What is a digital strategy?

First off, let’s all get on the same page about what digital marketing is and is not. Wikipedia defines Digital Marketing: “Digital marketing is an umbrella term for the targeted, measurable, and interactive marketing of products or services using digital technologies to reach and convert leads into customers. The key objective is to promote brands, build preference and increase sales through various digital marketing techniques.”

The essential factor in digital marketing is that it is typically goal-driven. I love goals and performance metrics which is why I appreciate Digital Marketing tactics and results so much. Conversely, I’m seriously annoyed with “branding” campaigns aimed at nothing other than some obscure trendy term and no real way to measure success.

Digital Marketing is essential to any organization’s success today, but all too often we focus on just one component of the larger plan. So let’s take a look at the major components of a digital strategy:

WEBSITE: Yep, you have to have one of these. It’s the centerpiece of a well-rounded digital strategy. We recommend that it be built in a content management system like WordPress so that you can easily edit and contribute content. It most definitely should be mobile-responsive and render well on phones, tablets and desktops. Remember “mobilegeddon” from back in March? Yeah, they were serious.

CONTENT: Publishing new, relevant content to your website is not only recommended, but essential to be found in search engines and to overtake your competition. If you’re not publishing, you’re dying. Your publishing pulse is driven by a few critical factors including your keyword/phrases and your editorial content calendar. The editorial content calendar is typically a 12 month format. It can consist of articles, white papers, social posts, and newsletter topics. All of those should coordinate with your keyword/phrases.

SEO: The world has lumped so much under this category it’s ridiculous. Don’t be fooled. Essential SEO boils down to doing a handful of things really well over a period of time. Editing your meta fields, submitting sitemaps, checking for site errors and optimizing site speed will get you started. You also need to build backlinks to your site and, of course, publish new content. This will get you started climbing the ranks.

PAID SEARCH: PPC Advertising like Google Adwords is the only ad medium which allows you to purchase ad space in front of an audience who is actively searching for your product/service. There are definitely some pitfalls to the system though. (Pro Tip: Don’t waste your money purchasing clicks and sending them to your homepage.) Your paid search campaigns should be closely monitored and optimized for the maximum number of conversions. A conversion might be a sales leads or an on-site purchase. Tracking this info allows you to self-fund these campaigns over the course of time. Hiring a certified Google Parter agency for your adwords campaigns is highly recommended.

SOCIAL MEDIA: Not on social media? You’re all out of excuses. If you want to be relevant in today’s marketing landscape then you need a verified profile on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus. Those are the majors, but that list is quickly growing. You can engage your audience in a number of ways, but your queues should come from that editorial calendar we talked about in “content” section.

REVIEWS/REPUTATION: The more positive reviews that you have, the higher you will show in local search results. Plain and simple, you need to make it easy for your customers/clients to give you good reviews.

EMAIL: The Email Marketing medium can consist of many different channels. A monthly newsletter is a great idea, but you should also have some automation set up on your contact form(s) to engage your audience who converts on your website. Automated email drip campaigns can also do the hard work of delivering your message. Email Marketing is paramount for engaging an older audience. There are many systems available to help with email marketing – we prefer Mailchimp.com. If you don’t have an email opt-in on your website, you need to set that up right away.

METRICS/REPORTING: How is all of this working? Let’s look! Reporting and metrics is an essential part of the entire strategy. This is where you see the value of all of these efforts. At a minimum, you should have Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools installed on your website. Facebook insights and other social media tracking tools will help you determine how well you are engaging your audience. You should be spending time every month reviewing this and making adjustments to maximize your spend/efforts.

You might be saying, “Whoa. That is a lot of components.” Indeed it is, but I’m just scratching the surface of digital marketing. What’s listed is just the essentials. When you combine all of this into a strategy, you need to include things like a corporate social policy and you need to delegate each of these components so that someone is responsible for them. And most importantly, you need to align all of this with the larger business goals and objectives.

It begs the question, “Who is doing this for you?” If you don’t have an answer, then let’s talk about how we can help.

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