Today, a digital marketing plan is essential to take full advantage of the ever-growing opportunities available across every industry in the digital space.
Despite this, it is surprising to see that a vast majority of small business owners still do not possess this very important tool.
A digital marketing plan is essentially a roadmap designed to help your business achieve clearly defined objectives. It is what guides all digital marketing actions of a company.
Yet, a recent study by Smart Insights found that almost half – 45% of companies – don’t have a planned digital marketing strategy.
Should Your Business Have a Digital Marketing Plan?
While there are challenges to creating a digital marketing plan for your brand, far more significant challenges will arise if you don’t have one.
One hesitation might be the assumption that creating necessary technical reports require expertise that many brands feel unqualified to produce. However, we believe that keeping your strategy simple is the key to successful implementation.
Why Do You Need a Digital Marketing Plan?
Simply put, a digital marketing strategy aims to answer all questions concerning how a business markets its products and services via the Internet. This includes all online-based technologies and platforms, such as computers, tablets, mobile phones, websites and social media channels.
It ensures that a company’s entire team are all working in the same direction, helping them to avoid indecision and conflict.
With the right plan, business owners will know how to market their business online with maximum effectiveness and efficiency. It will, also, further help business owners save time and money.
Regardless of whether your business is brand-new or well-established, having a digital marketing plan is an essential tool to help your business get to the next level.
As a digital marketing agency, Focus on Digital, has been trusted by many Sydney businesses to create and implement bespoke strategies that successfully result in their brands dominating their online market.
In this article, you will understand the critical steps and criteria needed for consideration when creating an effective digital marketing strategy that will best serve your company – now and into the future.
The advantages of a well-planned and thought-out online marketing strategy are numerous to a business. Conversely, not having a carefully considered digital marketing plan can cost a company significant time and money on top of not producing desired results.
Let’s take a look at the main benefits of a digital marketing strategy.
1. Provides Direction
Companies operating without a plan are likely to also not have defined a clear strategic goal for what they want to achieve online. Goals could include attracting new potential customers, converting leads into sales while also wanting to create brand awareness or build stronger relationships with existing clientele.
Without clearly defined objectives, it is unlikely that a business will be allocating the appropriate resources to reach their goals, nor evaluating through quantitative data whether they are on track for achieving those targets.
2. Gathers Intelligence
The demand for products or services can be either under or overestimated without proper research. An effective digital marketing plan will include a thorough consideration of the market and target audience. It identifies the fit between the consumer needs and a brand’s ability to meet it.
An effective plan will be customer-driven, helping to define clear market segments. It will guide your campaigns which should result in more effective marketing.
Furthermore, a company’s mission should be defined by recognising the key customer attributes you aim to serve.
Business owners should be aware of the marketplace dynamics and how they differ from offline channels. An effective plan will help develop customer profiles and understand customer behaviour. This information will provide a more transparent framework of how to structure marketing messages and offers.
3. Defines Value Proposition
Developing and defining a clear customer value proposition that is tailored to your customer profile will help your business stand out from the crowd. It will encourage your existing customers to stay loyal while helping you to attract new clients in various segments of your target market.
Factors to help your brand differentiation may include:
– Product features: performance, design, and value
– Services: user-friendliness, availability, delivery, after-sales service and support
When considering your value proposition, ensure the factors highlighted above are specifically important to your targeted audience. The value proposition must be obviously distinctive from your competitors.
Your brand’s superiority must be clearly communicated so that your clients understand the benefits of dealing with your company over your competition.
It must demonstrate value for money. This does not mean it needs to be the cheapest available; however, you must prove its superior value and affordability.
4. Enables Optimisation
An effective plan will include measurability. Quantitative and qualitative attributes should be applied as metrics to measure strategy success and allow for adjustments and optimisation accordingly.
Metrics will allow for progression and continual enhancement in all aspects of the strategy including search engine marketing, site user experience, email engagement and social media advertising.
5. Improves Teamwork
All team members can use the step-by-step plan to guide them to enable efficient coordination.
A Step-by-Step Guide for Creating an Effective Digital Marketing Plan
1. Define the Current Situation
The first step is to analyse your current situation in context with the current business environment and where your business stands within it.
Here is where segmentation is crucial to help you identify opportunities and best serve the marketplace. Categorize your potential customers based on characteristics that make them either similar or different.
Determine your immediate objectives. But first, ask some basic questions regarding your current situation within the marketplace, and decide whether or not you are actually ready to map out your short-term objectives.
