Since 2012 we have run an informal poll to see how widely used digital marketing strategies are. The results have shown some big improvements over the years. A few years ago we found around two-thirds to three-quarters did not have a digital marketing plan. Now that number has shrunk to 45% in latest survey, although that is still quite high, and means almost half are still doing digital with no strategy in place.
Digital strategist Dr Dave Chaffey is co-founder and Content Director of Smart Insights. Dave is editor of the 100+ templates, ebooks and courses in the digital marketing resource library created by our team of 25+ Digital Marketing experts. Our resources are used by our Premium members in more than 100 countries to Plan, Manage and Optimize their digital marketing. Free members can access our sample templates here. Please connect on LinkedIn to receive updates or ask me a question. For my full profile and other social networks, see the Dave Chaffey profile page on Smart Insights. Dave is a keynote speaker, trainer and consultant who is author of 5 bestselling books on digital marketing including Digital Marketing Excellence and Digital Marketing: Strategy, Implementation and Practice. In 2004 he was recognised by the Chartered Institute of Marketing as one of 50 marketing ‘gurus’ worldwide who have helped shape the future of marketing.
Another step that can help set objectives is to perform a S.W.O.T. analysis, where you identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats facing your business. By conducting such an analysis, you should identify the key insights and strategic plans that will drive your business over the next one-to-five years. This includes understanding, your five Cs—the consumer, channel, company, competition, and climate—deeply enough that when you finish, you should understand your point of difference in the market and where your opportunities lie," Roberts says. This should inform how you set your objectives.

Using Dr Dave Chaffey's approach, the digital marketing planning (DMP) has three main stages: Opportunity, Strategy and Action. He suggests that any business looking to implement a successful digital marketing strategy must structure their plan by looking at opportunity, strategy and action. This generic strategic approach often has phases of situation review, goal setting, strategy formulation, resource allocation and monitoring.[60]


1. The Marketing Mix is the primary element that differentiates social marketing from communication and advertising approaches with which it is often confused. When Coca Cola markets a new drink it must first design the product's color, taste, and consistency. It then prices that product to be competitive, places or distributes that product in places where people are most likely to desire it, and then they promote it, using a wide variety of approaches including prizes, events, publicity, advertising, and discounts. In social marketing, however, the product is often the desired behavior itself (“breastfeed your child at work”) and/or some supporting device or policy necessary to make the behavior possible (a breastfeeding room in a modern office complex); price is the embarrassment and time required to breastfeed, while promotion is all the activities the company and coworkers take to reduce the embarrassment and support the behavior.
In its most general sense, Social Marketing is a new way of thinking about some very old human endeavours. As long as there have been social systems, there have been attempts to inform, persuade, influence, motivate, to gain acceptance for new adherents to certain sets of ideas, to promote causes and to win over particular groups, to reinforce behaviour or to change it -- whether by favour, argument or force. Social Marketing has deep roots in religion, in politics, in education, and even, to a degree, in military strategy. It also has intellectual roots in disciplines such as psychology, sociology, political science, communication theory and anthropology. Its practical roots stem from disciplines such as advertising, public relations and market research, as well as to the work and experience of social activists, advocacy groups and community organizers.
Cost per action/sale methods require that referred visitors do more than visit the advertiser's website before the affiliate receives a commission. The advertiser must convert that visitor first. It is in the best interest of the affiliate to send the most closely targeted traffic to the advertiser as possible to increase the chance of a conversion. The risk and loss are shared between the affiliate and the advertiser.
SEO is an effective tool for improving the volume and quality of traffic to your website. Visitors are more likely to click on free organic listings than on paid listings. Our SEO strategies apply only the best and most current practices that focus on the use of great content development, content marketing, social media. All of these strategies combined result in the most effective use of best practices that drive long term ROI.
Your program or organization probably doesn't have the resources of the Pepsi-Cola Corporation. But you can use this information on a smaller scale, and have very positive results. You might find out, for example, that many women aren't using the science and math tutoring center because everyone who works there is male, and (women feel) the tutors are often sexist and discouraging towards women. What the women want is to have some female tutors as well.
The internet is full of business potential, but it is also rife with competition. In this situation, it becomes really tough to sell your products or services. Affiliate marketing can help you effectively promote your product on the web. By helping you reach out to a large potential customer base, affiliate programs help you to connect with millions of customers across the globe.
"I just wanted to thank you for the awesome email of information. It was so awesome to see the results I have gotten and the results that your company has provided for other companies. Truly remarkable. I feel so blessed to be one of your clients. I do not feel worthy but do feel very blessed and appreciative to been a client for over 5 years now. My business would not be where it is today without you, your company and team. I sure love how you are dedicated to quality. I can not wait to see what the next 5 years bring with 10 years of Internet Marketing Ninjas as my secret weapon." John B.
Nobody can predict the future, which is why it is vital to remember that your marketing plan should be a living, working document. This is not a style book, a brand handbook or a book on company policy. A marketing plan should be a reference that is used throughout the year, is malleable to a certain extent and is shared with all stakeholders and contributing members of the team. Transparency is important when developing and finalizing the plan. By getting feedback from all departments and being clear on goals, your marketing plan is more likely to be of value and to be seen as a successful tool.
