As a business owner, you have so many options for increasing your online presence that creating a digital business strategy might seem intimidating. Should you make videos? Send email blasts? Focus solely on search engine optimization?
If you struggle with a clear digital marketing strategy, these suggestions from experts will help you focus on the essentials.
What Is a Digital Strategy?
A digital strategy is a plan for how you market your business online. Your approach will depend on your business, your budget, and your goals.
John Bedford, founder and editor of Viva Flavor, an online food and drink business, says that, in general, "a digital marketing strategy is designed to leverage the online world to draw attention to your products or services, which may or may not be based online themselves."
Digital strategy is multifaceted, according to Perrin Carrell, co-founder and strategy lead at RANQ, a boutique digital strategy firm. "Digital marketing is an umbrella that includes several things: social media marketing, search engine optimization, paid advertising, and email marketing."
Research Your Competitors
Before throwing a lot of money at a digital marking plan in order to increase your online presence, research how your competitors interact with your target audience.
"Identify gaps and areas where you could do better," suggests Elena Parial, founder and senior consultant at Why Marketing. “Whittle down what digital channels appear to draw the most engagement and the type of content shared."
Alex Boyd, founder and CEO of RevenueZen, a startup growth agency, shares his favorite trick for digital strategy. “Pretend you're a customer searching on Google for what it is you do," he says. “Look at the top two to four results that come up. Every week, post an article on your website that's at least twice as good as whatever is on the first page of Google for that search query."
Maximize Your Digital Marketing Time and Dollars
While larger businesses might have the hours and financial flexibility to explore many digital strategy avenues at a time to discover what works best, Bedford suggests small businesses conserve their resources and stay focused on fewer marketing strategies.
"Focusing this way will help you develop expertise and achieve faster, positive feedback from the results," Bedford says. "Doing everything at once will lead to much slower progress overall than if you'd tackled one or two elements, leaving you burned out and demotivated."
Flexibility and frequent review of your digital marketing strategy will also save you time and money long term. Parial says that while you may conduct extensive research and planning, you will still need to tweak your digital strategy and continually revise your online presence.
"No one gets it right straight out of the gate because markets evolve and behaviors change over time," she says. "There's no blueprint."
A digital strategy is vital, and because of its importance in your business, can feel overwhelming. Stay focused on one or two digital marketing efforts and you will see a favorable return on your time and financial investments.