If you want to succeed with digital marketing, you need a plan. Improvising doesn’t work; there are too many variables, too many marketing channels, too many moving parts. You can’t throw things against the wall and hope something sticks.
What you need, instead, is…
- A clear idea of what you’re trying to accomplish
- A plan for getting there
- A process for optimising your efforts and reaching your goals
A marketing strategy covers all 3 points, ensuring you get to where you’re going with consistency. And today, we’ll explain how you can create an effective marketing strategy and apply it to grow your own business.
Let’s start with the basics…
What is a digital marketing strategy?
A digital marketing strategy is a long-term, high-level approach to marketing your business online. It’s different from low-level digital marketing tactics, which tell us what to do next. Its purpose is to give us a single approach to all aspects of a business’s online marketing.
A digital marketing strategy answers four questions:
- What are we trying to achieve?
- Who are we trying to reach?
- What do we need to do to get there?
- How will we measure success?
In answering these 4 questions, we come to discover specific tactics that can help us – like Social Media campaigns, influencer partnerships, and email newsletters.
Why do I need a digital marketing strategy?
A digital marketing strategy helps turn digital marketing activities into a single, cohesive plan.
Without a strategy in place, businesses risk their digital marketing activities becoming isolated, with each one working in a silo and not contributing to the overall goal. The result is wasted time and resources.
For example: let’s say a brand is spending money on Social Media Marketing… But failing to convert Social traffic into website sales. Their marketing activities aren’t connected by a single strategy, and money is lost as a result.
A digital marketing strategy ensures that all activities work together to move a brand closer to its goals. It serves as a roadmap, guiding marketers and managers in the right direction and helping them avoid detours.
Digital Marketing: 7 Main Strategic Goals
Digital marketing strategy connects high-level goals, like revenue growth, with marketing targets. Here are the 6 main types of goals to keep in mind.
1. Lead generation
A lead is a contact interested in your offer. In digital marketing, this is usually someone who gives you their email address and/or phone number.
Leads are the lifeblood of most businesses, but especially service-based businesses and subscription services. This makes lead generation one of the main strategic goals of online marketing.
The idea behind lead generation is to get people interested in your product or service while getting their contact information.
2. Conversion rate optimisation
Your conversion rate is the rate at which customers progress into the next stage of the customer journey. This could be the lead-to-customer conversion rate, the visitor-to-lead conversion rate, etc.
Through fine-tuning your marketing activities and website design, you can increase the number of people who take the desired action. This is an important strategic goal; CRO makes a big impact, especially when you already have lots of traffic and sales.
3. Online sales
Increasing online sales is another common goal. You can drive more traffic to your website, improve conversions, remarket through paid ads and email… These methods, and others, all encourage more people to make a purchase.
4. App downloads
If you have an app and want people to download it, app downloads may be a key strategic goal.
Common ways to increase app downloads include driving more traffic, improving your landing page so it converts better, or adding a referral system to your app.
5. Brand awareness
Brand awareness is the degree to which your target audience knows you and your brand. A large brand like Apple has so much brand awareness it doesn’t need to spend money on engaging new customers. A small brand has little to no brand awareness.
For brand awareness, SMBs focus on engaging and nurturing prospects. Popular tactics include social media marketing, content marketing, and PPC advertising with subsequent retargeting. All of these methods tell people about your brand (and keep you top of mind).
6. Website traffic
To convert visitors into leads and customers, you need website traffic. This is another key goal for marketers and managers. Just remember to focus on your bottom line; in and of itself, website traffic isn’t a strong predictor of business performance.
SEO, social media marketing, and PPC advertising all help increase website traffic. PPC advertising is the fastest method; SEO is the most scalable.
7. Revenue and profit growth
Revenue and profit can be hard to measure and track, but they’re the best indicator of digital marketing performance. If you can find KPIs for profit and revenue growth, they’re a solid goal for any business.
Develop your marketing strategy in 8 steps
Now let’s look at the specific steps involved in creating a cohesive, effective digital marketing strategy.
1. Audit your current situation
The first step is to evaluate and understand your current situation. This includes understanding your strengths and weaknesses, as well as the opportunities and threats that you face.
