Are you wondering if your business needs a digital marketing strategy? In simpler times, a business could place an ad in the newspaper and instantly get a ton of new customers. But today, consumers aren’t checking out newspaper ads, they’re on the world wide web. And if you want to grow your business, you need to create a digital marketing strategy that makes reaching the right shoppers a piece of cake.
Don’t worry, we’re going to help! In this article, we’ll share 10 steps to creating the perfect digital marketing strategy for your business.
But first, let’s take a closer look at the basics of digital marketing.
What is Digital Marketing?
A simple digital marketing definition is:
Using online marketing channels like social media, search engines, and websites to promote your business and connect with customers.
Every business should have a digital marketing strategy. But, if you’re a beginner, coming up with a digital marketing strategy can be daunting. Don’t worry though, you don’t need to take an expensive digital marketing course to learn how digital marketing works.
Check out these digital marketing examples:
At OptinMonster, we publish a few helpful blog posts each week for our audience.
Creating useful, high-quality blog posts can show your industry expertise and educate your customers. Plus, it helps generate organic search traffic for your business.
Social Media Marketing
Promoting your business on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram can help increase brand awareness, drive traffic to your website, and generate more leads for your business.
Check out this example of social media marketing from Taco Bell on Instagram:
This Instagram post works so well because it includes a super eye-catching image to promote their product. Instagram is all about images so your posts need to include quality photos to stand out in crowded feeds.
With email marketing, you can communicate with your customers directly. You can use email marketing to promote a sale, introduce new products, share tips and educate your customers, and much more.
Take a look at this email marketing example from The Iconic:
With email marketing, you can drive users to your website, increase customer engagement, and generate sales.
As these examples show, if you want to grow your business, you need a digital marketing strategy.
How to Create a Digital Marketing Strategy
A digital marketing strategy is simply a series of actions you can take to achieve your company goals. For example, if you want to get more email subscribers, create a digital marketing action plan to reach that specific goal.
So, how do you create a digital marketing strategy? Keep reading for easy, step-by-step instructions on how to create a digital marketing strategy for your business.
1. Determine Your Goals
Before you start creating your digital marketing strategy, you need to determine your goals. By figuring out what you want your digital marketing strategy to do, you can create a more focused digital marketing plan. Plus, if you set goals, it’s easier to track your results and find out if your digital marketing strategy is working or not.
There are many digital marketing goals you can set for your digital marketing strategy. Some of the more common goals are:
- Increasing brand awareness
- Generating leads
- Getting more email subscribers
- Increasing traffic to your website
- Boosting sales
Don’t just choose a general goal though—make it specific. For instance, instead of choosing the goal of “increasing traffic to your website,” set a goal like “get 500 new organic site visitors in the next 3 months.” Setting a specific goal helps you track your results even better.
You’ll want to choose 1 main goal for your digital marketing strategy and plan the steps of your digital marketing strategy to help you reach that goal.
So, to increase your website traffic you can take steps like:
- Create useful blog content
- Publish blog posts 3 times a week instead of once per week
- Optimize your website and blog posts for search engines
But wait… before you start making a plan of action, there are a few other steps you need to take first.
2. Create Buyer Personas
If you want to create the perfect digital marketing strategy, you need to know who your customers are—inside and out.
Knowing more about your ideal customers lets you create content that’s relevant to them. Relevant content does a better job of convincing your ideal customers to visit your website, subscribe to your email list, or make a purchase.
To figure out who your ideal customer is, create a buyer persona. Buyer personas, also known as customer avatars, are fictional characters that represent your ideal prospect.
Here’s an example of a customer avatar from Digital Marketer.
As you can see, this template includes basic information like gender, location, occupation, annual income, and more. But, it also includes important criteria like goals and values, challenges and pain points, objections, and their role in the buying process.
Buyer personas can also include information like what products they use, what type of books or blogs they enjoy reading, where they like to shop, what they like to do for fun, and so on.
Use this template, or a similar one, to create a detailed buyer persona for your ideal customer.
Instead of guessing these facts about your ideal customer, take a look at your existing customers. For instance, you could create a survey to learn more about who your existing customers are and look at Google Analytics and Facebook’s Audience Insights to find out specific details about them.
3. Understand the Sales Funnel
To truly figure out how to create a digital marketing strategy, you need to understand how people get to the point of making a purchase. Not everyone is ready to buy from you or become a loyal customer immediately.
