What are the Keys to Powerful Digital Marketing –
the Minimum Business Leaders Must Know to Reap Maximum Rewards

Some businesses attract a constant flow of happy customers, and it seems so effortless!

If you’re not sure your business is making the most of digital marketing, it can weigh heavily on you.

But, as with most things, if we don’t fully understand digital marketing, or it seems opaque, we’ll resist engaging with it. Especially when we’re busy! Thankfully, the strategic digital marketing foundations that succeed are universal. When you know these and the tactics that work, digital marketing will no longer feel like a chore.

We want to talk to you plainly about digital marketing so that uncertainty won’t hold you back.

But, maybe I can get away without it…

Yes, you may ‘get away’ without digital marketing, but you’ll always know you could have done better.

If you consider the last important purchase you made, you’ll probably remember doing some online research before buying. Whether you needed an accountant, new packaging for your business or a lawnmower, chances are, your purchasing decision started online.

Every business needs digital marketing, regardless of industry, product or service.

Digital Marketing is part of business strategy. Getting and keeping customers is too important for anyone but the leader to be ultimately responsible for. Therefore, it’s up to you, as a leader in your business, to proactively rally your whole organization behind digital marketing.

It’s up to you, as a leader in your business, to proactively rally your whole organization behind digital marketing.

So, even if you have marketing staff, this article is for you

In this post, we’ll define what digital marketing actually is, especially from your perspective as a leader of a mid-sized company. And then, we’ll lay out the core of what every business leader must know if they want to take full advantage of digital marketing.

What is Digital Marketing?

Digital marketing is all about meeting your business goals with the help of online marketing tactics. Social media, search marketing and email marketing, are the prime examples.

To put it another way, digital marketing has the same core principles as traditional marketing but uses different tactics so that your business can connect with today’s customers.

Why bother?

Digital marketing done well will allow you to be at the same places online that your customers are.

And, not only does it remove any hurdles for your customers, it allows them to interact with you. People are no longer satisfied to be told by businesses what they should or shouldn’t buy. They demand the agency of a two-way conversation.

Lastly, an excellent digital marketing strategy will prevent you from making ineffective and costly tactical decisions. It eliminates endless choice.

Free Glossary for Business Leaders

The Digital Marketing Terms You Can’t Do Without

Start at the heart.
Most leaders know that their customers are the heart of their businesses. They are what all marketing strategy, whether it’s traditional or digital, is built around. So the good news is, you’re off to a good start if you’ve already thought deeply about who you serve. You need to nail it before you begin because effective digital marketing is particularly targeted. To be laser-sharp on your business’s target customer, carefully consider these five questions;
  • What are their goals and values?
  • Where do they get their information?
  • What are their demographics?
  • What challenges do they face?
  • What stands in the way of them purchasing your product?
If you’re in a more complex business environment, like some B2B, don’t forget those who influence a purchase decision but may not be the paying customer. The time and thought you put into your customer in this first stage is your most important investment. It will prevent all your other investments from falling on fallow ground.

Next is the core


If understanding WHO you serve is the first step in your strategy, defining WHAT value you give them is the second. WHY would your customer choose your product or service? This value proposition is a combination of the product and experience you offer your customer. Think about what your product will ultimately achieve. It’s easy to forget the drill and hole concept, so we need to revisit it at every point in our digital marketing strategy. For best results, make sure the value you provide is unique, answers a specific need and is clearly communicated.

