Digital Marketing Strategy Guide: How to Build a Solid Plan
Marketing strategies have changed from being a single-use technique to test the waters of the online space to becoming the primary strategy for most brands that operate in the digital space. Unfortunately, it was rare for small brands to venture into the online space because many marketers didn’t know much about digital marketing. Fast forward to 2022, most brands have social media accounts, run ads on search engines and heavily rely on online website traffic to spread brand awareness.
Today, small businesses have an equal footing with larger brands in the digital arena. If you don’t know what digital marketing is, it’s the form of advertising that enables your business to advertise itself through multiple channels at once. These channels are found on the internet and can be optimized for better targeting and finding your ideal audience. The problem is that you have many marketing channels to choose from now, from SEO to webinars to email marketing.
Remember that to be successful with digital marketing, you would benefit from creating a digital marketing strategy for a brand or yourself. It will help you manage what channels to use, what content to put out, and how to divide your time and resources. This digital marketing strategy guide will list how to spread brand awareness on those chosen channels and attract more customers.
A Powerful Online Value Proposition
Developing the best digital marketing strategy allows you to reach different target audiences. This will allow you to divide your online service, catering to your current loyal customer base while encouraging new consumers to convert. By segmenting your content, you don’t bombard customers with the information they already know. You also avoid overcomplicating delivery systems and scaring off potential customers.
A veteran marketer will have many sure-fire techniques to gather the attention of B2B, B2C and D2C consumers to acquire sales and generate leads. You can engage with audiences on multiple channels by offering consumers value through your content. These channels can vary from search engines to social media to email marketing. A strong online value proposition through digital marketing can bring success to your brand in the digital space.
You Need To Be Integrated
A digital marketing strategy guide will help your business integrate better into the digital landscape. This form of marketing cannot be done on the side or given less importance than other aspects of your business. To be successful, you need to ensure it plays a significant role in your brand’s overall marketing strategy through paid, owned and earned digital media. If you want to stick to your roots and keep going with traditional marketing techniques, integrating them with digital marketing is the best strategy.
Some audiences are still unfamiliar with the digital space and stick to traditional forms of media. For example, integrating digital and traditional marketing would be excellent to cover all audience types to ensure that all your ideal customers are reached. To ease the process, a digital marketing strategy would be essential for smooth transitional integration.
Better Utilization Of Resources
As mentioned before, stretching your marketing reach over many channels might be counter-productive for your overall strategy. For example, running ads or campaigns on every digital channel will be catastrophic for your marketing budget. So developing a digital marketing strategy will give you a plan for dividing resources and time. This would be more streamlined for your team to stick to and will ensure no confusion in the long run.
You can optimize your digital marketing strategy with a plan to help you achieve your business goals. Big brands have the luxury of employing numerous advanced digital marketing tools and hiring multiple agencies for different projects. But without a digital marketing strategy guide, these efforts will be mismanaged and misguided, which could lead to a lower marketing ROI.
Now that the importance of a digital marketing strategy has been stated, it is time to dive into our digital marketing strategy guide for your business to prosper.
1. Defining Digital Marketing Goals
To start a plan, you need to figure out what you want to achieve for your brand through digital marketing. If you are not sure why you want to pursue digital marketing, you are less likely to achieve success. Once you have decided on your goals, measuring the results and analyzing the data collected is simple.
You must remember that these goals must be clear, detailed and measurable. The idea is to quote the numbers you want to achieve and the time frames. If you are not specific about these two factors, chances are they will not be achievable or measurable.
Being vague about your goals, such as increasing brand awareness or boosting conversion rates, could be unproductive as they are not specific. Any data or results you gather can be open to the wrong interpretation because of the absence of upper or lower limits.
On the other hand, selecting a business goal like finding 20 new customers within a month is perfectly achievable and trackable. This way, you are given a number you need to get and the timeline. Specifics like this can motivate you and your team to achieve that goal. Once you have a measurable goal, you can start planning the strategy and delivery.
2. Selecting Target Audiences
One of the main advantages of digital marketing is that you can target anyone accurately. For example, many search engines and advertising platforms have mountains of data that can be used to find your ideal target audience. So if you are building a digital marketing plan, you need to determine who your target audience will be.
