How long has it been since you assessed your marketing strategy? Do you know, for example, which strategies are working for you—and which aren’t? Maybe you’re sending out targeted emails or pushing content at prospects. Maybe you have a lead generation strategy—but can you say that your company is leveraging a unified approach, taking advantage of all the marketing channels open to you? Finally, and most importantly, do you have clear, realistic and measurable goals and, if you do, are you achieving them?
WHAT IS DIGITAL MARKETING STRATEGY?
A comprehensive digital marketing strategy is one which leverages multiple channels to achieve specific goals. Different strategies typically have different goals, each of which is achieved through a discrete digital marketing campaign. Let’s break that down a little further, shall we?
One of your company goals might be to generate enough leads to fill the top of your sales funnel and create enough opportunities for your sales team. To do that, you could employ a digital lead generation strategy—perhaps creating targeted content so prospects will complete online contact forms (and thus give you their email address). Within that strategy will be a marketing campaign, maybe one in which your developed content will be pushed through PPC ads on Google or on social media.
It’s important to remember that your goals are not your strategy, and your strategy is not your campaign. They’re different, and you need to align all of them if you want to take your business in the direction where you want it to go.
HubSpot provides a useful definition of digital marketing strategy, and of its distinction from marketing campaigns:
“Your digital marketing strategy is a series of actions that help you achieve your company goals through carefully selected online marketing channels. These channels include paid, earned, and owned media, and can all support a common campaign around a particular line of business…Your digital marketing campaigns are the building blocks or actions within your strategy that move you toward meeting that goal.”
In a word, “yes.” Digital marketing, if effectively leveraged, is remarkably effective. Consider for example these metrics from HubSpot:
- Businesses that regularly blog are 13X more likely to see a positive return on investment (ROI)
- Almost 60% of American consumers prefer to get customer service through social media
- Product videos increase purchases by almost 150%
- Email marketing boasts a 4,400% ROI
- Almost 80% of B2B marketers say email is the most effective marketing strategy to increase consumer demand
WHAT ARE THE PRINCIPAL COMPONENTS OF A SMART DIGITAL MARKETING STRATEGY?
Every business is different, of course, and each has its own, unique objectives and challenges which call for a unique and tailored digital strategy. That said, some digital marketing strategies are unequivocally more effective than others, including the following 4:
1. START WITH A DIGITAL MARKETING AUDIT
OK, that sounds a bit overwhelming, but all it really means is assessing the current state of marketing affairs in your business. What strategies, marketing channels and campaigns are currently in place, which is working for you, which need to be tweaked, and which can you do without. As you conduct your audit, be sure to consider owned media (like your website), earned media (word of mouth, in other words) and paid media (things like PPC ads through Facebook or Google Ads).
2. DESIGN A SMART PLAN
You wouldn’t build a new house without a plan and plunging into your digital marketing strategy without one is likely going to end up like a “house” that has a shaky foundation and rooms that don’t have all 4 walls. Your plan needs to incorporate everything you’ve learned from your marketing audit—and it should include clear, measurable goals coupled with the strategies and marketing campaigns designed to achieve them.
3. CREATE DETAILED BUYER PERSONAS
You can’t execute your marketing plan if you don’t know your audience and effectively segment it based on key demographic and behavioral data. One of the best ways to do that is by fashioning buyer personas, fictional representatives of key market segments. With buyer personas in place, you can target campaign messaging and content to the right set of prospects.
4. LAUNCH YOUR NEW STRATEGY—AND MEASURE RESULTS
Spoiler alert—your plan isn’t going to be perfect. One of the reasons the goals within your plan need to be “measurable” is so you’ll know what parts of it are yielding results, and which aren’t. Maybe your social media campaigns are achieving results, but some of your content is falling flat, or you’re seeing high bounce rates for key web pages or high shopping cart abandonment rates (if yours is an eCommerce business). The point is, you need to constantly measure results and make necessary changes to ensure continual improvement.
Configuring an effective digital marketing strategy can take your business to the next level—but it does require a great deal of work strategizing, optimizing and measuring the success of your initiatives, over and over again. But, with given time, your website and brand will definitely start to see results.