How to Create a Small Business Digital Marketing Strategy

The words “small business digital marketing strategy” do have a very serious ring to them, don’t they? Even a bit ominous, if you ask me.

When embarking on the amazing journey of running a small business (with the hopes of one day running a large business) – you need to do a lot of prepping before you actually start doing business. As a friend of mine would put it: you need to hone the ax before you start chopping down the tree.

One of these all-important steps is crafting a comprehensive, all-encompassing, well-researched, flexible and sustainable digital marketing strategy.

Why Have a Strategy?

Why digital, you may ask. I can give you three reasons.

When you put these figures together, you can just about glimpse how many customers you can, potentially, have. Having a digital marketing strategy in place will make reaching them that much easier.

Before we dive in any further, there is one important point to bear in mind: you need to make a distinction between a strategy, and a tactic.

A digital marketing strategy is a series of tactics you will be executing to reach a certain goal. For example, if your goal is to increase your sales by 15% in the next twelve months, your strategy will involve different tactics to reach that goal. Tactics are simply the building blocks that make up your overarching strategy.

Let me quote Jenna Tiffany, who in turn quotes Sun Tzu: Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory.

Here are some questions to ask before you start formulating yours:

  • Does your business operate mostly online or offline?
  • Do you do business locally, or do your products and services cater to a global market?
  • Are you planning to run your marketing campaign yourself, or will you be outsourcing all or parts of it?

Answering these questions now will help you determine your course of action later on.

1. Setting Goals and Making Plans

Setting Goals and Making Plans

The first thing you need to do is set the goals you want to achieve. Without them, you will simply be blundering in the dark. Without goals, you will not be able to tell if what you are doing is working and how you can improve on it.

The best way to set your goals is to keep them SMART. Not only because intelligent goals drive more success, but because keeping your goals Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Based will help you keep an eye on the big picture, and on the ball.

Let me explain that quickly with a very high-school-like task. Compare and contrast these goals:

  • Increase sales vs. Make 15% more sales in the next twelve months by allocating 50% of our digital marketing budget to search engine optimisation

Specific goals help you focus on the task at hand, making them measurable sets a clear target you need to reach, if they are unattainable, you are just setting yourself up to fail, a time constraint will again sharpen your focus and help you plan, allowing you to incorporate milestones – while irrelevant goals will not help you get where you want to be.

Where you want to be is the Vision – the answer to the “where do you see your business when you retire” question. SMART goals will be the yellow bricks you lay to get there.

Once you have a goal (or goals) in mind, it’s time to consider another aspect of marketing often used to frighten business owners and inexperienced marketing executives. I am talking about creating a marketing funnel.

While a funnel is not a goal, and should not be confused with a goal, having one in place will help you consider your customers differently. Knowing which stage of the buyer cycle someone is in will help you drive them further down the funnel – ultimately turning them into a lead, a repeat customer, or a brand advocate, every marketer’s dream. This stage is good for establishing and getting to know funnels, as it will lay some great groundwork for what we are about to discuss.

I will not be going into detail about funnel creation here – Kissmetrics have done a great job already, and I would much rather we focus on the next step, and in my mind the most important step. Research.

2. Research and Planning 2.0

Research and Planning 2.0

There are many things you will need to research, get to know and plan out before you take stock of what you have, and plunge into the actual execution of specific tactics.

Market Research

Every article and guide on writing a marketing plan (be it digital or traditional) will tell you that market research is important. You may think you have developed a great product. You may think you offer a one-of-a-kind service. And then you come to realize that someone has beaten you to the punch, and that something similar is not only on the market, but that it is a market leader, one you would have a hard time competing against.

This is why you need to do your market research before you do anything else – before you even build a website, come up with a brand name, or, god forbid, start producing anything. While having a great idea can undoubtedly change the world – you need to know where and how best to bring this idea to life.

Market research can help you:

  • Determine the demand for your product or service, helping you make viable projections for the future, allowing you to tailor your offer accordingly
  • Modify your product or service before you enter the market, enabling you to cater to the precise needs and demands of your customers
  • Identify your target market, making sure your ideas are placed in front of those who would benefit from them the most

Depending on your industry, niche, location, budget, experience and other factors, you will want to do as extensive market research as you have the resources for. The more knowledge you have going in, the better you will fare in battle.

