This guide is for you if you want to -
These eight sections cover the digital marketing process from start to finish -
This guide is for -
👍 Complete beginners looking for guidance through the whole process.
👍 Experts looking to brush up on certain areas.
👍 Anyone and everyone in between.
This guide is focussed on B2B digital marketing, but the insights are applicable to B2C as well.
If you need a primer before we jump in, here's a primer on the differences between B2B and B2C marketing
Let's dive in.
Digital marketing is defined as -
"The marketing of products or services using digital technologies, mainly on the internet, but also including mobile phones and other digital mediums"
Digital marketing is the interplay between disciplines sharing the common objective of attracting, retaining, and converting visitors to your site.
These include -
Because, put simply, effective digital marketing is the difference between succeeding and failing online.
Interest in digital marketing has sky-rocketed in recent years. You need to be up to speed to ensure you're not left behind.
In an increasingly digital world it makes sense that marketing follows suit.
Knowing your digital marketing audience is a crucial part of ensuring your strategy is targets the right people.
Over 4.5 billion people were active on the internet ⬈ in July 2020. And let's face it: only a tiny fraction of them will qualify as prospective customers.
So for a digital marketing campaign to be effective, it must be tailored towards a specific audience.
Defining your audience comes down to four key areas:
Understanding the stages of the buyer journey.
Understanding where your prospective customers are in their buyer journey.
Identifying their needs and challenges at each stage.
Finding out where they spend time online.
Here's a top-level definition of each:
Marketing methodologies vary between stages.
The next step of defining your audience helps to crystalise your understanding of the needs of your prospects at each stage.
Buyer Personas are fictional, generalised representations of your ideal customer, based on market research and insights from your actual customer base.
Used properly, they're an invaluable part of your digital marketing.
There's no limit to the number of buyer personas you can create. As long as each represents a viable segment of your prospective customer base, they are a great way to -
Investing time in creating personas representative of your prospective customers is the difference between effective marketing, and slinging mud at a wall until something sticks.
Part of building accurate and useful buyer personas is understanding the needs and challenges your prospects are facing. This is true at every stage of the buyer journey.
At this stage you should look to understand -
With these things defined, you pave the way for a strategy that addresses the needs of your prospects and guides them toward purchase.
The goal of digital marketing is to attract prospects to your website, then to guide them along their buyer journey toward making a purchase.
But here's the thing -
Regardless how good your marketing efforts are, they will fall flat if one or both of these things are true:
Search engines know that poorly configured sites will be difficult to navigate, and they rank these sites poorly as a result.
This is why a well-configured website is the bedrock for any digital marketing campaign: get it wrong, and you won't rank. Don't rank, and people won't come to your site - simple as.
To get it right you need to learn about technical SEO.
Technical SEO is all the stuff under the bonnet of your website that make navigation quick and intuitive. This includes things like -
This list is not exhaustive, but if you get these things nailed you'll be in good stead. Our SEO cheat-sheet for web developers is another helpful place to start.
This means that if your site isn't fast, you will be penalised.
Think about it: you're looking for the answer to a question, but the website you arrive at still hasn't loaded after ten seconds...
Do you wait, or do you hit 'back' and try the next search result?
Most people will wait about this long 👆
Your site needs to load quickly on any device. This means -
Responsive design means your site renders properly on any device, regardless of screen size, aspect ratio, or orientation.
Google introduced mobile-first indexing a few years back. Here's what that means -
"Google predominantly uses the mobile version of the content for indexing and ranking"
Here are the core tenets of mobile-first indexing -
You can find full responsive design best practice guidelines on the Google Developer blog ⬈.
And if you noticed some overlap with technical SEO points from the previous sections - this is a good example of why it's so important to get technical right.
Also bear in mind that often, a full site redesign isn't necessary. Fine-tuning the backend your existing site and tweaking front-end pages with growth-driven design principles in mind can deliver huge gains.
In digital marketing, landing pages serve a special purpose.
Rather than a page build around your normal website template, with a top nav, footer, and various content competing for your attention, a landing page has one function:
To guide visitors toward a specific CTA.
When a prospect clicks a link from a piece of content you've shared - whether it's an email, tweet, blog post, or anything else - a landing page gives them all the information they need to move towards the next step of the buyer journey.
Such pages should be clutter-free and laser-focused on the CTA in question.
Here are the basic components of effective landing page design:
Landing page design is an ongoing process. Best practice dictates that you should build multiple landing pages and use A/B testing to determine which works best.
You can read our full guide to effective landing page design here.
CRO stands for Conversion Rate Optimisation.
Here's our full guide to that question but, put simply, CRO is the art of increasing the number of prospects who convert when they arrive at your website.
Conversion can mean two things -
CRO is the unsung hero of digital marketing, and represents the fine-tuning of each and every step of your marketing funnel to invite and encourage increased conversions.
After all: Bumping up your conversion rate by even a fraction of a percent can translate to huge increases in ROI.
Once your audience is defined and your site is ready, it's time to put together a strategy.
Here's what a digital marketing strategy covers -
At each step of the strategy you gain insight that will refine and improve future marketing activity.
The fist step is laying down some goals - "This is what we want to do".
Your goals can range from broad ("get more sales") to narrow ("increase conversion rate at the awareness stage by 12% this quarter"), but the most useful goals are SMART.
Now, you've probably heard about SMART goals a million times. But hear us out: there's a reason this framework is useful.
Here's what a SMART goal looks like -
61% of marketers have a documented strategy ⬈, and those people are a whopping 313% more successful than those who are winging it.
The next steps is laying out some KPIs - Key Performance Indicators. This is the "Why we want to do it".
KPIs are the outcomes that determine whether your digital marketing strategy is working.
