When people talk about digital marketing strategies they’re usually referring to building marketing campaigns using the big six:

A circle chart of digital marketing strategies overlapping with one another: Website, Email Marketing, Paid Online Advertising, Social Media, Blogging, Directory Listings
Wondering where SEO fits into this? Find out this and more here on our blog post: What is Digital Marketing.

The prospect of choosing the right marketing mix and actually finding the time to implement it can feel pretty daunting. Just last week I was planning out my own digital marketing campaign for MayeCreate, and even though I do it every single day, I felt totally overwhelmed. I thought, “Man, I wish I had a workbook…” and then I realized I did! First, I did the head slap 😏, because duh, and then I opened up a recent presentation I gave about planning digital marketing and started from the beginning, step by step. Here are a few of the concepts I used as ground rules to guide myself and the workshop attendees as we began to plan their digital marketing strategies; my favorite tried and true. 

1. You do you.

When you’re planning your marketing — any type of marketing, not just digital — the most important part is staying true to yourself. What makes your business unique is you. As humans, we often try to assimilate. Most of the time, we’re trying not to stand out of the crowd. But when it comes to your marketing, you need to be memorable. The best way to represent yourself is as who and what you truly are. It is important to review your competition and see what they’re doing, what works and what doesn’t. From there, think about what makes you different, and hone in on you.

If you have strong Christian roots in your company, there is no shame in talking about it in your marketing. If that’s the competitive advantage that holds your company together as one strong unit, do it. There’s a taxi company in my town, and on the back of every is the phrase, “Powered by God.” I love it. It’s theirs. It’s unique and they are representing themselves as themselves. 

Talking about yourself openly in your marketing can be scary. 

When we first started MayeCreate, I wrote copy just like every other marketing company does. “We’re going to help you. We’re gonna take care of you. We care about our customers.” Just like everyone else says. Then one day, I read that copy. And I thought, “No, this is not us.” It’s not that we don’t care about our customers, we really do! And we certainly help and take care of them. It’s the way we do it that makes us MayeCreate.   

We communicate with our customers straight-up, no dog and pony show – telling it like it is, no frills attached. Some people can take that kind of honesty and other people can’t. Here’s the deal: I only want the clients that can. By presenting myself the way everyone else does, I wasn’t inviting the people who want and need my style of communication from a company to do business with me. They thought I was just like everyone else.

So I rewrote our website copy, every page of it. I put in all those quirky things that we say around the office. Things we hear embarrassed sales people say when they’re talking about their own marketing. Things like, “If you think your website stinks, so does everybody else.” Because we give it to them straight, people come to us excited about our frankness, knowing and believing we’re going to be honest with them, even if it hurts. 

2. Segment.

Your target market is not everyone. Your product may solve problems for tons of different people, but they seldom think about their problems in the same way because they view them through the lens of their own life. You wouldn’t talk to your neighbor about his kid’s batting average when his son’s still in diapers — it’s not relevant. Segment your audience and speak to each person specifically, addressing their challenges individually through their life lens.

One effective way to approach segmenting is to create what is called a buyer persona. A buyer persona is a great way to market an individual segment. To go about this, divide you customer base into demographic categories. Then, for each category, imagine a person that best sums up the common characteristics of that group. Through the lens of this new persona, explore challenges and what that individual would do to solve them. Building a buyer persona is a great, out-of-the-box method of marketing strategy.

3. Combine your strengths and assets to make a plan.

Digital Marketing Strategies - Building Your Plan: Your Strengths + Your Assets = Your Plan

This strategy extends to more than just your pitch, it applies to your digital marketing activities as well. There is no magic ratio to promote your company. Many small businesses try to work their plan around a budget. This is a problem. While that may work for a large corporation, it doesn’t work for small businesses. You are your business, not just a budget. Your strengths as a company are what make you successful. Your marketing can be successful when you bring these strengths to the table as well. 

Be real with yourself. If you hate writing, don’t start a blog. If you freak out about public speaking, don’t start a video campaign.

Consider where your strengths lie as a professional, as a business or as a marketing team. Those strengths will be the cornerstone of your marketing plan. After you recognize these strengths, you can count up all of your assets. Remember, your assets go beyond your budget. How about that mailing list you keep? That’s an asset. What about that video gear in your office? Absolutely. That sandwich you brought for lunch? If you want to go that far, sure. Why not? Everything you have at your disposal can contribute to your marketing plan. If you’ve got the tools, use them.