The customer journey

To take us to the fundamentals that are more specific to digital marketing, we’ll defer to Ryan Deiss, the author of Digital Marketing for Dummies. He writes, ‘The role of your digital marketing is to assist in moving a prospect, lead, or customer from one stage of the customer journey to the next.’ Understanding the customer journey is key to understanding digital marketing. It may sound like jargon, but really it’s just the path a person takes from first becoming aware of you to when they become your customer and even your fan. Just as you don’t make a marriage proposal on your first date, you don’t offer your product/service before you’ve built a good relationship with your customer. Right now, only 3% of your market is actively buying, 56% are not ready, and 40% are poised to begin. That means, taking the time to understand your customer’s journey will allow you to provide them with the right information at the right time so you won’t get dumped prematurely. In theory, this is complicated. Thankfully, you can use a straightforward 8-step process called the Customer Value Journey. Used by the experts, it’s a tried and true tool for crafting your digital marketing strategy.
DigitalMarketer’s Customer Journey Canvas
Stages in a nutshell

1. Aware

People can’t buy from you if they don’t know you exist, so you need to get on their radar. To get their attention, entertain or inform them, you can use advertising, blog posts, social media, etc.

2. Engage

This is where you start building emotional relationships with your customer. They don’t know, like or trust you yet. It’s best to use multiple channels at this stage, which will allow you to deepen your relationship with them. Emails, online communities and customer support are good examples.

3. Subscribe

You’ve built up some trust, and now it’s time to ask for a small commitment. When a prospect subscribes to you, they give their consent for you to email them. Be sure to offer something they want; otherwise, you probably won’t hear from them again. Consider giving a webinar, a free sample or a report, for example.

4. Convert

Some of your subscribers like and trust you enough to be happy to make more of a commitment to you. The key to this critical stage is to give your prospects plenty of value without asking them to put much skin in the game. This is where you aim to transition your subscriber/follower to a paid customer. The stage three suggestions are also good here, or an entry point offer, costing around $8 to $20.

5. Excite

Your small transaction with your new customer has created excitement. Now is the time to build that excitement into amity and trust. With the aim to move your customer to make more valuable purchases, offer bonus features or any quick win that will make customers especially happy.

6. Ascend

This stage is about repeat purchases and real profits. Until now, you have been investing in your future by converting prospects to customers. Now you want to really look after your customer, so they’ll keep coming back. You can make their experience with you even better with simple up-sells, add-ons, etc.

7. Advocate

You now have a happy, multi-buying customer. Happy customers generally enjoy sharing their positive experiences. To encourage them to do so, ask them to write a review or share a post, for example.

8. Promote

In this stage, we aim to move your loyal customers from passively to actively promoting your product or service. For their audience of family, friends, fans and followers, they are a trusted source of information. Therefore, their recommendations are precious for your business. These special customers may promote you just because they feel like sharing their great experience or because you’ve also given them an incentive. Consider forming an affiliative or commission-based relationship with these people.

The final key to the Customer Journey

To prevent your prospects and customers from falling by the wayside between stages, you need marketing campaigns. Your marketing campaigns need to purposefully address each stage separately and strategically unite them to optimize the overall journey. You know your digital marketing is doing beautifully when you see people moving swiftly and smoothly through each of the eight stages of your customer journey.

Some tips to wrap up
Be consistent. If your digital marketing is seasonal or campaign driven, you won’t get traction. Instead, deliver steady, quality information, carefully coordinated with marketing campaigns across different platforms. Make sure your digital marketing is led by an expert. Even though traditional and digital marketing fundamentals are the same, digital marketing is a particular skill set. Unless your excellent marketing colleague has studied digital marketing, their digital marketing results will usually be unimpressive. Regularly measuring helps you establish what is working for your business and needs to be optimized. Be sure to gather, evaluate, understand and act on the correct data. People talk about how digital marketing is constantly evolving and how hard it is to keep up. But really, it’s just the tactics that change. The fundamentals remain the same. Taking the time to understand our customers, how they communicate, why they would buy our product or service, and meet them where they are is what it’s about. Gurus and ‘quick fixes’ are just red herrings.
Open new doors and discover customers where you haven’t been before. Never look back.
As a business leader, one of the most empowering things you can do is learn the foundations of digital marketing. This knowledge will give you the confidence to decide what your business does or doesn’t need if a provider recommends. And it will equip you to sort the good from the bad when you choose to invest in digital marketing expertise.

Free Glossary for Business Leaders

The Digital Marketing Terms You Can’t Do Without

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