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How to create a Digital Marketing Strategy that’s actually strategic

At a time when we’re shifting from traditional marketing and focusing our attention onto digital, it can be difficult to know if we’re being effective in our approach. For many, the term digital strategy can even be a little daunting and confusing. Depending on who you ask, you’ll get different answers on what it actually means.

If you clicked on this post, I’m sure you know it’s essential for you to create a digital marketing strategy for your business. It allows you to stay on brand, tell your story, achieve your goals, and move in the right direction.

A digital strategy isn’t just using digital technologies for business purposes. It’s a deliberate plan for how you’re going to use specific methods and tools to achieve a certain result.

Whichever tactics or methods you use to digitally market your business, they need to accurately represent your business, and they need to actually be strategic. Simply put, just because you’ve signed up for an Instagram business account, it doesn’t mean you’re effectively implementing a digital strategy.

If you want to stop wasting money, attract the customers that are right for you, and achieve your goals quicker, you need a powerful digital strategy that’s tailored for your business.

Here are some helpful questions you can ask yourself when developing or refining your digital strategy.

Is your digital marketing strategic or by chance?

Without a clear strategy, your digital marketing efforts will always be ineffective. When you leave digital marketing to random, you waste time, lose money, and fail to achieve the results you desire.

Paying for a sponsored Instagram post without knowing who you’re targeting and for what purpose can be classified as digital marketing, sure, but it’s not going to produce the results you want.

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Image source: Pronto Marketing

Likewise, if your Facebook ad campaigns are costing a ton of money to run but rarely converting into sales, you need to think strategically about what needs to be changed.

Don’t experiment aimlessly in the hope that customers find you by chance. It rarely happens that way.

Furthermore, don’t try to do it all and create content on every single social media channel. Trying to be everywhere at once will end up making your brand look wishy washy. Establish where you want to be online and why, then focus on making those areas count.

How will your digital strategy help you achieve your business goals?

An effective digital marketing strategy needs to utilise the right methods, but without target goals for your business, it’s difficult to determine what those right methods are.

So, coming up with a great digital strategy must begin with being specific about what your business hopes to achieve. The particulars may be unclear at first, so start writing down any short or long term objectives, your mission and values, and the direction you want your business to take. Doing so will provide the clarity you need to set specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely goals. (Yes, you know what acronym I’m getting at here, so I’ll spare you the spiel.)

Are you focusing on brand awareness, or customer conversion? Understand that one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to digital marketing. Your digital strategies may look very different depending on your intention and desired outcome.

Not every strategy will be right for achieving your goals, and not every new digital marketing tool means automatic success

Some marketing methods will be better for driving traffic, depending on your target audience. Likewise, some social media platforms are more useful than others if you’re focused on ecommerce. Figure out what your business needs and start designing your strategy accordingly.

Regardless of the goal you’re focusing on, make sure it’s measurable. Being able to prove return on investment (ROI) will help you make further decisions down the line that will contribute to the growth of your business.

Does your digital strategy allow you to better understand your customers?

Digital strategies can and should be customer strategies, with engagement of your audience as a top priority.

Understanding what your customers want increases the likelihood of them coming back again and engaging with your business further. As a bonus, happy customers are more likely to result in natural lead generation through word of mouth, resharing your content, and leaving positive reviews.

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Image source: Find New Customers

Know which platforms your audience likes to use the most. You can have a killer, well-planned Twitter strategy all you like, but it’s going to be a waste of time if your target audience is predominantly on Instagram. Similarly, if you write a great guest post, make sure it’s for a site that your ideal customers are actually reading.

Once you know where your focus needs to be in order to reach your ideal customers, you need to be able to provide value to them. This can be as simple as creating high quality content that is entertaining, engaging and, most importantly, relevant. It’s great if you can produce in-depth and informative blog posts, but if it’s not on a subject your audience wants to know about, what’s the point?

Providing excellent customer service shouldn’t be an afterthought in your strategy either. You don’t just need to know your ideal customer base, you should want to help them too.

Listening to any feedback you’re given is crucial in understanding what your customers need and want. Not only will your customers feel valued, but you’ll be able to tailor your products, services and overall user experience to fit their requirements.

