How to Build a Digital Marketing Strategy

There are so many different approaches to digital marketing, but success really boils down to strategy. Strategize, then plan. Build your plan based on top, middle or bottom of the funnel objectives. Choose the channels that best support those objectives. Digital marketing fits inside of a bigger picture. In fact, it rolls down from the business goals and general marketing strategy. 

Where Should You Start?

This might sound backwards, but start with your website. Which page are you planning to drive your ads to? This is your landing page and this is where you should start. The landing page needs digital assets to create engagement–inform and create interest. Another reason you want this landing page set up first is that you want to get all the tracking set up in advance of your campaign launch so you can see accurate results in real-time.

How do you measure digital marketing campaigns?

If your objective is reach and awarness, then your KPI is going to be getting in front of as many people (in your target audience) for the least amount of budget. Hint – If your message is good and creates engagement, you’ll be charged a lower cost. (So test your ads before you push them out to the masses full force.) Most digital platforms have the ability to measure all aspects (impressions, reach, clicks, CPC, and conversions), but if your tracking is not set up properly, you won’t know what’s working. You need to be sure to identify what the conversion action will be and then have an expert set it up and test it. 

What can digital channels do to support the overall marketing strategy? 

Digital channels can give you information/feedback instantly to know whether your message and audience are on point. Test your messaging and audiences before rolling out the budget and going all in on one channel or audience. Unlike traditional media where you take a bigger risk that your budget is gonig to be wasted, digital shows you proof. Additionally, once you have pinned down the winning audience/message combination, you can roll it out into traditional channels.

What are the types of digital channels? 

Digital channels can include SEO, email, PPC, retargeting, social media, connected TV, public relations, influencer, affiliate and automation technology. When planning out a digital campaign, keep in mind you will need a landing page to support the conversion end of the journey. In fact, you should actually be thinking about the landing page first, since that will take more time to build. 

What are the pros and cons of each digital channel?

There are pros and cons to every channel. And combinations of these channels work well together. They can add lift to the overall performance of the campaign when done right.

SEO – Search engine optimization is a must. It’s the driver of organic traffic to your site and the force that keeps your website in shape. 

  • Pros: It’s a great way to bring in qualified leads. 
  • Cons: If you don’t understand SEO, you can be easily taken advantage of by those who claim to be SEO experts.
  • Advice: 
    • Do your own research on SEO before hiring anyone to help. Make sure they can show proof of sites they have improved overall organic traffic.
    • Be careful when you update your website. Be sure to not lose existing rank when you move to the new site.

EMAIL – There are emails to prospects that are generated from your digital ads and then there are emails as part of a consistent communication plan to your customers. This is common for those who have dealer networks.

  • Pros: Email is an efficient way to send updated information to your customers. There are also great automations you can integrate that reduce cart abandonment for ecommerce or move prospects through the customer journey to pre qualify them before they get to your sales team.
  • Cons: People are bombarded with emails and open rates are low.
  • Advice: Don’t rely on email as a sole channel for communication. It is not a standalone channel. It should be used in conjunction with other channels. Also, do not buy a list from someone and pump it into your ESP (email service provider). They are costly, ineffective and your email accoutn will be shut down.

PPC – Pay Per Click ads are ads that are clicked and bring customers/prospects to your site. Google Ads are  effective for bottom of the funnel. 

Pros: Search ads (PPC) capture people actively seeking a product or service. If your campaign is set up correctly, you will bring buyers to your site. 

Cons: The cost-per-click (CPC) changes all the time based on the competition. Others bidding on the same searches (keywords) will cause the cost to go up.

RETARGETING – Retargeting is getting in front of people who have visited your website. Maybe you have a new product or service youw atn to share or you are a new brand it will take more for people to pay attention to what you are offering.

Pros: Retargeting be effective in reducing cart abandonment or encouraging prospects to make contact. (You can have your campaigns target people who have put something in the cart or visited a contact page who also did not convert (make a purchase or fill out a form)).

Cons: Retargeting can make your audience annoyed if the frequency is not capped and if you don’t show the audience something new.

Advice: Read up on the laws for retargeting. Be sure you have the consent to retarget your audience.

SOCIAL MEDIA ADS – Social platforms are constantly changing. The most common social channels for digital marketing are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. According to eMarketer, US social network ad spending was expected to top $40 billion in 2020 and approach $49 billion in 2021. It is growing faster than they expected earlier in the pandemic.

Pros: You can narrow your targeting by being on the right social channel. You can also layer multiple characteristics.

Cons: Some channels have a much higher cost-per-click. Facebook might have a cheaper CPC, but your audience might be on LinkedIn only.

Advice: Test performance by impressions and conversions (not just clicks and CPC). At the end of the day, if you are getting less clicks but more conversions on LinkedIn, it’s worth the spend.

CONNECTED TV (CTV)  – The days of watching whatever is on are over. Consumers now have control to watch their favorite program when it fits in their schedule on their device of choice (as long as they have internet).

Pros: The CTV is more than just targeting people on a Smart TV. (It includes Xbox, PlayStation, Blu-Ray, etc.) Targeting people with specific interests is much easier than traditional TV. You are in more control over your audience and you can layer in more targeting criteria.

Cons: The cost-per-thousand (CPM) is going to be higher than other digital marketing channels. If you live in a smaller metro area, the available impressions will be less.

Advice: Find a provider that has the power (buys) to be in all the options. According to a November 2020 poll from the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), 60% of US advertisers planned to shift ad dollars from linear TV to either CTV or OTT in 2021. 


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