Before you put together any kind of marketing or promotional material to get your first customer or client, you absolutely must put together a digital marketing strategy.
This marketing strategy will become the foundation of your whole business, so please take this part of your business serious.
And don’t worry, it’s not as stuffy or as complicated as it sounds!
When I first started learning about business and setting up various home-based businesses, I had no idea what a marketing strategy was.
When it came to marketing my business, everything seemed to be disjointed.
This article is in two parts:
Part One: Mapping Out Your Marketing Strategy
Part Two: The 6 Main Traffic Building Channels
Yes I knew that you had to market a business by using flyers or adverts etc. (offline) or by throwing yourself ‘all in’ on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook or Pinterest; for example, but there were other aspects of marketing which I couldn’t fit into the jigsaw.. so to speak.
The other pieces of the jigsaw which make up a solid digital marketing strategy are:
- Identifying your target market.
- Drill down to a specific customer avatar.
- Nail down your marketing message.
- Know where to find her online (your avatar).
- Choose one marketing platform to master.
- Become visible and consistent on that one platform.
- Review, refine and tweak your business plan; your road map.
So you can see how things can seem to be a lot more complicated than simply sending flyers out or constantly mentioning your business on Instagram.
Because what I’ve learnt through my (many) marketing mistakes, is that you need all of these components in place in order to successfully grow your business, sell your products or services and reach your goals.
I go over each of the above points below.
Before You Create Your Marketing Strategy
Before we steam ahead, I just want to check that:
- You’re already running a small or home business.
- If not, you at least have decided on a business idea.
- You’ve done at least some of your market research.
- You’ve written up an informal business plan.
If you haven’t done any or all of the above points then don’t worry.
The main thing is that you already have a business or at least a business idea. If you don’t, go ahead and find a business idea which is suited to you, then come back to this page.
As for the market research and having a business plan, you can do this in conjunction with creating your marketing strategy – of which you’re about to do.
Mapping Out Your Marketing Strategy
What Is Digital Marketing?
Digital marketing is an essential part of growing your business Online. Even if you run an offline business and you don’t have an Online presence, then you’re missing out massively on potential clients/customers because believe me, your target market are lurking somewhere Online and it’s your job to find them!
Honestly, when you start to delve deep into this, you’ll soon realize that there really is another ‘whole new world’ that is operating Online – and you need to be part of that world!
Later on in this post I go over the different types of digital marketing.
What Is a Digital Marketing Strategy?
What exactly do I mean when I say strategy?
A strategy refers to the decisions you take to reach a goal.
You need to educate yourself first of where you are now and where you want to be and then make calculated decisions on the actions and tactics you’re going to take in order to reach your goal.
Marketing Strategy: Education and awareness of the situation > calculated decisions.
Marketing Tactics: The actions, processes and techniques you need to take.
So you’ve set yourself a goal and you identify where you are now and where you need to be in order to reach your goal.
You’re at A and you want to get to B
You then need a strategy, based on awareness and calculated decisions, to plan and map out a success path for you to follow to ensure that you will eventually, and definitely, reach your final destination – your goal.
So a strategy is the bridge between the gap of where you are now and where you need to be:
A strategy can be applied to anything in life and for any goal:
- To lose weight.
- To find your perfect partner.
- To buy your dream home.
- To get your dream job.
- To build your dream home business!
If you want something, anything in life, you have to plan and map out a way to get it.
Things ‘don’t just happen’, you have to ‘make them happen’.
If you do nothing, then nothing will change.
When people set goals they obviously know that they have to do something in order to make those goals come to fruition.
The problem lies in that many people find a few tactics which they think will get them to their goal, and just go all-in on those few tactics and hope that they will work.
The phrase to sum this up is:
“Throwing spaghetti against the wall and seeing what sticks”
And that’s what most people do when they go about trying to achieve their goals. They then wonder why they haven’t reached their goal; and the answer is because most of the spaghetti didn’t stick and it ended up on the floor!
So just to reiterate the difference:
Digital Marketing Strategy
Educate Yourself, Research + Planning
Plan and map out your marketing to reach your goal.
“How can I get visibility for my business?”
“What do I need to have in place before I start physically marketing my services / products?”
Planning out your strategy…
- Identify my ideal customer.
- Find out where she hands out online the most.
- Write out a marketing message.
Digital Marketing Tactics
These are the action-based tactics which are derived from your marketing strategy.
Marketing tactics I’ll use…
- I’m going to focus on Facebook groups as my marketing technique.
- I’ll then get my ideal customers onto my email list.
- I’ll write and send a new email twice per week.
Should I Create a Marketing Strategy?
Even if you run an offline business, it doesn’t make any difference, you still need a marketing strategy.
I’ll not expand further on why you should create a marketing strategy because I’ll just be repeating myself. Just re-read the above section on ‘What Is a Marketing Strategy’ and the bit about ‘throwing spaghetti against the wall’.
