How to develop a Digital Marketing Strategy for your Small Business

When it comes to digital marketing for a small business, there is nothing more important than having a solid plan that serves as a road map for what the business needs to do in order to consistently and predictably transform cold prospects into leads, sales, advocates and promoters.

Way too often, businesses rely on the latest buzzword of the day, spending money on one tactic after another, not sure how or why people become customers.

The following is a systematic method that is used successfully every day by thousands of businesses around the world. At the core of the method stands a digital marketing strategy template, which is also known as the Customer Value Journey (CVJ). This template and process were developed by Digital Marketer, the company we have partnered with.

Sales and marketing have changed, but one thing hasn’t…

Before we dive into the method I would like to lay the foundation. The understanding that while technology has changed a lot over the years and people no longer look for your business in the Yellow Pages book, there is one thing that has not changed, which is humans and human behaviour.

The method we are about the reveal is based on the understanding that human relationships are still the foundation for successful marketing and on the observation of how such relationships develop in a natural way.

How human relationship develop

The Customer Journey Value borrows from the 12 stages of intimacy in a physical relationship described in Desmond Morris’ book, The Naked Ape: A Zoologist’s Study of the Human Animal, published in 1967.

The idea is simple, if you want your marketing efforts to be successful, it’s important that it helps you develop the relationship with a new prospect in a natural way, going through all the stages.

8 Stages of the Customer Journey

The Value Journey Canvas

Now that we agree on the importance of developing a relationship with a client naturally, let’s take a look at our template:

Following are the 8 steps :


The awareness stage should be self-explanatory. This is the stage where a person becomes aware of you. They still don’t know you, but they’re aware of your presence.


Awareness has been established. Your prospect has you in their sight. They may have heard about you, but there’s no relationship. They’re not at the stage of liking or trusting you. Yet.

Naturally, the next step is to begin developing a relationship with your prospect.


Your prospect is getting to know you. There’s been engagement between you. But if you fail to gather their contact information, there’s a good chance you’ll never hear from them again.


Today, everyone is bombarded with various forms of marketing and content from countless other companies. Considering that, it’s not wise to think that just because a visitor read one of your articles or posts they’ll be back for more.

So what can you do to tempt them to return?

You now want your prospect to share their contact information with you. The most popular is to use what’s known as an “ethical bribe”  or “Lead Magnet.” Typically, this involves free content, or perhaps a free product or service in exchange for their email address and any other particulars you might need.


No, we still haven’t reached the profitability stage. This stage is where you set out to acquire buyers or start heating up the level of commitment of leads you already have.


You’ve made a sale. Make sure the experience is positive, prompting the customer to trust you. If your customer doesn’t leave feeling satisfied, there’s very little chance they will ever move on to the next stage of the process and purchase something of even greater value from you.


When your customer reaches the Ascend stage of the Value Journey, they’re now ready to purchase more, more often.


A customer who advocates for you is one that will speak positively about your brand to others.


A promoter is actively engaged in telling others about your brand, products and services. They may promote because they had a great experience with your company, or they’re excited to the point of wanting to share it with friends and family. Or they may have been offered some sort of incentive to be a promoter.

Why does it matter?

Many businesses make the costly mistake of skipping several steps of the journey, ultimately costing them a lot of money.

A business may pay a lot for advertising, but when visitors come to the site only a small percentage actually contact them and become a client. By focusing on providing more engaging website content, a larger percentage of visitors will stick around and eventually call.

By offering an ethical bribe such as a discount coupon, the business can further communicate with the prospect, build the relationship and increase the likelihood of them becoming a client.

By implementing an on-going communication campaign with past clients, a business can increase the number of repeat sales.

The process of developing YOUR digital marketing strategy


Before starting to create any marketing you must be clear on who your customer is, and who you are marketing to.

Having this information will help you decide:

  • The type of content to offer
  • The best platforms to invest in, in order to attract traffic

To do this, we recommend developing a customer avatar.

Our process when building an avatar is to use a special worksheet, which serves a great framework that enables us to discover as much information as possible. Not just basic personal details, but also details such as objections and pain-points.

Map your customer journey

Now that you’ve defined who your customer is, it’s time to map out his/her journey. The first step is to list everything you are already doing. Once you have done that, you will be able to create an action plan on what tactics need to be implemented in order to close any gaps.

Create a game plan

Now is a good to take a step back and think about what you should be prioritizing. Otherwise, you might find yourself overwhelmed. We recommend you start with the quickest wins, marketing activities.

Need Help?

At , we specialize in digital marketing for small businesses. We’ve helped hundreds of clients improve their web presence, attract more qualified traffic and bring in more sales on the web.

If you are curious to see this process might look for your business, I invite you to book a free, no obligation, discovery session.

Click here to apply today >>

About the author 

Michelle Castillo

Michelle is an online marketing expert , passionate about helping business owners to benefit from today’s online technology. I provide my clients with hype-free concise advice and services about the reality of what online success requires.