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  • John Callanta

Digital marketing strategy: Structure a plan in 7 steps

Adapt or perish. As markets shift online, the need for a robust digital marketing strategy is critical.

With over 4.6 billion active internet users worldwide, the virtual marketplace is brimming with leads. Whether you're a startup aiming to establish a foothold or a local law firm looking to acquire more clients, the power of a well-crafted digital marketing strategy cannot be overstated.

A digital marketing strategy isn't just an option anymore—it's an absolute necessity for businesses striving to thrive in the digital age as it helps to identify and target the right audience, increase brand visibility, and drive revenue.

Below is a step-by-step guide to structuring an effective digital marketing plan:

1. Set Goals

The first step is to define your marketing goals. Your goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. For instance, increasing website traffic by 50% in the next six months or generating 500 leads per month. Also, set realistic goals! Setting goals such as increasing new or return users to your site, downloading a case study, reducing spend while increasing reach, are some goals to establish to make it easier for your sales teams to close. Below were the initial goals that were determined before thinking about platforms, content, and budget. Each goals was picked because it increased the likelihood of generating a conversion.

2. Identify Your Target Audience

Knowing your target audience is crucial for effective marketing. You need to understand their demographics, psychographics, and online behavior. Create buyer personas to help you visualize and understand your ideal customer. Doing this exercise at the beginning allows your marketing team to build content around this ideal customer. After working with the marketing and customer service teams, we hosted customer interviews and found overlaps within the persona. Based on feedback, we developed general profile gatekeepers and decision makers which allowed the digital team to strategize where to place ads. Surprisingly, podcasts were a common thread and led to exploring Spotify ads.

3. Determine Your Unique Value Proposition (UVP)

Your unique value proposition is what makes your business stand out from the competition. It should be communicated clearly in all your marketing efforts. Do you have a feature none of your competitors have? Do you offer the most competitive prices? Are the the best in class when it comes to customer service? Are you a premium service that uses the best materials? Find out what makes your business unique and let that lead your content strategy which you know the ideal client will love. For this client, they had the most partners, had the staff to deliver the service, and could work earlier than the competition. However, it was noticeably more expensive. Once the UVP was determined, we reserved pricing for sales teams and focused on developing content based on the value just to get users to provide an email.

4. Choose Your Marketing Channels

Based on your target audience and budget, choose the marketing channels that will work best for your business. Some popular digital marketing channels include social media, email marketing, content marketing, SEO, PPC advertising, and influencer marketing. Once you determine the ideal client profile, identifying where they most likely spend their time will help narrow down the platforms you should invest in for campaigns. If you are a personal injury lawyer, running Google Ads near hospitals might make more sense compared to launching Yelp Ads when someone is searching for a restaurant nearby. We had decent budget and based on industry benchmarks, we determined using a mix of social ads and allocated the bulk of the budget on search.

5. Create a Content Strategy

Finally after determining the ideal client profile, value proposition, and where the content will live, then it is time to create content! Content is the backbone of any digital marketing strategy so create one that aligns with your marketing goals and speaks to your target audience. Your content should be engaging, informative, relevant, or thought provoking to ensure your audience will want to click around your site. If you are a SAAS company, a TCO calculator or Harvey Ball table will get the user to engage more on the site or at best, share it on their profiles. Free marketing!

6. Set a Budget

Allocate your marketing budget based on your marketing goals and the marketing channels you have chosen. Keep in mind that some channels may require a larger budget than others. You do not have unlimited funds to be everywhere. If you have historical data, take a deep dive into your conversion rates and determine your budget from there.

7. Monitor and Measure Your Results

Finally, track your results regularly to determine the effectiveness of your digital marketing strategy. Use analytics tools to monitor website traffic, conversion rates, social media engagement, and other key metrics. Use this data to adjust your strategy as needed.

These are the basic structure of a comprehensive digital marketing plan that will help you achieve your marketing goals. A digital marketing agency, manager, and specialist should be knowledgable in each of these aspects. Management and execution however is the difficult part. A digital marketing freelancer can help get you started with these goals and can move up to managing it in house or through an agency.


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