Digital marketing strategy — 11 essential must know marketing strategies
An effective digital marketing strategy helps you drive business growth by expanding and reinforcing your customer engagement in the most competitive online arenas. But every strategy has its own unique advantages, limitations, and ROI. In this article, we’ll look at some specific examples and explain how to build a comprehensive digital marketing strategy that delivers measurable results.
In this digital marketing strategy guide, you’ll discover:
Understanding digital marketing strategy
Marketing strategy vs. marketing tactics
The term digital marketing strategy often is confused with other related concepts — a true marketing strategy is a comprehensive gameplan that outlines how you’ll reach your target audience and convert them into paying customers. It serves as a blueprint that guides you toward your organization’s unique marketing goals.
Marketing tactics are the specific actions you’ll take to implement your marketing strategy. These may include:
Marketing strategy vs. marketing campaign
While a marketing campaign goes together with your marketing strategy, it’s important to understand the distinction between the two. A marketing strategy looks at the big picture.
It determines your overall business goals, your customers’ goals, and how you plan to achieve both. A marketing campaign is a promotion that’s designed to achieve one specific objective under your strategy, rather than your overall business goals.
A marketing campaign usually comes with a specific start and end date. You may launch a campaign to promote a new product, generate more traffic, or attract a new customer demographic.
11 types of digital marketing strategy
There are many digital marketing strategies out there. Some deliver better results than others, so we’ll examine the 11 most effective digital marketing strategies used in our current industry.
1. Inbound marketing
Inbound marketing refers to the whole ecosystem of strategies, tools, and tactics that a marketer uses to convert a website visitor into a paying customer. It includes:
Inbound marketing is an overall approach to attracting, qualifying, nurturing, and delighting customers and prospects. It is not a one-off or something that is deployed quickly or temporarily; rather, it is focused on a long-term relationship with customers.
Why use inbound marketing?
2. Content marketing
Content marketing is focused on answering people’s questions and truly helping them through content rather than interrupting them with unsolicited promotions. It includes content such as blog posts, landing pages, videos, podcasts, infographics, white papers, eBooks, case studies, and more.
In most cases, content marketing has several goals. You may use it to:
Savvy marketers create content that’s ideal for multiple user personas in all stages of the sales funnel. For example, a user who is unaware of your brand and found your website through organic search needs different content than a prospect who is almost ready to buy. You’ll need to understand your buyers’ journeys and come up with unique content that addresses their needs every step of the way.
Why use content marketing?
Account based marketing (ABM) is a powerful B2B marketing strategy that targets specific accounts you select. It’s intended to help sales and marketing teams move prospects through the sales funnel quickly. With ABM, you target the accounts that are most important to you.
Why use account-based marketing?
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of optimizing your website and your content in order to achieve higher rankings in search engines and increase the amount of organic traffic to your site. It involves a variety of tactics, like:
Ultimately, SEO strives to bring in the right visitors organically to drive more leads and sales.
Why use search engine optimization?
5. Social media marketing
Social media marketing uses social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram to:
It requires an ongoing advertising spend and, most of the time, a website landing page designed specifically for users from that ad spend. As soon as your advertising spend ends, the website traffic, likes, and followers end as well.
Why use social media marketing?
6. Email marketing
Email marketing is the practice of sending promotional and informational emails to build relationships with your audience, convert prospects into buyers, and turn one-time buyers into loyal fans of your brand.
These emails may discuss exclusive deals, promote website content, upcoming sales, or general messages on the behalf of your business.
Why use email marketing?
7. PPC advertising
Pay-per-click advertising or PPC is a strategy in which you (the advertiser) pay every time a user clicks on one of your online ads. It’s often done through Google Ads, Bing Ads, or other search engines, and it can be an effective way to reach people who are searching for terms related to your business.
However, costs can range from relatively inexpensive, to thousands of dollars per month, depending on the size and scope of your campaign. And, when a campaign is discontinued, the traffic generated by that campaign is also discontinued.
When users click on pay-per-click ads, they are directed to dedicated landing pages that encourage them to take a certain action:
If you implement a PPC campaign, your primary goal will likely be to increase sales or leads.
Why use PPC?
8. Video marketing
Video used to promote your products, services, and brand may include product demos, interviews with thought leaders in your industry, customer testimonials, or how-to videos.
You can add videos to your website, PPC landing pages, or social media outlets to encourage more conversions and sales.
KPIs may include:
Why use video marketing?
9. Online (and in-person) events
There’s nothing like an event to create buzz around a product. Of course, trade shows have always been a thing, most notably the International CES tech show. But Apple redefined such events for an online audience with its series of high-profile iPhone and Mac launches throughout the 2010s and into the 2020s, often watched by up to 1.8 million people.
It’s unlikely you’ll reach such engagement levels, but there are nevertheless lessons to learn, whether you’re using an event to launch a product, service, or new business.
Why use online events?
