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Digital marketing strategies are essential for businesses seeking to reach customers online. The Pew Research Center reports that 72% of Americans use social media and 90% of American adults use the internet regularly as of 2019. Companies ignoring the digital landscape are missing a huge swath of potential customers. This comprehensive guide will provide, in detail, everything you need to know about digital marketing strategies.

What Is a Digital Marketing Strategy?

A digital marketing strategy draws prospective customers into the sales funnel and eventually leads to a sale. However, unlike in a traditional marketing strategy, customers and companies engage with the entire process in a digital format. An effective digital marketing strategy should include some of these components:

  • Email Marketing
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Search Engine Marketing
  • Local Search Marketing
  • Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Marketing
  • Content Marketing
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Remarketing
  • Marketing Automation
  • Influencer Marketing
  • Videos
  • Effective Website Design
  • Infographics

Image via Unsplash by willfrancis

Email Marketing

Email marketing is the use of target emails to promote your company’s products or services. Email marketing shares similarities with traditional mail marketing, but it’s far cheaper, provides metrics for analysis and can be targeted to specific customers or target markets. You can use email marketing to send information, promotions, and coupons to customers.

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Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is the process of developing specific language for websites, landing pages and online posts to earn a top spot on a search engine’s response page. Top search engines use keywords and phrases to populate user queries with what the search engine deems to be the most relevant responses. SEO maximizes the likelihood of your content making it to the front page and earning a click from a potential customer.

Search Engine Marketing

Search Engine Marketing has the same goal as SEO – get your website at the top of the search engine results page, or SERP. However, instead of using keywords to optimize your website’s placement on the SERP organically, Search Engine Marketing is paid advertising. It guarantees that your website will earn top billing on the SERP when potential customers search for keywords.

Pay-Per-Click Marketing (PPC)

Pay-per-click marketing, or PPC, is paid advertising in which the company pays the search engine every time a potential customer clicks their ad. PPC marketing ensures that the search engine ranks your website at the top of the SERP. The goal is to convert a high volume of customers whose purchases will offset the cost of the paid advertising.

Local Search Marketing

Local search marketing uses location settings to help connect people searching for a local business with the appropriate business. Companies using local search marketing can use SEO or PPC tactics to improve their SERP rankings. The goal of local search marketing is for companies to appear on the local map when prospective customers search for products or services near them.

Content Marketing

Content marketing is the process of educating potential customers about their product or service rather than trying to directly sell them the product or service. While there’s definitely some overlap in terms of the subject of content marketing and traditional marketing, the goals are different. Content marketing strives to inform consumers about the purpose and value of a product with little investment in turning leads into sales.

Content marketing is valuable. Customers are interested in learning how products work and why they’re worthwhile. Excellent educational content positions you and your company as a reliable, trustworthy source of information, which will increase customers and overall sales when combined with other forms of digital marketing.

Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing connects current and potential customers with your company or brand via social media. Customers can interact directly with the company through likes, comments and re-posting content. Effective social media marketing increases brand awareness, improves sales, and can drive traffic to your website. Most social media platforms have built-in analytics, so it’s easy for companies to track how effective their social media presence is.

Remarketing

Remarketing targets potential customers who have already interacted with your web presence in someway with ads related to content in which they might be interested. Often these ads will appear on their social media pages. Advertisers sometimes call remarketing retargeting, and it’s a great tactic for increasing the likelihood that a potential customer will make a purchase.

Marketing Automation

Marketing automation is a valuable tool for companies interested in using the same or similar messaging on multiple digital platforms. After marketers input the necessary data, like campaign details, frequency of posts and target market, the marketing automation platform handles the rest. It frees up time for the marketing team to create new content and analyze the success of the strategy.

Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing combines celebrity sponsorships with social media marketing. Celebrities promote your products or services on their social media pages. Often, these celebrities aren’t famous in a traditional sense, like sports stars or musicians. Often, they’ve built online fame through creating their own content, usually videos or photos on social media sites. Influencers have a specific, dedicated market of fans. If you’re trying to reach a niche demographic, using influencer marketing can be a fantastic way to create brand awareness with that group.

