Digital marketing strategies have changed drastically in the last decade. Marketers have shelved questionable techniques such as black-hat SEO, deceptive advertising, mass emails, and content scraping, to avoid legal consequences (GDPR, CCPA, etc.) and being penalized by search engines and other digital platforms. As 2020 demands an authentic and omnichannel approach to marketing, here are the top 15 digital marketing strategies for the year with digital marketing strategy examples to inspire you.
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Table of Contents
What Is a Digital Marketing Strategy?
A digital marketing strategy consists of the strategic use of select digital channels to reach your marketing and company objectives. Digital channels include content marketing, SEO activities, social media marketing, email marketing, digital advertising, etc.
A strategy can be a holistic plan that covers how different digital marketing channels will be used throughout the marketing funnel or can consist of a channel-specific action plan that supports the main strategy.
Importance of Digital Marketing Strategy In Business Outcome
A well-defined digital marketing strategy helps prospects navigate the buyer’s journey. It enables organizations to connect with and influence users at every possible touchpoint. Here are three reasons why a digital marketing strategy drives business results:
1. Helps You Deliver a Personalized Experience
Salesforce found that 53% of customers always expect personalized offers, and 62% expect brands to anticipate their needs. This also made AI essential for companies across industries looking for better customer experience (CX). Digital marketing channels allow you to segment your target audience based on demographic, psychographic, and geographic characteristics. You can also define segments based on their interests, purchase patterns, and product usage. The refined segmentation also allows you to deliver a personalized experience via email marketing. Although digital advertising may not be as personalized as email marketing, it allows you to deliver your message to the right audience through targeting methods such as remarketing and lookalike audience.
2. Allows You to Track the ROI Accurately
Gone are the days where you’d spend a hefty budget on print, radio, and billboard advertising without the certainty that they are bringing in any money. Digital marketing platforms have evolved to the point where they are sophisticated enough to help you identify how much revenue each platform is contributing. The digital advertising medium is especially powerful here as it offers plenty of metrics to track your ad spend. Besides this, various attribution models allow you to measure the impact of each customer touchpoint.
3. Provides You the Flexibility to Tweak Your Activities
Digital marketing is flexible. You can scale up or down the marketing activities based on their output. By optimizing the better performing avenues, you can manage your expenditure efficiently. And all these tweaks and turns can be performed on the go.
15 Digital Marketing Strategies With Examples
Now that we know how digital marketing helps marketers achieve business objectives, let’s look at fifteen digital marketing strategies for 2020. International social listening and analytics firm, Talkwalker, analyzed digital marketing campaigns in 2019 and listed some of the best and worst digital marketing campaigns in their peaks and pitfalls report. We looked at some of the best campaigns to bring you digital marketing strategy examples from BMW and Pepsi.
SEO and Content Marketing Strategies
Content marketing and SEO go hand-in-hand up to a certain extent. Let’s look at three strategies that can benefit you in both these aspects:
1. Aim for Position Zero
Position zero is a featured snippet on the first page of Google’s search engine result page (SERP). It appears at the top of the page before other organic listings like this:
The Position Zero Search Result Appears Above Organic Listings in Google
If your content ranks for position zero, your click-through rate (CTR) will immediately go through the roof. There is plenty of competition considering the apparent benefits, but here are a few tips to get you started:
- Create content for WH-type queries (what, when, why, who, where, and how) and write your headlines accordingly
- Create instructional or how-to content
- Structure the content in a list format
- Answer frequently asked questions in your niche
- Since the rise of voice search, people look for information on the go. Create conversational content around such micro-moments.
2. Create Content for All Stages of the Funnel
If your content is ranking well in SERPs but faces a high bounce rate or low average session duration, this could very well be a case of expectation mismatch. The searcher lands on your website with an intention, and your content doesn’t meet their expectations. Marketers spend plenty of time creating top-of-the-funnel (TOFU) content but don’t address the middle- and bottom-of-the-funnel content.
Diversify your content mix in terms of formats and topics. Delve into infographics, videos, podcasts, along with text to improve the versatility of your content marketing initiatives. Similarly, address queries that are not only restricted to the TOFU. Create more in-depth content that will help you convert visitors into prospects and prospects into customers.
3. More Co-branded Content This Year
Co-branded content is simply a brand collaboration to publish a piece of content. It allows the participating brands to showcase their expertise and to create brand awareness. You can create comprehensive research reports or topic primers, host webinars, create a video or podcast series, and so on.
In the previous point, we talked about targeting the last two stages of the funnel. Co-branded content can help you do just that. And by utilizing content repurposing, you can amplify your content creation process for different digital marketing channels and boost your distribution efforts.
Example: BMW’s #RoadtoCoachella (engagement: 30.9K) campaign featured a fleet of BMW i8 and BMW i3 models inspired by Khalid’s upcoming album Free Spirit on a road trip to the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. Paris Hilton, Dorothy Wang, and other influencers documented the ride that included pit-stops with fan giveaways, concerts, food trucks, and exclusive experiences.
