In the highly competitive business environment of the 21st century, manufacturing a high-end product or providing a unique service doesn’t guarantee the financial success of your company. To see a stream of revenue flowing into your coffers, you must be able to sell whatever you make. And that spells sweating your soul out to promote and advertise your products.
Some thirty years ago, entrepreneurs relied heavily on printed media and billboards pursuing the goal of reaching out to their customers. The advent of Industry 4.0 has caused a tectonic transformation of the conventional marketing routine, shifting the brunt of promotion efforts into the virtual realm where digital marketing reigns supreme. This rests on seven major pillars: email marketing, content marketing, video marketing, native advertising, pay-per-click advertising, social media marketing, and search engine optimization. To make the most of them, you should have a clear-cut digital marketing strategy.
The term “strategy” presupposes an achievable roadmap containing a series of steps (defined as tactics) to attain your goals. In terms of a digital marketing strategy, the actionable plan, in this case, aims to establish an internet footprint leveraging high-tech channels. Such channels include social media, paid ads, organic search, the organization’s website, and other media existing in the virtual realm.
The primary goal entrepreneurs have in mind when they create a digital marketing strategy is two-fold. The immediate objective is to attract new customers to your company. Being important in itself, this goal is only an auxiliary one that drives a more far-reaching aspiration—to increase brand awareness.
Why is it worthwhile to take robust steps to create a digital marketing strategy?
Now when you are sure that you can’t do without it, the question of how to build a digital marketing strategy must be answered.
Whether you are a blue-chip enterprise or a small business, your digital marketing strategy steps would be essentially the same.
You should start by outlining the cornerstone guidelines you would like to run like a golden thread throughout all your online campaigns. Typically, these resonate with the brand principles, for example, value proposition, unique offer or selling points, brand voice, etc.
The nature and general direction of the digital marketing strategy you are going to develop are conditioned by the aim you want to achieve while shaping it. Many budding business owners would think it a piece of cake and come up with something like “getting more customers/subscribers,” “making more sales,” “generating more leads,” “raising brand awareness,” and “increasing the site traffic,” etc. Sounds fine so let’s move on, right? Definitely not. These objectives are vivid examples of bad goals since they are too general and vague.
An ideal goal must be relevant, concrete, attainable, and measurable with certain KPIs. For instance, instead of “increasing social media followers,” you should have “increasing Facebook followers to 10K within two months.” Or, rather than “boosting the number of referrals,” it is better to aim for “getting X links via an email outreach campaign byl the end of the year.”
Since sales are all about obliging customers, you should know your target audience inside out. You must learn their age, gender, location, marital status, education, occupation, and other personal info. Yet the demographics are only the core of your buying persona. A 360-view of your prospective clients also includes their purchasing power, hobbies, priorities, preferences, and challenges.
Getting such details may not be possible via sifting through all available sources containing information on them (CRM records, Google Analytics reports, Facebook audience insights, etc.). In that case, you should interview your clients and conduct various surveys to fill in the missing values in your customer profiles’ fields.
Having customers’ dossiers at your fingertips, you can identify their needs that are related to the products or services you deal in. When you do this, you will see where and how to connect with them. This can be achieved in two ways.
The simplest method is to identify what clients may need at each stage of the digital sales funnel. This gives you a comprehensive view of the majority of customers but leaves out the personal aspect, which is where the second method excels. In it, you must create a specific sales funnel for each person on your customer list going by the data obtained at the previous stage. Naturally, it is more time- and effort-consuming, but the outcome is a more accurate and small-grained focus on individual buyers and the problems they want to solve using your products or services.
Before thinking about what to do, you must take stock of what you have. First of all, you should list your marketing channels (website, social media profile, email marketing, SEO, content marketing, pay-per-click advertisements, etc.) and fathom which of them are more effective in terms of attracting traffic, driving leads, or accomplishing other add-value moves.
If you disregard the question of money, even the best thought-out digital marketing strategy will come to might-have-beens. Since contemporary state-of-the-art technologies are a big-ticket item, be ready to fork out from $2,500 to $12,000 monthly and even more, depending on your company’s size and the goals you set.
