Aug 22, 2023

What Are the Most Effective Digital Marketing Strategies?

Written by Clodagh O’Brien

Marketers looking to create the ultimate digital marketing strategy need to have a clear understanding of their business, product, and demographics before choosing one that will be effective for their needs.

In our research, ‘The Marketing Evolution: Leadership, Transformation, Skills, Challenges & the Future’ we found that 53% of senior marketers are spending significantly more on digital marketing channels while many report a lack of talent to compete in a demanding customer environment - which increases the need for a well planned strategy to guide activities. This is is becoming ever-more evident with the growth of AI in digital marketing.

Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you boost customer engagement, raise brand awareness, and generate leads to drive business growth. 

This article will cover:

What is a Digital Marketing Strategy?

A digital marketing strategy is a plan for using channels to grow your visibility online. It should look at factors such as your target audience, strengths and weaknesses, and competitors. 

To create an effective strategy you should use data across the business to inform and speculate. This will help you establish which marketing channels to use or test, your target audience, and how to communicate your message or brand.

Note: A strategy is different from tactics as these are the actions you take to implement your strategy. 

4 Tips for Creating an Effective Digital Strategy

There are a few key elements to consider in creating a digital marketing strategy.

1. Understand your customer

No digital marketing strategy will be effective if you don't have a clear understanding of who buys your product, why they buy it, and where they buy it. 

Use data and demographics to create a robust profile of your audience and inform your tactics by following these steps:

  1. Define the channels that fit your key demographics
  2. Speak your customer’s language
  3. Understand their pain points and how to switch on emotions
  4. Create buyer personas to help customize content and predict buying patterns
  5. Be culturally aware
  6. Consider partnerships such as with influencers
  7. Focus on action-oriented experiences and results rather than the product
  8. Use automation tools for segmentation and targeting

2. Audit & Assess

To create an effective strategy, it’s important to know the digital marketing channels and assets you currently use and have.

Therefore you should conduct a full channel and content audit and include everything on a spreadsheet to get a full picture of your marketing activities (across owned, paid, and earned media). 

You should then link each piece to your organizational goals. So if your key goal is to drive revenue, look at each channel and asset (you may just want to look at the top performers if you have a lot of content) and map it to revenue. 

Doing this will help you understand what is currently driving revenue and what isn’t. You can then double down on what’s successful and look to explore new content pieces or channels for any further impact.  

3. Focus on the End Result

In marketing and product development, there can be so much emphasis on the product and the ‘numbers’ around it (i.e. revenue) that sometimes people lose sight of the need that the product fulfills.

What truly matters is who you are marketing to, and why. You need to understand their pain points to get what people are doing with your product or service. In other words, when you demonstrate the post-buying moments, they will remember why they need it in the first place.

4. Review and Refine

When you develop your strategy, it's essential to include key performance indicators (KPIs) that fit with crucial business goals. 

You need to have a plan in place to understand your goals and objectives and then monitor the metrics to get insights about the KPIs that matter. To do this you'll need to:

  • Step away from vanity metrics – don’t pay attention to the numbers that aren’t crucial to long-term success, e.g. Facebook likes
  • Use KPIs to measure success, but don't have them set in stone
  • Set up continuous intervals for analyzing, understanding, measuring, and reporting
  • Understand how to isolate critical metrics if it looks like something is not working

What are the Most Effective Digital Marketing Strategies?

The digital marketing strategies you use will depend on the needs and goals of your business: for example, to grow leads or build brand awareness. 

Keep in mind that any strategy you use should align with your brand and message. Let’s look at a few digital strategies that are proven to get results and help you build online visibility and generate leads. 

Content Marketing

There are many ways of generating leads, but one tried and tested method is by providing valuable content and using digital channels to promote it. This is what’s known as content marketing.  

For example, you can tie an Instagram post to a specific offer using a landing page, thereby boosting your conversion potential. This could be as simple as promoting an ebook that is relevant to your audience but making it gated so you gather a visitor’s details. 

There are a lot of content types that you can use so don’t just stick to one. Along with blogs, create videos, put some energy into creating a valuable ebook, or look at hosting a webinar with in-house staff or experts to drive leads and engagement.

Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing is an effective way to reach and influence 4.6 billion people across the globe. Plus depending on the network, social media has such reach you can target specific age groups and locations. 

While you can simply use social media to promote your brand, product or service, it can also be instrumental in developing a community. This allows you to have meaningful engagement with prospects or customers and create brand advocates that will promote your brand without being asked. 

Social media marketing covers a highly varied landscape that is constantly changing, and each channel requires its own strategy and metrics. Make sure you keep social listening as part of your overall strategy to help you understand and engage with your audience.


Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an important digital marketing strategy as it can make your brand, product or service more visible online. 

The goal of SEO is to optimize your content - whether that’s a homepage, landing page or blog - so it gets found easily by existing and prospective customers. It not only helps to drive traffic but improves user experience and can help to boost your authority. 

There are a few key elements of SEO to tap into user intent that you should consider:

  • Keywords
  • Backlinks
  • Links
  • Meta descriptions
  • Images

The key is to use SEO to target the people searching online that are most likely to be interested in your brand.

Paid Advertising

While organic marketing can go a long way to helping drive traffic and generate leads, using a paid channel can help you to be targeted and reach new audiences. 

