How to Write a Digital Marketing Strategy: Tips, Examples & Template
When you’ve got your sights set on digital marketing success, it can be tempting to go all guns blazing. But it’s not the way we do things at Banc. Where our clients’ goals are concerned, we prefer to look before we leap. And that means every decision we make is backed up and grounded in detailed, in-depth digital marketing strategies.
Why? Because with all the different opportunities for growth that digital marketing brings your business, a strategy that’s going to squeeze every last drop of growth goodness out of your ideas is well worth putting the time in for.
Below, we’ll delve into what exactly a digital marketing strategy is, why they’re important and how to create one. And to help you decide on what a successful digital marketing strategy focuses on, we’ve also created a template so you can lay out your goals, research, and campaign plans for each one of your channels. Let’s get to it!
- What is a Digital Marketing Strategy?
- What are your goals?
- Analysing your current strategy
- Digital Marketing Strategy Examples
- Reporting and goal tracking
What is a Digital Marketing Strategy?
If you’ve previously jumped into marketing activity without any sort of plan, then let’s take a look at what a digital marketing strategy actually is.
Essentially, a digital marketing strategy is a plan which teams in your business use to achieve specific marketing-related goals. More specifically, it involves carrying out marketing activity that’s going to make potential customers stand up and take note, get them to engage with you, improve your brand reputation and increase your presence in your market or sector.
You can do this through marketing channels such as organic search, social media, paid ads, and well-made, attention-grabbing email campaigns. But remember, every business and website is different. When creating your strategy, you’ll have to come up with specific goals that are achievable and applicable.
Why do you need one?
Digital marketing activity without a strategy to go with it is a little like going on a road trip without a route to follow. Having a digital marketing strategy to hand, however, provides your ideas and actions with a map to guide you towards your goals. Thanks to this direction, you can then allocate the right resources to particular marketing activities which you can measure and analyse.
But there are other reasons why a digital marketing strategy is important, including:
A better understanding of your market share
A clear, effective strategy lets you work out how much demand there is for your digital services, and clues you into crucial factors such as customer behaviours, competitors, and customer profiles.
A more effective value proposition
In the online marketplace, it’s hard to make yourself heard above everyone else. When things are so competitive, differentiating your business so you can stand out is vital. With a digital marketing strategy, you can work out what makes you so different.
A better understanding of your customers
A strategy can show the parts of your business your customers interact with and what they don’t. With this kind of feedback, you can get more of a grasp on what makes them tick, and tailor your activities to their behaviour.
Less wasted time and resources
Your digital marketing strategy gives you laser focus. Once you know what you want (and need) to do, you’ll spend far less time throwing ideas at the wall to see if they stick – something which will cost you time and money in both the short and long term.
Greater integration between departments
Likewise, once everyone knows what they’re supposed to be doing, and with who, then there’s less chance of silos forming, which means less chance of miscommunication, repeated work and lower productivity that come with working in a bubble.
What are your goals?
Before you start working on your digital marketing strategy, you’ll want to work out what the end results should be.
What do you want the digital marketing strategy to achieve?
Without goals, your strategy will struggle to get into first gear, so it’s essential that you know what you want to work towards. Maybe you want to generate more leads through your site. Or perhaps you want to grow your sales.
Whatever you decide on, don’t forget the one key thing about your goals: they need to be measurable.
It’s not simply enough to say: “I want to increase the number of visits to the business’ website”. Phrased this way, there’s no way to measure how you’re progressing. Instead, your goal should be: “I want to reach 20,000 visits to my website each month”. This goal is measurable, achievable, and timely.
What are the wider business goals?
In deciding what your goals should be, you should always link them back to the key goals of the business. Let’s say your business’ overarching goal is to increase online revenue by a certain amount. Your strategy’s goal might then be to generate leads by an increase of 25% through the website.
You stand a better chance of achieving your goals when you’re working towards deadlines and timeframes. When you’re identifying your goals, make sure you’re assigning them a realistic time frame so you can stay focused – and stop yourself from being distracted by short-term tasks.
Analysing your current strategy
What channels do you currently use?
Ahead of creating your digital marketing strategy, identify your existing digital marketing channels, whether it’s your website, blog, social channels, paid ads – or any number of other channels you use. You could also categorise these channels using the owned, earned, and paid media framework; doing this lets you decide what you want to use for the strategy going forward. The elements of this framework consist of:
Owned media: These are the digital assets your brand or company owns: things like your website, social media profiles, blog content or imagery. Basically, they’re channels your business has total control over.
