Digital Marketing Strategy
As more customers and businesses move to doing business, conducting research, and making purchases online, the world of digital marketing has become an essential part of any business’s marketing plan. But to get real results from any online marketing, you need to have a solid and thoughtful strategy to market your business in today’s world.
What is a Digital Marketing Strategy?
Simply put, a digital marketing strategy is a plan that allows your business to hit specific digital goals through online marketing channels – like paid, earned, and owned media. This isn’t just a collection of marketing tactics. It’s an overall plan that has three parts:
- Diagnosing the challenge you’re trying to overcome
- Developing a guide for dealing with the challenge
- Deciding on a set of targeted actions needed to overcome the challenge
These three steps can be applied to creating any kind of marketing strategy. But when they’re used to create your digital marketing strategy, you want to focus the second two parts on digital channels only.
Let’s look at one potential example of a three-step plan for a company that sells tents for camping. They would start developing their digital marketing plan by diagnosing the challenge they need to overcome. Perhaps they have a great product, but they’re lacking in brand awareness among their potential customers.
Next, they need to develop a guide for increasing their brand awareness with their target audience. To come up with that guide, they will need to do some research into where their potential customers spend their time online and what kind of content they are consuming. They might find that there’s a big audience for outdoors enthusiasts on Instagram, and also on outdoors travel-focused blogs. Now they know where and what their target audience is consuming online.
Finally, they will want to come up with a list of targeted actions to increase their brand awareness, based on their research. They could increase their focus on creating engaging Instagram content, and giving their feed a consistent and easily identifiable look and feel. And they can focus on building their own blog, while doing guest posts with other outdoors blogs to get their name out there in the outdoors community.
How to Create a Digital Marketing Strategy
Creating a digital marketing strategy will look different for every company. Each industry and each business is unique. And you don’t want to have a digital marketing campaign that’s a carbon copy of your competitions – you want to find a way to stand out. But there are a few steps that should go into every business’s digital marketing planning, regardless of your industry.
Find Your Buyer Personas
The first step in any marketing plan is to figure out who you are marketing to. Why? Because if you’re casting too wide a net – “everyone should buy my product!” – you’re not speaking to the needs of the group most likely to purchase your product or service. Buyer personas are based on your ideal customer. You can gather information to create these buyer personas by talking to your target audience – existing customers and prospective ones alike. And you can include demographic details like age, location, income, and job. You should also include qualitative details like goals, challenges, interests, and priorities.
Identify Your Business Goals
Your digital marketing strategy must tie back to your business goals. If your only goal is to get more web traffic, that’s not a strategic or specific enough goal. Get more results with a more targeted goal. If you want to increase your online sales by 25%, then your goal might be to increase your lead generation or your conversion rate on your website.
Assess What You Have
You might already have more digital marketing resources than you think. Go through your website, your social channels, and any content you have already created – ebooks, blog content, etc. You will want to look at three types of media:
- Owned media: This is the digital assets your company directly controls, like your website and social media platforms. It can also be off-site content like a blog on Medium that you write and publish.
- Earned media: This is the exposure your brand and company gets through word-of-mouth marketing. This could be via guest posts on other blogs, positive reviews, social shares, and your PR efforts.
- Paid media: These are your paid ads, paid social posts, sponsored posts on other websites, or any other content you’ve paid another website or company to display.
All three of these assets work best when they work together. If you’re creating excellent content on your own blog, you can pay to promote it on Facebook or share it in an industry network that links to helpful content. See which areas are working well for you, and which you see opportunities for improvement.
Evaluate and Plan Your Campaigns
Unless you’re starting totally from scratch right now, you already have digital marketing assets. Your business website is one, any content marketing efforts are another, and email campaigns, social media platforms, podcasts, and more all fall into that owned media bucket.
Decide which content will help you reach the strategic goals you set in earlier. If your goal is increasing lead generation, think critically about which part of your website and what kinds of owned media will get you closer to that goal. Your “Meet the Team” section of your website probably won’t help, but a targeted content marketing strategy and email nurture campaign could. And don’t forget about improving the calls-to-action on your website if you’re looking to increase that conversion rate.
Now, look at your existing content and see if there are any gaps you need to fill. That tent company we talked about above might have a blog, but no content on how to pick the right tent for your weather conditions, which is a big concern for their buyer personas. Create a content plan to fill those gaps using the smart insights you came up with during your content audit.
Next, take the same critical eye to your earned and paid media. Do you have any gaps? Is there a lack of one type of media that could help you achieve your business goals? Are there untapped opportunities that you could benefit from accessing? Create a plan for that content too.
Bring Your Digital Marketing Strategy Together
You’ve diligently gathered your information, identified opportunities and gaps, and brainstormed marketing activities. Now it’s time to bring the whole plan together into one unified digital marketing strategy. How effective is your plan? It should form a cohesive strategy document, with a targeted plan and clear goals. It should map out the actions you’re going to take to hit your goals, guided by your research.
You don’t need fancy software to make this plan. A simple spreadsheet will do nicely. But do be sure to put it all down in writing and make it accessible to your marketing team, even if that’s just you right now. You will also want to include a place in the spreadsheet to track your progress so you can see what kind of results you’re getting from your digital marketing efforts.
Your digital marketing strategy is a long-term plan – it should cover about 6-12 months. And it should clearly lay out which steps you’re going to take, and when you’re going to take them. After all, you can’t do everything at once. Maybe one month you focus on owned media and content creation. And the next month you work on your PR efforts to get more earned media for that content. Every piece of the plan works together to build a cohesive strategy and keep increasing your results.
There’s no one path to creating a digital marketing strategy – it has to be customized to your unique business. But with these basic steps, you will be on your way to increasing your digital marketing effectiveness and building your business for the long term.
Improve Your Digital Presence With an Expert Partner
Creating a smart and effective digital marketing strategy can be a confusing process, as it requires more than a general marketing agency plan, What do you really need to focus on to get real results? For a busy business owner, time is at a premium – but creating a digital strategy takes time, and it can fall by the wayside easily.
Don’t miss out on the real growth a strong digital marketing strategy can bring to your business. Call ContentFirst.Marketing today and learn about how we partner with you to create well-written content with a data-driven strategy behind it. We get you results you can measure for the business you’ve worked hard to build. Schedule your free business review to learn more.