You can conduct market research both online and offline – depending on the sort of product or service you offer, the habits of your target audience, and the strategies employed by the competition.

See our digital marketing tips for Irish businesses as well.

Competitor Research

Next to market research, competitor research is the second most advised aspect of preparing for a product/website/brand launch.

Different marketers see competitor research as encompassing different things: for PPC specialists, it focuses on analysing ads and ad copy; SEOs jump into Ahrefs, Majestic or SEMRush to see what kinds of keywords, backlinks and content competitors are using; social media experts will look at reach and influence, and so on.

When I say competitor research, I naturally mean you should do all of the above, and more. The above mentioned analyses will focus on the tactics your competitors are deploying, and you should, by all means, analyse them all.

More importantly, now that you know what customers are looking for – either online or in-store, you need to learn what others have to offer, and how you can top that. If you have identified an opportunity in the market, and have found people are looking for something no one is offering, or have come up with another way to make your brand unique – you need to know who you will be battling for the favours and pounds of consumers.

Competitor research can also be a great starting point for devising your own tactics – if you have no extensive marketing experience, the easiest thing to do is see what has worked for others, start with that, improve your plan as you go along, and see how it is holding up in practice.

In the world of SEO, this is especially important, because the backlink portfolio of your number one competitor can provide months of link building opportunities, their keyword distribution can inspire your own pages, and so on.

Bear in mind that the goal is not to turn yourself into your competitor.

Think of it this way: when someone pulls up Google, and types in “how to create a small business marketing strategy” you want to be the one who answers their question, helps them solve the problem at hand, and establishes yourself as a valuable resource. Or if they type in “best pizza in Dublin” you want to be the one offering that very pizza.

The goal is to answer the needs of your consumers – there is a buyer for everything, and a product for everyone. Your digital marketing strategy is what will connect the two.

Establishing a Target Audience

The most valuable aspect of digital marketing is the fact that you can do this more precisely, with less effort and, in my opinion, more enjoyably than ever before.

When you run a TV ad, you can never tell who will actually see it. You can choose to run your commercial at a specific time of day, when your audience is most likely watching a program, but that’s not nearly as close as digital marketing can get you. All digital marketing tactics allow you to target consumers very precisely. Some down to the minutest details, others somewhat more broadly.

If you have been operating for a while, the first thing to do is see who your current customer base is – Google Analytics will help you here. Try to find the common denominators, and see why these people buy from you. Which channels bring in the most revenue and where do your visitors come from are also key points to consider. To that, add what you know about your competitors and their target audience.

Now that you already know what your product is all about and what people are looking for, focus on the more specific details of your product or service. Who are you helping, and who could benefit from your offer? These are the people you are trying to reach.

Think in terms of demographics: age, gender, location, marital status, level of education, income, occupation, and so on.

You should also determine psychographic factors: interests, values, goals, attitudes, hobbies, lifestyles, who they buy from already and why and most importantly: what problem do they need to be solved.

Don’t think of a problem as an actual issue – they may just be out of toothpaste.

Once you have all this data, you can create your buyer persona(s) – representations of the people you are marketing to. You can cater to more than one persona – but if they are too similar, you may not have done your breakdown properly.

If you are wondering where you will be gathering all this information – there are tools that can help you do this, but the best way is to actually do some legwork. Check out what others have written about similar target audiences, visit forums and websites that likely gather the people you are trying to reach and take it from there.

Once you know who your target audience is, you will know which digital marketing tactic will most likely hit its mark. Think in terms of the digital places they frequent, times of day and frequency, as well as content formats that work best.

Determining a Budget

Moving on to the second phase of the planning stage, you will need to set a clear budget for your strategy. Depending on what you have to work with, and what you are looking to achieve, your budget will help you structure your future tactics. Put all the relevant figures down on paper, and see how much you have to spend. Be very realistic about this. A time will come when you will have to put actual money on the table.

