What is a Digital Marketing Strategy, and How to Structure a Successful Digital Marketing Plan
December 15, 2020 Sarvesh Bagla
Whether you look at India or abroad, there has been a considerable shift in digital marketing and these changes are expected to get more dynamic as the years wear on, and new advancements in the digital space start taking momentum. In fact, digital dynamism has already begun.
Marketing has become more challenging than ever before. Thanks to the advent of social media, varying attention spans, rising competition, changing preferences, economic challenges, and rising costs – new consumers are becoming incredibly difficult to acquire. What’s more, you stand the risk of losing old customers to more recent and digitally advanced businesses.
The need of the hour is to step up and adapt to these new digital challenges. But before you achieve marketing success online, you must know what digital marketing is, what its advantages are, and how you can create successful online marketing strategies.
In this blog, we have covered all these aspects of Digital Marketing and more to help you stay ahead of the curve. Let’s begin.
What is a Digital Marketing Strategy?
A Digital Marketing Strategy can be defined as the plan of action that is followed across the marketing team of an organization to achieve a specific organizational goal. Based on the needs of the company, you can have both short-term and long-term goals. This goal can be achieved via various channels such as owned media, earned media, and paid media.
What is a Digital Marketing Campaign?
A Digital Marketing Campaign can be defined as an action or series of actions within a marketing strategy that enables you to achieve a specific organizational goal.
Let’s say that the short-term goal of your digital marketing strategy is scaling website traffic; you might want to invest in PPC advertising. And to meet this goal, you will execute a PPC campaign.
Similarly, suppose the goal of your digital marketing strategy is building brand awareness. In that case, you might want to invest in social media marketing to acquaint your brand with your target audience on these platforms.
Digital Marketing Strategy v/s Digital Marketing Campaign: What’s the difference?
Many businesses, including marketers, often mix up and confuse the terms ‘digital marketing campaigns’ and ‘digital marketing strategies’, but quite frankly, they are not the same.
A digital marketing strategy is an approach you take to meet your company’s business goals. In contrast, a digital marketing campaign is what you use to achieve the goals of your digital strategy.
Without a well-defined digital marketing strategy, you can’t run a successful digital marketing campaign, and as such, you can’t meet your business objectives.
Actionable Tips for an Effective Digital Marketing Strategy
Marketers all around the world are feeling the heat as the digital market space is getting more competitive with every passing day. Old practices are dying and getting replaced by new ones.
The market space is getting crowded and it’s getting difficult to achieve visibility. If you’re a business that wants to thrive in the digital space today, you need to keep yourself updated with the latest digital marketing trends and adopt the best internet marketing strategies in order to survive.
Here are some actionable tips that you can follow to create an effective online marketing strategy that will help you cut through the noise:
1. Use Data-driven Insights
A data-driven digital campaign strategy is bound for success because it runs on information that is derived from analytics. It relies on facts and figures – not hearsay and assumptions.
As such, you should incorporate data and use it extensively in your business model if you haven’t already. Many startups and established businesses have already started embracing it. If you’re not convinced, here are some of the advantages of using data for marketing:
- It helps you identify the most profitable marketing channel: Data can show you which channel or platform is performing the best, thus giving you a clear idea on which marketing channel might be best suited to your industry or functional niche.
- It helps you create buyer personas: Data helps you identify who your target customers are, and what stage of the buyer’s journey they are in. As such. it can help you develop accurate buyer personas, which can help you plan and execute a better content strategy, ad campaigns, and social marketing strategy.
2. Create Engaging Content
A successful online promotion strategy will center around content. After all – you cannot advertise your products and services without content. This content needs to be bang-on because content is integral to a successful digital marketing structure or online campaign.
Forget about quality content; Google is now looking for ENGAGING CONTENT.
When your content is both informative and engaging, it gets rewarded by Google, which will rank your content piece higher in its search engines. Additionally, your content should add value to people, so that the people consuming your content feel compelled to share it.
Here are some useful tips to help you create engaging content:
- Repurpose existing content into videos and podcasts to make it more engaging.
- Keep track of user feedback and incorporate them into your content piece.
