Since the dawn of the Internet, businesses have been pivoting their traditional marketing avenues towards the wonderful wide world of digital marketing. It is a complex world, with lots of metrics, checkpoints, an endless stream of platforms to choose from, and a highly dynamic marketplace that is often saturated with competition.
Without the right digital marketing strategy in place, you can quickly see your advertising dollars (and time) dwindle away like the last slice of pizza at a sleepover party.
Since businesses often find it overwhelming to develop and execute an effective digital marketing strategy, we’re here to equip you with the tools you’ll need to succeed with digital marketing in 2024 and beyond.
Let’s Start With The Basics
Before we delve into things, it’s important to note some fundamental requirements to get right from the get-go, as you don’t want to put the cart before the horse.
Audit your website: First things first, to deliver a digital marketing strategy, you need a website that works, is optimised and provides an easy-to-use interface for your customers. The website acts as your digital shopfront of products and services, so it needs to offer browsers the ability to browse, navigate, enquire, purchase or engage in different ways.
Set up tracking and analytics: Understanding your web traffic and engagement is crucial for measuring digital marketing return on investment (ROI). All digital marketing strategies should have Google Analytics installed on the site to provide the ability for advanced tracking and reporting. It is here where you’ll be able to isolate traffic and conversions to benchmark your activity and to drive accountability.
Set your goals: Before rushing into new campaigns, it’s imperative to have an overarching digital marketing strategy that clearly articulates how you intend to digitally dominate. Define specific, measurable goals which you can use as benchmark metrics throughout the campaign, giving you a sense of return on investment, efficiency and effectiveness of specific initiatives and campaigns. For example, this could be increasing genuine website leads by 20% over the next 6 months.
Budget: It is a common expectation to “pay to play” in the digital marketing space, with popular channels and platforms often requiring an investment of advertising dollars in order to reach your customers and generate conversions/sales. Aside from a paid campaign budget for outreach, you should also include budget for specialist tools you may need, as well as freelancers/contractors and supporting businesses you may need to work with – for example digital marketing agencies like Living Online.
Benchmark Your Competitors
Unless you’re launching a product or service never seen before, you’re going to have competitors. It goes without saying that competition drives the need to stand out from the crowd to reach your customers – so it’s important to spend some time here.
Start by conducting some detailed analysis to identify digital marketing tactics that your rivals are using. By following this process, you will acquire the knowledge you need to develop an exclusive and authentic product or service that will help differentiate you from your competitors.
Now it’s time to get inside the heads of your dream customers as ultimately, they are the ones you need to tailor your digital strategy towards.
Messaging and tone: As purchases are often emotionally driven, getting your tone and messaging right can have a notable impact on sales when you speak a language that is familiar to your end user. The better you know your target audience, the more effective you can be in developing tailored, customised messaging that really resonates.
Demographics and psychographics: Identify core demographics like age, gender, income level, geographic location, education level, occupation, and marital/family status. Go deeper with psychographic factors – attitudes, interests, values, motivations, and pain points. Put simply, the more details you have, the better!
Develop personas: Use research to create multiple buyer personas which can be semi-fictional representations of your ideal customers. Give personas a name, photo, background story, goals, and quotes to make them seem real. Once you’ve developed these personas, they will keep you focused on creating relevant content, call-to-actions, and imagery that factor in the motivations, behaviours, and preferences of each persona.
Discover where your customers hang out: Determine where your audience actively spends time online – this should guide platform choice. Ask them directly or explore their social media profiles and mentions. Facebook groups? LinkedIn? TikTok? Also identify relevant hashtags, influencers, and communities.
Choose Your Platforms Wisely
Now that you’ve spent some time looking at where your customers spend their time, it’s time to decide on which platforms to focus on when seeking new business.
With so many platforms out there, you can’t be active on them all, so you’ll need to be strategic about which ones you are going to target. We recommend identifying the top one to three platforms where your target audience is present and engaged as this is a good place to start.
Depending on the type of customer you’re wanting to attract, they may be hanging out on some of the below, to name a few:
Google – The world’s most used search engine, used by the entire online community.
Facebook – The largest social network used by a broad user base of ranging demographics.
Instagram – A visual platform with image-based content used mainly by millennials/Gen Z.
LinkedIn – Corporate network for professionals, used mainly for Business-to-Business (B2B).
TikTok – A youthful social network targeting mainly Gen Zs and a younger demographic.
YouTube – A well-established video platform with broad reach for all user types.
Twitter – News-related content sharing/commentary platform, popular with journalists.
Pinterest – Mainly used for product discovery and notably dominated by female users.
Once you select one or two primary platforms, start focusing your efforts there to maintain a consistent presence. This will enable you to build a solid foundation first before expanding, as you don’t want to shoot yourself in the foot by spreading yourself too thin early on.
Quality and relevant content are the fuel for digital marketing success. Educate and entertain your audience with a variety of content formats optimised for your platforms.
Detailed, keyword-rich blog articles can be useful for search engine optimisation (SEO) and driving organic website traffic and leads. Aim for regularity with one or two articles per month, and whilst relevant keywords are important, offering value and depth of content will see your article rank better and show higher in organic search results.
Develop a content calendar to schedule daily posts on your priority platforms. Mix educational content, behind-the-scenes, funny memes, new products, user-generated content,l and more – a variety of content that will appeal to your target market.
