How To Develop a Killer Digital Marketing Strategy: Your Complete Guide
For many startups and small businesses, digital marketing offers the most effective way to get your name out into the world.
The problem is, marketing can be a difficult concept to master, especially in today’s constantly changing and fast-paced world.
Social media updates come and go, adverts are constantly tweaked and optimized, blog posts are written and rewritten. How do you stay on top of it all and still deliver a great product to your clients?
Here’s the good news:
Today, we’re going to break down the fundamentals of digital marketing and show you exactly what you need to do to get started.
Let’s dive right in.
What Is a Digital Marketing Strategy?
This might seem like a silly question, but many people confuse strategy and tactic. While both are related, there’s a clear difference between the two.
A tactic is a specific action you take to achieve an end goal. A strategy outlines the overarching plan you use to achieve your mission.
A digital marketing strategy, then, is the overall set of goals and plans you have in place to achieve your business’ marketing goals online. You need to have a digital strategy in place before you begin any of the tactical work that will help you accomplish that mission.
For example, your specific goal might be to increase traffic to your website.
Your digital strategy is how you plan on doing that. You might have multiple tactics, such as email marketing and Facebook ads, but they all work toward getting you to that larger goal.
What’s Included in a Digital Marketing Strategy?
A digital marketing strategy should include at least four key components:
Audience, goals, brand, and the 4 Ps of marketing.
Let’s go through each of these components in more detail.
Before you begin digital marketing, it’s important to take some time and figure out who you’re marketing to.
Who are they? What do they like? What don’t they like? Which digital platforms and networks do they use?
Once you have a clear picture of your audience, you’ll be much better equipped to find them and deliver a message that resonates.
Be as specific as possible when figuring out who your audience is and what their likes and dislikes might be.
For example, if you’re a digital marketing agency, you might want to create multiple buyer personas for different industries and verticals. This will help you tailor your content and marketing for each distinct group.
You might also want to create an ideal buyer persona that you keep in mind as a benchmark. You can compare your actual buyer personas to this ideal persona throughout the year and make sure you’re meeting your customers’ needs.
Based on your research, what do you think your audience is looking for? What questions do they have that you might be able to answer? More importantly, what do they want to achieve through your product or service?
To have a successful digital marketing strategy, you need to have clear goals in mind.
What do you want to achieve in the next year? What do you hope to accomplish by the end of your first quarter? What about next month?
What are you trying to accomplish? Do you want more leads? More brand awareness? Higher conversion rates? Once you have your goals in mind, it will be much easier to figure out the tactics that are right for you.
For example, if one of your goals is more leads, you might want to focus on pay-per-click ads and Google AdWords. If brand awareness is a goal, you might want to spend more time on content marketing and social media posts.
The point is: to make sure you have clear goals and objectives before you get started.
Once you know who your audience is and what you want to achieve, it’s time to focus on your brand.
Your brand is how people perceive you and your business, so make sure you’re putting your best foot forward at all times.
Your brand should include your logo, but it’s even more than that. Your brand is made up of the colors you use, your copywriting voice, your social media voice, etc.
Make sure everything you do for marketing ties directly back to the brand you’ve created.
The story is also a crucial part of the brand. Why did you start your business? What makes you different from your competitors? If there’s nothing especially interesting about you, it’s going to be hard for people to get excited about what you’re doing.
4 P’s of Marketing
The 4 Ps of marketing all tie into creating a killer marketing strategy.
- Product: What are you selling?How can it benefit them?
- Price: How much will your product cost? Is it a fair price?
- Place: Where will people be able to find your product or service? How can you reach them?
- Promotion: How will you market your product?
With all four of these components in mind (audience, goals, brand, and the 4 Ps of marketing), you should be well on your way to creating a killer marketing strategy.
We’ll cover specific best practices for crafting your own strategy a bit later, but first, let’s cover a crucial point.
3 Timeless Principles of Effective Marketing
Most people focus too much on flashy tactics and forget the importance of timeless principles.
