It may seem surprising, but studies made on small and medium business owners in the US showed that 50% of them don’t have a marketing plan. Making a quality product or service is important for sure, but let’s be honest: it won’t do much if there are not enough people aware of it. I like to compare a business without a marketing plan with a traveller who makes a trip without a map. Chances are big to be lost and to waste a lot of time, but we all know that in business time = money.
That’s why I decided to start my first website post talking about the digital marketing plan, as I believe that creating a good plan with a strong strategy is the very first step in marketing.
So, what to include in Digital Marketing Plan?
First of all, a digital marketing plan helps to see how the business is working and where it’s going, set up goals and be ready to respond to the challenges in future.
For me, the ideal digital marketing plan should include:
- Goals: What are the company’s short and long term goals and how can digital marketing help to achieve them.
- Actions: What specific actions can be done in order to achieve those goals.
- Channels: What digital marketing channels can be used (website, social media, email) and how exactly.
- Who and when: Specify the team that is responsible for implementing the marketing plan (Can be both in-house or outsourced team).
1. So, before creating a digital marketing plan, I always recommend to take a good look at the company’s “personality” and audience and ask these questions:
- Why is my company/product/service unique?
- What is my core message to the audience?
- What is my desired tone of voice and attitude to talk with my audience?
These answers can help to form a foundation for what the marketing goals.
2. Next, time to focus on the target audience.
- What types of people should you market and sell to?
- What are their demographics (age, location, gender, etc.)?
- How to describe them (their interests, attitudes, opinions etc.)?
3. Finally, let’s think about the best places to reach the target audience with digital marketing.
- What are the places where they are active on social media?
- What blogs and websites can be used in order to use them?
- What keywords do they use in order to find you?
Creating A Digital Marketing Plan
After considering the company’s identity and audience, we can think broadly about the business goals and form what you want your digital marketing to accomplish. Of course, boosting sales is an obvious goal for any company, but there are also other options, such as improving brand awareness, building a better social media presence, or appealing to a new audience. Once the business goals are written out, it’s time to think about how digital marketing can help to attain each of them. In other words, we should decide what digital marketing actions are required to turn the goals into reality?
When the goals and actions are mapped out, the next thing to do is to focus on marketing channels and make sure they’re all updated and work at full capacity.
– Improving the website and promoting it with SEO & Display ads
Make sure the website is well-structured and its user experience (UX) lets people easily do what they came for. Check how people interact with your site and then identify things that need to change.
When there are more and more people browsing on the go, it’s also important to be sure that the website looks good on mobile phones. A tool like Google’s Mobile Friendly Test can be useful to see if your site is up to speed.
Also, make sure to adjust your website for search engine optimization (SEO). Web analytics programs like Google Analytics can be used to determine which keywords are currently leading your audience to your website. When you know those keywords, time to adjust your page titles and content to feature the terms your audience searches for the most. This will help you to improve the organic search results on sites like Google and Bing and to be easily found.
In case you have some budget, you can also use these same keywords and run search ads. In this case, you will be able to attract much more site visitors. Use the service Google AdWords in order to set a budget and figure out if search ads are right fit for you.
– Social Media
The next step after working on the website is to think about the social media accounts and decide how you can engage more with your audience. I will give you some ideas about what social media channels and tools you can use in the next post.
Find out who is responsible for running your social media accounts and decide what voice and tone you want to use. Then create the pages, make posts there, create conversations and get in touch with your audience’s comments and questions.
Again, in case if you have some budget, social media ads and promoted posts can make sense for your business. Most social networks like Facebook, for example, provide ad calculators that help advertisers to see the expected approximate results before starting the ad.
However, before running social media ads, it’s crucial to have figured out what is the main message of the ad, the target audience and to decide what action people should take. Don’t be afraid to make tests, update and change the ads if there are not effective and track the results.
– Content Marketing
Content marketing also plays a big role and can help to achieve the business goals.
Decide if there is some content (like this kind of blog posts) that could be created to entertain or inform your target audience? Make a detailed plan about how to create content (You create it in-house, hire a copywriter or an agency) and then decide the places it’ll be posted and the ways to promote it.
– Email Marketing
A good way to promote the content and work towards other business goals is email marketing. It enables to link the blog posts, send a newsletter, share information about a sale or make an exclusive offer. Take into consideration that if you want your Email Marketing to be effective, then your Emails should always be useful, timely, and interesting and should be sent at a regular pace. Also, other marketing channels can be used in order to drive sign-ups for your email list. Just offer exclusive deals and useful information to the customers and they will join you.
The marketing channels are all connected! This means that when we’re updating and optimizing them, we should think about how the audience moves from one to another. For example, some people go from your social media page to your website or subscribe to your email list from your website. And note that the more your marketing channels work together, and send the same message to the same audience, the better results you will get.
After setting up marketing channels, it’s to to create a schedule of next steps and assign responsibilities. It can include things like:
– when to write and send certain emails,
– when to make social media and blog posts
– how often monitor and adjust your display ads.
After making the schedule, you should decide who is going to be responsible for doing each step.
Of course, not any business has qualified people to do everything on schedule. Some businesses choose to work with digital marketing agencies (check out how to choose a digital marketing agency) or get an in-house team.
You can make your own Digital Marketing Plan based on the recommendations that I mentioned in this post or you can also use my own pre-made layout for you.
Write a comment or get in touch with me if you have any question or suggestions about Digital Marketing Plan.