Earned media: Whether it’s guest posts on other websites, press coverage or your customer experience, earned media covers any exposure and recognition you’ve earned.
Paid media: Anything that you’ve spent money on to attract buyers to your business – Google AdWords, paid social media posts, sponsored posts on other websites – that’s paid media.
What works well and doesn’t work well with your current strategy?
With that said, your strategy may not need to incorporate all these elements. By identifying and categorising these channels, you’ll get a handle on which were effective, and which you may decide to use less of. Ask yourself which channels have proven to be effective – and investigate whether they can be refined in any way.
Conversely, if you found yourself dedicating a lot of time to channels that weren’t providing much in the way of results, and were too much of a time sink too, then it may be worth dropping them from the strategy.
Analysing your data
Working out what did and didn’t work will involve looking over data from the past year. Take a look at any analytics you have, so you know what you need to build on – this will also help you to understand why certain things might not have worked out the way you thought they would.
Who is your target customer?
If you don’t know who you’re marketing to, then your strategy may well become more of a shot in the dark. And if you don’t have detailed customer personas, then your digital marketing strategy is pretty much incomplete.
By creating customer personas that detail things such as their likes, dislikes, and needs, you’ll be able to pinpoint your key customers – and start to tailor your marketing around the insights and information on them that you’ve unlocked.
Download your free Digital Marketing Strategy Template
Digital Marketing Strategy Examples
Now we’re onto the real meat of things: the tactics and approaches you’re going to use to get you towards your goals. There’s plenty you can do, so let’s break down some of the options you can stock up your strategy with…
Organic Content Marketing
Any landing pages you create should be souped up with compelling copy, a headline that highlights the page content’s benefits, and clear calls to action that are going to motivate users to fill in their details/download a certain resource/purchase specific products – your goals will dictate what you want customers to do here.
If you’re working within eCommerce, then your strategy should be clear on how to optimise your site’s product pages. Poor product pages can be a dealbreaker for many, so it’s important that they’re properly optimised.
Imagery should be detailed, large and varied enough so that users can see things from all angles. Things like CTAs, stock levels and prices should be prominently placed, while customer reviews can let users know they’re in for a positive experience. Be sure to make product descriptions impactful too; include the benefits, important keywords, and speak to your audience with a TOV that’s on-brand.
There’s a reason brands still put blog content at the centre of their strategies. They’re a powerful approach, one that brings in traffic, sustains social media presence, and solves a range of different queries for customers. And by targeting long-tail search queries and keywords – and regularly updating your blog with relevant content – people can find your site more easily, since it’ll pop up in search results more frequently.
Customers want proof that your products or services can walk the walk. Case studies are a great way of achieving that, showing that you’re a brand that can be trusted, has the data to back up your bravado, and that you can solve the problems of your customers. There’s a good deal of storytelling to case studies, too – often through people or other businesses who have worked with you – a feature that helps to make yourself more relatable to those delving into these potted brand highlights.
Imagery and Design
More than something that’s simply nice to look at, the visual aspects of your brand have a part to play in your strategy too. It’s important that your imagery conveys what your brand is all about, especially since it can increase views and, in the case of eCommerce, get people to buy your products.
Try to go beyond stock photos too. Whether you’re an agency showing off your team doing what they do best, or dressing up key stats in an impactful, attention-grabbing way, there are all sorts of ways imagery can be used in your strategy.
Your site’s design has the power to work in a similar way too. Your site will usually be a person’s starting point with your brand, so make sure that first impression counts. If you want people to engage with you, then your site should be responsive, appealing, easy to use and optimised for SEO. If the user experience proves frustrating, potential customers will happily take their business elsewhere.
Videos and Podcasts
Video content is having its time in the spotlight right now, simply by the fact that more and more people prefer watching a video over reading text. They’re also a great way of showcasing your brand in a more creative way across YouTube, social media, blogs and in company newsletters.
But make sure your video has a purpose, whether it’s to inform, engage or get users to act. And remember, videos aren’t quite as easy to skim as text; in your videos’ description, be sure to highlight the main benefits your audience are in for after the credits roll.
You might even include podcasts in your strategy too. It’s no secret that podcasts are more popular than ever, and the medium is a great way of educating and engaging an audience in a natural, unforced way. Plus, they can inform listeners when other channels can’t be accessed: listening to a podcast behind the wheel during the commute is far easier, safer, and more legal than trying to scroll through your site’s latest blog post!
As a relationship builder, digital PR is an excellent means of connecting with others. Whether it’s increasing your content readership, putting your products in front of more people, or hyping up launches – digital PR’s power is well documented.
