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The days of taking a business online and “winging it” have been over for a few years now, so why are so many digital marketing professionals still posting content without a concrete digital strategy? Smart Insights and TMF&A teamed up to create a list of steps to create a robust digital strategy with long-term goals and impact. 

Digital Strategy Summary

Digital marketing is a collaborative effort that begins with a plan. Smart Insights laid out seven distinct steps:

1. Develop a digital strategy

2. Create a digital roadmap

3. Laser focus on core inbound channels

4. Bring your core competencies in-house

5. Invest in planning, evaluation, and optimization

6. Integrate your marketing activities

7. Optimize your marketing activities

Like a business plan, keep your organization’s digital strategy as a separate document. This keeps all parties, including third parties, on the same page about your organization’s goals for digital growth. Develop an approach that is collaborative in nature, integrating marketing and optimization with asset creation and analysis.

Insights and Key Takeaways

Long-term vision, strategic planning, and integrating tools and methodologies pave the strongest path towards successful digital marketing. A digital footprint lasts forever, and an organization needs to be prepared with a consistent message, voice, and delivery to grow and keep an online audience. While many businesses do a decent job of generating online content and social media presence, they lack analysis and don’t leverage their resources to their full advantage.

The results of the research demonstrate that you should keep your core competencies in-house. For example, 21% of companies revealed that they mainly outsourced their SEO, and 20% reported mainly outsourcing their content asset creation. These activities are suitable to outsourcing, but customer insights, overall strategy, and analysis should be reserved as an in-house responsibility. Even activities suitable to outsourcing (like digital content creation and AdWord campaigns) should be monitored closely to ensure that their results are in-line with your marketing objectives and online voice.

Your strategy should be a series of creating plans and evaluating the outcomes. While many digital marketing professionals recognize the value of engaging with their audience, research shows that 46% of organizations don’t invest enough time in planning and analysis, and more than half of businesses don’t invest in evaluating their digital strategy to increase their overall ROI.


Instead of treating digital marketing as an accessory, treat it like the ROI-generating machine it has the potential to be. Conduct A/B testing and other evaluation methods to determine which campaigns works and which ones don’t. Follow a linear track that tests the efficacy of various types of valuable content and optimizes the tactics that are successful to the inbound leads that count.

Michael Evans is a passionate blogger and social media enthusiastic. You can connect with him at Google. He often contributes to 3Leaps Content Marketing Agency.

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