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What Is A Digital Marketing Strategy? 5 Steps To Create One

A comprehensive business plan includes a digital marketing strategy that details how to use digital channels to accomplish the plan’s main objectives.

Any profitable company needs a good digital marketing plan.

Making a strategy is one thing, but putting it into action is equally, if not more, crucial.

But where is the best spot to begin developing and refining your plan given how quickly the digital landscape is changing?

Continue reading to discover how to develop a powerful digital marketing plan for your company.

What Is A Digital Marketing Strategy?

Digital will inevitably take the center stage in your overall marketing plan.

Many of those touchpoints will be digital, with an average of 12 touchpoints and two months for a customer to convert from awareness to sale.

Although there isn’t a single, unambiguous description of what a digital marketing strategy is, the following may be said about it:

A comprehensive business plan includes a digital marketing strategy that details how to use digital channels to accomplish the plan’s main objectives.

A digital marketing strategy must be tailored toward specific company key performance indicators (KPIs). Core elements of creating a successful strategy include:

  • Digital channels.
  • Target audience and regions.
  • Core messaging components.
  • Budgets.

As part of a digital marketing strategy, specific channels are identified to target the company’s ideal customers and lead them toward conversion.

These channels can include (but are not limited to):

  • Search engines.
  • Social media platforms.
  • Email.
  • Websites.
  • Apps.

Choosing channels is just one element of a comprehensive digital marketing plan. Consistent and pertinent messaging for the target audience is the second crucial element that is required.

While the overall message should be the same across all platforms, the manner companies interact with customers and speak to them in particular will differ by platform and should.

Digital Strategy Vs. Tactics

Many brands tend to confuse strategies and tactics and end up blending them together.

While both are essential elements of a marketing plan, strategy and tactics have different definitions and serve different purposes.

As mentioned above, a strategy is part of a larger business plan to help brands reach overarching company goals.

Conversely, tactics are planned actions to achieve a greater marketing strategy.

What Sets Digital Strategies And Tactics Apart?

StrategyTactics
Focused on long-term goalsFocused on short-term goals
Part of a larger company planCan be measurable objectives
Channel-orientedCampaign-oriented
Audience-orientedAction-oriented
Provides a roadmap for tactics

Digital Strategy Examples

While distinct brands’ digital marketing plans may have some traits, each strategy and its associated approaches will be unique. There is no “one size fits all” in strategies.

The following are some of the more popular digital marketing techniques utilized by businesses worldwide:

advertising that charges per click (PPC).
SEO, or search engine optimization.
content promotion.
Ecommerce.
Email promotion.
social media promotion.

PPC Advertising

In PPC marketing, businesses pay each time a user clicks on their advertisement and is directed to the company website. PPC campaigns are typically run via Google Ads and Microsoft Ads.

Depending on the objectives of the advertiser, there are various campaign kinds available inside those two PPC platforms. These may consist of:

Google advertisements.
advertising that are displayed.
advertisements for stores.
advertisements on YouTube.
App advertisements.
Ads to be found.
Efficacy Maximum.
plus more.

PPC ads can be hyper-targeted to specific audiences or targeted to the masses, depending on the brand’s objectives. PPC is generally used to drive a brand’s traffic, sales, and conversions.

An example of a PPC search ad on Google is below.

SEO

In order to rank higher in the search engine results pages (SERPs), an SEO plan entails enhancing the brand’s website, mobile application, or content.

The exposure of a brand’s website and content in organic (non-paid) searches improves when they are optimized, which eventually increases website traffic.

While there are often no “direct” charges associated with SEO (unlike PPC advertising), there are indirect costs such as:

employee or agency fees.
Technology or third-party platforms are expensive.

One benefit of having a strong SEO strategy is that, over time, the reliance on PPC marketing can be reduced, making the budget more efficient.

Using the same example of the search query [ppc software], an example of organic listings and answer boxes on the Google SERP is below.

Content Marketing

If you will, this tactic involves more “behind-the-scenes” work. It involves producing (and sharing) special content that is beneficial to a company’s target market.
Making unique forms of content for each digital platform is a component of a content marketing strategy.

For instance, short video snippets (no more than three minutes) would be the type of content that a brand would produce for the TikTok platform.

On the other hand, a brand may need to develop a long-form article and blog plan for its website if it wishes to raise brand authority.

The goal of content marketing is to develop trust with the target audience so that they will become loyal, repeat consumers.

Using the same example as the PPC section above, an example of content marketing is below. The brand Skai (formerly Kenshoo) curates blog posts for its readers to increase engagement.

Ecommerce

An ecommerce strategy should be essential to a company’s commercial objectives if a brand offers tangible goods.

Enabling an ecommerce strategy entails setting up an online storefront where customers may buy goods.

A few of the strategies in an e-commerce plan could be:

establishing a direct-to-consumer (DTC) internet storefront for brands.
selling tangible goods on online markets like Amazon.
establishing affiliate sales systems whereby third parties are compensated to market the goods of brands.
To increase sales, use paid shopping advertisements on Google and Microsoft.
marketing via brand ambassadors and influencers.

