Digital Marketing Strategy – How do we get there?

The key elements of digital strategy involve revisiting and aligning the main thrust of your marketing strategy in an online context, make sure you draw from other plans. If there isn’t one, then use the headers below. Don’t get drawn into the details at this stage. That’s the tactics.

You may want to summarise the essence of some or all of the digital strategies below. How are you going to leverage the potential of digital marketing to your business, and how does that meet the objectives? This is about your approach only, not the detail.

Consider breaking it down as well, it’s often easier to explain in smaller, bite-size chunks, this also helps when it comes to tactics which should hang from the strategies below.

Here is an additional checklist showing all of the key strategy definitions to consider which are covered throughout this template.

Here are some suggestions of specific strategic issues you should consider

Targeting and segmentation

  • Define your key buyer personas.
  • A company’s online customers may have different demographic characteristics, needs and behaviours to its offline customers. It follows that different approaches to segmentation may be required and specific segments may need to be selectively targeted though specific content and messaging on your site or elsewhere on the web. This capability for micro-targeting is one of the biggest benefits of digital marketing.
  • Specific targeting approaches to apply online described in the book include demographic, value-based, lifecycle and behavioural personalization.


How do you position your online products and services in the customers mind? Consider

  • Reinforcing your core proposition. How do you use digital channels to prove your brand value, brand trust and brand relevance to digital consumers?
  • Define your online value proposition (OVP). To include new digital products and services or digital augmented products. Even if these aren’t practical in your market sector, you should define the OVP available from your website and messaging channels like email and social media to support the buying process and customers through onboarding and customer service.
  • Define these in key messages for different audiences, e.g., prospects against existing customers, segments with different value you target.
  • You need clear messaging hierarchies to effectively communicate your positioning both in online and offline media.

Proposition and the marketing mix

Think about the digital marketing mix – how can you provide differential value to customers through varying the 4Ps online through Product, Price, Promotion and Place and how can you add value through service? And don’t forget what PR Smith calls the Eighth P of “Partnering”

Particularly if you sell online, you will want to explain how you will modify the marketing mix. For example:

  • Product. Can you offer a different product range online? How can you add value to products through additional content or digital services?
  • Price. Review your revenue models, pricing and consider differential pricing for online products or services.
  • Place. Identify your online distribution issues and challenges. Should you create new intermediaries or portals or partner with existing sites?
  • Promotion. Discuss the problems and opportunities of the online communications mix. These will be detailed in the acquisition and retention communications strategies. Review approaches for online promotions and merchandising to increase sales. You may want to include exclusive promotions to support the growth of different digital channels, i.e., Email, Mobile, Facebook, Twitter.
  • People. Can use automated tools such as FAQ to deliver \”web self-service\” or should you provide online contact points through Live Chat or Phone Call-back.
  • Processes. List the components of process and understand the need to integrate them into a system.
  • Physical evidence. Identify the digital components that give ‘evidence’ to customers of your credibility such as awards and testimonials
  • Place. The eighth P. So much of marketing today is based on strategic partnerships, marketing marriages and alliances so we have added this ‘P’ in as a vital ingredient in today’s marketing mix

Brand strategy

Creating a compelling brand identity and personality is now paramount to success, how and where are you going to do that – brand favorability follows credibility and trust – what do you understand will be the reasons to engage with your brand, why would they click through – or not – how will you demonstrate credibility online. Develop dedicated brand tone-of-voice guidelines for communicating through digital channels.

Online representation or presence

This includes your own website domain strategy (one site or four, sub-domains, what are the site goals and how will they be achieved) and priorities for social presences. Representation also includes forming partnerships with publishers or other intermediaries to expand your reach (or acquiring them).

Content and engagement strategy

Which content will feature to gain initial interest, support the buying process (text and rich media product content and tools) and stickiness and to promote return visits (blogs and community). Remember user-generated content too, such as reviews, ratings and comments. You will have to prioritize content types and ensure you devote sufficient resource to create quality content which helps you compete.

