As technology advances day by day, humans discover new ways to make life easier.
One of the top technology trends in the world today is the internet of things (IoT), which gave rise to digital transformation and made business processes a lot easier and smarter.
If you want to know how to create a digital marketing strategy for your small business, this ultimate guide will walk you through the subject inside out.
Businesses that embrace digital marketing can withstand an economic downturn.
Regardless of your industry, all you need to transform your brick-and-mortar business is to create a digital marketing strategy to drive the business.
As a matter of fact, over 100,000 small businesses have shut down in the last few months in America alone.
One of their major challenges is overhead.
Yet, there are some businesses that keep expanding across borders and you wonder if they’re both on the same planet.
With the right digital marketing strategy, you don’t have to see a threat coming before you can prevent it.
The fact is, analyzing your business performance and finding threats and opportunities can be automated.
That is why smart businesses could resist most crises while others shut down permanently in recent years.
Nowadays, it’s possible to start a business without capital since no massive asset or human resource is required.
The secret behind this achievement and many other online businesses is what you are about to discover.
When you know how to create a digital marketing strategy for your business, you too can run an eCommerce store from the corners of your home and attract customers from anywhere.
That will be the end of your heartaches of paying salaries and rent from your small profit and incurring debts.
The idea of working from home was born out of digital marketing and sustained many businesses during and after the global lockdowns.
So, if you have been wondering how your businesses too can align with the trend, then the question is:
What digital marketing strategy to adopt and improve your business performance?
This guide aims at showing you the steps to create a digital marketing strategy and send your small business to the next level.
You don’t need a lot of professionalism or years of experience to build a digital marketing strategy that works.
With zero experience, this article will show you exactly how to create a digital marketing strategy and achieve your business goals online.
What is digital marketing?
Why do you think brands invest in building a website and still pay Google or Facebook for advertisements?
This is because a website is not digital marketing, but a mere channel for doing internet marketing.
What can be termed as digital marketing or internet marketing is the marketing that takes place on a website or other channels such as social media.
In essence, digital marketing is to make your business connect with the right people via the internet.
This means marketing must take place on your website or social media pages to say you’re actually doing digital marketing.
It involves creating engaging content about your business and using a digital device to share the content with your target audience.
So, according to MailChimp, the promotion of brands to connect with potential customers using internet enabled devices is called digital marketing.
When you launch a marketing campaign online, a connection will be established between your brand and the audience.
The connection can serve as a medium to say all sorts of things about your business, most especially how it can solve a problem.
When you do that consistently, many people will be aware of your business and become your potential customers.
For that reason, digital marketing can take the form of an sms, blog, vlog, podcast, social media post, email, pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, SEO, and so on.
With a computer, phone or other internet enabled devices, anyone can find your content and connect with you on the web.
What is a digital marketing strategy?
After creating a digital marketing channel, the further steps or actions you take towards achieving the goals for which the channel is created is a digital marketing strategy.
It may not be possible to realize your marketing goals without a good plan.
So, that calls for the need to have a winning digital marketing strategy in place and ensure that the strategy aligns with your goals.
The more goals you have, the tougher it gets to achieve them.
For convenience, you can group your goals into three (3) categories:
- Short term
- Medium term
- Long term
Identify which of your goals fall under the short and medium terms and set a plan around them to achieve the ones that are long-term in nature.
There may not be two similar strategies in digital marketing.
When you combine two or more strategies, a unique strategy will be developed to transform your business beyond expectations.
Why need a digital marketing strategy?
You may ask, why do you need to implement a digital marketing strategy for your business?
Does online marketing have any importance?
Here are a few reasons why you need to build a digital marketing strategy for your business.
The first reason why you need to implement digital marketing in your business process is to increase the visibility of your products or services.
With the help of the internet, your marketing can go as far as you desire.
Consequently, the products or services you promote will gain more visibility as your audience relies on the internet and spreads across different digital channels.
Reach potential buyers
If your business is visible, it will definitely reach your potential buyers.
With digital marketing, there are ways you can run targeted ads and reach your target audience.
An example is pay-per-click advertising.
If your business reaches people who are 90% likely to buy your product or order for your service, then you will have a conversion boost.
Promotes business value
Digital marketing can be used to promote the value of a business, generate more sales and grow faster.
Most channels are designed for this purpose and help you to attract more customers online.
