What is a digital marketing strategy and why your business needs one to succeed in 2021
Updated: Dec 17, 2020
The No 1 reason B2B businesses miss their marketing targets
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you already know the importance of digital marketing by now. You’re probably using it for your business too. But are you getting the results you desire? If not, it’s because you don’t have a strategy in place.
Now, we have good news and bad news for you. The good news is that you’re not the only one without a digital marketing strategy. In fact, over 50% of B2B businesses do not have a documented digital marketing strategy.
The bad news? The lack of a clear strategy is preventing your business from realizing its true potential.
If this was the year 2000, you would have been fine without one. We wouldn’t even be writing this article if it was the year 2000! But it’s not.
In 2021, the stakes are going to be much higher, and you can’t afford to waste your budget on things that don’t work.
In fact, the lack of strategy is one of the biggest reasons why so many businesses don’t spend nearly as much on digital marketing as they should. They dive into digital marketing, without a clear plan, don’t get the results they expected, so they dial down or stop altogether.
What they don’t realize is that in addition to time and effort, there is another key component you need to make your marketing work – strategy. If don’t have a strategy, you’re just wasting your resources.
What is a digital marketing strategy?
Imagine you are the general of an army, and you’re going into battle without a clear battle plan, not knowing how many troops or weapons you will require, what the strengths and weaknesses of your opponent are, the battle formations you’re going to use, etc. What do you think would happen?
As they say - "Failing to prepare is preparing to fail!"
The online world is a battleground, and you need a battle plan to win. That’s what a digital marketing strategy is – a battle plan.
A good digital marketing strategy clearly lays out:
Who you are going to target
What their pain points and aspirations are
What marketing channels will you focus on
What kind of marketing activities are you going to engage in
What your messaging will be
Who your main competitors are and how you are going to differentiate yourself from them
How much doing all this is going to cost you
How you’re going to measure the results etc.
We’re going to post an in-depth article soon on what an effective digital marketing strategy should cover, so do subscribe to our blog.
Why it’s crucial to have a digital marketing strategy
It gives you direction
The first step to creating a digital marketing strategy for your business is defining your goals. What do you want to achieve? Is it traffic? Is it followers? Is it brand awareness? Is it leads? Is it revenue? Or is it all of these?
Defining where you want to be at the outset makes it easy to plan what you need to do in order to get there. Without a strategy, you can’t measure your success and whether you’re achieving your desired outcomes, or goals.
An important thing to remember when creating goals is to make sure they are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound, or S.M.A.R.T. Check out our Instagram post on the importance of S.M.A.R.T goals.
Having a clear digital strategy not only defines your goals, it also helps you find your unique purpose and your brand values. When you know what your brand stands for, you can create a unique brand voice and identity that is true to your purpose. You can then apply that to all your digital assets and content to distinguish yourself from other players in your market.
It helps you understand your target market more clearly
Let’s face it. Not every person on the planet is going to want to buy your products or services, because not everyone has the same needs or pain points.
Therefore, you need to identify the set of people who share the same needs and aspirations that your business is meant to solve, and thus would see value in what you’re offering.
Without an understanding of who your ideal customer, you’d be trying to sell to everyone, and end up selling to no one.
A digital marketing strategy lends you this clarity by establishing buyer personas so that you can narrow down your online audience and create targeted content and ads.
It also defines key markets that have a proven and measurable demand for your solutions. Your digital marketing tactics will vary depending on markets where your target customers are based, and you would need to adjust your strategy in terms of channels, messaging & offer, based on the social, economic, and cultural norms in that market.
It helps you identify the right channels to maximize your ROI
If you're a small/mid-sized business, you’re likely to have a limited marketing budget, particularly over the next few months or so. That’s why you need a strategy to make sure you’re getting the most out of every penny you spend on digital marketing. Without a strategy, you will end up blowing your budget on activities that produce little or no results.
A digital marketing strategy tells you who you are going to target, what marketing channels you’re going to target them on (based on where your target audience is most active), and what your messaging and tone is going to be. This helps optimize your resource allocation and streamline your efforts. Eg. if you know that your target audience is more active on Instagram, you can focus on Instagram as a primary platform to publish content and run ads.
