The key to a successful marketing campaign is being able to engage with your target audience in the right place at the right time. In the past, marketers often connected with their target audiences via radio, TV, newspapers, and billboards. But if you want to grow your business in today’s world, you will need to focus on marketing to consumers online.
A digital marketing strategy may involve many different components, including social media, SEO, content creation, paid ads, and email marketing. Furthermore, every business is unique, so there is no one-size-fits-all digital marketing strategy template. Because digital marketing is so complex, it can be difficult to create, implement, and manage an effective strategy without some guidance. If you aren’t sure where to begin, follow these steps to build your first digital marketing strategy:
Build Buyer Personas
You can’t create an effective SEO project plan if you don’t know who you are trying to market to. This is why the first step in building a digital marketing strategy is getting to know your target audience.
The best way to define your target audience is to build buyer personas, which are descriptions of your ideal customers. Do not build your buyer personas based on assumptions about your target audience. It’s important to analyze actual data to learn more about your target audience’s background, demographics, behavior, motivations, values, challenges, and goals.
You may need to collect a vast amount of information about your target audience to build accurate buyer personas. Examples of this information include:
- Gender identity
- Career path
- Personal vs. professional goals
- Everyday challenges
- Communication preferences
- Social media usage
Because each buyer persona is so narrowly defined, you will probably need to build multiple personas to represent different segments of your target audience. After you collect information about your target audience, break it down to determine how many different personas you need to paint a clear picture of your potential customers.
Set Goals and Objectives
You shouldn’t start crafting a digital marketing plan without knowing what goals and objectives you want to achieve. Some people use the terms “goals” and “objectives” interchangeably, but they are not the same.
A goal is a broad, long-term desired outcome you wish to achieve by implementing your digital marketing campaign. Some examples of digital marketing strategy goals include:
- Increase sales.
- Grow brand awareness.
- Rank higher in the search results.
- Establish your brand as an expert.
Objectives are specific actions your team must take in order to reach your goals. Experts recommend using the S.M.A.R.T. criteria, which means setting objectives that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound.
Your objectives should explain how you are going to reach your goals. For example, if your goal is to grow brand awareness, your objective might be to increase engagement by 10% within two months. If your goal is to increase sales, your objective might be to increase website conversions by 5% in a month.
Take the time to establish your goals and objectives before moving forward. Let these goals and objectives guide your decisions and serve as your digital marketing strategy framework.
Assess Your Current Digital Presence
You’re almost ready to start building your digital marketing strategy. But first, it’s important to determine where you currently stand in the digital world. Every aspect of your current digital presence should fall under one of these three categories:
- Owned Digital Media: This includes any digital asset your company has ownership of, such as social media accounts, websites, blogs, videos, and images.
- Earned Digital Media: This includes any part of your digital presence that was established by word-of-mouth. An example of earned media is product mentions on third party websites. You don’t own the content or the website and did not pay for the product mentioned, which is why it falls under this category. Other examples might include social media shares, customer reviews, and guest blog posts on third party websites.
- Paid Digital Media: This includes any paid component of your digital presence. Examples include pay-per-click campaigns, social media ads, or sponsored posts.
Plan Your Future Digital Presence
The next step is evaluating each component of your digital presence and putting a plan in place that builds off what you currently have and helps you reach your digital marketing goals.
You can make this step more manageable by breaking your plan down into the same three categories: owned digital media, earned digital media, and paid digital media.
Owned Digital Media
To evaluate your owned digital media, review the content on your website to identify gaps and opportunities. You may realize that your current content only targets one of your buyer personas. Or you may notice that how-to blogs tend to get far more engagement than other forms of content. If your goal is to increase engagement, you may want to take advantage of this opportunity by creating more how-to content.
Create a content plan that fills the gaps and takes advantage of the opportunities you’ve identified in your current owned digital media strategy. For each piece of content in your plan, make sure to describe:
- Format (blog, infographic, video, etc.)
- Targeted keywords
- Buyer persona
- Where it will be published
- When it will be published
This content plan should help you improve upon your existing owned digital media and meet the goals of your digital marketing strategy.
Earned Digital Media
Analyze your historical earned digital media data to determine which channel drove the most traffic and produced the best results. This is where you should focus most of your future efforts.
For example, say you wrote a guest blog for a third party website. The guest blog increased traffic to your website by 10% over a six-week period. If your goal is to generate sales by driving more traffic to your website, you should consider writing additional guest blogs since this strategy was successful in the past.
Basing your plan off of what has been successful in the past can help you reach your campaign goals. However, you shouldn’t be afraid to try something new. If you would like to try a new tactic, research how effective it has been for other companies. If you implement a new tactic, make sure you monitor the results closely to measure its effectiveness.
For instance, if you are launching a new product in the near future, you may want to consider releasing press releases as part of your earned digital media efforts. Even if you’ve never tried it before, this is an effective way to promote a new product launch, so you may want to include it in your digital marketing strategy.
Paid Digital Media
Evaluate your historical paid digital media data just like you did with your earned digital media data. One metric you should pay close attention to is your ROI. The higher your ROI, the greater the success of the paid digital media effort.
You shouldn’t necessarily eliminate efforts that have not been successful in the past. For example, if your ROI for Facebook advertising has been low, you may be tempted to eliminate this tactic from your campaign.
However, a low ROI does not necessarily mean that Facebook advertising is not right for your business. It could mean that you simply aren’t using Facebook ads in an effective way. Research how you can adjust your Facebook ad targeting to improve your chances of connecting with your target audience.
Map Out Your Digital Marketing Strategy
At this point, you should have a basic digital marketing strategy in place. Now it’s time to put it in writing by mapping out your digital marketing strategy on paper.
You don’t need to include every detail of your strategy in this document. Keep it short and simple–it should only be about two to three pages. Write a brief description for each of these sections:
The timeline should be the most detailed section of the document. It should explain when you plan on executing each tactic. Examples of timeline items might be:
- We will look for guest blog opportunities beginning in March and aim to publish one new guest blog per month.
- We will publish content that targets our priority keywords beginning in February and aim to publish three new pieces of content per week.
Distribute this document to your team once it is complete. This will ensure everyone is on the same page and ready to work together to meet your goals.
Use the Right Project Management Tool
A comprehensive digital marketing strategy can consist of countless moving parts. Using the right project management tool can help you plan, organize, and implement your marketing efforts with ease. There are many project management tools out there, but none that can compare to Gryffin.
Gryffin was built by digital marketers for digital marketers, so it is the only tool designed with all of the features your team needs to work efficiently. Instead of switching back and forth between programs and spreadsheets, use Gryffin to manage all of the different aspects of your digital marketing campaigns with one tool.
Every marketing team is unique, which is why Gryffin gives you the flexibility to customize your templates, workflows, and workspaces. This allows you to create the necessary adjustments to meet your team’s unique needs.
Learn more about how Gryffin can help by starting your free 14-day trial today.