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A decade ago, digital marketing was a new frontier. Nowadays, every business wants to advertise online. Getting results isn’t as easy as just throwing up a listing or buying banner ads. You need a strategy. Here are three ways you can start thinking through your digital marketing approach and ensure you come out on top by creating a winning digital marketing strategy.

Focus On The Customers

There’s a ceiling to how effective your digital marketing campaigns can be if you’re not talking to your customers. Do you know who they are, what problems they’re looking to solve, and where are they looking for answers? If not, how can you tailor your content to give them answers—and, by extension, grow your brand?

Focus On The Customers. Blue customers letters.

Start by talking to them. Survey customers about why they chose the business, how they found them, and what they liked about the company. Once you have a robust number of real-world answers, take them and start constructing some user personas. As a team, go over the personas and ask how your marketing might better reach the customers. As an agency, don’t be afraid to bring your client into this discussion. After all, long-time business owners have great insight into who their customers are and what they want.

Develop Realistic Goals

One of the traps digital marketers can fall into, especially early on, is feeling like they need to do everything, all at once. It’s the same basic psychological trap as a New Year’s resolution—you want to make up for the lost time and get results right away, but don’t have a roadmap to get there. And, just like your resolution, there’s a good chance your goal-setting will fall flat if you don’t set realistic milestones and outline ways to achieve them.

With all goals, patience is a virtue. You could rework an entire website and not see any results for weeks. Don’t get caught up in making drastic changes. Instead, break larger projects into smaller, bite-sized pieces and take them on, one week at a time.

Here’s a secret: there’s going to be a lot of failure on route to your goals. You might try 20 new things and have 19 of them fail. The key is learning from those misses and tailor your improved strategies. That’s how campaigns strengthen and grow over time.

Embrace Automation

Work smarter, not harder. Your digital marketing just has too many moving parts for any person, or even team, to manage manually. Plus, manually inputting data gets pretty tedious. For everything you do, take a step back and look critically. Ask yourself, “Can we automate that?” From sending out reports to responding to customer reviews, chances are the answer is a resounding yes.

The right application of automation makes it so much easier to scale up what you’re doing for clients. As an added bonus, it also means you—as a digital marketer—get to focus more on the fun stuff, leaving the machine-like work to, well, the machines.

Okay, Ready To Learn More? Check Out This Infographic!

Steps To Creating A Winning Digital Marketing Strategy Infographic.

Bio: Raluca Crasuleac is the senior editor and digital marketing strategist at 5 Fold Marketing, an online advertising company. Raluca has completed her Bachelor’s in Marketing at ASU and has adventured into studying foundational neuroscience at Duke University on Coursera. By combining her marketing knowledge with her neuroscience insights, Raluca has a better understanding of how consumers make buying decisions thus having the unique ability to create innovative digital marketing strategies and drive business success