How to Create a Winning Digital Strategy to Drive Your Business Performance

Guest Post By Lucy Manole

You already know that to thrive as a business today you have to go all-in on digital. But with so many platforms and techniques, digital can be chaos. You can always have a hit-and-miss approach to see some positive results, but it’s not sustainable, measurable, or even correctly tied to your business’s long-term performance goals.

So, you need a digital strategy — something structured (yet agile) that serves as a reliable roadmap to keep your business on track for greater performance.

In this post, we’ll see exactly why you need a well-defined digital strategy, what all information to include in it, and how to create a winning digital strategy that drives real business performance and growth.

Table of Contents

Why do you need a digital strategy?

What all to include in your digital marketing strategy?

A four-step approach to a winning digital strategy

1. Set Goals and KPIs

2. Understand and define your target audience

3. Define your value proposition and digital channels

4. Optimize your digital strategy

Over to you

Why do you need a digital strategy?

In simple words, a well-defined digital strategy gives your brand a clear direction. With a documented plan in place, you know everything you need to help your business grow.

An effective digital strategy document includes the following details:

  • Your short and long term goals
  • Your customer persona
  • The digital channels and tactics you need to get your customer’s attention
  • A step-by-step plan to drive conversions and retain customers
  • The means to analyze and optimize your marketing performance

That seems a bit too much, right? Do you really need to invest so much time and effort in creating a digital marketing strategy?

After all, nearly half of all businesses don’t have a clearly defined digital strategy in place. So it’s easy to think you can get away with it if you don’t have one.

But, according to CoSchedule’s State of Marketing Strategy Report, the highest performing digital businesses:

  • Document their digital marketing strategy: Marketers who document are 538% more likely to achieve success than those who don’t.
  • Set goals: Marketers who set clear goals are 429% more likely to succeed than those who don’t. 81% of these marketers achieve their goals. 10% of organized marketers always achieve their goals.
  • Study their audience. High-performing businesses are 242% more likely to conduct audience research four times a year. Almost 60% of the best marketers featured in the study conduct audience research once or more per month.

So the answer is simple — the more time you invest in setting sensible goals, understanding your target audience, and planning how you’ll approach your digital marketing, the more likely your business is to perform well. And a digital strategy document helps you get all these things in place.

What all to include in your digital marketing strategy?

You already have an idea of what a digital strategy should consist of. In particular, it focuses on the following four areas:

  • Setting goals and key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure success
  • Understanding and defining your target audience
  • Defining your unique value proposition and the digital channels to leverage
  • Auditing and optimizing your digital campaigns

Your digital strategy should also define the tools and resources you (and your team) would use to implement everything. To ensure effective digital adoption of your enterprise tools — such that all the features are used to the fullest capabilities by all your employees — you can use any of the AppLearn alternatives.

Now, let’s look into the four areas outlined above in more detail.

A four-step approach to a winning digital strategy

Here’s how you can create and implement a winning digital strategy that drives your business performance through the roof.

1. Set Goals and KPIs

It all starts with deciding what you want to achieve with your digital efforts. Your goals will guide your digital strategy, so you need to set them right.

There are two types of goals you should focus on: quantitative and qualitative.

Quantitative goals can be measured using numbers. For example, increasing your SaaS business’s annual recurring revenue by 20% or boosting your overall eCommerce conversion rate by 10%.

Qualitative goals are descriptive and intangible, but just as important. For example, goals like boosting customer trust or enhancing your online brand reputation.

Ensure your goals are:

  • SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely)
  • Tied to your company’s mission, vision, and values
  • Concise — 2–3 main goals along with a 4–5 supporting goals
  • Broken down into smaller, step-by-step milestones

You also need to define your key performance indicators (KPIs) — the metrics that help you gain a clear understanding of how your team, products, and overall business are performing.

