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How to create a digital marketing strategy for your business

Image of a business owner wanting a strong digital marketing strategy

6-minute read

Want to develop a successful digital marketing strategy? Set your business up for success with this marketing framework to help you attract customers and make sales.

Key take-outs

There are four key stages to a digital marketing strategy:

  1. Reach: gain awareness for your brand and products with tactics such as Google Ads and creative social media content
  2. Act: encourage customers to follow, subscribe and request more information about your products and services
  3. Convert: use advertising and emails to remind customers to buy
  4. Engage: provide personalised after-sales value to encourage repeat business and recommendations.

4 key stages of your digital marketing strategy

Just about every business nowadays is expected to have an online presence, so it's a good idea to spend some time on developing a formal marketing strategy. Sharing what you do, attracting new customers and, ultimately, making sales are the goals, but bringing these objectives together can be challenging.


That's why creating an effective digital marketing strategy that focuses on the stages of a typical customer lifecycle – reach, act, convert, engage – is a great way to break it down. Here's how to create an effective digital marketing strategy for your business.

First up, make a plan

Though you may feel overwhelmed, get started and define some clear goals for your digital marketing strategy.


Maybe you want to focus on promoting a particular product in your range, or attracting a new or wider customer base? If you already have a database of customers from an in-person arm of your business, your focus might be on convincing those customers to try your new online offering.


Your goal can be as simple as letting your local community know what your business offers – but it's important to define what this is from the outset, so you can plan accordingly and establish how you'll work to these targets.


Stage 1: Reach 

The first stage in the relationship with a customer is making them aware of your company and products, so your digital strategy should focus on attracting their attention. Start by getting the basics of your online presence right: at the very least, make sure your website is up to scratch, clear and concise, and appealing to your target audience. 


Ensure your business is discoverable by search engines if prospective customers jump onto the internet. If you run a physical shopfront, be sure to update your Google Business Profile so customers know where to find you if they search. With these things ticked off, you might want to invest in some pay-per-click ads to help your business rank higher in search. 


Next, social media marketing is a fantastic tool to reach prospective customers, so it's worth trying to build your presence. Think carefully about which social media platforms make the most sense for your business. If it’s consumer-facing and has a visual offering, such as a café or clothing brand, Instagram could be a great fit. But if you supply other businesses or offer a more technical service, LinkedIn might better suit you. 


Use your channels to share content that lets customers know what they can expect and, if you feel that it fits with your brand's personality, get creative. Find compelling ways to tell your story or sell your products, for maximum cut through. 


If you have the means, set aside budget to boost your content with paid advertising. Meta Business Suite is a platform that lets you target your advertising to audiences with specific interests, so it's a first-choice digital marketing campaign tool for many businesses. You can also tap into platforms such as Hootsuite, which let you schedule posts ahead of time and put a plan in place. 


Then of course there's influencer marketing, which many companies use to raise brand awareness among hard-to-reach audiences, and video marketing on digital platforms such as TikTok.

Stage 2: Act 

Once you have your brand in front of new customers, the next step is to compel them to take action. The specifics will depend on your business, products and industry, but goals at this stage could include the following: 

  • Get people to like or follow your social media account
  • Attract subscriptions to your emailing list
  • Encourage potential customers to request a sample or quote
  • Motivate potential customers to click through from an advertisement to find out more or purchase online.


An email marketing newsletter may be a great way to nurture customers towards further sales. You'll need to ensure you have their permission to communicate with them by email and be sure to include an opt-out mechanism to avoid sending spam.


By encouraging discussions relating to your products or industry on social media, responding to comments and engaging with the audience, you can go a long way to fostering brand loyalty. Be mindful that you can't please everyone, so be prepared for the occasional negative interaction. Remain as friendly and professional as you would if communicating face-to-face and take exchanges offline if things escalate. 


Content marketing is important too, and will assist with search engine optimisation. Use the social media networks to post content that encourages your customers to engage with what you do. For example, share your café's muffins of the day so customers will be tempted to pop in. 


Even if they miss out on that day, they'll know you offer specials, that you have products they're interested in and that they should tune in to your Instagram frequently to avoid missing out. Balancing the conversational with the promotion of your goods and services can be tricky but don't let this hold you back. Find your rhythm as you go. 

Stage 3: Convert 

Whether it's bookings, orders or sales you're hoping to drum up, conversion is a key goal of digital marketing campaigns. So how can you get your online audiences to respond to your marketing tactics and convert? 

Content shared online should include clear calls to action that show customers where or how to buy your products. The content itself can take a broader approach but it should end with a pointy push to purchase so there's no room for confusion. 


If you're selling products from your website, you've hopefully chosen an eCommerce platform that streamlines the checkout process and prioritises secure transactions as it's important to keep the buyer journey as simple as possible. Also, invest in high-quality imagery on product pages to seal the deal at this vital stage. The imagery can be used in further promotion of your business across relevant channels.  


If you've been posting organically on social media channels such as Facebook and Instagram, consider boosting some of your posts and setting up paid advertising to retarget customers if they've shown interest but not yet made a purchase. Anyone who clicks your ad could be shown another ad the next day, reminding them to return to buy.


It's also worth sharing new product updates or subscriber-only offers with the customers you've added to your email list. Sending out a ‘limited time’ offer with more direct messaging around purchasing will push your customers closer to conversion. 

Stage 4: Engage 

The after-sales experience is often the most neglected of all the stages in marketing. But getting it right can mean nailing repeat business and word-of-mouth recommendations. After a customer makes a purchase, sending them a personalised thank you email can encourage brand loyalty. If it's a physical product, useful content such as tips for use and maintenance give customers something to refer back to. If they'll be attending an online event or consultation, tell them how they can prepare. 


In emails and social media, balance sales messages with advice, industry insights, maintenance tips and inspiration, so followers who have already purchased stay subscribed and look to your business for relevant updates. To further foster this connection, you could create points-based loyalty programs, refer-a-friend discounts and subscription services for products that are purchased regularly. You might even consider starting a Facebook group for super fans who you can reward with special sales and discounts in exchange for feedback and referrals to their friends. 

To sum up

There's more to effective digital marketing strategies than posting a few snaps to social media. Set aside the time to plan out digital strategies that are right for your business and soon you could be amassing followers, subscribers and sales.

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Things you should know

This information does not take into account your personal circumstances and is general. It is an overview only and should not be considered a comprehensive statement on any matter or relied upon. Consider obtaining personalised advice from a professional financial adviser and your accountant before making any financial decisions in relation to the matters discussed in this article, including when considering tax and finance options for your business. Westpac does not endorse any of the external providers referred to in this article.