Most of the content consumed today is digital. Online shopping, video streaming, vlogging, Let’s plays, podcasts and so much more. The playing field for marketing has changed. Ever since the coronavirus pandemic, the focus on digital content is higher than ever. As the shift to online markets grow, more and more brands struggle to stay relevant. In order to stay relevant, companies and digital marketers need to have a digital marketing strategy.
According to a recent research by Smart Insights, out of 981 respondents, 45% of these companies don’t have a clear digital marketing strategy. They claim to do digital marketing, but with no defined strategy. Among the remaining 55% who do, only 38% who have integrated it into their standard operations.
The companies without a digital marketing strategy have basically been moving blindly, without any tactics nor the tools to market their product well. This could lead to them wasting their allocated budget on a failed online campaign. Knowing how to market online is mandatory in this day and age, but between the two groups, there is a huge gap in their awareness levels.
For those who fall into this category, here is a quick 5-minute guide into building your digital marketing strategy.
What is a digital marketing strategy?
Before we begin, let us first clearly define what is a marketing strategy at its base level.
A marketing strategy is a plan for obtaining a specific goal to promote business in a focused and achievable way. It considers the strengths and weaknesses of the company and considers how it is doing in regards to its objectives, so they are more likely to accomplish it.
A digital marketing strategy, on the other hand, aims to achieve specific digital goals through carefully selected online marketing channels, be it through blogging, posting on social media and running paid ad campaigns.
The Two Types of Digital Marketing
As defined by HubSpot:
“Inbound marketing focuses on creating quality content that pulls people toward your company and product, where they naturally want to be. By aligning the content you publish with your customer’s interests, you naturally attract inbound traffic that you can then convert, close, and delight over time.”
Examples of inbound digital marketing include blogs, articles, SEO, social media posts (not ads) educational videos, free eBooks and infographics. The core concept of this is that the customer willingly comes to you with the intent of buying. It could be as simple as the customer typing for something on google without a clear idea of what they want, your blog, video or article comes up, it catches their interest, they click on it, they like what they see, they now realize that’s exactly what they’re looking for, and they avail of your product or service. This leads to high levels of customer satisfaction and can help build up brand loyalty.
Outbound marketing is closer to traditional marketing tactics such as radio ads, TV commercials and billboards. The core concept of this is that you go to the customer. It can also be defined as ‘interruption marketing’. An example of this is the random YouTube ad popping up when you’re watching a video, social media ads, banner ads on the top and bottom of an app or site you frequently use, or video ads in mobile games.
Here, the customer isn’t inherently looking for something. Instead, you get in front of the customer ‘interrupting’ them to make yourself known. This type of marketing sees lots of exposure, but oftentimes bring negative impressions.
Poor implementations of outbound digital marketing are labeled as intrusive. When done carefully though, it gives new products the exposure it needs due to its wider reach, making potential customers think “hey, that looks interesting”, clicking and converting to a sale.
Steps in the creation of a digital marketing strategy
Now that we’ve defined the two types of marketing, let us now focus on the individual steps.
Inherently, any digital marketing strategy follows this sequence:
Setting goals and objectives
A digital marketing strategy gives a company direction. Define your short and long-term goals, as well as set your Key Performance indicators (KPIs). This will serve as your base guide, to see how far you are from achieving the desired effect and if you can deem your campaign a success or failure.
Identify and understand your target market
Any marketer should know the audience they’re trying to market their product to. In this step, you may create ‘buyer personas’, or simulations of customers from different walks of life with different personalities, genders and age groups. This will allow you to “get in the shoes” of your customer and understand how they might react to your type of marketing and what niche your product falls under. This step also defines the size of your market and where you might find these potential customers.
Outlining, creating and implementation of strategy
Here, you outline what you need to attract and hold your customer’s attention. Factor in the company’s resources and identify what channels you plan to use, be it inbound or outbound. Identify if you have the tools and staff members skilled in these approaches. Take into consideration what kind of product or service you’re offering. This step can also clarify if you need to outsource or not, if its within the company’s power to maintain such strategies.
Evaluation and improvement of strategy
After implementation, carefully go through the data you’ve gathered, such as the percentage of clicks to converts, number of sales, the hits on your blog and the views on your videos. Use analytics as needed. Identify which part of your strategy you were strong at, as well as your shortcomings. Look for holes in your strategy and adjust your marketing tactics moving forward.
Finding a delicate balance between inbound and outbound channels is a great way to bring organic traffic to your site and rack in those clicks. The four steps discussed should serve as a good foundation to build your digital marketing strategy. With proper planning, you should have the details you need to help your company grow consistently in this digital age. Good luck!