Planning and budgeting are important parts of every marketing team’s work. And for digital marketing teams, creating a strategy and planning a budget can be a bit more challenging because of all the moving pieces. With these strategies, most leadership teams spend a significant amount of time analyzing concerns such as capital investment, resource allocation and the competitive landscape.

Proper planning can be the difference between wasted budget or inefficient campaigns and a high return on investment, so planning your strategy and being dynamic with your team and budget are crucial when testing and iterating through marketing channels.

As you form your digital marketing strategy, here are some questions and notes to help you plan ahead.

How do you gather and use data in your strategy to develop a competitive advantage?

There is so much available data about your customers, audience and competition, from keyword data and audience reach to demographics and psychographics. The important part is to make sure you understand who your customer is and where to find them. Understanding this gives you the most accurate insight into potential reach and visibility.

If your company sells high-end women’s jewelry, targeting women over age 30 with an income above six figures would be very manageable with Facebook ads. There, you can also layer in interests, relevant brands and competitors. In addition to this approach, you can target fashion blogs with display advertising or influencers to generate more visibility and brand awareness.

What type of data can you gather from existing visitors or customers?

Understanding the customer journey on your site will help in identifying ways to convert these visitors into customers or users. You can find significant insights through behavioral customer data. A tool like Crazy Egg can identify customer interaction on a page so you can increase the probability of getting customers where you want them to go. Or you can use a tool like MixPanel to find out where people are dropping off in your purchase funnels; reducing this drop off will increase conversion rates, which then leads to more revenue.

Once you’ve learned how your customer interacts with the pages on your site, you will really be able to improve your messaging, calls to action and purchase funnels. This will make the experience on your site enjoyable, simple and effortless, which obviously leads to more revenue – a win-win.

Identify the investment and resources necessary to complete what you need.

What I have typically found is companies start thinking about investing in a digital strategy but do not realize all of the additional pieces required in the investment. You will need to budget for costs such as engineering for SEO requirements and design and content resources for content marketing. To get a sense of the investment, you can research online resources for digital marketing salaries to get a sense of a baseline budget per position. Your investment should also be dynamic and increase or decrease based on the relative success of the campaigns.

Are you being diligent in testing and iterating through opportunities?

While you want to encourage new ideas, there is a chance you lose sight on major key performance indicators (KPIs). Create a sense of urgency and be prepared to test and iterate through a lot of ideas. However, don’t wait too long to make a decision because it could cost you a lot of money with not a lot of return. Having a plan on how to test a campaign and for how long will help you analyze the data efficiently, decide whether the test was successful, and what to do next.

Think about how to plan your content strategy.

Content needs to be efficiently created and leveraged across all channels. You can no longer afford to think of everything as disparate pieces of content; having a holistic content marketing strategy is a necessity. So, what does that really mean? Your content can be shared via a blog post, has SEO in mind from a keyword targeting standpoint, and can be leveraged via email to drive retention or possible customers back into the funnel. It should all be tied together, which will allow content marketing to be a huge part of your digital marketing strategy, making it all feel cohesive. This will help all marketing channels, create a solid foundation for it all, and ultimately lead to more conversions.

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What is your omnichannel strategy?

If you are really effective at making your content cohesive, you’ll be able to provide that seamless omnichannel marketing experience for your customers. As the customer moves off your site, sees an email, finds you through retargeting, or even leaves a desktop experience and returns via mobile, the key is the customer experience has a unified feeling, consistent messaging, and every piece of marketing material compliments each other. Put this into play with an example of an online retailer; if you place an item in your online shopping cart and are reminded it’s there via retargeting and email reminders, you’re much more likely to purchase.

All of this is becoming the norm and the new standard for capturing and maintaining customers. The best digital strategy is not a bunch of one-off campaigns, quick customer acquisition ideas or growth hacks. Sure, those might get you some quick wins but they will not stand the test of time. Your digital marketing strategy should be driven by a holistic content approach, a seamless omnichannel experience and a unified voice for your brand messaging. Ultimately, you want the user experience and customer journey to be as simple and frictionless as possible. Getting this done is not simple, but if you set goals, plan ahead, and execute efficiently, your digital strategy will make for a better customer experience.