A successful digital marketing campaign depends on reaching out to the right people. Advertising to the wrong consumers will waste your resources tremendously. It is best to divide your audience lists into segments and create buyer personas for each marketing campaign.
You make audience segments to reach different kinds of consumers but with the same product. Your service might be the same, but your delivery to these audience segments will be different and with customized content. The messaging you use to advertise to a small business might impact an MNC’s marketing team less.
So start by building buyer personas for each customer segment. Each persona can be created using various demographics such as age, income, job title, location, interests, etc. Depending on the demographics you pick, you can select what strategy to use on them accordingly. These personas will be aimed at getting to know your potential customers and how they react to your brand.
3. A Competitive Analysis
This is an obvious but necessary step in making the best digital marketing strategy. Now that you know your target audience, it’s time to discover your industry competitors. Performing a competitor analysis is detrimental to estimating where you stand in the digital space. It will also help you understand your brand’s market share percentage and rivals. Once you know where the brand stands in the market, you can decide whether to have an aggressive or passive approach to your digital marketing strategy.
When you conduct a competitive analysis, you need to explore a few areas to ensure you are being thorough. Firstly, you need to locate which audience segment they are targeting. This is vital because if too many competitors target the exact audience sets, the consumer’s attention might become saturated. This could also mean that if you target those segments, you will need a fresh and innovative approach to attracting potential customers.
Next, you need to narrow down the digital channels your competitors are using to reach consumers. This could give you an idea of what channels work for them and how they approach publishing content. You will also need to research and determine where your competitors are most potent with brand presence and where they are lacking. Finally, going by the data you collect, you can put together a strategy to advertise on those digital channels which are not active so your brand can acquire more customers.
Other parameters like the portion of earned/owned/paid media they use, the content they promote, and their brand tone need to be researched. With all this information, you can clearly understand where your competitors stand in the industry. This can be the turning point from which you can gain an advantage over your rivals and show consumers that you are a dominant force in the market.
4. A SWOT Analysis
This analytical framework was introduced when you were in school and is very relatable in today’s business world. For those who do not know what this framework entails, it stands for strength, weakness, opportunity and threat. This is to define the forces that influence the market other than your rivals. Many marketers use this analysis to get a feel of the climate in the market, whether there are potential risks or opportunities and the scope of growth.
To begin with, you must identify the elements that you can consider as strengths for your brand. Knowing your strengths is necessary to determine how to outdo your competitors. This process will also help you identify what makes you unique in the market. Next are your weaknesses. Knowing how to improve your brand in specific areas is vital. For example, it could be sales-related or a problem with your logistics or other elements. The point is to be transparent about the areas in which your brand might be lacking, so additional attention can be given. The more honest you are, the better the overall outcome will be.
The third factor is opportunity, which involves identifying the opportunities your brand has or will have in the future. You need to research and figure out the kind of markets your brands can venture into. Look up trends and technological developments in your industry that you can utilize in your content to give you a competitive edge. If any audience segments seem to be neglected, your brand could give those consumers the attention they need, leading to a new audience segment for your business. These opportunities must be realistic and align with your brand message.
The final element of this framework is threats. By locating potential threats your brand could face, you open up the discussion to mitigate said risks and plan for damage control. These threats could be a rival business looking to dominate more market share, a financial recession, or even natural disasters. The data you collect from conducting a SWOT analysis of your business and the market will help you build a well-detailed digital marketing strategy for a brand. You will be prepared for anything that could benefit or harm your business.
5. Digital Marketing Plan Budget
Coming to the financial aspect of the digital marketing strategy plan, you need to create a budget. The budget will consist of how much your brand will spend on business marketing activities. This will help you divide financial resources between digital marketing channels to ensure you stay within your budget.
When deciding to start making a budget, you must keep a few factors in mind. These will determine how your budget will be structured in the future. You base your budget on revenue, industry position, business history, business goals, location and potential profitability margins. These factors would influence the campaigns and tactics you implement.
Now that you know how much you have to spend based on those previously mentioned factors, you need to divide your resources accordingly. This requires research to determine how much everything will cost if you go through specific campaigns or ads.
