There are countless articles out there that tell you how to create a digital marketing strategy, but how helpful are they? These articles inundate businesses like yours with digital marketing strategies you may have never considered before. And too often, businesses are overwhelmed when they try to implement high-level strategies from these lists—in short, they didn’t know what they were getting into.
We don’t want digital marketing to be an overwhelming experience for your business. That’s why we’ve developed a digital marketing checklist that ranks the most popular strategies by how easy they are to pick up.
Are you ready to really learn how to create a digital marketing strategy? Then let’s start with the basics: the day-one must-have strategies.
Day-One Must-Do Digital Marketing Strategies
The digital marketing strategies in this section are for the absolute rookies. Perhaps you just started your business, or you’ve had a business for a while but have no experience with online advertising. Regardless, the strategies in this category represent the bare minimum efforts you should use to raise brand awareness—nothing fancy, just telling the world you exist.
Using every tool in this section can help you develop a strong and reliable digital marketing foundation to build upon later.
Launch Your Own Website
Websites are the core of every digital marketing strategy—without a website, you can’t introduce your brand to the world or interact with your customers.
If you don’t have a website (or your current website isn’t great), look for a platform that is equipped to aid your future optimization efforts. These capabilities may be built-in or added as a widget later on—just be sure optimization features are an option.
Some platforms you may consider using include:
All of these platforms also allow you to optimize your website for mobile, which is essential for capturing the 54.8 percent of web traffic surfing on mobile devices.
Optimize Your Website with Relevant Keywords
A key element of search engine optimization (SEO) is targeting specific keywords that relate to your products/industry and integrating them into your website’s content.
But you can’t just pick any word that relates to your business—you need to use a keyword research tool to discover the words and phrases your likely customers are actually using to find what you have to offer.
For keyword research beginners, we recommend any of the following:
While there are free and reduced-price trial versions of all of these keyword research tools, we recommend making room in your marketing budget for the paid version. SEO has some of the highest return on investment (ROI) of any digital marketing strategy, so we can promise it will be worth it.
Feeling ready to go beyond basic keyword research? We’ve got tips on intermediate and advanced keyword research tools in these posts:
Launch a Paid Campaign with Google Ads
SEO is great, but it takes time for keywords to actually rank—sometimes even up to a year to see the full results.
While you wait, you should use Google Ads Keyword Planner. With this tool, you can use the same keywords you found previously or discover new ones. Then you can bid on those words to try and rank for them in the ad spaces on search engine results pages (SERPs). Your ad campaign will help you raise additional brand awareness on search engines while your organic marketing approach takes time to warm up.
Set Up Google Analytics
The only way to make sure any of your digital marketing efforts have a lasting effect is by tracking their progress through data analytics.
Google Analytics is the easiest way to do this. With a free subscription, Google Analytics allows you to:
- Automatically collect data about visitors coming to your website.
- Compile customized reports.
- Learn the demographics of your website’s visitors (which helps you target your marketing messages).
- Better understand which social platforms you should market toward (shows you which platforms are directing people to your website).
If you’re planning on using organic search in your digital marketing strategy (which you absolutely should), then Google Analytics is a must. It is a straightforward tool that will help you determine whether your keyword optimization efforts are working.
Set Up Social Media Accounts
Millions of people go on social media every day, so it’s an exceptional place to raise your brand awareness. Plus, many social media platforms come with their own analytics tools, allowing you to gather data in addition to what you learn from Google Analytics.
Keep in mind though, you shouldn’t just sign up for every single social media platform in existence. Different channels attract different types of people, and your audience may prefer Instagram to TikTok.
If you don’t know where your audience is, we’d recommend taking the time to do some audience research. Keyhole is a great resource for this. Simply add the keywords you want to target (which you should’ve decided earlier) and it will show you which platform uses hashtags related to that topic.
Setting up any social media account is simple in practice—you can probably fill out all the required information fields in just a few minutes. But making your social accounts look professional takes much longer.
For starters, your profile images and the content you share should match the look and feel of your website. Your customers will read the consistent branding as trustworthiness. Plus, consumers see a business’s social accounts as another place to ask customer service questions, and they expect prompt answers. Make sure someone checks for and answers messages at least once a day, if not more often.
Monitor Your Website in Google Search Console
There are a lot of technical parts of SEO that are somewhat confusing but incredibly important to get right. Fortunately, you don’t need to be an SEO expert to address these issues.
Google Search Console is a simple approach to technical SEO monitoring. With it, you can be alerted to any site issues with some actionable tips on how to fix them. Meanwhile, you can stay up to date on your site’s visibility on search engines.
Get Your Business Named in Online Directory Listings
Online directory listings are like the modern phone book—customers will look up something like “food near me,” and a search engine will spew out a list of nearby locations. Such is the case with Google My Business and Yahoo! Small Business.
