You could hear from some people who claim that a marketing strategy and a digital marketing strategy are interchangeable terms. Contrarily, the Toys “R” Us narrative demonstrates.
The toy shop has been in business for more than 60 years and formerly held a market share of more than 25%. It had a tried-and-true brick-and-mortar marketing strategy centered on weekly flyers and in-store promotions. In 1998, it attempted to put its “offline” model online when it created toysrus.com. The website, however, was infamous for its navigational difficulties, stockouts, and a string of failed purchases. In contrast, newcomers with digitally native marketing techniques, including Nugget Comfort, prospered by the time it formally filed bankruptcy in 2018.
What is the story's lesson? Your digital marketing approach must be really digital-first if you want to be successful. Although it is a part of your larger marketing plan, digital marketing is now more crucial than ever.
What is a digital marketing strategy?
Including elements like the target demographic, value proposition, and brand voice, a digital marketing strategy is a documented plan that describes how a business will attract and convert consumers online. In contrast to a general marketing strategy, it frequently places a strong emphasis on digital channels and the strategies employed inside them.
A company will often develop a digital marketing strategy before beginning, although these plans may be developed and revised as necessary.
Digital marketing strategy vs. digital marketing tactics
A digital marketing strategy by itself is not a means of reaching potential clients. Instead, a plan outlines the many approaches you'll take to reach customers. Digital marketing tactics include things like running Instagram ads, and a digital marketing strategy includes deciding whether or not to spend on social media advertising and why.
Types of digital marketing tactics
One method to approach a digital strategy is to think about all the strategies you have at your disposal and choose the ones that work best for your business and your target market.
The following are the most popular and successful strategies for digital marketing:
The practice of improving your website for relevant search engine results is known as SEO (search engine optimization). “When a customer has a need and searches for a solution, SEO is a great type of inbound marketing, according to Greg Bernhardt, a senior SEO specialist at Shopify. “SEO is about placing your site content so that search engines can better match the user's query with the answer you are providing by understanding the relevance and value of what you are delivering.” The following three areas make up SEO:
- On-page SEO. This involves making sure that every piece of written content on your website—from page titles to product descriptions to blog posts—is packed with relevant search phrases.
- Off-site SEO. Building external authority around your product or brand is the goal of off-site SEO. This is done when external sources (including social media and conventional media) connect to your products or services (known as backlinks).
- Technical SEO. These are the technical requirements for improving your website's ranking. This might include factors like the time it takes for a site to load and how well your product pages are indexed.
If the paddle board company Maddle decided to use SEO as a tactic, for instance, it might start by updating its product pages to include keywords like “red inflatable paddle board” before writing articles that its potential customers would find interesting, like “best paddle boarding spots in Quebec.”
Meanwhile, off-site strategies may include emailing known outdoor-related media and getting a product endorsement in a holiday gift guide piece. From a technological aspect, Maddle would want to ensure that all product pages are accessible and indexed by Google, as well as address site performance through optimized product photos. Some SEO methods are easier to implement in-house, while others benefit from outside knowledge. If these strategies appear to be a good fit for your company, read our SEO marketing guide to learn more.
Email marketing is the process of collecting your consumers' email addresses and then sending them regular emails.
Great email marketing begins with an email capture strategy. Although you may collect emails at the point of sale, you'll want to collect them sooner in the customer's journey. As a result, many ecommerce companies provide a first-time purchase discount in exchange for a client email address.
Emailing consumers might comprise sending an automated sequence of emails (referred to as “marketing automation”) or sending timely emails regularly, such as a monthly newsletter or a seasonal campaign.
For example, DUER provides its clients with free pants sizing guide in return for their email address. After the buyer downloads it, they will receive a succession of automatic emails, based on whether they have previously paid or not, as well as sales and new product announcements.
Affiliate marketing entails paying people (referred to as “affiliates”) a commission when they bring new clients to your company. The compensation might be a percentage of the sale (for example, 15% of their first order) or a fixed sum (for example, $10 per transaction).
Affiliate ties with industry magazines are the most popular. For example, if you're a hair care company like AG Care, you might have affiliate connections with publications like Well and Good or Vogue, who would then have an incentive to review your products or feature them in roundups.
