Creating a Digital Strategy – Strategic Online Marketing

The purpose of this blog post is to recap my presentation on strategic online marketing given to my colleagues at Risdall Marketing Group during last weeks Lunch & Learn. The majority of the information I presented came from Rand Fishkin and the presentation he gave at the Interactivity Digital conference on Strategic Web Marketing (below).  I had the opportunity to attend his presentation and watch his Whiteboard Fridays regularly. Throughout his presentation he stressed the importance of conducting market research and developing a strategic web marketing plan BEFORE investing in tactical execution. Far to often we witness companies and clients looking for the “quick fix.”  They rush into the execution of individual strategies without an overall marketing communications plan that includes the individual tactics and before doing the appropriate marketing research.  This normally leads to expensive campaigns that deliver mediocre results.  Which can be and often is seen as a success, but why leave money on table? The number of times I have seen companies choose to focus on paid search and forgo any SEO efforts baffles me. Why spend more money on click on your ad than you have to? It may take more time, but the return value from SEO extends beyond organic search results. Many of the tactics that are more of an investment add greater value in the long term.  This theory is Rand calls “building a marketing flywheel” (watch the Whiteboard Friday below).

Delivering Your Companies Message Throughout the Marketing Process

As online marketing specialist, we often get too narrowly focus on specific channels and efforts.  We get lost in the marketing channels displayed below in the online marketing funnel.  It is our jobs as marketers to remember that a compelling and consistent message should be delivered throughout the entire digital marketing funnel. Starting with exposure, all the way through customer relationship and retention.

The Online Marketing Funnel

Exposure / Awareness

This is where the message you are trying to deliver begins. It sets the tone of the visit for your audience and should convey the WHY of your company as well as the human aspect.  (Watch Simon Sinek: How great leaders inspire action from 2:00 – 5:00 below) Simon Sinek has a simple but powerful model for inspirational leadership all starting with his golden circle and the question “Why?”

Inbound: social media, blogs, forums, organic search, content, community, press, referring links, email, word-of-mouth, etc.

Sponsored: paid search, display, video, affiliate, social, etc.


The first few visits to the website are often focused on consuming content and learning more about the company and your products/services.  This is often considered the research phase of the marketing funnel, where consumers are looking to learn more about what your company offers.  During this stage, and all stages for that matter, your content is extremely important and is direly important that you have done your marketing research and implemented a content strategy that delivers your company’s message.


At some point, a visitor becomes a potential customer as the consider whether the service or product offered is a match for their needs. This may happen during their first visit to your website or months later. We often get lost in conversions and forget at the number of returning visitors we are able to convert.  Our content and its messaging should speak to consumers who may be on-the-fence and return later for their purchase.


The completion of an action on your website that converts a visitor into a customer. The train does not stop here! Your company’s narrative should not end at conversions.  However, admittedly as an online marketer, I know how easy it is to get lost in conversions.

Customer Service

The level of customer service, fulfillment, and happiness with the your customers product or service all play a part of the consumers post-conversion experience. It is important that communications with you customer do not stop here. This should not be the end of the narrative that you are trying to provide the consumer.


If a customer has a great experience, they will often return to your company when they need your product or service. The value of the entire future relationship with your customer (a.k.a. Users Lifetime Value LTV) is not something to be disregarded.  Without delivering your marketing communications strategy throughout the online marketing funnel in its entirety  none of it is going to work.

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Rand’s Whiteboard Friday on Conducting Marketing Research Before Investing in Tactical Execution.


Rand’s Whiteboard Friday on Building a Marketing Flywheel.


Rand’s presentation from Interactivity Digital on Strategic Web Marketing.

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