An effective digital marketing strategy helps you drive business growth by expanding and reinforcing your customer engagement in the most competitive online arenas. But every strategy has its own unique advantages, limitations, and ROI.
In this article, we’ll look at some specific examples and explain how to build a comprehensive digital marketing strategy that delivers measurable results.
Understanding "digital marketing strategy"
Marketing strategy vs. marketing tactics
The term "digital marketing strategy" often is confused with other related concepts — a true marketing strategy is a comprehensive game plan that outlines how you’ll reach your target audience and convert them into paying customers. It serves as a blueprint that guides you toward your organization’s unique marketing goals.
Marketing tactics are the specific actions you’ll take to implement your marketing strategy. These may include writing blog posts, responding to customers on social media, sending emails, or designing advertisements.
Marketing strategy vs. marketing campaign
While a marketing campaign goes hand-in-hand with your marketing strategy, it’s important to understand the distinction between the two. A marketing strategy looks at the big picture. It determines your overall business goals, your customers’ goals, and how you plan to achieve both. A marketing campaign is a promotion that’s designed to achieve one specific objective under your strategy, rather than your overall business goals.
A marketing campaign usually comes with a specific start and end date. You may launch a campaign to promote a new product, generate more traffic, or attract a new customer demographic.
8 essential digital marketing strategies
There are many digital marketing strategies out there. Some deliver better results than others, so we’ll examine the eight most effective digital marketing strategies used in our current industry.
1. Inbound Marketing
Inbound marketing refers to the whole ecosystem of strategies, tools, and tactics that a marketer uses to convert a website visitor into a paying customer. It includes everything from content marketing, email marketing, lead nurturing, SEO, marketing automation, website optimization, website analytics, and more.
Inbound marketing is an overall approach to attracting, qualifying, nurturing, and delighting customers and prospects. It is not a "one-off" or something that is deployed quickly or temporarily; rather, it is focused on a long-term relationship with customers.
Why use inbound marketing?
It's affordable: Inbound marketing can save you money while leaving you with a higher ROI. You’ll target a specific group of people rather than anyone and everyone with the hope that you’ll be successful.
Trust and credibility: When prospects and customers do their own research and discover that your content answers their questions, your business is positioned as a trustworthy industry expert rather than just a sales-hungry entity.
Relationship focus: Through inbound marketing, you can build trusted relationships that not only turn into sales, but create repeat customers. Inbound marketing content drives quality traffic to your website and provides visitors with valuable content that encourages them to convert in every phase of the marketing funnel.
2. Content Marketing
Content marketing falls under the umbrella of inbound marketing, and it is less about interrupting people with unsolicited promotions and more about answering their questions and truly helping them. It includes content such as blog posts, landing pages, videos, podcasts, infographics, white papers, e-books, case studies and more.
In most cases, content marketing has a number of goals. You may use it to increase brand awareness, improve brand loyalty, and educate your target audience. It can also help you convert and nurture leads.
Savvy marketers create content that’s ideal for multiple user personas in all stages of the sales funnel. For example, a user who is unaware of your brand and found your website through organic search needs different content than a prospect who is almost ready to buy. You’ll need to understand your buyers' journeys and come up with unique content that addresses their needs every step of the way.
Why use content marketing?
Strong relationships with customers: Content marketing gives you the chance to build a relationship with prospects and customers over time. It also nudges them toward the finish line, making it more likely that they'll choose you over your competitors when they're ready to purchase.
Better SEO: Quality content will significantly improve your website SEO so that you can enjoy more organic website traffic that turns visitors into buyers.
Increased brand authority: When you produce interesting, educational content, you’ll be able to position yourself as an authoritative source in your industry. Your target audience will then turn to you for solutions to any problems they may have.
Account based marketing (ABM) is a powerful B2B marketing strategy that targets specific accounts you select. It’s intended to help sales and marketing teams move prospects through the sales funnel quickly. With ABM, you target the accounts that are most important to you.
Why use account-based marketing?
Personalization: ABM does not take a generic approach to marketing. Instead, it creates personalized messaging for target accounts. You use what you know about your customer and tailor your campaign to meet their particular needs.
