Hey! I’m Marissa, a freelance web designer and digital marketer. I love working with clients to take the overwhelm out of getting their business online. Thanks for stopping by and taking a look at my blog!
Fundamentals of Digital Marketing: How to create your own digital marketing strategy
This blog is a follow up from my five-part series all about digital marketing. In this post, we’ll look at how you can create your first digital marketing strategy.
If you’ve followed along with every part in this series, you’ll now have a more thorough knowledge of the various elements involved in digital marketing (or you can start at the beginning here if you need to!). We can take all of this and use it to help you create your own digital marketing strategy! Of course there are so many different ways you can do this, but solidifying your own digital marketing strategy with the steps outlined below will give you a solid starting point.
Here’s 6 steps you can follow to build your own digital marketing strategy.
My favourite part of all of this is, it doesn’t have to be complicated or take you weeks of research or work. Your digital marketing strategy can be one sheet of paper with a few appendixes (perhaps for your Ideal Customer Avatar, etc). That’s it! That’s all you need to get started. Let’s work through these now.
1.Business goals and objectives.
What are they? Hopefully you’ll have these in general for your business anyways! Be specific; you won’t be able to measure your progress effectively if your goals are too broad. You want your goals to be SMART:
Remember, digital marketing isn’t only about selling yourself. You should by now realise that it’s also about reaching new customers, learning about your audience, creating community and supporting your audience, building brand awareness, collecting feedback and reviews…there’s way more happening here than just sales. Of course, you can and should set specific goals around the revenue you bring in online but simply bear in mind that this is all about using a good mix, so your selling strategy will be most effective when you’re also using your online channels to connect with and give value to your customers and not just to sell to them.
2.Budget and resources.
Do you have any budget for online ad spend? It’s of course ideal to utilise free platforms, but pairing that with a bit of ad spend if you have the resources for it can make your strategy all the more effective. I always advise clients that they don’t need to jump straight in with a huge ad spend; start small! Watch the numbers, test different audiences, see what works best, and then as you’re able to, start spending more where you’re seeing a higher ROI. At the very beginning, I’m literally talking about spending £5-10 per ad campaign to see what works and what doesn’t. I also believe that how well your paid ads do on social platforms is closely tied to how well your organic content does. You’re going to have a much more difficult time getting your ads targeted and working well if you don’t spend any time or effort on your organic content and presence on these platforms. If you show up intentionally and are creating content that gives value to your followers, you’ll probably find that a little ad spend goes a long way.
Other things that might cost you money could be content creation, social media marketing, SEO, graphic or ad design, email newsletter creation, etc. This is based on what you can do yourself, and what you can outsource. The best use of your time is to focus on what you’re good at and outsource the rest! Of course some of these you’ll be able to figure out, but you’ll save yourself a ton of time and effort if you outsource some of this if you really want it done well. You’ll also get the added value of having someone’s experience who’s speciality it is to work on those parts of your digital marketing plan.
Who is your audience? Again, be very specific! You should create an ideal customer avatar for your business. What’s their name? How old are they? What are their likes and dislikes, their background, their favourite hobbies? The more you understand your ideal client, the easier you’ll find it to reach them online. You want to talk specifically to this person every time you put out a piece of content. This way, while you may repel some people, you’ll also really appeal to exactly who you want to work with; your ideal client.
This is hugely important, and again doesn’t have to take hours of your time. If you need to, create more than one! I’m a huge fan of Amy Porterfield, and she has tons of amazing resources. She recently did a great podcast all about how you can identify your ideal customer avatar, and I highly recommend having a look at that before you start this exercise. You can find her post about that here.
What channels of digital marketing will you use? Think of everything we’ve covered: SEO, SEM, social media, display marketing, content marketing, and email marketing. Again, I would always advise clients to start smaller and work their way up to using more. Far better to choose maybe two or three channels and work your way up to using more, rather than try a little bit of everything, get overwhelmed and stop doing all of them.
A lot of these are going to have more long-term results rather than short wins (which is a better way to build your business for long term success anyways!), so you should choose the channels you feel you’ll be able to stick with consistently. Personally, I chose to start with content marketing, email marketing, social media (organic and paid) and SEO. I would also argue again that content marketing falls under most of these areas and is intertwined with every aspect of digital marketing, so you should feel comfortable with producing high quality content for your audience as part of most of these. You’ll build a much more engaged online presence for your business this way!
5.Plan your activity.
So you have your goals, budget, you know your audience and what channels you’re going to use, and now you need to plan your activity. This will be based on what you’ve decided in all the previous steps! Everyone has different ways that they like to work but depending what channels you’ve decided to use, much of your work can be done ahead of time. If you’re mainly using email marketing, you can plan your content and then schedule or automate your emails. If you’re using social media, you can use tools such as Hootsuite, Buffer and Planoly to plan and schedule your posts ahead of time. If you’re publishing blogs out on your WordPress site, you can write them up in advance and schedule when you want them to be published! You might find it easier to create a two or three month content plan than to think about it on a daily basis (but that’s maybe a blog post for another time…!).
6.Measure your efforts.
Again, you’ll want to measure your efforts here by setting some SMART goals. For example, if you’re focusing on social media marketing, don’t set a goal of ‘increasing followers on Instagram’ or ‘increase brand awareness on facebook’. Set a goal like ‘increase engagement on Instagram by 10% over 4 months’. Set your goals, see how you do, and don’t be afraid to fall short! I believe good digital marketing is all about testing things out, checking in, adjusting as you go, and not being afraid of failing so that you can learn more about what you need to do better next time. Failure is good because it teaches us! So don’t be afraid to fall short of your goals sometimes if it helps you learn more about yourself and your business and ultimately, helps you succeed.
You should now have your own digital marketing strategy; congratulations! It doesn’t need to be a big, scary, time consuming event to create your strategy. I hope you found it useful! There are a few final things I would like to share that (I believe) will make a huge difference to how well your strategy will do.
- Consistency and visibility are key. Choose something and stick to it. Focusing on your blog? Write one a week ideally, or whatever you feel you can commit to doing consistently. Email marketing? Same thing. Social media? Make sure you post and engage consistently, on your own posts and with others! If you use your digital marketing channels with intention and to give value to your audience, you’ll create far more worthwhile connections with your audience.
- High quality content is invaluable. Written content, videos, photography. If you can do these well or don’t enjoy them, outsource them or even just parts of them!
- Think of the big picture. Always go for the option that will help build and serve your business in the long term and not just the quick wins; you’ll build a much more stable business with an audience who is much more invested in what you do.
- You’re already ahead! I know, you’ve only just put together your digital marketing strategy. But getting started is the hardest part! You’re already ahead of 90% of others by actually getting started and not just talking about what you want to do. How far ahead you already are combined with your digital marketing strategy means you’re going to make awesome progress.
I would love to hear more about your digital marketing strategy, and if you found this post useful. Leave me a comment and let me know how you get on with your strategy or if you have any questions about your own digital marketing strategy!