Digital Marketing Strategy
Over the last 20 years, we’ve seen a dramatic shift in the way people consume information, purchase products, and interact with each other. At the turn of the century, roughly 50% of Americans were regular internet users, but that figure has now risen to 90%. We now live in a truly digital age.
With the widespread adoption of smartphones and other mobile devices, the internet is readily accessible at a moment’s notice. In this new digital age, the most effective way to reach your audience and grow your business is via online channels. In fact, 2020 was the first year that digital marketing expenditures exceeded traditional marketing expenditures. A well thought out, comprehensive digital marketing strategy is now one of the most critical aspects of your marketing efforts.
Surprisingly, many businesses are still overlooking this critical aspect of the process. Only 38% of companies surveyed have a well-defined digital marketing strategy that is fully integrated with their other marketing efforts. In contrast, 45% of businesses reported having no overarching strategy guiding their digital marketing efforts. Without creating a comprehensive strategy to guide your efforts, you’re much less likely to achieve your desired results. You will also lack the data and insights necessary to evaluate the effectiveness of your efforts in order to improve them over time.
Today, your digital marketing strategy yields a much higher ROI than a traditional marketing strategy. This is the most important way you can distinguish your business from your competitors, engage with potential customers, drive more leads, and increase sales.
What Is a Digital Marketing Strategy?
Your digital marketing strategy refers to the overarching plan behind your marketing efforts. While the specific tactics used to convey your message to your audience is certainly part of this plan, your digital strategy encompasses much more than this. It involves a taking a big picture view of your marketing efforts to ensure they are coordinated in a way that will effectively achieve your goals.
When creating a digital marketing strategy, you must first answer the following questions:
- What are the goals you’re trying to achieve with your marketing efforts?
- Who is the target audience you’re trying to reach?
- What are the products and/or services you’re most concerned with selling?
- What are the market conditions impacting the products or services you provide?
Once you’ve figured out these important items, you’ll be able to start building a long-term strategy that will help your business grow and thrive over time.
The Building Blocks of an Effective Digital Marketing Strategy
There is a basic framework associated with creating an effective digital marketing strategy. It should include the following essential components:
- Establishing clearly defined goals
- Identifying your target audience
- Understanding your market positioning
- Creating your brand message
- Determining the best tactics to convey your message to your audience
- Setting up analytics to measure the success of your efforts
Establishing Your Marketing Goals
In order to be effective, your digital marketing strategy must first establish the goals and objectives you’re trying to achieve through your efforts. Once you understand your goals, it will be much easier to identify the best solutions to achieve them. Without setting goals at the start of the process, you’re much more likely to end up with scattered efforts that don’t help your business achieve any real growth.
When identifying your goals, it’s crucial to use the SMART framework. This means that your goals should be:
This framework will help you create goals that are much more detailed. You’ll have a clear sense of what you’re trying to achieve. For example, setting a goal of “increasing organic website traffic” is relatively vague. Without defining the parameters of this goal, it will be challenging to identify the proper steps to take and measure your success over time. A more effective goal would be to “increase organic website traffic by 100% over the next six months.”
Now you have a specific target to shoot for (100%), and you will be able to measure your success (analytics data will tell you whether or not you hit this target). You also have a specific timeline established for reaching this goal (six months). If you’re hovering around the 100% mark near the end of six months, you’ll know the goal was attainable, whether you achieved it or not. If you blew past this benchmark, it’s likely that you could’ve been more aggressive in your target growth. If you don’t come anywhere near this mark, it’s possible that you set a goal that wasn’t attainable.
Other potential goals to set may include:
- Increasing total number of leads/sales
- Increasing the number of blog subscribers
- Improving engagement on social media platforms
- Boosting the average monthly open rate on emails
- Improving conversion rates for mobile website traffic
Keep in mind that these examples are very general. In order for these goals to effectively drive your marketing strategy, you’ll need to make them SMART. In addition, it’s crucial that you stay focused on the goals that are most important to your business. Setting too many goals can distract you from what truly matters, making it harder to achieve any results. For this reason, we recommend choosing 2-3 core goals that will benefit your business.
Identifying Your Target Audience
An effective digital marketing strategy must be specifically geared towards the needs of your target audience. But in order to understand what these needs are, you must first identify who your audience is. This process involves conducting some research:
- Compile data on your existing customers by talking to your sales team, reviewing website analytics data, and asking your account managers about their conversations with clients.
- Review your social media analytics data to identify the demographics of the users most actively engaging with you on these platforms.
