October 11, 2023

Creating a Digital Marketing Strategy: 9 Actionable Steps

Digital marketing encompasses everything from SEO to email campaigns to creating videos. With all these options, building a cohesive digital marketing strategy may feel overwhelming.

Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be quite so confusing!

Better yet, according to Smart Insights, 50% of companies don't have a clearly defined digital marketing strategy. This means you have a great opportunity to stand out from your competitors.

By following the steps in this guide, you’ll be well on your way to creating a powerful digital marketing strategy to attract prospects and increase sales for your business.

What is a digital marketing strategy? 

A digital marketing strategy is a roadmap for achieving specific business goals through online marketing channels. The strategy explains the what, why, and how behind your marketing efforts. 

Your digital marketing strategy determines:

  • The type of campaigns you’ll run
  • The content you create
  • The channels you use 

Its purpose is to:

  • Increase brand awareness
  • Attract new customers to your business
  • Increase sales over time 

Why do you need a digital marketing strategy?

Done right, your digital marketing strategy helps you reach a larger, more diverse audience than is possible through traditional marketing. This allows you to target prospects who are primed and ready to buy from you.

The right strategy informs your efforts and lets you create a lasting impact on your audience, ensuring your long-term and short-term success. 

Let's have a look at four reasons your business needs a digital marketing strategy today. 

Provides a specific direction 

Organizations that don't start with a strategy fail to set clear goals for their marketing plan.

This can make allocating appropriate resources to each marketing activity challenging. It can also make it more difficult to measure results through analytics. 

When you don't know what targets to hit, how will you know if you're hitting them?

Helps you understand competition 

A clear digital marketing strategy lets you explore what your competitors are doing and how your audience responds to those marketing efforts. 

This is key to build a marketing plan based on an in-depth understanding of:

  • Customer personas
  • Audience behaviors
  • Measurable goals and KPIs

Helps develop a value proposition

Creating a digital marketing strategy compels you to better understand: 

  • Your customers
  • Their needs
  • Their pain points 

This information can help you differentiate yourself and your services from the crowd and deliver value to your prospects.

Directs focus and resources

With a solid digital marketing strategy, you can ensure you’re not wasting your efforts on tactics and methods that won't give you the desired results. 

It will also help you plan your marketing budget properly. 

How to Create a Digital Marketing Strategy That Works

A successful digital marketing strategy is only as effective as your ability to: 

  • Identify channels favored by your target audiences
  • See if they work for your business
  • Prioritize them 

For instance, if you sell apparel online, popular social media channels and email newsletters could be a vital part of a marketing strategy that provides value, attracts prospects, and increases sales. 

Here's a comprehensive guide to creating a digital marketing strategy that attracts the right audience and delivers the results you need to succeed. 

Build your buyer personas

If you want to bring a relevant audience to your brand, you'll need to figure out how to get your business in front of them, regardless of the channel you use. 

By catering to specific segments of your audience through dedicated buyer personas, companies like Skytap are increasing leads by 124%

Buyer personas are your key to truly understanding your audience before you address them, and that’s the foundation of a solid marketing strategy. 

Marty Youssef, Founder of Great Software, emphasizes researching your target audience before building a strategy. 

He says, "Too many marketers assume they know their target audience and pick a channel based on past experience or what is trending. This is dangerous and a huge waste of resources because you can easily end up targeting the wrong people." 

Keep in mind that developing personas requires a lot of research. Skip any stereotypes you may have developed over the years and begin with a clean slate.

First, identify the essential background, like:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Race
  • Job title
  • Location 

Then, find your audience's pain points and the issues they want help with. See which channels are best to reach them.

Put yourself in their shoes, conduct surveys, run polls, and do whatever possible to help you like:

  • Creating a narrative: What do they read? Where do they shop? What social media channels do they frequently visit and are more likely to respond on?
  • Getting specific: What worries them? What do they need to feel better? How can you surpass their expectations?

Of course, it's important to note that your business might have multiple buyer personas, each with different backgrounds, channels, and pain points. Repeat the process for various personas that may be interested in your products or services. 

Carry Out Competitive Analysis 

Competitive analysis is exploring and examining your competitors' marketing strategies to gain insight into their products, sales, and marketing tactics. 

This is a crucial step given that 70% of executives consider predictive intelligence the most critical data insight for their decision-making process. At the same time, 90% of Fortune 500 businesses use competitive intelligence to gather data for various functions.

The competitive analysis evaluates a wide range of factors driving marketing results for your competition. 

Laura McGill, Marketing Manager at Benamic, talks about the importance of data to draw insights about your competitors and your brand performance. 

She says, "From current marketing performance to competitor analysis to market trends, you need to understand where you are now and the competitors around you before you can possibly make a good call on the route to your destination." 

