Digital Marketing Strategy, Small Business Digital Marketing

Build a Digital Marketing Strategy

So, you’ve started a business, got a few customers and you’re in full operation on a few social channels. But something is missing! You would like to grow more: increase brand awareness, generate more leads, and increase customer value. It’s time to develop or improve your digital marketing strategy.

What Exactly is a Digital Marketing Strategy?

A digital marketing strategy is a plan of actionable steps, that will help your business achieve specific digital marketing goals, through carefully selected online marketing channels. Examples of those channels are Social media, Paid ads, SEO, Email marketing, etc.

A marketing strategy is about meeting very specific and achievable goals so your business is constantly growing. By having a digital marketing strategy, you can grow your business faster and with more intention. It’s like having a road map helping you get from your ideas, to your goals, using marketing as the transportation.

Digital marketing strategies have many aspects, which we outline below to help you get started. 

How do I Create a Digital Marketing Strategy for my Business?

Let’s start with the digital marketing strategy framework. Each digital marketing strategy follows a similar process for creation and no matter how far you are in your business journey, you’ll want to follow these steps at least the first time you create a digital marketing strategy.

Follow these five steps below to gain a better understanding of your business:

  1. Conduct a high-level overall business review.
  2. Create a buyer persona of your typical customer.
  3. Determine what your goals are and which digital marketing tools you will need to measure those goals.
  4. Assess the marketing success for your existing digital channels.
  5. Review previous and current digital marketing budget.

1. Overall Business Review

When you’re starting to create your marketing strategy, you’ll first want to take a good look at your business. You’ll want to review the high level and do a deep dive into some details of your business.

First take a look at the high level and look at how your industry is doing overall. What are the industry averages and trends? This will give you an idea of any changes you should consider and what the outlook is for your business overall.

Then you want to dive into the details. Take an honest appraisal of your business:

  • What are you doing well?
  • What could you be doing better?
  • What are your competitors doing well?
  • What areas do you have them beat?

What you’re doing is a light Strength, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) Analysis so you can get a glimpse of your businesses future especially compared to your competitors. It can be easy to think you only need to do this analysis once but each year your competition is coming up with new ways to appeal to their clientele and so should you.

2. Buyer Personas – Let’s Build a Buyer!

The best digital marketing strategies are built from very detailed buyer personas. You must know who you are providing a product or service for, to better build a strategy that will gain their attention. 

Now let’s discover your buyer’s deepest darkest secrets! Joking, we just need to find out more details and get very specific when creating your buyer persona.  

Ideally, this should be based on real data so your marketing strategy is accurate and targeting the right people at the right place. You can obtain this information by researching, surveying, and interviewing your business’s target audience. If you don’t have time to physically create a survey then when you’re talking with customers remember to ask them questions to learn about them and put it in your notes about that customer.

Quantitative and Demographic Information

  • Location: Identify where the majority of your website traffic is coming from. You can do this by using web Google Analytics, which is a free analytics tool. This will easily identify the location your website traffic is coming from.
  • Age: Buyers in different age ranges have different habits and lifestyles. Collect this data by identifying trends in your existing prospect and contact database or using Google Analytics.
  • Income: Best to collect this data through research interviews. 

Qualitative and Psychographic Information

  • Goals & Challenges: You may already know what the goals & challenges are for your customer, based on the problem your product or service solves. But if you don’t, speak directly to your real customers to find out what they are.  If you have a sales and customer service department, discuss with them what the customer is saying about the company. This will also give you a deeper understanding of your buyer.
  • Hobbies/ Interests: Find out what your customer and those who align with your target audience, like to do in their free time. Does your customer go hiking on the weekends, or enjoy tailgating parties and/or sporting events? This information will come in handy when looking for promotional partnerships for campaigns. You may want to run a promotional campaign where the winner receives tickets to the local baseball event or a super deluxe cooler for tailgating.
  • Priorities: Talk to customers and target audiences to find out what’s most important to them when it comes to your business. Do they value fair price, good service, good product or do they want to feel valued. If good service is what keeps your customer coming back then you would maintain stellar customer service or increase your customer services efforts if they are lacking.

After collecting all of the information above, you’ll be able to create buyer personas that are accurate and highly-valuable for your digital marketing strategy to successfully grow your business.

3. Determine Goals and Marketing Tools

The marketing goals should always align directly with the fundamental goals of your business. If you want to increase your revenue by 10% then a marketing goal could be to generate 30% more leads online than last year. If you want to increase brand awareness then a marketing goal could be to offer free content for your targeted audience like an e-book, templates, educational videos, and worksheets. 

The key to all digital marketing strategies is you must be able to measure the success of your strategy and efforts using the right digital marketing tools. An example of a good marketing tool is the Reporting Dashboard in HubSpot or Google Analytics for a low-cost option.

4. Assess the Success of Your Existing Channels

First, take a look at the digital marketing channels your business is currently present on. Start by categorizing each channel in an Owned, Earned, Paid Media Framework spreadsheet. This will help to decide which marketing strategies are working well and the ones that are not producing results on your online channels.


Owned Media

These are digital assets that are owned by your business: your website, social media profiles, blog content, or imagery. Your business has total control over Owned channels.

Earned Media

This type of media refers to exposure gained through word-of-mouth marketing. This could consist of content your business has shared on other websites like guest posting, positive customer service reviews and PR work you’ve been doing for the brand. Earned media is the recognition your business has received in return for your marketing efforts.

Paid Media

Any channel your business spends money on to gain the attention of your target audience is Paid Media. Examples include mediums like Google AdWords, paid social media posts, and native advertising. Paid Media are those channels you spend money to be presented on, in exchange for increased visibility.

5. Review Previous and Current Marketing Budget

Lastly, but still very important, you want to compare the amount spent on your digital marketing channels past and present. Take a look at your Owned, Earned, Paid Media Framework spreadsheet and decide which channels are meeting your marketing goals. If your business only operates on owned media (i.e., your website) and the business is not growing, you may want to focus your digital marketing strategy on using paid media (Facebook Ads) or earned media (guest blog posting).

You’re Ready to start building a strategy!

Digital marketing strategies are imperative to running and growing a successful business. With these five steps, you can control your digital marketing efforts better and pivot quickly when channels are not producing results. The main point is you have to have a strategy!  Robert Kiyosaki says, “Always start at the end before you begin.” This means you must start with creating a digital marketing strategy that states your end goals.

Need help with starting at the end? Download our Simple Digital Marketing Strategy PDF worksheet and begin successfully strategizing for your business! 

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