This is not yet the time when you divide your budget into spend on concrete tactics – but you will need to know just how much you can invest moving forward.

Depending on this figure, you can choose to go for one, two, or several digital marketing tactics: some will be more affordable and can provide faster results, while others will need more significant investment. More on that below.

Establishing a Time-frame

As you already know, your SMART goal needs to incorporate a time frame. You can start out rather broadly – and define an overarching goal and set a time for achieving it. Once you start working on specific tactics, you can allocate specific time frames and milestones for each.

Don’t make the mistake of letting your campaigns run endlessly. Each needs to have a clear starting and endpoint. You can, of course, utilize the same tactic repeatedly if it works – but to be able to evaluate it, it needs to end at some point.

Just look at the most basic of digital marketing tools – Google Analytics. There is a reason why you compare and contrast monthly yearly or daily performance. That’s how you measure progress and ultimately, success.

Defining Key Performance Indicators

There is one more thing you need to establish before you can move on to the next stage. I will again reach for an acronym many throw around, yet many don’t use properly: KPIs, or key performance indicators.

Establishing KPIs is crucial for measuring the success of your campaigns. Without them, you will not be able to tell if your tactics are performing as well, or better than you had imagined.

Depending on the tactic you are executing, and the goals you have established, there can be many KPIs you wish to track. Like your goals, your KPIs also need to be SMART – so bear the above mentioned example in mind when setting them.

I will only list a few key KPIs here (pun intended) – those that can be applied to different aspects of your digital marketing strategy, and that are indicative of its overall performance. Make sure these are not the only ones you rely on and track though – and establish smaller ones for each tactic you employ.

  • CAC – Customer Acquisition Cost

Encompasses how much you need to spend to turn a potential customer into an actual customer. It includes not just the cost of marketing a certain product, but the cost of making it as well. It can help you with budgeting and distributing your resources.

  • CTR – Click-through Rate

CTR is calculated by dividing the number of clicks by the number of impressions. It is most often used in PPC campaigns, but you can also use it in email marketing and SEO. CTR helps you determine the quality of the copy you are using to drive visitors, how well what you offer answers the query it has appeared for, the quality of your keywords, and the overall interest in what you are trying to market.

  • CR – Conversion Rate

A conversion is most often defined as turning a lead into a customer – which is not all it can be.

A conversion can be any action you wish for a website visitor to make – buying a product, making a call, signing up for your newsletter, or even spending a certain amount of time on your page, or viewing several pages in one session.

Conversion rates are useful for all kinds of analyses – whether you are targeting the right audience, how useful your content actually is to your audience, interest in your product, etc.

  • LTV – Customer Lifetime Value

Used to predict the overall profit you will generate from your relationship with a customer. If you take into account the fact that you are only about 5-20% likely to sell to a new client, and 60-70% likely to sell to a returning one – you can see how important customer retention is, which is where LTV comes into play. The higher it is, the more income you will likely generate – and this data can help you work your strategies and products around.

  • ROI – Return on Investment

Finally, ROI is that one KPI everyone keeps track of. It is also what keeps marketers up at night.

Your return on investment is what tells you if your strategy is working: if you are making a profit, you are doing something right.

You can calculate ROI using this formula:

(Profit from generated income – the cost of investment) / cost of investment.)

You can then multiply the result by 100%, to get percentages.

Let’s do a little test, shall we: can you tell me the ROI of a campaign that has cost $200, and which has generated $500?

As time goes by, you will learn not only how to track your KPIs better, but how to segment them further, or add new ones into the mix – all with the aim of helping yourself craft better campaigns.

Taking stock of your team

Finally, the last step in this stage has to do with making one final decision, before we move on to the fun stuff.

One of the questions you need to be able to answer is who is going to be executing all of your tactics. Are you doing it yourself? Are you tasking some or all of your employees with certain parts of it? Are you hiring a dedicated digital marketing team, or do you already have one? Are you outsourcing some or all of the work? If so, how are you doing it?

All of these questions need to be answered before you actually start working on tactics. Even if you come up with a brilliant plan, if you don’t have anyone on board who is knowledgeable enough to see it through, or is overtasked with other work, your plan will not amount to much.