Videos

Video marketing is the creation of a video for education or promotion that your company can use on its website, social media pages, email, or in between videos on streaming services. Videos are a great marketing tool. They’re engaging, fun, and can be a great use of SEO through backlinks and tagging. Customers tend to prefer videos to other forms of advertising. The time, creativity, and cost associated with creating marketing videos are usually worth it for a high percentage of customer conversions.

Effective Web Design

Web design is the process and execution of selecting and publishing visual elements like fonts and colors, interactive elements like buttons and forms, and content like information and storefronts on your website.

Excellent web design draws customers in and helps them easily navigate the education and purchase process. Well-designed web pages might also link to social media channels to help customers stay connected to the company. Drawing customers to your website, where they can make a purchase or interact with a company representative via chat, is the main goal of most other marketing strategies. A strong website is necessary to complete the sale.

Infographics

Digital marketing strategies can take a variety of different forms to meet the needs of your business. Some employ a variety of components, like content marketing, social media marketing, and email marketing to hook potential customers while others focus on one specific tool, like PPC marketing.

One of the great things about digital marketing strategies is how easy they are to track. Most of the components, like social media marketing, have built-in analytics, allowing your team to quickly and easily see what sort of interactions your posts are receiving in real-time. Your marketing team can take the data from all of the digital marketing strategy components and analyze them to see what’s effective and what’s not.

Marketers can swiftly adjust the strategy to reflect the data and increase the reach and success of your messaging. Unlike traditional marketing, such as mailers, your team won’t have to guess how many people saw your brochure and how many threw it directly in the trash. Digital marketing strategies are designed to target your customers directly and successfully.

Who Can Benefit From a Digital Marketing Strategy?

Digital marketing strategies are for everyone. Whether your business is small, mainly brick-and-mortar, or provides a service rather than a product, there is a digital marketing strategy that can benefit your company.

Small Businesses

Small businesses can benefit tremendously from implementing a digital marketing strategy. Using tools like social media marketing and email marketing significantly broadens the reach of your marketing without an enormous uptick in cost. Digital marketing also allows small businesses to focus their marketing efforts on specific geographic regions and market demographics, meaning the likelihood of conversion is much higher than with unfocused marketing.

Mid-size Companies

Like small businesses, mid-size companies are often looking for ways to get the most effective advertising for the least amount of money. Some mid-size companies may operate out of several locations. Digital marketing makes it easy to adjust the messaging, demographics, or location of your marketing for each unique store. Separate locations can compare metrics to see what’s working well and what they can improve to better reach their target market. Effective web design is essential for mid-size companies, who want to drive traffic to their site for customers to learn more about their business.

Large Corporations

Large corporations are often trying to reach potential customers all over the country or even all over the world. Digital marketing makes it easy to adjust strategies based on the different needs of each target region. Educational marketing is a great tool for large corporations to provide for potential customers because it situates the corporation in the position of an expert, making the customer more likely to trust and purchase from the company.

Brick-and-Mortar Stores

It may initially seem counter-intuitive for brick-and-mortar stores to conduct a digital marketing strategy to increase their brand awareness, but using digital components like email marketing and SEO can vastly improve a store’s sales. Before going out to find a specific product or service, many people search online for reviews or the best deals. Optimizing your website or reaching your target demographic directly through email guarantees that customers can find you when they need you.

When Should You Use a Digital Marketing Strategy?

Digital marketing strategies can increase brand awareness and improve customer conversions at just about any point in a business’s life cycle. However, there are some specific moments or events that can boost the efficacy of your digital marketing strategy.

Major Leadership Change

Businesses that undergo a major shift in leadership can benefit from a digital marketing strategy. Leadership changes present a golden opportunity to re-brand the company and share any updated messaging, such as a mission statement or company vision. The new leadership may have insights into how to best establish an effective digital marketing strategy.

New Product or Service

A new product or service offered by your company is an ideal time to implement a digital marketing strategy. Increasing customer awareness of your product or service can increase overall sales. Digital marketing strategies help businesses target specific customer markets individually and directly. Creativity is key for using digital marketing to entice potential customers to purchase your company’s new product or service.

Re-design

A store or brand re-design offers an excellent opportunity for an effective digital marketing strategy. Use the new colors, fonts, and creative elements in your digital marketing to create interest and intrigue in the new design. Use teasers and other intriguing digital design elements to entice new customers.

