Marketing isn’t all about consistency. Or believing in yourself.
Okay, maybe we don’t know exactly how your marketing is going right now, but it could be better…
Otherwise, you wouldn’t be here.
The thing is, you might have read about different marketing channels, heard of the potential benefits, or even tried to wing it and see what happens
But you need a plan to succeed with marketing campaigns (and not fall short).
You need to understand how it works in practice, how to track your progress, and what digital marketing strategies top ad agencies use for clients to achieve those mind-blowing results you read about on LinkedIn.
And for starters, you need to read this post.
- Why having a digital marketing strategy matters
- What that even is
- Top 6 digital marketing strategies and how they’re done
Now let’s talk about why doing marketing without a strategy isn’t an option.
Why Do You Need a Digital Marketing Strategy?
Organised marketers are 674% more likely to be successful than peers who are all over the place without a well-defined strategy.
Basically, if you have no idea where you’re going or which route will get you there, but you’re still adamant about getting in the car, chances are you’ll just get lost.
And all you’ll have to show for it will be “the friends you made along the way.” 🤡
Not the best approach to business.
If you know exactly where you’re going and why, and have a logical plan to get you there, you’re more likely to reach your destination.
(That’s a fact.)
That’s what you get with a digital or online marketing strategy.
Off the top of our heads (actually, partly from this podcast we did), here are some reasons why top digital marketing strategies are worth the investment:
|Why it matters
|Unites your team to reach your goals
|Keeps you accountable
|Provides clear resource distribution requirements
|Gives you competitive edge
|Enables a deeper connection with your target audience
|Leverages your brand’s strengths
|Gives you the metrics to judge whether you are succeeding or not
|Provides a clear overview
|Allows for documentation
|Gives you a reality check
That should cover the why.
Now…what is a digital marketing strategy?
It might sound obvious, but we’re talking about a buzzword that gets thrown around a lot, so it’s worth agreeing on a common definition before moving on.
So What’s a Digital Marketing Strategy?
A digital or online marketing strategy is a sum of all marketing efforts you make using online media to get your company from where you are now to where you want to be, which hopefully aligns with your overarching business goals.
We say where you want to be – assuming you know where that is.
Otherwise, there’s no knowing if you’re there or not.
Hopefully – because a lot of people just go about their online marketing sort of aimlessly or reaching for “growth” – whatever that means.
And overarching business goals – because if your marketing strategy doesn’t align with your business goals, what’s the point?
We can’t talk about individual tactics without sorting this concept first.
So let’s see what this entails.
1. SMART Goals
You don’t have to love acronyms. You can toss this one in the bin with the rest of them, as long as you don’t forget the stuff it says about goal setting.
So, each goal should be:
- Specific (clear, focused)
- Measurable (how much? what does good look like?)
- Achievable (realistic and attainable, even if a stretch)
- Relevant (make sure it matters to you and the company)
- Time-bound (when will this be completed?)
The idea is that you go through the checklist every time you set a goal to make sure each one is clear and reachable.
Say you want 10x more leads.
Do you want just any bunch of people on your site, or should they be qualified (clarity)? And would it make more sense to shift the focus on getting more of them to convert instead (relevance)?
By when does this need to happen (time-bound)?
Thinking SMART will save you loads of time and ensure you don’t start the engine before you’re positive about your destination.
2. A Clear Definition of Your Audiences
Marketing success begins with truly understanding your target customers (60% of all marketing is wasted if you skip this step). Whether you are an e-commerce company or you offer services, it is imperative that you know who you want to reach. Consider:
- Pain points
If you’re not sure where to start, our audience persona builder can help you turn the intimidating, shapeless mass that is your entire audience into real(ish) people you can understand and market to.
Fill in any detail you can think of – what they’re into, what they find funny, what words they use to describe their problems…
All of this will be gold for your creatives later.
Once you’ve got the hang of that, we need to talk about you.
To get from point A to point B, you need to know what both letters stand for.
If you know you want to get to Rome, but you haven’t the faintest clue where you are on the map, you’ll quickly discover that “all roads” won’t lead you to it.
So now that we’ve got B sorted, we have to figure out A – your business in its current state.
You’ll need to do two audits:
|What it shows
|1. Self-audit of your current media: owned, paid, and earned
|2. Competitor audit
You can suss out the situation by checking competitors’ on various social media platforms and using analytics tools to review site health, links, domain authority, and other SEO nuts and bolts.
But that’s still like licking your finger to check for wind.
Fine, maybe it’s more like flexing your language and dialect detection skills to gauge where you are based on how the people speak.
Great when you don’t have other options.
You have other options. 👀
For a real audit, it’s best to contact the experts and let them do what they do best.
You’ve got more pressing things to worry about that can’t be as easily delegated, and a good digital marketing agency can take care of what can be delegated.
