How to Create a Digital Marketing Strategy

on Blog March 28th, 2022

Learning how to create a digital marketing strategy is essential if you want to build a predictable lead generation machine. The vast majority of people search for products and services online. Search engines, social media channels, and other digital platforms give you the ability to connect with your customers like never before. But, there is a lot of content on the internet, so you need to make sure that your customers can find you when they need you most.

At Fannit, we’ve helped countless businesses develop and implement successful digital marketing strategies.

We understand not only the requirements, but the entire process behind developing a wholesome digital marketing plan.

Below, we’ve put together a step-by-step guide to help you understand the basics of developing a digital marketing strategy.

We’ve also included basic definitions, the existing digital marketing channels you can work with, and tips to help you build a better strategy for your business.

Defining Digital Marketing

First off, let’s start by defining digital marketing.

In short, this promotion technique consists of marketing your products or services through any internet-capable device that your ideal customers use on a regular basis.

The idea is to establish a great digital presence by publishing great content and ensuring that your brand is associated with leading competitors in your industry.

Digital marketing is an umbrella term that covers a wide range of techniques.

We’ll cover the different types of digital marketing techniques later, some of the most common include search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing, paid advertising, and content marketing.

The techniques you choose will depend entirely on your business and audience members.

But, one thing that all online consumers share is that they value quality, so make sure to only produce helpful, relevant content for your readers.

What is a Digital Marketing Strategy?

A digital marketing strategy is a plan that clearly outlines the steps you’re taking to transform your advertising dollars into leads and sales. A digital marketing strategy needs to be accurate and detailed to be successful.

The more you veer away from your digital advertising plan, the lower your chances of achieving the results you anticipated.

Therefore, it’s important to create a plan that’s detailed and precise, but also flexible. This will allow you to adjust it easily if you need to make adjustments on the fly.

Creating a digital marketing strategy involves the development of content calendars and buyer personas, both of which require extensive target audience research.

You have to record your strategy as well as all of the resources you purchase or develop.

Without the right digital marketing tools, there’s a strong chance you’ll miss crucial information when it’s time to make important decisions.

Therefore, every company’s blueprint has to include a list of digital marketing strategy goals as well as specific steps to achieve each objective.

Lastly, one major element you need to consider is how you will evaluate the success of your digital marketing strategy.

Remember, organic traffic, paid ads, and social media visits can be tracked.

You’ll have a lot of information available when it’s time to evaluate the performance of your marketing strategy across all digital channels.

So, you’ll want to define what key performance indicators (KPIs) you’ll use as measuring sticks.

Are Digital Marketing Campaigns the Same as Strategies?

Digital marketing strategies and digital marketing campaigns are related, but they are not synonyms.

Simply put, campaigns are the building blocks that you use to bring your strategy to life.

A campaign can be defined as a set of ads and other pieces of content that have a similar theme and focus on the same goal.

For example, if one of your goals is to increase newsletter sign-ups, you can create a campaign specifically for that goal.

Now, this campaign can be broken down into smaller sub-campaigns depending on the channels you use. But, these will all feed into the same funnel, which is the reason why they fall under the same umbrella.

Remember that you can and should have specific strategies for each one of your campaigns.

Therefore, you should create a specific digital marketing campaign strategy document for every channel or funnel you’re implementing.

This may represent a bit more effort, but having a blueprint for each campaign can help you make better decisions in the future.

How to Create a Digital Marketing Strategy

Now that we’ve covered the basics, it’s time to go over the steps on how to build a digital marketing strategy.

There is no such thing as a “one-size-fits-all” formula to create an effective digital marketing plan.

Instead, you need to create a digital plan that’s designed specifically for your buyer personas and the multiple channels they use to look for valuable information.

Keep in mind that modern marketing is in a constant state of flux because it directly depends on how consumers are behaving at any given time.

Marketers need to identify new digital channels that have potential and leverage innovative tools to unveil actionable insights from the data they collect.

Below, we’ve put together 15 general steps that you can follow to set up your digital marketing strategy.

You should take the time to evaluate each step and decide if it applies to your specific business, but these steps will help ensure you stay on track with your efforts.

1. Develop a Robust Data Collection Mechanism

For starters, you’ll need to collect information about your customers.

This is a crucial step because the data you collect here will influence virtually all subsequent decisions.

So, you need to go above and beyond to build a data collection system that gathers valuable information.

The first thing you should do is look at your current customer base.

Try to identify the traits they share in common and create categories with each demographic.

Some examples of the different categories you may find include people of specific age groups, locations, or interests.

Once you have divided your different customers into groups, you should reverse-engineer each customer’s individual journey and how it led to a sale.

