Digital Marketing Strategy
In all likelihood a major part of your marketing strategy is actually already digital today Consumers and Businesses are almost always online and on the go these days – and you want to be able to reach them and observe their behavior where they spend their time.
When you are growing a business the ever-changing digital landscape can quickly become overwhelming.
What is a Marketing Strategy?
It’s important to know how a marketing strategy differs from a digital marketing strategy A marketing strategy is a plan for reaching a specific marketing-related goal (or goals). Marketing or not, there are three parts to any strategy:
A diagnosis of your challenge
A guiding policy for dealing with the challenge
A set of targeted actions that are necessary to accomplish the policy
Depending on the size of your business, your marketing strategy may include several moving parts, each with different goals. With that said, working on your strategy can become daunting at times, so if you ever feel overwhelmed with your marketing strategy, refer to these three steps to keep you focused on achieving your objectives.
Marketing tactics, or tactics of any kind, are specific actions you choose to take throughout your strategy to help you reach your end goals, In other words, the strategy is your destination – it’s the achievable, focused plan for getting you to your target. Tactics are concrete and definable steps within your strategy to ensure that you reach your objective.
To provide a better understanding of what they may entail, check out the following list of basic strategies commonly utilized by reams across various industries:
Basic Marketing Strategies
- publsh a blog
- advertise on specific social media platfoms, such as Facebook or Instagram
- offer free educational resources
- search engine optimize your digital content
- create a giveaway and./or contest
- test different campaign types to determine what works best for your audience.
- organize a webinar
- podcast a product
- create an email campaign
Now that you understand what a marketing strat4egy is, let’s look at how one differs from a digital marketing strategy.
What is a Digital Marketing Strategy?
A digital marketing strategy is a plan that helps your business achieve specific digital goals through carefully selected online marketing channels, such as paid, owned and earned media.
Similar to marketing strategies and marketing tactics, another couple of similar terms that are often, incorrectly, used interchangeably are digital marketing strategy and digital marketing campaign. So how do they differ?
What is a Digital Marketing Campaign?
As mentioned, a digital strategy is the series of actions you plan to achieve your overarching digital marketing goal. In contrast, digital marketing are the building blocks
and actions within your strategy , thatt move you towards a specific, digital end goal.
For instance, in the overarching goal of your digital marketing strategy is to generate
more leads through social media, you might run a digital marketing campaign on Twitter. You may share some of your business’ best performing gated content on Twitter to generate more leads through the channel.
Now, let’s look at the steps involved in creating a digital marketing strategy for your business.
How to create a digital marketing strategy?
Build your buyer persona(s)
Identify your goals and the digital marketing tools you’ll need
Evaluate your existing digital channels and assets
Audit and plan your owned media campaigns
Identify your goals and the digital marketing tools you need
Audit and plan your earned media campaigns
1 Build your buyer personas
For any marketing strategy - digital or not – you need to know who you’re marketing to, As the best digital marketing strategies are build upon detailed buyer persona, and your first step is to create them.
Organize your audience segments and make your maketing stronger with templates to build your buyer personas.
Buyer personas represent your ideal customer and can be created by researching, surveying and interviewing your business target audience.
tr’s important to know that this information should be based on real data whenever possible, as making assumptions about your audience can cause your marketing strategy to move into the wrong direction.
To get a rounded picture of your persona, your research pool should include a a mixture of customers, prospects, and people from outside of your contacts database, who align with your target audience.
But what kind of information should you gather for your own buyer persona(s) to inform your digital marketing strategy? That depends on your businesses – it’s ikely to vary depending on whether you’re B2B or B2C, or whether you sell a high-cost or low-cost products. Here are some starting points that you can finetune and tailor to your particular business.
Quantitative and Demographic Information
Location: use web analytics to easily identify what location your website traffic is coming from.
Age: Depending on your business, this may or may not be relevant information./ But if it is, it’s best to gather this data by identifying trends to your existing prospect and contact database.
Income: sensitive information is best gathered through personal research interviews, as people might be unwilling to share.
Job title: This is something you can get a rough idea of from your existing customer data baase (it’s most relevant for B2B companies).
Qualitative and Psychographic information
Goals: Depending on what challenge your product or service solves, you may already have a good ideai of the goals of your buyer persona. Cement your assumptions by speaking to real customers and internal sales and customer service reps.
Challenges: speak to customers, sales and customer service reps and any other client facing employees to get an idea of the common challenges your audience face.
Hobbies;/interests: ask customers and those who align with your target audience about their hobbies and interests. If you are a fashion brand, for example, it’s helpful to know if large segments of your audience are also interested in fitness and well-being to inform future content and partnerships
Priorities: talk to customers and target audience members to find out what’s most important to them in relation to your business. For example, if you’re a B2B software company , knowing your audience values customer support over a competitive price point is very valuable information.
By combining all of these details, you’ll be able to create your -personas , that are accurate and highly valuable for your business.
2 Identify your goals and the digital marketing tools you’ll need.
Your marketing goals should always be tied back to the fundamental goals of your business.
For, example, if your business is to increase online revenue by 20%, your marketing team goal might be to generate 50% more leads via the websitr than in the previous year to contribute to that success.
