Over the years we have seen a variety of business strategy models being implemented by marketers. Take the well-known SWOT or “7Ps of the marketing mix” for example. These methods were introduced as a way for marketers and business developers to plan out and check that they had covered all the essential elements within their digital strategy.

Another great model, more adapted to the current industry climate, is the “5Ss”. The 5Ss of digital marketing, developed by Dave Chaffey, offers a great, simple starting point to help check you’re covering the whole spectrum of digital marketing, not just sales.  The best way to fully understand the 5Ss of digital marketing is to think of them as a complete set of basic principles that should be considered when coming up with a digital marketing strategy.

Digital-Marketing-5Ss-1 Implementing the 5Ss Into Your Digital Marketing Strategy

This framework is an extremely useful tool to ensure your digital marketing strategy is maximised for success, so it is useful to know the ins and outs of what you should be measuring your strategy against. Below I will go over each of the 5 points in order to illustrate what you need to be aiming for with your digital campaigns:


The internet as a medium provides a fantastic way to maximise your company’s financial success.  The first thing you should be aiming for is to know how your company can make a profit through your online platform, hence ‘sell’. This doesn’t necessarily limit this part of the framework to ecommerce sites. ’Sell’ relates to both purchases and end conversions.

For instance, your main conversion goal may be to sign members up to your site, or have them fill out a contact form. Therefore, this section should be well revised in order to make sure you are well equipped with a strategy that will lead to the success of these conversions. Make sure you are setting decent conversion goals that are easily measurable. This can be done through Google Analytics.


The second phase is all about building a greater relationship with your consumers and providing a 24/7 access route to them. Digital channels are the perfect communication tools for you to start building up trust and engaging with your consumers.

Using a selection of both your owned sites and social channels, brands should start to implement strong engagement with their users. This could be done through replying to tweets, posting useful content through Facebook, or having a dedicated blog on your website. Implementing these methods shows your customers that you value them and don’t just want their money, furthermore increasing the chances of customer retention and referral.

A great example of a company that successfully ‘speaks’ to their audience is Innocent drinks. In 2012, Innocent drinks where named number 1 in the social brands top 100, which is no surprise given their quick response times and current levels of customer engagement. They put into practice everything a brand should be doing in terms of communicating with their customers.


‘Serve’, put in a nutshell, is basically adding value to your customer’s online journey. A company’s webpage is the perfect destination for customers to go to when they have a query, wanting further information or equally wanting to raise an issue. It is of utmost importance that this factor is accounted for on your webpage.

Adding value can come in a number of ways; anything from decreased loading times, to adding useful relevant content, or by providing a quickly responsive Q&A dashboard on the site. Paying close attention to your added value will have an amazing effect on your company’s success.

Great examples of added value in a company’s online presence include the vast majority of supermarket Twitter accounts dedicated to customer service. Growing in popularity, major stores such as Asda, Tesco and Morrisons now all have specific Twitter accounts to ensure any customer queries are rapidly replied to. This is providing the consumer with an additional route of customer service, thus adding value to the brand.


Within the ‘Save’ element of the 5Ss, is the notion of being able to efficiently reduce organisational overheads through the use of specific technology. This phase is less attractive compared to other elements such as “sizzle”, but is one that is of extreme importance, especially to service or multi-channel retailer websites.

Examples of how certain technology can reduce overheads involve techniques such as website-to-back office system integration, allowing users to personally update their profiles and linking to their CRM. In turn, this reduces any off-site administration costs.

The above is just one example. There are many ways that using the internet can save on overall company costs. For instance, switching from printed newspapers to online versions, or getting rid of direct mail and opting for email marketing.


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‘Sizzle’ is all about building your brand through various platforms and is what makes for a positive online brand experience. This element sees the introduction of new and exciting features that will entice your customer to make that conversion.

If a company can introduce new elements to their digital presence that are of interest to the consumer, as well as provide them with exciting added value, then they have really achieved the ‘sizzle’.

Nike are a great example of a company that brought a little ‘sizzle’ into the mix when they introduced their Nike+ running application. This new and exciting application provided a platform for the user to track their runs and monitor their fitness levels. This application was a success as it provided the user with a feature relevant to the Nike brand, as well as increasing exposure for Nike.

Don’t think however, that you need to fork out for a new application every time you want to add sizzle to the mix. All you need to add an element of sizzle is to focus your online content to highlight the key benefits and value of being a part of your brand. If your user experience online is of a high quality, then the value of your brand will speak for itself, resulting in loyal customers and maybe even referrals.

So there you have the 5 key elements of a digital marketing strategy that you should be focusing on and aiming to achieve. Make sure that when you are creating your digital strategy, you are carefully analysing your plan against each of these factors to ensure you incorporate a strong combination of each.