Digital marketing: 9 steps to follow to build an effective strategy

What is digital marketing?

A digital marketing strategy is a plan of action designed to help you achieve a specific goal through a range of online marketing activities. To do this, we analyze the why and how behind the actions that lead to the final result. Thus, when designing your strategy, you should seek to answer the following questions in particular:

1. What are my goals?

2. What are my goals?

3. Who is the target audience?

4. What are my Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) ?

5. What are my deadlines?

These are just a few examples of key questions you should try to answer when creating a digital marketing strategy. Read on for more detailed answers.

Your digital marketing strategy is not only the framework on which your plan is based, it also helps you identify what media, platforms, data and digital technologies you will need. You absolutely must have a strategy if you want to successfully launch a large-scale digital marketing campaign or initiative.

Le marketing mix digital

Before we dive into the heart of the matter, let’s start by talking about the digital marketing mix . Indeed, how to develop a strategy without knowing the elements that constitute it?

Do you know the winning trio of digital marketing? It highlights the different areas contributing to your digital marketing strategy, and is divided into three categories: “earned media” (free visibility acquired by the company), “owned media” (visibility owned by the company) and “paid media” (visibility purchased by the company).

  • Earned media : mentions in articles, shares on social networks, reposts and opinions .
  • “ Owned media” : websites, mobile sites, blogs and communications on social networks.
  • Paid media : cost-per-click advertising, display advertising, retargeting advertising, partnerships with influencers, paid content promotion and social media advertising.

Webmarketing and digital marketing, what is the difference?

The confusion between digital marketing and web marketing is common. Digital marketing uses all communication media (social media, emailing campaigns, mobile marketing, paid referencing, mobile applications, etc.) while webmarketing only uses data from the company’s website.

In short, webmarketing is an application of digital marketing, but digital marketing is not just about webmarketing.

Marketing digital, inbound marketing, outbound marketing : tous pareils ?

Again, the terms are often confused. And once again, digital marketing encompasses the other two, since it can involve both inbound marketing techniques (attracting customers to the company through value-added content) and outbound marketing. (pushing the offer in front of the customer through advertisements).

How to do digital marketing? The most common methods

1. SEO and SEM

SEO, or “Search Engine Optimization” (natural referencing), and SEM, or “Search Engine Marketing”, determine the ranking of your websites and web properties in search engines. SEO boosts traffic in a natural way, while SEM increases traffic and positioning in search engine results through advertisements (Adwords campaign).

If you are looking for a tool to help with SEO development and analysis, you can take a look at SEMrush .

2. Content marketing

Content marketing includes all of the content you post, including your videos, blog posts, and e-books you’ve written and published. Companies of all sizes and types offer content creation, such as Discovery Digital Studios .

3. Social networks and the SMO

Every day, social networks have more than a million new users. By social networks, we mean any type of social media (eg Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat, etc.) at the origin of an online community allowing the exchange of information. SMO (Social Media Optimization) is therefore a strategy aimed at optimizing SEO on social networks, by setting up targeted hashtags for example. Community management is also part of the SMO.

4. L’e-mail marketing

Email marketing is an effective alternative to the traditional mail approach. This method makes it possible to get in touch with new prospects and customers quickly and inexpensively.

5. Online advertising

Although it can be expensive, online advertising is effective in driving traffic to your websites and web properties. It allows you to select the content to display on each of the channels concerned.

6. Websites and their design

On the Internet, your business is represented by your website. The latter must therefore be as neat as possible and offer a unique design. Your website is a reflection of your brand image. Indeed, it is one of the first places visited by prospects who want to know more about your company and your products.

7. Numerical data

Analyzing different digital channels gives you valuable data and insights. This information allows you to make improvements to your current and future digital strategies.

8. Mobile experience

Of course, you can’t miss the mobile experience when nearly 70% of Internet traffic is generated from mobile devices. As soon as you want to undertake digital marketing actions, you must also think about design and handling on mobile. Your mobile experience should be just as flawless as your computer experience.

Since you know everything about the digital marketing mix, let’s move on to designing your digital marketing strategy.

How to develop a digital strategy?

Ready to design your digital marketing strategy from A to Z? We have prepared a step-by-step guide to building your digital strategy in 12 days:

Days 1 to 7: conception

Identify your goals, target audience and positioning

The first key step in designing your digital marketing strategy is to identify your goals, target audience and positioning (GAP in English, for Goals, Audience, Positioning ). Why are you creating this strategy? How do these goals relate to larger business objectives? You need to have a clear idea of ​​how your strategy fits into the bigger picture. Once your goals have been established, you need to identify your target audience and your positioning.