Video content can really connect with audiences, so consider creating videos such as tutorials, product demonstrations, employee interviews, funny clips and explainers. Keep in mind the ideal video length for each platform and content type. For example, shorter attention-grabbing videos often work best on TikTok and Instagram Reels where people’s attention spans are lower, while longer more detailed videos work best on YouTube or a website explaining how to use a complicated tool.
Compelling photos and graphics grab attention in feeds and can be easily shared. Ensure proper sizing for each platform.
Leverage Trends and Holidays:
Tie content into seasonal topics, current events, holidays, and platform trends/challenges. This increases engagement and shareability when timed right. But don’t force it – stay true to your brand identity.
Remember – consistent high-quality content sustains digital marketing success over time, so we recommend continually experimenting to track your conversion metrics, from here you’ll be able to see what resonates best with your audience.
Need help developing a digital marketing strategy that will cut through the noise and help you stand out in your crowded market?
With so many digital marketing platforms now being available to businesses, and often being free-to-use, a common misconception is that these free platforms are easy to reach your customers in.
As the old proverb states, “Free cheese is only found in a mousetrap.” so you’ll need to invest some digital marketing dollars into these platforms to avoid the cold hard snap of the mouse trap coil. It’s no longer a case of relying on customers finding you, you need to go to them.
As we stated earlier in this article, you will likely need to ‘pay to play’ in order to generate decent levels of customer engagement on popular channels and platforms, so the next challenge involves knowing how much to spend for which particular outcomes, and knowing when you’ve spent enough. Without getting this crucial step right, you could have the world’s best product, but nobody would know about it – making it as useful as an ice-making machine on the stark plains of Antarctica.
A powerful platform due to its supreme social media market share, with options for detailed audience targeting, advanced optimisation capabilities and a range of advertising formats to reach your customers in a variety of ways.
Unless you’re appearing towards the top of Page 1 organically through your SEO efforts, you simply won’t be found by browsers. This is where Google Ads can help you showcase your product/service by appearing at the top of Google searches and on display network sites, enabling you to bid on target keywords with specific settings around location, demographics, interests, online affinities and more.
An ideal platform for targeting professionals by job title, company, skills, and interests, with a host of ad specifications available for advertisers to effectively reach LinkedIn members in newsfeeds and direct messages through imagery, videos, articles and more.
Whilst you could spend countless hours creating amazing content and pray it “goes viral”, you need to spend for your content to be broadcast to a wide network of users. The platform has a minimum spend so it can be costly, however there are options to target by interest, behaviours, and demographics with an array of ad formats available like TopView, Brand Takeover, In-Feed video.
Don’t Forget Testing:
By understanding the reach, effectiveness and relevance of the above platforms, you can begin to develop a budget that will leverage these to generate the best returns. An important element here is leaving budget for testing different audiences, placements, creatives, and messages in order to establish the most efficient ad spend.
If you’ve ever had a BBQ conversation with a digital marketer, you’ll often find the word ‘metrics’ used in their vocabulary almost as much as they use full stops. All jokes (and steak sandwiches) aside, this buzzword is an important one for any ongoing digital marketing strategy.
As we established at the start of this article, tracking and analytics are pivotal to being able to track, measure, analyse, and adjust your strategy, as the world of digital media is often highly dynamic. Before you ask which metrics are the ones to watch, it ultimately depends on the platform and your business objectives.
To get you started, here are some basic metrics to consider:
For website traffic it’s essential to not only track visits and users, but ultimately you should be tracking conversions, conversion rate, Return on Ad Spend, Return on Investment, events, time on site, and bounce rates as these are often key indicators of success in digital campaigns.
If you’re advertising on social media, there are various insights to watch for a benchmark on campaign success including clicks, engagement, follower growth and demographics, with some platforms also enabling you to generate leads inside the platform itself (and not just on your website).
If you’re advertising in Google Ads, there are numerous metrics to watch to analyse your return on investment, including clicks, impression share and lost impression share and cost per acquisition – you can even import your Google Analytics goals into campaigns to fully track conversions through from the platform to your website.
Most platforms provide fairly robust analytics on ad views, clicks, conversions, audience data, costs, and return on ad spend (ROAS) so it is wise to continuously analyse these metrics to help with optimising (adjusting and improving) your campaigns towards key goals.
With the core elements of an effective modern digital marketing strategy covered – it’s time to blast off towards digital domination with your newfound knowledge, tips and skills!
Secure A Digital Marketing Partner
In today’s digital world, having a solid digital marketing plan is essential for reaching customers and growing your business. But with so many moving parts, it can feel overwhelming to develop and execute an effective strategy and to effectively stand out from the crowd.
Whilst there are a series of beginner digital marketing courses available online to upskill yourself, you may want to align with a digital marketing partner if you require specific expertise.
The team at Living Online have been helping professionals from small businesses, up to enterprise-level organisations ever since we first opened our doors, and best of all, we really stand by our digital marketing services. We speak the lingo, we know the metrics, and most of all, we know how to avoid wasting budgets on digital initiatives that just don’t deliver.
Whether you run a small business, are starting a company, or need to expand an enterprise’s online footprint, we welcome you to contact our team of experts to take the next steps in your digital marketing story.
About the author
20 November 2023
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