To do this right, figure out which direct and indirect competitors you should scrutinize. Don't forget competitors who offer a different service but target the same problem your ideal buyer persona faces. 

Tools like SimilarWeb, Semrush, Ahrefs, and Facebook Ad Library can provide information on your competitors and strategies that work for them.

Your competitor analysis should give you detailed data on the following aspects of your competitor's digital marketing strategy:

  • Social platforms they use and their social media marketing collateral
  • PPC and other types of online advertising
  • Keywords they use and how they optimize their site using SEO
  • Popular content marketing collateral

The objective is to untangle the full range of paid and organic digital strategies they use. The resulting data can help you build a comprehensive vision of where your brand stands and what it can do to get ahead.

Conduct SWOT Analysis 

At this point, you should know all there is to know about your customers, prospects, and competitors. Now it's time to analyze the external and internal factors impacting your business and digital marketing strategy.

The SWOT analysis lets you look at the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats of your enterprise and the market you operate in. Here's a brief overview of what's included in your SWOT analysis: 

  • Strengths: Internal, positive attributes of your company that are within your control, like successful business processes, team assets, competitive advantages, etc. 
  • Weaknesses: Internal factors that might impede the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. These could be operational, management-based, or people-based shortcomings like processes that need improvement, assets your company needs or lacks, gaps in your team, etc. 
  • Opportunities: External elements your business could benefit from, like upcoming events to market your business, whether your market is growing, trends that will encourage people to buy from you, etc. 
  • Threats: External pressures, impediments, and barriers to your marketing success, like potential competitors, vendors, future development in your industry, change in consumer behavior, etc. 

SWOT analysis can go a long way in helping you get familiar with the ecosystem in which you operate. It’s both qualitative and quantitative,  enabling you to:

  • Assess various factors that may impact your digital marketing strategy
  • Identify best practices
  • Extract data about the limitations that may affect you

Identify the problems you can solve 

Now that you know your ideal customers, it's time to figure out what you can do for them. This helps you know exactly what to talk about through your online marketing strategy.

According to Andrea Bosoni, founder of Zero to Marketing, the most important part of any marketing strategy is deciding how to position your product. 

He says, "Establishing what pain points you are going to solve, who are your ideal customers and how your product is different from the alternatives are extremely important to your marketing strategy. Everything else from the messaging on the landing page to the channels used to get traffic will be a consequence of this decision." 

You can deploy two different methods to understand customers' pain points. 

First, you can look at your digital sales funnel and see your clients' needs at each stage. 

Second, you could take the different buyer personas created above and develop a distinct sales funnel for each profile.


The second route might be lengthier, but it makes it easier to create and execute distinct digital marketing strategies for each customer profile.

Evaluating each buyer persona independently can help you develop a more accurate strategy for using your content, channels, products, and services to help solve problems and fulfill needs.

Identify your goals  

It's time to think about the goals for your overall marketing efforts. Do you want more traffic? Increased brand awareness? More engaged customers? 

All of these are essential objectives, but they’re not specific. 

Instead, work on establishing specific goals to get a clear idea of where your actions should take you. Your goals should be SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely. 

Here's an example:

  • Not a SMART goal: "I want more people on my website."  
  • SMART goal: "I want 80,000 site visits a month within six months."

Your digital marketing strategy could have any of these objectives:

  • Increase brand awareness and get X more visits
  • Grow organic traffic by X%
  • Increase sales by 400k
  • Increase email open rates by X%
  • Make PPC campaigns cheaper by X%
  • Increase YouTube views by 33K
  • Get higher rankings for certain keywords
  • Publish 5 content pieces a week targeting new keywords

To come up with quantifiable goals, use the top-down approach. Specify your objectives in business terms and then convert them to digital marketing goals.

Evaluate your existing digital channels and assets

According to a 2020 survey of marketers:

  • 83% of them used social media platforms as a digital channel for their marketing strategy
  • 67% reported using search
  • 66% prioritized videos and over-the-top marketing
  • Websites remained at the top with 88% usage

Out of all the available options, it can be challenging to pick the right channels for your digital marketing strategy. It could include (but is not limited to) any of the following:

  • Website
  • Blog
  • Social media pages
  • Word-of-mouth
  • Native advertising
  • Paid ads 

The solution is to let your buyer personas guide you. Your brand should be present on every channel where your customers are. 

However, to effectively utilize the digital assets and channels you already use, you must first analyze them carefully. This should help you decide what you already have in your arsenal to empower your strategy. 

