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Reaching a larger audience to grow a business and gain revenue is vital to most new companies, and digital marketing is the key. Here’s why you need a digital marketing strategy, and what it involves.

A digital marketing strategy is a plan of how your business will achieve its specific marketing goals using online channels. Online marketing channels are typically described as being paid, earned or owned media, and most businesses want to spread their work across these areas. Key to this for most businesses is a combination of social media, online advertising and Search Engine Optimization (SEO). The latter is often achieved with the help of an SEO company.

Digital marketing strategies are important for defining what you want to achieve and how you will achieve it. Trying your hand at using a variety of online marketing tools without a plan rarely leads to good results. Instead, it is crucial to define the goals you are trying to achieve as a result of using each digital marketing method. Usually a variety of digital marketing campaigns form the foundations of a digital marketing strategy.

Here are the key pillars to creating a digital marketing strategy.

Brand

If you have already developed a brand for your new business, think specifically about how this will be translated into online campaigns. Getting a website design agency involved at this point is a good idea.

You need to ensure the key messages and the visual impression of your company comes through seamlessly on any digital channel you decide to work on. A brand is everything from the logo, color palette, font and visual layouts, to tone of voice and editorial persona.

Goal Setting

Once your brand is squared away, think carefully about your goals. What exactly do you want to achieve through digital marketing? Using the S.M.A.R.T. or P.A.C.T. system can be helpful for thinking about goals from all angles.

S.M.A.R.T. stands for: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely. P.A.C.T. stands for Purposeful, Actionable, Continuous and Trackable. Thinking about your audience, in particular their habits and behaviors, is something that can feed into this process.

Channels

Once you have your goals nailed down, it’s time to start thinking about the digital marketing channels you could use. Ask questions about your audience to help you decide.

Which social media channels are your customers are already using? How do they search for information? What are your competitors doing with their digital marketing? What digital publications or websites do your customers use on a regular basis?

Tactics

When you have defined the digital channels you think will be appropriate for your business to engage with, think about your tactics.

For example, if you believe e-newsletters would work well for your audience, how will you inspire your customers with visuals and content? If you know your customers use Google a lot to find answers to their questions, what is your strategy for ensuring your business ranks on the first page of results? If you’re selling a product or service similar to another company, how will your digital campaign assets set you apart?

Budget

The work you’ve done on your digital marketing strategy so far is what you would do in an ideal world to market your business. Now you must look at how much budget you have available, and where it is best spent. This will help you focus on the digital marketing tactics you believe will bring you the greatest return on investment (ROI).

You may prioritize some digital marketing channels initially, and review them on a regular basis in case you want to divert budget to try something else.

Get Started

This is the stage in your digital marketing strategy when it is time to launch your digital marketing campaigns. Make sure you have set up analytics and tracking methods so you can measure how your digital marketing tactics are working.

Remember that most digital marketing approaches need to be watched and amended on a continuous basis so you can get the best out of them.

Monitor and Review

Once your digital marketing strategy is established and your campaigns are up and running, set a schedule for monitoring and evaluating the results. The exact elements you measure will depend on your goals and what you are trying to achieve.

Look closely for any weak points in the process. For example, are you getting a lot of customers clicking onto your website, but not many sales or inquiries? A good digital marketing strategy is one that is constantly monitored and refined in order to achieve results.

Be Decisive

The reality of any marketing approach is that some things just don’t work for some businesses. Stick to your strategy and give all the tactics you decide on a good go, refining and improving your approach as you go along to get better results.

But if you find that something just doesn’t seem to be working, no matter what you do, don’t feel like you have to continue with it. When you’re sure something just isn’t a good fit for your business, move on and invest your budget in an alternative. Sometimes the best digital marketing strategy is having the confidence to move on.