4. Your Story
Time for a little existential crisis. This is where you get very specific about what you do, how, and why you do it.
We know you know. At least the “what” part, that is, your products and services.
But it’s still important to jot all of it down because clarity and documentation will be crucial for your digital marketing strategy and everyone who contributes to it – and that may be quite a few people.
The Sinek Circle is a great place to start.
This is important because your WHY needs to be relevant to your target audience.
It needs to make a difference in their lives for them to care about it, and you need to make it the most obvious thing in the world for the message to get across as soon as they find you.
This will differentiate you from competitors with similar products and services and really give your audience a reason to pick you.
You’ll have it all over your site.
You can browse other sites and read their “about” sections for inspiration.
Here’s a quick example from an accounting firm with a twist:
- They’re not your regular accountants, but they’re not charlatans either
- They’re young and modern – not limited by outdated norms
- ^^ This is obvious in their conversational tone and character, not just because they said they are
- They’re just like you, not stuffy bureaucrats who will bog you down with their ancient ways
- They’re tech-friendly and able to keep up with your fast-paced business
- They clearly know not just what they’re doing, but also what others in their industry are doing and their mission sets them apart
All that from a little “about” section because ConnectCPA did their homework.
So grab a cup of coffee and get cracking on yours. Here’s what you need to determine:
- Value proposition
- What makes you unique?
- Your link to your target audience
- Elevator pitch, vision, mission statements, and compelling messages
Use this example and the Sinek circle to guide you. But before you start shouting it from the rooftops, keep reading this blog.
Once you start seriously thinking about digital marketing, you may feel pressured to try doing *all the things* on *all the channels.*
It won’t work.
You’ll just stretch yourself too thin and fail at 10 things instead of doing two of them right.
We’d much rather you pick that second option. These are the main things you need to succeed:
a) Clarity on which channels you’re using and why (where is your audience? And how many channels can you do well?)
b) A strategy for each channel (don’t just duplicate content)
For instance, if you figured out a lot of your audience mostly hangs out on LinkedIn, and some of them like Instagram, you can pick those two. There is no need to add all the other social media platforms just to tick them off.
It’s a waste of time.
You also don’t want to copy-paste the exact same stuff between your LinkedIn and Instagram – what’s popular on one platform might not be as much of a hit on the other.
Keep in mind which formats do well on each platform and how to use them for maximum ROI.
6. Implementation Plan
Now you know your goal, your audience, yourself, your favourite channels…
- Capacity – What’s your workforce and availability?
- Task allocation – Who’s doing what?
- Timelines – When are your milestones and due dates?
- Tools – What are you using to help you get there?
- Processes – What’s the play-by-play for every task/role? Is it documented?
- Best practices – How to get things done right?
Set it all up, get ahead on documentation from day one so you don’t get overwhelmed later, and you’re almost ready.
7. Measure & Optimise
The last thing you absolutely need in your digital marketing strategy is a way to track your performance.
If you do everything up to this point and overlook analytics, you’ll have a hard time reaching your goals. Maybe you get some traction for a while, but expect chaos when you hit a stall.
You won’t know what went wrong, so you’ll start turning everything upside down, and that’s not a position you want to be in.
Instead, you can prepare your measuring scale ahead of time:
- Figure out which key performance indicators (KPI) are worth tracking
- Set up your analytics
- Optimise and improve results
And that’s it!
Now we can dig into the stuff you came for without that nagging feeling we forgot something important.
6 Digital Marketing Strategies Top Ad Agencies Use for Clients
Alright, now that you know the ins and outs of an overall digital marketing strategy, we can dive into a few examples of what top ad agencies are actually doing for their clients.
Why did it take us so long to get here?
Because these so-called “digital marketing strategies” are only sub-sections (5 above) of a company’s overall digital marketing strategy, and if you take them out of context, they won’t work.
No matter what.
They might get all the glory, but don’t get blinded by the bright lights — only implement them once you’ve done your homework and your seven-step plan is rock solid.
Here’s the shortlist:
- Social media marketing
- PPC, display, and remarketing (a.k.a. Google Ads)
- SEO and content marketing
- Personalised email marketing
- Video marketing
- Influencer marketing
And now, the… longlist…?
Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing is a great way for brands to meet their audience where they already spend time scrolling, laughing at videos, and shopping, and integrate themselves into the experience low-key.
It makes you approachable.
Kind of like mingling at somebody else’s party instead of immediately throwing one yourself when you’ve just started university and don’t know literally anyone.
It’s also easy to combine with other digital marketing strategies:
62% of people use social media, and 34% use it to find brands and products.
That’s why it makes sense for brands to show up and be discovered – as long as they can speak the language and keep up with the trends. It’s all about brand awareness.
- Having fewer channels done right > having all channels that suck
- Pick the platforms your audience is using – and, don’t know if you’ve heard, but you’re allowed to ask
- Figure out what works on each platform (e.g., informative carousels and custom memes on Instagram, live videos on Facebook, etc.)
