Ever wondered why you need a digital marketing strategy? According to a recent poll on our Instagram Stories, only 50% of business owners understand exactly what’s involved in a digital marketing strategy. And, only 34% actually have a digital marketing strategy in place.
Yikes. Well, that changes today.
Digital marketing strategy might sound like a bit of a buzzword [is it just me, or is every second person talking about strategy these days?] but it’s actually a critical component of your overarching business growth plan. Yep, digital marketing strategy and your business plan go hand-in-hand. With the right digital marketing strategy and a good dose of commercial acumen [claps for accountants and CFOs everywhere] your business can truly thrive.
What is digital marketing and why is it important?
Before we get stuck into all the reasons you should have a digital marketing strategy in place for your business, let’s just make sure we’re all on the same page.
When we talk about marketing, we literally mean the activities brands put in place to generate awareness and persuade people to buy products and services. Digital marketing is exactly that, just using digital media to reach and engage with these prospective customers and clients.
So why is digital marketing important? Well, as a business owner it’s one of the most accessible ways to promote your brand and grow your profits. Seriously. With so many aspects of digital marketing freely available—like social media, google analytics, blogging, content marketing, and SEO—there has never been a better time in history to launch and grow your own business.
When it comes to creating a digital marketing strategy, it’s crucial to consider your financial objectives as well as your brand purpose, find that sweet spot and use digital marketing to get the good word out there and in front of the right people.
What is the purpose of digital marketing?
Whether you’re doing your own digital marketing, working with a freelancer, or engaging an agency to do it for you, it’s important to understand the purpose of digital marketing.
There’s just so much you could do, and without being clear on the purpose it can easily feel overwhelming or become a disconnected mess.
Let’s put this simply: the purpose of digital marketing is to promote and sell a product or service—just like any form of marketing. But more specifically, the purpose of digital marketing is to connect with your target audience via digital media or digital channels.
Digital marketing is typically used to generate awareness, facilitate engagement, and influence action. The ultimate goal is usually the act of purchasing a product or service, but there are also smaller actions that can be taken on the journey to purchase such as signing up for a newsletter, making an enquiry, saving an item to a wish list and so on.
At the end of the day, the purpose of a digital marketing strategy and any digital marketing activity implemented will be led by the goals and objectives set out in the business plan.
What is a digital marketing strategy?
Put simply, a digital marketing strategy marries up your business plan with the right media, channels, and activity to connect with and influence your target audience. Sounds simple right? And, truthfully, digital marketing doesn’t have to be complicated.
Need an example? Okay, let’s say you run an online retail business that sells one-piece swimwear and your business plan for the next twelve months is to increase sales of your current range, and launch a new line of two piece swimwear.
Ultimately, your goal is to make $100,000 per month in revenue with a 30 percent profit margin [$30K in your pocket]. Your digital marketing strategy would take these business objectives and seek to achieve them with the right mix of audience targeting, marketing messages, and channels.
Basically, a digital marketing strategy requires you to:
- Get clear on your business objectives [likely, financial]
- Set monthly targets [these are key performance indicators, or KPIs]
- Identify your target audience [who you’re selling to]
- Define your marketing messages [how you’re going to connect with your audience]
- Choose your digital marketing channels [where your audience spend time online]
- Produce marketing collateral [creative execution unique to each channel]
- Set deadlines [we’re talking live dates, baby]
- Implement. Measure. Optimise. Repeat.
Once it’s all up and running, you’ll evaluate your digital marketing strategy to determine the effectiveness by looking at all the various digital marketing activity in place and how it’s stacking up to achieve your monthly targets and business objectives.
15 reasons you need a digital marketing strategy
Now that we’re clear on what a digital marketing strategy involves and its purpose, let’s look at all the reasons you should put one in place. Spoiler alert: it’s not just about scaling the business and increasing profits [although that is a big part of it].
1. You’ll have a cohesive plan
This one? It’s not a financial benefit [more on that later] but it’s a big one for your sanity. Having a digital marketing strategy in place means you’ll have a cohesive plan to work towards. It brings all your marketing activities and channels together. No more hot mess marketing. Okay?