- Analyze what type of content has received the best response from your audience, and tailor your content pieces accordingly.
- Study the average time spent by a user on your content to get a deeper understanding of what works and doesn’t work. This will help you avoid making redundant content pieces, thus allowing you to make better engaging content that gets more traction.
Additional Read: Increase B2B Sales with Content Marketing
3. Communicate your message using visual aids
The best way to communicate your thoughts and message is through visuals. It helps you achieve your business goals using a compelling and captivating technique. Featured images, infographics, and videos are popular visual aids that you can incorporate in your marketing collaterals.
We all know that visual content receives more traction and engagement than content without images. Here are some facts showcasing its growing importance for marketers:
- 80% marketers use visual assets: including photos, graphics, infographics, and videos in their social media marketing campaigns.
- 32% marketers say that visual images are the most important form of content for their business.
- 11% more B2C marketers than B2B marketers are of the opinion that visual content is the most important type of content today.
4. Use personalized marketing
In simple words, personalized marketing refers to targeted marketing. In this type of marketing, marketing campaigns are tailor-made to match the requirements of a niche audience through a strategic pinpointing of their buyer persona and the buyer’s journey they are in. This is something you should incorporate in your marketing strategies to effectively reach out to and convert your target audience.
Here are some best practices for personalized marketing that you should incorporate in your digital marketing strategies:
- Customize your content and marketing ad copies according to the buyer’s journey of your target customers to match their exact requirements.
- Engage with your audience on social media and send timely, personalized emails.
- Offer your audience a personalized experience. Be empathetic and address their pain points kindly while offering practical solutions to their problems.
5. Listen to your customers
Another marketing tactic that has worked time and again is listening to your target audience. You should make this an important part of your digital marketing strategy framework.
The hallmark of any successful marketing campaign is staying in tune with your target audience at all times. Here are some ways you can listen to your customers:
- Monitor social conversations to keep track of what your audience is saying about your brand. Capture as much data as possible through these conversations as it will help you rebrand your marketing efforts if needed. Insights driven from these conversations will help you improve your marketing campaigns as they indicate what you can do to improve your products and services.
- Play a proactive role in social media conversations about your brand and product line, and respond to both positive and negative comments they have posted to make your audience feel like they’re being heard. To ensure that this happens smoothly, set up a process and a timeline that you can follow every week.
6. Identify & use the most profitable online marketing channels
The key to marketing success lies in exploring the best online marketing channels available. Don’t be lazy. Use different tools and digital platforms to assert your presence in today’s ever-expanding digital space. It is also a good idea to use analytics to identify the areas where you’re receiving the best results.
For example, for eCommerce websites and retail companies, image-heavy apps, and social media platforms are one of the most profitable online spaces to market their business. Similarly, for startups trying to become an authority in a niche, a focussed approach to Quora and Reddit marketing may be more profitable. The goal here is to pursue a marketing platform that works for you.
7. Audit existing assets to improve your web marketing strategies
To create a successful internet marketing strategy that works, you need to work on it and improve it continuously. This won’t be possible without auditing.
Here are three different types of media you should consider while auditing:
- Earned Media: When someone writes about your business without payment, it is called earned media. It refers to any content that you yourself did not create. You should audit earned media to monitor what people are saying about you. Doing this will help you replicate past success, and make a plan of action that helps you make desired changes in your strategy if needed.
- Owned Media: Owned media refers to media owned by a company. This includes website content, social media posts, blogs, articles, PR collaterals, and marketing copies. Since owned media belongs to you, you can easily track and audit owned media without putting in the extra effort. Then you can do the needful and make changes in your marketing strategy accordingly.
- Paid Media: As the name suggests, paid media refers to all media collaterals that you pay for to advertise your business. Amongst others, it includes PPC ads and social media advertising. Since you’re investing money into these ads, you need to track its feasibility and whether your paid ads are fetching results and desired business goals.
8. Track Results and Optimize your Digital Marketing Campaigns
Whether your online marketing strategies are bearing fruit or not depends on the performance of your digital marketing campaigns. You need to constantly monitor each campaign, analyze its progress, track its impact, and identify the changes you can make to it in a timely fashion.