Many channels offer paid advertising such as social media networks, search engines like Google through Google Ads along with pay-per-click (PPC) marketing

The beauty of most platforms is that you can fix a budget and see the results easily. This means that any size business can reap the benefits and you can test imagery, content and CTAs to see what resonates with your audience.  

You can also gather data from your paid marketing campaigns to inform your marketing activities. For example, let’s say you created a Facebook ad promoting a podcast that drives tons of traffic. Consider repurposing the content to create a blog or downloadable checklist as the topic obviously has an interest to your audience.  

Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing can help you gain reach in a targeted audience or niche and drive campaign performance. The key is to partner with an influencer that aligns with your brand and has an audience that will be interested in your product or service. 

Bear in mind it’s not just about the number of followers when choosing an influencer, it’s about how they engage with their audience and the topics they promote and are passionate about. 

You can collaborate with an influencer in several ways: 

  • Promote an event
  • Gifting or sending a sample for them to try
  • Giveaway
  • Social channel takeover
  • Use them as a host
  • Challenge them
  • Commission unique content

Email Marketing

Email marketing is one of the oldest forms of digital marketing because it works! 

With the demise of third-party cookies and privacy becoming a bigger concern for customers, email marketing provides businesses with a way to inform and engage people that have shown an interest in their product or service. 

Not only that but it enables personalization as marketers can segment groups by their activity. This is where AI-powered marketing automation tools have made things so much more effective: for example, if you have a cohort of prospects that have downloaded an ebook, follow up with something on a similar topic to drive click-through. 

There are many methods you can engage to encourage people to provide their personal information so you can add them to your list:

  • Use enticing CTAs
  • Promote your social media channels
  • Use pop-ups or forms  
  • Run a competition
  • Offer free downloads
  • Promote an offer
  • Start a blog subscription
  • Ask for a review or feedback
  • Run a webinar or podcast

Examples of Successful Digital Marketing Strategies

Now that you understand the various digital marketing strategies you can use, let’s look at great examples for inspiration in your activities and campaigns.

Content marketing example: Salesforce+

Salesforce took the leap of launching a streaming service with live and on-demand content. The reason? The company wanted to offer live experiences, original series, podcasts, and other programming with a business slant. 

This content service capitalizes on the success of Salesforce’s ‘Leading Through Change’ series, a weekly series of virtual events which provides thought leadership, tips, and resources from Salesforce, business leaders and its community of Trailblazers. 

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The company sees this content strategy as the future, and indeed it won at the 2022 Content Marketing Awards. According to Colin Fleming, Salesforce’s Senior Vice President of Global Brand Marketing. 

We have this trailblazing spirit within Salesforce and we thought, why not? Why not us? We see the content consumption models through Netflix and Peloton that are being developed and if that’s the future — then we should be first to market with that kind of thing and that’s exactly what you’re seeing us do.

Influencer Marketing Example: Absolut

What Are the Most Effective Digital Marketing Strategies?

To champion a more progressive society and sustainable planet, Absolut launched 'Planet Earth's Favorite Vodka' campaign. 

This 8-month campaign leveraged long-term influencer partnerships to create an “activist army” for the brand. Influencers ranged from eco-conscious sustainability advocates to LGBTQ influencers and allies. 

The campaign featured experiential events shared across Instagram and Twitter. Highlights included a four-day immersion at the brand’s production facility in Sweden and a photoshoot recreating the Stonewall march. 

A total of 95 influencers created 612 total posts and the campaign generated over 68 million potential impressions, 7.7 million views and 739.4k active engagements according to Hello Partner.

Email Marketing Example: Adidas

The iconic athletic apparel and footwear brand Adidas is no stranger to using clever marketing tactics to attract, engage, and influence customers. The secret to its email marketing strategy is that it uses personalization so effectively. 

Using dynamic content driven by AI technology in its emails Adidas matches its subscribers with the most relevant content. It uses data points like language, location, product interest, and purchase history along with leveraging content to encourage people to discover new products or sports.

In this example, the focus is an update on a product a customer has been looking for. The email not only keeps the receiver up to date with the availability but makes other tailored product suggestions to drive engagement and click-through. 

What Are the Most Effective Digital Marketing Strategies?

We’ve seen good engagement and open rates and much greater operational scalability,” said adidas Vice President of Digital Products, Robert Lochrie. “We’ve been able to expand our personalization in other emails with minimal effort, bring relevant stories to our subscribers, and configure content at the market level.

Understanding Your Digital Marketing Strategy

The bottom line with any digital marketing campaign or tactic is to stay aligned with your core purpose, not just your product. Focus on benefits, address customer's real needs, and understand what makes them tick. 

You should also stay on top of which social trends affect various demographics (for example, the global economic crisis). Remember it's your job to ‘follow’ the customer and not the other way around.

Become a Strategic Digital Marketer

Being able to research, plan and implement a digital strategy is a sought-after skill across industries. With our certified Digital Marketing Strategy & Leadership course you will know how to manage marketing activities and explore customer experience, analytics, communication, budgeting and how to drive business performance.  Enroll today!

Clodagh O’Brien
Clodagh O’Brien

Clodagh O'Brien is a content creator and strategist. Over the last 12 years, she has created and managed content for many SMEs and global brands. She's passionate about digital marketing and the impact of technology on culture and society. You can find her on Twitter or LinkedIn.  

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