To do this, you’ll need to answer the following questions:
- What are your business goals?
- Who is your target audience?
- What are your current marketing channels?
- What’s your ROAS (Return on Ad Spend)? What’s your ROI on all marketing efforts?
- What is your website like? Have you optimised it for search engines and conversion?
- How well is your content performing?
- How well is your social media content performing?
- Are you using any paid advertising?
- What is your conversion rate?
Once you have a good understanding of your current situation, you can start to develop a plan for improvement.
Be as honest as possible as you audit your business. Don’t sugar coat anything. You want to have a clear picture of your business and where it stands. This will help you to identify areas that need improvement and set realistic goals.
2. Create digital marketing goals
The next step is to set some goals for your digital marketing strategy. These should be aligned with your overall business goals, and they should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART).
We cover the 7 main goals of marketing earlier on in this article. Some examples include:
- Generating more leads
- Increasing brand awareness
- Improving website traffic
- Improving conversion rates
An example of a SMART digital marketing goal might be: Improve website conversion rate by 25% within three months.
Don’t set vague goals, like “get more website traffic”. And don’t set goals that are impossible to achieve, like increase website traffic by 1000% in a month. Be realistic in your goal setting and you’ll have a solid foundation for strategic marketing.
3. Establish KPIs and key metrics
As the saying goes, you can’t manage what you don’t measure. You need to establish Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and metrics that will tell you whether you are hitting your digital marketing goals. Your KPIs should be tied directly to and flow out of your goals.
For example, if your goal is to improve your website conversion rate by 25%, your KPIs will might be:
- Conversion rate (how many people who visit your site actually buy)
- Traffic (the overall number of visitors)
- Bounce rate (the % of people who leave your website)
- Dwell time on page (how long people stay on your website)
Each of these metrics can help you determine your progress and highlight areas for improvement. If you see that a landing page has a high bounce rate and a low dwell time, you’ll know it’s not performing well – and vice versa.
Avoid vanity metrics when setting your KPIs. Increasing your social media following may be good, but if it’s not moving the needle on your business goals then it doesn’t matter. Likes and retweets don’t pay the bills.
4. Know your audience
The next step is to better understand your target audience. This includes understanding their needs, wants, and values. It also includes understanding how they use the internet and what kind of content they are looking for.
To get to know your audience, you can create buyer personas. These are fictional characters that represent your ideal customer. Once you have created your buyer personas, you can start to develop a deep understanding of their needs, wants, and values.
Your buyer personas should include information like:
- Family situation
- Hobbies and interests
- Challenges they are facing
- The kind of content they are looking for
- The kind of tone they prefer
- How they like to consume content (text, video, audio).
The goal when creating buyer personas is to get a thorough understanding of what makes your target audience tick. You want to see things from their perspective and understand what motivates.
Conducting surveys can help you gain even more understanding of your audience. You can also use social media listening tools to track what people are saying about your brand or the topics that are important to your audience.
5. Map out the customer journey
The customer journey includes every touchpoint a customer has with your brand from the moment they first discover you to becoming a paying customer to making repeat purchases. The goal is to identify every place a customer might interact with you and then optimise those places to create a superior customer journey.
To map out the customer journey, you’ll need to answer the following questions:
- What are the main stages of the customer journey?
- What are the touchpoints for each stage?
- What content or messages do your customers need at each stage?
- How can you make sure they see that content?
- Are there any potential pain points in the customer journey?
- How can you remove or reduce those pain points?
This is yet another way of seeing things from the perspective of your customers. Once you know what they need and want at each stage of the customer journey, you can start to optimise their experience. The end result is a smooth, cohesive experience from start to finish.
6. Analyse the competition
To differentiate yourself in a crowded marketplace, you need to understand your competition. This includes understanding their strengths and weaknesses as well as their digital marketing strategy.
Once you have this information, you can start to figure out how to position yourself in a way that makes you the best choice for your target audience.
When analysing the competition, try to answer the following questions:
- Who are they targeting?
- What are their main marketing channels?
- What kind of content are they creating?
- What are their strengths and weaknesses?
- How can you position yourself differently in the market?