After you have identified your buyer personas, the next step is figuring out how these personas think and ultimately make the decision to buy. According to Hubspot and adopted by all those who believe in the inbound marketing methodology, there are three steps in the buyer’s journey: Awareness, Consideration, Decision. Each of these stages are major opportunities for you as a marketer to nurture your potential customer by providing valuable content about the product and or problem they are trying to solve for. Here are three stats from a Forbes.com article that prove just how important content is in nurturing a prospect throughout the buyer’s journey:
You don’t necessarily have to have a huge site or lots of traffic. Consider emailing an affiliate program’s contact person (look for contact info on the site or in affiliate newsletters) if you send a lot of leads their way, rank well in the search engines for a related keyword or have a high conversion rate. Make your email compelling. Read my tips here. You just have to be a good fit and provide excellent value to the merchant. Another good resource for this is here.
Many scholars ascribe the beginning of the field of social marketing to an article published by G.D. Wiebe in the Winter 1951-1952 edition of Public Opinion Quarterly.[27] In it, Wiebe posed a rhetorical question: "Why can’t you sell brotherhood and rational thinking like you can sell soap?” He then went on to discuss what he saw as the challenges of attempting to sell a social good as if it were a commodity, thus identifying social marketing (though he did not label it as such) as a discipline unique from c mmodity marketing. Yet, Wilkie & Moore (2003)[28] note that the marketing discipline has been involved with questions about the intersection of marketing and society since its earliest days as a discipline.
You should allow yourself a couple of months to write the plan, even if it's only a few pages long. Developing the plan is the "heavy lifting" of marketing. While executing the plan has its challenges, deciding what to do and how to do it is marketing's greatest challenge. Most marketing plans kick off with the first of the year or with the opening of your fiscal year if it's different.
"Jim, thanks for the great work. You and your team have been great and we are very happy with the results. Because of this, I wanted to give you a testimonial that you can share. On a nice spring day about a year ago, our site took a nose dive in the rankings on some of our most valuable keywords. I franticly begun searching SEO forums for the best people and ways to get us back to the top and I came a across Jim and his team. Jim was one of the most highly recommended link building Guru's out there, so I called Ninjas. To my surprise they couldn't take my money right away because they were busy working on other client accounts. They were very polite and explained that if they were to take my money that would have meant they could not spend the time they needed to spend on their client's accounts. Right there I knew these guys were for real. Biting my nails and pulling my hair, I patiently waited for two months so they could start working on my account and boy was I soooooo glad that I did. I finally got to speak with Jim, who is an awesome guy with a great sense of humor. I could say the same thing about my account manager and all of the Ninja team. After this meeting the work begun and the rest is history. I would highly recommend Jim Boykin and his team to anyone, even though part of me wants to keep them to myself. However I know they would not take on more than they can handle, unless they know they can put in the time needed to deliver results." Eric K.
A decade later, organizations such as the KfW Entwicklungsbank in Germany, the Canadian International Development Agency, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in The Netherlands, UK Department for International Development, US Agency for International Development, World Health Organization and the World Bank began sponsoring social marketing interventions to improve family planning and achieve other social goals in Africa, Sri Lanka, and elsewhere.[29][30]
Get Yourself Tested (GYT) - It's Your Sex Life is a social marketing campaign that informs young people about sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), encourages and normalizes testing for STDs, and connects young people to testing centers. The campaign is sponsored by MTV, Kaiser Family Foundation, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and other partners and is targeted toward youth and teens. GYT campaign materials include videos, special programming on MTV, and banner ads.
When traffic is coming to your website or blog, nearly unfettered, it gives you the opportunity to test out a variety of marketing initiatives. However, without that traffic, you're forced to spend money on costly ads before really determining the effectiveness of your offers and uncovering your cost-per acquisition (CPA), two things which are at the core of scaling out any business online.
We begin by gaining a sound understanding of your industry, business goals, and target audience. We follow a very formal marketing process for each social media strategy which includes in-depth discovery, market research, project planning, exceptional project management, training, consulting, and reporting. We also incorporate social media ads such as Facebook advertising into many marketing campaigns. As a top digital marketing agency we make social media recommendations that will be best for your business and offer the most engaging experience for your audience.
A key objective is engaging digital marketing customers and allowing them to interact with the brand through servicing and delivery of digital media. Information is easy to access at a fast rate through the use of digital communications. Users with access to the Internet can use many digital mediums, such as Facebook, YouTube, Forums, and Email etc. Through Digital communications it creates a multi-communication channel where information can be quickly shared around the world by anyone without any regard to who they are.[28] Social segregation plays no part through social mediums due to lack of face to face communication and information being wide spread instead to a selective audience. This interactive nature allows consumers create conversation in which the targeted audience is able to ask questions about the brand and get familiar with it which traditional forms of Marketing may not offer.[29]
The final section of your plan includes a brief breakdown of the costs associated with each of your tactics. So if you plan to exhibit at three trade shows per year, for example, you'll include the costs to participate in the shows and prepare your booth and marketing materials. If you find the tactics you've selected are too costly, you can go back and make revisions before you arrive at a final budget.
