As a person with no natural sense of direction, I never leave the house without my GPS. Even though I’ve lived in the same city for nearly ten years, I love the security of seeing every turn mapped out for me before I ever leave my driveway. And with good reason. Without that guidance, I can get turned around on something as seemingly simple as a trip to the grocery store. And I don’t have time for epic adventures on a weeknight when I’m already hungry.
Marketing without a digital marketing strategy is a lot like getting into your car with no map, GPS, or plan. Sure, if you’re familiar with the landmarks, you might be able to get where you need to go. But if you’re unfamiliar with the marketing landscape or don’t know your destination, it’s easy to get lost. The right digital marketing strategy helps you establish goals, measure success, and effectively use your marketing dollars.
Digital marketing strategies 101
First things first, what is a digital marketing strategy? The short answer: it’s a high-level, strategic plan that’s connected to your entire brand. Creating a digital marketing strategy means identifying your business’s goals and figuring out how to reach them.
For example, your overall goal might be to get more website traffic. The strategy will help you determine how, when, and what marketing tactics you need to achieve that goal. It will also allow you to establish timelines, a budget, and key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure your success.
It’s essential to remember that a digital marketing strategy isn’t the same thing as a digital marketing campaign, though the two are related. You can think of the strategy as an umbrella term—a single campaign could be a significant part of your strategy, but it won’t be the entire thing.
Now that you know what it is, why does your business absolutely need a digital marketing strategy?
#1: It kickstarts “big picture” thinking
I’m going to ask a question, and I want you to answer honestly (don’t worry, this is a judgment-free zone). How often do you sit down and think about your business’s 5-year plan? How about your 10-year plan or even end goals? For the majority of business owners and execs, the answer is “when we first launched the business.” And we can’t blame you. As a small, tight-knit team ourselves, we know how easy it is to get down in the weeds with the day-to-day responsibilities of running a business.
That’s just one benefit of creating a digital marketing strategy. It requires you to take a step back from the daily grind and do some big-picture thinking. It asks you to reconnect with your brand’s mission and values, establish both short-term and long-term goals, and consider what matters to your audience.
#2: A digital marketing strategy forces you to define “success” and measure ROI
When you get in your car, you know you want to go somewhere. And, because you’ve done the work of goal-setting, you know exactly where you’re headed. But if you arrive there with a flattened tire and a blown head gasket while dragging your bumper, it probably wasn’t a successful trip.
In addition to establishing your marketing goals, a digital marketing strategy lets you establish mile markers and decide what ultimate success looks like. These key performance indicators, or KPIs, could be specific numbers or more performance-based (Ex. “Achieve 1k+ website visitors per month by December” versus “Increase website traffic by 10% month-over-month”).
Whichever route you decide to take, make sure your success markers are SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based. After all, there’s a world of difference between “get more Facebook followers” and “get 500 page likes in 3 months.”
#3: It lets you use your resources more efficiently
There are countless digital marketing channels to choose from. As such, it can be tempting to throw marketing dollars in a few different directions to see what yields results. Unfortunately, more often than not, this buckshot approach is a waste of time, money, and energy. At its worst, this approach can lead to a disjointed brand experience for your audience.
During the development phase of your digital marketing strategy, you’ll look at your most valuable audiences, create buyer personas, and decide where your followers already spend their time. For example, if you’re trying to connect with Gen Z, a little research will show that traditional print ads are a non-starter. But a comprehensive TikTok influencer strategy could be worth its weight in gold. A digital marketing strategy allows you to be (yeah, you guessed it) strategic about where you’re allocating your resources.
#4: Get more mileage out of your marketing dollars
I’m not here to talk smack about traditional marketing. Print ads, radio placements, and even t.v. commercials all have their appropriate time and place. But one of the big benefits of a digital marketing strategy is that it lets you deliver content directly to your intended audience. For example, email marketing lets you deliver tailored content directly to your customer for just pennies per message. And sharing your content to social media channels can boost website traffic, brand visibility, and support your overal SEO strategy. Plus, at the end of the day, you’ll have measurable results to help make your next campaign even more successful.
#5: It helps keep your marketing efforts on track
Raise your hand if you’ve ever come up with a marketing plan or campaign, stuck to it for a few months, and then watched it sort of fizzle out. As a digital marketing agency, this is something we hear from our clients all the time: We had a plan, but there was no process in place to keep up with it.
Here’s the hard truth: it takes more than an occasional press release or weekly Instagram post to keep your brand competitive. Consumers expect to interact with your brand across multiple touchpoints, and they want that experience to be seamless.
With a digital marketing strategy, you’ve got a roadmap to keep your marketing efforts on track. When done well, it tells you exactly what needs to be done, when, across what channels, and for what purpose. It also shows how your marketing efforts are connected. And if you do get off track? You’ve always got directions to find your way back.
Ready to reach your business goals? It’s time for a digital marketing strategy.
It’s 2022, and digital marketing is no longer a nice-to-have. Instead, it’s an essential part of any brand’s growth plan. But just like you shouldn’t get behind the wheel without knowing where you’re headed, we wouldn’t advise you to jump into marketing without a strong digital marketing strategy. This roadmap helps you establish your marketing goals, define your KPIs, and make sure you’re getting the most out of your digital marketing efforts.
Ready to get started? Put Savy’s strategy team to work. As a full-service creative agency, we can handle your digital marketing strategy—from concept through completion.