Use a hig- level marketing plan template to outline your annual marketing strategy, identify top priorities, and more.
Whatever your overarching digital marketing goal is, you must be able to measure the success of your stratrgy along the way with the right digital marketing tools.
3 Evaluate your existing digital channels and assets.
When reviewing your existing digital marketing channels and assets to determine what to incorporate in your strategy, it’s helpful to first consider the big picture- this will prevent you from feeling overwhelmed or confused.
Gather what you have, and categorize each vehicle or asset in a spreadsheet, so you have a clear picture of your existing owned, earned and paid media.
Owned, Earned, Paid Media Framework
To do this effectively, use the owned, earned and paid media framework to categorize the digital “vehicles”, assets or channels you’re already using and decide what’s a good fit for your strategy.
This refers to the digital assets your brand or company owns – whether that’s your website, social media profiles, blog content or imagery. Owned channels are what your business has complete control over.
Earned media refers to the exposure you earn through word of mouth marketing. Whether that’s content you’ve distributed on other websites (e.g. guest posts), PR work you have done, or the customer experience you’ve delivered. Earned media is the recognition you receive as a result of these efforts.
Paid media refers to any vehicle or channel you spend money on to catch the attention of your buyer personas.
This includes things like Google AdWords, paid social media posts, native advertising (e.g. sponsored posts on other websites), or any other medium through which you pay in exchange for increased visibility.
Since you have a better grasp on what this framework entails, let’s look at an example: Say you have an owned piece of content on a landing page that has been created to help you generate leads. You know you want to incorporate different parts of the framework, rather than just working with owned, earned and paid alone.
To amplify the number of leads the content generates, you make an effort to ensure it’s shareable, so your audience can distribute it via their social media profiles. In return, this will increase traffic to your landing page. This is the earned media component.
To support your content’s success, you might post about the content on your Facebook page and pay to have it seen by more people than your target audience.
This is how the three parts of the framework work together – although, it’s not necessary for success. For instance, if your owned and earned media are already both successful, you might not need to invest in paid media. So, evaluate the best solution to help you meet your goals, and then incorporate the channels that work best for your business into your digital marketing strategy.
Now you know what’s already being used, you can start to think about what to keep and what to cut.
4 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, e-books, 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 content you need ih order to meet your digital marketing goals.
Audit your existing content
Make q 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, e-book , 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.
Identiin 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 knew through research that a major challenge for your personas is finding effective ways to study- you currently don’t have content that speaks to that concern- create some.
By looking at your content audit, you might discover that e-books hosted on a certain type of landing page convert really well (better than webinars, fpr example).
In the case of this math tutoring company, you might make the decision to add an e-book about “how to make styudying more effective” in 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:
Why you’re creating the content
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.
5 Audit and plan your earned media campaigns
Evaluating your previous earned media against your current goals can help you get an idea of where to focus your time. Look at where your traffic leads are coming from (if that’s your goal) and rank each earned source from most to least effective.
You may find a particular article you contributed to the industry press drove a lot of qualified traffic to your website, which boosted conversions. Or, you may discover LinhkedIn is where you see most people sharing content, increased traffic.
The idea is to build a picture of what types of earned media will help you reach your goals (and what won’t), based on historical data. However, if there’s something new you want to experiment with, don’t rule it out just because it’s never been done before.
6 Audit and plan your paid media campaigns
This process involves much of the same process. You need to evaluate your existing paid media across each platform (e.g. Google AdWords, , Facebook, Twitter, etc.) to figure out what’s most likely to help you meet your current goals.
If you’ve spent a lot money on Adwords and haven’t seen the results you’d hoped for, maybe it’s time to refine your approach., or crap it altogether and focus on another platform that seems to be yielding better results.
By the end of the process, you should have a clear idea of which paid media platforms you want to continue (if any), and which you’d like to remove from your strategy.
Bring your digital marketing strategy together
You’ve done the planning and the research, and you now have a solid vision of the elements that will make up your digital marketing strategy.
To review, here’s what you should have solidified so far:
Clear profile(s) of your buyer persona(s)
One or more digital marketing specific goal
An inventory of existing owned, earned and paid media
An audit of your existing earned and paid media
An owned content creation plan or wish list
Now it’s time to bring it all together to form a cohesive strategy document.
Let’s revisit what digital strategy means: the series of actions that are going to help you achieve your goals through online (digital) marketing .This means your strategy document should map out the series of actions you’re going to take to achieve your goals, based on your research up to this point.
You’ll also need to plan your strategy for the long-term – typically around 6-12 months is a good starting point depending on your business. This will allow you to overlay when you and your team will be executing each action. For example:
In January, you’ll start a blog, which will be continually updated once a week for the entire year.
In March, you’ll launch a new e-book accompanied by paid promotion.
In July, you’ll prepare for your biggest business months – what do you hope
to have obserned at this point will influence the content you produce to support it?.
In September, you’ll focus on earned media in the form of PR to drive additional traffic during the run-up
By taking this approach you’ll create a structured timeline for your strategic activities throughout the year.
Article credit: Hubspot Blog