To make this process more efficient, put your digital channels and assets in three categories: 

  • Paid media includes any channel on which you spend money to draw in your target audience. This includes online tactics like PPC, as well as offline channels like TV ads, billboards, or other advertising campaigns. 
  • Owned media represents any media collateral your business owns or is produced by your marketing team, such as videos, your blog, podcasts, ebooks, etc.
  • Earned media is all the user-generated content that your business receives as part of word-of-mouth marketing. So, any tweets about your products, reviews left online by users, and photos posted on Instagram are considered earned media. 

Audit and plan your owned media campaigns

Owned media is the only channel that you have 100% control over. It’s also at the heart of digital marketing and almost always includes content. 

This is because pretty much any message you want to send to your prospects can be classified as content, including: 

  • eBooks
  • Podcasts
  • Infographics
  • Product descriptions
  • Videos
  • Blog posts

No matter what your ultimate goals are for your digital marketing strategy, it's best to incorporate owned content into it. Here's how you can do that:

Audit your current content

List your owned content channels from best to worst performing based on your current objectives. 

For instance, if you want more leads, find out which channels earned you the most leads last year (such as product pages, eBooks, emails, etc.) and which ones didn't work.

Identify gaps in your existing content

Go back to the buyer personas we created in step one, and identify possible gaps in your current content.

For example, if you teach website development and research tells you that a big challenge for your personas is finding ways to practice their skills, you'll need to create some practice exercises and offer timely feedback.

Create a content creation plan

Content creation plans are best done in a spreadsheet. Make columns for the:

  • Content format
  • Titles
  • Goals
  • Channels 
  • Purpose of specific content
  • Priority level 

This sheet helps summarize the findings and gaps of the owned media audit and outlines the content collateral you need to hit your goals.

Decide which marketing strategies to implement 

Revisit your goals and pick the best marketing strategies to help you achieve them. 

Larissa Murillo, Sr. Marketing Manager at Marketgoo, says companies make the mistake of not ensuring their strategy aligns with the team. 

She continues, "Lack of alignment with the CEO and executive team results in a strategy that's all over the place. We all want to create a revenue-focused marketing plan that starts with internal alignment and decision-making."

Here are some marketing strategies you can use: 

  1. Email marketing: Utilizes email to send structured messages to targeted subscribers 
  2. Content marketing: Encompasses various formats, such as videos, blogs, emails, webinars, social media posts, and eBooks, which can be used at different sales funnel stages 
  3. SEO: Involves local SEO, off-page SEO, keyword research, and search engine marketing
  4. PPC: Targeted way of online advertising in which you pay for each click from an ad to your website or landing page
  5. Paid ads: Targets audiences through specific setpoints, including demographics, consumer behavior, purchase history, etc. 
  6. Social media marketing: An effective way to connect with customers on several social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, TikTok, etc. 

Monitor And Report

Your digital marketing strategy is almost ready. 

Now it's time to ensure you've set up tracking and analytics for every channel. For example, your website should have a Google Analytics tracking code. Also, use tools like Google Search Console and Google Ads to track the effectiveness of your strategies and their ROI.

Analytics software lets you observe your progress at different stages of the marketing funnel, helping you:

  • See if visits are turning into purchases. Is it easy for visitors to move across the funnel? 
  • Learn where you might be losing engagement with customers. Why do they bounce off your website?
  • Determine what's getting results and what's not

Feed the results into data visualization tools to create charts, comparisons, goal trackers, and presentations.

Set up your analytics to measure the appropriate Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and other metrics to know if you’re reaching your goals. Some of the most critical metrics for any digital marketing campaign are:

  • Click-Through rate (CTR) 
  • Number of website visits
  • Cost per visit
  • Cost per conversion
  • Number of conversions
  • Time spent on site
  • Bounce rate
  • Number of social likes and shares
  • Number of engagements and comments

Take your time to decide on the most important KPIs to help you measure your digital marketing progress. Set up an analytics system to measure these and make informed decisions to guide your marketing strategy and real-time efforts.


A digital marketing strategy is essential for any business to succeed, because it ensures you:

  • Understand your goals
  • Know your customers
  • Recognize what tactics are best to reach those goals 

Your marketing strategy needs to be customized to your business, so you shouldn't rely on one-size-fits-all marketing strategy templates. 

Remember, the primary purpose of your digital marketing strategy is to map out the specific marketing efforts you’ll use to achieve specific goals over a period of time. 

Once you communicate these clearly and transparently, you have the foundation of a solid strategy, and you’re on your way to having a streamlined process in place. 

Finally, don’t forget to utilize Copy.ai’s suite of free writing tools to help you execute your digital marketing tactics. They can help you generate content ideas, Instagram captions, and so much more!

Ready to level-up?

Write 10x faster, engage your audience, & never struggle with the blank page again.

Get Started for Free
No credit card required
2,000 free words per month
90+ content types to explore