Collaboration: With ABM, sales and marketing teams work together to identify key accounts and design personalized campaigns for them. ABM encourages teamwork as teams focus on moving accounts through the sales pipeline.
Shorter sales cycles: The B2B sales process is often slow because there are multiple stakeholders involved in making a final purchase decision. With ABM, the sales cycle is expedited because the primary decision maker, and all other relevant prospects, can be nurtured simultaneously with content created specifically for them.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process optimizing your website and your content in order to achieve higher rankings in search engines and increase the amount of organic traffic to your site. It involves a variety of tactics, like creating high-quality content, optimizing content around specific keywords and user needs, incorporating meta information, and ensuring that your website is technically optimized for search engines.
Ultimately, SEO strives to bring in the right visitors organically to drive more leads and sales.
Why use search engine optimization?
Higher conversion rates: A on optimized website is fast, easy-to-use, and compatible with all devices. Which means it’s more likely to convert users and leave you with loyal customers.
Increased brand awareness: If your content ranks highly in search results, you’ll be able to build brand awareness and trust with visitors. They’ll be more inclined to purchase your products and services than they would if you didn’t have a good web presence.
Long-term cost savings: Once a piece of content is created, it should attract and build increasing traffic over time. You'll still need to produce quality content on an ongoing basis, but you’ll be able to target users who are actively looking for your products and services without an ongoing monetary investment.
Social media marketing (SMM) uses social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram to promote your content, products or services, build brand awareness and visibility, gain fans or followers, engage current and prospective customers, and drive traffic to your website.
It requires an ongoing advertising spend and, most of the time, a website landing page designed specifically for users from that ad spend. As soon as your advertising spend ends, the website traffic, "likes,"and "followers" end as well.
Why use social media marketing?
Cost effective marketing: With a relatively low budget, you can use social media marketing to expose your audience to your brand even when they’re not thinking about it. You will, however, need to incorporate A/B testing, or some other form of optimization, in order to get the most out of your ad spend and achieve high conversion rates.
Audience interaction:About 45% of the world's population uses social media, and most of them use it about three hours per day. Choose the right channel(s), do some research on how the advertising platform works, and take advantage of the opportunity to interact directly with your audience.
Improved brand loyalty: Research indicates that 71% of people who have a positive experience with a brand on social media are likely to recommend that brand to friends and family.
6. Email Marketing
Email marketing is the practice of sending promotional and informational emails to build relationships with your audience, convert prospects into buyers, and turn one-time buyers into loyal fans of your brand.
These emails may discuss exclusive deals, promote website content, upcoming sales, or general messages on the behalf of your business.
Why use email marketing?
Traffic to your website: Your emails should contain links to at least a few pages on your website. Key performance indicators include the open rate (how many recipients found the subject interesting enough to open your email) and the click through rate (the ratio of users who click on a link in the email to the number of users who opened the email).
Cost effective: Compared to other marketing strategies like direct mail, SEM or SMM, email marketing usually is cost-effective. Your investment will include a subscription to an email marketing software that sends thousands of emails at one time, and the cost of someone to administer the program.
Delivers targeted messages to an already engaged audience: As long as a business is not sending unsolicited email marketing messages, everyone on an email list has opted-in to receive information. Which means: They want to hear from you! By further segmenting your list, you can deliver super-targeted information that is likely to be well-received.
7. PPC Advertising
Pay-per-click advertising or PPC is a strategy in which you (the advertiser) pay every time a user clicks on one of your online ads. It’s often done through Google AdWords, Bing Ads, or other search engines, and it can be an effective way to reach people who are searching for terms related to your business. However, costs can range from relatively inexpensive, to thousands of dollars per month, depending on the size and scope of your campaign. And, when a campaign is discontinued, the traffic generated by that campaign also is discontinued.
When users click on pay-per-click ads, they are directed to dedicated landing pages that encourage them to take a certain action: make a purchase, complete a form, download a report, or similar. If you implement a PPC campaign, your primary goal will likely be to increase sales or leads.