It may be a big challenge to promote your business offline because the big players have a stronghold of traditional marketing settings that you can’t penetrate.
With effective SEO, you can reveal your business value.
When people discover the value in your business, they become interested. And the more this happens, you’ll definitely outrank your competitors.
You don’t need to spend much on digital marketing.
All you need is comprehensive training for you to get it right.
You may have to spend money to implement digital marketing in your business process, depending on your goal.
For instance, setting up a website may require some money.
Even if you have digital marketing skills, you will still be required to pay hosting providers to use their services.
But the fact is, acquiring digital assets can be cheaper compared to physical assets.
Although, you may need to pay more where size matters. But yet, the price will be cost-effective.
Examples of digital marketing strategies
This isn’t the age that you wanted to sell a product or service and would go door to door searching for customers.
Today, a single sales copy can be shared with millions of people at a go and the best examples of digital marketing strategies to do that would be discussed as follow.
If you were to distribute your sales copy offline, how many people would you be able to meet before breaking down?
Even the cost of printing the copy for one million people might kill you.
So, why would anyone still want to go through stress and spend so much before finding customers, when he can sit at the comfort of his home or office and get awesome buyers?
With the following digital marketing strategies examples, you can as well find and connect with your target customers on the internet.
Do you want to increase the visibility of your business, and as well be your customer’s number one choice?
The first step into digital marketing is getting a responsive website.
A responsive website is one which is by default optimized for mobile and desktop users.
Such a site can be responsive to different screen sizes without breaking its original display quality.
A website can be used to create an online presence for your business.
It can be linked to other digital marketing channels and multiply your sources of traffic and leads.
No matter what size is your business, you can use your website to drive the business and gain the right audience online.
What is important is revealing the value of your product and making the product accessible.
Let’s say you want to sell a pen on your website. You shouldn’t just display the pen and go to bed.
Revealing the value of your product – discussing its usefulness, will attract the attention of the audience and make anyone want to buy from you.
That calls for the need to choose the right website for your business.
There are different types of websites:
- Portfolio website
- Online portal
- Social media
Each of them serves different purposes. For that reason, you have to choose based on your goals.
That is, what you want to achieve with the site will determine the type of website to create for your business.
The website should be created in a way that all important information about the business is captured on each page of the site.
The first and most important page of a website is the homepage.
The homepage spells out the rationale of a business such as a product or service showcasing or portfolio, features of the business, and the brain behind it.
Second to the homepage is the About Us page which specifically represents the voice of the business.
It contains the story of how the business will be of great benefit to the world or specific audience categories.
Your website must also have a contact page.
This is important because the audience will definitely need to know how you can be located.
Being an online business doesn’t mean your business can never be traced anywhere on earth.
Your transparency here will boost the trust and confidence that the customers have in you.
Try as much as possible to include your social media handles, so the audience can trace you to your social media pages and learn more about the good job you have been doing.
Scared of the cost of having a website?
The cost of setting up a website isn’t as high as it used to be.
With the use of a content management system (CMS) such as WordPress, Joomla, Wix, or Blogger, you can create a website for as low as $20.
The cost is not for WordPress because WordPress is for free.
You only need to pay for your domain registration and hosting. And the money goes to the host.
Similarly, no coding skill is required anymore!
If you’re not familiar with something technical, or you don’t want to go through the stress of doing it yourself, you can contact us to do it for you.
You should prepare a comprehensive document, explaining the purpose and features of the website to whoever that is going to handle the project for you so the site can meet your business goals.
You can go as far as listing your competitors and state what common features you want or what you want your website to look like.
According to Niket Sharma, co-founder of My Comparision Guide, One of the fastest and most long-lasting ways to send leads to your website is blogging.
And to begin sharing content about your business and engaging your audience, you need a blog.
This doesn’t require setting up another website but switching the blogging feature in the existing one.
If you don’t have a website yet, you can create one and set it as an eCommerce or a blog website, depending on your goals.
These days, most website templates have blogging and eCommerce features which makes it easy to get started.
That’s to say, all websites are not a blog but all blogs are a website.
When you publish a post, you don’t keep it to yourself.
You are to share the post across multiple channels, most especially, search engines and social media.
This practice can make people from the other channels where your posts are littered to trace you back to your site.
Your blog posts will lead your target audience to your site.
And through your sales funnel activities, the audience will discover your products or services.
Instead of the customers coming to your physical office, they will visit your website, make further inquiries when necessary, and finally buy from you.