Make a decision and stick to it – when your tactics start bringing in more revenue, you can slowly start adapting your initial choice and revisit this question.

3. Revision and Audits

Revision and Audits

Now that you are familiar with all the basics, the time has come to take stock of what you already have, and how your existing resources fit into your overarching strategy.

You need to analyse every digital resource you have: starting with your website, to any tactics you have already employed.

The first thing to do is perform a technical SEO audit and see how your website is currently performing in search, followed by a content audit, to see what needs improvement, and which direction you are going to take.

Your Google Analytics account is your best friend at this point – look at traffic sources, conversion rates, search queries, clicks, impressions, and bounce rates. A lot of analytical thinking will need to be involved. You are trying to determine what drives the most, the best and the least traffic, and what you want to focus on.

Spend some time in Google Search Console and see who is linking back to you, and how are these links affecting your rankings. Do you need to disavow some, and what kinds of links do you need more of? Are some of them driving a significant amount of traffic that is converting well? And remember to check your internal linking structure.

For example, if 90% of your converting traffic is coming from desktop devices, you don’t need to pour resources into driving mobile traffic. Of course, you need to optimise for mobile, but you don’t need to make it your priority.

Or if people mostly arrive on your homepage looking for a certain service, but you don’t have a page dedicated to that particular service, the time is ripe for creating one.

I could go on with these examples indefinitely – the key is to figure out what you need to invest in: what would bring you the most valuable traffic and the best results.

Make sure you also analyse your blog: which posts are bringing in a lot of traffic, can the content be rewritten, are there any posts you can cut, and so on.

Once all this is done, and you are now the proud owner of piles of data – the time has finally come to start working on the actual fun stuff: on the campaigns and tactics that will help you increase revenues.

Hopefully, all that you have read so far will help you choose only the ones that can shepherd in the very best ROI.

4. Digital Marketing Tactics

Digital Marketing Tactics

Like I’ve said at the very beginning of this article – your digital marketing strategy will consist of one or more digital marketing tactics, depending on the goals you have set for your small business.

Each of the five digital marketing tactics I am about to list has its clear benefits and drawbacks and can help you achieve a certain goal. In an ideal world, you would utilize them all, and achieve a powerful synergy that will almost certainly take you to the very top.

As we often don’t live in an ideal world – and especially if you are just now crafting your very first campaign – go for the tactic that will bring in the best revenue, and pour that revenue into other tactics. Don’t go for the flashiest one. Go for the one that makes the most sense. If you have done your research properly and set clear goals, you will easily recognize which one is just right.

Search Engine Optimisation

Many small businesses still feel SEO is expensive and can’t help them compete with the big players in their industry. (And some read beginners guides to SEO with the thought of doing it alone, though a B2B SEO agency will get better results)

This is not true.

If your page is the best page for a certain query – it will show up top. With search engine algorithm changes (most notably RankBrain) exponentially focusing on user experience, what you have to offer matters more than who you are competing against.

When you take into consideration the fact that people still trust organic search results much more than they do paid ads (and many have some sort of ad blocker installed) – you simply can’t afford not to invest in SEO. Your competition most likely is.

The first thing to do SEO-wise is to make sure Google Analytics and Google Search Console are properly set up on your website. They are both essential for tracking all of your digital efforts.

Make sure to claim your Google My Business page. Also, make sure you have a blog, and that you post on it regularly, but more on that a bit later.

While it would be impossible to talk about all the SEO factors that can help you rank better, there are several key things you need to focus on, the first one being your keywords.

Keywords are the strings of words people type into a search box when they are looking for something. Keywords are what you want to rank for. Two important aspects of keywords to bear in mind are search volume (how often a keyword is searched for) and keyword difficulty (how many other pages rank for that same keyword). There is an entire science devoted to keyword research and how to do it best – so I will just leave this link here to help you out.

Once you have defined your keywords, you will be able to use them both for SEO, content marketing and PPC purposes. Bear in mind that keyword research for these three tactics is not quite the same, so you may need to refine your initial set of keywords as you go along.

