Find out what digital marketing strategy is and how to develop it

Photo by Charlie Solorzano from Pexels

By Matthew Royse

A strong digital marketing strategy is critical to your company’s success in today’s modern world.

Organizations that thrive in the digital world develop and execute their digital marketing strategy. They know how to appropriately allocate the right resources to the proper channels to get out their message to the right audience at the right time.

A digital marketing strategy at a high level is the process of identifying specific marketing goals that drive the business forward through positive business revenue gains. Developing a digital marketing strategy requires an assessment of goals that can be met via digital channels.

To think about your approach to digital marketing, you may want to view it from the lens of the paid, earned, shared, and owned media (PESO) model.

The PESO Model

The PESO model is an excellent way to integrate your marketing and communications efforts and reach your target audience efficiently and effectively. Your digital marketing strategy will help you maximize the impact of paid, earned, shared, and owned media in today’s digital world.

Let’s discuss what each means.

Paid Media

This means that you “pay” a channel for your content to be seen by an audience. For example, digital advertising on Google Ads or LinkedIn Sponsored Content. This is where a third-party partner displays your media in exchange for money.

Earned Media

This media is about “earning” content on a third-party channel. For example, this occurs in the form of awards, testimonials, reviews, user-submitted content, or subject matter experts being quoted in media publications.

Shared Media

This is where you “share” the channel, such as social media. For example, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You don’t own the media channel, but you can control the message on it. If the social media channel goes under, so does your audience and possibly your content.

Owned Media

You “own” these channels, and the “media” is under your complete control. For example, your website, blog, email, newsletter, or magazine. This media is about a communications channel that you own. You can share any piece of content on this channel, and you control the messaging.

Key Digital Marketing Tactics

Now that you know the different marketing channels with the PESO model, you must understand the common digital marketing tactics that you can use.

Content Marketing

Content marketing takes advantage of your owned media to reach prospective and current customers. When you post high-quality content consistently to your websites, you can increase your search engine rankings and drive more website traffic. Content can include blog posts, videos, infographics, and much more. Downloadable content such as whitepapers and eBooks can help you generate more leads and sales from prospective customers.

Digital Advertising

This references adverting on digital channels such as search engines (Google and Bing) and social media (LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, etc.). With digital advertising, you pay per click or pay per impression. These ads will drive traffic to the website so prospective customers can download content.

Email Marketing

Email marketing is used to nurture and engage prospective customers with your content and messaging. Email marketing can help you drive leads and help you cross-sell and up-sell existing customers. Email marketing is an excellent way to grow your relationships with prospective and current customers.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO is the process of optimizing your website and content to increase the rankings on search engines such as Google and Bing. When you optimize your search engine rankings, you can better reach prospective and current customers through your content.

Social Media Marketing (SMM)

SMM is about reaching your target audience on social media networks such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, and many other social media channels. You are marketing to your prospective and current customers through your content on their preferred social media platforms.

How to Build an Effective Digital Marketing Strategy

Now that you know the different channels and tactics, you can start creating your digital marketing strategy with five simple yet powerful steps.

•Identify your target audience

•Develop buyer personas

•Conduct a SWOT analysis

•Create SMART business goals

•Determine your budget

1. Identify Your Target Audience

This is the most essential part of your digital marketing strategy. You must know who your target audience is and where they hang out online. You must segment your prospective and current customers based on their interests, digital body language, where they live, what they do, and who they are. This audience should be most likely to want to buy your products and services.

These areas usually breakdown your target audience:


This information is about factors such as their age, education, gender, or geography. Demographics focus on personal characteristics.


This segmentation is focused on organizational characteristics such as how much revenue a company makes or how many employees they have. Factors also include industry, location of their offices such as their headquarters, how many subsidiaries they have, and how those subsidiaries are.


This data is about factors such as personality, interests, hobbies, opinions, business or personal goals, or lifestyle preferences.


This segmentation is about factors such as purchase history, brand loyalty, digital body language such as content consumed, and usage of technologies such as software.

2. Develop Buyer Personas

Buyer personas are fictional profiles that represent your ideal customer. They help marketers better understand their target audience and develop content that meets the needs of their audience. Companies can customize their messages, products, services, and content for different buyer personas.

HubSpot Make My Persona Tool

To help you build a buyer persona, I suggest you use the HubSpot Make My Persona tool. It is a helpful tool to start creating buyer personas that your entire organization can use and serve your target audience better.

Screenshot: HubSpot Make My Persona

3. Conduct a SWOT Analysis

To determine your digital marketing strategy, you should start with a SWOT analysis. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Strengths and weaknesses are internal to your company, and weaknesses and opportunities are external components.

A SWOT analysis will help you identify areas of your company that is performing well or not doing well. They will help you highlight what makes your company successful and where you have a competitive advantage.

Let’s dive into each area of a SWOT and what they mean.


Strengths are internal factors that help your company reach its business goals. Some examples include sales, profits, customer loyalty, low employee turnover, and a great place to work.


Weaknesses are internal factors that prevent companies from reaching their business goals. Some examples include a poor go-to-market strategy, not understanding their target audience, high customer complaints, high customer turnover, or poor allocation of resources to different internal departments.


Opportunities are external factors that positively impact a company now or in the future. Some examples include changing consumer attitudes, new laws, new government trade agreements, or the removal of tariffs.


Threats are external factors that negatively impact an organization in the short- or long-term. Some examples include a shift in labor markets, an increase in supply chain costs, new competitors in the market, or new technologies.

4. Create SMART Business Goals

SMART business goals are how a company can use its digital marketing strategy to drive positive business outcomes and growth. SMART means Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely.

They are designed to provide structure and creating criteria that improve the chances of achieving goals. With SMART goals, you can track progress and stay motivated toward fulfilling or executing a digital marketing strategy.

Here’s a look into each part of SMART goals.


This part is about being specific about what a company wants to achieve, who will be involved to achieve the goal, why the goal is essential, and what will be required to meet the goal.


Measurable is about tracking the progress of meeting deadlines that are needed to meet the end goal. This is about measuring progress against the goal and making sure that the goals are tangible and attainable.


This is about figuring out the available resources and determining if the goals are achievable based on the current constraints. Can a company attain the plan based on existing skills and resources, or does a change need to be made to accomplish the goal?


This is about making sure the goals are valuable, and are based on the current business environment. It means focusing on how the goals meet the overall business objectives.


This is about how quickly a company can make progress toward reaching the end goal. Goals need specific timeframes to make things happen. It is about creating a realistic delivery date for the goal and determining if it is genuinely feasible to reach the goal in the desired timetable.

5. Determine Your Budget

Companies have a certain number of resources that can be dedicated to digital marketing. Determining the appropriate budget is critical to the success of the digital marketing strategy. An adequate amount of cash is vital for success.

Companies must realistically figure out what budget can make marketing tactics successful. Organizations must determine which marketing tactics are achievable and affordable. They must figure out which channels need higher investment and which areas need lower spend.

Bringing It All Together

There are five essential steps for creating a digital marketing strategy. Identify your target audience, develop buyer personas, conduct a SWOT analysis, create SMART business goals, and determine your budget. Once you know how to develop a strategy, you can figure out how that strategy will help determine the best channels and tactics for your company. Every company can take advantage of digital marketing and develop a strategy that guides your digital marketing efforts.