You don’t want to throw spaghetti against the wall to see what sticks, you want to map out and plan your way to success, and that’s what a marketing strategy – along with a business plan – will do for you.
Your Business Goals
If you haven’t created a business plan yet, you need to at least outline your business goals.
- Short term goals
- Medium term goals
- Long term goals
What are your…
- Income goals?
- Lifestyle goals?
- Business goals in general?
Once you’ve written down your goals you then need to create a marketing strategy to meet those goals.
Digital Marketing Strategy Template
Here’s a template of the main components you want to include in your marketing strategy – whether that be online or offline.
Identifying Your Target Market
The first thing you must do, if you haven’t already, is to find your perfect target audience.
There will be a little pocket of people online who will love what you are teaching, coaching, blogging about, need your services or whatever your business is about.
So type up who your overall target market are:
- Are they female or male?
- What age range are they in?
- Do they have a job or are they stay-at-home moms?
- What’s their salary?
Anything that you can think of that relates to your target markets’ demographics, type it up into a document.
Drill Down To a Specific Customer Avatar
When you’ve identified your target market and wrote down everything about her, you now need to hone in on a very specific customer avatar.
Customer Avatar | Product Avatar | One-Person Persona
They all mean the same thing.
What I mean by this is that you need to choose one specific product or service which you offer (if you have more than one) and then find the one specific group of people within your overall target market who would love to buy that one particular product or service.
Because not everyone in your overall, general, target market will want all of your products or services.
So it makes sense to specifically target a smaller group of people who will be much more likely to buy that product or service.
This means that you choose:
- One product or service, which you want to focus on selling.
- Identify one specific group of people, your product avatar.
- Write one marketing message to reel these people in.
By doing this you’re keeping things very narrow, focused and linear which makes your marketing efforts much, much more effective i.e. more people will buy your products or services because you’re speaking directly to them – your customer/product avatar!
However having said that, it’s still much more effective and productive to create one product/customer avatar for your business
Nail Your Marketing Message
When you have your customer avatar created, right down to giving her a name, you then need to write a marketing message which speaks directly to her.
So for example, say you have a customer avatar and you named her Sewing Sally (because you run a sewing alterations business) then the words in your marketing materials need to speak directly so Sally.
- What are Sally’s pain points?
- What frustrates Sally the most?
- What does she struggle with?
Obviously, these questions need to be related to clothes and sewing.
- Sally hates sewing.
- Sally cannot sew.
- Sally can sew a little, but isn’t very good as it.
So your sewing alterations business is the answer to Sally’s problems and frustrations.
Put these words in your marketing messages.
Know Where To Find Her Online (Your Avatar)
Your target market are online.
Your specific customer avatar(s) is also online, and so now you have to do some research to find your Sewing Sally or Emma Email (your customer avatar for your email customer service business) so you can get to know her better and start getting your marketing message in front of her.
Your customer avatars are likely to gather in one specific platform the most i.e. Facebook or Instagram or TickTock etc., and you also are likely to spend most of your time of the same platform too.
So get yourself out there and find where your customer avatars hang out the most and target that platform to focus your marketing efforts on.
Choose One Marketing Platform to Master
At this stage I must point out that you should focus your marketing on only one platform.
I know that you might be thinking why should you limit yourself to one platform when Email Emma is on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, but the reality is that you will be diluting your efforts if you spread yourself thinly across three different platforms.
It’s much more effective to focus on one traffic platform and become well known in your niche on that particular platform. When you do this, then people will start mentioning you and referring the Sally’s or Emma’s to you.
This is eventually what you’re after; referral word-of-mouth marketing.
Referral word-of-mouth marketing is the best type of marketing because having a recommendation is an endorsement for your business and your products/service.
And not only that, it’s free!
Become Visible and Consistent On That One Platform
But in order to get referral marketing, you need to be consistent on your chosen platform.
It depends on which traffic channel you choose to focus on, as to how much time you spend on there.
Social Media Marketing
For social media; it’s no good popping in every other day or so. No one is going to notice or take you seriously if you do this.
But when you show up every day, even two or three times a day, then people will notice you and then eventually start to mention you by name, tag you and recommend your services.
YouTube & Podcasts
For traffic channels such as YouTube or running your own podcast, then you’ll have to be consistent in creating and uploading videos or podcast shows.
For these platforms you need to create a content schedule and stick to it.
Review and Refine Your Digital Marketing Strategy
Your marketing strategy, and your business plan as a whole, is your road map to success.
Not everything is going to go to plan, not straight away anyway, so you need to keep revising and refining your marketing strategy and even your goals.
For example: If you have amazing success with your one traffic platform, and you’re getting dozens of leads from that platform each day, then you can revise your marketing strategy to add a second traffic channel to dominate and conquer and get even more leads.