Essentially, we can say that there are two main pieces to the search engine optimisation puzzle:

  • On-page optimisation: everything you can do on a certain page to help it rank and perform better. On-page lays the foundations for your future off-page efforts. Again, there is much to consider when it comes to optimising a page, but here are some of the most important points:
    • Title tags – This tag is what appears as the “title” of your page, and what people can click on to get to you if you show up in the search engine. This is where you can get creative – and test different types of titles, to see which have the best CTR. You can use your main keyword here – but don’t go overboard.
    • Meta descriptions – While they used to be an important ranking factor in the past, today meta descriptions serve to tell users what your page is about. If you leave this field blank, Google will display random sentences from the page, which may not be too enticing. Better make it descriptive and draw visitors in. Again, you can use keywords, but don’t overdo it.
    • Headings – Heading tags (H1 to H6) are used to make your text easily readable, and to tell search engines how it is organized. Use H1 only once – you can use all other tags more than once. A general rule of thumb is to use H2 for subheadings, and H3 for anything smaller. As before, keywords are fine, but you may be better off without them.
    • Images – There are two important things to know about images: when appealing to users, it is much better to have images on your page, than just blocks of text. Make sure you never steal someone’s work without crediting them and don’t just add an image for the sake of an image. Custom images work best. When it comes to search engines, they can’t see images as we do, which is why it is important to always provide a title and an ALT tag for every image. This tells the crawler what the image is about, and can help your page a tiny bit. Also, make sure your images can load fast – this is becoming increasingly important as we shift to the mobileverse.
    • Keywords – When writing a page, any page, using the keywords that best describe it is a given. However, don’t over-stuff the page, and most importantly, write it for humans, don’t try to over-optimise it. Well-written pages that answer queries will always rank better than pages which are written for the benefit of crawlers.
    • Mobile-friendliness – Ever since mobile searches have overtaken desktop searches, it has become quite clear you need to make your entire website responsive. This is how to do it.
    • Links – Your pages should have both internal and external links. Link to similar products or services on your website, or anything that feels like a natural fit and you feel your visitors would like to learn more about. As for external links, link out to other pages that will provide additional information or source certain data, much like I have done throughout this post.
  • Off-page optimisation: tactics you employ that don’t involve changing anything on your pages, but rather getting other pages to link back to you. Building links is essential for your website because links still remain a very important ranking factor, and they can also drive quality traffic to your website if you build them well.

There are dozens, probably even hundreds of ways to get links: from guest blogging and forum posting, niche directory submissions and social bookmarks, to Q&A websites and blog comments. All of these links will bring in different value – again something I would rather you learn about by reading this post.

I could go in-depth about any of the things I have mentioned above, but, I will leave it at that and hope you are curious enough to click on some of the helpful links I’ve left for you.

One other aspect of SEO I am going to mention is local SEO – just because it can provide some “quick wins” and help boost your rankings initially.

About a third of mobile searches are local – which means that if people are looking for the best pizza in Dublin, and you serve that pizza, you need to pop up for this local search as a top result.

Local SEO is not very different from global SEO – it does involve some on-page tweaks, i.e. adding local keywords, and getting listed in local citation directories. Your link building campaigns could also benefit from targeting more localised websites – but again, more on that here.

Investing in SEO is a long-term investment. Some tactics might give you an instant boost, while others will need time to kick in. There are certain things you can do that will get you results faster – like on-page optimisation – but off-page takes time.

And yes, investing in SEO is not cheap – that is, you don’t want to use cheap SEO services, not if you want to do it on a large scale and very well, but the beauty of SEO is that you can scale it exponentially – and always build on what you already have, which is not something you can do with other digital marketing tactics.

Content Marketing

When I said above that you should establish a blog if you don’t have one already, this is what I had in mind.

Some will tell you that content marketing is just a part of SEO, while others will claim they are in fact very different, but one can’t actually work without the other.

To do content marketing right, you will need to do two things. Write great articles about the topics that interest your target audience, and build links to those posts to drive more traffic, and to get them to rank higher in search engines.