Here are some things you should consider while tracking the results of your campaigns:
- Check if you’re getting a visible Return on Ad Spend (RoAS).
- Evaluate the reach and impact of your campaigns. Check if your advertisements are reaching your target audience and how your target audience is interacting with your ads.
- Analyze the feasibility of your campaigns. If you’re not achieving your conversion goals, it means that you need to rework on your strategy.
Additional Read: Best Digital Marketing Tools You Should Consider
What are the Advantages of Digital Marketing?
Here are some of the advantages of digital marketing:
1. Digital Marketing is more cost-effective than traditional marketing
Since digital marketing is measurable for varying objectives, brands can optimize their ad spend and get a better ROI (return on investment). According to a study conducted by Gartner, 40% of respondents claimed to gain considerable savings by using digital marketing methods. Digital marketing levels the field for small and big businesses alike, where even limited resources can go a long way.
Additional Read: Maximize the ROI of a Digital Marketing Campaign
2. Digital Marketing helps you engage with your target audience
Digital marketing helps you interact with mobile consumers (the fastest-growing subset of the overall audience) and target them based on their demographics, attributes, and preferences. This increases marketing efficiency, improves retention rates, and increases customer satisfaction.
3. Digital Marketing builds trust and reputation
Easily-searchable brands with a significant internet presence tend to be trusted more by customers – that’s what digital marketing does for you. Moreover, digital marketing leverages social media, reviews, testimonials, and the power of sharing to build your brand’s reputation. As such, it has the potential to get you new customers through word-of-mouth recommendations and established online credibility.
4. Digital Marketing prepares you for the future
You can’t compete or get ahead in this day and age without a digital presence or digital marketing. Businesses that adapt to the changing business environment have a better chance of success. According to Google, companies using digital marketing strategies have 2.8x better revenue growth expectancy.
5. Digital Marketing allows you to measure and grow your business
One of the most important advantages of digital marketing is that you can measure it. Tracking your campaigns, analyzing them, evaluating its reach, measuring its results, and tweaking your campaigns, are one of the finest advantages that come with digital marketing.
Why is Digital Marketing important for your Brand?
A well-structured digital marketing plan can help you achieve the following results for your brand:
1. Social Media Engagement
An effective social media presence means increased customer retention, new avenues for discoverability, and improved customer service. Social media encourages a dialogue between brands and their consumers and is one of the most proactive and real-time ways of building an audience.
Additional Read: How Can Social Media be Used as a Lead Generation Channel?
2. Customer Acquisition & Retention
All marketing efforts, traditional and modern, aim to acquire new customers and improve retention. Among the many benefits of digital marketing, this is the most important – Digital Marketing can help you reach the right audience, with precision, offer personalized attention, and bring in more business.
3. Brand Building & Awareness
A well-thought-out content strategy with a multi-channel approach serves to engage existing and potential customers alike. A brand strategy with a unique and uniform design identity also creates a distinctive imprint on customers – you’d recognize a Coke or an Adidas logo anywhere and in all formats.
Creating and disbursing content for consumption builds your brand identity and tells your story to potential customers.
Shareable content such as blogs, memes, infographics, podcasts and videos have the potential to go viral and rapidly spread through the internet. This introduces new consumers to your brand and stories, helping you seek new leads and attract new customers.
5. Reputation Building
Digital marketing truly helps your brand build a profile on the internet, be it through a website, an offline address in a local directory, or social media. All Online Reputation Management activities impacts SEO, brand searchability, and page rankings – customers actively seek out a brand’s profile and trust those brands with established credibility, reviews, and a strong digital presence.
Why do you need a Digital Marketing Plan?
Failing to plan is planning to fail. In digital marketing strategy, the adage is even truer – every brand needs a well-defined strategy to create awareness, get leads, and convert them into customers.
1. Defines your Goals and Objectives
A well-defined digital marketing strategy helps you set company goals and objectives – what does your brand value the most – revenue? profit? engagement? sales? leads? Building a plan of action can help you get from where you are to where you want to be by outlining the answers to crucial questions such as target audience, budgets, frequency, direction etc.