— BMW USA (@BMWUSA) April 11, 2018
- Brand collaborations coupled with experiential marketing could make a lasting impression and establish you as an innovator.
- Understand your audience to best engage with them. What could be better than engaging Millennials and Gen Z at cultural events that matter to them coupled with the power of influencers, giveaways, food trucks, and a magical experience?
Social Media Strategies
It’s been more than two decades since social media was introduced, and it has changed the way we connect with people. While newer features such as stories, social commerce, etc. have kept rejuvenating the social media experience, here are three social media strategies you should consider this year:
4. Build Communities
Organic reach on major social media platforms has been dwindling over the years. While major corporations with deep pockets can manage to allocate a good chunk of budget for social media advertising, the pay-to-play visibility model doesn’t work for smaller organizations.
A solution to this is to build communities on social media using native group features. The close-knit nature of communities/groups provides a sense of exclusivity to its members and allows brands to engage on a one-on-one level. Although Twitter may not have a group feature, brands can be prompt while responding to audience queries and complaints and regularly host Twitter chats to interact with their followers. Brands can also create Slack channels to bring together like-minded community members to continue the dialogue.
Bonus Tip: To boost engagement and interaction on social media, organizations should also consider launching an employee advocacy program.
5. Micro-influencer Marketing
The macro-influencer marketing wave is ebbing down as consumers now prefer trust and expertise over clout. Brands also have realized that it’s a sensible choice to invest in running micro-influencer campaigns. For example, a smartphone company might engage with a technology YouTuber than working with a celebrity.
Micro-influencers are well-known experts in their niche and are perceived to be trustworthy. Also, since your offerings and the influencer are from the same niche, there’s no mismatch between the audience and messaging. Micro-influencers also prove to be relatively less expensive as compared to mainstream celebrities.
And with brands now encouraging user-generated content, their reach will keep amplifying in due time.
Example: During Superbowl 2019, Pepsi launched its ‘Is Pepsi OK?’ campaign about the age-old competition they’ve had with Coke. Following the commercial featuring Steve Carrell, Cardi B., and Lil Jon that proclaimed Pepsi is more than OK, the brand also had paid social media posts by celebrity influencers including Jay Pharoah. The hashtag #PepsiMoreThanOK (engagement: 465.1K) took off at once. Users were also encouraged to share the hashtag #PepsiSweepstakesOK (engagement: 15.7K) each time they heard “OK” during the game and commercials to win prizes.
The ‘Is Pepsi OK?’ Campaign Featuring Steve Carrell, Cardi B., and Lil Jon
- Combining humor with influencer marketing can work well.
- Find a way to cleverly leverage a competitive historic battle or controversy to your advantage.
- Back the campaign by organic and sponsored posts from the right micro and macro-influencers.
6. Explore Other Social Media Platforms
Major social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn have become saturated. The persistent brand noise on these platforms can desensitize users to brand messaging in years to come.
Organizations need to diversify their social media mix by evaluating other platforms and how they can benefit from them. For example, although TikTok may not be an ideal platform for your brand, it can engage with influencers to run a TikTok-specific campaign.
Identify other relevant platforms in your niche that you can benefit from. For example, brands can create their own server/instance on Mastodon, an open-source social network, and invite users to join it to create a niche social media platform.
Learn More: 20 Winning Social Media Campaign Ideas for 2020
Digital Advertising Strategies
Digital advertising is perhaps the most dynamic aspect of the digital marketing ecosystem. New advertising channels, targeting methods, and ad formats keep emerging on a frequent basis. Try these three strategies to boost your digital advertising initiatives this year:
7. Prefer Contextual Targeting to Place Ads
In contextual targeting, the ads appear according to the content on the webpage. This targeting method ensures that you’re reaching out to an audience that might already be interested in your product. The traditional contextual targeting is primarily keyword-driven. Due to the advancement in machine learning-based targeting, semantic targeting evaluates the meaning and sentiment of the webpage rather than just keywords while placing ads hence increasing the relevancy of the ads.
8. Bank on Video Advertising
Facebook and Google are two behemoths in the digital marketing space. When talking specifically about video marketing, Facebook has itself and Instagram, and Google has YouTube. According to the Salesforce Digital Advertising 2020 report, brands dedicated 44% of the ad budget to Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.
Considering users’ video consumption habits, video is not going to fade into obscurity any time soon, and therefore marketers should prioritize video advertising.
9. Experiment With Programmatic Audio
The rise of podcasts and audio streaming apps has given marketers one more avenue to connect with their audience. Programmatic audio enables you to place ads automatically in the audio content such as podcasts or other digital audio streaming programs.
Ad formats such as companion, ad pods, pre- and mid-roll ads offer distinct benefits depending on your requirements. Companies such as Google, Rubicon Project, SoundCloud, and BBC currently offer programmatic audio advertising features.
Email Marketing Strategies
Email is still one of the most effective channels to reach out to your target audience. The immense opportunities of segmentation, personalization, and automation allow you to enhance the customer experience (CX). You can implement these strategies for your email marketing success:
10. Design Mobile-friendly Emails
In 2020, there are approximately 4 billion email users and 3.2 billion smartphone users across the world. If your emails can’t be viewed on a smartphone device, it may impact the effectiveness of your email marketing efforts.