Below is an example of an effective GAP:

Goal   : Increase Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL) by 20%

Target   Audience : Sales Managers and higher level positions in the North American high tech industry

·   Positioning : using a competitive positioning strategy to highlight our key differentiators and reposition the competition in the minds of our target audience.

Define your ROIs and KPIs

Do your math and determine your future spend and return on investment (ROI). It is important to ensure that your digital marketing strategy is worth it by checking that the investment-benefit ratio is positive. Once this analysis has been calculated, define your KPIs (conversion rate, e-reputation, etc.) for each activity, what you are going to test and at what time of the year. These KPIs will help you track and evaluate the success of your strategy.

Calculate your investment in detail

What will be the financial investment required for your digital marketing strategy? Will you need to use subcontractors, for example agencies or other suppliers? Study the details of your investment as soon as possible to determine who you will need to work with and quickly take care of the formalities and creative briefs . You need to differentiate between what will be done in-house and what will be outsourced, so you can allocate the right resources when planning.

Perform research and analysis

Do as much research as possible before acting. Carrying out this research and analysis work will allow you to better prepare and formulate your digital marketing strategy. These searches can concern both your company and your sector, but also your competitors.

You will derive many benefits from your competitor analysis. Indeed, observing the actions of your competitors allows you to find innovative solutions, to better highlight your brand and take a step ahead. The more you research your competitors, the better. To keep up to date with what they are doing, you can use Moat , a tool that allows you to view your competitors’ advertisements.

Design a Customer Journey

How about putting yourself in your customers’ shoes? Document their entire user experience by creating a Customer Journey . The latter tracks the customer’s share price during their interactions with your company or brand.

Designing a Customer Journey allows you to trace the customer’s journey from point A to point B. You must ensure that this journey is smooth and simple. As you study, also look to improve their experience. Start by asking yourself what channels and content the customer uses to reach you. Thus, you will be able to identify those on which to invest in priority.

Here is a sample customer journey for Apollo Enterprises:

1. You see an advertisement for Apollo Enterprises online

2. You follow Apollo Enterprises on LinkedIn

3. You go to the Apollo Enterprises website

4. You provide your email address to download an e-book created by Apollo Enterprises

5. You read the Apollo Enterprises e-book and appreciate its content

6. You receive a promotional email from Apollo Enterprises allowing you to benefit from a product demonstration

7. You register for the product demonstration offered by Apollo Enterprises

8. You browse the Apollo Enterprises product demo and enjoy the product

9. You are purchasing the product from Apollo Enterprises

10. You’re so happy with your new purchase that you leave a positive review online

We have thus traced the Customer Journey from start to finish. We therefore visualize his precise path, from the first step when he hears about the company, to the last step when he decides to buy a product from it.

Personalize your digital marketing mix

We have seen together what the digital marketing mix consists of, it is now time for you to select the elements to integrate into your plan. Beforehand, it is essential to define the activities of your digital marketing strategy. Once done, you should be asked about the scope of each selected element and its frequency.

For example, do you intend to focus on email marketing and online advertising, or do you prefer to include all elements of digital marketing in your strategy? If you opt for the second solution, you will have to determine how the different elements fit into your timeline as well as their relationships.

Days 8 to 11: implementation

Get quotes

Consolidate your budget with quotes. Impossible to set up your digital marketing strategy without having pre-established the budget and without having had an estimate in hand! By obtaining this essential information, you will be sure to follow the right path and to be able to achieve your goals within the allocated budget.

When you are confident that you and your team can accomplish all planned activities with your current budget, you can move on to designing the implementation plan.

Improve collaboration with agencies

If you work with agencies, focus your efforts on better cross-team collaboration. Since your marketing team needs to work closely with these agencies, you need to make sure the tasks are assigned to the right people through the work management tool. With in-house tasks clearly separated from outsourced tasks, everyone can see who is working on what.

There are solutions to simplify creative production between teams. Work management tools allow you to collaborate easily. You can leverage integrations like Adobe Creative Cloud and Litmus to perfect the feedback and review process, design a smooth approval process, or organize your requests with easy-to-fill forms.

Start planning how your team works with agencies on your future digital marketing strategy using our free agency collaboration template .

