It’s no secret that digital marketing is essential for any business. It’s also not a secret that the field of digital marketing is constantly changing, with new technologies and strategies emerging all the time. This makes it hard for small businesses to stay on top of things and keep up with their competitors. A digital marketing strategy can help you stay organized as you launch new campaigns, identify where your audience is spending their time online, and measure whether or not they’re converting into customers—all while keeping your budget in mind. Let’s break down how to create a powerful digital marketing strategy in this article!
What is a digital marketing strategy?
Essentially, a digital marketing strategy is your business’ online game plan – what do you want to achieve, where do you want to achieve it and what do you need to do to achieve it?
Your digital marketing strategy is a high-level plan, detailing actions that need to be taken to achieve specific marketing goals. The complexity of your marketing strategy will depend on the size of your company; if you’re just starting out, you probably only want to concentrate on brand awareness, for example and are less focused on sales.
Your strategy could (and probably should!) change from time to time, depending on what your overarching company goals are.
Why do you need a digital marketing strategy?
Presumably if you’re reading this article, you’re already well aware of just how powerful digital marketing is for your business. Not only is digital marketing the most cost-effective way to get your brand out in front of thousands (or millions!) of people, but it’s a way to directly reach your target audience and understand their wants and needs.
Even if you’re pretty savvy at digital marketing, or even a professional digital marketer, you still absolutely need a digital marketing strategy. It’s all well and good having the skills and knowledge, but if you don’t plan exactly what you’re going to do and when, it will all fall apart.
When creating your strategy document, you will do a lot of research and have actual hard data to go by, so you can be more accurate with your planning. It’s a sure-fire way to increase your ROI and also motivate you to learn more.
How do you create a digital marketing strategy?
So, you now know what a digital marketing strategy is and why it’s good, but how do you create one?
We’ve popped down a few ideas below to get you started when compiling a digital marketing strategy for your brand/business.
Be specific about your audience
The first step to creating a powerful and effective digital marketing strategy is to be specific about your audience. You need to define who they are, understand their needs and frustrations, their pain points, their buying process, their buying cycle, their buying habits and preferences—both in terms of demographics and psychographics—and then figure out how you can make them happy.
It’s not enough just to say, “I want more fans,” or “I want more leads.” You need to know exactly how many fans you want per month/year/quarter/week; what kind of leads (phone calls? emails?) do you want from those fans; what kind of content will attract those fans; where do these people spend most of their time online etc.?
Research the competition.
It’s important to know who you are competing against in the digital marketing space, why they are doing well and what makes them stand out from the crowd. This will help you understand their strengths and weaknesses and how best to market yourself to a similar audience.
There may be competitors for different aspects of your business, so it’s important to note how you will be competing with them and how you can differentiate from them to your customers.
One thing to note, however, is that people often get carried away comparing themselves to competitors and try to copy everything that they do. You won’t be successful doing this, as they will already have a loyal following who won’t swap to someone who’s a copycat.
If you find a way that you can be different – whether it’s because you’re cheaper, you offer better quality, or more options, then you will stand a chance to attract more customers.
Establish your goals and KPIs.
Now that you have a good handle on your target audience and the market, it’s time to put a plan in place. This will help you achieve your goals by establishing KPI-based metrics and benchmarks that will indicate how well your strategy is working.
To begin, define what success looks like for every part of your digital marketing strategy — from social media posts to website pages to email campaigns. For example, if an email campaign drives more traffic to a landing page than expected within one week of being sent out (that is, meets its goal), that would be considered successful based on this metric alone.
It’s important that your goals and KPIs are “SMART”, which means they need to be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound.
Identify your brand’s tone.
The tone of your digital marketing strategy should reflect your brand’s voice and personality. This applies to every aspect of the brand, including:
- Website copy
- Social media posts
- Email campaigns
- Marketing materials (print or web)
This should already be determined in your brand guidelines. If you do not have a set of brand guidelines, you should probably undergo a branding exercise first.
Determine what platforms to use.
There are many different digital marketing tools out there, and the right strategy will depend on your business model, target audience and goals. You may want to focus on one channel at first, or start off with more and then concentrate on the ones that are doing the best. Some common options include:
- Social media: Facebook and Instagram have the highest user bases of any social network—Facebook has 2 billion users while Instagram has 800 million active users every day.
- Email newsletters: Email is also one of the most popular ways people stay connected with brands they love; 80% of adults check their email at least once a day and spend more than an hour on email each weekday (source).
- Websites: A website can be powerful in establishing your brand online or driving traffic back to other channels like social media posts or articles that link back to your site for more information. The best websites have optimised landing pages that encourage visitors to take action (like clicking through from an ad banner) before leaving the site altogether (source).
Decide on a content strategy.
Content strategy is a plan for creating, distributing and communicating content. It’s also a way to align your content with your business goals. Your content strategy should be part of your overall marketing strategy and it should be included in your digital marketing strategy.
Here’s how it works:
- Choose what type of content you want to create (blog posts, videos, images)
- Map out who will be responsible for each type of content
- Define what success looks like
Set a budget.
Lots of brands/companies skip this step as they think they should just continue until they “see results”, but this never works. You always need to have a specific budget that you stick to and then analyse whether you’re able to get a positive ROI for within that budget.
Take a look at the KPIs and goals you’ve set and define the budget that you need to achieve these. Make sure it’s realistic and try to remember that you will need to budget for the cost of time for content creation, software costs and then ad spend.
Define a timeline and process for managing the strategy.
Defining a timeline and process for managing the strategy will ensure that you stay on track and are able to meet your goals.
A timeline is a plan for achieving a goal within a specified time period, while a process is simply an established pattern of actions that lead to an outcome. Both timelines and processes help define how things will happen, including the order in which they occur, who does what when it needs to get done, etc.
Let’s look at their similarities: a digital marketing strategy is both something with specific steps or phases over time leading up to success (a goal) as well as something that’s set in motion by people working together toward one common goal—so this makes sense!
A digital marketing strategy is also like an actual map because it shows you where you are now versus where you want to end up eventually—and this helps guide us along our way, so we don’t trip over ourselves on our quest toward success!
A digital marketing strategy will help you promote your business in a more structured way. This is important because it allows you to define:
- Your goals and objectives
- The competition
- The customer
- The platforms where you’re going to be active on (and why)
- The content that will be created (and why)
- The budget for each channel/platform/content piece being promoted, along with timelines for each part of the process
So, are you ready to create your own digital marketing strategy? If you’re still feeling unsure about whether or not this is the right decision for your business, then we wish you all the best with whatever approach you take next. But if you decide that having a plan in place is the way forward then we hope that these steps can help guide you on your way towards creating an effective and efficient strategy.