Have you ever seen questions left on an Instagram post that were asked weeks ago, yet are still unreplied to? Even though you’re not the one waiting for an answer, it leaves you with an uneasy feeling. If communicating with your audience isn’t a part of your strategy, you could unknowingly be losing trust and potential conversions.

Many businesses can give off this kind of negative impression when there isn’t enough focus on back and forth communication in the digital space. So, make sure your digital strategy isn’t unintentionally alienating your audience and potential customer base.

Is your digital strategy in alignment with your business purpose?

One reason digital marketing campaigns can fail is because they misrepresent the values, offerings, and purpose of a business. If you’ve given potential customers the wrong expectations, they’re not likely to stay around for long.

Messages in your ads can’t say one thing while your website says another. If your business ethos revolves around solving problems and making people’s lives easier, don’t provide a complicated and confusing user experience.

Just as failing to communicate with your customers on social media can destroy trust, a lack of collaboration between your entire company can negatively disrupt digital marketing strategies.

Don’t allow digital to be an isolated add-on of your business plan. It’s important for your digital strategy to be integrated completely and not act separately from the rest of the company. Incorporate it fully and collaborate with other teams, whether it’s sales or design.

Thorough communication is necessary for your digital strategy to achieve optimum results and represent your business accurately and effectively.

What does this mean in the long run?

When everything is in alignment, your overall brand is cohesive and easily identifiable. Your audience isn’t confused by your message or offering, and your business comes across as trustworthy.

Is your digital strategy helping your business move forward?

Your business will only be successful and move forward when you’re implementing strategies to achieve your well-defined goals. But how can you be sure that your strategy is working out the way you hoped?

Make sure that with every new tactic and method used in your strategy, you’re measuring and comparing the results. Inconclusive or nonexistent metrics won’t help your business grow. If you don’t track what’s working and what’s not, you won’t know where to improve.

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Image source: Video Blocks

Now, maybe you’ve found a great strategy that’s working wonders. Everyone’s happy with the results. But why stop there? Are you using this data and revenue to innovate? Are you continuing to grow your customer base? Are you using newfound insights to make smarter business decisions? Are you keeping ahead of your competition?

In staying stagnant, you’ll eventually find your business is in fact falling behind. With the digital world changing so quickly, you’ll begin to realise that what once worked in the past no longer brings the same results. It’s therefore vital to stay up to date on digital marketing trends and figure out whether they’d or not be a useful addition to your strategy.

Keep optimising and refining so that you can stay ahead of your competitors, scale up, and continue to meet new targets.

What steps should you be taking to create a digital marketing strategy?

When designing your digital strategy, are you thinking about your goals, values, and where you want your business to be in the future? Do you know how to adequately track and measure results? Are you able to prove ROI? Or, are you leaving everything up to luck?

First and foremost, you need to define your goals. The specific objectives you set will serve as a guide for the rest of your strategy and keep you on track. Establish realistic expectations for how many new clients you want to sign up, or how much revenue you want to generate within a certain time frame. Don’t be vague here, and remember to set numbers and dates so that these goals are as measurable as possible.

Secondly, make sure you know your ideal audience, including their online behaviours and communication preferences. The potential clients you hope to attract may be of a certain gender, age range, average income, or location. Continue to develop this customer persona by trying to understand the types of things they may be looking for or need help with.

Following on from that, select the right channels according to where your potential clients are already giving their time and money. This includes picking the right social media platforms, deciding whether you’ll get into email marketing, and determining what kind of paid advertising you have the budget for.

Once you know where you need to be online to attract the right audience, plan out and develop content for those channels. Decide what you’re going to post about, what types of content you’ll create, and how often you’ll do this.

Once you’ve developed a plan, carefully implement your strategy. Be sure to fill out targeting options provided by many platforms using the information from your customer persona. Ensure that you commit to this plan and stay consistent. A content calendar can help you stay on top of this.

Next, monitor and measure your successes and failures. Track the results using Google Analytics or the software provided with the platform to identify any areas that aren’t producing the results you hoped for. You’ll need to know what kind of ROI you’re getting for the last step…

…which is, refine your strategy. As you figure out what works and what doesn’t, keep making changes to the content you produce and how you interact with your customers on specific platforms.

Why let your digital marketing be accidental? Devise a digital strategy that gives your business the best chance of success.

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