2. A well-considered strategy gives you a clear direction
Having a cohesive plan is game changing. Why? Because it gives you a clear direction. It makes you fess up those big picture goals and put them down on paper as part of an actionable plan. As they say, a goal without a plan is just a dream.
3. It simplifies budgeting and resourcing
One of the best things about having a cohesive plan and a clear direction? It makes budgeting and resourcing so much easier. Seriously. You’ll know exactly what you’re going to do and when you’re going to do it, which means allocating budgets and resources to projects, campaigns, and activity is super simple.
4. Competitors and startups with claim market share
Running a business or managing a marketing team often means you barely have time to finish your breakfast, let alone carve out time to make a plan. But without a plan in place we risk losing market share to established competitors and new startups on the scene.
5. It will bring all your channel activity together
One of the best things about planning all your digital marketing activity is bringing all your channel activity together in one place. Whether that’s a spreadsheet or a planning tool like Asana, Monday, AirTable or Trello.
6. Prevent duplication and wastage
You know what sucks? Putting a whole heap of effort into a marketing campaign to target your audience with one message, and then realising you’re doubling up in another channel or campaign. This especially sucks if it’s paid digital marketing. But this kinda stuff doesn’t happen when there’s a digital marketing strategy in place, because you’ve planned it all out.
7. Content creation is more efficient
When you’ve got a digital marketing plan in place, you’ll know exactly what you’re doing, when you’re doing it, and why you’re doing it. Which means creating content becomes super efficient. Instead of having a bunch of disconnected marketing creative going out on all your marketing channels, you can come up with a core idea and repurpose to distribute across the channels. Streamlined. Oh yeah.
8. Digital marketing activity is entirely measurable
Thanks to Google Analytics, digital marketing activity is totally measurable. This means once your strategy is up and running you’ll be able to assess the effectiveness, optimise, and continually refine and improve your marketing activity.
9. You’ll be working towards financial targets
This is a big one. It’s so easy to get caught up in the instant gratification metrics like a burst of traffic or a flurry of likes on social media. But the real reason you’re implementing marketing activity is almost always to achieve financial targets. Sure, sometimes those engagement metrics are the step before achieving financial targets, but it’s still crucial to understand how all your marketing activity works together to increase revenue and profit.
10. Growing your online audience and community
Once you’ve built an audience, you can monetise it, right? The internet is literally filled with communities—on social media platforms, forums and blogs, content platforms, and more. So if you can leverage the power of digital marketing to build an engaged community and grow your target audience, well, then you’re well on your way towards commercial success.
11. Build awareness and advocacy for your brand
Word of mouth is one of the most powerful ways to get your brand out there, and drive qualified traffic and leads. It’s also fairly difficult to measure. But, digital marketing tactics—like getting reviews and sharing user generated content—can help build awareness and advocacy for your brand. This equals trust. And trust is oh-so-important when transacting online.
12. Makes the most of limited resources
Whether you’re part of a marketing team or an entrepreneur doing all your own marketing, dealing with limited resources is something we all experience. Having a clear digital marketing strategy in place can help you identify priorities and make the most of limited resources.
13. You’ll benefit from the ‘halo effect’
Ah the, often elusive, ‘halo effect’. It’s something we often talk about, because when it happens, it’s so darn good. Basically, the ‘halo effect’ is what happens when all your digital marketing channels and activity are working well individually as well as complementing each other. The result, an uptick in marketing efficiency and return on investment.
14. Reporting is streamlined
When your marketing activity is disparate and disconnected, and you’re not working towards goals and objectives, it can be pretty hard to know what to report on. On the flip side, when you’ve got a marketing strategy in place you’ll be able to measure all the activity against big picture objectives as well as tactical goals.
15. It’s easier to optimise activity efficiently
Of course, if it’s easier to report on what marketing activity you have in place then it’s also easier to identify opportunities for improvement. This means you’ll be able to optimise marketing activity efficiently, and tweak and adapt your strategy as required.
Phew, we made it. That was a long post and I hope you stuck with it and found it valuable. If you have any questions, drop them in the comments or head over to the Young Folks Digital Facebook page or Instagram profile and continue the conversation with our beautiful community of entrepreneurs and aspiring marketing leaders.
And, if you’re still not sure you can put together a marketing strategy without a little help, then book into a full-day digital strategy intensive and we’ll do it together.