A digital marketing strategy should be at the core of every business that wants to grow. Building a creative marketing plan, at the point of your business’ inception, can help it achieve its long term goals.

Simply put, it’s a plan that outlines each step you need to take to make your marketing efforts more effective. For example, if a business starts with the objective of increasing sales, a digital marketing strategy helps you turn this idea into a detailed plan, which outlines what should be done to reach your goal.

Understanding your customers
Begin by defining what goals you want your business to achieve. Put these down on paper. This helps you define the actions that need to be undertaken to reach these targets. You can use a thought shower to ignite ideas and come up with the questions that should be asked and enacted. At this point you should also attempt to analyze your customers.

Understanding who they really are is key to effectively targeting them. Analyzing your customers requires emotional intelligence, so carefully determine which of you has the cognitive IQ and social awareness to be best placed to do this. It’s not just about the hard skills that make up the core parts of your business, but about better understanding the way people interact with your advertising.

Taking advantage of free advertising
The next step in the process is to examine the marketing channels that are available to you. Start with any digital assets your business owns, such as social media accounts, your website, blog and any other content that belongs to you. This is where you will begin promoting your business.

Getting quick results with paid promotions
Then look at paid media options, like Google AdWords, Facebook Ads and anything else that can increase your online visibility. Create a daily, weekly, monthly and annual budget for paid promotion and work this into your overall business budget. Ensure you only pay to target customers that have been identified as your audience during your customer analysis.

An effective digital marketing strategy needs to be reviewed regularly. Planning a digital marketing strategy in the initial stages of your business will save you time and money. Businesses that don’t plan for this eventuality will soon find that they are advertising in the wrong areas and not attracting the correct customers. Picking up the pieces is much harder than implementing a well thought out strategy from the outset.