Last Words of Advice: Your digital marketing strategy, and your business plan, should be a continuous work-in-action project.
You should always be planning:
- When you reach a goal, create a new one.
- When you’ve dominated a traffic channel, start on a second one.
- You find out that something didn’t work, find a new way.
- Tweak your marketing message.
- Create a second and third marketing message.
Your business plan and your marketing strategy is your whole business laid out in a document, and maybe a spreadsheet or two.
Therefore it’s essential that you treat this document with love, care and respect as it will become your best friend to help, and ensure, that your little home business will become a massive success!
The 6 Main Traffic Building Channels
Now we’ve covered how to create your digital marketing strategy, let’s take a look at the six main traffic building channels to help you choose which one will work best for you.
1) Written Content Marketing
This is the main digital marketing technique that’s used Online. When others teach about content marketing, they include other content such as video and podcasting – because they are still content – but I’m separating them down here to help further explain what each one is.
So here I’m talking about written content. I know video and podcasting are both becoming huge, but written content is till the no.1 way people search Online, this is described in the next section below (SEO).
Your blog is the main source where you would apply your written content strategy. You would write weekly blog posts which help out your readers and provide answers to their problems or give them solutions.
Think of each blog post as an ‘Online asset’. You write each blog post once, and then it can be found, seen and read for months and even years afterwards – therefore making it a money-making ‘asset’ (and dare I say it, passive income!)
Guest Blog Posts
You tap into other peoples’ traffic/readers by requesting if you could write a guest blog post on their blog. This blog post will be just as good, if not even better, than your own blog posts because what you’re mainly after if for a chunk of the blog owners’ readers to hop over to your blog (once they’ve read your amazing guest post), and sign up to your email list (or whatever your guest-posting goal is).
So now you know to focus-in and only choose 1-2 channels which play to your personality and your strengths, here are seven main ways you can drive traffic to your website.
2) Search Engines
As I said above, I believe that you should utilize the free, organic search traffic from Google & Pinterest simply by writing one blog post per week – this could be your second (20%) ‘visibility’ technique.
Or you can of course take SEO (search engine optimization) to another level if you truly want to dominate Google & Pinterest within your niche. You could do this by writing 3-5 blog posts per week and creating 1-3 pins for each blog post.
This is a good strategy if you’re shy, an introvert, suffer with depression, anxiety etc. and don’t want to be on video, podcasts or participate in Facebook groups. This could be your 80%, or even 100% traffic building technique. To get faster results, think about coupling this up with Guest Blog posting.
I’ve included YouTube with the search engines because basically that’s what it is! But of course, instead of writing blog posts, you create videos.
So to clarify, here’s the difference between the three search engines:
Google > written content search engine
Pinterest > Image content search engine
YouTube > Video content search engine
Tip: Use keywords, create enticing & compelling ‘keyword-rich’ Titles, give solutions to problems.
3) Social Media
Social media is massive, especially among us female entrepreneurs! If your target market is very active on one or more of the social media platforms, then it makes sense to spend most of your ‘showing-up’ time there.
However the same principle applies; choose only one or two social media platforms to dominate.
- Facebook (groups, business page, live videos, your own group)
Videos are touched on above in the search and social channels, but they also have a category of their own.
Furthermore, you can request to be interviewed on other people’s video channels too.
- Facebook Lives
- Webinars (hosting your own, and be a guest on other peoples)
Podcasting is very popular today. More and more podcasts are being uploaded onto iTunes daily in a diverse range of topics. If you feel that you would love to present your own ‘podcast show’ and it would be beneficial your target market, then this is a great traffic channel to focus on.
- Your own podcast
- Guest on other peoples’ podcasts
6) Paid Advertising
Then of course there are the paid traffic methods of getting your brand (and digital products) seen Online. They can be expensive if you don’t know what you’re doing, so you have to have a whole ‘paid traffic strategy’ in place before you attempt to run a paid advertising campaign.
- Google PPC
- Facebook Ads
- Other Social Media Advertising
Other methods of promoting and selling your digital products.
- Public Relations Campaign
- Collaborations/Joint Ventures
- Affiliates > Setting up your own affiliate program.
So those are the main six digital marketing ideas you can use to get massive traffic to your business or blog.
Now you need to put together a digital marketing strategy which is specific to you and your business.
- Choose methods which suit your personality first,
- Then choose a maximum of two which you would like to work on 100% for the next six months
- Be consistent daily in these marketing activities
- Be patient! You will eventually gain momentum and then start reaching your goals.
Hi, I’m Claire Bullerwell
I’ve ran dozens of home-based businesses, both offline and online, since my early twenties. I started this blog to share all my wealth of knowledge and experience to help women like you find your dream home business; a one which will help reach your income goals and live your best life.