You should identify what steps, if any, they shared during their decision-making processes.

After analyzing your internal data, you should research trends about the same demographics using external tools.

For example, you can use Google Trends to see what terms are most common in a particular region to see if it will be a good fit for your campaign.

Depending on your industry, you may also benefit from running polls on social media, sending out surveys within your newsletter, and taking other creative approaches to your research.

2. Create Buyer Personas

Dividing your ideal customers into groups is a great first step.

But you can actually condense this information even more and transform it into an actionable piece of data by developing buyer personas.

A buyer persona is a fictional depiction of an ideal customer.

how to create a digital marketing strategyThe idea is to give this fictional depiction a name and personal information like a role title and annual income.

This buyer persona should be considered whenever you’re developing content to ensure that all of the digital assets you develop appeal to your audience members.

If you’re not sure whether a piece of information is valuable or relevant, you can look back at the buyer persona you’re targeting and make a decision based on that profile.

You can have as many buyer personas as you have ideal customer archetypes, but make sure that each one of these is completely different from the rest.

3. List Your Goals and Describe How You Plan to Achieve Them

We mentioned this briefly in the introduction, but it’s essential to create a plan that’s sustainable in the short and long haul.

The only way to ensure this is to create a strategy that contains all of the steps you’ll take, how you will achieve them, how much they will cost, and where you’re going to get the resources from.

It’s true that online marketing tactics are scalable, building a digital presence with a limited budget is difficult.

Waiting for your first efforts to provide results to then invest more into your campaign can represent a significant waiting period if you’re not organized.

Instead, make sure to craft marketing strategies that are detailed as this will give you a clear idea if you have the budget to achieve each goal on the timeline you’ve set forth.

4. Figure Out What Tools You’ll Need

Once you have a step-by-step plan, you’ll know exactly what activities you need to complete for your campaign to be successful.

This also means that you’ll know exactly what tools you have to acquire to complete these actions.

Let’s say you’re launching campaigns through Facebook Ads, developing blog content, and also doing a bit of email marketing.

This means that you’ll need a media editor, a keyword research tool, and an email marketing automation platform to effectively manage each digital sales funnel.

5. Evaluate the Current State of Your Digital Strategy

The next step is assessing the performance of your current platform. For companies that already have a digital marketing or content strategy in place this step is relatively straightforward.

Building a digital presence requires more than just blogging, so be honest about your current campaigns and what they are missing.

Companies that don’t have a digital strategy may actually find this more.

Not only do these businesses have to build their digital sales funnel from scratch, but they also have to research each social media platform, search engine, and relevant review site to ensure that their company doesn’t have a profile already.

It’s common for businesses to have profiles on these platforms even if these were not created by the business owners.

You need to go through the claiming process and tell Google, Facebook, and any other platform that may have a profile for your business that you’re the rightful owner.

6. Audit Content On Your Site and Plan Around It

If you have a website, social media page, or similar, then you already have some digital content.

Even if you didn’t develop a strategy when you first started, it’s important that your blueprint includes all of the content you’ve already published.

Start by creating a list or inventory of your online content currently on your site.

Ensure that this database includes links to your website content, like your blogs and pages, so that you can easily access and improve them based on your content calendar.

There are many ways to audit website content, but as a general rule of thumb, the more comprehensive the process, the better.

At Fannit, we perform a digital strategy audit before we create a content creation plan for each one of our partners.

That way, we have a clear idea of what content needs to be improved and what elements need to be created from scratch.

7. Assess Your Paid/Off-Page Content

Now, you also need to document and understand your external or off-site content.

This includes paid campaigns, social media profiles, review websites, and more. In simple terms, it’s any form of content that’s not directly hosted on your servers or not under your direct control.

Keep in mind that creating this database will likely take longer than auditing your website.

The reason for this is that you have to research all relevant off-page channels like review sites and directories.

During this step, you should also evaluate backlinks and see what type of pages are redirecting traffic to your website.

8. Determine What Channels You’re Using Moving Forward

There are dozens of online channels that you can target through multiple digital strategies.

But, this doesn’t mean that you need to implement all of these to help your business grow.

Just like with online tools, you need to figure out exactly which channels have the highest chance of success and start by focusing your marketing investment on these strategies.

The best technique will depend directly on your target audience members and what type of content they find engaging.

For example, if you sell a product that works extremely well with native advertising and other forms of affiliate paid media, this should definitely be part of your initial marketing tactics.

9. Piece Your Campaign Together

You should have a much clearer picture of what your campaigns will look like.

Now, it’s time to bring the pieces together in a cohesive strategy that ensures a strong social media presence, valuable website content, increased traffic, and predictable lead generation.

