Editor's Note: This post was originally published on January 21, 2015, and was updated with additional information in July, 2022.
A large-scale digital marketing strategy is a complex undertaking, which is why before you know it - and even though you have the best of intentions - things can get messy. Too much of this tactic, not enough of that one; a dash short on cohesion, a lack of collaboration. One tiny misstep can often send an entire digital marketing strategy careening off track. However, when the perfect mix of digital marketing solutions comes together, success flows like the magical elixir of a Disney fairytale.
With that in mind, we wanted to share the 6 Essential Elements For A Successful Digital Marketing Strategy. With the amount of confusion, noise, and sheer choice available in the digital marketing space, it's become increasingly difficult for marketers and businesses to figure out where and how to focus their energy. Below, we outline the essential elements of a digital marketing strategy. These six components will help you cut through the crowd and deliver success.
What is Digital Marketing?
Businesses used to have to reach their target market via marketing channels like direct mail, radio, newspapers, magazines, television, and more.
But now that people spend more and more time on the internet and social media, businesses have to reach their target audience via these digital channels.
And this is how digital marketing came to life.
Some common digital marketing tactics include:
- Paid advertising
- Affiliate marketing
- Email marketing
- Content marketing and SEO
- Social media marketing
- And more
But what exactly is digital marketing?
Digital marketing is any marketing tactic that relies on electronic devices and the internet. These tactics are often more affordable and easier to execute, making them a favorite amongst marketers.
1. Start By Doing Comprehensive Research
Before you can start creating an online marketing strategy, you need to do comprehensive market research.
This includes learning about your ideal customer profile, competitors, and market expectations for your industry. Understanding these factors will help you determine business goals.
Here’s what you should consider:
- Your audience: When it comes to your audience, you need to understand your customer profile, their spending power or buying patterns, and behavior. This way, you can communicate with them effectively and create online marketing strategies that relate to them.
- Your competitors: By understanding who your potential online competitors are, you’ll be able to replicate their online marketing strategies and figure out ways to beat them at their own game. Additionally, a competitive analysis can help you gain valuable insights and determine what tactics will work for your brand.
- Market expectations: By analyzing competitors, you’ll also learn emerging trends and industry standards. You can combine this data with users’ demands to determine what you should be doing to attract more customers and get ahead of your competitors.
2. Set SMART Goals
Once you’ve determined who your target audience and competitors are, you can craft some digital marketing goals. These objectives will guide your strategy and help you measure progress.
You can establish goals or targets by using the SMART goals approach.
What exactly is the SMART approach?
SMART is a goal-setting method that helps you craft effective goals.
Here’s how you can do this:
- Specific: A specific goal is clear and outlines what you want to achieve.
- Measurable: Your goal should be measurable – you can make goals measurable by relying on metrics. It’s important to measure goals since this can help you track progress.
- Achievable: Your goal needs to be achievable and realistic. To do this, you should outline how you’re going to achieve that goal. This includes listing down the tasks required and figuring out if you have the resources to achieve the objective.
- Realistic: Your goal needs to be attainable. As a result, you need to set a proper timeline and ensure that you’re capable of achieving it.
- Time-bound: Creating a timeline is a great way to ensure you work towards the goal. To do this, you should give your goal a specific time period. And once this period lapses, you’ll need to check if you’ve achieved your goal or not and decide if you should continue working towards it.
3. An Engaging, Responsive Website
With more and more people interacting with brands via their smartphones and tablets, it's necessary to ensure you're delivering a consistent and responsive experience across all devices. It should be just as easy for a user to engage with or complete an action on your website, content, and social media with their phones as it is on their laptop. And oh yeah, the wearable market is promising; the number of connected wearable devices worldwide is expected to grow to over 1.1 billion in 2022, so that might be important. Don't sleep on anything related to mobile technology - we promise you'll regret it.
4. Measured Search Campaigns
Is SEO dead? HA, a good joke; we really had ourselves going there for a second. SEO is alive and well, friends, but perhaps a bit more difficult than in the past due to an increased number of requirements and that pesky algorithm over at Google that keeps getting better and better. Then again, search marketing isn't just about SEO, so don't forget about the incredible effectiveness of pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns. The key, whether you're doing PPC or SEO, is to track and measure your results so you can maximize the value of your marketing budget.
5. Email Marketing
It's amazing how overlooked, and underused email marketing is, even in this day in age. Sending an email to your target audience is one of the most effective ways to drive traffic, engagement, and conversion. You're missing a huge opportunity, not to mention an integral part of a successful digital marketing strategy, if you haven't implemented email marketing.
6. Add Social to the Mix
Over the last year, we've talked a lot about how vital customer service is to the core of a company or brand. And in our opinion, social media is a space where you can delight your customers with unexpectedly exceptional customer service. Increased social activity also gives a boost to your brand's awareness, and adds credibility and thought leadership to your industry voice. Even though many businesses had a difficult time discerning the utility of social media, they're starting to figure out it isn't just a fad.
7. Join the Dots With Content Marketing
Ah, content marketing - the darling of the digital space for many years. With more companies heavily investing in content, there's an increased pressure to plan, organize and deliver magical, unicorn-like content that wins the heart of anybody who reads it. Yeah, that's not reality, at least not the unicorn part. But seriously, content is becoming so huge that you really do need to seamlessly plan, collaborate and organize your content marketing agenda to achieve success.
8. Paid Advertising
Paid advertising or pay-per-click (PPC) is an online advertising strategy that requires advertisers to bid to show their ads on a specific platform like Google.
It’s called PPC because every time someone clicks on the ad, the advertiser has to pay a fee to the platform or search engine.
PPC ads are useful for companies that want to generate results and profits quickly since these ads can reach a larger audience quickly.
9. Measure, Tweak, Improve
Everything in digital marketing boils down to value. Most companies and brands have tight budgets but expect huge results, and the only way to do that is to always, always, always measure, tweak and improve upon whatever it is you're doing in order to extract maximum value.
The Benefits of Digital Marketing
Here are three benefits of investing in digital marketing:
Increases Customer Loyalty
Once you finalize a sale with a customer, it’s important to nurture those relationships so that you can retain those customers. Retained customers are likely to purchase another product or even recommend your product or service to friends and family, further boosting sales.
So, how do you retain customers?
Simple: through digital marketing.
Digital marketing can help you communicate easily with your customers. Here are some ways you can do this:
- Email marketing: Sending already existing customers personalized emails like holiday discount codes or new products related to their previous purchases can help you connect with customers and encourage sales.
- Social media: Sharing posts on social media channels like Instagram and Facebook can help you reach a large customer base and keep them engaged daily. You can encourage users to engage with your content by sharing and commenting on it.
It Helps You Target The Right Audience
Digital marketing platforms like Kissmetrics can help you separate your customer base into segments. This way, you can launch marketing campaigns that target and resonate with that specific group.
Digital marketing tools also give you access to individual buyer information like previous purchases and buying behavior. Marketers can use this information to promote specific products and services that buyers will most likely be interested in. This can also boost the customer’s shopping experience since they are presented with the right products and services.
Measure Results With Ease
It can be difficult to measure progress with offline marketing. For example, it’s almost impossible to know how many people read your ad in the newspaper. However, it’s incredibly easy to measure the success of any digital marketing campaign. You can check how many people saw your online ad, see how long someone spends on your page, and more.
These results can help you determine what kind of digital marketing strategies work for your business. This way, you don’t waste time, money, and other resources on unsuccessful campaigns.
Software like Google Analytics, Google Ads, and Google Search Console can help you keep an eye on your digital marketing performance.
Need help getting these digital marketing elements into your strategy? Then contact WSI for more information.