Step 1: Know thy Target Audience intimately
Who are they? Where do they hang out? What do newspapers or trade journals they read? One way to define your target audience is to create buyer personas. A persona is a description of a specific person who might want to buy your services or products. The persona usually includes a fictitious buyer’s demographic information, day in the life of, needs, motivations, preferences, biographical information, and a photo/ image to make it real.

Step 2: Spy on your Competitors (nicely)
Put together a spreadsheet of your top competitors and research them to see how they are using digital marketing channels to reach customers. Do a quick competitive analysis by checking out how your competitors (three is a good number) are performing on the SERPs and social media, as well as taking a good look at their websites. Be a private detective, do a bit of mystery shopping, impersonate your customer to find your (and your competitor’s) products or services online. Did you find theirs first, or yours? If you find theirs first, try to uncover what they are doing within the digital channel to make a connection online. Write down each connection you make in the spreadsheet.

Looking at your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats is a good starting point for your marketing strategy.You might want to carry out a simple SWOT or situational analysis of the internal and external factors affecting your business. Gather information about your product, customers, price points and market share.

Step 3: Prioritise Your Digital Tactics & Channels
Look at each digital channel and think about how valuable or important the channel is to your organisation. e.g Do email campaigns drive web traffic or is it referrals (links) from directories or news sites. Hint: check your referral traffic in Google Analytics.

email marketing
referral traffic
directory listings
social media like Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest for e-commerce or a combination.

Value can be defined as existing referrals, % of new visitors, no of new leads etc use your Google analytics data to see trends. Then, look at the effort required to implement your plan across each digital marketing channel. The value-effort score will show you which channels represent “quick wins”. Think about the following options to narrow down the list:

Company Goals – What are the top priorities for the business to achieve? Brand Awareness, Education, Raw Traffic or Sales?
Budget – How much do you have to spend on your marketing effort(s)?
Available resources – What personnel or outsourced people do you have available to create or remarket content?
Available content – What content do you have already, carry out a content audit to find out top performing content
Your website – Check if it’s content rich, responsive and designed for conversion optimisation.

Does your site follow the Google webmaster guidelines?

Step 4: Quick wins
A variety of digital channels & tactics will be ‘right’ for your business depending on your business objectives & customers. For example, if you want to raise brand awareness & improve customer services social media marketing tactics will fit the bill. If you want to generate sales & web traffic a combination of Search Engine Marketing, Google+ & email marketing may be your best fit. In reality, most businesses have a variety of business objectives & audiences so take a ‘pick ‘n’ mix approach, test effectiveness & monitor results.

Display Advertising
Email Marketing
Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC)
Online Public Relations
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Affiliate Marketing
Social Media Marketing
Viral Content Campaigns
Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO)
Twitter advertising
Facebook advertising
Influencer/Blogger outreach
Video marketing
Local search marketing
Mobile marketing
Groupon/offer sites
Corporate website
Free content (eBooks, white papers, tools)
Online communities/forums
Crowdfunding campaigns

Step 5: Measuring results
Create SMART performance indicators that are quantifiable and measurable. Examples include:-

Increase online sales by 20% from x to y
Increase natural search traffic by 20%
Increase social media engagement on Facebook by 25% quarterly

Step 6: Is it working?
You can test whether your marketing campaigns are working by tracking your traffic, goals and conversions in Google Analytics and other metrics like Facebook Insights.

Heatmaps are visual representations of where people are clicking on your site so its worth evaluating this to draw out insights. Monitoring & reporting enables you to see how well your digital marketing is performing and gives great insight into next actions. AB or split testing is essential, see Google Content Experiments and Customer Journeys for insights into customer buying journeys in your sector.

Step 7: Monthly review
Take time out to review where your marketing tactics are driving results regularly and adapt your campaigns to take advantage of new opportunities. You can use a variety of tools for this see this cool list of seo and social media tools and pick a free or paid one to get going!

Your essential tools are Google Search Console previously known as Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics.There are so many SEO tools out there to use but don’t get bogged down by them. Choose one or two.

Take a holistic overview of metrics, for example in some cases directory referrals are huge traffic drivers, likewise an authority link from the Guardian, Money Saving Expert or Life Hacker can make or break a campaign.