How to Create a Digital Marketing Strategy
What is Digital Marketing Strategy?
A digital marketing strategy is a series of steps and processes to make the most of your small business online presence.
It’s a way to plan your brand message and target the best people to your website in order to grow your business. The digital marketing strategy process is your small business ‘master plan’ to make the most of your resources and budget. Building a digital marketing strategy does need some time to set out but it’s worth it for the time saved in the future.
Below we share digital marketing strategy steps to give your small business a clearer vision of what you want to achieve and how to achieve it.
How to Create a Digital Marketing Strategy in 6 Steps
Small businesses often already have a digital marketing strategy, they just don’t know it.
If you have a website, social pages, blog or email to your customers then you have a digital marketing strategy process in place.
The problem is that there hasn’t been much planning involved and everything is done on a very ‘ad hoc’ basis. ‘Lets just send an email and see what happens’ or ‘I want to talk about this so I’ll write a blog.’ It’s fantastic that you’re doing something, but is anyone actually interested in what you’re putting into the digital marketing space?
An audit is a great opportunity to look at your digital marketing efforts so far and how it’s worked for you. Look at every platform from social, to blogs, to email and find out if it achieved the results you wanted. If not then that’s OK, it gives a good starting point on what to focus on in the future.
Another step to the digital marketing strategy audit that is often overlooked is your website. You need to check that everything is working as it should for a useful experience. A starting point is to check all the pages, internal links, site speed and the customer journey.
The second step in the digital marketing strategy process is to set out what you want to achieve. Do you want more visitors to your website? Most likely. Presumably, you also want the visitor to do something on your website. Maybe it’s to buy something or to book an appointment. You need to look at your business and establish what a conversion is. From there you can create some SMART targets.
Not all the targets have to be revenue specific. It could be to increase your followers or get more Google reviews. Set these objectives at the start of your digital marketing strategy so that you and anyone you work with have a clear view of the goal. This way, when you look at your digital marketing tactic you can easily ask yourself, will this achieve my digital marketing objectives?
- Buying Personas
Your ideal customers are on the internet looking for you! So how are you going to figure out the people that are most likely to buy your product or service?
A buying persona is your ideal customer but in fictional form. Part of this is from an educated guess but most of it is from marketing research data and information from your existing customers.
We would suggest that small businesses create their buying persona using information such as demographics, buying patterns, customer goals and challenges. Then look at ways to help them. Using buying personas is also a fantastic foundation tool when deciding who and where to target your digital marketing strategy.
- Targeting & Platforms
Now you know what you want your small business to achieve, who you want to talk to and what’s work so far, it’s time to look at how you’re going to reach your target audience.
The digital marketing landscape is huge. Social media alone has many platforms that won’t all be suitable for your digital target audience. For example, targeting new parents, aged 27 – 37, who are looking for a nursery for their children, probably won’t be on Snapchat, but will be on Facebook. Small businesses have fewer resources for their digital marketing strategy so focus on doing one or two things well.
- Planning Your Content & Creative
The next step in the digital marketing process is to start planning your content and adverts.
Look at what you have and what you need to get for each channel. This can be split up into three categories:
Owned Media – this is what you already have; images, videos, blogs, websites, social profiles. This is all branded and company-owned that you can publish or create adverts from straight away.
Earned Media – this is anything you have earned since starting the company, it could be positive reviews, press articles, guest blogs or user-generated content. All of this can be used to your advantage when planning your content calendar.
Paid Media – this is anything you’ve paid for to be part of. Examples include Google Ads, social ads, influencer posts or advertising on other websites.
Getting the right creative is CRUCIAL when planning adverts and posts. Targeting and research can do so much but people you need an eye-catching visual that represents your small business that will get attention.
Create some plan documents for each platform you will be using in your digital marketing strategy. Examples of these include:
- Social Post Plan
- Social Media Paid Advertising Plan
- Blog Content Calendar
- Email Marketing Calendar
Now that you have started to implement your digital marketing strategy you need to continuously report against your targets. From there you can easily see what works and who is responding to all your digital marketing efforts. Reporting will give you information to justify changes to the digital marketing strategy if you need to.
REMEMBER: Your small business digital marketing strategy is a working document and can be changed. Nothing is set in stone and plans often change at the last minute.