Typically, visitors have to move through the sales funnel (with your help) to get to the point where they’re ready to buy.
Let’s take a look at this sales funnel chart to get a better idea about what we mean.
Sales funnels come in a few different shapes and sizes, but this is our favorite. There are 5 stages to this sales funnel, which are:
- Attract the community: Attract the community that is unfamiliar with your business.
- Engage the crowd: Engage with the people that now know your business exists.
- Educate the committed: Educate the people that are committed to making a purchase.
- Convert the customers: Convert customers who are ready to buy.
- Remember the core: Re-engage your core fans that have already made a purchase.
To turn leads into customers, you have to move them from the outer rings of the sales funnel towards the center of it.
Understanding the sales funnel and how people move through it is important because you need to create digital campaigns for each stage of your digital marketing strategy.
For instance, people in the first stage of the sales funnel who aren’t aware of your business yet won’t respond to an educational blog post the same way that people in the “Educate” stage would.
When creating your digital marketing strategy, you need to consider the stages of the sales funnel at all times.
4. Identify Your Digital Assets
Next, you need to list which digital assets you can use as part of your digital marketing strategy. You can list your digital assets in a simple spreadsheet or you could use a digital asset management software like Libris or Canto.
Start by identifying the digital assets your company currently has. A digital asset is anything that’s digital, searchable and discoverable, and provides value to your company.
By making a list of your digital assets, you can easily see all the resources you can use in your digital marketing strategy.
There are a number of types of digital assets, so let’s go over them:
Owned Digital Assets
Owned digital assets are anything that is unique to your company and is controlled by you.
Examples of owned digital assets are:
- Original content and images
- Social media profiles
Earned Digital Assets
Earned digital assets are attention that you’ve earned but you don’t own yourself and haven’t paid for.
Earned digital assets include:
- Guest posts
- Press mentions
Paid Digital Assets
Any time you pay for exposure to your company, that’s a paid digital asset.
Some examples of paid digital assets are:
- Social media ads
- Google Ads
- Pay-per-click advertising
As you can see, with so many different types of digital assets to keep track of, it’s easy to forget about some of them. But, by tracking your digital assets, you can make the most out of them in your digital marketing strategy.
5. Plan Where to Find Users at Each Funnel Stage
At this point, you’ve discovered who your audience is, you understand the sales funnel, and you’ve made a list of all your digital assets. Great job! All that’s left now is to put it together.
In other words, you need to figure out where to find users online at each funnel stage.
Choosing what type of content to show and where you show it is important.
For instance, guest posting isn’t a good digital asset for converting users into customers. Why? If a user is finding you through a guest post, they’re probably not aware of your business yet.
So, you’re better off creating content to convert users using digital assets like your website and email marketing. Since those users are already aware of your business, they’re more likely to convert.
Take a look at the spreadsheet you made of all your digital assets. Then, determine which of your audience members are using each digital asset and where they are in the sales funnel and add that information to your digital asset spreadsheet. Doing this will help make sure your digital marketing strategy is effective.
Each piece of your digital marketing strategy should lead users through the sales funnel. For example:
- Create useful blog posts so that a user can discover your post through a search on Google.
- Use Facebook retargeting to show the user a targeted ad that makes them return to your website.
- Add an exit-intent popup on your site to encourage the user to download your lead magnet and become an email subscriber.
- Send the user an email series to build a relationship and guide them through the buyer’s journey. For example, start with a welcome email, promote your other content, and educate them on your product and the benefits.
Pro Tip: OptinMonster customers can use OptinMonster University (for FREE) to create a welcome email series and promotional email series—step-by-step, from start to finish. Get started by joining OptinMonster today!
Outline the steps a user would likely take before becoming a customer and plan content for the marketing channels they would use in their journey.
6. Create a Content Calendar
Once you decide on the type of content that works for your business and the marketing channels you want to use, create a content calendar.
Creating a content calendar lets you organize your digital marketing strategy and help keep you on track.
You can create your own content calendar for free using a tool like Google Sheets. Or, you could use a content calendar template like the one below from HubSpot.
Your content calendar should include information like:
- Content format: Is the content a blog post, social media post, ad campaign?
- Marketing channel: Will it be posted on your blog, a guest blog, Instagram, or somewhere else?
- Stage of the sales funnel: Which stage of the sales funnel is the content for?