Your goal is to understand what your competition is doing and then find a way to do it better. This might mean targeting a different audience, using different marketing channels, or creating better content. Whatever it is, find a way to stand out from the competition.
7. Choose your marketing channels (paid and owned)
It’s finally time to choose your marketing channels. But before you do, you need to understand the difference between paid, owned, and earned media.
Paid media is any kind of advertising. This includes things like search engine marketing (SEM), social media advertising, display advertising, and native advertising. Paid media is a great way to reach new people who might not be aware of your brand.
Owned media is any kind of channel that you control. This includes your website, blog, social media profiles, and email list. Owned media is effective for building relationships with your existing customers and reach new ones who are already aware of your brand.
Earned media is any kind of exposure that you didn’t have to pay for. This includes things like press coverage, social media mentions, and word-of-mouth. Earned media allows you to build trust and credibility with potential customers.
The best digital marketing strategies use a mix of all three types of media. So, for example, your marketing channels might include your website, PPC ads, SEO-optimised blog posts, and social media. By utilising a mix of paid, owned, and earned channels, you can reach your target audience wherever they are online.
8. Review and optimise
Once you’ve implemented your digital marketing strategy, it’s time to review and optimise. This is an ongoing process because as the market changes and your business grows, your strategy will need to change too.
Reviewing and optimising should be a regular part of your process so that you can make sure you’re on track to reach your goals. This is where your KPIs and key metrics come into play.
Start by reviewing your goals and objectives. Are you on track to reach them? If not, what needs to change? Next, take a look at your KPIs and key metrics. Which ones are performing well? Which ones need improvement? Finally, review your marketing channels. Are they still the most effective way to reach your target audience? If not, it’s time to make some changes.
By regularly reviewing and optimising your digital marketing strategy, you can ensure that you’re always on the path to success.
The 5 Pillars of Strategic Digital Marketing
In the previous section, we looked at common strategic goals. Now let’s look about the 5 foundational tactics that help marketers actually reach these goals.
Email marketing is the process of sending out targeted emails to a list of subscribers. This can be to promote new products or services, generate leads, or simply keep customers updated on what’s going on with your business.
Email marketing is an effective way to keep your audience engaged. It can also be used to generate leads and drive sales. It’s the most profitable of all marketing tactics, with an average ROI of 42x.
There are a number of ways to build your email list if you’ve never done it before. One of the most effective is to offer a free lead magnet. A lead magnet is a piece of content that is designed to attract leads and get them to sign up for your email list.
Some examples of lead magnets include ebooks, webinars, free trials, and templates. Once you have a lead’s email address, you can start sending them targeted emails that will nurture them through the sales funnel.
Email Marketing Segmentation
To improve email marketing results, segment your audience. This means sending different types of emails to different groups of people. For example, you might send one email to those who have just subscribed and another to those who have been on your list for a while.
You can also segment your audience by their location, age, gender, interests, or any other criteria. Segmenting your audience allows you to send more targeted emails, which will result in better engagement and conversions.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
SEO is the process of optimising a website for Google Search with the goal of earning more organic traffic and improving visibility. The main aim of SEO is to rank higher on Google’s SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). The higher the ranking, the more traffic you get.
Regular SEO makes you visible to anyone looking for relevant keywords in all of Australia (or worldwide). It’s what most people think about when they think “SEO”.
Local SEO is the process of helping people find your website locally. This includes things like adding your business to Google My Business and directories. Local SEO is important if you have a brick-and-mortar business that relies on local customers.
SEO includes many different strategies and tactics, including:
The process of making sure that each page on your website is optimised for the keywords you want to rank for. This includes things like title tags, meta descriptions, and header tags.
On-page optimisation also includes sprinkling keywords naturally throughout your pages to help Google better understand the content.
A third key part of modern on-page optimisation is load speed and UX (user experience) design. Google wants to provide users with a superior experience, which includes serving them pages that load quickly.
User experience is especially important for mobile devices. With more people than ever using smartphones and tablets to access the internet, it’s important that your website is optimised for mobile. This includes things like responsive design and mobile-friendly pages.
If your website is not optimised for mobile, Google will rank your pages significantly lower.
