Where to start with designing a digital marketing strategy?

Designing and implementing a digital marketing strategy from scratch can be a daunting task. Or, perhaps you took over the management of a brand’s digital marketing from another individual or team, and you need to determine what elements of the strategy are working, and what not.

While it may seem like an impossible task, if you break up the bigger process into smaller chunks, it’s completely manageable. In this post I’m going to explain very briefly the process we follow at Twenty3Media when we start working with new clients.

The best starting points are to determine what is currently working and what not – and to determine what your competitors are doing online. This is the starting point for our team too when we start working with a new client. We familiarize ourselves with the client’s industry, their target audience as well as their competitive landscape to name a few.

The first step is going to be to check whether or not the website in question (your brand’s website) has Google Analytics installed. If not, get the tracking code installed immediately, so that data can be generated. You will need to have at least a month’s data, ideally more, to do your audit.

If you need to wait for Google Analytics to generate data, you can take that time to draw up a thorough competitor analysis document. Firstly, you’ll need to determine whom you’re going to compare yourself with. We like to get feedback from the client with regards to their direct competitors in the industry, and then we also do online research to identify online competitors.

Select your top 5 (or 10 if you want to be thorough) competitors, and note them all in your competitor analysis document.

Next you’ll want to research all aspects of each competitor’s digital strategy, including:

  • Their website: What pages do they have on their website? What tone do they use for the content? Look at the page source for each page (in Chrome, right click and select ‘view source’), do you see optimized meta tags? Who do they link to from their website? How many backlinks to their website do they have? Do they have a blog? If yes, how often do they publish content on their blog? Can you pick up specific keywords that they are optimizing different pages for (in the actual content)? What type of calls to action do they have on their website?
  • Social media platforms: What social media platforms are they active on? How often do they post? What type of content do they post? What is the engagement rate (comments, like, shares, retweets, etc) on different posts? This can help you identify content that you can include in your social media strategy.
  • Online advertising: Have you seen any online ads (on Google, Facebook, etc) for the competitor in question? If yes, what is the CTA? What artwork / visuals are they using?
  • Newsletters and email marketing: Do they send out newsletters? If yes, how often? What is the content of the newsletters?

The above will provide you with a good starting point for your competitor audit. Make the competitor analysis document as thorough as possible, as this will help you determine what areas you need to focus on.

Next, you can move on to your own brand’s website and social media channels, and compare it against your competitors’ platforms. What are you doing better than competitors? Where can you improve? Again, include as much detail as possible.

Once you have sufficient Google Analytics data, look at:

  • The top content on your website: Which pages are the most popular? Do these pages have sufficient CTAs on them to convert visitors to leads?
  • Demographics: Where are you getting your most visitors from (country, city)?
  • Engagement rate: What is your website’s bounce rate? How many pages do people view on average per visit? How much time do they spend on your website? What can you do to improve this rate?
  • Devices: What devices do people use to view your website? Make sure that your website renders properly in all of the most popular devices.

Once you’ve worked through the checkpoints above, you will have quite a bit of information to add to your digital marketing strategy document. Firstly, start off with what you want to achieve. Let’s say your marketing goal is to ‘increase sales,’ then your marketing objective will need to follow the SMART rule, for instance: Increase sales by 25% over the next 4 months. You can create annual goals, or quarterly goals – it’s up to you to decide what will work best based on your scenario. However, it’s important to make your marketing goals as specific as possible, so that you can measure the success of the tactics you implement.

There are many free digital marketing strategy templates available online – but, there is no need to go fancy. The key is to identify areas that you need to focus on, design a strategy and consistently implement this strategy.

The above will provide you with a good starting point to design your digital marketing strategy. If you need help with identifying areas you can improve on, or if you don’t have the time or resources to implement the strategy, contact us and we’ll assist!