How to build a digital marketing strategy is a question many business owners ask themselves. Here’s a quick snapshot to get you started:

  1. Define Clear Objectives
  2. Identify Your Target Audience
  3. Craft Your Content Strategy
  4. Choose the Right Digital Channels
  5. Monitor and Optimize Your Strategy Continuously

In today’s digital landscape, having a solid digital marketing strategy is crucial for success. With people spending more time online and marketing budgets shifting towards digital, businesses can’t afford to wing it. A clear strategy not only reduces waste but also hones in on efforts that yield the best return on investment (ROI).

One of the key aspects of modern digital marketing is its measurable nature. You can set goals, use metrics, and analyze results across various digital channels, making it more accurate and relevant compared to traditional methods. The digital world provides numerous opportunities for growth, but without a grounded strategy, these efforts can easily scatter and fail to meet their potential.

I’m Haiko de Poel Jr., a Fractional Chief Marketing Officer with expertise in how to build a digital marketing strategy. My background in branding, SEO, and eCommerce has helped numerous companies, both startups and established, navigate the complexities of digital marketing to achieve tangible growth.

Steps to Build a Digital Marketing Strategy - how to build a digital marketing strategy infographic pillar-5-steps

Understanding the Basics of Digital Marketing

Digital Marketing Definition

Digital marketing refers to the use of digital channels to promote or market products and services to consumers and businesses. This encompasses a wide range of activities such as search engine optimization (SEO), content marketing, social media marketing, email marketing, and online advertising.

In simple terms, digital marketing is about leveraging the internet and electronic devices to connect with potential customers. Whether it’s through websites, social media platforms, or email campaigns, the goal is to reach people where they spend much of their time: online.

Strategy vs. Tactics

A common misunderstanding in digital marketing is confusing strategy with tactics. Let’s clear this up:

  • Marketing Strategy: This is your comprehensive game plan. It outlines how you will reach your target audience and convert them into paying customers. It serves as a blueprint that guides you toward your organization’s unique marketing goals. Think of it as your long-term plan.

  • Marketing Tactics: These are the specific actions you take to implement your marketing strategy. For example, writing blog posts, responding to customers on social media, sending emails, and designing advertisements. Tactics are short-term actions that drive your strategy forward.

Imagine you’re planning a road trip. Your strategy would be the overall plan: the route you’ll take, the places you’ll stop, and the final destination. Your tactics are the individual steps: booking hotels, filling up the gas tank, and packing your bags.

Strategy vs. Campaign

While closely related, a marketing strategy and a marketing campaign are not the same. Understanding the distinction is crucial for effective digital marketing:

  • Marketing Strategy: This looks at the big picture. It determines your overall business goals, your customers’ goals, and how you plan to achieve both. A strategy is ongoing and evolves over time to adapt to market changes and customer needs.

  • Marketing Campaign: This is a focused effort with a specific objective under your strategy. Campaigns are time-bound and aim to achieve a particular goal, such as promoting a new product, generating more traffic, or attracting a new customer demographic. For example, a holiday sale campaign or a product launch event.

Think of your strategy as the master plan for your business’s success, while campaigns are the individual battles you fight to achieve your strategic goals.

Visual Example

To visualize the differences:

Marketing Strategy vs. Campaign - how to build a digital marketing strategy

By understanding these foundational concepts—digital marketing definition, strategy vs. tactics, and strategy vs. campaign—you’re better equipped to build a digital marketing strategy that drives real results.

Next, we’ll dive into how to build a digital marketing strategy, starting with setting clear objectives.

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How to Build a Digital Marketing Strategy

Setting Clear Objectives

To build an effective digital marketing strategy, start with clear objectives. Think of these as your roadmap. Without them, you’re driving aimlessly.

SMART Goals are a great way to set these objectives:

  • Specific: Clearly define what you want to achieve.
  • Measurable: Ensure you can track progress.
  • Achievable: Set realistic targets.
  • Relevant: Align with your overall business goals.
  • Time-Bound: Set a deadline for achieving these goals.

For example, instead of saying “increase website traffic,” a SMART goal would be “increase website traffic by 20% over the next three months.”

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) help you measure success. Common KPIs include:

  • Conversion Rate: The percentage of visitors who take a desired action.
  • Click-Through Rate (CTR): The ratio of users who click on a specific link.
  • Bounce Rate: The percentage of visitors who leave after viewing only one page.
  • Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC): The total cost of acquiring a new customer.

Identifying Your Target Audience

Understanding your target audience is crucial. Who are they? What are their needs? What platforms do they use?

Buyer Personas are fictional characters that represent your ideal customers. They help you understand your audience better. When creating buyer personas, consider:

  • Demographics: Age, gender, income, education, location.
  • Interests: Hobbies, lifestyle, values.
  • Behaviors: Online habits, content consumption, buying patterns.
  • Pain Points: Problems your product or service can solve.

