What makes a great digital strategy?

Published April 11, 2022
Last updated April 20, 2022

Crafting a digital marketing strategy is essential for business success. You must think about more than just the deliverables, though. A strong digital strategy also describes the steps you’ll take to reach your goals and considers the existing landscape and how it might evolve. It’s best to start with the information available. Use this to gauge the success of your current activities and optimise future marketing operations. 

What is a digital strategy?

Let’s begin with a “what is a digital strategy” definition. In terms of marketing, a digital strategy focuses on achieving company goals through digital channels. Specifically, it should target your ideal customers in an effective way. 

Combined with the growing speed of digital transformation, a digital strategy is critical for all areas of business. It’s the modern foundation for moving forward in today’s business environment; marketing is no exception. 

But what makes a great digital strategy? The best examples offer not only direction but also deliberate initiatives to achieve success. They also include methods for measuring progress and making decisions based on data and research.

How to write a digital strategy

The digital marketing strategy process begins with gathering information. Before focusing on actions, it’s best to look at existing user behaviour and create the appropriate personas. Tools like Google Analytics will be essential here, as will any and all data already available. 

Don’t be afraid to be bold, either. In a post-COVID landscape, everything that can go digital is going digital—set realistic yet ambitious goals to make a stronger strategic impact. Here are other tips to follow when creating your digital strategy.

  1. Research existing customers

The first step in crafting a digital marketing strategy is understanding your existing customers. Find out how they currently interact with your brand and how that aligns with the wider goals of your organisation. 

Use tools like Google Analytics to view user activity on your website. This will show you which materials are seeing the best success. Reaching out to customers directly via surveys or emails can provide even more information. During this process, it’s important to segment customers based on age, location, profession, and other traits. 

Gathering customer insights is crucial before moving on to the next step: building personas.

  1. Craft personas

The backbone of your digital marketing strategy, personas define the who. In this case, personas will represent the key characteristics of your audience. 

When creating personas, research each group individually. Discover what they purchase the most, what channels they use, and how often they engage with your brand. Most importantly, you must identify their needs and goals. What are they trying to achieve and why? What problems are they looking to solve, and how can your product help? 

A successful digital marketing strategy process uncovers where customer and company goals align.

  1. Identify touchpoints

After defining the who, your digital marketing strategy needs to determine the where and when.

For each persona, you need to outline their preferences. Where do they shop or engage with your business? And when? 

See if your existing information already shows this clearly or if additional research will be required. You should also pair your internal data with any external data you’re able to collect on your ideal customers. This will give you a more holistic view of your target audience. 

Bear in mind that if your company’s digital approach is changing in the post-COVID era, then you can expect the same from your customers. Their behaviours and actions are likely to evolve as well. You’ll want to account for that in your digital strategy. 

  1. Set digital strategy deliverables

Finally, you need to prepare a dedicated plan of action. For every persona, there should be a respective strategy built around their needs, preferences, and goals. You must also provide a method of measurement for each of your digital strategy deliverables. What will be defined as a success? 

In ecommerce, for example, this might be an increase in conversions (i.e, sales). In other industries, it may be higher engagement or larger conversion values. 

It’s important to note that the best digital strategies operate at a faster pace. Don’t hesitate to set monthly or quarterly goals. This will encourage you to review progress more frequently and enable you to adapt rapidly when needed.

Putting it all together

Once you’re done completing the steps above, you’ll need to condense everything into a readable, informational digital marketing strategy presentation. Here, you should include the overall goals of the company, the personas, and the steps you’ll take to target customers. This will allow you to demonstrate and articulate the intended outcomes. 

Examples of good digital strategy

If you need inspiration before diving into your own digital strategy, here are some of the best examples from noteworthy companies.

H&M

This fashion giant boasts a strong social media presence—you can find H&M on Facebook, YouTube, and most notably, Instagram. Newsletters and dedicated email marketing enable the brand to deliver relevant material to different personas. The retailer also offers dedicated online magazines for each region. This, combined with their popularity on Instagram, shows that H&M’s digital strategy ensures their customers don’t forget about them.  

Starbucks

Despite having an offline business, Starbucks’ digital marketing strategy has been paramount to its success. The company created a mobile app to make it easy and convenient for customers to order on the go. Starbucks launched a rewards program via the app, too. As part of the program, customers earn points for every dollar they spend and can redeem points for freebies in the future. This incentivizes consumers to continue coming back. Social media platforms have also been very effective for promoting new products or seasonal drinks.

Rackspace

Rackspace is a B2B business, so its customer personas are very specific. The company’s digital strategy focused on award-winning podcasts, which directly appealed to its target audience. Combined with wider marketing efforts, the podcast cemented Rackspace’s position as a thought leader.