There are many elements you have to keep in mind, but consistency across all online marketing channels is the most important element.

If your website, social media profile, email marketing campaigns, and paid media ads have different branding elements, you’ll end up confusing your clients.

Besides ensuring consistency, also take the time to create campaign-specific strategies for each channel.

For instance, you should have a strategy that guides your native advertising efforts and ensures that your affiliates stay on the right track.

Now, your native ads plan should also be part of your overall digital strategy ecosystem without interfering with the other types of content.

This is the reason why you need to keep all other parts of your digital strategy in mind when creating the step-by-step blueprint.

10. Craft the Initial Content

It doesn’t matter if you’re using paid media ads, blog articles, or social media posts as part of your strategy, the content creation process is essential.

Now, you can’t create all of the content you’ll need for each campaign before you start.

You have to maintain flexibility because the results you get will influence the content you create for the later stages of your campaign.

With that said, you should develop all of the initial pieces of content you’ll need at the same time.

This includes all of your main website content, first blogs, initial email sequence, and business social media posts.

You’ll have to optimize this content later to increase conversions, but creating all of these materials at once can help you maintain a consistent voice.

Plus, it’ll allow you to focus on the rest of your business marketing strategy and be more productive from here on out.

11. Set and Follow Best Practices

There are many elements that influence the success of a business’ online marketing strategy.

Following marketing best practices can improve your overall chances of success. That said, not all business owners and in-house marketing managers have the hands-on experience to identify the right steps.

At Fannit, we’ve been helping local companies set and achieve their long-term marketing goals for more than a decade.

Here are some of the best practices we’ve picked up during this time.

  • Use powerful tools to gain insights about keywords and competitor campaigns
  • Stay updated with any changes to the algorithms that search engines use
  • Create a campaign that’s based on concrete data, but that is also flexible
  • Always focus on user experience and content quality
  • Evaluate new social channels on a regular basis
  • Set and track the right key performance indicators
  • Optimize every blog post as well as the overall content strategy

12. Install All Necessary Tracking Tools and Start Publishing Content

It’s important to set achievable digital marketing goals because this will help you evaluate the performance of your strategy.

However, you also need to measure the performance of your marketing channels separately.

The same tools you use to track your landing pages won’t necessarily work with your Google Ads (previously Google Adwords) campaigns.

You need to research the different tracking alternatives and ensure that you install the appropriate one on each channel.

Note that Google Analytics is a great tool to track the performance of every landing page and blog on your website, plus this solution is free.

That said, you may need to acquire other tools as well depending on what online marketing goals you’ve set.

Once your trackers are in place and your initial content is ready, you can start publishing your organic materials as well as your paid ads.

Congratulations, you have officially implemented your digital marketing strategy!

13. Compare the Actual Buyer’s Journey to Your Funnel

Mapping the trajectory of your customers is part of your target audience research and buyer persona creation process.

But, this doesn’t mean that you can’t adjust the buyer’s journey once you have more information about it.

Remember that your marketing and sales funnel is a direct reflection of the buyer’s journey.

You need to track your target audience and see how its members behave in terms of your funnel to ensure that you understand the buyer’s journey.

If all goes right, you should see leads slowly mode down your funnel.

However, in case you notice prospects bouncing back and forth between different stages without moving towards the bottom, you may need to readjust your funnel and content accordingly.

14. Develop a Remarketing Plan

A remarketing strategy is a plan to convert prospects who have already viewed or been engaged by your content before.

Remarketing plans can be designed for prospects who did not convert at all and for existing customers alike.

The idea behind this type of strategy is to be transparent with prospects, remind them of the value of your solutions (whether they have experienced them already or not), and create alluring content that helps change these users’ decisions.

The digital marketing channels used for remarketing campaigns are slightly different from the platforms used in conventional strategies. If your next digital marketing strategy is for remarketing, make sure to develop a landing page and other content specifically for this purpose.

15. Set an Optimization Schedule

One of the biggest advantages of search engine optimization and other types of digital marketing campaigns is the ability to make changes to your content.

This, combined with the ability to track your results, means that you can identify the content that’s generating the most revenue.

Then, you can focus your digital marketing strategy on the channels that are generating the best results.

The process of analyzing your data and making adjustments based on this information is called optimizing.

Any solid digital marketing strategy requires regular optimization, so make sure to set a schedule early on and periodically review the data you collect to make adjustments.

Types of Digital Marketing Campaigns

Now that we’ve covered the general steps you should follow when creating a digital marketing strategy, it’s time to analyze the different promotion channels that your business has available.

In order to create a digital marketing strategy that produces the best results, business owners and marketing managers need to fully understand the benefits and setbacks of all the different digital marketing platforms.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the most popular channels used for digital marketing.