4. You need a marketing home.

Back in the day, before websites existed, your marketing home was either your phone line or your storefront — the places you drove people to so they could meet with sales people and make buying decisions. With digital marketing, you have more choices.  Where will you send all of the people to learn more about your products and services? Where will they go when they are ready to make a buying decision? It could still be your storefront, or your phone line… but it could also be your website or a social media page.

My clients generally use their website as the home for their digital marketing campaign. We choose this route because it offers the most control. A website is completely branded to their company. They determine what they’re going to say and how they say it. In short: websites are the most customizable form of a marketing home.

For some people, social media makes for the best digital home. While it’s a riskier strategy, it can have a great pay off. What’s the benefit here? Your audience might live on social media platforms. Why not meet them right where they are? Even more, social platforms provide unique ways to share everything your customer needs, all within an interface they’re used to using.

Wherever you decide to greet potential customers, that home needs to be spic and span.   Remember, this will be your strongest point of communication and often the first thing your customer will see of you. Channel energy and resources into your marketing home, and make their first impression a lasting impression.

5. Use the buddy system.

Closeup of a hand taking a chip from a bowl with caption: You're going to want more than just one.

Digital marketing mediums are like chips and dip: you’re gonna want more than just one. Remember the last party you went to? Remember that big bowl of guac? There were chips tucked around the edges of that bowl. Not spoons, chips. They balance each other. Just like the different types of online marketing.

To be successful with your digital marketing strategy I suggest using more than one type of digital medium. In a modern age of diverse technology (or devices), everyone intakes their information in different pockets online. It’s hard to reach enough of your target market to make your efforts worthwhile if you’re putting all your eggs in one basket. 

Digital Marketing Strategies - Animation of Reach and Recycle content - If you only use one digital marketing strategy, you may miss the opportunity to connect with your target market where they are. If you do all activities, you'll catch everyone you want to reach and are more likely to turn them into closed business.

Imagine you’re on the shore of a river. On one side of the water is your audience and on the other closed business. You have to build a bridge across the water to keep everyone from getting wet. We don’t want a bunch of dripping wet, angry salespeople and customers.

Let’s say the only way you try to move your audience across the river is social media, and you’re trying to reach women in the workforce like me. You might miss me on social media; I’m not on it that often. I’m either at work or wandering around my house cussing, cleaning up after my children as they systematically trash it.

Now let’s say that you take that same content being published on social media and distribute it via email. It’s like insurance, because some of the people in your email list will see it and some people on social media see it. Notice I said some — some people see it. Not everyone. Realistically, not everyone is going to open your emails, best case scenario you’re looking at 25%. Causley claims only 10% of your Facebook followers will see your posts on social media.  

Digital Marketing Strategies - Cupcake with purple icing and sprinkles

Which is better, 35% of a cupcake or 10% of a cupcake? I guess that depends on which part has more icing…

Those are the people you know. What about the people you don’t know yet? Do those people need to see your message? They’re out searching for solutions but probably won’t find you through email or social media. You can meet those people on their preferred channel with the same content as the others. You can see what I’m getting at?  

6. Don’t freak! Use the Reach & Recycle technique. (Hey! That rhymes…)

As soon as I tell people their digital marketing strategy needs to include more than one kind of digital medium, they freak out and pepper me with excuses, “That’s too much,” “There’s not enough time,” or, “There’s no way I can afford all of that.”

If you’re freaking out right now, give me a moment to clarify — I’m not saying you have to do all six to win. And you don’t have to publish different content on each to do well. Using the reach and recycle concept, you can double down without investing a massive amount of time and win big by distributing your content to a larger audience.

That’s the magic of reach and recycle. Start by building content for your primary and most complicated method of communicating with your target market. This is most likely your blog, newsletter, podcasts or videos. Make that content, then re-purpose it. Flip the message into another medium. You might have a podcast or video you can turn into a blog post which can then be publicized via email and linked on social media.   

Your podcast and blog posts create reach for your company and allow you to get in front of people that you’ve never met before — they can access at the moment they want and need information. Your email marketing and social media work to communicate with people you already know allowing you to drive traffic back to your website and create repeat business.

So how do you know which ones to use together?

7. Balance active and passive content.

As you’re building your plan, create a balance of passive and active marketing techniques. What do I mean by passive and active? Let me divide them into groups, and then and I’ll explain what’s what.