If you didn’t have a strategy, you would be wasting your time and money publishing content and running ads on, say Linkedin or Facebook, where your potential clients aren’t as active.
By analyzing your performance on different platforms, you can identify the best channels for your business, and focus on what works to ensure maximum returns. If you don’t have an online presence, you will not have any past data to go by. In this case, you will need to analyze other pages in your niche to analyze user behavior and trends to see what works.
By analyzing metrics such as likes, comments and shares for competitor accounts in your industry, so can see what type of content performs best. For instance, carousels and stories perform best on Instagram, while blog posts and infographics are a great way to drive engagement on Linkedin.
Do remember though that every industry is different and there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. What works in one industry, may not work in another, so you need to pick the channels that work best for your business.
It helps you plan your budget
How do you decide what your digital marketing budget should be? To be able to plan how much you’re going to spend, you need to know what you’re doing to do.
Will you be focusing on organic growth and SEO? Or will you be running a lot of ads on Facebook or Google? Both have very different costs.
If you want to focus on content, do you have a content marketing strategy in place? For instance, how much content do you plan to publish every week/month? What kind? Will you do more blog posts, or will you focus on visual content such as infographics or videos? Depending on what you want to do, you obviously will need to hire people who are skilled in that area.
The amount of money you will have to pay them will depend on their experience and skills. Someone who has experience in both SEO and Paid Ads will naturally cost more than somebody who knows only SEO.
Having a digital marketing strategy makes all these things crystal clear, allowing you to plan your investment smartly. Strategy also aids budgeting by projecting the returns you’re going to get on your investments. If you knew that a certain activity is going to give you high returns, you’d be wise to allocate more resources to it from the get-go.
As a business owner, there’s nothing worse than realizing a few weeks/months down the line that you’ve blown your budget on things that don’t work, and you don’t have enough left for something else that is giving you better results.
It helps you stand out from the competition
If you’re struggling to stand out in the market, you need a digital strategy shake-up. As we described earlier in the article, a digital marketing strategy helps you find your unique purpose and brand values. It also helps you understand your competitive landscape more closely.
Business owners are generally so busy trying to sell, they often turn a blind eye to their branding and positioning, particularly in the digital arena. Have you ever analyzed how your online audience perceives you relative to your competition? Have you compared what they are saying about you vs your competitors on social media?
Building a digital marketing strategy includes mapping your business against your competitors on various parameters, including:
Online ratings and reviews
Social media reach and engagement
Search engine rankings etc.
This data helps understand where you stand against other companies in your space. This is usually combined with a SWOT analysis, which maps your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
Using insights derived from this analysis, you can identify the areas where you need to catch up, in which case you would need a plan to get ahead. For instance, if you have great products/services, but your competitors outrank you on Google, you need to conduct an audit of your on-page and off-page SEO, and plan a link-building strategy.
Similarly, it helps you identify areas where you’re ahead, in which case you need to build on your strengths to stay ahead. Eg. if you have great customer reviews on Google, you should highlight them on your website and social media posts to attract new customers.
It helps you identify and highlight your value
An important aspect of a digital marketing strategy is defining your value proposition. It tells you what value do your products or services deliver to your target customers. In other words, why should people buy from you?
Your value proposition is the sum total of these 2 things:
The product/service you provide
The experience your target customers get by using it
We have explained value proposition and importance in detail in this blog post.
When you clearly define the end benefits your target customers would experience by buying your product or service, you can focus on those across your marketing campaigns, rather than harping on features/specifications nobody cares about.
Remember, people don’t buy a product or a service. They buy the experience.
Need help building a winning digital marketing strategy for your business?
At Allura Digital, we specialize in building completely personalized digital marketing strategies that help B2B businesses stand out from the noise and boost their traffic, leads & revenue. Book a free 30-minute discovery call to discuss your marketing goals and take the first step towards building a solid marketing strategy for 2021 and beyond.