Digital channel acquisition communications strategy
Outline how you will acquire traffic, what are the main approaches you will use? Don’t forget to consider how you drive visitors through offline media and integrated campaigns.

Key digital media channels for traffic acquisition would include:

  • Search engine marketing (natural and paid)
  • Social media marketing and Online PR (think brand strategy)
  • Partner and affiliate marketing
  • Display advertising
  • Email marketing to leads database

Digital channel conversion strategy

  • How does the user experience, which depends on information architecture, page template design, merchandising, messaging, and performance help you make it easy for visitors to engage and convert.

Digital channel retention communications strategy

  • Often neglected, what will be the main online and offline tactics to encourage advocacy, loyalty, repeat visits and sales? Again, integrated campaigns involving offline touch points are crucial to include here.

Data strategy

What are your goals in permission marketing and data capture – what/where/how/when/why, what tools and value adds are you going to use? You might alternatively reference these in the conversion strategy.

  • How do you manage customer identities securely across multiple channels?
  • How do you improve the quality of your customer data across channels to help increase the relevance of your messages through personalization?

Multichannel integration strategy

  • How you integrate traditional and digital channels should run through every section of your digital marketing and strategy since it’s key to success. One way to structure this is to map customer journeys across channels as channel chains.

Social media marketing strategy

  • We would argue that social media marketing is part of a broader customer engagement strategy plus brand, acquisition, conversion, and retention strategies, but many organizations are grappling with how they get value from this, so it may help to develop an overall social media marketing strategy.

Digital marketing and strategy governance

  • In larger organizations how you manage digital marketing is a big challenge. Questions that the governance strategy seeks to answer are how do we manage internal and external resources through changes to structures and skills needed for digital and multichannel marketing?

Tactics and Actions

Tactics are where the rubber hits the road to get results, so you need to define how you will implement your digital marketing and strategy in the real world – when you’ll do it, with what, your goals for each tactic aligned to the main objectives and how each will be measured.

Each strategy section from A to J will need implementation details which you can get specialists in your team or agencies to develop. Remember that with digital, \”the devil is in the detail\”. If there’s only you, create a plan and do it! You have the benefit that you can be nimbler, so can test and learn as you go.

How are you going to divide the year up? Thinking about campaigns versus seasonal or business focuses helps to get the plan actionable. Consider quarterly (90-day) blocks to focus on and ensure objectives, strategies and tactics are focused on that.

Keep this section light and fact based and avoid too much description repeated in the strategy section. Hang your tactics under the strategic hangers, for example traffic acquisition, so that it’s easy for others to follow


Create measurable KPIs to align against objectives and stay on track

Issues to reference include:

  • Budgets – media, digital platform investments and resources
  • Timescales including a longer-term roadmap if necessary
  • Organize your reporting in digital dashboards for different markets so that it’s easy to summarize and keep up to date against the plan.
  • Consider KPIs (key performance indicators) that relate to tactics, strategies, and objectives. Sometimes a KPI is an objective, for example a KPI could be weekly total natural search traffic, home page bounce or email open rate. These can be good early warnings to objectives like ‘online sales revenue’ or ‘new leads’ not being met.

The key is that (assuming your objectives were clear, detailed, and relevant) you have the headers to site your KPIs and measure against them.

  • Consider how you will measure and report using web analytics
  • Are there other measurement tools and resources needed?
  • What is the process to measure and report? For example, looking at keyword level traffic daily is not actionable, but home page bounce can be if site changes are made
  • Think about creating a KPI summary dashboard


In larger organizations, you have to think about resourcing, i.e.:

  • Skills – internal and agency requirements to deliver on your plan
  • Structure – do you have a separate digital team, or can you integrate?
  • Systems – the processes to make things work and keep you agile

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Sean Dempsey Marketing
Sean Dempsey

With over a decade of experience, Sean is an amazing, data-driven inbound marketer who will manage the majority of the marketing funnel for your company. Sean attracts site traffic, converting that traffic into new leads for your business and nurturing those leads to close into customers. Contact Sean about Inbound Marketing.