Understanding Digital Strategy Development

The world of digital marketing can be an overwhelming one, especially for the uninitiated.

Understanding Digital Strategy Development

The world of digital marketing can be an overwhelming one, especially for the uninitiated.

Complications only compound when you start using omnichannel marketing which, while highly effective at reaching marketing goals, also requires a lot of plate spinning; details that cannot be overlooked.

This can make finding a starting point a challenge for even the most experienced marketers. Anyone who tries to approach a complex omnichannel marketing campaign without a road-map, will likely get lost somewhere down the path.

Avoiding this is simpler than you might think… 

A plan of action that covers every process in the campaign, something that lets you set objectives, measure how closely you reach them through every marketing channel available to you, is essential.

Every successful marketing campaign starts from the same point: Digital strategy development.

But what is a digital strategy? How do you put one together? What does it do for the success of your campaign?

What is a Digital Marketing Strategy?

As you may have guessed from the name, digital strategy development helps you outline a roadmap to reaching your marketing objectives, particularly on various digital marketing channels. 

Of course, a marketing strategy of any type, whether it be on print, television, radio, or online, needs to be cohesively focused on the same goal. 

So, what does a digital strategy do? It takes a close look at your objectives, challenges, and who your target audience is.

It looks at what your market expects from you, their pain points and challenges; their experience (or lack thereof) with your brand.

It looks at your marketing channels like social media, your website, and online advertising platforms like Google Ads to see how they can fit your objectives.

But most importantly, it considers approaches that allow all of this to work together to meet your objectives while seeing to your target audience’s expectations.

Understanding Digital Strategy Development

There are no rules to digital strategy development that are set in stone; silver bullets that get the perfect results each time. With every strategy, there is no small amount of research, investigating, and experimentation that needs to go into it.

Having said that, an excellent place to start is to scrutinise your business’s objectives and develop marketing objectives that match them.

If you want to increase profits by a certain percentage, then you should concentrate on drawing leads in from your website’s service pages.

Or would you rather put that same focus into products on Facebook? Should you focus on using them both?

Well, that depends on the buying habits of your target audience. So who are they, how do they spend their free time, what drives them to buy products or services like yours? How do they research products before buying them?

This is what can make digital strategy development so complicated. 

Questions often only lead to more questions, and very often their answers are only clear if you have a lot of experience in marketing, sometimes they only make themselves known once the campaign is underway. 

Sometimes, you have to dig a little deeper and do some experimentation before things start becoming clear.

Still, let’s look at a few components to a digital strategy a little more closely.

Who is Your Target Audience?

A good starting point (once you have determined your marketing goals) is to consider who you should be marketing to. Which demographics of people account for your best sales? Who are your products and services for?

A little research into your most frequent customer-types can give you an idea of this. So don’t be afraid to speak to them, engage them about their interests.

  • Find out why your brand is important to them; what do they expect from it?
  • How old are they, which gender do most of them identify with? Where do they live and work?
  • What do they do in their spare time, which social media platforms do they use the most?
  • What are their hopes, fears, and pain points? How do your offers help them with this?
  • What types of devices do they use to browse the internet?

These are just a few of the questions you can ask that will give you a solid understanding of who you are advertising (and selling) to. 

With this information on hand you can strategise a marketing campaign that meets their expectations and hopes while alleviating their pain points, all while reaching them in the right places, at the right time, using the right wording, imagery, etc.

What Marketing Assets Do You Own?

Marketing assets are made up of everything that gets created for advertising campaigns. 

They can be websites, social media pages, ads, images, brochures, write-ups, videos; any type of media you have created, or have commissioned, to be a part of your advertising and branding efforts on every channel.

The assets mentioned above are also the ones you own. The ones that form part of your intellectual property and brand. 

Knowing which ones are available to you, and how effectively they reach your marketing objectives, is crucial.

This is particularly important in digital since each of these elements should serve to elevate others.

A website with excellent SEO will have a positive impact on your Paid Marketing performance and prices.

A strong social media presence will bring people into your website.

A great YouTube channel will get people interacting on your social media pages.

Your out-of-home advertising, like billboards, could get people searching for you online.

These are the marketing assets you have full control over, and you should control them strictly. You want them working together towards a similar set of objectives, not doing their own thing in different corners of the campaign.

So, you need to understand them. Audit them carefully to see how they can improve, and you need to do all of this while making sure they work cohesively. This needs to be a critical part of your digital strategy development process.

Which Marketing Assets Can You Earn?

On the other side of the coin are the assets that you earn organically, much like the age-old concept of word-of-mouth marketing. 

In terms of digital marketing, these are the assets that are somewhat outside of your control:  Reviews on customer-gripe websites like Hello Peter; social media pages and groups; YouTube videos mentioning your brand; user created content like that found on TikTok.

The control you have over this depends on the service and experience you offer your clients. 

It comes from their reaction to your marketing (consider how many people enjoy discussing the newest Nando’s ads), and the way you interact with or respond to customers online, especially on Social Media where things are displayed for all the world to see.

Much like your owned assets, you need to audit these to get an idea of the opinion of your brand, something often called brand sentiment.

How does your brand make your audience feel? What emotion comes to mind when you see the word ‘Eskom’? How does that compare to your favourite clothing or car brand?

With this knowledge as a part of your strategy, you can address your audience’s concerns, expectations, and pain points directly, to improve your brand sentiment. More importantly, you can use this information to craft advertising campaigns that appeal to your market audience.

Are Your Channels Working Together?

It’s easy enough to get each marketing channel performing admirably in its own right; but it is more important to get them working together.

A crucial part of digital strategy development is to make sure that every channel serves to benefit another. 

If you’re chess minded, you might be thinking of how every piece on the board needs to be protected by another so that there are no weak spots in your composition. 

Your digital marketing strategy is no different.

Nothing should be working on its own, everything should be covering everything else.

How Sustainable are Your Goals?

Lofty marketing goals like boosting revenue by 300% is fine and well, but how realistic are those goals?

What can you invest for the return you are expecting? 

How hard would you need to fight against your competitors?

What kind of spending power does your chosen target audience have? 

For example, if you’re a real-estate business that assists with buying and selling multi-million Rand properties, a target audience below the age of 30 years is not going to get you the best results.

So you will need to think practically about where the demand for your offers is coming from, and focus your efforts there instead of in areas that are either unrealistic, or unsustainable.

Developing Your Own Strategy?

While a critical part of any successful advertising campaign, digital strategies have a major drawback for anyone without a marketing background. 

They are highly complex and require a solid understanding of every channel you’ll be marketing on.

Sure, you may be able to develop cohesive strategies for one or two areas of your campaign, but business owners are generally too busy and specialised to spend the substantial time it takes to get an understanding of the entire umbrella of digital marketing. 

Indeed, even marketing professionals struggle with this.

For this reason, even in highly experienced agencies, strategies are handled by teams of specialised experts instead of just one person.

Insights and skills from those proficient in various areas of marketing is necessary.

Paid ads, search engine optimisation, copywriting, graphic design, website development, social media management, print media and buying, mailer and sms marketing, events and promotions, videographers, photographers, and a troop of oddly specific professionals all need to apply their input for digital strategy development to cover absolutely everything.

Looking for Assistance with Digital Strategy Development?

Where digital strategy development is concerned, it is a little bit like raising a child; that is to say that it takes a village.

Strategies built off the insights of teams of experienced experts are not just beneficial, but necessary for success in an increasingly competitive market.

If you would like to know more about working with an agency that sustainably grows businesses and campaigns from exceptionally crafted strategies, be sure to visit the ATKASA Digital Agency website for details.