These days, incorporating a digital marketing strategy into your plan is not only recommended but pretty much essential. What do we consider a “digital strategy”? A plan that uses digital resources to achieve one or more marketing objectives.
The Adoption of a Digital-First Strategy
Since 2012, Smart Insights has run an informal poll to see how widely used digital marketing strategies are (among companies). Even as recently as 2017, they found that around two-thirds to three-quarters of respondents did not have a digital marketing plan. That number has shrunk to 45% in the 2020 survey which means almost half are still doing digital with no strategy in place.
Furthermore, a 2019 survey from Powderkeg discovered that the most common challenge (for their respondents) in 2018 was having “little to no strategy” in place.
Developing a Digital Strategy
There are several steps to take when developing a digital marketing strategy, and can sometimes be different depending on your company’s mindset, existing marketing plans, and objectives.
Identify your objectives and KPIs.
You’re on board for digital marketing (which is great!), but now what? You need to identify what you want to achieve with your marketing budget, and what KPIs (key performance indicators) will be crucial in determining success. For example, if your brand name is strong and your digital marketing is most needed for “closing the deal” with website retargeting, then establish that. If you’re a start-up with a new product, you’ll need to focus efforts on awareness and education first.
Build out an effective conversion funnel.
What does your internal sales process look like? The conversion funnel that you utilize for digital marketing strategy should really mirror that, for maximum effectiveness. The textbook funnel usually starts with awareness, then moves down into consideration, and finally ends with engagement or action. But one size may not fit all, and your funnel might require extra stages for lead nurturing, or additional education if the product is innovative or complex.
Map out user personas.
We are devout believers in knowing your audience before a penny of your marketing budget is spent; content may be king, but so is relevance. Without mapping out your target audience(s) and matching appropriate messages and creative to your ideal prospect, you’re pretty much falling on deaf ears; even brand awareness, the top of the conversion funnel, should be served to relevant personas!
Understand how each digital channel works.
This may sound like a given, but can sometimes be overlooked. For example, SEO (search engine optimization) and Paid Search operate in tandem yet act differently. SEO performs best when content is at the forefront, and all technical best practices have been met. It is also a slow progression from start to “traction” – it requires constant monitoring, optimization, and patience. On the other side of the SERP (search engine results page), paid search is the fast-moving counterpart. We don’t recommend slapping some keywords together with one ad, launching and letting it run solo, but it is possible to generate traffic almost immediately.
Executing a Solid Strategy
Whether you’ve taken the steps above on your own, or realize that you’d rather extend the project to a seasoned team, there are a few things to remember when executing your digital marketing strategy. If this is your first real marketing budget, start small with your execution. Marketing strategy should be phased in, and can always be expanded upon. You can’t get a refund on your media! Phasing your tactics will also help you to not stretch your resources too thin. You don’t need to launch multiple campaigns over multiple channels simultaneously (at first). We recommend starting with a realistic, manageable strategy so that you can properly test your efforts, analyze, optimize, and expand.
Our team of digital marketing strategists have planned hundreds of performance-based campaigns, and are here to help you! Contact us today to discuss your digital marketing strategy needs.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the most common digital marketing strategies?
Search engine optimization, pay per click (PPC) advertising, social media marketing, influencer marketing, and content marketing are the most common digital marketing strategies.
Why is a digital marketing strategy important?
A digital marketing strategy builds brand awareness, generates website traffic, and puts your brand in front of its competitors in search results.