When you consider how to put together a digital marketing strategy, there are many pieces to the puzzle. Marketing, of course, isn’t simply a matter of throwing together a group of tactics to see which ones work. Strategy must come first. Before you purchase media spots or look for social influencers, you’ve got to have a strategy. This is particularly important when it comes to the switch to digital. The fundamental marketing principles remain the same, but now you have a whole new set of tools.
Fortunately, there is a short path to achieving your marketing objectives.
How To Put Together a Digital Marketing Strategy
What is a digital marketing strategy, exactly? It is an assessment of how to achieve overall company goals with a combination of online advertising methods, and it all starts with intention. What is it that you plan to do to optimize the growth of your brand? According to the Ansoff matrix, you’re concentrating on one of these:
- Market penetration: Offering existing products to existing markets
- Product development: Offering new products to existing markets
- Market development: Seeking new markets for existing products
- Diversification: Pursuing new products and new markets—that is, a different business model
To implement a strategy, you’ll need to understand:
- Your brand: Who are we, what can we offer, and what do we stand for?
- Your competitors: What is the competitive landscape and how will it evolve in the future?
- Your market: Who are our customers, what’s working for them, and what do they need next?
Your strategy will help you focus and do the things you need to do to reach your goals. There are many frameworks to help you do that. You can start with a SWOT analysis and move to the Ansoff matrix. Or pick your favorite strategy template.
Whatever traditional framework you use, you’ll have greater success and a clearer path to growth if you use data. Data will provide a clearer understanding of where the market is headed and how your brand can thrive within it. It will be difficult, if not impossible, to really know your customers without the right data. Brands that care the most will differentiate themselves in the digital economy by the numbers.
Types of Digital Marketing
There are many types of digital marketing, and the best strategies are a unique combination of different components. Once you’ve done the research, you’ll be better positioned to decide which tactics are best for your brand. Following is a breakdown of the most popular digital marketing weapons that you can include in your arsenal.
There are millions of blogs on the internet. Don’t let that stop you from attempting a content marketing strategy. High-quality blog content works. According to Tech Client, adding a blog to your website could increase your traffic by up to 434%. The best blogs establish thought leadership and build trust. Plus you’ll build a content library that will serve you well for showcasing your expertise in the future. However, even if your blog doesn’t garner much of a readership to start, write it and the numbers will grow. Strong, keyword-rich content will help Google find you. That means that potential customers will find you as well.
Blogs aren’t the only type of content marketing. There are also white papers, e-books, videos, podcasts, and more. Content serves to build brand awareness and extend your reach beyond your existing customer base. Much of your content marketing will include some type of call to action, whether that is to make a purchase, request a demonstration, or sign up for the email list.
Search Engine Optimization
SEO is what makes your website visible. It incorporates into website content the words and phrases that consumers use in online searches. Although it may sound simple, SEO is becoming increasingly complex as the search engine algorithms become smarter. Google’s goal is to ensure that users find what they are looking for. So if Google thinks your content doesn’t offer much value, it will not appear on the first page of search results.
It’s not just about keywords. Your site must be well indexed so that Google understands what’s available. Indexing includes, for example, alt text of images and transcripts for videos. Also, the site must be well organized with a good link structure, properly formatted URLs, and comprehensive site maps.
Pay-per-click (PPC) is the paid advertising that appears at the top of search-page results or in the sidebars. It can propel your site to the top of search results and put it directly in front of potential customers. PPC ads might also appear while consumers are browsing, playing a game, using an app, or viewing a YouTube video. The ads continue only as long as you pay for them, but you only pay when someone clicks on the ad and lands on your website. Meanwhile, the person may watch the ad in its entirety and never click, but you still gain exposure. PPC ads can be very effective for increasing website traffic, but messaging can be engineered to even help with bottom-of-the-funnel conversion.
Advertisers appreciate the flexibility of PPC, since you can limit the amount of money you spend and the geographic area in which the ad appears. Of course, popular keywords are more expensive than others.
Influencer or Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is when a company partners with publishers who create websites and digital properties that promote products. Affiliates are paid a share of the sales they help generate with their marketing efforts.
Influencer marketing is when a brand partners with someone who has a large social media following to increase brand awareness and engagement. Influencers typically get paid a flat fee to endorse a product, although sometimes the pay is simply free product.
Affiliate and influencer marketing, both of which involve partnering with those outside the company toward marketing goals, have become increasingly popular. These partnerships add authenticity and credibility to the brand because of alignment with other trusted sources.
Learn more about affiliate and influencer marketing here.
Lifecycle: Email and SMS
Lifecycle marketing includes always-on marketing activities, such as email and SMS. Although open rates have become a bit more complicated, email marketing remains an essential part of digital strategy. It’s part content, but it’s also part lifecycle, since it provides value that extends over time. The key to a good email marketing plan is to ensure that your campaigns are based on the strategic use of data.
Rather than simply following the pack, you’ll want to ensure that your target audience is responsive to your approach. This means personalizing as much as possible and sending your customers emails and SMS messages that they look forward to receiving. That means that the marketing messages are highly personalized and recognize customers as individuals. Email and SMS can align with where the customer currently is by integrating with e-commerce databases to optimize messages and nurture them into the future. It increases the lifetime value of every customer.
Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing seems simple, but it requires a strategic approach. First, you must ensure that you’re on the right platforms. TikTok is not Facebook; you’ll need to meet your audience where they are. Second, don’t trust your social media efforts to autopilot. Use automation tools with caution. Social media marketing is most effective when it is authentic. Savvy customers will quickly figure out when a brand’s postings and responses to comments are robotic.
Finally, make sure that you are engaging your audience with content that is relevant and appropriate. Messages across all channels must be consistent yet still appropriate for the unique qualities and user profile of each platform. Collect and analyze the data. If your posts provide value, you’ll see it in a robust ROI. If not, go back to the drawing board and try a new approach. It’s more art than science, and it’s a great place to fully engage a digital marketing agency.
Where To Start
A comprehensive digital marketing strategy can seem like the proverbial elephant on your plate. To tackle it one bite at a time, you’ll need to mix and match approaches that best fit your brand and help you stay on top of the ever-changing digital environment. Once you have analyzed the data, it’s just a matter of deciding which strategies leverage your brand’s unique position in the market.
There is no better time to identify future opportunities than the present. Contact Hawke Media for a no-obligation consultation.
Pamela Michaels Fay is a business, financial, technology, legal, and lifestyle writer, whose work is informed by over 20 years of strategy, leadership, and organizational development consulting for Fortune 500 companies.