Using such a medium to generate leads and offering the customers community-based services can make them have strong confidence in your brand and you’ll be their number one choice at all times.
What do you do with your blog or how will your blog bring sales for you?
There may be some people out there, who have a blog but don’t get desirable results.
This doesn’t mean blogging doesn’t work or it works without your effort. It works depending on how much effort you put into it.
Below are a few ways to make sure your blog gives you the results you want.
- Make sure there is quality and compelling content on the blog, which talks about your business or product.
- Make sure your blog is at the top position on search engines. You can hire an SEO expert to do this for you.
Brands like Neil Patel, and RankMath, use their blogs to make their audiences discover their products and services.
For Neil Patel, the brand uses its blog to sell its SEO tool called Ubersuggest.
They have multiple sources of traffic by creating quality content around their products or services.
Because traditional advertisements contain hype, customers don’t trust most products advertised to them.
So, the products which the audience encounters while reading a blog post has more click-through-rate (CTR).
The reason is that more genuine and relevant information about the products is within the reach of the audience.
This is what blogging is all about.
Blogging will help you create fine stories around your products and reveal their values so the audience can develop their interest in them.
So, it’s one thing to create a blog, and it’s another thing to get the result for which the blog was created.
And that calls for the need to use a good content marketing strategy and optimize your content for humans and search engines.
Social media marketing (SMM)
Another can’t-miss digital marketing strategy example is social media marketing.
Social media marketing is creating and sharing business content on social media platforms and engaging the audience to boost awareness for a brand.
This practice can give your brand a very strong social media presence.
There are many possible ways to use social media for marketing, depending on your goals.
You can use it for creating brand awareness, garnering leads or web traffic, and boost conversion.
Social media platforms have great features that you can leverage in creating an effective digital marketing strategy.
In a situation where you don’t have a website or blog, social media is a good alternative to market your business online.
That makes it a standalone digital marketing channel.
Based on 2022 social media trends, most platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Pinterest have added new features such as social commerce.
With social commerce, you can…
- Upload visual representations of your products and add interesting descriptions
- Create a catalog for your products
- Sell your products from your page
- Advertise your products (optional)
- Take and process orders
- Get analytics
The new development makes social media serve a dual purpose tool.
You can now use it to promote and sell your products directly from your page.
This would make your audience buy directly from your page when they come in contact with your campaigns on a platform.
But the fact remains that you can’t rely on a single marketing platform or channel and get optimal performance.
Integrating your website with social media will make it easier to achieve whatever your business goal is.
So, would you like your audience to recommend your business to friends?
Then you need to make your content engaging by adding social buttons to your website.
Examples of social buttons are…
- Share buttons
- Like buttons
- Follow buttons
Most latest WordPress themes come with social media add-ons or plugins.
All you have to do is to enable the feature while customizing your website and make the buttons appear on your site.
Or if you don’t like the design of the buttons that came with your theme, there are tons of premium social sharing plugins you can use and get the best result.
When your audience sees the social buttons on your post, they are most likely going to engage with the post, maybe like, share or follow.
That makes social media marketing strategy essential for boosting brand exposure.
Pay per click advertising
Another way to get the most out of digital marketing is to run pay per click ads on third-party websites like Google, Facebook, Twitter and so on.
This example of digital marketing strategy called pay per click is a paid advertising service to help brands generate direct leads or traffic to their websites.
Virtually, all search engines and social media platforms offer this kind of service to help brands maximize their returns on investment (ROI).
This strategy makes online marketing campaigns to reach large people who might be interested in your business within a native user interface.
As found by Clutch, 75% of consumers claim that they use paid ads to find what they need online.
Sometimes when you search for something on Google, for example, the first set of results you see are advertisements.
Let’s say you search for “WordPress themes”, the result you get will contain pages related to the search query.
The first set of the results are pages paid for.
Google gives priority to them and this makes it easier for users to discover the brands and click.
According to WebFX, when people click on ads, they are 50% more likely going to make a purchase.
However, brands that use PPC perform better.
Each time someone clicks on the ads, the advertisers will be charged based on the cost per click (CPC) value of the keyword which your campaigns target.
The average CPC for advertising on Google is $1-$2.
Meanwhile, Google recommends a daily budget of $10-$50 to launch a Google Ads campaign.
Whatever amount you spend to advertise on Google, you’ll get more than 100% of your ad investment.
