client after the event.

This report then gives a number of different KPIs where this activity has had an influence for your business. You can then make a sensible judgement on how different channels are working for your business.

Please feel to let me know if you found this useful. If you would like help to implement this strategy for your business don’t hesitate to get in touch now.

Photo by Christopher Gower on Unsplash

John is a data driven marketing specialist and website manager who lives in South East London. When he isn't blogging for us he manages Revenue and Marketing Operations for corporate clients.

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