- Don’t copy-paste the exact same stuff everywhere because your audience may follow you on multiple channels and get annoyed. Plus, different things work on different platforms.
PPC, Display, and Remarketing
Ads get a lot of hate.
Because they’re the worst – they’re distracting, they pop up everywhere, and they keep interrupting the album you’re trying to listen to while cooking every time they sense your hands are too full to click “skip.”
Even worse: you have to wait it out.
Why does anybody still use them, and are they ever recommendable?
Because some of them don’t suck. Targeted ads can be really useful.
Think of a well-done ad on your Facebook feed for a product you’ve been looking for.
When you distinguish your target audience from your target market and explore your options, you can expect your ads to be received much better.
The ROI for Google ads is 8:1. They look like this:
You have other options to experiment with, like Facebook ads for A/B testing (figuring out the right target audience is a real balancing act) or Pinterest targeted ads (maybe a little less overwhelming).
In any case, it comes down to knowing your audience.
No one likes random pop-ups, but everybody likes helpful suggestions for things they might already be after.
SEO and Content Marketing
Content marketing and SEO fall into the inbound marketing bracket which is all about preparing valuable information on strategically picked topics and letting people who need it come to you.
Like putting some food out for the birds. Or getting more people to join your cult.
You give them what they’re looking for and follow some rules Google laid down.
And before you know it, you gain their trust because you’ve done so much for them and never once forced your product on them like some outbound tactics do.
And then Google rewards you for it by ranking your site high and getting you in front of more people. Sweet, right?
Anyway, you’ve seen it around – you’re reading one form of it now. It’s:
- Blogs (duh)
- Case studies
- Webinars, etc.
Gong is a solid blog example to check out:
It’s a great sales resource backed with original data and specific, actionable advice readers can immediately implement, like this:
You have to appreciate anyone who bothers going beyond the fluffy “be valuable” proposition and drills in exactly how and why you have to do that.
Bonus points for being direct, conversational, and breaking down the text for easy digestion.
This is content marketing done well.
Personalised email marketing helps you build a stronger relationship with your audience by connecting the dots between what you have to offer and what they need.
Them being individuals who have been in touch with you before.
Here’s a beautiful example from easyJet:
Personalisation: you bet.
The result: Connecting the company to Alex (the customer) and his beautiful memories of getting crispy on the beach in the Faro sun.
It works because the audience immediately cares. It’s about them.
And the Faro sun.
Who doesn’t want that?
Other clever personalised emails we’ve seen include offering car maintenance six months after the purchase, sliding in with product recommendations, and reminding customers about their abandoned shopping cart.
9 out of 10 viewers want more videos from businesses.
They’re a handy way to *show* people how your product works from their point of view – lots of companies totally overlook this.
Yes, users want to hear what benefits they’re getting. But if you only say “we’ll transform how you do business” and forget to show them how your features actually work, it’s just fluff.
To take it further than pure demos, you follow in Shopify’s footsteps and give customers ideas on how to use your product to reach their goals:
- It will be more tailored to your target audiences’ needs
- Show them they won’t be restricted by any defaults – experimentation is key
- Give them something to work from if they don’t know where to begin
- Demonstrate how others are using it and increase their confidence in the product
Video is often the quickest, most efficient and human way to achieve this.
And speaking of human marketing…
Influencer marketing makes use of the already-established audiences of popular social media accounts to get you in front of a mass of people quickly.
Probably why over 75% of marketers plan to budget for it this year.
But this isn’t just a numbers game.
You want to associate your brand with someone who shares your values and whose audience matches your marketing persona.
Say you have an app for healthy weight loss.
It would make sense to find influencers in the health and wellness or fitness fields and create partnerships with them…
And sure, you could find some fitness experts.
It’s not a bad idea, but alone, it’s like a razor commercial showing women shaving their already shaved legs.
Not so impactful.
What if you shifted your focus from the people who are already on the other side of the problem to those in your ideal audience’s situation?
That’s exactly what Noom did, which helped them grow 3333%.
People relate more to those who share their struggles.
They will be more convinced of the solution if they see it solving their exact pain point – not some romanticised version of it.
Keep that in mind regardless of your chosen digital marketing strategy.
Get Started on Your Digital Marketing Strategy — On Us!
We mean it.
That’s why we created a free resource: Digital Marketing Strategy Template.
It’s a detailed framework to help you experiment and create a system that works for you, not another restrictive mould for lukewarm results.
Plus, it follows the structure of this blog post precisely – so no unpleasant surprises there!
Our favourite way to get started with any digital marketing strategy is a collaborative, engaging workshop.
We talked about it on our blog, as well as our podcast here.
You can get in touch for a free discovery call if you have any questions or would like an expert to help take you along this exciting journey.