Why do you need a digital marketing strategy? The simple answer: because without one you will miss opportunities and lose business. Formulating a digital marketing strategy will help you to make informed decisions about your foray into the digital marketing arena, and ensure that your efforts are focused on the elements of digital marketing that are most relevant to your business. It is a crucial first step towards understanding how the constantly evolving digital marketplace relates to you, and how it affects the relationship between your business or brand, and your customers and prospects.
Your business and digital marketing
Whether or not your business is suited to digital marketing depends very much on the nature of that business, where it is now, and where you want it to go in the future. If, for example, you’re a dairy farmer in rural Ireland, have a fixed contract to supply milk to the local co-operative, and have little, if any, scope or ambition to diversify and grow your business year-on-year, then digital marketing probably isn’t for you.
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Likewise, if you’re a local butcher with an established client base in a thriving market town in the English Peak District, and simply want to maintain the status quo, then again you’ll probably do just fine without digital marketing
Digital marketing – yes or no
There are really only two key questions you need to answer when it comes to deciding whether or not your business needs a digital marketing strategy. They are:
Is my audience online/is it going to be online? If your customers use digital technology to research and/or purchase the products and services you provide, then you absolutely need to embrace digital marketing now in order to engage with them and retain them. If they don’t, then you don’t. It really is that simple. Just bear in mind that as the next generation of consumers start to become your new customers, they are likely to demand more digital interaction from your business
Are my products/services/brands suited to digital marketing? This can be a tricky one – but the answer is usually yes. Typically it doesn’t matter what your product, service or brand is: as long as you have established that there is a viable online audience for it (see question 1), then you should be promoting it online.
While some products and services are obviously more suited to online purchase and fulfillment than others (digital files, such as e-books or music, spring to mind), you will also find being marketed effectively through digital channels plenty of items that few people would ever dream of actually purchasing over the internet
Laying strong digital foundations
The good news is that you’ve almost certainly already started the process of defining your digital marketing strategy. Before even picking up this book you’ve probably been thinking about digital marketing in the context of your business, about what your competitors are doing online and why, how your customers and prospects are integrating digital technology into their lives, and how you can best exploit these new and exciting digital channels to foster longer, more productive relationships with them