10. Chatbot and live chat marketing
Chatbots and messaging apps have become more common in the past decade and are now seen as a valuable marketing, as well as customer service, tool. Some 1.4 billion people who use messaging apps are happy to speak with chatbots. Brands use chatbots to:
But despite these different uses it’s worth considering research from chatbot platform Drift. It says the number one predicted use for a chatbot is ‘getting a quick answer in an emergency so perhaps keep your chatbots simple.
Why use chatbots?
11. Earned media
Put simply, earned media is coverage of your business, products or events written by a third party and which you have not paid for. In digital marketing, it’s best described as PR which you outreach to the media. When the content is picked-up by a publication and written up for their own site, that’s earned media.
Examples of earned media include:
Why use earned media?
How to build a digital marketing strategy
Now it’s time to build a digital marketing strategy, you need to pull everything together. Regardless which of our 11 digital marketing strategies you have chosen, establishing goals, defining audiences and establishing what you need to create is vital.
1. Set goals and objectives
Before you decide on a digital marketing strategy, establish and document your short- and long-term goals. After you decide on your strategy, outline and document specific objectives so you’ll know if your strategy is working. Make sure your goals and objectives are SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely).
Document all your goals, strategies, and objectives so that you can refer to them when it’s time to measure success.
2. Consider buyer personas
It’s impossible to create an effective digital marketing strategy unless you understand the people you’re trying to target. That’s where buyer personas come in. Buyer personasare fictional people who represent the traits of those you’d like to buy your products or services.
Personas should be rooted in data and research. Using your own intuition to create personas with no data behind it can lead to the wrong focus. So that means you need to speak with your customers through in-person, app, or telephone interviews and surveys.
Things to feed into your personas:
Once you’ve created several personas, you’ll find it easier to market to different types of buyers and cater to their needs.
3. Audit your assets
Gain a thorough understanding of what your business already has by documenting your current digital assets. Then, dive deep into each one and rank it from most-effective to least-effective. Once you do, you’ll know which assets need to be improved, and which ones need to be rebuilt from scratch.
Let’s look at the example of an SEO focused content audit. Key elements include:
4. Plan your content creation resource
To stay with the example of a content marketing campaign, once you have established what needs to be created, you’ll need to establish how that work will be executed and delivered. This generally means considerations around:
Once you’ve considered the above alongside your objectives, personas, and audit you can finalize your plan for exactly what content you will create and any additional resource you’ll need.
5. Decide how to distribute your content
With personas confirmed, content creation under way, and resource in place, the next thing to decide is how you will distribute your content. The main consideration is whether you consider the content to be:
Most digital marketing strategies will use a blend of each of these approaches. For example, using SEO-focused blog content on owned channels such as their website, earned social shares and coverage with PR-focused content and putting budget behind paid influencer content.
6. Pinpoint your KPIs
Any digital marketing strategy should be measured continuously. Identify key performance indicators or KPIs, which are measurable values that gauge the effectiveness of your strategy and tactics. Some examples of KPIs include:
Once your digital marketing campaign concludes you can hold a wash-up meeting with all relevant parties to share data around its successes and failures, which can feed into future digital marketing strategy planning.
Digital marketing strategy — final words of advice
Digital marketing is constantly evolving, and it can be difficult to keep up with the latest trends. It can also be tough to create engaging content and break through the clutter. After all, there may be dozens or hundreds of brands promoting their offerings to your target audience.
To ensure your digital marketing strategy drives results:
Also, don’t be afraid to try something new, or ditch something that’s not working. One of the best things about a digital marketing strategy is that it is immediately measurable. Double down on what’s working, and end what is not working.
Frequently asked questions about digital marketing strategies.
What is the most effective digital marketing strategy?
The most effective digital marketing strategy is the one which aligns best with your brand, audience, and campaign objectives. This could be a content marketing strategy which uses content such as blogs and whitepapers to engage audiences, or an event-based strategy which creates buzz around product launches and trade shows to earn media and grow engagement. There are many other options too, and brands will often combine several approaches into their overall digital marketing strategy.
What is digital marketing?
Digital marketing is an umbrella term for marketing that is conducted in the online and digital space. Its aim is to convert browsers into buyers and eventually loyal long-term customers. But whereas traditional marketing uses print media, in-person events, and TV advertising to achieve its goals, digital marketing uses content marketing, PPC advertising, social media, and more.
What is a definition of digital marketing strategy?
A good definition of digital marketing strategy is that it is a strategy put in place by a brand to align with set objectives and goals to attract a specific type, or types, of customer using a combination of marketing techniques. These techniques include content marketing, social media marketing, earned marketing, and more.
Learn more about effective digital marketing strategies
Many businesses choose to work with a trusted partner and invest in software solutions as they create a digital marketing strategy. If you’re ready to bring your strategy to life, Adobe Experience Cloud provides solutions for content management, campaign execution, personalization, lead management and more.
When you’re ready to ramp up your digital marketing strategy, Adobe provides end-to-end digital marketing, enabling you to manage, personalize, optimize, and orchestrate cross-channel campaigns across B2B and B2C use cases. Request a demo today to see what Adobe Experience Cloud can do for you.