For instance, if you’re selling eco-friendly products, your persona might be “Eco-conscious Emma,” a 30-year-old who values sustainability and shops online.

Crafting Your Content Strategy

Your content strategy is the heart of your digital marketing plan. It’s what attracts and engages your audience.

Content Types to consider include:

  • Blogs: Great for SEO and driving traffic.
  • Videos: Highly engaging and shareable.
  • Infographics: Easy to digest and visually appealing.
  • Case Studies: Show real-world applications and success stories.

Content Planning is essential. Use a content calendar to schedule your posts. Plan around key dates and events relevant to your audience.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is crucial. Research keywords your audience is searching for and incorporate them into your content. Tools like Google Trends and Answer the Public can help you find popular search terms.

Choosing the Right Channels

Selecting the right digital channels ensures your content reaches the right audience. Consider:

  • Social Media: Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Each has its own strengths and audience.
  • Email: Great for personalized marketing and nurturing leads.
  • PPC (Pay-Per-Click) Advertising: Effective for targeting specific keywords and demographics.
  • SEO: Helps your content rank higher in search engine results.

For example, if your target audience is young and visually oriented, platforms like Instagram and TikTok might be ideal. If you’re targeting professionals, LinkedIn could be more effective.

By setting clear objectives, understanding your audience, crafting a compelling content strategy, and choosing the right channels, you’ll be well on your way to building a successful digital marketing strategy.

Next, we’ll explore the key components of a successful digital marketing strategy, focusing on inbound marketing, content marketing, SEO, and social media marketing.

Key Components of a Successful Digital Marketing Strategy

Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing is all about attracting customers through valuable content and experiences tailored to them. Instead of pushing products, inbound marketing pulls customers in. It includes:

  • Content Creation: Create blog posts, videos, and infographics that answer your audience’s questions.
  • Lead Nurturing: Use email marketing and personalized content to build relationships.
  • Marketing Automation: Tools like HubSpot can automate repetitive tasks, helping you focus on strategy.

Inbound marketing builds trust and credibility, making your brand a trusted advisor rather than just a seller.

Content Marketing

Content marketing focuses on creating and sharing valuable content to attract and engage your target audience. This includes:

  • Blogs: Regular blog posts can improve SEO and establish your brand as an industry leader.
  • Videos: Visual content is engaging and can explain complex topics simply.
  • Infographics: These are great for presenting data and statistics in an easy-to-understand format.
  • Case Studies: Show real-life success stories to build trust and credibility.

Effective content marketing can drive traffic, generate leads, and convert prospects into customers.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO is crucial for making your website visible on search engines like Google. It involves:

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  • Keyword Research: Identify the terms your audience is searching for.
  • On-page SEO: Optimize your website’s content, meta tags, and headers.
  • Link Building: Earn backlinks from reputable sites to improve your site’s authority.

SEO is a long-term strategy but can yield significant results by driving organic traffic to your site.

Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing involves using platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn to reach your audience. Key elements include:

  • Platform Selection: Choose the platforms where your audience spends the most time.
  • Content Calendar: Plan your posts to ensure a consistent presence.
  • Engagement Strategies: Interact with your audience through comments, likes, and shares to build a community.

Social media marketing allows you to engage directly with your audience, fostering loyalty and trust.

By focusing on these key components, you’ll be well-equipped to build a comprehensive and effective digital marketing strategy. Next, we’ll dive into the implementation and optimization of your strategy, ensuring it remains dynamic and effective.

Implementing and Optimizing Your Digital Marketing Strategy

Launching Your Strategy

Once you have a well-defined digital marketing strategy, it’s time to put it into action. Effective execution requires careful planning and coordination.

Timelines: Set clear timelines for each phase of your strategy. Break down your plan into smaller, actionable steps with specific deadlines. This helps keep the team on track and ensures timely execution.

Responsibilities: Assign roles and responsibilities to team members. Make sure everyone knows their tasks and who they report to. This avoids confusion and ensures accountability.

Resource Allocation: Allocate resources wisely. This includes budget, tools, and manpower. Ensure that each aspect of your strategy has the necessary resources to succeed.

Monitoring and Measuring Success

To know if your strategy is working, you need to monitor and measure its performance. This is where analytics and reporting come into play.

Analytics: Use tools like Google Analytics to track key performance indicators (KPIs) such as website traffic, conversion rates, and bounce rates. This data helps you understand how well your strategy is performing.

Reporting: Regular reporting keeps everyone informed. Create reports that summarize your analytics data, highlighting successes and areas for improvement. Share these reports with your team to keep everyone aligned.

Adjusting Tactics: Based on your analytics and reports, adjust your tactics as needed. If something isn’t working, don’t be afraid to change it. Flexibility is key to a successful digital marketing strategy.

Making Necessary Adjustments

Digital marketing is not a set-it-and-forget-it endeavor. Continuous improvement is essential.

