Skip to main content

Digital marketing:How to create a digital marketing strategy

What you’ll learn

  • what a digital marketing strategy is
  • the key questions you need ask when researching digital marketing opportunities in different countries or regions
  • the digital marketing channels you can use, and ways to test your strategy

What is digital marketing?

Digital marketing is the use of digital traffic channels to make people aware of your brand and products.

Digital traffic channels

A digital traffic channel is anything online which your business owns and has control over. This could be :

  • your company website
  • your company’s social media pages
  • your company digital apps

Digital marketing has several advantages. It’s relatively inexpensive compared to traditional approaches – and in theory you can market to anywhere in the world from a laptop.

Create your strategy

There are several steps you can take to create your strategy:

  1. Know your overall objectives and your market

    It’s vital you have clear business objectives, as whatever digital marketing you do in different markets should support your overall goals at home.

    Likewise, it's important to do your initial research into your chosen market - and have compelling reasons to believe your products will be a success there. For more information, take a look at our lessons on researching the market

  2. Know your audience – and focus on localisation

    You need to put yourself in the mindset of the people you want to market to – and be as focused as possible. Visit your chosen market to get to know the cultural and local customs.

    It’s a good idea to start with a small target audience rather than trying to appeal to a broad group of people otherwise it will be hard to pinpoint what’s working. So, try to be as specific as possible. For example, by using tools such as Google Localisation Search and targeting specific keywords in your online marketing. You can also set up marketing landing pages specific to the area, and by using geo-fencing to limit who can see any ads - this can be as targeted as a one mile radius.

    The same applies at a country or regional level. If, for example, you want to sell jeans in France, it is often better focus on a particular city or even suburb of a city, where you really get to know the audience and test your approach before investing in a wider campaign.

  3. Decide whether you want to grow your brand or simply sell

    Using digital marketing to build a brand will ultimately lead to long term growth in a new market, but that requires trust from your prospects and customers. It can take a lot longer to create this sentiment – especially if your company isn’t known in the market.

    Whereas, a one-off digital campaign to focus on an immediate opportunity may get you sales but is unlikely to be sustainable in the long run.

  4. Set a budget and have clear targets

    Whatever your focus, you need a budget, considering how much you need to spend to make a return on investment – this can include your spend for content as well as any paid advertising.

  5. Test your approach and use analytics

    Once you feel confident you understand your audience and the market, you can start to test your chosen approach.

    A/B testing

    A simple way to do this is with A/B testing, which means trying two alternatives by varying one factor at a time and measuring the response. For example, if you think an audience in Spain responds well to price you could vary your online product ads with one focused on the product benefits, one on price offers.

    Analytics tools

    Using analytics tools such as those provided by Google and Facebook can help you measure how your digital marketing is working.

    With all testing the key thing is making sure you benchmark how you’re doing before you start – so you always have a baseline to measure against.

  6. Create a model to use and adapt in different markets

    Once you’ve created a digital marketing model with clear targets, it’s possible to reuse and test it in others. For example, if you ran a digital marketing campaign in a suburb of Paris you might want to try to do the same in Dusseldorf.

Above all else, make sure your digital marketing strategy for your exports aligns perfectly with your UK business strategy. Everything you would include in your UK strategy needs to be considered abroad – replicate the way you set targets and do the same due diligence as you would for the domestic market.

International trade adviser

Share this page

  • Email
  • Facebook
  • X

Accelerate your learning

Sign up to and you'll be able to:

  • track your learning progress and read case studies
  • join live events from the UK Export Academy
  • compare markets using live export data
Sign up to get started

Already signed up? Sign in

Something went wrong. Please try again.

Was this page useful?

Thanks for letting us know

Can you tell us why this page was useful?

Do not share any personal or commercially sensitive information.


Thanks for letting us know

Can you tell us more about your feedback?

Do not share any personal or commercially sensitive information.


Thanks for your feedback