Needless to say, digital marketing is an absolutely huge topic. There are just so many subtopics and specialist niches at play; a simple Google search can take you down numerous deep, rich rabbit holes!
However, it’s important to address all of the components of a digital marketing strategy evenly. If you get hung up on one element (e.g., your website or your social presence), the neglected components may suffer – possibly pulling your stronger marketing efforts with them.
So in the interests of keeping all elements on an even keel, let’s examine the anatomy of a meaningful digital marketing strategy, putting each stage under the microscope.
10 Components of a Digital Marketing Strategy
1. Your Business Goals
Before you start strategising, you need to establish your business’s core goals, as well as any timescales and limitations within your business plan. Your business goals and digital marketing strategy should be in lock-step at all times – it’s your marketing plans that help you meet your business goals after all!
So take some time for reflection – where is your business now and where do you want it to be? Try to think as broadly as possible in terms of your business’s target verticals, desired growth, financial targets – the works. Also pin down exactly what you want to market: are you looking to generally raise your company’s profile, or is there a particular product or service you’d like to get in front of willing clients?
2. What Data Do You Need to Track?
In order to measure success properly, you’ll need to set SMART goals which are hyper-specific targets that help you accurately measure success. For example, rather than just aiming for “more website visitors”, a SMART goal would be to “increase website traffic by 50% by 1st September”.
So with your goals in mind, we need to establish the data and KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) you’ll need to follow. What analytics and data are you tracking now, and what new data points will you need to chart your progress towards your digital marketing goals? Will you need to buy new analytical tools in order to keep track of these new KPIs?
SMART goals are important but they aren’t everything. Are there any softer effects that you can use to measure success too?
3. Who’s Your Audience?
Before you start marketing anything, you need to know who you’re going to be marketing it to. It’s likely that your company sells to a number of distinct groups, each with their own needs and pressures that influence their buying decisions.
So with this in mind, we need to create distinct buyer personas. These are semi-fictional character profiles which represent your different types of ideal buyer. They should be heavily informed by market research and information about previous clients. If your desired clients generally fall into different demographic buckets; have different buying preferences; or have a particular set of goals or challenges, you should create a single buyer persona for each.
Hubspot’s guidance on buyer personas is really worth reading – it even mentions gathering real quotes from people in each buyer persona group, and “negative” buyer personas, i.e., profiles of people or companies that you don’t want as customers!
4. Sales Funnel Mapping
Now we know who’s buying, and hopefully how, we need to establish the path that they will take in order to do so. It’s unlikely that anyone is going to buy from you after viewing a single blog post or landing on a single sales page, so how will you keep your brand on their radar until they’re ready to purchase?
Enter the sales funnel. This is a way of visualising the path that prospects take on their journey from “lukewarm lead” to “contented client”. The sales funnel follows them through their initial awareness of your product or brand (at the wide end of the funnel), through to piquing their interest, which turns into serious consideration, and eventually to strong buying intent, and finally a purchase (the narrow end of the funnel).
So think – how are you going to get people to jump into your sales funnel? How are you going to draw them nearer and nearer towards a sale? What steps will they have to take in order to emerge from the other end as a paying customer?
5. Planning Your Website
A well-crafted, seamlessly functional website is crucial to any company’s online presence. Its design needs to be strongly informed by your digital marketing goals and the practicalities of your sales process.
Take a totally objective view of your current website. What do you need it to do in order to meet your digital marketing objectives? How does your current site support your sales funnel? Does your website need to be changed in any way in order to achieve your new marketing aims? Could you manage with a bit of a tune-up and a few new plugins? Or would it be better to create a brand new website that’s tailored to your needs? Are you hoping to include content like blogs or videos in your content marketing mix – and does your current website have that functionality available?
Additionally, will your new digital marketing focus require your website to have live chat functions, collect contact details, or process payments? You have to make sure your site can do these things securely and in line with legislation like GDPR, and in the case of payments, frameworks like PCI DSS.
6. Search Engine Optimisation Strategy
We’re not quite finished with your website just yet. Now we’ll look at how search engines will view your site, and how to bolster your presence in search rankings. There are a number of technical SEO considerations that go into optimising a website, like site loading speed; HTTPS security; logical site structure; and backlinking – all of which can positively influence the way your site ranks in search.
Keyword research is also essential to good SEO (search engine optimisation). This is basically the practice of finding out the most popular, relevant search terms that people are using to find companies, products, and services like yours, and seeing how you rank for those particular terms in search.
