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There is no doubt that the importance of creating and using a digital marketing plan to support digital transformation and company growth has grown to be a very huge deal in the past years, due to many reasons, businesses and specially start ups have been taking this way to develop them themselves and grow. Yet, some still not totally convinced that digital is the new era or haven’t yet managed to create a clear and strong strategy of how their digital transformation and appearance are supposed to take place. In this article, we will show you the ropes, will get to the reasons why having a digital marketing strategy is a must and will help you know the next steps you should be taking.

Where do I start if I want to develop a digital marketing strategy? 

It’s still a common challenge since many businesses know how vital digital and mobile channels are today for acquiring and retaining customers. Yet they don’t have an integrated plan to grow and engage their audiences effectively. If your business doesn’t have a plan you will suffer, and you will lose out to competitors who are more digitally strong. 

A recommended approach for developing a digital strategy

Whether you have a strategy or not, at the heart of the Smart Insights ‘Opportunity, Strategy, Action’ approach to improving digital marketing, is bench marking to compare where you are now to assess the potential against where you need to be in the future, at Noqta+, we hit this approach with our best, keeping it short, creative and effective. 

But what if you’re one of the companies that don’t have a digital strategy yet? There are two simple alternatives for creating a plan may suggest a way forward:

  • Start with a separate digital marketing plan defining transformation needed and making the case for investment and changes to your digital marketing
  • Then, following approval, create an integrated digital plan which is part of the overall marketing plan – digital is fully aligned and becomes part of business as usual.

So, what are the takeaways to act on here? 

  • Using digital marketing without a strategic approach is still a bad thing to do, as many companies are using digital media effectively and they could certainly be getting great results from their search, email, or social media marketing. But there are also many missing opportunities for better targeting or optimization or are suffering from the other challenges. 

If you don’t have a strategy, or maybe you want to review which business issues are important to include within a strategic review, we’ve set out the 10 most common problems, that in our experience arise if you don’t have a strategy.

10 reasons why you may need a digital channel strategy?

1. You’re directionless

Many times, companies without a digital strategy (and many that do) don’t have a clear strategic goal for what they want to achieve online in terms of gaining new customers or building deeper relationships with existing ones. And if you don’t have goals with “SMART” digital marketing objectives you likely don’t put enough resources to reach the goals and you don’t evaluate through analytics whether you’re achieving those goals.

2.  You won’t know your online audience or market share

Customer demand for online services may be underestimated if you haven’t researched this. Perhaps, more importantly, you won’t understand your online marketplace and the dynamics will be different from traditional channels with different types of customer profile and behavior, competitors, propositions, and options for marketing communications. 

3. Existing and start-up competitors will gain market share

If you’re not devoting enough resources to digital marketing or you’re using an ad-hoc approach with no clearly defined strategies, then your competitors will eat your digital lunch!

4. You don’t have a powerful online value proposition

Developing a competitive content marketing strategy is key to this for many organizations since the content is what engages your audiences through different channels like search, social, email marketing, and on your blog.

5. You don’t know your online customers well enough

It’s often said that digital is the “most measurable medium ever”. But Google Analytics and similar will only tell you volumes of visits, not the sentiment of visitors, what they think. You need to use other forms of website user feedback tools to identify your weak points and then address them.

6. You’re not integrated 

It’s always advised to develop an integrated digital marketing strategy, and once digital Transformation is complete digital marketing activities will be part of your marketing plan and part of business as usual.

7. Digital doesn’t have enough people/budget given its importance

Insufficient resources will be devoted to both planning and executing e-marketing and there is likely to be a lack of specific specialist e-marketing skills which will make it difficult to respond to competitive threats effectively.

8. You’re wasting money and time through duplication

Even if you do have enough resource it may be wasted. This is particularly the case in larger companies where you see different parts of the marketing organization purchasing different tools or using different agencies for performing similar online marketing tasks.

9. You’re not agile enough to catch up or stay ahead

If you look at the top online brands like Amazon, Dell, Google, Tesco, Zappos, they’re all dynamic and using new approaches to gain or keep their online audiences.

10. You’re not optimizing

Every company with a website will have analytics, but many senior managers don’t ensure that their teams make or have the time to review and act on them. Once a strategy enables you to get the basics right, then you can progress to the continuous improvement of the key aspects like search marketing, site user experience, email, and social media marketing. 

The good news is that there are powerful reasons for creating a digital strategy and transforming your marketing which you can use to persuade your colleagues and clients. There is also now a lot of experience from how other businesses have successfully integrated digital marketing into their activities.

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