A mobile-friendly email isn’t exclusively restricted to a responsive design. Also, consider arranging words in your subject lines in a way that would drive clicks. That means putting the high-impact words at the beginning of the subject line. Here are some other guidelines to help you mobile-optimized emails:
- Adopt the minimalistic approach. Content hierarchy is essential. The main information should not get buried under the design
- Don’t make the recipient sweat to find the call-to-action (CTA) button
- Don’t stuff your email with too much content. You can ideate a drip-email campaign to send out information sequentially
11. Think About the BIMI Email Standard
Brand Indicators for Message Identification (BIMI) is an email standard to authenticate your brand’s identity. It’s a text file that is stored on your sending server. The purpose of this standard is to help users distinguish legitimate brand emails from fraudulent ones. It does so by displaying the brand logo next to your email in the inbox. Many brands have started implementing the BIMI standard.
You need to obtain a Verified Mark Certificate (VMC) from a Mark Verifying Authority (MVA) such as DigiCert to implement this standard.
But as you’re planning to implement BIMI, ensure that you have a good sender reputation and already possess other email authentication standards like SPF, DKIM, DMARC, and ARC.
12. Enable the User to Interact With Your Emails
Email marketing shouldn’t be a passive channel. When you’re on social media, the platform is constantly demanding an action from you to keep you on the platform. Brands need to think along similar lines to boost email engagement.
Brands can make their emails interactive by introducing surveys or polls or shorten the length of emails by using carousels. And we don’t think that the trend of using animated GIFs isn’t going to go archaic any time soon.
Using Next-Gen Technology
So far, we’ve seen channel-specific strategies. Since marketing is very agile when it comes to adopting new technologies, let’s look at three emerging technologies that marketers need to consider implementing in their digital marketing strategy.
13. Internet of Things (IoT)
IoT has shown tremendous offerings for retail marketing by improving the personalization aspect of shopping. Marketers can benefit from IoT by using geofencing marketing. Geofencing is a service that implements a virtual boundary around a location and executes specific rules when an IoT device enters (for instance, sending a push notification on a mobile device).
Besides other IoT devices, a simple smartphone can be effective to use geofencing targeting. For example, marketers can send automated push notifications or messages when the user enters the geofence. This technique can be used to remind the user to purchase a product, provide coupons, and so on.
14. Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality (AR/VR)
The AR/VR technology provides an immersive experience to users, and it has already been adopted by brands to improve the CX. Social media platforms have used AR to create filters and lenses to keep users glued to the platform.
AR/VR is capable of replicating real-life experiences and can be used to simulate various scenarios. For example, brands are already using this technology to enable users to try their products before making a purchase virtually and providing a virtual tour of their products. While implementing it in your strategy, you can also evaluate the options of using it as a gamification tool.
15. Conversational AI
Digital assistants and chatbots are not new anymore, but many brands are still missing out on the opportunity of harnessing them to improve their marketing results. Chatbots and digital assistants are capable of delivering content, helping users with their purchases, providing customer support, and booking tickets or making reservations, and so on.
And as voice search is becoming ubiquitous, it is imperative for marketers to introduce conversational AI tactics in their marketing strategy.
Closing Thoughts: Think Omnichannel
You need to think in terms of omnichannel, not simply multichannel. Think of how you can use these strategies so that they converge well and provide a cohesive CX to customers at every touchpoint of the journey. For example, if a user downloads a gated content, it should initiate the appropriate drip sequence followed by a remarketing campaign.
To be effective, digital marketing strategies need to be incredibly flexible. Digital marketing strategies equip brands to reach a wide audience while being budget-friendly.
We compiled some actionable tips for you from the digital marketing campaigns that nailed it and those that didn’t in 2019.
- Understand your audience and identify their favorite industry/brand for cross-category promotions.
- Building campaigns around awareness days and holidays can be a great way to piggyback onto existing conversations. Ensure sensitivity and relevance when doing so.
- Influencer marketing and user-generated content can be a fun and fresh ways to attract new audiences.
- Listen to your customers and target audience to know what they want and identify gaps in your customer experience, personalization and marketing approach.
- Giveaways might seem like a tired concept, but social media sweepstakes are still very much appreciated and a great way to promote your hashtag and increase awareness.
- Constantly track your brand’s communications and capture what’s working and do more of that.
We asked Todd Grossman, Talkwalker CEO, Americas, for his insights into which skills and tools marketers need to equip themselves for the future, and we leave you with his closing thoughts: “Storytelling and creativity remain essential to the marketing skillset. Given that video will be 80% of all online content by 2020, marketers need to brush up on their video storytelling capabilities. In order to future-proof, marketers should also have a strong grasp of data. The ability to tell relevant stories using data and identify insights from data will become even more important in the future. Marketers should also be equipped to identify real influencers based on authenticity and engagement.”