How to Create a Digital Marketing Strategy in 2021
Updated: Jul 1
Are you wondering how to create a digital marketing strategy for your business? Well, whether it's B2B or B2C you're after, your digital marketing plan must revolve around: audience, goals, campaigns, social media, digital PR, and marketing KPIs.
Here we go,
5 steps to learn how to create a digital marketing strategy in 2021...
With the right digital marketing strategy you can transform your digital presence and accelerate ahead of your competition. Before getting started on marketing activity it's important to first have a detailed plan in place that reviews each aspect of digital marketing that impacts your business. And considering the huge effect digital marketing can have, you should put your best foot forward: to give just one example, 57% of businesses have acquired a customer through their blog.
Did you know that It's estimated most consumers are exposed to around 4,000 to 10,000 ads each day?
This makes it even more important to make sure your business spends time defining a winning digital marketing strategy. Why? Because your potential customers are having to filter through thousands of ads per day and ultimately make a decision on which brands they engage with and which brands they ignore.
For more support on securing more market share through your marketing efforts, check out our article on securing more market share with content marketing.
Many of these ads are appearing on social media channels, and are of importance to the success of your digital marketing plan. Forbes 2021 data states that 46.7% of internet users between the ages of 16-24 are using social media. And, according to Digital 2021: Global Overview Report, 98.8% of those users are accessing the platforms via mobile! Those huge numbers emphasise the importance of making sure all content is mobile-friendly.
Read on to find the 5 steps you need to create a successful digital marketing strategy that promotes long-term, consistent growth.
What is a digital marketing strategy?
A digital marketing strategy is a document that outlines your business goals and the marketing needed to help achieve those short, medium and long term business goals. The marketing channels will include paid, earned and owned media.
The digital marketing plan should include:
The marketing strategies to help achieve those goals
An overview of marketing channels
Action and development plans.
The timing and deliverables
With this in mind...
Does your company need a digital marketing strategy?
100%, yes! A well thought out digital marketing strategy comes with a whole host of benefits. Perhaps most importantly a proper plan will ensure your business is spending resources wisely. A digital marketing strategy will help to prevent wasted marketing spend.
Not only that, it will define critical information about your marketing intentions and the reasons behind your decision making.
Here we go, 5 steps to creating a digital marketing strategy in 2021.
1 - Define your audience
We get it, you’re ready to plunge head first into your digital marketing strategy, but...first it’s important to focus your energy on refining your target audience.
You can define your audience in terms of quantitative or qualitative data points. Let’s take a look at what those data points can be:
Quantitative and Demographic Information
Location: using google analytics or another web analytics tool you can identify where your traffic is coming from.
Age: this point may not be useful to your business. But if it is, you can gather this information from your prospect/customer database
Income: the best way to gather this type of sensitive data is through research interviews
Job Title: this is mostly relevant to B2B companies and you can usually extract this information from your customer database.
Qualitative and Psychographic Information
Goals: it’s likely that you already have a good idea of your customers ambitions and goals. But, you should cement those assumptions by asking your customers, and interviewing your sales and customer services teams.
Challenges: speak to customers, sales and customer service reps, and any other customer-facing employees to get an idea of the common challenges your audience members face.
Hobbies/Interests: interview customers and anyone who matches your target audience about their interests and any hobbies they have. If you're a fitness brand, for example, it's helpful to know if large numbers of your audience are into certain clothing and health supplements. This can inform future content and partnerships.
Priorities: ask your customers and anyone who matches your target audience what’s most important to them in relation to your business. For instance, if you’re a B2B accounting firm, knowing your audience values personalised support over lower pricing is vital information.
Once you have all of this information outlined, you can use them to build accurate buyer personas that will be highly valuable to your business. With these at hand you can target certain demographics through all marketing activity, meaning your content will be highly relevant and your ad budget will be spent efficiently.
2 - Identify your goals
We spoke about your customers' goals. But what are your business goals for your digital marketing strategy? Without setting clear goals, you will find yourself directionless and most likely focusing on vanity metrics such as followers and reach...metrics that will unlikely help you to achieve your business objectives.
When it comes to defining goals, there’s set criteria you can follow. We recommend you plan your marketing through SMART goals. These goals include each vital aspect of a successful marketing goal
S - Specific: Firstly you need to be specific about what your goal is and secondly what the goal includes.
M- Measurable: Your goals need to outline what KPIs will inform whether or not the goal has been reached. This is hugely important in understanding if your efforts have paid off and how they translate into revenue.
A - Achievable: We all like to aim high. But it’s important to be realistic. When setting your digital marketing goals, be sure to ask yourself if these are achievable within the timeframes you’ve set.
R - Relevant: How will your marketing goals translate into your business goals? It’s vital that these match up, because your digital marketing strategy, where it’s b2b or b2c should work to help your business grow. Or, how do your digital marketing goals help you reach your business goals?
T - Time-bound: What deadlines have you set yourself? When will you measure the success of the results to date and start to plan future campaigns? It’s important that you have these defined from the outset to monitor campaign effectiveness and achieve better results.