Using influencers to market your products or services is a great way to quickly saturate yourself into the marketplace, no matter what you're peddling. However, finding the right influencer at the right price is the hard part. You don't necessarily have to go to the top-tier influencers; you can also opt for micro-influencers (those that have 10,000 to 100,000 followers or fans).
Competition is using it: Did you know that 77.6% of small business owners use social media in their marketing strategy? From solo entrepreneurs and freelancers to companies, everyone is using digital marketing to establish a brand presence today. This is probably because digital marketing basics are fairly easy to grasp. If you don’t adapt to the changing times, you stand to lose potential customers.
Customers are often researching online and then buying in stores and also browsing in stores and then searching for other options online. Online customer research into products is particularly popular for higher-priced items as well as consumable goods like groceries and makeup. Consumers are increasingly using the Internet to look up product information, compare prices, and search for deals and promotions.[21]
Conversion rate optimization is all about testing. Many companies get too bogged down in design and what they think looks best and will convert. At the end of the day, you don’t know until you test. At IMI, we have the tools, technology, and expertise to not only build well-optimized web pages but to test them once they go live. Our conversion rate optimization can not only save our client’s money but generate millions in revenue.
2nd tier.  If you are an affiliate for a particular program and you refer others to sign up for that affiliate program, a 2nd tier program will pay you when the affiliates you referred make sales. For example, I am an affiliate for Ultimate Bundles. If you join their affiliate program via my 2nd tier affiliate link here. I will get a small percentage of any sales you make going forward.

There are a few social behaviors, such as using a seat belt, that remain constant over a long period of time, that are easy to execute, and that become part of the driving experience. These can be said to be sustainable, as long as a dramatic new event does not occur. Remember we once thought that breast self‐examination was the best way for women to detect breast cancer early; then our science changed. In social marketing the cost of marketing has to be built into the cost of programs. The level of marketing costs often varies over the lifetime of a behavior or product. Launch and introduction are often the most expensive, maintenance can cost less, and reviving an old idea can cost somewhere in between.
The marketing objectives must usually be based, above all, on the organization's financial objectives; converting these financial measurements into the related marketing measurements. He went on to explain his view of the role of "policies," with which strategy is most often confused: "Policies are rules or guidelines that express the 'limits' within which action should occur. "Simplifying somewhat, marketing strategies can be seen as the means, or "game plan," by which marketing objectives will be achieved and, in the framework that appears here, are generally concerned with the 8 P's. Examples are:
A successful digital strategy is one that helps your business reach its core audience and achieve its goals. To put one in place, it’s essential to know who your target customers are, which search engines and digital channels they use, and what they need. That will help you deliver the right marketing content to the right people at the right time. A successful digital marketing strategy also has measurable goals, such as getting more traffic, boosting conversions, and increasing sales.
In this new world of digital transparency brands have to be very thoughtful in how they engage with current and potential customers. Consumers have an endless amount of data at their fingertips especially through social media channels, rating and review sites, blogs, and more. Unless brands actively engage in these conversations they lose the opportunity for helping guide their brand message and addressing customer concerns.
Take advantage of affiliate program freebies when available. Many affiliate programs provide free printables, guides, webinars or other lead magnets designed to get potential customers in their sales funnel. As an affiliate, you can share these freebies with your audience using your affiliate link so if they eventually make a purchase, you’ll earn a commission, but if they don’t they still get value upfront.
The majority of companies in our research do take a strategic approach to digital. From talking to companies, I find the creation of digital plans often occurs in two stages. First, a separate digital marketing plan is created. This is useful to get agreement and buy-in by showing the opportunities and problems and map out a path through setting goals and specific strategies for digital including how you integrated digital marketing into other business activities. Second, digital becomes integrated into marketing strategy, it's a core activity, "business-as-usual", but doesn't warrant separate planning, except for the tactics.
A marketing plan requires the involvement of all levels of management in the planning process. So, sharing a Marketing plan proposal among executives helps ensure that everyone is on the same page. Smooth communication and a common path for a cross-functional team are really essential. This will also help reduce the number of conflicts among individuals and departments.
A strategy that is linked into the effectiveness of digital marketing is content marketing.[39] Content marketing can be briefly described as "delivering the content that your audience is seeking in the places that they are searching for it".[39] It is found that content marketing is highly present in digital marketing and becomes highly successful when content marketing is involved. This is due to content marketing making your brand more relevant to the target consumers, as well as more visible to the target consumer.

Education occurs most often in "real life" by becoming involved and learning the details as time progresses. Although there are several books on the topic, some so-called "how-to" or "silver bullet" books instruct readers to manipulate holes in the Google algorithm, which can quickly become out of date,[41] or suggest strategies no longer endorsed or permitted by advertisers.[42]
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