These are the basics that never change, no matter how many updates Facebook rolls out or what new advertising platform comes onto the scene.
In digital marketing, it’s not about which tactics you use – it’s about how and when you use them.
So what are these timeless principles?
Principle #1: Intimate With Your Audience
The word “intimate” might seem like an odd choice for marketing, but it’s important.
When you’re intimate with your audience, you understand them, know their struggles and desires, and can provide them with a solution.
This will allow you to develop genuine relationships that will last for years to come.
Not only that, but it will allow you to develop a true understanding of what your audience needs, not just what they say they want.
Remember that people buy based on emotions, not logic.
You need to know your audience intimately to understand how they feel when they come across your product or service.
This way, you can give them exactly what they’re looking for.
Understanding your audience at his level is a true competitive advantage and the key to long-term success.
Principle #2: It’s All About the Experience
A few decades ago, marketing was the holy grail of business.
Knowing a bit of copywriting, sales funnels, and advertising could rocket you to the top of the market in no time.
Today, that’s no longer the case.
Customers have grown smarter, and they know when you’re trying to pull the wool over their eyes .
Your marketing strategy needs to go well beyond traditional advertising and sales funnels.
Today, marketing is all about the experience.
It’s about creating a memorable product or service that people will be happy to tell their friends about.
It’s about solving a problem for your customers the way they want it solved.
Take a look at Tesla, for example.
While traditional car companies are still struggling with how to market electric vehicles, Elon Musk has created an entire experience around his cars – from the showrooms, to the charging stations, to the way you order a Tesla.
It’s about going above and beyond every single time you interact with a customer.
Tesla’s advertising budget is $0.
Still, they’re selling more cars than ever.
That’s the power of experience marketing in action.
Principle #3: Become a Scientist
Last but certainly not least, you always need to be testing your marketing strategies.
You can never afford to get complacent and assume that what you’re doing is working.
It’s important to constantly A/B test your ads, website design, blog posts, and even your sales pages.
That way, you can make the most cost-effective changes that will have the biggest impact on your business.
See yourself as a scientist running an experiment.
At the beginning, you have only a hunch that your idea will work.
But at the end of the test, you’ll know with certainty whether it works in the real world.
If your experiment fails, don’t be discouraged – learn from your mistakes and try something else.
Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day-in and day-out .
Marketing isn’t easy.
It takes lots of experimentation and testing to get it right.
However, if you have a solid understanding of these basic principles, you’ll find that your marketing strategy will begin to fall into place.
Best Practices for Developing the Right Digital Marketing Strategy
Now that you understand the principles behind effective marketing, let’s talk about some best practices for developing your strategy:
1. Don’t Look for Solutions; Look for Problems
Your first challenge is to look at everything through your customer’s eyes.
If you take this approach, you’ll be able to understand what kind of problems they’re trying to solve.
Great marketing doesn’t solve problems. It simply shows you understand what your customer is going through.
By taking the time to understand them on a deep level, you can show them how your product or service will solve their problem.
For instance, most people want to improve their health, but it’s hard to find the time to go to the gym.
That’s where a fitness app comes in.
By giving people the workout program they need, along with convenient access to it through their mobile devices, they’re able to get the exercise they need without having to sacrifice their time.
This is a simple example, of course, but it shows how you can use your knowledge to provide a solution.
2. Your Marketing Strategy Needs To Be Integral and Holistic
Another big mistake that many companies make is that they approach their marketing strategy in isolation.
For example, they might focus all of their energy on SEO and neglect email marketing.
They might focus heavily on content marketing, but never share their blog posts or website pages on social media.
It’s essential to take a holistic approach to your strategies.
Your individual tactics should be well-integrated into your overall strategy, like Lego bricks that fit together perfectly.
This will allow you to avoid those frustrating situations where one piece doesn’t quite fit with another.
And the best part is that a well-integrated, holistic digital marketing strategy can actually amplify your individual tactics.
