Every digital marketing program or website project requires a solid foundation. To ensure there are no missteps, and both teams are aligned, it’s important to take the following steps internally to prepare for our first Digital Alignment Strategy Session (DAS):
- Align internally - What does digital marketing success look like to you and your team? Defining what success looks like early on in the process, and discussing KPIs (key performance indicators) ahead of time with key stakeholders sets both teams up for success with measurable goals that can be tracked over time. When setting goals for digital marketing strategy, it is important to keep the overarching goals and vision of your company in mind.
- Pick 1-2 key players - Your whole team has valuable input, but choosing 1-2 key stakeholders to work alongside us helps keep meetings focused. Clarity and communication are key to keeping both teams on track and on task. Choosing one to three points of contact keeps communication and ideas streamlined.
- Get inspired, define likes and dislikes - Pick 3-5 sources of marketing inspiration (yes, especially from your competitors!) and list what you like and/or dislike about each of them to help narrow our focus and customize your digital marketing to you. At this stage, providing your brand’s guidelines and standards will be helpful for us as we enter the creative discussion, especially if you’re planning or considering a rebrand.
Examples of where you can source digital marketing inspiration include:
- Websites you like/don’t like
- Social Media Content/Advertisements
- Photos and Videos
- Competitor sites/marketing materials
- Copywriting/brand tone
- Existing Content/Copy - For a website redesign, it’s important to think about what’s going to go on your site and how it will help your prospective buyers. As you outline your new site, keep your must-have content and nice-to-have content in mind. From there, we can help troubleshoot and provide ideas of our own. When providing content for your new website, it can be helpful to fine-tune it to appeal to web audiences, where succinct and clear copy is key. We have a comprehensive and educational blog on this that you can review here: How To Improve The Messaging On Your Website. Or if you prefer to leave the copywriting for your site in our capable hands, here are some tips for Working With An Agency Writer.
- Provide assets - Providing content and assets such as brand guidelines, logos, and photos helps our designers hit the ground running so they can think of creative ways to incorporate your existing branding into updated marketing pieces.
Please provide the following assets prior to our DAS:
- Brand standards or style guides
- Logo files (Vector e.g. EPS, AI, SVG, file formats preferred. High-resolution PNGs with transparent background will also work if vector format isn’t available)
- Photography/videography (including licensed stock photos)
In addition to the above, we also ask that we get login information for the following where applicable:
- Domain credentials
- CMS (i.e. WordPress, HubSpot, etc.)
- HubSpot Access
- Google Analytics
- Google Search Console
- Google Ads
- Google Business
Having this information helps us to get an understanding of where you’re starting and helps us establish a baseline for how we can help you build.
Our First Meeting - What You Can Expect
Once you’ve completed all of the above, we’re ready to get started with our Digital Alignment Strategy Session (DAS). This session is typically a 2-4 hour meeting between our teams to strategically understand your overall business and the key elements of our project in working together. The information provided to us in this session will help our team steer your project to avoid missteps and end in success. You can expect the following from our first Strategy Session:
Our Strategy and Processes
- Team Intros - We’ll introduce our team to your day-to-day point of contact/supporting members from your team.
- GPCT - We work together with you to define your Goals, Plans, Challenges, and Timelines, not only for the specific project but also for your business as a whole. Having this overarching information about your organization helps our team to strategically navigate the project or ongoing work to optimize our efforts with respect to your business.
- Buyer Persona - One of the key elements to any successful marketing communication requires a solid understanding of your audience. In this exercise, we’ll become familiar with your audience by conversationally exploring your target customer. Doing so, will help us to develop a semi-fictitious representation of your ideal customer. We will ask detailed questions about your buyers’ background, demographics, goals, challenges & common objections, as well as how you can solve their problems. This persona will help our team to develop targeted content and design that resonates with your audience and improves overall effectiveness. 10 days following our meeting, our team will provide you with this key buyer persona.
If you have already developed your buyer personas internally, please provide those up front to help us contextualize your ideal customer. We may have additional questions and thoughts after reviewing.
Some detailed questions we will ask during this exercise:
- Background: What is their job or career path? What does their typical day look like?
- Demographics: Are they male or female? How old are they? What are their communication preferences?
- Goals: What does your persona value most? What are they trying to accomplish?
- Challenges: What professional and personal obstacles do they face the most?
- What You Can Do: How can you help them achieve goals and overcome obstacles?
- What are their common pain points?: E.g. technological gaps, frustration with existing systems, require specialized solutions etc.
- Common Objections: What kinds of complaints do you hear about your product/service from this persona?
- Gather information & communication preferences: E.g. social media platforms, blogs, forums, advertisements, etc.
- Elevator Pitch: If you had 30 seconds with this persona, what would you say to sell your solution?
- Meet Your Competitors - At this time, we’ll also want to get to know your competitors. A list of 3-5 competitors helps us further contextualize your target market and strategically position your company against your competitors to stand out in the marketplace and set your brand apart visually. In addition, this information helps to inform our team for future keyword research where we can start to identify keyword gaps with respect to your competition. Typically this research is provided roughly 10 days following our meeting.
- Talk Creative - Finally, after we get to know you, your business, and your clientele, we begin the creative discussion. At this stage, we discuss visual branding and style so we can create content that represents you and your business. From this discussion, we will develop a creative brief outlining your desired styles roughly 10 days after our meeting. This serves as a checkpoint to ensure our teams are aligned, before moving into the creative phase of our work.
Walking away from our Digital Alignment Strategy Session, both teams should feel confident and aligned on the overall strategy, approach, and desired creative direction. Our aim is to have a solid understanding of your business, where our team can strategically and creatively start to develop concepts that attract new customers and move your organization forward.
After our digital alignment strategy, we will deliver the following documents outlining our discussion (ETA 10-14 business days from our DAS meeting) that you can add to and/or clarify as needed:
- Buyer Personas - Detailed explanation of a semi-fictitious representation of your ideal customer (i.e. Executive Ernest)
- Creative Brief - Document outlining our conversation on your brand style, and desired creative preferences.
- GPCT - Summary to confirm what we heard in our discussion about your goals, plans, challenges, and timelines, was accurate/ and that we have a thorough understanding of your business.
- Keyword Research Report & Competitor Analysis - Gap analysis of keywords you rank for now, and what opportunity exists with respect to competitors.
Leaving our meeting with you, our team will discuss the next steps of your project, and set up a regular cadence of meetings based on your project timeline. Having a regular and set time to meet helps our team plan project work, and prepare deliverables for you in a timely manner. In future meetings, our account manager will provide you with an agenda that covers what our team will be working on, and going forward, what work has been completed, while capturing items that may need to be provided to us from your team. Following this approach, our team will help you complete your website project, or guide you to digital marketing success.