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An Effective Digital Marketing Strategy Starts With Knowing Your Customers and Your Goals The amazing technology at everyone's fingertips has not changed the fundamentals of success.

By Brett Relander Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

As digital marketing continues to expand, it has become more important than ever for companies to learn how to succeed. According to a report published by Ascend2, lack of effective strategies remains the most significant obstacle to succeeding in digital marketing. The report went on to indicate that 51 percent of marketers stated that strategy issues prevented them from achieving their digital marketing goals. Other obstacles cited by digital marketers for preventing them from meeting their digital marketing goals include budget constraints, lack of training or experience, ineffective metrics and analytics, and inability to prove return on investment.

Planning a digital marketing strategy is essential to getting ahead of the competition. The ability of a business to thrive in today's economy is based on how well that organization is able to adapt to digital media. From social networks to smartphones to tablets, the digital tools available today make it possible for consumers to interact on a global scale. As a result, regardless of your business's industry or size, it is imperative that you learn how to leverage the ability of consumers to interact and engage.

Related: No Matter Your Digital Marketing Strategy, Make Sure You're Adding Value

Many businesses find the sheer number of digital marketing choices to be daunting. As a result, it can be difficult to determine where to even begin. One of the biggest mistakes that many businesses make, particularly small businesses, is trying to do it all. Between YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and other digital tools, the choices are overwhelming. Even worse, many companies attempt to set up a specific team to handle each tool. The right digital marketing tool can help your company to expand your marketing efforts, and even save time and money.

Without the right strategy, you are simply wasting resources. The key is to begin by developing an understanding of your customers, identifying the goals you want to achieve, then selecting a digital marketing strategy that will help you to reach both your target audience and goals. For instance, are you attempting to reach new customers? Are you looking to gain insight into your current customer base? Do you have a new product or service to launch?

Without identifying a solid strategy, it is impossible to determine whether the digital marketing tools you are using are actually helping you to meet those goals.

With so many options, it is easy for a business to get caught up in the technology hype. This is certainly understandable with so much news, almost a weekly basis, about the latest digital marketing tools. Simply jumping on the latest digital marketing bandwagon to conform is not the key to success.

Related: Digital or Traditional Marketing? Depends on Your Business

Developing a successful digital marketing strategy is as simple as:

1. Identifying your target audience.

2. Developing your business goals.

3. Designing and implementing a strategy for meeting those goals.

4. Monitoring your chosen strategy.

MarketingProfs reports that 69 percent of senior marketers expect an increase to occur in digital spend next year. With so much riding on digital marketing, the time to get it right is now.

Related: 5 Online Marketing Strategies for a Tight Budget

Brett Relander

Managing Director at X1 Sports Nutrition

Brett Relander is founder and managing director of X1 Sports Nutrition ( He has a degree in exercise science, is certified as a Master Fitness Specialist and in the biomechanics of resistance training, and is an advocate of all-natural nutrition and advanced performance training.

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