For example, when you combine content marketing with email marketing, your blog posts can serve as a lead magnet to get people onto your email list.
You can then send them automated emails offering to provide additional content.
This will help establish you as a thought leader and build trust .
Or if you combine your content marketing with social media, you can use social media ads to drive people from those social channels to your website.
This will give your content marketing the reach it needs while also bringing people into your sales funnel through your landing pages and blog posts.
Your individual tactics should be well-integrated to provide the biggest impact. Otherwise, your efforts will be less effective and could even cancel each other out.
3. Don’t Be Afraid To Get Creative
SEO, email marketing, social media advertising. These are all great tactics that have a proven track record of success.
But that doesn’t mean you should be conservative and only use the same marketing strategies everyone else does.
If you want to get ahead of your competitors, you’ll need to come up with creative marketing strategies that work for your business.
For instance, there are lots of marketing agencies out there. So how do you stand out from the pack?
You can focus on providing a better service, but that’s difficult to measure and you can’t always control your customer’s perception of the quality of your work.
What you can do is come up with a unique marketing strategy that will make your agency stand out.
For instance, you could run a monthly free webinar for small businesses, showing them how to get the most out of their digital marketing efforts.
You could host an event where you invite some of your best clients to come and share their success stories.
You could even use original, in-depth case studies to demonstrate what you’ve done for other clients.
The possibilities are endless . The point is that when you’re creative with your marketing tactics, you’re able to come up with new ways of getting attention – which will bring in more clients.
4. Draw Up a Plan and Stick to It
A marketing strategy is all well and good, but it’s meaningless without a way of measuring success.
You need to track the results of your efforts. Not just for your current clients, but also for past ones.
If you’re running a successful business, you’ll already have data tracking in place.
But if you’re not quite there yet – or you want to improve your current strategy – you can always use Google Analytics to track how well your marketing efforts are performing.
For example, you could use Google Analytics to track how many people are visiting your website, where they’re coming from, and the pages they look at.
Or you could use it to keep track of how many people are subscribing to your email lists and whether they’re opening and engaging with your messages.
This is the only way to know whether your efforts are working and allowing you to make the necessary changes.
5. Focus on the Long Term
Finally, remember that your marketing strategy is about more than just driving sales.
Sure, you need to track how many people are buying your products or services.
But you should also be looking at other metrics that are just as important – like customer satisfaction.
If you provide exceptional customer service and a great product, then you stand a much better chance of getting return customers.
This is why it’s crucial your marketing strategy is based on long-term goals.
It’s all very well being able to provide a quick boost in sales. But if you don’t have a long-term plan, you’ll soon find yourself back at the bottom of the ladder.
After all, if you don’t have happy customers or loyal subscribers, you won’t have an effective marketing strategy for long.
Many agencies fail because they focus on short-term tactics instead of building relationships with their clients.
Even though they’ll see a boost in revenue and they might be able to coast along for a few months, the long-term prospects look bleak.
When their clients go elsewhere, they’re left with no reputation, nothing to build on and no way of attracting new prospects.
Some questions that’ll keep you on the right path include:
- How can you get your clients to come back to you for repeat business?
- How can you build a good reputation as an agency and get your clients talking about you?
- How can you get clients to recommend you to their friends and colleagues?
- Why does your business exist other than making money?
- How can you use your marketing strategy to build a company that’s known for its great products and services?
By answering these questions, you’ll develop a strategy that’s not only effective at bringing in new customers now, but also sustainable for the future.
Your marketing strategy is one of the most important parts of running your agency.
It’s what builds your reputation and allows you to attract the best clients.
But when it’s not done properly, you’ll find it much more challenging to get attention – which will in turn make it harder to attract new customers.
The only way to succeed in this ever-changing industry is to make sure to stay ahead of the curve with your marketing strategy.
Although it can seem overwhelming at first, with the right tools and tactics, you’ll quickly see results.
By following the information outlined today, you’ll be on the right track towards having a successful marketing strategy.