Steps to Build (or Refresh) Your Digital Marketing Strategy

Strategy not just writing papers or creating PowerPoint presentations with pretty visuals. (But yes, that is part of it.) It is a culmination of reviewing previously-collected customer data, analytics, feedback from stakeholders, competitive analyses, and reviewing the overall business goals and objectives.

In practice, creating a strategy should be a living process that is under review (and scrutiny) on a regular basis and not only part of an annual retreat and then put aside once approved.

Identify and communicate the primary business goals across all teams.
Unless there’s a significant business reason to evaluate and scrap the existing goals, stick with them! It’s too easy to continually move the goalpost and not investigate if there’s a larger issue to be resolved.

Establish what makes an initiative a success.
There are obvious metrics such as seeing an increase in sales or the number of products sold. It’s just as critical to review data on how your customers are responding to your messaging – negative or positive. Are your customers sharing their experiences with your company amongst their peers? If so, how are you capturing that information and how will it be used to develop new campaigns?

Make sure the right people are part of the conversations.
Too often, a marketing strategy is created in a vacuum with the full details only unveiled to the rest of the business when it’s time to implement. By allowing stakeholders from other departments such as sales, IT, and an executive sponsor to join the conversation and participate in shaping the strategy, you can decrease the risk of costly errors or delays. This not only allows you to get buy-in during the beginning stages, it provides an opportunity to show your level of expertise to your colleagues.

Know your target audience and their engagement preferences.Whether your audience consists of business professionals looking to purchase a solution or people seeking new outdoor gear, look at where they congregate the most. This provides an opportunity to target prospects where they are most receptive. It also provides guidance to your content development team in determining the appropriate tone and voice of the content needed by channel.

Identify the frequency of your message.
What are you seeking to get out of the interaction with your customer? Is it looking to build or strengthen the brand, drive sales, acquire more email addresses, or something else?

Once you’ve identified where to engage with your audience, you can determine the message frequency. In many cases, it may be daily, not only to post new content, but to respond to questions or address negative issues. Your customers want to know their voice is being heard and that you are actively listening.

Make it Personal.
If you don’t know who your customers are, will they care about what you’re selling or offering? Align the content with the audience based on the specific channel. Don’t generate one piece of content and then post the same information across all of your marketing channels. Cater the message based on the channel and plan for interaction.

Additionally, personalizing the message provides an opportunity to address your customer not only by their name, but also by the preferences they’ve provided to you.

Be scalable.
As noted at the beginning of this document, your strategy should be a living process. Once it’s time to invest in tools to measure, manage, and support the growth of your business, ensure the tools will allow you to continue to grow and avoid being locked into a confined solution with little to no opportunity to customize.

Trust the team and be open.
This should be a given, but it needs to be said…

Don’t micromanage to the point where the team is afraid to act or voice an opinion. Being a marketing expert does not mean you can ignore other points of view or considerations.

Plan for the unexpected.
There are plenty of examples of companies caught off-guard when negative news or a major change impacting their industry hits. Don’t be caught without a plan of action for the times when you need to act fast and respond quickly. Again, it will be important to match the tone and voice of your official response based on the channel.