Once you have this information, you should construct several buyer personas. These are representations of the characteristics associated with your target audience. You should create a different persona for each segment of your target audience since each segment may have slightly different behaviors and motivations.
Make sure your personas are as detailed as possible. They should include the following:
- Demographic information (age, geographic location, gender, relationship status, etc.)
- Income level
- Education level
- Job title
- Pain points
- The types of messages that will motivate them to take action
Understanding Your Market Positioning
Knowing your audience is one component necessary to establish effective brand messaging. But you also need to understand your position within your market. This involves:
- Identifying trends impacting your industry
- Evaluating your ability to effectively address these trends
- Assessing how you view yourself in relationship to the market
- Assessing how your business is perceived by the marketplace
You’ll also need to understand how you stack up against your competitors in order to gain a clear picture of your position within the market. This involves performing a comprehensive competitive analysis that helps you determine:
- How your competitors leverage their messaging to distinguish themselves
- Their primary tactics to appeal to and acquire new customers
- Their perceived strengths and weaknesses in comparison to those of your business
There are several steps involved in performing this competitive analysis:
- Identify which competitors to target – This should include a combination of the big businesses in your market as well as some of the smaller, local niche businesses.
- Review each competitor’s website – What products/services do they offer, and how do they stack up against your products/services? What is their unique selling proposition? How effectively have they created a brand that engages customers and conveys their story?
- Evaluate your competitors’ social media accounts – What tactics are they using to engage with their audience? How much engagement is being generated? What are other people saying about your competitors on social media?
- Assess the effectiveness of their SEO tactics – Tools such as SEMrush and Ahrefs can help you to better understand what your competitors are doing to achieve SEO results. Which keywords are they ranking well for? Which keywords are generating the most traffic for their websites? Are there any keywords that your competitors aren’t targeting which present an opportunity for you? What websites are driving backlinks to your competitors’ websites? Compiling this data will help you understand what is and isn’t working for your competitors. You can use this information to guide your strategy.
- Identify their top performing content – You can use a tool like Buzzsumo to track the activity associated with competitor content marketing efforts. This will help you identify potential content creation opportunities for your digital marketing campaign.
Creating Your Brand Message
You can use your buyer personas and the information you’ve gathered from market positioning to craft a strong brand message that tells your story and connects with your target audience. This message should form the foundation of the story told throughout all of your marketing efforts.
A brand is a memory bank of positive associations between an organization, what it stands for, and the moments of happiness it creates in people’s lives. Effective branding creates an immediately identifiable emotional connection among your audience that goes beyond logic, product superiority, product attributes, or technical specifications. It represents the culmination of the experiences your audience has with your company, and these experiences should be driven by a core set of innate values and a clearly defined organizational purpose.
Building a strong brand is crucial to the success of your marketing efforts:
- It differentiates your experiences from those created by your competitors
- It develops long-lasting relationships based on credibility and trust
- It improves your reputation even before customers/clients have experienced your offering
- It de-emphasizes price in the purchasing decision of potential customers and shifts the focus to the overall brand experience you’re cultivating (people are less likely to stress over price if they feel like they’re receiving an exceptional experience)
- It delivers a consistent look, feel, tone and experience that audiences immediately recognize
- It allows you to create a unique selling proposition (USP) that clearly differentiates you from what is being provided by your competitors
A strong brand contains a variety of important elements, including:
- A distinctive and easily recognizable logo
- An attractive color palette
- A font that complements your logo and colors
- Supporting images and graphics that convey the experience you’re trying to create
- A tagline that encapsulates your unique offering and experience
Determining the Best Tactics to Convey Your Message to Your Audience
As part of your digital marketing strategy, you’ll need to create a plan for getting your message out to your audience. There are a variety of tactics you can use to achieve your marketing goals. The right mix of tactics for you will depend on your specific marketing goals as well as your budget.
Your website is the most important component of your digital marketing efforts. It is the hub from which all of your other tactics build. Your website provides a way for you to tell your story and convey your brand to the public. It should express your company’s purpose and values, explain the products/services you offer, and demonstrate what makes you stand out from your competitors (your USP).
For the most effective results, you should build a custom website that addresses the following elements:
- Aligns with your brand imaging and messaging
- Is easy to navigate
- Is mobile-friendly
- Provides a good user experience
- Acts as a resource for potential customers/clients seeking information about the products/services you offer
- Contains clear calls to action which move your audience through the steps you are trying to get them to take
- Provides important basic information about your company (address, phone number, etc.)