2. Set Digital Marketing Objectives
With a clear picture of your current situation, you should have a better understanding of your target market and how you wish to serve them. This analysis forms the foundation for developing your objectives.
Firstly, you will need to decide if you wish to mass market your target audience, whether you want to develop different campaigns to speak to segments individually. Or, if you want to target one specific niche market to dominate that segment.
Most organisations will find more success in serving a segment of the market. However, every business and industry is different. There isn’t a standardised approach to digital marketing.
Once the specific strategy has been decided, examples of digital marketing objectives may include: advance brand awareness, foster customer loyalty, open new markets in specific geographical areas or new demographics, increase market share over your competition, improve return on investment (ROI) on advertising expenditures, generate leads or sales, etc.
Your objectives should be carefully considered and detail-orientated. Specifics are important. After all, clearly defined goals will be the yardstick to measure the success of your overall digital marketing plan.
3. Outline Your Target Audience
Understanding your buyer profile helps focus your offers and actions.
At times, you may be required to define multiple buyer personas, particularly if you have products targeting individual requirements. A buyer persona is a fictional representation of your ideal customer.
Having a buyer persona, or personas, is a good idea in any effective marketing strategy. It will help guide you through your marketing campaigns and help you to determine the most useful content and messaging approach to attract potential customers.
The best way you can determine your future customers’ requirements is to understand who they are and what they want.
Outlining the specifics of what attributes make up your ideal buyer will help optimise your marketing approach.
Here is an article showing you how to create detailed buyer personas for your business.
Basic considerations include:
– gender, age, occupation, socio-economic status, location, user behaviour, the current relationship between brand and potential customer, and their objectives concerning how your brand can help
4. Adjust Messaging and Communication
Messaging and communication are crucial components because they relate to the specific time your audience takes to get to know you and evaluate your brand to see if it is an ideal fit for them.
A thorough understanding of your brand’s competitive advantage is crucial at this point. The focus should be on implementing your strategy by modifying offers to communicate your superior value to potential customers.
Different messages will resonate better with particular audiences. Understanding this concept is fundamental and will allow you to test or tweak messaging and communication methods for maximum effect.
For example, you may want to use the technique of FOMO (fear of missing out) to persuade your audience to take immediate action. Alternatively, you could try hammering home your unique value proposition or use social proof (in the form of past client reviews or feedback) to develop consumer trust.
5. Identify Channels
Next, you need to distinguish where your audience is, and which channels you’re going to utilise to attract them to your website or into your funnel. There are multiple channels. You may consider using multiple channels, or you may want to find one or two that deliver the best ROI. Channels include search engines, social media, email and affiliate marketing.
6. Consider Content
An effective marketing plan needs to carefully consider the kind of content that is published. Content can take many different formats, including articles, video, infographics, eBooks, podcasts, webinars and more. Content that closely aligns with the predetermined buyer profiles will typically result in the best outcomes.
For example, consider your audience and the type of media they may prefer. Would a podcast work better for them because they commute to work? Do they spend more time on social media channels?
Another consideration is how close the conversion funnel is to nailing down the potential customer. The further along the sales funnel the customer is, the more specific or tailored the content should be. Nurtured leads may signal it is time to dial up the calls-to-action. It may be the perfect time to ask for the sale before all of the previous effort on time and money is undone, and you lose the deal because you were too afraid to be direct.
7. Determine KPIs & Success Metrics
Once you have clearly defined objectives, you should translate them into metrics. The only way you can determine if your plan is on the right track or needs tweaking is by periodic measurement. Metrics eliminate the guesswork, as answers to questions will be verifiable by accurate data.
Establish a response plan, which will be implemented if objectives are not fulfilled, based on how close you were to achieving the targets.
For example, you may only need a minor tweak to the plan if your objective is 75% achieved.
However, if an objective target falls short by well below 50%, this may require rethinking several aspects. More dramatic changes to messaging, channels, and content may be required. You may decide to completely eliminate parts of the plan that have not achieved as well as anticipated.
This is precisely how you develop an effective digital marketing plan. With this step-by-step guide, you now have the blueprint you need to start making the most of your marketing budget and efforts.
You should now have an awareness of all of the aspects requiring consideration to formulate a strategic course of action.
You also now have the tools to ensure you are on the right track along with the knowledge of what to do if you veer off-course from your company’s objectives.
Are you ready to create and implement a strategy-based approach to online marketing? Are you prepared to take your results to the next level?
Call Focus on Digital today for a no-obligation consultation. We have provided countless digital marketing plans for businesses in Sydney, and our friendly team of experts are standing by ready to help you step it up.