Your digital strategy should run everything in your online marketing campaign. It should educate new employees, it should evaluate the effectiveness of prior campaigns, and it should guide all decisions (related to your online marketing) into the future. Essentially, it's your marketing bible.
Many businesses talk about their digital marketing strategy without actually having one, or only having pieces of one. For a strategy to be successful it has to be honest, realistic, and it has to change over time to adapt to the market, the business, your customers, and campaign success or failure.
So, does your strategy have everything in it that you need? Let's take a look at the key points that should be evaluated and included in your official strategy.
Current & Past Review
You can't know where you're going if you don't know where you've been (or where you are currently). In this section of your strategy you should be evaluating your current and past positioning, marketing efforts, and customer base. Here you will be setting the baseline for your future success with your digital marketing. This section, as with all of them, should be very thorough and honest. No sugar coating or glossing over mistakes. Lay it all out there and evaluate.
In this section, you need to understand who your main competitors are, what they're doing successfully and not-so-successfully, areas they're spending the most time and effort (ex. social, email, content, SEO, PPC, etc.), layout, design, and evaluating their overall effectiveness. There are plenty of tools that you can use to help "spy" on your competitors. Some of our favorites include: SpyFu, Moz, WPMUDev's Wordpress Checkup, HubSpot's Website Grader, and HubSpot's Competitor Tool (for HubSpot users). For your digital strategy, you're going beyond who's bigger/smaller than you or niches or age of companies. You're looking at how well they're capitalizing on their digital marketing and hoping to gain insight into what they're doing well that you can emulate and what they're lacking so you can fill that void. You need to think like a consumer of your product/service for this section.
Goal Setting & Planning
Next, you'll want to set SMART marketing and business goals for your company. These should include short term and long term goals, any challenges you expect to face in reaching them, and plans to reach them on time. If you need help in setting your SMART goals, check out our How to Set SMART Marketing Goals post.
As we have talked about many times in the past, you can't be successful with your marketing if you don't know who you're actually talking to (and who you actually WANT to talk to). In this section, you should be interviewing current and past customers - both good customers and bad customers - to get a better idea of who you want as a customer, why they are a good fit, and what they're interested in. You will likely be a little bit surprised with the results. This section shouldn't be breezed through (which is what most businesses tend to do). Take your time here, gather as much information at you possibly can and involve your team in developing these personas.
Get started by reading our Creating Personas: What Are They and How Do I Develop One? blog post!
Now it is time to understand how easy (or hard) it may be to add someone to your database of leads and then close the sale. Here you should take stock of all the content that you have to offer. This could be success stories, case studies, blog posts, high value content offers (eBooks, white papers, checklists, infographics, etc.), or any other content that you have at your disposal that a customer would find useful. Once you've got all of your content together, determine which stage (top, middle, or bottom) of the funnel that each piece of content fits in. If you start to see a lot of content is focused in a specific stage, your goal then should be to create more content to nurture the other stages.
No strategy is going to succeed without a plan to execute. Your content is the backbone of your marketing campaign and you need to have a specific plan to create, develop, and disseminate your content. Your content plan should include specific topics (or even better, titles) that you will focus on during each month. You should also include what kind of content will be created, which persona it's for, which stage of the funnel it falls into, and who will be responsible for developing it.
In order to keep track of all the content that you and your company will be developing over the coming months (and years), you should develop a living editorial calendar and share it with your team. This will help you to keep everyone accountable and on the same page. Everyone will see what content is due when and who it is actually for. If something doesn't fit, throw it out.
Creating a full digital strategy can be a daunting task, but without one you're essentially marketing blindly. Take the time or invest in a full strategy to guide your team and your future success. According to a recent study, 47% of businesses DON'T have a digital strategy! Don't be that guy. Beat that guy.
Need help? Don't worry, we've got you covered with the HIVE GrowthPlan! Let us do all the heavy lifting and develop your digital strategy for you. We do all the research, audits, and analysis to develop a hefty document for your team to follow. Let's get growing!