It's not a lack of great content, the quality of the product, or the talent of the people working at a brand that holds businesses back today. It's the absence of a well-thought-out strategy that prevents brands from making progress on digital channels. According to research-based demand generation team Ascend2's Digital Marketing Strategy research summary report, 51% of companies cite the lack of an effective strategy as their most significant obstacle to success. Companies like these try a variety of tactics and hope they work, without a clear path to achieve and measure so they can keep optimising their actions.
Digital marketing strategy may seem overwhelming, considering how many digital touchpoints prospects and current customers interact with, but a simple yet actionable strategy is often enough to put brands in control of their marketing efforts and race past competitors. Digital marketing strategy creates the link between your objectives and how you're going to achieve them. It provides the framework on what should be done, how it should be done, and in what sequence actions should be taken to get from where you are to where you need to be. Because so many brands lack a clear strategy, creating one immediately gives you an edge, which you can further sharpen over time to maintain momentum in the digital space.
Components of a Solid Digital Marketing Strategy
The main advantage of building a strategy is the alignmentit provides. A clear-cut strategy defines goals for initiatives ranging from social media and content marketing to search engine optimisation and mobile campaigns, so all parts of the business are leveraging their digital efforts for the common good. A robust digital strategy streamlines the following elements:
- Marketing objectives with business and sales goals. Digital marketing's purpose is to create brand awareness, that turns into leads, that turn into sales, that ultimately turn into loyal brand advocates who serve as powerful forces in spreading the word about your brand. Whatever your digital footprint, from email marketing newsletters to specially designed landing pages and social channels, the goals of each need to be clearly aligned to the business outcomes. Some questions to consider include: Why are we in this channel? What purpose is it serving? How will it contribute to our broader business goals?
- Marketing channels with target audiences and their ideal products and services. Funneling prospects to products or services that aren't relevant to them or trying to reach them through channels where they don’t typically engage won’t generate much return, so aligning your audience, channels and product/service message is critical. Not only does it create maximum leverage for your brand, it reduces inefficiency of effort spent where it won’t count.
- Measurement of what matters. In the digital world, virtually every element is measurable, but not all measurements matter or are worth your team's precious time and resources. A strategy includes clear measures of success for your marketing objectives. This doesn't just include the data that is present in your Google Analytics or content management software. Soft measures such as brand sentiment may be just as vital to take note of.
A solid digital marketing strategy doesn't just help you deliver better service to customers. It also helps your employees do their jobs better, since they have a clear understanding of expectations and can focus on creatively innovating ways to improve their work. You may discover that various areas of your business are duplicating marketing efforts. By taking the time to create a strategy, you can better identify these areas and enable operations to become more efficient.
How to Get Started with a Digital Marketing Strategy
No matter the size of your business, taking the time to create a strategy is a worthy investment. Even starting with a simple approach can be a powerful step toward fostering focus and commitment to the big picture of improving sales.
If you have no idea where to start, digital marketing strategy site SmartInsights created free digital marketing benchmarking templates to see where your brand is and where it can progress to. As mentioned in our post about customer journey mapping, creating a visual roadmap motivated by strategy allows your team to easily see how marketing actions impact objectives. You can pinpoint elements that should be measured, capitalise on successful actions, and identify where methods are failing.
Involve team members outside of marketing in strategy discussions, especially those in sales or with customer facing roles. Learn what those customers are saying and where inefficiencies are happening within your workflow. Once a strategy is created, communicate it throughout your business so your staff can support strategic efforts. You'll find strategy supports alignment, and alignment creates value in strategy execution. This all makes your digital marketing efforts more successful.
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