You can get an 8:1 ROI on PPC ads you generated on Google, which is equivalent to $8 on every $1 spent.
This digital marketing strategy is cost-effective compared to a traditional TV or radio advertisement.
It makes advertisers spend only when people click on their campaigns. If no one clicks, no money is spent.
If you pay $10 to advertise and the CPC value of the keyword your ad is targeting is $1, you will get 10 clicks until your budget exhausts.
Facebook, which is the most used social media platform in the world, has over 2.3 billion users.
With such a large user base, no matter what you sell, you will surely get buyers for your product using Facebook PPC ads services too.
Of all digital marketing strategies, email marketing is the most effective strategy for promoting a business and see the result you like.
According to SuperOffice, with $1 you spend on email marketing, your ROI is $51.
This is the only digital marketing strategy that gives marketers direct access to their potential customers and establishes a long-term relationship with them.
Wondering, what’s email marketing?
Email marketing is a strategy used to follow up with prospects who might need to learn more about a product.
It’s the act of sending emails to your customers, letting them know about your old products or the new ones you are just launching to the market.
This is very effective because, if you are sending campaigns directly to customers, it will keep them informed about the existence and relevancy of your product.
It’s believed that marketing campaigns sent through this channel get optimal CTR, thereby boosting conversion.
Search engine optimization (SEO)
SEO is another key example of digital marketing strategy you can’t do without.
If you want your business to appear on search engines and generate an overflow of leads and organic traffic to your website, SEO gives you the power to do that.
It’s what most people do to make their products or services visible on search engines such as Google, Yahoo, Bing, Yandex, and so on.
If you can adopt this strategy, it’s the best, although the toughest of all.
It may take a maximum of 3 months to see the results of your SEO effort. But believe me, it is worth the effort and patience.
SEO is a long-lasting digital marketing strategy.
When it comes to other aforementioned strategies, most especially, social media marketing, PPC advertising, email marketing, money is involved.
Sometimes, you might need to hire SEO experts like us if you don’t have the skill.
Meanwhile, acquiring the skill is the best way to get started with digital marketing and we offer the best digital marketing training.
If you have the right SEO knowledge, you can do it yourself and have no reasons to hire and pay an expert.
Even when you don’t have the money to implement other digital marketing strategies, your SEO efforts will continue to generate sales for you.
Steps to create a digital marketing strategy
There must be a program for developing a digital marketing strategy if you want to successfully promote your business and boost your ROI.
This is very important because you need to plan your activities to measure your progress.
For these reasons, the steps to create a digital marketing strategy which you need to know include the following:
1. Know your goals
If you don’t have a goal, you might continue working amiss.
The first step to consider as far as developing a digital marketing strategy is concerned is asking yourself:
What are my goals?
What do I aim to achieve with my digital marketing strategy?
Is it to sell, teach or serve?
In an industry survey of over 3200 marketers conducted by CoSchedule, it was found out only 376 marketers out of the research population set goals for their internet marketing strategy.
So let’s ask ourselves…
Who among those that set goals and those who didn’t set goals, are likely going to report a huge success?
There are several ways to achieve success in anything one is doing. And for each way you choose to follow, you must set your goals for it.
In digital marketing, your primary goal should be to do better than your competitors and offer people more valuable products or services than your competitors do.
Nevertheless, aside from doing better than your competitors, there are other goals you should pursue and these include:
- Sell: Among your primary goals is to be able to sell more than the previous goods you sold, in the previous weeks or months.
- Speak: Speaking to your customers will help you develop a close relationship with them. You should aim at doing this by developing a channel, in which they can reach you and get quick responses.
- Serve: You may find gaining new customers with online marketing quite easy. However, what value can you add to the life of your audience to convert new customers and retain the old ones for as long as you want? You should aim at serving your audience quality and affordable products or services.
Aside from these aforementioned goals, other goals which are paramount in digital marketing include:
- Increasing solution and problem awareness: According to Dummies, digital marketing creates awareness to customers for something they need, and this is known as problem awareness. In addition, you will be able to show your customers that you have a solution to their problems.
- Activating new customers: If your product or service has been active for a while, perhaps, months or years, there are sure customers, who would have been away for a while. Reach out to these customers, and let them know what they stand to gain if they patronize you again. And perhaps, this is all about how your products or services have been improved since the last time they bought something from you.