It’s likely that you’ll be able to split the keywords you find into two separate categories. The first category covers keywords with strong purchase intent, where people are looking for specific companies, services, or products in a fairly direct manner; implying that they want to buy somewhat immediately. Searches like “accountants shrewsbury”, “locksmiths near me”, or “eco friendly shampoo bars” would fall into this category. Your static, sales-driven website copy should target keywords like these, bearing those in mind who are likely nearing the end of your sales funnel.
The next keyword category is more focused on gathering information about your niche. These searchers are likely to be nearer the start of your sales funnel and looking for a bit more insight about your industry. They’re still finding out what’s involved and qualifying the purchase in their minds. These kinds of search terms are usually a little longer, and sound more curious – they’re often phrased as outright questions. Things like “why is graphic design so important”, “what does a bookkeeper do”, or “eco friendly zero waste swap ideas” are all examples of more content-focused keywords which we’ll need for our next step…
Side note: If your business is dependent on people visiting your bricks and mortar premises or if you only do business in a certain area, then you need to know about local SEO. Read More Here – Local SEO: How to Maximise Your Local Search Visibility
7. Content Marketing Strategy
Content marketing is the practice of using content like blogs, videos, and podcasts (and even interactive media like quizzes and calculators) to attract your target audience, build a rapport with them, and paint yourself as a trusted, knowledgeable party – not just a company who wants to sell to them. Good, informative content helps to cultivate loyalty from prospects and customers alike, and can be instrumental in lead generation and social media efforts too.
To get your content marketing efforts off the ground, you should start with a spot of research. First, refer back to the more curious search terms you identified above. What questions are your buyers asking Google? What gaps in their knowledge are they looking to fill? How well do the current search results for those terms serve them? You may well find a few “information gaps” crying out to be filled!
Next, it’s time to scope out your competition. How are they using content to build a relationship with their audience? What kinds of content are they creating? What topics are they discussing? How are they distributing their content to get it in front of new, willing prospects?
This should go without saying but pay particular attention to topics that resonate nicely with your specific marketing goals.
8. Lead Generation Plan
Now, we think about how you’re going to capture contact information from interested parties, even if they aren’t quite ready to buy yet. This information can then be used to keep in touch with them, keep you on their radar, and nurture them closer to a sale.
Many companies encourage their website visitors to join their email mailing list – sometimes in exchange for an exclusive piece of content or access to an exclusive online tool. Companies with an online retail element often provide a money off voucher in exchange for signing up.
Whichever method you use, the idea is to grow your brand awareness by regularly appearing in your subscribers’ inbox or social feed – eventually becoming a welcome, trusted presence – so when they’re ready to buy, you aren’t far away!
9. Social Media Strategy
Social media can be a complex thing to navigate – there are just so many platforms out there, each with their own areas of focus and individual benefits. It’s probably best to boil our strategic advice here down to a few questions:
Are you going to use social media? If so, how are you going to use it to further your digital marketing aims?
Which platforms are most popular with your audience? Where are your competitors most active?
What features does each platform provide and how can you use those features to meet your goals?
Is your product or service particularly visual? If so, would a presence on image-heavy platforms like Instagram and Pinterest suit you?
How does each platform’s feed algorithm work? How can you appear prominently in followers’ feeds?
We know that social media is a bit of a Marmite thing – some people love it and others hate it. But even if social media isn’t a particular focus for you, it can be a good way to get your content marketing efforts in front of new audiences, or to build your email subscriber list. You could therefore use automation tools to keep your social media efforts ticking over in the background, only requiring minimal upkeep. However we can attest that you get out of social media what you put in!
10. Acquisition Channels
Put simply, this is a case of “how are you going to get people on site and on side?” What methods are you going to use to get willing visitors to your website? We’ve already discussed SEO and social media but there are far more ways to garner interest online.
Pay-per-click search ads, social ads, or display ads are popular choices but they can become costly without keen oversight. Partnerships or affiliations with other businesses – or indeed influencer marketing – can also be hugely beneficial when you pair with a company/individual whose audience overlaps neatly with yours.
Also consider how you can use your offline marketing channels to get people into your online sphere of influence. If you regularly exhibit or attend networking events, how can you encourage those you meet to engage with you online?
Now you’re at the end of the list, go back through all of the previous steps with a fine tooth comb, rolling the information you’ve gained in the later steps into your earlier findings until you have a cohesive, watertight plan of action. Changing one component often has knock-on effects to others that you may not foresee, so don’t tackle them in a vacuum!
But if this all sounds too overwhelming to tackle in-house, why not leave it to the experts? Our full-service marketing team can help make your digital marketing targets a reality. Just book a free, no obligation discovery session with the team to take the first step towards your goals!