- Includes forms that make it easy for people to contact you directly
Depending on the specifics of your business, your website may need to perform other important functions as well. For example, you may want to enable ecommerce features that allow your audience to purchase your products directly on your website. Or if your business is trying to grow an online community, you may have a forum where members can post comments and ask questions. You may also want to include a gallery that showcases some of your best work. These additional features should help you achieve the goals you established as part of your digital marketing strategy.
A beautiful website is worthless if no one can find it. That’s where search engine optimization (SEO) comes in. A strong SEO strategy will help improve your website’s rankings on the major search engines such as Google and Bing. Google has created a complex algorithm to determine which websites are most relevant for each search being performed. These algorithms are constantly changing and updating. Therefore, it’s crucial to work with an SEO specialist who stays on top of the latest SEO trends and helps you maintain strong search rankings.
It can often be challenging to generate high levels of organic search traffic. There are precious few spaces on the first page of search results, and often you’re competing with websites that are considered to be highly authoritative resources. In addition, there is a local search component associated with which websites appear on the first page. Therefore, it can take a long time for your new website to start ranking well.
One way to generate website traffic while you’re improving your SEO results is to implement a paid search strategy. Pay per click (PPC) advertising can drive qualified leads to your website from the moment you launch your campaign. You have the ability to target people with your paid ads based on a variety of factors, including demographics, geographic location, and the type of device being used. You can also adjust your budget based on the results you’re trying to achieve. You only pay when users click on your ad, so the more effective your ad, the more effective your results.
Content marketing is used to complement your SEO strategy. Providing useful, robust information that your audience finds valuable will significantly improve the performance of your website on search rankings. It’s also an important way to tell your story, convey your brand messaging, and educate your audience about the products/services you offer.
When creating a content marketing strategy, keep in mind that quality is more important than quantity. A few comprehensive, highly informative web pages or blog posts will deliver a lot more value to your overall marketing strategy than flooding your website with low quality, poorly written pieces of content. When writing content, make sure you’re effectively answering the questions asked by your audience, explaining how you can help alleviate their pain points, and providing calls to action that direct users to the next steps in the process.
Social Media Marketing
There are over 223 million active social media users in the United States. As a result, social media marketing can be a powerful tool to help you tell your story and engage with your audience. There are two different aspects to social media marketing:
- Organic social media refers to the exchange of ideas, information and entertainment that occurs when you post on your social media profiles.
- Paid social media refers to the advertising component of these platforms. You can create ads and offers which are targeted to your specific audience. These paid ads will appear as sponsored posts on the newsfeeds of a user’s profile.
Email marketing provides you with the ability to communicate directly with existing customers to build and maintain brand loyalty. You can also communicate with prospects who aren’t ready to purchase just yet so that when they’re ready to make a decision, your business remains top of mind.
There are many ways to grow your email list, from providing quality gated content to interacting with prospects at a trade show to asking new users to register their product after purchasing it. You can then customize your email campaigns to address the specific goals for each type of user on your list. Email marketing is an effective way to complement your other digital marketing efforts, providing another way to reach your audience and tell your story.
Over 90% of people say they read at least one review before making a purchase. More than ever, online reviews can be a powerful tool that helps convert a prospective buyer into a paying customer. This makes sense – people look for social proof that they are making the right decision. When they see lots of positive reviews, they’re more likely to feel confident in their decision than if they see a bunch of negative reviews.
Reputation management focuses on helping you acquire and promote positive online reviews. This strategy seeks to identify customers who’ve had a positive experience with your product or service, and it will direct them to the most commonly visited review sites so that they can share their experience with others.
Setting Up Analytics to Measure the Success of Your Efforts
There is a wealth of data available to measure the success of your digital marketing efforts. It’s important to leverage this data in order to continuously improve your digital marketing strategy. Make sure you’re monitoring analytics data directly related to the goals you’ve established. This will help you get the most value out of your marketing efforts so that you continue to grow your business over time.
Webolutions Can Help You Create an Effective Digital Marketing Strategy
Webolutions is a digital marketing agency in Denver providing comprehensive solutions to help you grow your business. Our process starts with creating a Market Positioning Action Plan™ that clarifies your goals, develops detailed personas and identifies your brand positioning relative to your competition. Then we’ll build a brand platform that transforms your messaging and helps you more effectively live your purpose and values. Based on these efforts, we’ll craft a comprehensive digital marketing strategy that leverages the most effective tactics discussed above to achieve your desired results.
As one of Denver’s leading digital marketing agencies since 1994, Webolutions has watched the industry evolve from its infancy. Our team consists of seasoned professionals with the specialized experience necessary to help your business thrive in a competitive digital landscape.
Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.