If you have a physical store location, putting your business on these online directories is in your best interest.
The “I’m Getting the Hang Of This!” Strategies
If you’ve managed to check off all the marketing strategies in the previous section, congratulations! You’ve graduated from rookie status and can call yourself an expert-in-training. It’s also time to move past simple brand awareness and get into some more involved digital marketing strategies.
Launch a Blog or Another Content Marketing Strategy
Content marketing strategies allow brands to answer questions about their products or their industry. This establishes brand authority and builds rapport with leads, helping nurture them toward conversion.
You can use those keyword research tools we mentioned in the last section to find questions and topics people are interested in. You should also see what your competitors are writing about to get an idea of what your audience is interested in. Or, if you have an interesting topic on your mind that you want to write about, write about it.
You don’t need new software for a blog; you can usually set up a blog on your website, no matter what platform you use. In that case, your website platform also qualifies as your content management system (CMS).
Optimize Your Site’s Load Speed with Google PageSpeed Insights (Page Speed Checker)
Site speed is a ranking factor for Google, and having slow speeds is easy to miss. Fortunately, Google has its own site speed tester, PageSpeed Insights, which gives your website a ranking and offers actionable insights on how your site speed could improve.
Connect with Customers via Email Marketing
Email marketing is an excellent way to foster a lasting and meaningful relationship with your customers and leads. Think about it—if you’ve ever signed up for an email newsletter, you probably genuinely cared about what that brand had to offer. The same will be true for your customers who sign up for a newsletter or email updates.
But to send out an effective email marketing campaign, you need a high-functioning email marketing service. We recommend either MailChimp (which offers a free version) or Constant Contact to manage your emails.
The Ultra-Advanced, Previously Daunting Strategies
What are you doing here? Have you checked off every other item in the last two sections? Wow, kudos. If you’re ready to use these strategies, you’re seriously a digital marketing expert now—training wheels off.
But there’s still more to do! Here are the ultra-advanced digital marketing techniques that you’re prepared to handle now that you’ve got some experience under your belt.
Perform a Site Audit
Ready for a hard truth? Search engine optimization best practices change all the time. And as you implement more optimization strategies onto your website, it can become cluttered with errors that hurt your rankings. To combat this, you should run an audit on your website to determine if anything is harming your optimization efforts. The best way to do this is with a site crawling tool like Screaming Frog.
Check out our Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Using Screaming Frog to get a handle on this tool.
Create Marketing Videos
Video marketing probably has the most sex appeal out of any marketing medium, and the numbers prove it:
- 85 percent of internet users in the United States consume video content on mobile.
- 87 percent of marketers believe video content has produced a positive ROI.
- 56 percent of internet users aged 25–34 want to see more video content from businesses.
Unfortunately, video content is hard to get right. Plus, you need to invest quite a bit of money into any video content marketing strategy. That’s why we recommend you wait to use video marketing until you have a solid foundation of organic lead generation. And when you are ready, you can share these videos on your social platforms and host them on a YouTube/Vimeo channel.
Invest in a CRM Platform for Marketing Automation
There are plenty of reasons you need marketing automation (MA), like improving customer retention and boosting customer engagement. But MA strategies are best bolstered by customer relationship management (CRM) tools, a database that stores information about your leads and past customers.
We recommend using Hubspot for your CRM tool, which helps you view up-to-date information on every lead in your sales funnel.
Automate Sharing Content on Social Media
If you’re devout about posting onto your social channels, you’ve probably complained about how tedious it is to upload every post individually. If you’ve wondered whether there’s an easier way to go about it—well, there is!
Paid social scheduling tools, like Hootsuite, Sprout Social, and Buffer, allow you to schedule your posts months in advance. Now, you can just set it and forget it—just set yourself a reminder when you need to load up more posts in the pipeline.
These tools will also pull analytics from all of your platforms to give you a centralized location to observe data analytics.
Make the Most of Every Site Visitor with CRO
Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is the process of refining your website to produce the optimal amount of conversions possible. Platforms like VWO and Hotjar can help you do this by performing A/B testing (seeing if one design option is better than the other) on different web designs and telling you which ones yield the most lead engagement and highest conversion rates.
Need to optimize your digital marketing tool spend? Find the best free (or low-price tools) in our Free Digital Marketing Tool Kit.
Dive into the World of Digital Marketing
Ready to go? Use this digital marketing strategy checklist to tackle digital marketing in the optimal order.
Naturally, you may find the learning curve on some of these strategies is rather steep, so you may want to look for a partner who can help you learn the ropes. If that’s the case, consider what Big Leap can offer you. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you at every stage of your digital marketing journey.
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