- Author of the assignment: Who’s creating the content?
- Deadlines and due dates: When does the content need to be completed and published?
- Keywords to use: What keywords are you targeting?
With a content calendar, you can easily plan out your digital marketing strategy for the entire year.
7. Automate Your Digital Marketing
To get the most out of your digital marketing strategy, you need to incorporate automation. Digital marketing automation saves you time and makes your digital marketing strategy more effective.
In fact, according to Invesp, marketing automation drives a 14.5% increase in sales productivity and 77%–80% of marketing automation users saw an increase in leads and conversions.
There are many ways you can automate your digital marketing. For example, you can use a social media scheduling tool to automatically post your social media campaigns for you.
Automate Your Social Media Marketing: Here are 32 of the best social media marketing tools we’ve found.
But, one of the most effective tactics is email marketing automation. With email marketing automation you can send more timely and relevant messages to your leads and customers.
Like when a user adds an item to their shopping cart but leaves without purchasing it, you can automatically send them an email to encourage them to go back to the checkout.
Check out this cart abandonment email example from Dyson.
Marketing automation won’t only save you time, it also helps you send more personalized messages to your audience. Let’s take a closer look at personalization in the next step.
8. Add Personalization
Personalization is an important part of your digital marketing strategy. According to research from Evergage, the top 5 benefits of personalization are increased visitor engagement, improved customer experience, increased conversion rates, increased lead generation, and improved brand perception.
As we mentioned in the previous step, marketing automation lets you send your email subscribers messages based on their behaviors, which is a form of personalization.
But, there are a number of other ways you can personalize your digital marketing strategy to be more relevant to your audience members.
For instance, you can create social media ads for specific segments of your target audience.
Take a look at these 2 Facebook ads from AdEspresso as an example.
The first ad targets agencies, that care more about improving their performance and helping customers faster. The second ad is geared towards startups that care more about growing their company.
By creating personalized digital marketing campaigns, your audience will feel like your content was created especially for them. So, they’ll be more likely to pay attention and take action.
9. Optimize Your Website for Conversions
At this point, you’ve learned many important steps to creating a digital marketing strategy like creating buyer personas, understanding the sales funnel, creating a content calendar, automating your digital marketing, and much more. Awesome!
But… you can’t forget about optimizing your website for conversions.
Your content, like blog posts and social media ads, can drive users to visit your website. But, what if your website isn’t able to turn visitors into leads or customers? If that’s the case, you’ve just wasted your time and efforts.
There are a number of easy ways you can optimize your website for leads and conversions, including:
Landing pages are especially useful for gathering leads and increasing conversions. They work so well because there’s nothing else on the page to distract the user, making them more likely to take your desired action.
Take a look at this landing page from Lyft as an example. It focuses on converting website visitors into drivers for their business and nothing else.
Lead users to a dedicated landing page on your website with your digital marketing campaigns to get the best results. For instance, instead of adding a link to your homepage in social media posts, add a link that takes users to a high-converting landing page.
10. Track and Measure Results
After putting your digital marketing strategy into action, don’t just sit around and hope for the best. Instead, you should track and measure your results.
By tracking and measuring the results of your digital marketing strategy, you can find what’s working for your business and what areas need to be improved.
For example, you can use a tool like MonsterInsights to monitor your website analytics in real-time—right from your WordPress dashboard.
You can even use MonsterInsights to track social media traffic to your website to find out how well those campaigns are performing.
This data from MonsterInsights shows you which social media platform is bringing you the most traffic. This is great information to have; if you find that YouTube is bringing you the best results, you can focus more of your efforts on creating content for YouTube.
Or, if another social media platform (say, Instagram) isn’t generating as much traffic, you can rework your strategy to get a better return on investment (ROI).
Coming up with the perfect digital marketing strategy takes a bit of experimentation, so don’t worry if yours isn’t perfect right away. However, by tracking your results with MonsterInsights, you can easily find opportunities and room for improvement.
That’s it! Now that you know the 10 steps to create the perfect digital marketing strategy, the big wide world of digital marketing shouldn’t be so intimidating. With these tips, you can come up with a digital marketing action plan that helps drive traffic to your site, increase brand awareness, and generate more revenue.
And don’t forget that OptinMonster is the absolute best way to convert your existing traffic into leads and customers. Why not get started with OptinMonster today?