Websites that gain from affiliate partnerships are required to declare this on their website. Brands who engage in affiliate programs frequently include this on their website, such as AG Care's Collaborator page.
Influencer marketing, like affiliate marketing, is concerned with motivating people to spread your brand/products. Unlike affiliate programs, which often focus on other websites, influencer marketing focuses on collaborating with individuals who have huge followings of their own.
Because influencers typically establish audiences with a high level of confidence in their recommendations, this type of marketing may be quite powerful. This also implies that influencers are pickier about who businesses they collaborate with since they want to have a personal connection with them.
Influencer contracts are sometimes structured as one-time compensation for “sponsored posts” rather than recurring fees. However, this market is continuously changing, and influencers and brands are constantly experimenting with new ways to collaborate. Check out the Shopify app Collabs if you're a brand looking to collaborate with influencers.
Social media marketing
Social media marketing is the activity of reaching out to clients using social media platforms. When developing your social media marketing strategy, there are two major paths you'll take: organic and paid.
Organic social media marketing entails increasing your following without the use of advertising. Typically, this entails providing useful, entertaining, or viral material from your company's account. With the emergence of recommendation-based social media platforms like TikTok, this has become easier than previously, as TikTok's algorithms are far more likely to offer your material to someone who isn't already following you. However, success still necessitates a significant commitment to content generation.
Paid social media marketing entails foregoing cultivating your following in favor of paying to reach people through advertisements. It is a type of digital advertisement. The advantages include more customized, particular audience targeting, less need for fresh material, and the possibility to provide content with calls to action (for example, “Shop now”). The disadvantage, of course, is that you must pay for people to view your adverts, which may be expensive.
Search engine marketing (pay-per-click)
Search engine marketing, often known as SEM or pay-per-click, is the practice of paying to have your website appear in search results. This may be quite powerful because, unlike other strategies that entail teaching people about why they need your product (known as demand generation), it lets you contact individuals who are already actively looking for it (known as demand capture). Native, for example, would run advertising that appears when consumers search for “natural deodorant.” This might be a highly effective method of acquiring new consumers.
How to create a digital marketing strategy
Consider the following elements while selecting the approaches for your initial digital marketing strategy:
- Is your product category new or existing? It may capture people's attention on social media if it's new. If it already exists, customers are probably looking for it (or something similar) on Google, and media outlets may have related affiliate possibilities.
- How does your audience want to be communicated with? Consider email if you believe they would prefer it, but start with social media if you believe they would. Customer research can provide this understanding.
- How many tactics do you have budget and capacity for? It might be difficult for digital marketers to properly manage more than two techniques at once. Start with two if you are a one-person team, and add more if you have room in your team or budget.
- What do you want to achieve? What metrics are you attempting to shift as part of your strategy? Are you more concerned with increasing profitable sales or raising brand awareness? Different channels and techniques provide different forms of value, so it's critical to understand the effect you want to see from your strategy. Consider investigating benchmarks to assist you in setting realistic marketing goals.
Evolving your digital marketing strategy
Once you've launched your first strategies, you must be prepared to assess their effectiveness. The built-in feedback loop is one of the advantages of a digital marketing approach over a non-digital one. Whereas marketing plans may only be evaluated every quarter or year, digital marketing strategies can be adjusted as frequently as every month, owing to real-time analytics tools like Google Analytics.
Take note of your stats. How successfully are your strategies accomplishing the objectives you outlined at the outset? If they are meeting or surpassing your expectations, you might consider doubling down. If they aren't reaching your expectations, you may need to change your strategy.
By employing a data-driven, iterative approach to your digital marketing strategy, it will not be a question of “if,” but of “when.”
Digital marketing strategy FAQ
A digital marketing strategy is a document that sets marketing goals that must be met within a specific time frame for a company to reach a set of commercial objectives. When developing a digital marketing strategy, keep in mind that marketing is still about conveying the advantages of your product or service in a way that buyers understand. As a result, your strategy should center on marketing methods that will assist your company in providing a consistent experience to your target audience.
1. Explore the landscape and analyze your results.
2. Map out your strategy.
3. Define your target audience.
4. Build your content strategy.
5. Choose your channels and tactics.
6. Set key performance indicators and benchmarks.
7. Execute with best practices.
8. Analyze and adjust.