(This article was originally published on Hubspot.com and has been edited for content and style.)
Would it be correct to assume a major part of your marketing strategy today is digital? Probably. Consumers and businesses alike are almost always online and on the go. You want to be able to reach them and observe their behavior where they spend their time.
But when you’re growing a business, this ever-changing digital landscape can quickly become an overwhelming one. With a number of other responsibilities and tasks that you need to do, how can you also efficiently create, fine-tune and maintain an agile digital marketing strategy?
We’ve put together this guide about marketing strategies to help you improve your digital presence and grow better.
What is a marketing strategy?
A marketing strategy is a plan for reaching a specific marketing-related goal (or goals) in a focused and achievable way. It takes into consideration what your business is currently doing well and what you’re missing in regards to the objective you set, so you’re more likely to accomplish it.
A strategy is your destination—it’s the achievable, focused plan for getting you to your target. Tactics are concrete and definable steps within your strategy that ensure you reach your objective.
Marketing or not, there are three parts of any strategy:
- A diagnosis of your challenge
- A guiding policy for dealing with the challenge
- A set of targeted actions that are necessary to accomplish the policy
Depending on the scale of your business, your marketing strategy may include several moving parts, each with different goals. With that said, working on your strategy can become daunting at times.
So, if you’re ever feeling overwhelmed about your marketing strategy, refer to these three steps to keep you focused on achieving your objectives.
Now, let’s look at digital marketing strategy:
A digital marketing strategy is a plan for establishing an internet presence through online channels such as organic search, social media, paid ads and other web-based mediums such as your website. The goal of digital marketing strategies is to increase awareness about your business and attract new customers to your brand.
A strong digital marketing strategy helps your business achieve specific digital goals through carefully selected mediums. Similar to marketing strategies versus marketing tactics, “digital marketing strategy” and “digital marketing campaign” are also often interchanged. So, how do they differ?
What is a digital marketing campaign?
Digital marketing campaigns are the building blocks and actions within your digital marketing strategy that move you toward a specific end goal.
For instance, if the overarching goal of your digital marketing strategy is to generate more leads through social media, you might run a digital marketing campaign on Twitter. You may share some of your business’s best-performing gated content on Twitter to generate more leads through the channel.
How to Create a Digital Marketing Strategy
Build your buyer personas.
For any marketing strategy, you need to know who you’re marketing to. The best digital marketing strategies are built upon detailed buyer personas, and your first step is to create them. Organize your audience segments and make your marketing stronger with templates to build your buyer personas.
Identify your goals and the digital marketing tools you’ll need.
Your marketing goals should always be tied back to the fundamental goals of your business. For example, if your business’s goal is to increase online revenue by 20%, your marketing team’s goal might be to generate 50% more leads via the website than the previous year to contribute to that success. Use a high-level marketing plan template to outline your annual marketing strategy, identify top priorities and more.
Evaluate your existing digital channels and assets.
When reviewing your existing digital marketing channels and assets to determine what to incorporate in your strategy, it’s helpful to first consider the big picture—this will prevent you from feeling overwhelmed or confused.
Gather what you have, and categorize each vehicle or asset in a spreadsheet, so you have a clear picture of your existing owned, earned and paid media.
Audit and plan your owned media campaigns.
At the heart of digital marketing is owned media—and it almost always comes in the form of content. That’s because nearly every message your brand broadcasts can be classified as content, whether it’s an about us site page, product descriptions, blog posts, ebooks, infographics, podcasts or social media posts.
Content helps convert your website visitors into leads and customers while improving your brand’s digital presence. And when this content is search engine optimized (SEO), it can boost your search and organic traffic.
Audit and plan your earned media campaigns.
Evaluating your previous earned media against your current goals can help you get an idea of where to focus your time. Look at where your traffic and leads are coming from (if that’s your goal) and rank each earned media source from most effective to least effective.
You may find a particular article you contributed to the industry press drove a lot of qualified traffic to your website, which boosted conversions. Or, you may discover LinkedIn is where you see most people sharing content, which increases traffic.
The idea is to build a picture of what types of earned media will help you reach your goals (and what won’t) based on historical data. However, if there’s something new you want to experiment with, don’t rule it out just because it’s never been done before.
Audit and plan your paid media campaigns.
This process involves much of the same process: You need to evaluate your existing paid media across each platform (e.g. Google AdWords, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) to figure out what’s most likely to help you meet your current goals.
If you’ve spent a lot of money on AdWords and haven’t seen the results you’d hoped for, maybe it’s time to refine your approach or scrap it altogether and focus on another platform that seems to be yielding better results.
Digital Marketing Strategies
Publish a blog
Blogging is one of the primary ways you can market your business digitally and improve your digital presence. While a few dissenting voices claim that blogging is “a massive waste of your time,” it’s still a major play for businesses that want to attract customers who are genuinely interested in their products and services.
Why? Because well-written, well-researched blog posts often answer an urgent need for a potential customer. For instance, HubSpot sells marketing software, and our users are typically marketing professionals who create plans, campaigns and editorial calendars for their employers.
Advertise on specific platforms (e.g. Google Ads, Facebook Ads, or Instagram Ads).
An organic blogging strategy is only a portion of the story. It’s just as important to implement non-organic plays, such as paid advertising. Not only will this help you drive more brand awareness, it will also help you reach audiences who can’t find your business organically yet.
This is an important strategy to implement when you’re still growing your blog and not yet getting as much traffic as you want. There are a few types of advertising you should consider adding to your digital strategy:
- Social Media Advertising
- Pay-Per-Click (PPC)
- Google Ads
- Online Advertising
Offer free educational resources.
Your digital marketing efforts don’t stop when you get people to visit your website or click on your ads. You also need to offer them additional value in exchange for their email. While the gated content is free, users “pay” with their contact information. This practice is called lead generation and it’s essential if you want the opportunity to nurture visitors into eventual customers.
Search engine optimize your digital content.
SEO is one of the most important plays you can make in your digital strategy. It will help you rank for keywords related to your products and get more eyes on your blog content, as well as your educational offers.
If your product pages aren’t earning traffic, SEO is your best bet to get those pages in front of those who are searching for those products and services. To ensure that your content engages and converts users, it’s important to invest in an on-page SEO strategy.
Produce a podcast.
Audio marketing has been on the rise—all you have to do is look at the ways Clubhouse and Twitter Spaces have gone head-to-head to earn market share. While platforms such as Clubhouse are different from podcasting, the idea is the same: You get to educate and engage an audience while they’re on the go. All they need is a device that plays audio.
Podcasts can become an essential element in improving your digital presence, allowing you to reach people on platforms other than search engines and social media channels. Plus, it’s a much more unplanned, natural medium—though of course you should plan each episode carefully and ensure you’re delivering content that actually serves your readership.
Create an email marketing campaign.
Email marketing is one of the most important digital strategies you can implement today to improve your digital presence. It gives you plenty of opportunities to nurture customers who are highly interested in your products. After all, you wouldn’t be subscribed to a newsletter of a brand that doesn’t interest you, and a business isn’t supposed to email customers who haven’t signed up to its mailing list, anyway. Not unless it wants to risk diminishing email deliverability.
You can earn subscribers through your blog, through contests, and even through webinars. Any time someone gives you their email—and every time they give consent to receive communication from you—you have full permission to target them with an email marketing campaign.