New Location

Opening a new store, whether your company is moving locations or opening an additional store, is an excellent time to introduce a digital marketing strategy. Give current customers and potential customers pictures of the new location, promotions for visiting the new store, and other teasers and benefits for engaging with the digital content.

Where Is a Digital Marketing Strategy Most Effective?

The efficacy of your digital marketing strategy depends on several factors like industry, location, customer base, and the goals of your digital marketing strategy. However, some strategies tend to produce higher results than others.

SEO

SEO returns strong results for most companies that choose to use it. Most consumers, when looking for a product or service, begin their search by using a search engine. Optimizing your content to earn views from potential customers will return more conversions.

PPC

Pay-per-click marketing’s success rate follows the same logic as SEO. Every time a customer finds your website through PPC advertising, your chances of converting a new customer and making a sale increase. The cost is minimal, particularly if clicks lead to sales. High SERP rankings are also a great way to build brand awareness and recognition, which PPC is great at providing.

Content Marketing

Content marketing is a great tool for engaging potential new customers with your company or brand. Since content marketing is often interactive and educational, it’s a great way to build rapport and trust with new people. Content marketing ties closely with both SEO and PPC strategies. You can use SEO and PPC to direct clients to your content when they search for information related to your brand, company, product, or service.

Social Media Marketing

Like content marketing, social media marketing often focuses on building brand awareness rather than closing sales. Social media marketing is a great space to share content marketing, customer reviews, product photos, and company updates. Many companies choose to use social media to host giveaways or other interactive events that draw potential customers in. Finally, brand enthusiasts sometimes share pictures of products or services on their own pages, which expands the reach for your company with no additional work from you.

Email Marketing

Email marketing is a fantastic method for engaging with current or past customers. Send special deals, coupons, or promotions via email with easy in-text links to take your customers to specific landing pages related to their interests. You can personalize emails to your customers, including the recipient’s name, interests, past products they’ve purchased, and suggestions for products they might like. Additionally, you can link to your website and social media pages.

You might have noticed that all the most effective strategies share commonalities. SEO and PPC both use search engine technology to connect potential customers to your content. Social media marketing and email marketing can link potential customers back to content and your website. Digital marketing strategies that use several, interrelated forms of digital marketing are much more likely to gain traction than those that focus on one or a few disparate strategies.

Why Is a Digital Marketing Strategy Useful?

Digital marketing strategies offer a host of benefits to companies that use them. Their primary benefits include cohesion, brand awareness, cost, analytics, customer reach, and public interaction.

Cohesion

Digital marketing is a vast spectrum. Companies can pick and choose from a variety of interrelated or stand-alone strategies to curate the ideal marketing plan for their business. The interconnectedness of many of the strategies is an enormous benefit of a well-thought-out digital marketing strategy. Using multiple platforms and types of content to link back to other platforms and types of content ensures that customers can continue to learn more about your brand and see new opportunities to interact with the business.

Brand Awareness

The ability of your company to pepper the digital space with your brand will drastically improve brand awareness. The more frequently potential customers see your company, business, or brand referenced or linked to by friends on social media, other brands they follow, or in search engine results, the more likely they are to explore purchase options. Digital marketing provides a variety of tools for expanding the reach of your brand.

Cost

Digital marketing, compared to traditional marketing, is a huge cost-saver. While companies often spend the same amount of resources on research, design, and production, the cost of actually sharing content is much lower than traditional marketing. Social media sites are usually free to use and sending emails costs nothing. Some companies choose to purchase task managing programs to assist with posting and tracking data while others use PPC methods, which do accrue some costs. However, the money spent is negligible compared to print, radio, or television ads.

Analytics

Traditional marketing is sometimes a bit of a guessing game. It can be hard to accurately track how many people see a particular ad and then choose to purchase a product. Almost every channel of digital marketing, however, is easy to track and analyze. Social media sites often have built-in analytics software for you to see how well a post did in terms of views, likes, comments, and shares. Email services like MailChimp give you click-through rates, so you can see exactly how many people opened the email and clicked the links inside it. Analytics are valuable for reviewing the success of the marketing campaign and seeing where to focus resources.

Customer Reach

Digital marketing has a much broader reach than traditional marketing, particularly when implementing multiple strategies. Your company can target specific demographics with certain types of marketing while sending out various marketing materials to separate demographic groups. Adjusting images, copy, and other details is a simple task with digital marketing.