Best practice on-site SEO
SEO in a digital marketing strategy is about as essential as it gets. Effective SEO can net you traffic in spades. Even with the most beautifully designed site, and a business that’s the best thing since sliced bread, a lack of SEO could hurt your performance in a big way. Want to be seen by others? Weaving the right SEO approaches throughout a website can help with that. These include:
- Targeting the right keywords
- Avoiding duplicate content
- Optimising title tags
- Optimising your site’s loading speed
- Optimising your imagery
- Using internal linking
- Creating unique content
Backlinks most definitely still have their place in a digital marketing strategy. Google looks at links from one website to a page on another website as a vote of confidence, a clear sign of its relevance, quality, and authority – so they’re still well worth aiming for. And a single quality backlink can be far more beneficial than a ton of low-quality ones.
If you’re aiming for backlinks as part of your strategy, focus on creating posts that deal with the what and why of topics that your audience are looking for answers to – and make sure there’s an angle, a piece of data or something notable that they can sink their teeth into.
Building Your Email Marketing List
Randomly flinging off emails might result in a bite or two, but most won’t take the bait. A fine-tuned, focused approach is a smarter move. This is where the fill-in forms from your landing pages come in handy; with every form you receive, you’ll have a bank of contact details from people who are interested in your brand in some form or another. You can also offer incentives in exchange for email signups too. Soon enough, you’ll have an email marketing list of people who’ll be happy for you to get in touch with them.
With a list of contacts to target, you’re now ready to come up with campaigns to achieve your goals through. This could come in the form of a weekly newsletter, your latest blog posts, or new product announcements. It depends on your goals of course: are you nurturing leads, generating awareness, or wanting more traffic? As we’ve said, once you know what your goals are, the question becomes easier to answer.
Making and sticking to a schedule so your customers receive emails on a regular basis is all a matter of automation. Without it, you could forget to send emails, which can cause recipients to unsubscribe – it might even land in your customers’ spam folders! And with the bevvy of email automation tools, staying on schedule is a breeze.
Social media is an effective tool for managing your online reputation, driving traffic to your website, communicating with customers, and generating new leads. That much is true. But depending on your business, certain social channels are more effective than others. It’s up to you to decide which ones you want to build up a following on. An Instagram page might not necessarily be the best option for a business in the legal sector for instance, but it could pay off nicely if you’re running, say, a hairdresser.
Whether it’s company milestones, business news, fresh product announcements, or contests and giveaways for customers, there are all sorts of different social campaigns you can use to your advantage. Again, your choice of channels can help to dictate what you choose to opt for. Whatever you go for, be sure to create a content calendar so you know what to post and when – and ensure your followers get a steady stream of the good stuff from your business.
Paid Social and PPC
Paid Social Ads
With paid social ads in your strategy, you can spread your messaging far and wide across your most popular social platforms using the ad tools of each respective social channel. This is a great way of promoting your brand if your budget isn’t on the scale to do so using traditional media channels.
By paying to have your website, products, or services at the top of search engine results pages, you’ll be able to grab the attention of potential customers when they search relevant keywords. There is a slew of other benefits alongside that too. PPC ads are cost-effective, produce fast results, can be tested, and adjusted easily and can help you rank even if your organic performance is underwhelming.
Reporting and goal tracking
Of course, you’ll need to know if your strategy is actually working. Tracking your goals and creating reports highlights the successful parts of your strategy, as well as what might need adjusting and rethinking. So, what can you do?
Through tools like Google Analytics, you can measure a host of different information, including demographics, how customers are getting to your website, what customers are getting up to on your site, and whether or not they’re taking the desired actions. The metrics that Google Analytics provide you with can be vital, but make sure you’re not placing too much importance on the wrong ones – check out our blog on vanity metrics (and the metrics you should be measuring) right here for more info on that.
Tracking your goals
How close is all of the above activity getting you towards your goals? This is where the timely aspect of your goal setting comes to the fore. By placing a timeframe on the company’s goals, you’ll be able to better gauge how close you were to meeting them. And if you didn’t quite get there, then you’ll know whether or not you need to make the right adjustments that are going to let you achieve them.
Create Your Digital Marketing Strategy with Our Template
Phew! That’s a lot of information to take in, but if anything, it underpins just how important creating a digital marketing strategy really is. So that you have everything in one place, we’ve created a digital marketing strategy template for you to download, fill in with your goals, make notes of any research, and detail your campaign plans. Happy strategising!
Need help creating leads, increasing site visits, and crafting a website that’s going to have a hand generating revenue? Get in touch with the Banc team or give us a call on 0345 459 0558 to see what we can do for you.