The building blocks of a kick-ass digital marketing strategy.

When the right business model meets the right market conditions with a product or service offered through effective channels at profitable and realistic prices, you’ve got all the right elements to building a successful brand. Naturally, businesses put a lot of thought and effort into getting these things right.

But when it comes to digital marketing, surprisingly few companies take a systematic and tactical approach with clear goals and strategies in place to get results. Many brands are active on social media, publishing content, sending out newsletters, putting money on paid ads and so on.

The problem is that without a strategy, you may see some positive results but it’s not sustainable in the long run and without measuring the performance there is no way to identify opportunities for improving your digital marketing.

By trying everything and hoping something works, brands are leaving a lot of potential on the table. A clearly defined digital marketing strategy captures that untapped potential.

The steps to developing a digital marketing strategy

Most companies don’t have unlimited resources and time, so they need to be laser-focused on what they want to achieve. The goal of your digital campaign may be to sell more, but you need to dig deeper and define which item you want to sell more than others and who you are targeting to meet that goal. In other words, you need a strategy to guide your resources and efforts.

Let’s build your digital marketing strategy step-by-step.

1. Define your goals

No strategy is complete without clear goals it aims to achieve. Digital marketing goals need to be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound – or SMART if you love acronyms. This is the difference between a broad goal defined as “expand our customer base” and a SMART goal defined as “20,000 app downloads in the next 6 weeks”.

2. Know your audience

If you want your digital marketing campaign to resonate with your audience, you need to understand who your audience is. To get there, it helps to develop personas based on the main types of people you want to reach and engage. Put as much detail in there as you can. Give them names, values, goals, backgrounds, careers, dislikes, favourite brands and personality traits.

From now on, whatever you do must resonate with at least one of your audience personas.

3. Explore the customer journey map

Now that you who your audience is, you need to find out how they interact with your brand currently, and how you want them to interact during the digital campaign. The more detail you reveal with your map, the more advanced your capabilities are to refine elements of your digital campaign as you gather feedback.

Questions that need answering include:

  • Where does your customer first meet your brand?
  • What touchpoints are most influential when it comes to making a decision?
  • What makes them leave? What makes them come back?
  • What makes them spread the word?

4. Find the right channels

While there is practically an infinite number of digital channels you could use, only a small selection will likely apply to your audience and the goals you have set for your digital marketing strategy. If you’re a B2B brand, maybe TikTok is not worth your time for now but if you’re targeting Gen Z you probably do need to find a way to engage meaningfully on TikTok. Match the channels you identify here to the customer journey map, which will give you a clear direction for the next building block.

Here you should also start looking at the digital marketing budget you have available for each channel. Allocate the right proportions between channels according to the priorities you have set for each of them.

5. Create relevant content

There’s an overflow of content being produced by both people and brands every day. To make your content interesting for your audience, find out what they need and want, then provide that in a creative way. Map the type of content to the personas, and time it strategically on the customer journey for maximum effect.

The key to delivering impact is to focus on quality content. The best way to kill quality content is to play catch-up with your timeline. Instead, plan ahead and set a content calendar. Make sure you have enough time to actually work on delivering consistent quality.

6. Launch, monitor, and refine

Now that you have the blueprint for your digital marketing strategy and the collateral is ready, it’s time to launch your campaign. The same way a chef’s work isn’t done when tapping the bell for the plate to be served, your work is not over yet just because the campaign is live.

You need to monitor the ongoing performance of your campaign. This will help you validate parts of your strategy and assumptions, and ultimately this is the data you need to refine your strategy. You may find out your campaign performs much better during weekends on Instagram as opposed to Facebook during the week, which is what you thought initially when you created the customer journey map and channels.

Measuring results is key to maximising the potential of your digital marketing strategy. It’s what the chef needs to know to keep guests coming back for more.

Stay relevant: keep planning and learning

The full cycle we’ve laid out here should not be approached as a one-off for all your digital marketing campaigns. With each campaign you launch, you will learn new things about your audience, what they like and dislike about brand, which parts of your story truly resonates with them, and on which channels your brand hits the sweet spot between reach and depth.

All of this serves as food for thought for your next campaign, and you may have to revisit your personas or customer journey map for example. Yes, it’s a lot work. No, you don’t have to do it alone. We are here to help you get the most out of your digital marketing strategy, and reach the full potential of everything your brand has to offer to the world. Get in touch to find out how we can help you.

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