Digital Marketing Strategy Checklist — The Ultimate Guide (Updated for 2017)

digital strategy marketing checklist

Developing a digital marketing strategy requires the use of a prioritized process.

Our Digital Marketing Checklist walks you through the the same proven 7 step process that our digital marketing consultants use.

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The sections of the checklist are explained in the Digital Marketing Checklist itself.

Here are some additional details to help you. We just updated this guide for 2017.

1. Segmentation | Personas | Value Proposition | Brand

A strong value proposition is the #1 factor in driving conversions. [Click to Tweet]

Developing a strong value proposition requires you to make a decision. Which segments of the market can deliver unique value to.

Creating a persona or model of your ideal buyer including pain points, behaviors, and emotions is a vital step in the process.

Take a look at your brand from your ideal buyer’s perspective. Good design helps build trust. A good brand story helps create an emotional connection with your prospect.

Susan Gunelius in this Forbes article describes a brand story well.

Brand stories are not marketing materials. They are not ads, and they are not sales pitches. Brand stories should be told with the brand persona and the writer’s personality at center stage. Boring stories won’t attract and retain readers, but stories brimming with personality can.

You can read our digital marketing guide on brand strategy for a detailed overview of this process.

2. Search Optimization | Usability | Conversion

Building traffic through search is a long-term process and vital to a digital marketing strategy. Getting the organic search part right results to visitors to your site that fit your best customer profile.

The key is to publish content focused on solving the most important problems of these ideal prospects. You then need to optimize your content to rank for the terms that your prospects are searching with to find answers these questions. You need to outrank the current search results to gain meaningful traffic.

To research keywords, look for terms with sufficient traffic, relatively low competition, and the right intent depending on your objective. Read this post to learn about keyword intent.

There are many keyword research tools available. Term Explorer is a good option with a free plan to get you started.

Once you have your keywords, you need to optimize your page or post.

You do this in two ways.

  • On page optimization

On page optimization means making sure that you have properly structured your web page or post so that search engines identify your content as relevant to the target keyword.

Here is a great on page SEO optimization guide.

  • Off page optimization

Off page optimization focuses on linking building so that search engines recognize that your content is important and relevant to the keyword. Here’s an excellent guide to off page SEO optimization.

You should now be starting to see some traffic.

The next step is creating an intuitive web experience that leads the visitor down a conversion path. Applying proven best practices can get you started in optimizing your site to achieve your business goals. Testing small changes can double or triple the number of visitors becoming leads.

Remember mobile.

Mobile is rapidly becoming the top way to access the web so be mobile friendly. Being mobile friendly is officially a Google ranking factor as well.

3. Content Curation + Creation

Blogs allow you to target topics that your ideal customers are interested in. In addition to organic traffic, this content also powers your marketing system including email and social. A blog post can also be changed to visual formats (repurposed) for channels like Slideshare or Pinterest.

Curation allows you to create value for your audience as well as create relationships with influencers by sharing other people’s content.

4. Email Marketing | Relationship Management

The power of email marketing is often not recognized. One study found that email marketing generates a return of 4,300%. This means great results for not a lot of effort. Email marketing needs to be part of every digital marketing strategy.

Testing small changes to your email such as subject lines and calls-to-action (CTAs) in the email can make a big difference.

Your opt-in email list is your biggest “owned” marketing asset. A customer relationship management (CRM) tool allows you to manage these contacts in a systematic way. A CRM increases lead conversion and can form the basis of a referral system.

5. Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing is receiving too much attention, but it is a necessary element to your marketing mix. Social channels allow you to reinforce key themes and amplify your content in interesting ways. It also provides another way to build your community.

6. Systems | Measurement

Marketing systems are important, but they can be improved over time starting with basic tools and manual processes. The basics include:

  • Content Management System (CMS)

A CMS helps you add content and make changes to your website including adding blog posts and optimizing for search engines

Wordpress is the biggest self-hosted CMS. We use Rainmaker (built on Wordpress) for simpler Wordpress management. Squarespace is a good hosted option, especially for more visually focused sites.

  • SEO

You want to find keywords that your ideal prospects search for your service with. Back links are important also.

Lots of options here. Moz’s Open Site Explorer is a good place to start for an overview of where you are. You can check your competitors also.

Google’s Keyword Planner gets you started with keyword search. You need an active Adwords to get the most out of this tool now. As mentioned before, Term Explorer is a great alternative.

Remember that search engines have moved to semantic search so try and include some synonyns. Try this Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) keyword tool to help with that.

Need to optimize your existing content? Try Browseo to check your on-page optimization.

  • Email marketing

Email marketing systems allow you to design and send emails. Email analytics and testing tools allow you to measure and improve the effectiveness of your campaigns.

We like MailChimp — see this for how to get more from MailChimp.

Excellent new options are emerging. Mailer Lite offers email, landing pages, forms, and marketing automation. It’s free if you have less than 1,000 contacts and inexpensive after that.

  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

CRM systems allow you to better manage your prospect and customer relationships.

We like Batchbook for CRM.

  • Social marketing

These systems allow you to add optimize social posting, measure results and monitor mentions

We use the following tools.

Buffer for posting, image creation and analytics

Mention for monitoring

PicMonkey and Canva for creating cool visual content

Sniply for social media social conversion

Ritetag for hashtag research

ALL these tools have free plans or a trial period.

7. Offers | Advertising | Promotion

  • Offers

Your prospective customers are at different stages in their buying cycle. Your digital marketing strategy needs to deliver the right content based on their buying stage.

Top of the funnel (TOFU) prospects are looking for help to how to solve their problem.

Revenizer top of the funnel prospects are looking to understand what they need to do to get better results from digital. The Revenizer Checklist is an example of an early stage offer designed help people in this stage and build a prospect list. Prospects trade their contact information for high-level help.

Middle of the funnel (MOFU) prospects are looking to choose from different alternatives that can solve their problem.

We develop the Tasks product to allow people to easily test our service with not risk. Middle of the funnel prospects often want to see the product or service in action. Explainer videos are useful here.

Bottom of the funnel (BOFU) are looking to buy from you but still have some questions.

FAQs, product demonstrations are useful at this stage.

Developing an offer requires you to:

a. Create the item of value to the prospect based on where they are in the buying cycle (e.g video / download for top of the funnel)

b. Develop the copy based on your persona work (Headline, sub-header, top 3 benefits / features)

c. Create a call-to-action e.g. “Download my checklist”

d. Create a landing page (a single objective page for the offer) — see landing page tools including Unbounce and Instapage.

e. Create a lead capture form with an automated email program to nurture the prospect with additional helpful material

  • Local search

Make sure that your business is listed in directories consistently especially for businesses targeting a local market. Your NAP (Name, Address, Phone) should the same. Test this with Moz Local.

  • Advertising

Pay-per-click, display, and social advertising are best managed using their native system initially. Retargeting using Adroll is easy-to-manage and can get good returns. Remember 70% of users click on organic results first and conversion rates are higher for organic also.

Advertising campaigns need additional work. Testing around specific segments and creating specific web pages (landing pages) to match each campaign offer to improve results.

Our digital marketing checklist will help you develop a strategy for growth. Start at the beginning of the process and work your way down. There are no shortcuts for sustainable success.

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