Plan your actions with a work management tool

Design a clear action plan to implement your strategy, managing your entire marketing process with an advanced work management tool .

You may already be taking full advantage of digital tools like email or documents, but have you considered work management tools? The right work management tool can be a real competitive advantage. Thanks to this type of tool, you improve the synergy of your team and maximize its productivity.

You will find it difficult to plan everything by limiting yourself exclusively to your current tools. Whether spreadsheets or documents: the data they contain does not stay up to date for long and is easily lost. Conversely, work management tools allow you to plan and visualize your entire digital marketing strategy in a variety of ways, whether as a timeline, calendar, or kanban board . By consolidating all of your strategy and planning on a single platform, you make it easier for your team to collaborate.

Manage your digital marketing campaign

Concretely, how is a digital marketing strategy managed within a work management tool like ?

  • Assign tasks to relevant people to clarify everyone’s responsibilities. For example, you can assign certain design tasks to a particular designer and have all the final designs validated by the person in charge of their approval.
  • List all the steps in the process and clarify how they fit together. For example, you can create a timeline where you visualize the links between different tasks and deadlines.
  • Assign deadlines and deadlines to tasks. For example, the creation of e-mails must be done within four days and its deadline will be set on Friday.

Everyone must be able to follow the progress, have perfect visibility on each initiative and meet deadlines. Once your digital marketing plan is established in one place, share this information with the various stakeholders to encourage good collaboration.

Your whole team should feel involved in this plan, know their priorities and visualize how their work contributes to a larger goal.

Day 12 and beyond: management

Follow up regularly

You can never be too careful when it comes to implementing a digital marketing strategy. Make sure all activities are progressing as they should and that each team member is aware of their responsibilities. Track your marketing initiatives before, during, and after their lifecycle to ensure your plans are going as planned.

Don’t forget to update your project status as you progress and adjust your deadlines as needed. Continually refine your strategies and adapt your priorities as needs change. By monitoring and tracking your activities regularly, you act quickly on blocking points and save time.

Evaluate your results

The main advantage of digital marketing is that it gives you access to a lot of relevant data. Thus, you measure the effectiveness of your initiatives and are able to adapt them in real time. No more risky attempts with each new campaign, launch or project! With such data at your disposal, you can optimize your processes as you go and achieve better results.

Remember the target KPIs established in Days 1-7? Now is the time to take stock and compare your results to your original goals, helping you determine whether you achieved the results you expected or not.

If you missed some of your goals, ask yourself why these results are happening. Conversely, if they exceed your forecasts, identify what contributed to such performance, and learn from it for your next initiatives.

Sarah Charlton, Marketing Performance Manager , shares her insider tip:

“Collect your thoughts and communicate them to all stakeholders to demystify what, at first glance, might appear to be a complex ‘black box’ process. Introduce them to the elements that are effective, ineffective, and those whose effectiveness has yet to be proven. To improve your digital marketing strategy, it is just as important to identify what is not working as what is working. In addition, this method helps you create a bond of trust and promote transparency with the various stakeholders. »

What are the tools of digital marketing?

There are over 7,000 technology marketing solutions . You must therefore focus on the tools adapted to your strategy and the goal to be achieved.

What are the essential tools for digital marketing? To get started, create and manage your content marketing using a content management system (CMS), or track your data on a data analytics platform. Every element of the digital marketing mix has its dedicated tools, from email marketing automation and social media management to video hosting and website testing.

You will need to use an essential tool: a work management platform , which will help you design your digital communication and your creative processes from A to Z. This is the secret of marketing that makes all the difference.

Get started with our digital marketing plan templates

When you’re ready to move into the implementation phase, you can use our free digital marketing plan templates to get you started. Easily customizable, they adapt to all your needs, whether it is to plan a digital marketing campaign or design an editorial calendar.

Choose one of our digital marketing plan templates and start planning your:

1. Marketing Campaign Plans

2. Collaborations d’agence

3. Creation requests

4. Editorial calendars

5. Product marketing launches

6. Marketing Project Plans

Thanks to our step-by-step guide, you now have all the keys to designing a digital marketing strategy in 12 days. To do this, you will need to follow three main phases: creation, implementation and management. You only need to complete them to build a solid and ready-to-use digital marketing strategy.

For a smooth launch, feel free to use our free digital marketing plan templates.

Use to implement your marketing strategies that will boost your online presence.