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Five key ingredients for success

What are the 5 elements of a successful digital marketing campaign? Find out in this article from an Introduction to Digital Marketing on FutureLearn.

How you choose to approach a digital marketing plan will vary based on your business’ goals, but there are definitely a few things to bear in mind that will ensure success.

Here is a list of five key ingredients for marketing campaign success. [1]

1. Map a realistic plan

Before you do anything, you’ll want to map out your campaign strategy. You can do this in a number of ways, including content mapping, timelines, and editorial calendars. There are plenty of tools to help with this level of content management and planning.

The important thing is to establish several ideal (realistic) outcomes while leaving some room for uncertainty. And you want to do this based on a set of chosen key performance indicators (KPIs) related to your strategy and goals.

Without metrics to base your strategy on, it’s likely that you’ll have difficulty staying on track and not make it to your end goal. Keep the process as simple as possible when communicating and delegating, and establish a clear timeframe so that everyone on the team stays focused.

2. Identify appropriate key performances indicators

Choosing the right KPIs – the ones that most closely represent your key target areas – will help you to stay true to your targets and understand which of your marketing mix elements are actually working and which need improvement. During this week, you will develop a marketing strategy that will identify KPIs for TaxAssist, the fictional tax start-up.

Here are some points to consider when identifying KPIs:

  • How is a given KPI related to your SMART goal?
  • What exactly are you measuring?
  • Is what you are measuring related to actual user experience? If so, how?
  • How much do you need to monitor/report on certain metrics? Have you included this in your plan?

The key to setting up a successful marketing strategy is to view your traffic as data but also as a human experience. Focus on numbers that really tell a story about what your customers are doing – then use this data to shift things around in the future.

3. Build an effective marketing funnel

A marketing funnel outlines the typical stages that a customer goes through. Based on your target customer persona, you might know what you want the journey to look like. If you don’t yet have customers, this step can help you to map your strategy. A marketing funnel is a good place to start.

Graphics shows an overview of the marketing funnel. There's a funnel that's divided into 5 sections. The sections read from top to bottom: Awareness, consideration, conversion, loyalty and advocacy. Source:

A customer goes through five general stages: [2]

  1. Awareness The customer first hears about or discovers your brand.
  2. Consideration – The customer decides whether or not to engage with your brand.
  3. Conversion – The customer is convinced to buy into the brand.
  4. Loyalty – A customer develops loyalty to the brand after having an experience with it.
  5. Advocate – A loyal customer becomes a customer who will recommend you to other people and advocate for you as a business.

As you can see, the funnel gets smaller as you get closer to advocacy, because there are fewer and fewer customers as you move along the funnel. This reflects the reality that you won’t be able to convert everyone into a loyal advocate, but you may convert some. Your aim is to get as many customers as far down the funnel as is feasible for your company.

4. Apply effective content marketing

Content is so much more than great blogs, Tweets, and Facebook posts! What makes for truly effective outreach and engagement is your ability to tell a story. You’ll need to have a clear understanding of how your content is working with your SEO and tracking analytics.

What does this mean?

  • Build your core ads and service offerings first.
  • Then write content with call-to-actions that are relatable, relevant, and useful to lead customers towards a purchase.

5. Be strategic but flexible

Leave ample room for time variations and those unexpected events that can affect your strategy and the business as a whole.

Do this by creating some ‘blank’ spots on your strategy calendar to fill in as you go. Leave some room to incorporate things like viral news stories, relevant current events, or new technology that could optimise your strategy.

While working through your strategy, check in continuously, asking questions like:

  • Where is there room for improvement?
  • What KPIs are truly relevant at this phase?
  • Where is the majority of traffic flowing?
  • What tools are working better than others to keep everything organised?

Successful digital marketing strategies are never one-size-fits-all, but with a little practice, you can make them work to your advantage. Just remember that the idea is to step away from profit and conversions and focus on the human experience – the customer’s journey, your brand story, and customer engagement. When you can authentically engage a broad audience, that will result in business value.


  1. 7 Key Ingredients of a Successful Digital Marketing Strategy. The Digital Marketing Institute. 18 June, 2018. Available from:
  2. Aboulhosn, S. How to build a social media marketing funnel that converts. Sprout Social. 19 February, 2020. Available from:
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