Email Marketing

This part of a digital strategy entails delivering customized emails to clients both old and new. The ultimate objective of email marketing is to increase leads, sales, or other types of transactions while fostering repeat business all throughout the customer journey.

For instance, after becoming engaged, a bride-to-be searches for the ideal wedding invites.

An email strategy cadence is made once the user has signed up to receive email or marketing communications from the brand to help them with the planning process. That might incorporate:

on wedding invites, promoting free samples.
wedding invitation sets at a discount.
After the wedding, receive free (or discounted) thank-you cards.
program for referrals to generate word-of-mouth sales.

Email marketing is a great way to talk to the target audience and build lasting customer relationships, even after the initial purchase.

Below is an example of a targeted email offering a promotion in my inbox:

Social Media Marketing

Depending on the brand, a social media marketing strategy will have different use cases and goals.

Social media channels should be picked to promote content or engage with the target audience in some way as part of a bigger digital marketing strategy.

Just a few strategies that can be applied to social media marketing are listed below:

producing original stuff for posting.
running paid advertisements to target viewers on platforms.
launching influencer marketing programs in accordance with the intended objective.
Here is an illustration of a retargeting Facebook ad using the same brand as in the email section:

How To Create A Digital Strategy In 5 Steps

As previously indicated, after determining the general business goals, a digital marketing strategy should be developed.

For this reason, the steps to create a successful digital strategy include specific steps to help achieve the larger business goals.

Step 1: Identify Target Audience And Build Personas

The effectiveness of a digital marketing plan depends on its target market. After all, it is they who pay for the goods and services offered by your company.

Take the following factors into account when choosing a target persona:

Demographics: As soon as you’ve decided where to market your goods and services, check to see if any certain regions are likely to perform better than others. Age, parenting status, household income, and more are additional demographic categories.
What types of pastimes does your ideal persona enjoy? The customer’s content may benefit from the use of this information.
Online content consumption habits: How (and where) do these consumers access it? Do they act as impulsive buyers? Which social media sites do they use frequently?

Step 2: Conduct Competitor Landscape Analysis

Before launching into digital channels, it’s critical to comprehend the digital landscape.

The following are some essential elements of doing a competition analysis:

Which rivals are placing bids on the relevant keywords you want to target?
What messages are rivals using to reach their intended audience?
Which television channels do rivals advertise on?
How do you rank organically in comparison to your rivals?
What is the monthly spending on digital advertising for rivals?
Many of these issues can be answered with the aid of third-party tools like Semrush, SpyFu, Google Keyword Planner, and Google Trends.

Note that the data from any third-party tool cannot be guaranteed to be 100% correct and should only be used as a general reference.

Step 3: Determine Necessary Digital Marketing Channels

Once you’ve figured out who your target audience is and where they hang out online, it’s time to determine the key digital marketing channels.

Ideally, a mix of channels will be chosen as it’s not best practice to choose one or two and put all your eggs in one basket.

The key is to diversify the digital channels and meet your customers where they’re online at any given point in time.

These channels will likely include any of the above in the digital strategy examples section.

Each channel identified should include its own set of KPIs. These are set by the marketers and greater business teams.

Be sure not to set the same KPIs and measurement goals for each channel, as they all serve different purposes.

Creating realistic measurement goals ensures that awareness channels are measured against awareness KPIs, such as brand lift instead of direct conversions.

As with any digital channel, it’s important to understand how they can be measured.

This step should include identifying a proper measurement platform, such as Google Analytics or another tool, to ensure that marketing dollars and channels can be measured.

Step 4: Create Content And Unique Value Proposition Plan

Planning your content for each digital channel is now necessary after the digital channels have been selected.

The secret is to provide a consistent messaging structure that can be applied to each channel and modified as needed. You won’t have to start from scratch every time.

For instance, the material should not be centered on a straight conversion or a “Buy Now” CTA if you want to present your business on YouTube or the Google Display Network. Simply said, that is placing too much demand on the first touchpoint for brand awareness.

For someone who is further along in their search process and is seeking for specific goods and services, on the other hand, that can be the ideal time to offer discounts and other special deals.

Step 5: Execute And Optimize Digital Marketing Strategy

Once you’ve defined steps 1-4, it’s time to launch your digital marketing strategy.

However, the work is not done yet. Your digital marketing strategy should be ongoing and fluid based on performance and the changing market landscape.

Digital marketing channels and campaigns should be continuously monitored and analyzed to ensure that marketing budgets and resources are utilized most effectively.

This should include daily, weekly, and monthly checkpoints in each channel.

Monthly reports and quarterly business reviews (QBRs) should be conducted to provide opportunities to shift and pivot strategy based on findings.

Summary

Digital marketing strategies are not a “one size fits all.” They also should not be the only strategy a brand has.

While it’s important to think about “digital-first” when it comes to strategies, it needs to align with the overarching business goals.

Don’t confuse strategy and tactics and end up rushing into a tactics-first approach.

By taking the time to create a solid digital marketing strategy, you’re setting the brand up for long-term success and the ability to pivot based on performance.

More Resources:

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