3 Essential Steps for an Effective Digital Marketing Strategy

Digital marketing offers endless potential to reach and engage with your ideal customer online. But with many overlapping aspects to consider it can quickly become overwhelming.

As a small business, how do you navigate the digital world? And how do you figure out the best methods you need to achieve your goals online?

Meet your key to success - a digital marketing strategy!

An effective digital marketing strategy will clearly outline your objectives, your target audience, and how you can best utilise the various digital marketing channels to reach your ideal customer. Let’s take a look at how to create a strategy using the following three steps: plan, create, evaluate.

How to create a digital marketing strategy in three steps: plan, create, evaluate.
Digital Marketing Strategy Steps

STEP ONE: Plan your objectives, target audience, and distribution channels

Time spent in the planning phase is time well spent (and something your future self will thank you for). So make sure you don’t race ahead! Without a clear plan, your digital efforts can become emotionally and financially draining without achieving the desired results.

Whatever it is you want to achieve online, it must start with a strategy. Whether you want to promote a new product, sell a course, redesign your website or increase your social following, you need a time-specific plan which clearly outlines the steps of how to get there.

Consider these three questions during the planning phase:

1. What are your business goals?

To start, it is helpful to identify what your overall goals are in business terms. Then translate these goals into digital marketing objectives. Be realistic, set timelines, and relate each objective to a specific marketing campaign. For example, your campaign objectives may be to:

  • Raise brand awareness

  • Increase traffic to your website

  • Gain more followers to your online business pages

  • Promote a service

  • Increase sales of a product

2. Who is your target audience?

Create a Buyer Persona (a.k.a. Customer Avatar) to gain a thorough understanding of who your ideal customer is and where they spend their time online. The clearer your persona, the more effective you will be at communicating your key brand messages to your target audience.

Get specific on what problem you are solving with your product or service:

  • What challenges is your customer facing?

  • What results are they after?

  • What are their personal and professional demographics?

  • How do they prefer to digest information? Ie. video, podcast, PDFs

Once you have clearly identified your target audience think about their ‘search intent’. What is your audience searching for? What keywords, topics, questions, and phrases are they typing into Google?

Having this information on-hand will help you understand what your customer needs during the different phases of the ‘buyer's journey’; from awareness about your brand to making a conversion.

Tip: Look at real customer data to help create your Buyer Persona.

Online tools such as Make My Persona by Hubspot can help you get started.

3. Which online marketing channels should you use?

There are a number of ways to reach your ideal customer online. Once you are clear about your goals and target audience, you will have a much better understanding of what marketing channels are best suited to your specific campaigns.

Each marketing campaign will likely utilise a combination of channels in order to achieve a specific goal. For example, if your campaign is to increase brand awareness you could share your message organically across social media networks, use Facebook’s advertising platform, and collaborate with influencers in your industry as part of an affiliate marketing program.

Explore the channels below:

There are many digital marketing channels you can use to reach your ideal customer
Digital Marketing Channels

​Website Marketing: Process of optimising your website for search engines

Content Marketing: The creation and distribution of valuable online material to raise awareness about your brand

Pay Per Click (PPC) Advertising: Using paid advertising platforms to drive targeted traffic to your website

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO): Optimising the structure and content of your website to increase performance in organic search

Email Marketing: Communicating with your email subscribers to engage, educate and drive valuable conversions

Social Media Marketing: Utilising social media networks to connect with your audience and drive brand awareness

Affiliate Marketing Programs: Collaborating with influential people within your industry to increase reach and build brand trust

STEP TWO: Create valuable content that communicates your key messages

Once you have a solid plan in place it’s time to get creative!

You may have heard the saying that ‘we earn the right to sell once we have first given’. In other words, our ideal customer is far more likely to convert (or buy from us) if they have first received a range of complementary content which they find valuable.