All too often in digital marketing we see cases where businesses are just executing on tactics—SEO, PPC, banner ads, social media, etc.—without having a real strategy in place. As a result, prospects often come to us with the following frustrations:
- “No forward movement or progress; we’ve spent a lot of money on ad campaigns but nothing seems to be happening.”
- “We don’t know what direction to go in. There’s too many choices!”
- “How can we possibly keep up with all the changes in digital?”
The above quotes are just a sampling. The daily grind managing your digital marketing and advertising campaigns and trying to make sense of all the moving parts is much more of a struggle when you don’t have a strategy to guide your efforts. While strategy-less companies seem to be throwing everything at the wall to see what sticks (while losing a lot of money in the process), smart companies are thinking for the long term, sticking to a plan with pre-defined goals, regularly monitoring progress and making adjustments where necessary. Which type of company is yours?
If you fall into the strategy-challenged category, don’t worry—you’re definitely not alone. As a digital marketing agency that focuses on strategy above tactics, it’s a scenario we see all the time.
Digital Strategy Checklist
Consider this checklist a basic jumping-off point for developing your digital marketing strategy:
- Define specific marketing goals that are “tactic-neutral.” For example, increasing qualified leads, sales, building your brand and forming relationships. Click-thru rates, search engine rankings, and other tactic-specific measurements are not the type of goals we mean here.
- Define your target audience. Are you a B2B or B2C company? Who is your ideal client/customer?
- Pinpoint where your audience lives online. For example, what websites are they most likely to visit? Do they frequent social media sites, and if so, which ones?
- Develop a content strategy. It should be closely related to your overarching marketing goals and designed to attract or influence your target audience.
- Consider content production needs. Include everything from blog posts and social media updates to sales, promotions and email marketing. Who will develop this content? Do you have the resources needed to produce it?
- Know your “real” budget. This is an area that’s often overlooked for tactics like social media and content production, which require a lot of time, not just money.
- Give yourself adequate time and adjust expectations. There are long-term digital tactics and there are short-term digital tactics, but all of them require good planning and available resources to be executed. Dealing with multiple agencies and vendors usually requires advanced planning.
- Learn from past successes and failures. Revisit past marketing initiatives to understand what worked and what didn’t (and why). Are there any lessons to be incorporated into your new strategy?
- Learn from your competitors. Pinpoint their strengths and weaknesses—what are they doing that you aren’t? What can you do better?
- Form strategic digital alliances. Build online relationships with trade groups, associations, your peers, member organizations, or any mutually-beneficial partnership that is likely to help grow your business.
- Don’t completely forget about offline marketing. Ensure there is synergy between both your online and offline marketing initiatives as the two can help drive each other.
- Leave yourself wiggle room to adapt. There’s always going to be new technologies and trends; digital is always changing and it’s foolish to assume you’ll never need to adjust strategy or execution. Just don’t be completely distracted by every hot, new tech start-up that comes along.
The above checklist is just the beginning. Once you’ve begun to start thinking about all of these considerations and filling in the blanks for your business, you’ll have a better understanding of which tactics make the most sense and how to align your resources to achieve your goals. If you’re looking for an agency to help guide you in understanding what your strategy should be and how to go about developing it, as always we’re happy to help!
Web Ad.vantage is a full-service online marketing company with core competencies in search engine optimization, PPC Campaign Management and online media buying. Visit our Internet Marketing Services section to learn more about our full range of services.
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