A comprehensive digital marketing strategy is a necessary tool for a successful digital marketing campaign. The maxim, “he who fails to plan, plans to fail” is also true in the digital world. The digital world is a very complex world with so much information. Year in year out, digital marketing agencies and SEO experts come up with new tools and strategies that can help organizations achieve their digital marketing goals. It is very easy to latch on to every new idea and strategy without developing a comprehensive, concise and effective digital marketing strategy.
A research by Smart Insights quoted by the Content Marketing Institute says that only 34% of respondents have a clearly defined digital marketing strategy. Almost half have no defined marketing strategy. They just swim in the river of the latest trends. A marketing plan is crucial to derive more efficiency and effectiveness in the digital marketing world. It is for this reason that a digital marketing strategy is important and necessary.
An understanding of the digital marketing process is foundational to crafting a digital marketing strategy. Digital marketers must go beyond roadside marketing and have a charted plan that drives their innovations and marketing activities.
The benefits of a digital marketing strategy
Having a digital marketing strategy comes with a lot of benefits which include:
- Higher benefit-cost ratio: A well-defined plan ensures that there is value for money spent. Targeted, focused goals are cheaper than spending money on anything that comes by.
- Clear requirements: When you understand the strategy you are pursuing, you know the exact resources you need. A clear strategy helps you define your resource needs. For example, you know if you need a video animator or a graphics designer or both.
- Feedback: A control process is easier when you have a plan. A well-defined strategy allows you to learn from your marketing experience. You can identify the things that worked and the things that didn’t work and create better campaigns in the future.
- Better customer satisfaction: A marketing strategy is crafted on the understanding of who your buyers are and what their buying behavior looks like. Such clarity will lead to a better customer satisfaction.
- Business integration: A well-defined marketing strategy helps you to integrate your digital marketing with other business functions. It is easy to view digital marketing as a stand-alone business function. A marketing strategy ensures that your digital marketing is synced with your overall business goals and objectives.
The digital marketing strategy process
A digital marketing strategy process details the steps that a business takes to craft a comprehensive and effective digital marketing strategy. A digital marketing strategy process is similar to other types of marketing plans.
- Outline business goals: What are the specific goals that your business is trying to achieve? Business goals can be short term, medium term or long term. SMART business goals will ensure that your digital marketing strategy is not a stand-alone but it is integrated into wider business goals.
- Outline digital marketing objectives: In light of the business goals above, what are the objectives of your digital marketing? Create brand awareness? Increase revenue by X%? Increase customer satisfaction by x%? Multiply website traffic 4x? Increase market share by 25%? This is where you need to be as specific as possible. Outline your objectives in percentages and other measurable metrics.
- Define your budget: What amount of money are you willing to commit to your digital marketing in order to achieve the above objectives? Budgeting will depend on your objectives and the experience you have gathered so far. You will want to speak to your in-house digital marketing team or a digital marketing agency.
- Define your target audience, market segment, and buyer persona: This is the foundation of the digital marketing process. This might not be an entirely new step for your business. You can easily get the details from your other marketing plans. However, you will want to be so clear and so specific on the target audience and the particular market segment you are targeting with your product or service. You cannot be too specific.
- Define a strategy for each element of the digital marketing process: There should be a strategy for each of the steps in the digital marketing process (promote, build, attract, convert, measure, feedback). The strategy for each of these steps must flow out of the overall digital marketing objectives. The strategy will also involve a clear delineation of the marketing channels that will be most appropriate in each case.
The elements of a digital marketing strategy
The strategy for each of the steps of the digital marketing process will include (depending on your digital marketing objectives):
- Brand awareness strategies: How do we promote our brand to our target audience? How do we get our unique selling proposition to them?
- SEO strategies: How do rank on Google’s first page for keywords that are most important for our business? How do we position ourselves as experts on topics that our target audience is searching? DO we need in-house experts or SEO agencies?
- Content marketing strategies: How do we consistently create content that is valuable to our target audience? What channels will we use for such communication? DO we need to hire writers? What type of content will be most beneficial to our audience?
- Lead generation strategies: Do we need to rely on paid advertising or only on organic search? How do we build landing pages? What numbers do we need on our mailing list and how do we get them?
- Sales funnel conversion strategies: How do we move our leads down in the sales funnels? What will be our offer? Discounts? Time-sensitive offers? Coupons?
- Social media strategies: What Social media platforms are best for our kind of business and our target audience? How can we optimize our business pages on social media? Do we need a social media expert or allow our PR team to manage it?
- Remarketing strategies: How do we upsell and cross-sell to our buyers? What strategies will ensure that buyers come back for new offers?
The pre-requisites to a digital marketing strategy
Apart from an understanding of the digital marketing process, there are other pre-requisites before you start crafting your digital marketing strategy. Doing your homework on this front will enable you to get the best out of your strategy and the campaign itself.
- Industry Analysis: Most likely, there are some factors unique to your industry that will influence your digital marketing strategy. Maybe some marketing channels don’t just work in your industry. It is important to find out the dynamics of your industry. Read digital marketing reports and follow some digital marketing blogs that are focused on your industry. For example, this article was written for those in the retail industry. It outlines the dynamics of the retail industry for digital marketing.
Huffington Post also buttresses this point. There is an article where they explain why industry-specific digital marketing drives better results. This means that you should also employ a digital marketing agency familiar with your industry rather than a generic agency.
- Competitor Analysis: There are tools that can help you know what your competitors are doing right. Buzzsumo and Ahrefs can give you a look into their content and SEO strategies. You can also research their lead generation and conversion strategies by looking at their landing pages. Competitor analysis gives you a platform upon which you can build your own strategy while emphasizing your unique selling proposition and brand.
- Data Analytics: Before creating a new digital marketing strategy, always analyze the results of the previous one. What did we do right? How can we improve? What did we do wrong? Are there trends and changes do we need to account for? Do we have new business goals or new objectives? What business dynamics will likely affect our digital marketing goals?
These kinds of questions will ensure you are dynamic with your strategy. Measurement of performance and feedback are some of the key advantages of digital marketing.
Digital marketing strategy templates
If you need a motivation to create our own digital marketing strategies, here are some templates and guides you can use:
- 7 Digital Marketing Strategies and How to Plan Your Own Campaign [Template] from Hubspot blog. It takes a look at 7 companies in different industries and the marketing strategies they have used effectively.
- Free digital marketing plan template from Smart Insights. A 9-page template that shows how the steps of the digital marketing process play into the digital marketing strategy.
- Digital marketing plan guide and template by Vtl Design. The worksheet and the template are available upon email subscription. There is a comprehensive guide on the page.
- Digital marketing strategy template from Content Garden. This was designed for small businesses and non-profits.
- Digital marketing strategy template by B2B marketing. It requires a free sign up before you can have access. It is best for B2B companies.