A lot of research goes into content marketing – research on the best topics (you can use Google Trends or tools like Ahrefs or Buzzsumo for this), keyword research to determine the best keywords (especially long tail keywords!) and ultimately, writing a piece that is better than what is already out there.

Not all of your articles need to be absolute masterpieces – but some of them should be. If you don’t have someone on your team who can write really well, it is best to hire someone to do the actual writing.

Bear in mind – you are writing for your target audience. You need to answer their specific pains, and cover topics they are curious about which relate to what you do and what you offer.

You are already an expert in your field – you run a business. Sharing that knowledge is what content marketing is truly about, establishing yourself as a valuable resource to others, signalling to both users and search engines that you are the person to turn to when it comes to a specific subject.

Of course, having a great piece of writing on your blog is simply not enough. I know people say “build it and they will come” but that does not apply to the world of digital marketing. Having a great resource and not marketing it is worse than not having a great resource at all.

This is where the synergy of SEO and content marketing is most evident – and email marketing and social media campaigns also come into play. Once you have that one great piece you think can draw in visitors, build links to it, reach out to people in your industry to let them know about it, market it on your social, add it to your newsletter.

In short – let people know it is out there.

The best way to stay on top of your content marketing efforts is to create an editorial calendar, which can not only house all of your topic ideas and research but also integrate the other tactics you are using.

For example, you can note the number of social media shares or backlinks for each piece, which can then help you for future publications. A well-organized content calendar can in fact be half the victory – you will always know where you stand, and how you can improve your work.

When we are talking about cost vs. gain, content marketing is an expensive undertaking, as quality content never comes cheap, even if you are writing it yourself. However, as with SEO, it can provide great ROI if executed properly, which is why you should definitely invest in it at some point.

Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing refers to, first and foremost, establishing a presence on the social media channels where your target audience can be found. Since you already know a lot about them, you know where this is most likely to be. For example, if you are a fashion brand, Pinterest and Instagram are much more likely options than LinkedIn, and you don’t need an Instagram account if you are an accountant.

The key to doing SMM right is having a clear and uniform message across all channels – even when you have to adjust it to the specific medium. This will help you stand out in the huge crowd that is already present on all social media networks.

Every platform has its own unique set of rules, and what works on Twitter will not work on Facebook, so getting to know each of them is the first step you need to take.

The next step would be creating a calendar for your social media posts, and setting up an app like Buffer to help you manage these posts – you don’t have to do everything manually.

What you do have to do manually is reply to questions and comments (especially the negative ones!), which is where having a social media manager can make a huge difference. If your pages are small, someone on your team can do it, but you should look into delegating this task once it takes several hours a day.

How you present yourself on social media can do a lot for your business – good or bad. In fact, consumers who have had a good experience on social with a brand will likely buy from that brand again. You simply can’t afford not to reply to questions, or ignore your followers. They are the ones who will most likely refer you to their friends.

With so many people using them, social networks are one of the best outlets to get to know your customers, leads and potential leads. Again, there is an entire science about this, which you can read up on to help you utilize the full power of branding on social.

There are many tools on the market that can help you determine the success of these campaigns – and most networks offer some sort of monitoring tool of their own.

When it comes to ROI and the power of social media – it is more difficult to calculate than with the other tactics I’ve listed. While you can measure reach and engagement, your actual conversions are difficult to determine. Someone may have seen you on Facebook, and chosen to buy your product after doing a Google search because of that – but you won’t actually be privy to this fact. Also, social media campaigns are much more valuable in certain industries – so depending on what you are selling, you may benefit less from this tactic.

Paid Advertising

When I say paid advertising I am actually referring to both social media ads, and Pay Per Click Advertising.

Social media ads can drive some great ROI – the targeting on Facebook for example can be very fine-tuned, and these ads are often not perceived as ads at all, even though they are labelled as “sponsored”. This precise targeting is what can help you drive some serious conversions if you pinpoint the best audience.

PPC is a great tactic to use if you want to market a specific product or service, a sale or simply raise some initial brand awareness. While these ads are also clearly labelled as ads and have a lower CTR than organic results, people do still click on them, especially if they are well matched to their query.

