As the marketing world has grown increasingly complex, marketing strategies have become revenue-focused rather than activity-focused. Marketing can make a real impact on the bottom line and it’s more essential than ever for sales and marketing to be aligned. So how are you doing in this brave new marketing world? Do you have a digital strategy in place or are you floundering?

39% of webinar attendees had no digital strategy

In other words, digital marketing is still challenging to a lot of companies. The online data explosion, the rapid growth of social media, the impact of social media and shifting customer demographics all combine to leave marketers unprepared and overwhelmed. But no one can afford to ignore digital marketing, so it’s really important to start developing a digital strategy as quickly as possible.

We’ve simplified the process into five straightforward steps—follow these to put your plan in place, start modestly and over time, you’ll develop your digital marketing into something that makes a real difference to your revenue.

Step 1: Know yourself

It’s essential to know your current position if you’re to plan where you want to get to. There are a number of processes to help with this:

  • Audit—what are your current digital capabilities?
  • Benchmark—track your progress over time.
  • Competitors—measure your achievements against other companies in the same sector.
  • Industry benchmarks—how do you rate within your industry?

Step 2: Determine what you want to achieve

Once you know yourself, it’s time to set goals.

  • You need to understand the market trends within your industry, your key target audience, target personas and digital marketing trends.
  • Fill the gaps identified by your capability assessment with training, hiring or appointing an agency. The best way to do this is to run a facilitated workshop with all your key stakeholders.
  • Identify requirements, goals, SMART objectives, KPIs and CSFs. What are you aiming for and what do you need to track to measure your progress?
  • Look for quick wins and plan longer term tactics.
  • Define an overarching vision for your digital marketing and selling that will explain to the wider business what you’re aiming to achieve.
  • Prioritise your objectives.

Step 3: Develop a plan to achieve your objectives

You’ve decided where you want to get to, so how do you go about it?

  • We recommend using Smart Insights’ RACE Planning framework.

Plan—what is the strategy that you are working towards?

How are you going to reach your target audience?

How are you going to interact with that audience?

How are you going to convert their interest into sales?

And how will you engage them moving forwards?

  • Define your tactics to meet your objectives—devise campaigns, segment your audience and map your customer journey.
  • Plan your digital marketing in 90-day cycles and then monitor and optimise.
  • Bring your skill set up to speed, either in-house or by using an agency.

Step 4: Build a plan and get it delivered

Your next challenge is to deliver your strategy.

  • Plan your delivery schedule and key milestones. Identify quick wins for the first 90 days, and sketch out the next six to 12 months.
  • Define clear roles and responsibilities within your team.
  • Track your programme using a project management tool and by having a visible project board to which your whole team has access. Transparency is key.
  • Support team collaboration by using software like Slack or Yammer.

Step 5: How do you keep improving your digital marketing?

If you don’t monitor progress you won’t know where you’re strong and where you need to improve your performance.

  • Document your strategy from the start and update it regularly.
  • Use analytics to turn your stats into insights.

For a much more detailed discussion of each of these five steps, download our digital strategy webinar, presented by Michael Dean and Steve Hoyle, who between them share about 40 years of digital experience! 

5 steps to creating a digital strategy

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