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Sunday, May 26, 2024

Five Stages of Digital Marketing Life Cycle

We live in a culture of immediate gratification. Binge-watching a series on a weekend is a far cry from the days of heading to Hastings or Blockbuster in hopes they still had a DVD left of the movie I wanted to watch!

Often this expectation of immediate results seeps into all areas of our lives, specifically with digital and social media marketing. We hope that within a month or two, we’ll see a significant rise in leads and sales after posting a few updates on social media or running a quick Google ad.

The reality is: digital marketing is like exercise – it’s all about slow, steady consistent work. The main result of social media marketing is brand recognition. Brand recognition leads to sales with slow, steady and consistent work.

Recently, in preparation for a presentation, I found a study that broke down the life cycle of digital marketing (socialmediatoday.com). When applied to my clients, this life cycle fits to a T! I’ve put my twist on it, and I believe you can bank on this results timeline for your digital marketing efforts.

Here are the five stages in the digital marketing life cycle:

SET UP (0-3 Months)

This stage is key, and one that we often expect to take just a couple of days. In reality, obtaining (or designing) logos, creating pages, perfecting descriptions, and establishing a consistent look for graphics…takes up to three months.

Sometimes simply obtaining access to existing pages can take a few weeks. “Wait, Alyssa ran the page in 2019… I bet she has the password. Let me text her and get back to you.”

Creating a strategy, getting in the swing with a consistent posting schedule, and establishing client communication can take a few weeks. Eventually, you’ll hit your social media and online advertising stride, and it will all start to feel like second nature/another part of your daily routine.

TRACTION (4-9 Months)

This is one of my favorite stages! Of course, converting leads into clients is the best, but this is a fun and encouraging season.

In the traction phase, you will:

  • Transform touchpoints to conversation points
  • Gain traction on social media sites
  • Integrate mobile with social media
  • Gain responses to call to action
  • Place on search engines
  • Gain new sales/members
  • Gain initial thought leadership interactions
  • Build member satisfaction/feedback
  • Increase customer service

This season is great because a lot of your traffic will come from existing, happy customers who are thrilled to connect with you online. These customers might share testimonials (ask them to if they haven’t!), or comment and tag friends on social media, leading to some new followers who are intrigued and interested in your brand.

POSITIONING (10-15 Months)

This season is one that’s often expected to happen at 0-3 months, but it’s worth the patient, consistent work to get here.

In the positioning season, you’ll:

  • Convert conversation points to conversion points
  • Gain positions on search engines
  • Gain thought leadership interactions
  • Gain new sales revenue
  • Develop brand loyalty

This is when your new chatty online friends start to turn into customers. Once members, they become integral in sharing their positive experiences online, leading to new touchpoints, which turn to conversations, which eventually turn into conversions (more new customers).

EXPANSION (16-27+ Months)

This is the season where you become a subject matter expert.

In the expansion season, you’ll:

  • Stabilize position on search engines
  • Establish some recognition as a thought leader
  • Gain brand power
  • Gain consistent stream of revenue

By this season, you’ll find that you’re in stride, running a steady marathon instead of a 5k, and working toward engaging your existing, now quite large, online audience. Again, this engagement starts with touchpoints, turns to conversations, and then conversations (sales!).


This is the season when you expand networks exponentially through fan/follower networks and social communities. Often, people start by wanting to go viral, simply trying to gain as many followers as possible…You simply can’t go viral without going through the first four seasons!

I encourage you to enjoy the ride, keep on jogging, and you’ll catch your stride. Keep in mind that each of these seasons can be a bit shorter or longer, depending on your specific situation. With dedicated engagement and consistent marketing communication, however, I believe this timeline is tried and true.

Interested in a digital marketing consultation? Visit wordygirl.com.

Until next time.


Elizabeth / Wordy Girl

Elizabeth Cumminshttp://wordygirlcreative.com
Libby Cummins is a multimedia guru with a passion for helping you tell your story. With a background in journalism, marketing and IT, this Wordy Girl is equipped to guide you successfully through the digital realm. "The Wordy Girl" is filled with hot tips on growing your business online, and interesting features on friendly faces around town.



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