There are hundreds of KPIs you can measure, such as:

  • Monthly website traffic
  • Pages per visit
  • Conversion rate
  • Customer lifetime value (CLV)
  • ROI on a specific marketing channel
  • Customer acquisition cost (CAC)
  • Net promoter score (NPS)

Don’t get lost in measuring them all. Pick the KPIs that have the biggest impact on your business — the 20% of KPIs that measure 80% of your performance — as these are the ones that help you focus on your goals.

2. Understand and define your target audience

You’ve listed down your goals. Now it’s time to think about the same from your audience’s perspective. That’s because if you thoroughly understand your target customers, doing business becomes much easier.

So you need to figure out your customers’ demographics and psychographics. This includes information about:

  • Market size: Is your market broad or a highly specific niche? Who are your competitors? What areas can you disrupt?
  • Audience attributes: What’s your target audience’s age group? Gender? Location? Marital status? Determine all the important demographic information about your audience.
  • Customer preferences: Figure out what online platforms do your customers prefer to hang out on? This includes social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to Q&A platforms like Quora and Reddit. Determine what types of content they love to consume. Do they prefer subscribing over a one-time purchase? Do they browse around for prices and then buy on Amazon? Which online review platforms do they go to check reviews?
  • Customer complaints: Online reviews about your competitors are helpful to understand potential areas of improvement you can capitalize on. Go through your competitors’ reviews and list the common concerns and complaints brought up by customers.

Don’t assume you know your customers without doing extensive research. Your data on customers’ wants and needs will keep evolving, so consistent research is the only way to stay on top of what your customers truly want.

3. Define your value proposition and digital channels

The next step is to define your business’s value proposition. Your value proposition is basically what answers the “why” someone should do business with you (and not your competitors). It makes the unique benefits of your offerings (products, services, content, etc.) crystal clear.

Your value proposition gives your customers a compelling reason to do business with you and sets your business apart from your competitors.

Then, you need to identify the digital channels that’ll work best for your business, as there’s no shortage of the channels you can focus on:

  • Content marketing
  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Pay per click (PPC) advertising
  • Display and native advertising
  • Email marketing
  • Social media advertising
  • Influencer marketing

For social media marketing, in particular, there are plenty of platforms to choose from. Only pick the ones where your audience hangs out the most and focus on building an authoritative presence on those select platforms. You don’t have to be present everywhere.

For example, if you run a local restaurant, establishing a strong presence on Instagram and Facebook should do the trick. Conversely, if you’re a B2B SaaS startup, focussing on LinkedIn and Twitter is sensible.

Thus, take the time to do your homework. Survey existing customers about their social platform preferences. Understand what your competitors are doing. Use data to decide the digital channels you should invest in.

4. Optimize your digital strategy

Last but not least, don’t forget to test the channels you’re investing in. Check each channel’s analytics to see what’s working and whether you should invest more or pivot to a different channel.

All the major digital platforms (such as email marketing platforms, social media management tools, your website’s CMS, etc.) have built-in analytics offerings and there are plenty of third-party platforms that offer all kinds of data reporting.

Remember the goals and KPIs you set earlier. Did your blog attract the desired monthly page visits? Did the email campaign drive more conversions? Did that Facebook ad campaign boost sales for your new product?

Check the numbers regularly and keep optimizing your digital strategy. It’s not a set-and-forget deal. Double down on your best-performing campaigns, content, and channels, and let go of the ones that don’t perform even after a few tweaks.

Over to you

Of course, creating an explicit digital strategy isn’t a guarantee of success. But rest assured your business is way more likely to succeed if you have a pre-defined yet flexible strategy in place that you can refer to and revise each year.

As most companies don’t have one and are quite unprepared to tackle the digital realm, you’ll gain an edge with a well-crafted digital strategy.

So go ahead and implement the four-step approach outlined in this post, and you’ll have a winning digital marketing strategy that drives your business performance to the next level.

By Lucy Manole

Lucy Manole is a creative content writer and strategist at Marketing Digest. She specializes in writing about digital marketing, technology, entrepreneurship, and education. When she is not writing or editing, she spends time reading books, cooking and traveling.

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