2. Helps You Get to the Digital Consumer
We’re not just shopping online – we’re spending time, energy, and much of our resources digitally. Social media and search engines increasingly influence purchasing decisions. A well-defined digital marketing strategy keeps the digital consumer and his/her habits at the centre and defines a path to scaling brand awareness and customer engagement.
3. Measurable Results
The beauty of digital marketing is its measurability; you can measure the results from your campaigns, including visitors, sales, time spent, conversions, growth rates and much, much more. With a solid digital marketing strategy in place, you can track your current results, optimize your efforts or change strategy and direction to achieve success.
4. Interactive Experience
With so many digital channels available such as email, social media marketing, podcasts, videos, affiliate marketing, and blogs – you can truly take your content experience to the next level. You can offer your customers the content they want, personalize it, and tell interactive stories. A great digital marketing strategy also includes a dialogue with your customers, encouraging user-generated content, feedback, reviews, and community-building.
5. Increased Reach and Visibility
With a well-built digital marketing plan, you can strategically increase your reach and visibility, and leave your competitors behind. You can reach your target audience, explore new business segments, and run A/B tests in different markets through digital mediums. It is easier than ever to move beyond a local audience and go national or even global – all this would not be possible without digital marketing.
Key Trends in Digital Marketing you should be aware of:
Investing in Digital Marketing can no longer be ignored. According to eMarketer, “worldwide digital ad spend is set to reach $375 billion by 2021”. Take a look at the trends you should watch out for when you’re drawing up your digital marketing strategy:
Modern Technologies That Are Enhancing Digital Marketing
- Automation in marketing is the next phase of digital marketing evolution. With vast quantities of data available, there is an increased focus on personalization and automation.
- Technology and marketing go hand-in-hand – the future is here, especially with artificial intelligence. Marketing insights, customer experience, and technology is the answer to providing a holistic experience to the customer.
- Digital innovations such as AR, VR, and voice will help marketers provide better service to consumers. Tech giants such as Facebook are rolling out interactive experiences such as AR ads to drive conversion.
- Customers prefer omnichannel retail as opposed to just online or offline-only businesses. Businesses with offline presence are investing in measuring technologies for footfalls and online campaign results.
Digital Marketing Channels to Focus On
- Google and Facebook aren’t the biggest digital ad players anymore – Amazon ads have entered the fray and are taking off.
- Huge changes are expected in Google Shopping – ready your brand to be shopping-heavy. Google has already started rolling out shopping tabs through organic searches.
- With the advent of voice assistants such as Alexa, Siri and Google Home, voice search and voice advertising is on the rise. This marks a big change in search patterns and SEO as well.
- Changes in search algorithms mean that Search engine optimization will continue to get refined. This will result in new opportunities as well as changes in existing rankings.
- Video remains king, and consumption is at an all-time high – video production, content creation and native advertising in video are all opportunities to be explored.
Improving Customer Experience With Digital Marketing
- Chatbots will continue to be popular. They save costs by answering questions on your behalf. Consumers love the unbiased, personalized attention of software programs that interact with website visitors and customers.
- Private messaging apps such as Whatsapp, Wechat and Viber are gaining popularity with brands – for shopping, for chatting, and for communication. The huge reach of these is still untapped and they are expected to grow as a mass reach marketing channel.
- As social media channels continue to evolve and add new features, social media remains an important channel to spend your time on. It is a great way to showcase your creativity and storytelling and create a brand connect.
Additional Read: Digital Marketing Trends and Statistics
In this blog, we have covered key aspects of digital marketing, the difference between a digital marketing strategy and a digital marketing campaign, outlined the top digital marketing strategies, and more. While it may seem easy to attain digital success on the surface, digital marketing is complex and requires the refined hands of digital perfection and expertise to get results.
As a business, you have two options: you can either do this in-house, which would require an army of trained professionals trying to figure things out OR you can avail the digital marketing services of an established agency like ours. We are an agency that has achieved digital marketing success time and again. Allow us to replicate the same success for you.
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Additional Read: How to Create a Marketing Plan [15+ Templates]