What kind of digital marketing goals can you set?
That’s the theoretical side of your goals covered. But what do your digital marketing goals look like in practice?
There is a huge amount of digital marketing goals you can set up, but here are some of the most popular:
Increase traffic: drive traffic from social media, paid traffic and organic traffic.
Generate leads: marketing activity that will increase leads for sales teams.
Improve your conversion rate: increase the number of website visitors that convert to paying customers.
Increase your sales: this is the ultimate goal for most businesses.
When defining your marketing goals you shouldn’t just state your ambition “ I want more traffic” for example. You need to be specific about how you will achieve that increase in traffic. Will it be through content writing? Guest blogging? Social Media campaigns etc.? How much traffic do you want to achieve? And, what is your deadline for achieving this increase in traffic?
3 - Consider what's worked in the past
When coming up with a digital marketing plan you should take the time to review your current marketing channels and assets to consider what should make its way into your new strategy.
Gather what you have, and list each asset in a spreadsheet so you can see a breakdown of your existing owned, earned, and paid media.
What is Owned, Earned and Paid Media?
Owned media is the digital assets your business owns. This can include your website, social media channels, blog pieces and imagery. The easiest way to think of this is, owned media is anything your business has complete control over.
Earned media is the exposure your business has earned through marketing activity. This can include PR work, guest blogs, customer referrals and social media shares etc. Earned media is the recognition you receive from your marketing efforts.
Paid media refers to the channels you spend money on to target your buyer persona. Paid media can include Google Ads, paid social media collaborations, print ads etc. Basically, any marketing activity where you’ve paid for increased visibility.
Since you have a better grasp on what this framework entails, let's look at an example.
Say you have an owned piece of blog content to generate leads. You can use different media forms to make the owned piece more effective….
To see an influx of leads to the blog content, you make sure it’s shareable so any readers can share it with their audience on social media. As a result, you will see an increase in traffic to the blog post. This is earned media.
To further support your blog’s success in generating leads, maybe you created a sponsored ad on Facebook to have it viewed by more people in your target audience. That is paid media.
So to summarise, you can see how each type of media works together. When planning your digital marketing strategy you should consider the solutions that will help to meet your unique goals and then focus on the channels that have worked best in the past.
Now you have a clear idea of what you’ve already done, you can start to consider what you should keep and what you should ditch.
4 - How do you build a digital marketing strategy? Use our Digital Marketing Strategy Template
When creating a digital marketing strategy, we like to use a spreadsheet that outlines the marketing deliverables per month so we know what content is going out when, on which channel and for what purpose.
However, as this blog has outlined it’s important to first begin with a digital marketing strategy plan. We recommend you plan a minimum of six months ahead. To do this you will need a top notch digital marketing strategy template that covers the entire process.
To help you out, we’ve created a digital marketing strategy skeleton template that will guide you through your business summary, target market, goals and metrics...
Once completed, you can share the digital marketing plan with the entire team.
5 - Monitor the success of digital marketing strategy
So, you’ve completed your digital marketing strategy for 2021. It’s important to monitor the success of your digital marketing goals.
After all, you need to be sure your efforts are paying off, right? This is where your marketing KPIs come in handy.
We’d love to finish with a useful breakdown of the tools you can use to monitor the success of your digital marketing strategy.
Tools to monitor the success of your digital marketing strategy
Google Analytics - it’s free to use and provides a clear view of all major metrics. You can even generate reports for your convenience.
YouTube Analytics - shares insight on your major video marketing KPIs, including watch time, traffic, audience demographics and playback locations.
Facebook Page Insights - tells you how many people see your posts, which posts people engage with most, how well each post performs and the actions users are taking on your page.
Your CRM - your CRM keeps track of all customer touch points such as leads, opportunities, paying customers etc, so be sure to use a CRM that covers the whole business, not just customer communication.
Email Marketing Tools - MailChimp provides fantastic email marketing services, while also shedding light on the success of emails against your pre-defined marketing KPIs.
Hootsuite - Hootsuite provides advanced social media reporting including insights on mentions of your brand on social media, and tells you whether they’re positive, negative, or neutral.
Fullstory - Fullstory replays your customer's journey, so you can see their user experience through their eyes, gain access into what’s working for them and what can be improved.
Digital Marketing Strategy Guide: Conclusion
At Re-Imagine, we understand that the sheer depth of creating a digital marketing strategy can be daunting. There’s so many marketing channels, with more popping up frequently. Considerable amounts of metrics that need to be tracked. There's a lot to unpack and it’s obvious why our clients have outsourced their marketing to us. If you would like assistance building a marketing strategy that revolves around your business goals, get in touch today.
However, if you don’t have the budget for that, you should take the time to build it yourself, following the steps we’ve outlined in this blog. And don’t forget to use our free marketing strategy template.
Download free marketing strategy template
Be sure to review your audience and set goals. Test your campaigns regularly and experiment until you find something that works for your business. It’s a long term process, so stick with it and collect valuable data as you go.
If you can successfully follow these steps to create a digital marketing strategy, you’ll be outshining the competition in no time.