Off-page optimisation is everything that happens outside your website. It mainly refers to building links to your website from other websites.
Off-page SEO helps improve your website’s authority and credibility, which eventually leads to better rankings. Other off page optimisation tactics include getting social media mentions.
Technical SEO is the process of making sure that your website is technically sound and compliant with Google’s guidelines. This includes things like site structure, Robots.txt files, sitemaps, and redirects. Technical SEO is important because it helps Google index and crawl your website more effectively.
Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising
PPC is a type of online advertising in which you can pay to have your ads displayed online. Popular ad placement locations include the Google search results page, the Facebook newsfeed, various websites, and more.
PPC can be an effective way to earn more web traffic, especially if the ads are well-targeted and relevant to the target audience. It can also be used to improve brand awareness and reach people who might not otherwise see the ads.
PPC is effective at generating a quick surge of traffic, which is beneficial for things like product launches. The downside of PPC is that as soon as you stop paying for clicks, the traffic stops. With the exception of retargeting ads, PPC is generally used at the top of the funnel to make initial contact with potential customers.
Content marketing is the process of creating and sharing content (such as blog posts, infographics, videos, etc.) with the goal of attracting and retaining customers. The aim is to educate people about your products or services in a way that is interesting and engaging.
The primary focus of content marketing is providing value to your audience. This is done by creating helpful and informative content that solves their problems or answers their questions. Content marketing can be used to improve SEO, build brand awareness, generate leads, and more. It is a long-term strategy that requires regular effort, but it can be very effective.
It’s important to note that content marketing includes both creating content and promoting it. You can’t just expect your audience to find your content on their own. You need to actively promote it through social media, email marketing, and other channels.
Content marketing can be used at every stage of the funnel. At the top of the funnel, it can be used to attract attention and generate leads. In the middle of the funnel, it can be used to nurture leads and build relationships. And at the bottom of the funnel, it can be used to convert leads into customers and turn them into loyal fans.
Social media marketing
Social media marketing is the process of using social media platforms (such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) to build relationships and interact with potential and current customers. The goal is usually to generate leads, build brand awareness, and engage with your audience in a meaningful way.
The best social media platforms for marketing vary depending on the business. However, some of the most popular platforms for small businesses are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and (increasingly) TikTok.
The benefits of having a digital marketing strategy
1. Improved online visibility
Without a digital marketing strategy in place, online visibility will kept to a minimum. There is no clear plan of action to follow, and you will not know what steps to take to improve your online presence.
With a digital marketing strategy, you can identify the channels that will work best for you and use these channels to their advantage. Online visibility will be increased, and more people will be able to find the business.
2. Better engagement with customers and prospects
By understanding who the target audience is and what they want, you can create content that appeals to them. The more relevant the content is, the more likely people are to engage with it.
A strong digital marketing strategy ensures that all content is created with the target audience in mind. This helps to improve engagement and make people more likely to take the desired action, whether that’s making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter, or requesting more information.
3. Increased ROI
When there is no digital marketing strategy in place, you may invest in tactics that are not effective and do not bring about the desired results. This is a waste of time and money, and it can be quite frustrating.
A robust strategy ensures that you are investing in the right tactics and channels, and that you are doing so in a way that is efficient and effective. This maximises the ROI, making the digital marketing strategy more cost-effective.
4. Ability to measure progress
A well-defined strategy allows you to track your progress and see what is working and what needs improvement. This helps to ensure that the money being spent on digital marketing is being put to good use and that you are moving closer to your goals.
5. Create a cohesive online experience for customers
By having a strong strategy in place, businesses can create a cohesive online experience for their customers. All the different aspects of the online presence – from the website to the social media channels – should work together to give customers a consistent experience.
This helps to build trust and makes it more likely that people will do business with the company.
Attempting to do digital marketing in Australia without a digital marketing strategy in place is like trying to drive to a location without any directions. Your digital marketing strategy serves as a roadmap, guiding you in terms of goals to set and actions required to meet those goals.
You may be tempted to dive right into digital marketing without taking the time to establish a strategy. Don’t do it. Even though it takes time and resources, the results of creating a strategy are well worth it.
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