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How to create a digital marketing strategy 

How to create a digital marketing strategy 

A well planned digital marketing strategy will help to drive traffic and sales for your business so read our guide to learn more about how to create an effective digital marketing strategy for your business.

There are now 62.86 million monthly users of the internet in the UK alone. And, over 81% of people now use the internet to find information about goods or services. 

As a result, more and more businesses are utilising digital marketing strategies to build awareness and generate leads. So, if you want to grow your business’s online presences, developing a digital marketing strategy is essential. A well planned digital marketing strategy will help you to grow your business by driving valuable traffic to your website and earn more leads that you can turn into conversions. 

In this guide, we’ll take a look at how to create an effective digital marketing strategy. 

What is a digital marketing strategy? 

A digital marketing strategy involves utilising a range of online marketing channels to achieve your business goals. This involves activities such as SEO, PPC, social media and content marketing. 

Planning your digital marketing strategy allows you to build a range of successful activities to grow your business through a number of channels. 

Not all digital marketing strategies are the same. Each business has different goals and target audiences, so you will need to develop a strategy that suits your business, goals and target audience. 

Without a strategy, you will know what you want to accomplish but won’t know how to achieve it. This will lead to digital marketing campaigns that will not drive the results you’re looking to achieve. 

Why do you need a digital marketing strategy? 

Digital marketing is always evolving which means that businesses who fail to keep up with current marketing trends will fall far behind the competition. 

A digital marketing strategy provides a number of benefits for your business, including: 

  • Get a better understanding of your online market 
  • Provide goals for your business to help with growth 
  • Understand your customers and their needs 
  • Stay ahead of your competition 
  • Understand which platforms are best for your business 

How to create a digital marketing strategy 

Here’s our step-by-step guide for building an effective digital marketing strategy that will help you to achieve your business goals. 

1. Build buyer personas 

Whether you’re running a digital marketing strategy or using traditional marketing channels, you need to know exactly who you are targeting. For the most effective digital marketing strategies, it’s important to build detailed buyer personas so this should be the first step in any strategy. 

Buyer personas provide details of your ideal customers and are created by researching, surveying and interviewing your existing customers. These personas should always be based on real data whenever possible and should be based off current customer data. 

Find out information such as: 

  • Location 
  • Age 
  • Income 
  • Job 
  • Goals 
  • Interests 
  • Hobbies 
  • Challenges 

Making assumptions about your target audience can mean that your marketing strategy moves in the wrong direction and you will struggle to get the right results. To make sure you get the full picture, your pool of customers should include existing customers, prospects and people outside your contacts database who align with your target audience. 

If you don’t know who is looking for your products or services and where, your strategy is unlikely to be successful. Most businesses have a few different types of people who will buy from them so personas help you to understand each of these different types and how to target them. 

2. Identify your goals 

Your marketing goals should always be based on the overarching goals of your business. For example, if your goal is to increase online revenue by 25%, your marketing goal might be to generate 50% more leads through your website than the previous year to contribute to this goal. 

You can’t create a strategy without knowing what you want to achieve so focus on short, medium and long term goals to get the most from your campaigns. Think about the following questions: 

  • What do you want to achieve?
  • When do you want to achieve it? 
  • How will you measure the achievement? 

Creating SMART goals will help you to understand the targets you need to meet and how you’re going to achieve it. Whatever your goals are, you’ll need to monitor the results and make sure your campaigns are delivering, as well as get the most from your budget. 

3. Understand the digital sales funnel 

The digital sales funnel is important to be aware of when developing an effective marketing strategy. This encompasses the different steps that buyers move through before they get to the point of purchase and become long term customers. 

Customers online move through the following stages on their path to purchase with a brand:

  • Awareness - create awareness of your brand online through events, blogs and other content. Channels include SEO and paid search. 
  • Interest - nurture leads with targeted content such as email marketing, newsletters and retargeting. 
  • Consideration - provide product information to your target audience. This could include case studies, free trials and email campaigns. 
  • Intent - here you should focus on your unique value proposition and use content such as demos and walkthroughs. 
  • Purchase - this is when your prospects become customers after a sales transaction has taken place. At this stage, you should be thinking about how to retain customers. 

Different marketing strategies will work well at different stages of the funnel. Users who are in the awareness stage will not respond to an ad in the same way as someone who has already bought from you and has become a customer. 

Customers will be communicating with your brand in different ways and on different platforms so your strategy will need to be tailored to this. 

