Given the amount of people using the internet today, it is so important that your business is online. Marketing has always been about connecting with your audience in the right place, at the right time. This means, you need to meet them where they are spending their time: the internet.

Building a strong marketing strategy is key to a prospering, competitive business, and it is especially important to adapt and review your marketing strategy regularly, especially when markets and customers change.

In this guide, we cover 5 steps to build the perfect digital marketing strategy.

1. Identify your business goals

The first thing you need to do in setting your marketing strategy is identifying your overarching business goals, so you can then define a set of marketing goals to support them. Your business goals may include:

  1. Increasing awareness of your products / services
  2. Selling more products / services than previous year
  3. Reaching a new audience

2. Determine your marketing objectives

Once you have your business goals, you need to determine your marketing objectives based on these. For example, selling existing products to a new target market, increasing sales, enhancing customer relationships, increasing brand awareness and loyalty etc.

Once you have these objectives, you need to make sure they are as detailed as possible so you can effectively measure the outcomes. You could use, for example, the SMART method:

  1. Specific: Clearly state what you want to achieve
  2. Measurable: Set objectives that you can measure
  3. Achievable: Set objectives that are realistic
  4. Relevant: Set objectives that improve your business
  5. Time-bound: Set a time frame to achieve those outcomes

Re-evaluate these objectives every 6 months, make changes if necessary, and use them to measure your marketing success.

3. Understand and analyse your customers and market

Research is an essential part of your marketing strategy. As Simon from Relish Research Ltd explained in our article last week, “anywhere between 70% – 90% of new product launches (globally) fail”.

This is where the process of researching your customers and your market, adds value. There are statistics that show how even a little research correlates more strongly with effective (and award-winning) advertising campaigns.

To research your market, you need to gather information such as its size, growth, social trends and demographics (such as age, gender and family type). It is important you keep an eye on your market regularly, so you are aware of any changes over time, and update your strategy accordingly.

To research your customers, you need to create a profile of your ideal customer and identify their needs. Their profile needs to identify how they buy, where they buy and what they buy. Again, it’s important you review these trends regularly, so you adapt your strategy accordingly.

It is especially important during this time to do your research. Markets have changed and needs of customers have certainly changed so you need to adapt your marketing message accordingly.

4. Examine your competitors

Competition is hard these days. It can be hard to keep up, let alone get ahead.

Firstly, identify your competitors. There are many ways to do this. But my advice would be to firstly, identify who you are – who are your customers, what is your biggest product / service, your biggest industry keywords?

A simple Google search will bring up a list of competitors. Go on their websites, social media etc. and have a little look around. You’ll soon discover who their customers are and where they’re getting the most engagement.

Put all this information into a spreadsheet for your biggest competitors.

Next you need to identify their marketing strategies. For example: Is their website user friendly? Do they over free delivery over £20? Are they regularly running sales? Are they regularly posting new blogs? Do you run a weekly podcast? Do they have a newsletter sign up?

Just having a look at their online presence will give you many takeaways that you can note down and think how you can go above this and build this into your strategy.

5. Establish your marketing methods

Once you’ve found out who your customers are, where they live online and how they best absorb information, it’s time to decide on your best marketing methods to explain, teach, and communicate your brand messaging. We split our marketing into 3 areas:

1. Inbound

This is where, by producing informative, engaging and valuable content, prospects come IN to your website or mailing list by their own accord. Whilst outbound marketing interrupts your audience with content they don’t always want, inbound marketing forms connections they are looking for.

Examples of inbound marketing:

  • Blog posts with good call to actions
  • Search Engine Optimisation
  • Webinars
  • Content on your website
  • Video content
  • Podcasts
  • Lead magnets, such as calculators, brochures and e-books
  • Signing up to a newsletter
2. Outbound

This is where you send messages out to your potential customers. This includes any marketing where you are actively pursuing a prospect. It is the traditional method of marketing and is more costly than inbound.

Examples of outbound marketing include:

  • Email marketing
  • Physical mailshots
  • Telemarketing
  • Banner advertising

Whilst outbound marketing tends to be labelled as ‘outdated’, depending on your business, this could work in your favour and is another way to ‘stand out from the crowd and your competitors’.

3. Referral

At its core, referral marketing is about enabling and incentivising your existing customer base to encourage their friends, business contacts or family to come and try your product or service for the first time.

Referral marketing is so valuable usually when someone refers another person to your business it is because it is relevant to that person right now and they also trust the person who has referred them.

It is key to ensure you have referral marketing build into your marketing strategy. 83% of customers and clients are willing to refer you to their contacts, but only 29% of them do. You need to be actively asking for referrals or setting up a rewards-based system for these referrals.

It can be as simple as asking your current customers to refer you, or you could build relationships with business contacts and both refer business to each other.

We will be going into more detail about referral marketing next week.

Once you have decided which methods you are going to focus attention on, ensure you state how much time and budget you’ll be spending on each. With this, it is also important to measure the ROI of each method and how they work into your upcoming projects.

ROI compares the amount of money you spend on a project with the amount of revenue you gain from it. When dealing with an online ad strategy, you may be able to see a lot easier how good that method’s return on investment is. With other methods, like blog posts (inbound) and direct mail (outbound), it can be harder to always track whether they are leading to a purchase or conversion.

A good way to set a “good ROI” is to look at the return from similar methods you’ve tried in the past, as well as your current conversion numbers. That information should help you create ROI benchmarks and goals that are realistic for your business.

 A simple formula for marketing ROI is:

 Number of leads x lead-to-customer rate x average sales price 


But there are many different formulas you could use depending on your method or project outcome. We will go into more detail about the importance of calculating ROI and how to calculate it soon.

Even if you already have a strategy, it’s important you start making steps to adapt this. Your current strategy may just be on connecting with your clients and target audience on a more personal level, as we mentioned in a previous article, so you need to ensure you don’t snap out of this and change your strategy overnight.

If you need any help with implementing your marketing strategy, please contact our Inbound Marketing Manager at

Contact me today!

Ayse Cooper

Inbound Marketing Manager

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