How to Build an Online Marketing Strategy

At The 2019 NAMM Show, digital marketing expert and CEO of Digitopia Frank Cowell shared how to transform strangers into raving fans in the digital age. According to Cowell, you’re ultimately trying to build a brand for your business in today’s crowded marketplace. Cowell remarked that there are no tricks, shortcuts or overnight results to make this happen. Once you build an online marketing strategy, it requires a long-term commitment and effort to get results and a brand that lasts. (Watch the session video to get the free one-page Digitopia Utopia Methodology download.)

The Challenges of Digital Marketing
Twenty years ago, it was easy to get online marketing results, but a point came when the marketing community started asking, “Where’s the ROI?” The cost per visit, cost per lead and cost of customer acquisition all increased; conversion rates dropped; and marketplace differentiation disappeared. According to Cowell, he wondered why certain techniques weren’t working anymore and realized most marketers were caught up in tactics—a problem.

Plus, the number of marketing channels became overwhelming and continues to grow—Instagram, blogging, Google ads, Facebook, email, retargeting and more. Cowell added that there are too many marketing technologies to manage too many marketing channels with too many competitors.

Systematic Digital Growth Strategy
According to Cowell, the Digital Utopia Methodology is a digital growth strategy that lets people who engage with your business naturally move from stranger to fan. (Relationship levels include: Strangers, Visitors, Leads, Qualifieds, Opportunities, Customers and Fans.) And Cowell mentioned that you can still apply the five core philosophies to your digital marketing to get results without using an agency. These philosophies include:

1. Customer service mindset. Look at providing customer service to those who don’t yet realize they’re your customers. Infuse this into your sales and marketing.

2. Hyper-specificity. It’s a huge mistake to try to appeal to the widest marketing message possible, according to Cowell. People react to specific messages. Going forward, focus your campaigns on one buyer persona and one “pain point.” Define your buyer persona so specifically that you can bring them to life. Write down who you’re for and document their journey as a buyer through the three steps of awareness, consideration and decision: problems, paths and providers. Ask what their issues are and list them. Know which desire or issue they want to solve more than anything else—and that you can help them solve. Match up your value with their issue and pain point.

3. Slow down to speed up. You must aim to elevate relationships, not convert sales leads. (Not everyone is ready to buy.) Based on people’s engagement with you, you must offer relevant and appropriate next steps. If someone downloads sheet music from your website, offer them a video of someone playing that music. Use the following language to connect their action with the next natural step: “Now that you’ve done that, you should do this.” Remember the psychology of how you’d interact one-to-one with a customer.

4. Top-down optimization. In any given process where Step 1 is the input, improving the performance of a subsequent step yields increased output (without increasing the input). Cowell used the example of growing monthly customers to 45. You can try to increase traffic or use top-down optimization to improve the opportunity-to-customer rate to get the same 45 customers.

5. Commitment and consistency. This will make or break your program. It takes a long-term commitment to get results. Be trend- versus now-focused. Don’t be in a constant state of stop and start, but realize you have to give it time to build on itself. Only do it for the long haul.

Cowell also offered the following link to download his blueprint. It’s a tool for identifying all of your buyer persona-focused campaign’s content, offers and engagement activities in one view.