Strategies vs Tactics: Why Your Online Marketing Campaign Needs Both

Strategies vs Tactics: Why Your Online Marketing Campaign Needs Both

Every online marketing campaign needs direction, otherwise you’re effectively spending money with your fingers crossed. There is, however, a mistake that continues to rear its head in this area: the distinction between tactics and strategy. If you don’t know the difference, or how they work in unison to further your online marketing efforts, now is the time to begin educating yourself. It could completely change the structure of your online marketing campaign and the quality of the results.

Most people use the terms ‘strategy’ and ‘tactics’ interchangeably. This is problematic, because they have totally different means and functions. Lets look at how they differ in relation to your online marketing activities:

  • Strategy
    • The overarching framework for what you want to achieve in the online space; building an outline for action
    • For example: more traffic, more enquiries, better rankings and increased social media engagement
  • Tactic
    • The game plan for how you will achieve the strategy; defining the actions
    • For example: creating a social media campaign, re-designing your website to increase your conversion rate and beginning SEO to help with your rankings

An online marketing strategy with no tactics means there’s no clear path to achieving your desired results. On the flip-side, having tactics without an online marketing strategy is like shooting in the dark. You’re obviously experimenting with different services – whether it’s SEO or social media – but with no real purpose or goal in mind. This is pointless and severely limits your ability to determine what is a success.

Having a solid online presence is now a key to any successful business, especially a small or medium-sized business. If you’re not visible online, you’re not visible – period. So building that visibility becomes an important part of the marketing mix. Here are a few common goals of companies venturing into the online space, and how a strategy or tactic could be used to better effect:

  • Goal: “I want more traffic coming to my website”
    • Strategy: Increase website traffic
      • Tactics:
        • Increase rankings – the higher you rank, the more visible you become, the more traffic will come to your website
        • Run a social media campaign to increase brand awareness
        • Start using Google AdWords; a fantastic way to instantly increase the number of visitors to your website
        • Use a remarketing strategy to compliment Google AdWords
  • Goal: “I want more online sales / online enquiries / subscribers”
    • Strategy: Increase online sales / online enquiries / subscriber numbers
      • Tactics:
        • Enlist the help of somebody knowledgeable in conversion rate optimisation
        • Make the user experience as pleasant and easy as possible
        • Ensure the website is designed in such a way that leads your visitors to do what you want them to – this includes design, button locations and ease of navigation
        • Reduce the amount of steps required to achieve a conversion
  • Goal: “I want to rank higher”
    • Strategy: Improve rankings
      • Tactics:
        • Make your website more “SEO friendly”
        • Find an expert on SEO and have them help with updating and fixing your website
        • Install a blog on your website and begin posting regularly (at least once per week)
        • Syndicate all the content to various social media platforms
  • Goal: “I want more social media engagement”
    • Strategy: Begin social media campaign
      • Tactics:
        • Depending on your industry, you’ll want to create accounts on various social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn and YouTube
        • Make sure there are links to all your social media accounts on your website
        • Begin gathering attention by posting interesting and relevant content across your accounts
        • As your following increases, spend time engaging with them on the various platforms by asking them questions, seeking feedback and responding to their comments and queries

If there’s one thing you can take away from this, it’s that the right strategy makes any tactic work better. If your strategy is wrong, then no combination of tactics will point you back in the right direction, since tactics are always defined by the strategy you’re pursuing. It’s a package deal, and you can’t have one without the other. If for any reason you can’t demonstrate how your tactics lead to accomplishing your strategic goals, then you need to find some new ones.

How does this apply to any online marketing campaign? There’s no point spending your money with no strategy in mind, because the services you use are simply a means to an end. Jumping into the online marketing world can take your business to heights you never imagined, but only if you’ve established a clear-cut strategy. As for the tactics, leave that to us.

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We’ve been in the digital marketing field for over 18 years and worked with hundreds of Australian (and international) businesses to grow their web presence. Specialising in SEO, search ads (PPC), social media, content marketing, email marketing and conversion rate optimisation.

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