SEO and Other Forms of Organic Marketing

SEO is a relatively new marketing strategy, but it has become one of the most popular means because it’s cost-effective and can help establish a good reputation while generating leads.

The idea is to make adjustments to your site content in order to appear in one of the top positions whenever a relevant search is performed through a platform like Google.

Search engines like Google help consumers find products and services.

If you manage to appear close to the top whenever there’s a relevant search in your area, you’ll significantly boost site traffic without having to pay for each visitor.

The best part is that these users will actively be looking for your products and services, so they have a higher chance of becoming conversions.

Paid Ads

Paid ad campaigns allow businesses to place adverts throughout the internet.

Google Ads is the most common platform that businesses use to launch digital marketing campaigns.

This is because Google Ads has a massive reach, plus it offers high-security levels thanks to its robust infrastructure.

The two main differences between paid ads and organic strategies are that the former requires direct payment.

Paid ads also generate results right away, contrary to organic marketing’s gradual nature.

Most seasoned marketers choose to implement a combination of both organic techniques and paid ads, then slowly migrate to unpaid means to reduce investment while increasing, or at the very least, maintaining profits.

Social Media

To many marketers, social media marketing has become the most important digital marketing campaign channel.

The reason for this is that social media allows you to connect with users at a deep, personal level.

how to create a digital marketing strategy

Companies that choose social as their channel of preference also set digital marketing goals that revolve around this platform directly.

For example, instead of looking for website traffic, businesses that focus heavily on social may prefer to get followers, shares, and increased interaction levels.

Email Campaigns

No digital marketing strategy is complete without email marketing. An email marketing campaign is all about engagement and timing.

If you time your sequences properly, you should be able to connect with users, generate a significant number of interactions, and boost any adjacent marketing campaign (SEO, social media, etc.).

Rather than using existing content, it’s highly advisable to create a specific landing page for each email sequence.

For instance, if the goal of your email campaign is to promote a big discount, redirect users to a page that only contains the offer, basic page elements, and a checkout button.

Content Marketing

Content marketing is a digital marketing strategy that focuses on generating valuable blogs, articles, ebooks, and similar materials.

The goal is to establish your brand as a leader within your industry by showcasing your knowledge.

When audience members require expertise beyond what’s found in your content, there’s a high chance they’ll get in touch with you, given how much useful content you produce.

Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing is a multi-channel tactic that focuses on attracting customers who have already shown interest in your services.

In simple terms, this is a superb marketing strategy because it can be easily combined with all other forms of online promotion, including all of the approaches listed here.

Affiliate Advertising

Affiliate advertising is a promotional approach that focuses on working with independent marketers, like influencers and social media personalities.

The idea is to get endorsements from these individuals to generate leads or sales.

Businesses reward affiliates for every conversion, creating a balanced ecosystem where consumers get the best of both worlds.

Lead Generation

Lead generation is an umbrella term that describes any marketing tactic that can be used to predictably generate a large number of high-quality prospects.

At Fannit, we have created a complex lead generation mechanism that leverages a wide range of channels to ensure that our clients get top-notch leads every time.

Reputation Management

Reputation management is the process of monitoring relevant online channels to ensure that your company is recognized as one of the leading providers in your industry.

This digital marketing strategy requires a huge amount of research because you need to identify all relevant channels, including review sites and directories.

You also have to update each one of these platforms to make sure that they have the right branding elements, contact information, and website linked to them.

Tips to Improve the Results of Your Overall Digital Strategy

It’s important to understand that all businesses and audiences are unique.

how to create a digital marketing strategy

You need to take all of your business’ requirements as well as resources to make the best decision for your next campaign.

That said, there are also many general tips and techniques that help improve results most of the time.

Some of these tips include:

  • Ensure continuity across all channels
  • Categorize content based on what part of the funnel it’s for
  • Create a strategy that transitions to organic means

Are You Looking to Create a Solid Digital Marketing Strategy? Our Team is Here to Help

Creating a digital marketing strategy that converts is not easy.

But, the good news is that you don’t have to do it alone.

At Fannit, our team of digital marketing experts has extensive experience creating and implementing successful strategies for a wide range of industries. And, we’re always happy to help.

To find out more, contact us today!

Recommended Article: Marketing KPIs

Neil Eneix

My brother Keith and I started Fannit in 2010 and have been very fortunate to work with a wonderful family of clients, watching their businesses grow through the power of digital marketing. At the office, I work with our clients on developing out their business strategy as well as nurturing our relationships. It’s amazing how much influence and power SEO and good content can have over a business’ health. Connect with me on LinkedIn >