It’s 2023 - have you planned your digital marketing strategy yet? If not, it’s OK - take a deep breath hunker down. We’re about to teach you how to build a digital marketing strategy – complete with digital marketing goals – that will take you through the year!
First, we have a question: are you a business owner or do you currently work for a business? (quiz)
Second, ask yourself what you want to get out of this guide because it’s going to be lengthy but actionable. If you’re not ready to do the work, abandon ship now! If you get overwhelmed, remember that we can always create a strategy for digital marketing for you.
Building your marketing strategy doesn’t have to be overwhelming, so let’s break this down into bite-sized pieces to make it easier on you. Let’s get started!
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Define Your Business Goals
Read that header again – we need to define your business goals before you can put a marketing strategy together. There are so many businesses out there that don’t have business goals, don’t be one of them. Business goals are typically bucketed into five main categories:
Financial goals - focus on driving more revenue, cutting costs, setting new financial growth targets
Customer-based goals - improving customer relations, support, and satisfaction.
Employee goals - increased productivity and creativity, and loyalty by creating training opportunities, team appreciation events, and performance reviews.
Growth goals - start by creating your vision statement and segmenting that into steps that are achievable.
Social goals - philanthropic plans, social programs, and community involvement go a long way to boost your company’s reputation.
Can you have more than one business goal for the year? Yes. But you can’t have everything so start working on goals that are achievable. As a business, we created SMART goals that were more detailed than your average “make more money” and “get more customers”. So, start looking at business goals like:
Become a Silver Sponsor for the Chamber of Commerce golf scramble
Partner with 3 new agents per month as clients
Increase revenue for consulting services by 15%
Boost company’s brand reputation online with 4 new reviews per week
Improve customer satisfaction by decreasing support wait time by 50%
You’re not just defining goals, you’re creating SMART business goals. And, here’s the catch, whether you plan to do your digital marketing yourself or you hire a digital marketing agency to do it for you - defining your business goals can make or break your digital marketing goals.
Use the business goal worksheet below to start defining your business goals.
Plot Out Your Digital Marketing Goals
You probably saw that one coming, didn’t you? It’s one thing to have business goals, but digital marketing goals are part of your digital marketing strategy. It’s how agencies like us measure our progress toward reaching your business goals. What might shock you is how many companies don’t create a digital marketing strategy, much less plan for marketing goals. So, let’s start breaking down your digital marketing goals by looking at buckets similar to your business goals:
Increase revenue within the consulting services
Reduce spend in paid ad campaigns by 30% without reducing traffic volumes
Reduce support call volumes by 25% by adding a HELP section onto the website
Use a CRM system to increase customer satisfaction reviews and feedback by 50%
Boost customer retention rates with targeted incentives as a “Thank you” for their loyalty
Drive 20% more traffic to the website month-over-month
Generate qualified leads
Grow TikTok account to 30,000 followers
Rank higher in search results for core keywords
Boost domain authority and rank.
Get more social media engagement
Build brand awareness
Getting some good ideas here? We thought so! Now, let’s apply SMART objectives to some of these goals:
Generate Qualified Leads
Earn 100 white paper & guide downloads in Q1
Increase Revenue within Consulting Services
Improve ROAS by 5% each month Drive 20% more leads to white papers and guide downloads MoM
Build Brand Awareness
Rank on Pg 1 of Google for 50 new keywords each month
Gain 100 new TikTok followers in Q2
Boost Domain Authority & Rank
Improve DA from 25 to 46 by Q3
We took lofty goals and made them into SMART Objectives and added on an activation layer with an idea of what marketing initiatives are needed to get the job done. Use our SMART Marketing Goal sheet to help you build out your own marketing goals.
Activate Your Traffic Channels
Where are you going to get the most bang for your buck? That’s what this section is all about. You shouldn’t be on every social platform known to us and you don’t need to run ads everywhere - so what traffic driving channels should you activate? Here’s how to figure that out:
Organic Social Media - depending on what your business does (B2B or B2C) not everyone is going to care about what you do. If you are B2C, there’s a decent chance that millennials and Gen X-ers are going to search for something you have or do and then scout you out on social channels like Facebook and Instagram. They may look for you on YouTube and TikTok but the chances of them looking for your business there are less likely. In fact, if they head over to YouTube, they are probably looking for a review on your company from someone else. So, figure out which social platforms will suit your business best:
Paid Media - each platform does its own thing and helps with at least one area of the consumer journey. Do you need to be on every platform? No. And, remember, paid media costs money. Many businesses get by without spending a dime on paid media. That said, here are your choices:
Each of these platforms comes with associated costs, so plan for at least a $1,000 min. spend on platforms like Meta, Google Ads, and Microsoft Ads. LinkedIn and TikTok tend to be on the more expensive side.