Why use PPC?
Easy tracking: With a PPC platform like Google AdWords, you’ll be able to track how many people view your ads as well as how many click on them and what percentage of them convert. You'll know instantly how your campaigns perform.
Controlled spend: PPC advertising is pay-as-you-go. You’ll be able to change or pause ad campaigns that are underperforming, and you don’t have to commit to a certain advertising spend. You can run many ads every day or a few ads every few days, months, or even years.
Instant results: Other marketing strategies like SEO and content marketing take time to work. PPC advertising, however, offers a fast way to set up a campaign and get results right away.
8. Video Marketing
Video used to promote your products, services, and brand may include product demos, interviews with thought leaders in your industry, customer testimonials, or how-to videos.
You can add videos to your website, PPC landing pages, or social media outlets to encourage more conversions and sales. KPIs may include engagement (time spent watching the video), view count (how many times it was watched), the click through rate (how many users clicked through to the website), conversion rate (how many leads, prospects, or customers were generated from the video content), and more.
Why use video marketing?
Improved SEO: Marketers are 53 times more likely to end up on the first page of Google results if they utilize a video on their website, because including a video in a website improves SEO, which improves the page's rank.
Increased conversion rates: When marketers include video on a landing page, it can increase conversion rates by up to 34%.
Crystallizing goals and objectives
Before you decide on a digital marketing strategy, establish and document your short- and long-term goals. After you decide on your strategy, outline and document specific objectives so you'll know if your strategy is working. Make sure that your goals and objectives are SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely).
Goal: Increase awareness of our widgets among our target audience.
Strategy (how you'll achieve the goal): Use content marketing to persuade buyers that our widgets are the best in the market by creating content for at least two user personas in every step of the sales funnel.
Objective (how you'll know if the strategy is working): Achieve a 25% increase of downloads of our widget white-papers and e-books each quarter and boost email subscribers by 50% in 6 months.
Document all of your goals, strategies, and objectives so that you can refer back to them when it’s time to measure success.
Audit your assets
Gain a thorough understanding of what your business already has; document your current digital assets. Then, dive deep into each one and rank it from most-effective to least-effective. Once you do, you’ll know which assets need to be improved, and which ones need to be rebuilt from scratch.
Consider buyer personas
It’s impossible to create an effective digital marketing strategy unless you understand the people you’re trying to target. That’s where buyer personas come in. Buyer personas are fictional people who represent the traits of those you’d like to buy your products or services.
When you create a buyer persona, identify their age, location, income, occupation, hobbies, and interests. Once you’ve created several personas, you’ll find it easier to market to different types of buyers and cater to their needs.
Any digital marketing strategy should be measured continuously. Identify key performance indicators or KPIs, which are measurable values that gauge the effectiveness of your strategy and tactics. Some examples of KPIs include digital conversion rates, cost per lead, returning website visitors, click through rates, and customer lifetime values.
A few more words of advice
Digital marketing is constantly evolving, and it can be difficult to keep up with the latest trends. It can also be tough to create engaging content and break through the clutter. After all, there may be dozens or hundreds of brands promoting their offerings to your target audience.
To ensure your digital marketing strategy drives results, create content that provides answers to your audience's questions or needs, and leverage your network and expertise, keep an eye on what your competitors are doing, and subscribe to Google Alerts and industry blogs on relevant digital marketing topics.
Also, don't be afraid to try something new, or ditch something that's not working. One of the best things about a digital marketing strategy is that it is immediately measurable. Double down on what's working, and end what is not working.
Learn more about effective digital marketing strategies
Many businesses choose to work with a trusted partner and invest in software solutions as they create a digital marketing strategy. If you’re ready to bring your strategy to life, Adobe Experience Cloud provides solutions for content management, campaign execution, personalization, lead management and more.
When you're ready to ramp up your digital marketing strategy, Adobe provides end-to-end digital marketing, enabling you to manage, personalize, optimize, and orchestrate cross-channel campaigns across B2B and B2C use cases. Request a demo today to see what Adobe Experience Cloud can do for you.