Active Digital Marketing Strategies: Social Media, Email Marketing, Paid Online Advertising

Active Online Marketing Techniques – Social Media, Email Marketing, and Paid Online Advertising

Passive Digital Marketing Strategies: Website, Blogging, Directory Listings

Passive Online Marketing Techniques – Website, Blogging, Directory Listings

Let’s talk about passive first. 

Passive online marketing includes your website, blogging, and your directory listings. I feel like the word passive kind of gets a bad rap because it’s usually paired with aggressive. People think passive is wimpy. When I say passive, though, I don’t mean that these are wimpy, non-assertive forms of advertising… or that they’re passive aggressive 😌. 

Your passive online mediums are available to people when they’re ready, and they find it on their own. For example, you we’re placing videos out on YouTube that would be passive. Blogging is also passive. Its passive, because people find it when they’re ready, they’re going to search for it and find it. It’s not being pushed in front of them unless you pay for it. And, if you’re paying for it then it goes into the category of paid online advertising, which is active.

So passive isn’t bad, see? Passive is just patient. It allows people to find you on their own, in their own time, at whatever phase of the buying cycle they are in.

I like to think of it as almost like a safety net for your active strategies. Just like your sales staff, your active marketing hunts down opportunities for business.  And hanging out in the background is your passive marketing working on its own. Just like Batman, ready to jump into action when it gets the signal. 

It is essential to pair both of these forms of marketing together. If all you do are passive forms of advertising, you’re just sitting back and waiting for people to find your content. It’s like, oh, well, I built it. And so they’ll come…but that’s not how it always works. When you put things on your website that are noteworthy, it is your responsibility to actively go out and tell people you did it, to invite them to come back in. 

You may be my friend, but you don’t know I’m having a party or that my husband smokes excellent meats. I can’t just expect my friends to pick up the phone and be like, “Hey, Monica, you are such a great lady. I want to hang out with you at your house, and I’d also like to eat your food. I’m inviting myself over.” You’re assuming when I want to have a house party, I invite you over to eat smoked meat, right? Yeah…I think I even lost myself in that tangent but rest assured, active is inviting people over and passive is hanging out with smoked meats.

So what makes active…well…active?

They’re active, because you’re taking the initiative to reach out, often actually interrupting people to gain their attention. Email marketing, social media, and paid online advertising are ways that you can get in front of people that might not be your customers yet, and also remind customers you already have that you exist. Paid online advertising and social media is like the modern day version of traditional broadcast or print advertising. It’s akin to placing an ad on the radio, or in a magazine or newspaper. You’re putting your message out in front of other people — actively reaching out to them.

Now let’s wrap this up.

For those who made it this far… congratulations. You’re a real trooper. If you have already begun your digital marketing campaign, odds are you already follow some of these strategies. My hope is to inspire you to use all of them. That’s right, all seven. Every strategy I mentioned can apply to any business, compliment each other. Here’s a recap of what we’ve learned today:

  • Be Yourself – Adding personality to your marketing helps to differentiate your business and make it more genuine.
  • Segmenting – Dividing your audience into categories and addressing each one appropriately will yield a better return for your time and resources.
  • Rethink your Plan – Start your marketing plan by building off of your personal strengths, then take an inventory of your assets. If you have the tools, use them.
  • Establish your Marketing Home – Make sure your campaign is based around your most important online location — this is where your audience will join the conversation.
  • Use Multiple Channels – Divide your efforts into different forms of marketing to gain a wider reach and to minimize risk for your investment.
  • Reach and Recycle – Reuse content from one line of communication to the next. This will get your content to a wider audience without significantly increasing your workload.
  • Find your Balance – Determine the right amount of passive and active activities for your marketing to optimize how much and what kind of contact you make with your audience.

No company is the same, and for that reason, no marketing campaign will be the same either. Whether you’re ready to revamp your marketing or you’re just starting your campaign, these seven strategies are sure to help you bring in your audience.

More about the Author

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Monica Pitts

Monica is the creative force and founder of MayeCreate. She has a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture with an emphasis in Economics, Education and Plant Science from the University of Missouri. Monica possesses a rare combination of design savvy and technological know-how. Her clients know this quite well. Her passion for making friends and helping businesses grow gives her the skills she needs to make sure that each client, or friend, gets the attention and service he or she deserves.

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