Now when you see how much money you can splurge on the endeavor, it is the time to plan concrete steps to create a digital marketing strategy for each marketing vehicle from your roster piecemeal. Naturally, your major focus would be on the more effective ones, but you shouldn’t neglect the secondary channels either.
Whatever channel you are going to utilize, it is the content that will ultimately determine its success. Bearing that in mind, you must compile a library of your current content assets (images, videos, blog posts, podcasts, infographics, etc.). With this content database at your disposal and a complete picture of your customer personas, you can plan super-focused campaigns aimed at different target audiences via specific marketing vehicles.
How do most consumers today find out about the product or service they need? Of course, they Google it. If your internet resource appears in the top 5 of search results, the huge odds are that the customer will reach you. That is why leveraging SEO that will help search engines index and rank your site high is a must-have for any digital marketing strategy.
Why is it pivotal to embark on the SEO journey as soon as possible? Because, in spite of the powerful potential of this tool, it will produce palpable results only in the long run—typically in four or even six months. Being unaware of its delayed effect, many budding ecommerce entrepreneurs start on SEO late in the day. Moreover, seeing no quick results to boast of, they often abandon it altogether or pay cursory attention to it while putting heavy stress on paid ads or email marketing. And in such a case, you can’t expect SEO to do you any good.
Instead, after early inception, you should nurture it constantly by improving your site content, promoting it across the Internet, augmenting internal linking, and elevating keyword usage.
Blog posts are a primary place of the SEO force application. Filling them with meticulously selected keywords can move your site up in search results significantly. But you shouldn’t blog just to produce keyword-infested texts. Alongside this SEO-driven purpose, blogs are an excellent way of attracting traffic to the site, augmenting social media imprint, and providing useful information to the readers. These readers are not just random people; they are consumers interested in your products or services. Having a regularly-updated blog section on your site, you will be able to address their queries and foster the reputation of an expert in the field.
Any software-driven effort is highly susceptible to automation. This universal truth applies to a digital marketing strategy as well. You can employ it on a large scale in almost all strategic aspects—from email campaigns and content marketing to lead generation and social media practices. Implementing automation is particularly simple with specialized solutions that are integrated with CRMs enterprises make use of.
No doubt, automation streamlines the lion’s share of processes related to digital marketing, but it is important not to overdo with it. Why? Because customers appreciate a personal touch when dealing with online ventures. Besides, a targeted approach makes your digital marketing strategy more efficient when different people get different ads, offers, and discounts. A useful step in this direction is segmenting your client audience into groups who share similar demographics, buying preferences, and shopping behavior.
Most people today reach out for products and services via their smartphones. That is why, when thinking about how to build a digital marketing strategy, you should prioritize the mobile experience. Make sure page speed and site design are taken into account. Email templates, as well as videos and images, should also be tailored to be accessed through a mobile device.
A digital marketing strategy is not a thing to be developed once and followed for years to come. Ours is a dynamic age, and the digital sphere is the essence of agility in comparison to other aspects of modern life. New concepts and technologies crop up almost every month, so you should keep your eyes skinned for fresh developments in the realm.
Another reason to review your strategy at certain intervals is the efficiency of tactics used in it. To gauge it, you should check KPIs that are furnished by specialized tools, such as Google Analytics, Google Ads, Google Search Console, etc. They reflect mission-critical indices, including the number of site visits, number of conversions (and micro-conversions), cost per visit and per conversion, time spent on site, click-through rate, number of comments and shares, bounce rate, and so on.
Once you pinpoint bottlenecks, you should doctor them and make sure you avoid them in the future. After all, the efficiency of your digital marketing strategy is determined not by the absence of mistakes but by timely troubleshooting and swift correction of areas that underperform.
The robust advent of cyber technologies made traditional marketing seem obsolete, shifting the focus to its digital counterpart. Leveraging the seven major digital marketing channels, you can reach out to a greater consumer audience, attract visitors to your site, drive conversion, and increase revenue at the end of the day. Such breakthroughs are only possible if you have your digital marketing strategy in place. Once developed and implemented, it should be revised regularly to expose inadequacies and keep abreast with the latest achievements in the domain.
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