- Build community: One of your core goals is to be able to build a community where customers can share their experiences about your product or service.
- Brand awareness: Another goal is to create brand awareness among people and never stop creating awareness for your brand. If Facebook, the most used social media platform, is still creating awareness for its platform, nothing stops you from doing the same for your brand.
2. Define your audience
Defining your audience means identifying the key demographic features of your audience.
Know the type of people your audience is, what is their location, age, gender, nationalities, interests, and so on.
You need to know your audience, who they are in order to target them.
With this step, you will be able to know the kind of digital marketing strategy to implement and achieve your goals.
3. Choose a digital marketing strategy
Many digital marketing strategies have been mentioned in this article.
You need to carefully study each one, and choose the one you think will work best for you.
All the aforementioned strategies can be achieved by continuous practice.
And in no time, you will achieve the associated goals.
4. Evaluate your channel
The term “evaluate your channel”, refers to checking whether the digital marketing strategy you choose is working for you or not.
Have it in mind that for an effective result, you can combine more than one digital marketing strategy.
As a matter of fact, you can decide to use all the strategies if you want.
The reason for adopting multiple strategies is to complement one with another.
And when a strategy fails, you’ll be glad you have another one to fall back on.
5. Automate your marketing
Marketing automation is the use of a digital marketing tool or software designed to relieve you of a huge chunk of marketing activities.
Such tools use artificial intelligence (AI) to execute necessary marketing tasks such as connecting with multiple clients, monitoring your campaigns, analytics, and responding to customers’ queries without your input.
For example, you can automate email marketing with Mailchimp, keyword research with Ubersuggest, customer service with a chatbot, social media marketing with Hootsuite or Buzzsumo, and so on.
However, before using any marketing automation tool, you should ask yourself whether your business really needs one.
Or find out whether your business is at a stage where it requires such an investment.
According to LeadFeeder, not every business requires marketing automation.
So, before considering using a marketing automation tool, make sure you have a marketing strategy that is already working for you, and you have multiple clients to connect with.
Without using some of these tools, competing may be a whole lot of stress, and sometimes seem impossible.
You need to choose tools that will work for your strategy.
For example, If you are using a blog as your digital marketing strategy, you can implement a tool called a Facebook pixel, to boost your marketing performance.
6. Optimize for mobile
This is a way of making sure that people who visit your site via a mobile browser, don’t have a bad user experience.
You may ask, how can you optimize for mobile?
Below are simple ways to optimize for mobile.
- Create a mobile app
- Use a mobile-friendly theme on your website
- Test how mobile-friendly your website is via Google’s tool
7. Analyze your competitors
Always aspire to do better than your peers. It’s only that way you can make a difference and attract more customers.
Check for who your competitors are, look at what they are ranking for, and outrank them with better content.
From your analysis, find out about their weaknesses and derive a strategy to avoid similar mistakes.
As being mentioned above, doing better than your competitors should be part of your digital marketing goals.
Tools that can help you to achieve this goal are:
- Google analytics
Some of these tools will let you know your competitor’s performance, and what’s making them to perform better than you.
Knowing this, you can strategize how you can do better and be ahead.
8. Audit your performance
This is a way of knowing how effective your strategy is.
If you don’t audit your performance, how will you know how well you are performing?
In digital marketing, you are to audit your performance from time to time, whether you are achieving a positive result or not.
You may ask, how can I audit my performance?
Below are ways to audit your performance.
- Audit your SEO: SEO stands for search engine optimization. The first step of auditing your performance is checking how well the business is performing on search engines. You can use tools such as Semrush, for SEO auditing.
- Audit your content: Another way to audit your performance is to audit your content. Check for how well it’s promoting your business or service.
You can make use of tools like Ubersuggest, to audit your content.
Conclusion on Creating a Digital Marketing Strategy
We are in a digital age whereby any entrepreneur that is interested in the success of his/her business has to take advantage of internet marketing, which is otherwise known as digital marketing.
For the success of your business, you need to learn how to create a digital marketing strategy.
With a digital marketing strategy, you can promote your products effectively within or beyond your locality and get more potential customers.
Digital marketing has really changed the way people used to do business.
It enables you to leverage the power of the internet and revolutionary technologies to start and do business successfully without much capital.
Now over to you, share your thoughts about this subject.
Let’s know what is missing in the steps to create a digital marketing strategy in case you know one which I didn’t discuss.