While it is essential to fix your budget before you decide to start conducting marketing activities, you must leave a little flexibility for real-time adjustments. The digital marketing strategy for a brand is all about what the consumer thinks and feels. This can change in an instant and without warning. You might find that some campaigns are not on track with your expectation or that a specific campaign is doing better than previously anticipated.
In these cases, you may need to reallocate funds to make the best out of an arising opportunity. Your budget needs to be able to move around according to the data-driven decisions you will make. For example, if your digital marketing budget has little room to be flexible, you might find it harder to grow your business in the long run.
6. Select The Right Digital Marketing Channels
Along with a digital marketing strategy, you could also be making a content strategy. This would make sense since your content is vital to your marketing strategy. So you need to decide which channels you will be advertising on. This can be based on your audience segment, business goals and marketing budget. Since it would be foolhardy to conquer every digital marketing channel available, narrowing down the right ones would be beneficial.
You would have had to define your business goals in the previous section. Remember, these goals would help you pick the ideal marketing channel to achieve them. For example, if you want to gain 20 more customers through leads, you could utilize Google Adwords. This platform gives you the ability to create PPC ad campaigns that are designed to generate quality leads. But, each digital marketing channel has a price for using its features. You could be choosing a few marketing channels, but based on your budget, it could end sooner than you think if they are not optimized. If you are not looking at the short-term ROI and want to think ahead, a cost-effective channel would be SEO or content marketing. While these methods are slow and take longer to accumulate results, they have excellent value for your money through the compounding effect.
Another aspect to consider is knowing the behavior patterns of your ideal customers. For example, if you observe that your target audience is mainly on Instagram and Twitter, that might mean that those are your go-to channels. Likewise, if most of your customers are B2B, Linkedin and webinars would be the preferred channels. The main aim is that you can bring value to consumers on those channels, and in return, they will positively engage with your content.
7. Create A Marketing Calendar
You have most of the elements to create a solid digital marketing plan, but now you need a schedule for exactly when you will implement these activities. That is where the marketing calendar comes in. This calendar will be a map you can follow daily to ensure you are on track with campaigns, initiatives and deadlines. You can also put down reminder dates to change your strategy or tactic to reach more customers. A standard calendar is usually for 12 months, and you segment each month which is designated for each marketing activity. This will give you enough time to prepare for each month and avoid confusion during the execution.
Be sure to list down everything you plan on doing for those months, no matter how small the activity might be. This will also help you keep track of the budget and ensure you will spend your money wisely. The level of accountability a marketing calendar brings is vital to keeping your productivity and team in check. Tasks can also be delegated easier when there is an overall outline of the activities.
Different brand departments can coordinate to execute campaigns on time and effectively if everyone follows the same marketing calendar. Remember to make sure your calendar is realistic and achievable. Give ample time for activities to conduct themselves and run their course. Clumping many marketing activities together might be counter-productive, even if it saves time. Each deliverable should be within the budget and capability of your brand.
8. Develop Your Digital Marketing Tactics
Once you have figured out the digital channels your brand would want to pursue, you need to develop the tactics and strategies you’ll use within those channels. For example, if you focus on search engine optimization, you will need to research what keywords you will target and how you will target them. You may create a comprehensive content hub, online courses, SEO topic clusters, or online tools to implement them. These will streamline your SEO strategy.
You can provide more detailed tactics like how-to information or deliver insights on upcoming trends, such as celebrity interviews. If B2B lead generation interests you, creating case studies showcasing your success stories might be worth considering. As you think through your digital marketing strategy, keep an eye out for new ways to set yourself apart from the competition because it’s about finding how to make your brand unique.
After reading this digital marketing strategy guide, it should be apparent that creating one from scratch will take time and effort. You will have to research and analyze data on competitors and your industry. After figuring out all those elements, you must create content and ensure everything goes according to plan.
This can be overwhelming if you are starting out or have a big brand to manage. However, consider hiring a digital marketing agency like SV Digital to care for your marketing needs. They can handle every aspect of your brand’s digital marketing requirements and help you reach your business goals.
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