A/B Testing: Experiment with different elements of your campaigns. For example, test two versions of an email subject line to see which one gets a higher open rate. Implementing A/B testing can lead to a 37% increase in conversion rates.

Feedback Implementation: Listen to feedback from your audience. Whether it’s through comments, reviews, or direct messages, feedback provides valuable insights. Use this information to make adjustments and improve your strategy.

Strategy Pivot: Sometimes, small adjustments aren’t enough. If your strategy isn’t delivering the desired results, consider a strategy pivot. This might involve targeting a different audience, using new platforms, or changing your core messaging.

By following these steps, you can ensure that your digital marketing strategy is not only well-planned but also effectively executed and continuously optimized. This approach will help you stay agile and responsive in the ever-changing digital landscape.

Next, we’ll address some frequently asked questions about digital marketing strategies to further clarify common doubts and help you refine your approach.

Frequently Asked Questions about Digital Marketing Strategies

What is the difference between a digital marketing strategy and digital marketing tactics?

A digital marketing strategy is like the blueprint for your overall marketing efforts. It outlines your long-term goals, the audience you want to reach, and the channels you’ll use to connect with them. Think of it as the big picture.

On the other hand, digital marketing tactics are the specific actions you’ll take to implement your strategy. These are the day-to-day activities like creating blog posts, running social media ads, or sending out email campaigns. In simple terms, strategy is the planning, and tactics are the doing.

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For example, if your strategy is to increase brand awareness among young adults, one of your tactics might be to create engaging Instagram stories.

How often should a digital marketing strategy be reviewed and updated?

Digital marketing is a field, so it’s important to review your strategy regularly. A good rule of thumb is to conduct a quarterly review. This allows you to:

  • Assess what’s working and what’s not
  • Adjust your tactics based on performance data
  • Stay up-to-date with industry trends

However, don’t wait for the end of the quarter if you notice something isn’t working. Be agile and make adjustments as needed.

What are the most effective digital marketing strategies for small businesses?

For small businesses, the most effective digital marketing strategies often include:

  1. Content Marketing: Creating valuable content like blog posts, videos, and infographics can attract and engage your audience. According to Mass Impact, content marketing helps build trust and credibility.

  2. Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Optimizing your website to rank higher in search engine results can drive organic traffic. Focus on keyword research, on-page SEO, and link building.

  3. Social Media Marketing: Use platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to reach your audience. Engage with your followers by posting regularly and responding to comments.

  4. Email Marketing: Building an email list and sending targeted campaigns can be highly effective. Tools like MailChimp can help automate this process.

  5. PPC Advertising: Pay-Per-Click ads on platforms like Google Ads can quickly drive traffic to your site. This is especially useful for promoting special offers or new products.

By focusing on these strategies, small businesses can maximize their reach and achieve their marketing goals.

Next, we’ll dive into the key components of a successful digital marketing strategy to help you build a strong foundation for your efforts.



Building an effective digital marketing strategy is like constructing a house. You need a solid foundation, clear blueprints, and the right tools. We’ve covered everything from setting clear objectives and identifying your target audience to crafting a compelling content strategy and choosing the right channels.

Key takeaways include:

  • Setting SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound goals.
  • Understanding your audience: Knowing who they are, what they need, and where they hang out online.
  • Content is king: High-quality, relevant content builds trust and attracts the right audience.
  • Channel selection: Use the platforms that best align with your goals and audience.

By following these steps, you can create a digital marketing strategy that not only meets but exceeds your business goals.

Future Trends

Digital marketing is always evolving. Here are a few trends to keep an eye on:

  • Generative AI: 85% of marketers believe AI will change how they create content, making it more efficient and effective.
  • Voice Search: With the rise of smart speakers, optimizing for voice search is becoming increasingly important.
  • Video Content: Short-form videos are dominating social media, making them a must-have in your content strategy.
  • Personalization: Consumers expect personalized experiences. Tailoring your content and ads to individual preferences can significantly boost engagement.

Staying ahead of these trends will ensure your digital marketing strategy remains effective and relevant.

Mass Impact’s Expertise in Digital Marketing

At Mass Impact, we specialize in helping businesses build and execute robust digital marketing strategies. Our team of experts leverages cutting-edge tools and proven techniques to ensure your business not only gets noticed but thrives in the competitive digital landscape.

From SEO and social media management to content creation and graphic design, we cover all aspects of digital marketing. We understand that each business is unique, and we tailor our strategies to meet your specific needs and objectives.

Ready to elevate your digital marketing efforts? Learn more about how Mass Impact can help you.

By partnering with us, you can build a strong online presence and achieve lasting success. Let’s make your digital marketing strategy a game-changer.

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With a clear plan and the right execution, your digital marketing strategy can drive remarkable growth and set your business apart from the competition. Stay focused, stay flexible, and keep evolving. Your success in the digital world awaits!