Public Interaction

Many forms of digital marketing are interactive. Customers can communicate directly with the brand, providing feedback for all members of the company. Engagement with a brand increases the likelihood that the customer will eventually make a purchase.  Businesses can use this to their advantage by offering gifts or other rewards for sharing information or responding in some other way to boost traffic. Interaction of this type is just not possible with traditional marketing.

How Should You Use a Digital Marketing Strategy?

Implementing the best digital marketing strategy for your business takes consideration, planning, and research. What works for one industry or company may not be the best option for your business. Use these steps to help you establish the best possible digital marketing strategy for your organization.

1. Establish your brand

Before you can craft an effective and engaging digital marketing strategy, you have to clearly establish and define your brand. This includes identifying selling points, specifying your brand voice, and determining what gives your company a competitive edge over others. During this step, you should also review your logo and design elements to ensure they’re optimized for your target audience. Make sure all the branding elements you include on your website match any documents you send to customers and design choices on social media channels.

2. Create buyer personas

In order to determine who you’re creating your digital marketing content for, you need specific and accurate buyer personas. When creating a buyer persona, you essentially build a fully-fledged customer with a name, job, likes, and dislikes, that represents your target market. Most companies create multiple buyer personas to ensure they capture the nuances between their various customers. In addition to identifying personality traits, you’ll also establish where your customers are likely to spend their time online.

3. Set your goals

Establish goals for your digital marketing strategy. Your goals should be SMART:

  • Specific: Your goal should be specific. For example, instead of saying, “I want to increase visits to our Facebook page,” a specific goal would be, “I want to increase visits to our Facebook page by 10%.”
  • Measurable: You won’t know if you’ve reached your goal unless it’s measurable. For example, instead of saying, “Improve customer relationships,” say, “Improve customer relationships by seeing 5% more positive online reviews.”
  • Achievable: Your goals should be reasonable and achievable. For example, instead of saying, “Earn 15,000 new followers by the end of the month,” say, “Earn 100 new followers by the end of the month.”
  • Realistic: Ensure your goal is realistic. For example, instead of saying, “Engage Brad Pitt as a spokesperson,” try, “Find an Instagram influencer to promote our product.”
  • Time-bound: Finally, your goal should have a specific end date for you to evaluate your success. For example, instead of saying, “Increase website visits by 15%,” say, “Increase website visits by 15% by the end of the quarter.”

Setting SMART goals will ensure that your digital marketing strategy is effectively optimized for and aligned with your short- and long-term objectives.

4. Select appropriate tactics

Once you have your goals clearly established, you’ll choose the specific tactics you want to use as a part of your digital marketing strategy. Since there are so many digital marketing strategies to consider, trying to use every single one would more than likely end up being counterproductive by spreading your staff too thin and wasting too much money. Use your goals as the basis of your digital marketing strategy. If one of your goals relates directly to social media, then it makes sense to include a social media campaign as part of your overall digital marketing strategy.

5. Determine your budget

It’s important to establish an itemized budget for your digital marketing strategy. Create profit projections based on the uptick in consumer awareness and increased revenue you think your strategy will bring in. For most digital marketing tactics, you can start small with a low budget and slowly increase spending as you hone your processes and perfect your methods. Ensure you keep a close eye on the budget, however, as you don’t want to spend more than the tactic will end up providing as a return.

6. Connect your tactics

Ensure your tactics are well connected. For example, if your overall strategy includes SEO, social media marketing, and email marketing, your campaign should connect those elements together. You might consider:

  • Optimizing your website with keywords included in your social media profiles.
  • Linking to your social media profiles from your website.
  • Linking to your website from your social media profiles.
  • Linking to your website and social media profiles from your emails.
  • Including keywords on your social media pages.
  • Regularly updating content on your website.
  • Linking to content from your website in your emails.
  • Allowing customers to click directly from an email to the website.

By interconnecting all of your digital channels, your customers are more likely to get a sense of your brand and see you as a reputable authority in the marketplace.

7. Launch your campaign

After you’ve found a few ways to connect your disparate digital marketing tactics together, it’s time to launch your campaign. Unlike traditional marketing campaigns, which may involve a single mailing or putting up billboards a single time, digital marketing campaigns are ongoing. Create a calendar clearly and specifically detailing when you’ll release new content, emails, and posts to help you maximize the impact of your strategy.

