Strategy: A plan of action or policy designed to achieve a major or overall aim.
Creating a digital marketing strategy begins with understanding your core aim, from that you can create a plan of attack, set benchmarks and goals and measure at the end of the time frame whether the strategy has succeeded or not.
But first, why are we so hung up on the idea of specific strategies? I've heard companies seek a social media strategy, talent acquisition strategy, mobile marketing strategy and more. The way we use the word 'strategy' is often wrong, especially in marketing, oftentimes it's used when the word 'plan' would be better suited.
Plan: A detailed proposal for doing or achieving something.
The strategy forms the purpose of the plan. For example your strategy may be to increase sales by actively upgrading your online presence. Or it may be to increase the pool of the workforce with a certain skill set to service market needs. It's pretty broad brush, doesn't go into specifics but outlines an overall aim for the business.
The plan is formed from that overall aim. You've highlighted the overall aim and now you've got to cherry pick the best options available to you and create a proposal for how they will help achieve the overall aim.
If you're going to have a digital marketing strategy it needs a focus and an aim. It's no good going to your marketing agency, or marketing manager, and saying 'we need a digital marketing strategy', you may as well be saying to a zookeeper 'we need a global conservation strategy'.
It may seem a bit chicken and egg. How can a business leader know whether digital marketing is the route forward when the marketing manager is the specialist in that field? The key comes from the overall business strategy. What is the business trying to achieve and how will marketing support that?
It's better to tell the zookeeper 'we need a tiger breeding programme' then they can find suitable candidates, plan a romantic dinner between Mr and Mrs tiger and create a regimen to bring the cub to term.
In the case of digital marketing your business may want something to aim for, like an increase in online orders. That's your digital marketing strategy. Now it's the job of the marketing agency, or marketing manager, to come up with the plan for how to achieve that.
A digital marketing plan will often include:
- Social media
- Search Engine Optimisation
- Email marketing
- Content marketing
- Website conversion
Depending on your strategy, infrastructure, buyer personas, market, internal capabilities and budget will depend on which you focus on and what you do in each of these channels.
And if you're struggling to implement your digital marketing strategy then you might want to check out our digital marketing services.