4. Understand search intent 

Alongside the sales funnel, search intent is also an important part of your digital marketing strategy. The needs of your target audience are expressed through search queries. When someone types a search query into a search engine, such as Google, there is intent behind it. If your website does not appear in these search results or does not meet the user’s search query, it will be difficult to drive traffic. 

As a result, it’s important to perform keyword research to make sure your digital marketing strategy and content captures all topics, keywords and phrases throughout the buyer’s journey. 

5. Evaluate your existing digital channels and assets 

When you’re creating a digital marketing strategy, it’s important to review your existing channels and assets to determine what you will need to incorporate into your strategy. Looking at what you already have and how it’s performing will prevent you from becoming overwhelmed or confused when trying to build and run your strategy. 

Record the channels you already have and categorise them in one central place so you have a clear picture of your existing owned, earned and paid media. 

  • Owned media - these are any digital assets that your business owns. This might be your website, social media profiles, content or imagery. You have complete control over all of these channels. 
  • Earned media - this is any exposure you gain through word of mouth marketing. This might be content on other websites, PR or the customer experience you have delivered. Earned media is any recognition you receive as a result of these efforts. 
  • Paid media - this is any channel you spend money on to catch your target audience’s attention. Includes Google AdWords, paid social media posts or native advertising. 

Have a look at everything you have, how it’s performing and what you can do to improve it to help meet your goals and fit in with your digital marketing strategy. 

6. Find the most effective marketing channels 

Once you understand who your customers are and the buying stages they move through, you should be able to identify the most effective channels to meet them in the right places, at the right time. 

Marketing on the channels your target audience are using is the best way to make sure your campaigns are as effective as possible. Your buyer personas should give you an indication of exactly who your customers are and the channels you’re using so you won’t be feeling around in the dark when it comes to pinpointing the best channels for your business.

As you run your campaigns, you may find that some channels are more effective than others so you’ll be able to refine your strategy as you go along to get the best return on investment. Tools such as Google Analytics will allow you to see how campaigns are performing, including the traffic and sales being driven through your activities. 

7. Get the right messaging 

Once you know who your target audience is and the channels they use, it’s important to make sure the tone and content of your marketing is something they will understand. 

If you’ve already identified where your customers are sitting in the buying funnel, you’ll know what type of language or approach you will need to take in terms of your messaging. If your customers know nothing about you, you should start by establishing your expertise and building trust. 

Your buyer personas will help you to understand your customer’s pain points and your messaging will help to solve their problems. 

8. Establish your budget 

To know how much you have to spend on your digital marketing activities, it’s important to establish how much you have available to spend and the resources you have available. Otherwise you might end up planning for a strategy that is beyond your means and will not be successful. 

Creating a budget for each campaign will allow you to understand how much you have to spend on each channel. 

In addition, you’ll need to establish the resources and people you have available to run and analyse your campaigns.

What are the components of a digital marketing strategy? 

Now you know how to build an effective digital marketing strategy, you’ll need to know which channels are available to you. 

The key components of a digital marketing strategy include: 

SEO and Content 

SEO and content allow your brand to appear in the top of the search results on any search engine when customers are searching for your product or service. This is achieved by optimising your website and conducting keyword research to learn more about what your target customers are looking for. 

The factors that can influence how highly you rank in the search results include: 

  • Using keywords that define the topic being addressed by your content 
  • The number of links, internal and external, that connect the pages on your website 
  • The amount of traffic being driven to your website and the level of engagement the pages of your website get 

When creating any piece of content, you will need to make sure it follows the above guidelines to increase your chances of showing up on the first page of the search results. This will allow you to boost the probability of being found by your potential customers when they’re ready to buy from you. 

People rarely scroll past the first page of the search results because they usually find what they need on the first page! 

Content allows you to connect with audiences at all stages of the buying funnel. It’s a long term strategy that can deliver great ROI. 

Paid search

Paid search ads using platforms such as Google Ads allow you to appear at the top of the search results quickly. It’s one of the most cost-effective paid advertising channels you can use for your brand. It can help if your organic rankings are not quite there yet. 

PPC ads allow you to target keyword with a transactional intent, so it can help you to target customers who are ready to buy and helps you to convert customers. 

Social media marketing 

Both paid social media and organic social media platforms allow you to connect with your target audiences at different touchpoints. The average UK social media user spends around 102 minutes on social channels every day. 

Social media allows users to share content with their friends and family but it’s also a great platform for connecting with the brands they shop with. This might be highlighting a positive shopping experience or requesting assistance from your customer service team. 

If you’d like to know more about how important digital marketing is for your business, download our free ebook.

Blog written by

Lucy Forrest
Digital Account Manager

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