Organic Search - we’re talking about SEO and this is a must have for any and every business. There are many components to SEO so we’re not going to go into the specifics but if you’d like a high-level understanding of SEO - check out our SEO 101 course. It’s self-paced and only $15. That said, SEO is a must-have because people look for what you sell or do online all the time - why not get found for it? Plus, when you’re using other channels, like social media or paid advertising, people like to shop around before they commit to something. That’s where organic search comes in handy. Ensuring your site is as SEO-friendly (and compliant) as possible is key. Then it needs to be optimized for keywords and search intent.
Who is Your Target Audience?
We work with quite a few companies who have no idea who they are targeting. Do you? The answer can’t be “everyone”. So, you need to build out buyer personas. These aren’t designed for one-sentence definitions or descriptions. They are meant to be based on your current clientele with elements of who you want to target. So, think about who you already work with and ask them for feedback (it’s the quickest way to get this done). Then build out your personas like these examples:
Create Your Consumer Journey Map
If you haven’t created your consumer journey map yet, that’s OK - we’re going to make this as easy as possible for you. Like a Consumer Journey 101, if you will. A typical consumer journey will have 5 stages:
Trigger - something had to happen for them to need your service or product.
Awareness - how do they become aware of a product or service you offer?
Consideration - vetting your company against others with similar offerings.
Conversion - a sale, lead, phone call, form fill, or goal achieved for your company.
Loyalty - interaction post-conversion and customer retention.
Let’s start plotting out the trigger based on someone who needs a manicure. The triggers could be:
Upcoming event or trip
How are they going to become aware of the fictional Lotus Spa & Salon?
Googling “nail salons near me” or “manicurist near me” (most likely)
Asking a friend for a referral (could be done on social media or offline)
When we look at the consideration phase, we’re looking at a few different areas -
Who are the other competitors around your location?
How much is a manicure?
What types of manicures are there?
Are there any examples of manicures performed at the salon?
What are the reviews like?
How do they make an appointment?
Some of the areas in the consideration phase should be easily found on your website, like:
Images of manicures (can also be found on social)
Reviews (should be found in search, the website, and your social platforms)
How do they make an appointment?
The consideration phase may take a while as they learn about you and your brand. Consider using paid advertising like paid display or paid social to keep your brand top-of-mind as they are using the internet.
Now let’s figure out your conversion point - is it a self-booked manicure? Maybe it’s a phone call or a contact form. Either are great conversion points and you can use both.
But, how do you take someone from conversion to loyalist? You need to plot out ways to keep them coming back like:
Text message service
CRM (Customer Retention/Relationship Management) Software
Advanced knowledge of new services or product launches
Plotting It Out
For every service or product you have, you should be planning out a customer journey and it’s vital to your digital marketing strategy. It gives you an actual map for how to activate people at the right time. We’ll stick with the manicure theme and plot out that consumer journey map:
This should help you understand what needs to be activated in order to aid in the customer journey.
Use Calendars for Planning
For the love of all that is holy, make your life easier by using a calendar for the following:
Launching new products/services
Highlighting special things for the company
Planning employee training / appreciation days
Launching new products/services
Campaign launches / conclusions
Using calendars to plan helps keep the entire plan together, allowing you to look at new product or service launches then plotting out what supportive website content is needed for that launch. You can move from content planning to how you’re going to get the word out there with social media and paid media plans. See? This makes getting the plan together a lot easier.
Creating these things from scratch is a PITA, so here’s a planning bundle to get you started. Just open up the link and make a copy to your Google Drive (or download it). The planning bundle has sheets for just about everything above including a social media calendar with example posts and links to some Canva creative templates.
Execute Your Digital Marketing Plan Together
Now you get to put it all together so we can execute the plan. Let’s recap - you did the following:
Set business goals
Created digital marketing goals
Activated your channels
Figured out your target audience
Plotted out your customer journey map
Set your Content, Social, Media, and Company Calendars
This is when the real work begins. We know, you’re about to kill us for saying that BUT the work in front of you has to do with tactically executing your plan. Now you get to build your content from graphics and video to web pages, blog posts, social posts, and ads. Some of the work should already be done because you likely already built out your social media calendar but you need to figure out what content to use to support it. Based on the channels you opted into activating, the rest should flow pretty easily.
Decide to DIY or Use an Agency
If you made it this far, congratulations! We know this was a very long read. You have a big task ahead of you and, like we mentioned earlier, you can either do it yourself or hire a digital marketing agency to do it for you.
Here are a few tips for making the decision to DIY vs hire an agency easier:
Think about the time and resources at your disposal. If you’re stretched for time and don’t have endless funds to create content, measure data, and keep tabs on your business - hire an agency.
Have some employees who want to grow and learn to do more in marketing? You have two options: give them more work with some supportive resources like classes and training OR use a digital marketing coach to teach them how to do their jobs more effectively.
If you’re just starting out and have time on your hands - you can do this yourself.
Regardless of which route you choose, you now have a better understanding of how to plan out and build a digital marketing strategy for the new year which, when activated, will take your business to new heights.