If you are just starting your marketing strategy, PPC might be the best way to go – because the results will be instant. If you set up a campaign well, sales can be coming in within 24 hours or less – not something we can say about any other tactic I have listed here.

The key to a well-executed PPC campaign is good keyword research and good ad copy. When you put these two things together and make sure that your ad responds to a query really well, it will show up.

Some believe that showing up first is a matter of money – but it is actually a matter of quality score. The better your ad corresponds to a query, the higher your chances of showing up first are. This is why digging deep into keyword lists and crafting that perfect ad copy will get you far.

However, there are two very important facts about PPC you need to bear in mind.

First of all – you shouldn’t do PPC yourself if you have absolutely no experience with it. Running an ad will involve spending money – and ads that are not well written, timed and targeted will not bring you the conversion rates you were hoping for.

When done by someone with experience, PPC can result in significant ROI – but it will last only as long as you keep investing in it. Unlike SEO which will not stop working for you even if you decide not to do anything about it for a month, as soon as the money runs out, your ad will not show up anymore.

Certain industries are also very competitive when it comes to PPC – and clicks can cost upwards of $50. Depending on your industry, you may certainly benefit from this tactic – but make sure it is executed by a professional, preferably someone with a Google AdWords certificate.

Email Marketing

The final item on my list is email marketing. And it might surprise you to hear that this tactic can bring in the best ROI of them all.

If you think about it, it makes perfect sense. People still love getting emails, and if they sign up for your newsletter, they will likely open an email you send, even if it is just detailing your latest offer. They will also often purchase something.

However, there is a catch.

The first thing you need for a successful email marketing campaign is a list of emails of course. How you build this list is the tricky part.

You can, of course, entice people to subscribe to your newsletter with Calls to Action, offer valuable resources in exchange for contact information, and so on, but this can often take a lot of time, especially if you are just starting out.

The other way is to purchase a ready-made list of emails or use a tool to compile it. However, this kind of targeting can come off as spam, and your email might end up in the trash very quickly.

Once you do have a steady base of emails, you can do wonders in reaching out to leads and customers. The beauty of email marketing is how targeted it is, and how simple it is to execute. It can do wonders for your brand awareness, and since you can very easily measure open and click-through rates, you will know how to make your emails better after the very first one you send out.

The trick is to know how many emails to send and when – signup emails and confirmation emails are often a given, but you don’t want to come off as too pushy. Simply sharing your latest blog post (content marketing to the rescue) can do a lot to drive traffic your way.

In short – don’t miss out on the opportunity that is email marketing. Just go about it wisely, and compile your email list slowly but surely. Targeted emails will work much better than random bulk emails.

A Note on Project Management

Now that you know a bit about all of these tactics, you might be getting somewhat overwhelmed and may feel you can’t possibly juggle all of this at once.

This is why successful digital marketers are all excellent project managers.

Setting up calendars, and timetables and using the right tools will help you stay on top of your digital marketing world: and your investments and results.

There are plenty of resources online on how to set about this – but you can also create your own way of managing things, and even share it with the community. Another quick content marketing win.

5. Evaluation, Monitoring and Revision

Evaluation, Monitoring and Revision

Whichever digital marketing tactic you choose – remember that your work is not done once you plan it out, and start executing it. Even if you see significant improvements, or if one of the metrics you are tracking is instantly improved – you need to allot a time for evaluating what you are doing.

Since you have already set a specific time frame for each activity – when the time comes, pull up all your data, and see where you started out, and where you are now. Compare all your metrics, analyse what has been done, and how you can further improve what you are doing.

If a tactic is working well – try to think of alternative ways to make it even better.

If a tactic is not working – before you shut it down completely, check if some of your assumptions going in were wrong, or if there is anything you can change to make it work. Only then should you abandon it altogether.

The trick about digital marketing is to never stop learning and evolving – the fact that you can measure (often very precisely) how your actions are impacting your bottom line gives you endless opportunities to work on your marketing.

Only by making informed and intelligent decisions will you be able to truly reap the benefits of the digital world.

And hopefully, our little guide has helped you gain a bit more insight into designing a digital marketing strategy. For more info, read our intro to digital marketing as well.