Few modern businesses can thrive without a robust digital marketing strategy. Of course, there is always the infrequent exception of organizations with a long-term customer base or a knack for word-of-mouth promotion. Still, for all the rest, the right digital marketing strategy may be the difference between failure and success.
With the critical nature of a digital presence, how does a business owner create a digital marketing strategy? Of course, some organizations may work with a digital marketing consultant, digital advertising firm, or agency that works with search engine optimization (SEO), social media management, website design advertising, and overall strategy.
Other business owners may want to create their own strategy and even implement it using in-house talent. In that case, what are some initial steps owners and managers should take to begin developing a digital marketing strategy?
1. Understand your goals
What are you hoping to achieve with your digital marketing strategy? This initial step of goal setting is critical. It is nearly impossible to get where you are going if you don’t know your destination. While you may not reach your goals immediately and may even need to adjust them along the way, it is essential to consider them first. That way, you can make better decisions about what to include in your strategy, and you will have a way to measure the success of your plan.
2. Know your audience
Who are you trying to reach with your digital marketing? Attempting to reach an audience that is too broad or poorly defined can lead to failure. Different audiences have different preferences and needs. Even if your product or service is popular with multiple demographics, it is essential to understand each audience and tailor marketing efforts with a particular type of person in mind.
3. Clarify your unique selling proposition (USP)
Whatever product or service you offer, there is something that helps it stand out from the other offerings in the market. Whether it’s the product or service itself, competitive pricing, best-in-class customer service, expanded warranty service, generous return policy, or any other unique aspect of what you are selling, be sure it is clear to you and your team before going any further.
4. Determine the best digital channels
Armed with an understanding of your goals, your audience, and the unique features of your product or service, you can begin considering the best channels to use for marketing. The growing list of options can feel overwhelming. Remember that you don’t have to use all of them, and you certainly don’t need to start with more than one or two. Given who you are trying to reach and what goals you have, you might consider social media, email, pay-per-click ads (PPC), or content marketing aided by search engine optimization (SEO). Consider the cost related to your marketing budget, the potential reach of each channel, and how each option fits with your offerings and audience.
5. Create an initial plan
One of the most remarkable features of modern digital marketing is flexibility. More traditional marketing methods like radio, television, and print often require contracts and longer lead times, making it challenging to adjust along the way. However, with most digital marketing channels, there is more opportunity to learn and improve. With this in mind, don’t be afraid to create an initial plan that may require adjustments down the road.
To get started, develop a budget, decide on one or more channels, develop a calendar, and determine what promotional content to create. Even if you are developing your strategy on your own, this is also an excellent time to decide if you need assistance from a digital marketing consultant, digital advertising firm, agency, graphic designer, copywriter, SEO specialist, social media manager, or web designer.
6. Implement, track, and adjust
With your plan in hand, it is time to put it to work. Remember, digital marketing is not a “set it and forget it” strategy. Instead, you will need to continually monitor your progress and adjust as needed. Take advantage of widely available tools like Google Analytics to see how potential customers interact with your efforts and if your strategy leads to increased engagement, sales, and profits.
Stay with It!
Some businesses find immediate success in implementing a digital marketing strategy. Still, for most, it takes some time, patience, and trial and error. If your approach doesn’t show fruit, keep with it. Continue to review your goals, audience, USP, and channels until you find the right fit to grow your business.
Depending on your industry, you may want to work with a business consultant or ask us about the Our Services that are changing the way people shop and interact with businesses online.
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