Digital marketing continues to grow in importance. People are spending more time online, and marketing budgets continue to shift toward digital. With so many opportunities in digital marketing, it is easy to get into execution mode and just start doing. However, investing in your strategy is one of the best ways to grow your digital return on investment. A clear strategy reduces waste, adds focus to your efforts and builds on what is already working.
A digital marketing strategy is a plan of action that describes how to use one or more online marketing channels to reach your target audience. It has a list of steps and specific digital marketing goals.
Having a digital strategy is important because it will help you orchestrate the different online marketing strategies so that they all work towards achieving your business goals.
The person responsible to design and execute a digital strategy is the digital marketing manager of a company.
Together with his team, they will make sure that every marketing activity is part of your digital marketing plan.
How to create a Digital Marketing Strategy
These are the steps to follow to create an effective marketing strategy.
1. Specify measurable business goals
Before you start strategizing, you must ask yourself what it is that you hope to achieve with your marketing strategy. Sounds simple, but this step requires you to come up with a very detailed and specific set of goals.
2. Identify your target audience
In digital marketing, you have the opportunity to execute campaigns with very precise targeting. Go beyond traditional demographic targeting and be as specific as possible. Create buyer personas for your ideal customer to really get to know who they are.
In your audience identification, you should include things like:
• The countries/areas your potential customers live in
• Their age group
• Educational background
• Marital status
• Family status
• Their interests
3. Understand users needs and search intent
The digital sales funnel is the arc of your buyer’s journey from stranger to a repeat, or long term customer. A brand with a strong digital presence can use the funnel to achieve their digital marketing goals. How? By addressing each step of the funnel with the appropriate digital marketing tools.
Understanding the digital sales funnel means that you need to grasp each stage of the funnel and the appropriate digital tools that complements it.
Here is a simplified breakdown of the stages and the appropriate digital marketing responses.
Make potential clients aware of your existence. For example, through ads on social media or ranking well in search engines.
Raise interest about your brand. Who are you and what sets you apart from your competition? Some common digital tools for this stage are features about your brand in digital publications and videos.
Solidify your relationships. Sponsored posts on social media that address concerns the client could have or encourages them to ask questions is a great tool for this stage.
Do business with the client. A tool for this stage is implementing calls-to-action for the client to make a purchase. For example, incentivizing a purchase by offering discounts in ads or emails for the client.
4. Create a content marketing library
Based on your marketing objectives and your target audience, map out a content plan. This should identify the main topics or buckets of content to include in your execution.
Here are five ways to get content inspiration:
• Go back to step one and look for ideas from your competition and customer analysis.
• Check out Answer the Public to see the questions that people are asking in search engines.
- Search hashtags on Instagram to see what is trending. Instagram is highly visual, so it is a great source of inspirational content.
- Look at Google Search suggestions. This shows what people are searching for related to your category.
- Explore Pinterest, which is full of viral, visual, highly shared content.
5. Start with SEO as early as possible
A strategic decision to make that can positively impact your digital marketing efforts is to start with SEO as early as possible.
SEO is one of the most effective digital marketing strategies but it has a caveat. It takes time to work.
Unlike other digital marketing strategies, when you start an SEO campaign, it may take 4 to 6 months to generate any results. This is a long time to wait so most marketers tend to focus on other digital channels first (like Facebook Ads, Google Ads) that are more immediate.
That’s a good approach but the common mistake is that they forget about SEO and only re-visit SEO after they realize that they cannot build a successful digital marketing campaign based solely on paid advertising.
So, a better strategy is to allocate a portion of your marketing budget from the very beginning on SEO related tasks. In parallel, you can start working on your paid campaigns and other channels.
6. Explore paid advertising channels
Once you know the content that resonates with your audience, choose the channels that are most likely to give you the best results.
Consider all the potential digital channels, tools and tactics that you could use. Then prioritize based on the strategy you created in step two. Think about how each channel contributes to meeting your objective and goal.
6. Audit and plan your owned media campaigns.
At the heart of digital marketing is owned media — and it almost always comes in the form of content. That’s because nearly every message your brand broadcasts can be classified as content, whether it’s an About Us site page, product descriptions, blog posts, ebooks, infographics, podcasts, or social media posts. Content helps convert your website visitors into leads and customers while improving your brand’s online presence. And when this content is search engine optimized (SEO), it can boost your search and organic traffic.
Whatever your digital marketing strategy goal is, you’ll want to incorporate owned content. To start, decide what content will help you reach your goals.
If your goal is to generate 50% more leads via the website than last year, your About Us page is most likely not going to be included in your strategy, unless that page has somehow been a lead-generation machine in the past.
Here’s a brief process you can follow to work out what owned content you need to meet your digital marketing strategy goals.
Audit your existing content.
Make a list of your existing owned content, and rank each item according to what has previously performed best in relation to your current goals.
For example, if your goal is lead generation, rank your content according to which pieces generated the most leads over the last year (such as a blog post, ebook, or site page).
The idea here is to figure out what’s currently working, and what’s not so that you can set yourself up for success when planning future content.
Identify gaps in your existing content.
Based on your buyer personas, identify any gaps in the content you have.
For example, if you’re a math tutoring company and know through research that a major challenge for your personas is finding effective ways to study, create some.
By looking at your content audit, you might discover that ebooks hosted on a certain type of landing page convert really well (better than webinars, for example).
In the case of this math tutoring company, you might make the decision to add an ebook about “how to make studying more effective” to your content creation plans.
Create a content creation plan.
Based on your findings and the gaps you’ve identified, make a content creation plan outlining the content that’s necessary to help you hit your goals.
This should include:
- A title
- A goal
- Promotional channels
- Why you’re creating the content
- The priority level of the content
This can be a simple spreadsheet, and should also include budget information if you’re planning to outsource the content creation, or a time estimate if you’re producing it yourself.
Brief Digital Marketing Strategy by Digitalness
1. Publish a blog
2. Advertise on specific platforms (e.g. Google Ads, Facebook Ads, or Instagram Ads).
3. Offer free educational resources.
4. Search engine optimize your digital content.
5. Create an online giveaway and/ or contest.
6. Organize a webinar.
7. Produce a podcast.
8. Create an email marketing campaign.
Digital Marketing Strategy Template
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Grow Better With Marketing Strategies That Improve Your Digital Presence
Your strategy document will be very individual to your business, which is why it’s almost impossible for us to create a one-size-fits-all digital marketing strategy template.
Remember, the purpose of your strategy document is to map out the actions you’re going to take to achieve your goal over a period of time — as long as it communicates that, then you’ve nailed the basics of creating a digital strategy.
If you’re eager to build a truly effective strategy to help grow your business, check out our free collection of content marketing templates below.