Here are some examples of broad, business-oriented KPIs -
Other KPIs have a more narrow focus, specific to the platform(s) being used -
Here are some more KPIs to consdier for your digital marketing campaign.
Attaching KPIs to each of the goals at the heart of your digital marketing strategy allows you to track and evaluate progress.
A content plan is the "How we are going to do it" part of your digital marketing strategy.
It contains all the content you'll create, split out into -
Choosing the best format and platform for your content is important. Text-based blog posts are great, but you also have the option to use infographics, videos, podcasts, ebooks, downloadable guides, checklists, whitepapers, and so on.
As a general rule, B2B companies place a higher value on educational formats such as blogging, webinars and infographics.
Think about which stage of a prospect's journey the content targets: your content should be aimed at providing value; helping to attract customers (Awareness stage), offering them informed assistance (Consideration stage) and finally helping them make a purchase (Decision stage).
Having a content strategy is great, but guess what?
Content is useless if nobody ever looks at it.
And while search engines trawl through millions of websites to decide what content to rank for millions of queries, you can't rely on organic search traffic to all of your content.
Which is where manual outreach comes in. You may hear this called PR, digital PR, outreach, or any of various names. But it all comes down to one thing -
Letting people know that your content is out there.
Here's what an outreach plan involves -
Social media serves two main purposes:
A social media plan is your roadmap for social activity off the back of your content plan.
In it, you'll figure out what to post and when in order to give your content the best chance at being seen and engaged with.
Here are some specific goals for social media -
Ask yourself -
Alongside content promotion, remember to engage with your audience within the social media platform they use to reach out.
Paid marketing includes PPC (pay per click) advertising, promoted social media posts, and more.
Some people consider it a vital part of digital marketing; others ignore it completely.
Depending on the scope and nature of your strategy, paid marketing may have a lot to offer.
And if you do incorporate PPC, here are the metrics you need to be tracking.
You've got overarching digital marketing strategy prepared, with subsidiary content, outreach, and social media strategies backing it up.
The next step?
Create your content.
This is where you and your team get to flex their creative muscles, and create truly excellent content to target your prospects.
The broad goals at the content creation stage are -
Let's take a look at each.
Keywords are a critical part of getting your content seen.
When someone types a word or phrase into Google, the results they see at the top are the ones deemed most relevant to that keyword or keyword phrase.
So, optimising your content around relevant keywords that people are searching for is vital.
There are several types, each with its own benefits:
A comprehensive keyword audit is the first step. This involves using great SEO tools like AHRefs, Google's Keyword Planner, SEMRush or many others to do the following -
Equipped with keywords, it's much easier to target your content and increase search visibility.
But to really appeal to human readers, content should answer questions.
There are some great ways to find questions people are asking -
You'll see this box on pretty much every results page. It shows all the questions people are asking related to the search term you provided.
This social media platform is based entirely around asking and answering questions, so there's a wealth of inspiration here.
You've got a content strategy, a comprehensive list of keywords, and accurate buyer personas. Now it's time to create the content.
The best content is engaging and effective. The idea is to attract people, provide real value, address their queries, and guide them toward the next step of their user journey.
There are hundreds of content creation tools and software to choose from, and the exact combination will depend on the content you're creating.
Here are some pointers -
Back in the 'Creating a Digital Marketing Strategy' section we wrote about what a strategy does.
The last two points were -
This section is all about tracking what happened when you implemented your digital marketing strategy.
There are two key factors at play here: Attribution and analytics.
After a while of active digital marketing you'll have content published on various platforms, and a gradual trickle of incoming traffic that will - hopefully - evolve into a healthy stream.
When this is the case, knowing how people arrived at your site is a vital piece of the puzzle.
This information lets you see where people are coming from, and indicates which marketing efforts are working best.
This process is called attribution tracking, and is a key step in tracking and evaluating your performance.
Analytics software tracks peoples' journeys to and around your site.
This information is indispensible. It gives insight into everything from -
From this you can identify opportunities to improve your site navigation and structure to make it more conducive to ongoing buyer journeys.
You can evaluate which platforms and content types work best, letting you refine future strategy.
You can see which content on your site generates leads, which generates sales, and whether this aligns with your plans and expectations.
Earlier in this guide we outlined the process of setting goals and establishing KPIs.
The purpose of this stage of creating a digital marketing strategies is to give you reference points for success or failure.
As you implement your strategy and begin to see it perform, evaluating the performance is a vital step in ensuring ongoing marketing efforts are effective.
At this stage, look back to your goals and KPIs to see whether they've been achieved.
If so, pat yourself on the back and decide whether to keep them the same, or refine them upward.
If not, take a look at what went wrong and revise future goals to be more achievable.
This is the final step of the strategy: Deciding what we'll change for next time.
Being aware of common issues is one way to defend against the chance of them happening.
But as the adage goes, "the best laid plans go to waste."
These words should encourage rather than discourage you. No matter how carefully you plan and implement your strategy, things will go awry.
As we said earlier, digital marketing is a huge umbrella.
And with so many disciplines falling under it, not every business has the resource to effectively design, implement, track, and evaluate their digital marketing efforts.
Which is where digital marketing agencies come in.
As trained experts with tons of experience in every aspect of digital marketing, agencies provide two invaluable services -
The former is great if you want to develop your in-house capacity. You can tap into a bank of expertise, and build internal skillsets to improve your capacity to deliver ongoing digital marketing.
The latter is great if you want to outsource and have everything taken care of externally. You'll still be involved in the process, signing things off and providing as much steer at each stage as you see fit.
When hiring an agency, here's what to look for.
Here are the questions to ask an agency to make sure they know their stuff.
And, finally, here are the questions a good agency will ask you.