It’s helpful to continually create new content and media for digital marketing purposes in advance of actually using it so that you always have a backlog of content to pull from if you don’t have a fresh idea when it’s time for a post or update.

Of course, if social media is part of your strategy, you’ll need to regularly monitor your profiles and respond as quickly as possible to comments, posts, and messages from followers.

8. Analyze and adjust

Use the built-in analytics most digital marketing tactics provide to help you see what’s working and what’s not. One of the benefits of implementing a digital marketing strategy is that you have the tools and resources to see which tactics are effective and which could use restructuring in real-time for some platforms, providing easy comparative data across days, weeks, and months.

For example, you may see that the emails you’re sending out have a poor click-through rate from the main body content, but that many people are clicking over to your social media pages from the email. In that case, consider moving the social media buttons to the most prominent position on the page to increase clicks and retool the content to be more appealing to the email receiver.

Best Practices for Launching Your Digital Marketing Strategy

A successful launch is vital for making a positive impression on the marketplace with your digital marketing strategy. Use these best practices and tips to ensure you maximize your strategy.

Use your email list

While part of your overall digital marketing strategy might include gathering more email addresses, remember to use the email addresses you already have when sharing information, updates, and promotions. Maximize your reach by engaging with current and past customers in addition to looking for new ones.

Consider referrals 

Think about including a referral program as a part of your email marketing strategy or social media strategy. Potential customers tend to trust other customers when deciding whether or not to invest in a product or service. If you can engage your customers as a part of your online marketing strategy, you’re likely to see impressive returns.

Link it together

It’s vital at every stage in your digital marketing campaign, but particularly during the launch, to ensure all your digital tactics link to one another. The easier you make it for potential customers to jump from platform to platform to learn more about your company, the more likely they are to continue into the sales funnel.

Pull in press

Get the press involved in your launch. Send out press releases and link to any news articles about your company’s new strategies on your digital marketing channels. Often, press organizations have a much broader reach than your company does, ensuring your name gets in front of new potential customers.

Maintain local SEO

Make sure, especially if you have a brick-and-mortar location or serve a local population, that you have a Google My Business page. This way, when potential customers search for a product or service near them, your company will come up along with a picture of your business, your address, and other contact information.

Ensure you’re up to date

Double-check all the materials and content you have online matches your new digital marketing strategy. For example, if you’re introducing a new logo or using an alternative method of contact for questions, ensure that all of your currently published materials reflect any pending updates.

Maximize your landing pages

You probably have varied landing pages established on your website for potential customers that differ depending on whether they came from your Facebook page, an email, or another platform. Make sure your landing pages align directly with the content they’re tied to. For example, if you say in the email you have an exciting new product, link directly to that landing page on your website.

Parts of a Digital Marketing Strategy

The parts of your digital marketing strategy will differ from other companies. While you can try to employ every single tactic available to you, more than likely, it will be a challenge to maintain that level of engagement and commitment. Instead, choose tactics, components, or parts, that best align with your company’s goals and with your customer’s needs and wants. A few of the most common parts of a digital marketing strategy that work for businesses in a variety of industries with a range of customers include:

  • SEO: Online searches are one of the primary ways potential customers search for information. Optimizing your website to display for relevant searches is key across industries.
  • PPC advertising: Similarly, PPC advertising ensures your website displays on the SERP when an interested party searches for a keyword related to your business.
  • Web design: If a customer is going to make an online purchase, they’re almost certainly going to do it from your website. Excellent, easy to navigate web design is vital.
  • Content marketing: Providing educational content on your website not only boosts your credibility with potential customers, but it also improves your SEO.
  • Social media marketing: Some, if not all, of your target market is on a social media channel. Find out which one and start building relationships.
  • Email marketing: Email marketing is a fantastic way to target past customers with super personalized marketing materials.

Include a few other tactics that work specifically for your industry and customer base to ensure you’re making the most of your digital footprint.

A digital marketing strategy can vastly improve your customer conversions online. Take the time to learn about the many digital marketing tactics available to you and create a campaign and strategy that meets your needs and your customer’s needs.

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