“If you build it, you may still need Google AdWords.”
— Jennifer Mesenbrink
To reach your target audience online and grow your business, you need to build and develop a digital marketing plan. If you aren’t all too familiar with the planning process and logic behind it, this can seem unnecessary and time-consuming.
However, sitting down to plan how you will get to your goals and listing what tasks need to be implemented will help you scale your business. According to Revenizer, businesses with a good digital marketing plan have 2x the revenues per employee and they are also 2x more likely to be growing.
What is digital marketing?
Before diving into the different online marketing strategies, having an understanding of what exactly “digital marketing” is should come first.
Digital Marketer defines digital marketing as:
“…the act of promoting and selling products and services by leveraging online marketing tactics such as social media marketing, search marketing, and email marketing. When you get down to it, digital marketing is simply marketing.”
Over the years, wonderful technological advances have been introduced and our business landscape has progressed into the digital realm. Now, a huge part — if not all — of your marketing strategy is digital, due to the fact that your competitors and, more importantly, your consumers are almost always online.
What is a digital marketing plan & why is it important?
Without a plan and a predefined budget for paid media and human capital, your marketing efforts may take the form of random, reactive campaigns without coordination and strategy. The likely result: little or no ROI.
Properly applying the principles of digital marketing will help you in the following ways:
- Create brand awareness and engagement before/after sales
- Convert new buyers into recurring customers
- Kickstart word-of-mouth and social sharing
- Shorten the buyer’s journey by introducing offers at the right time
Developing an actionable digital marketing plan is critical to success and it takes experience to craft an effective digital marketing strategy.
Importance of business objectives & goal setting
You need to “begin with the end in mind”. This is where goals and objectives come into play. Without goals or objectives, any effort you put into your business will seem meaningless in the long run and will give you and your team no direction whatsoever, resulting in a feeling of helplessness.
This is why it is fundamental that you list your business objectives and set goals, as well as communicate them to your team properly: so that everyone is on the same page and collective efforts are more likely to yield results.
That said, your marketing goals should always be aligned with your business objectives. For example, if your business objective is to increase online revenue by 20%, then your marketing team needs to generate 50% more leads than the previous year to contribute towards that success.
Your goals must be measurable and it is pertinent that you have the right digital marketing tools to do so. The effectiveness of a digital strategy varies from business to business, but having clear metrics is the best way to monitor everything so that you adjust your strategy accordingly.
When setting business objectives and marketing goals, keep the SMART principles in mind: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely.
Components of an effective digital marketing plan
Take a look at all the available digital marketing assets that you can incorporate into your strategy while considering the bigger picture. There are nine (9) elements of a good digital marketing plan, these are:
Competitor analysis can make or break your marketing plan. This strategic research provides an overview of the strengths and weaknesses of your current and potential competitors. Using this assessment, you can have an idea of both the offensive and defensive strategic context for identifying opportunities and threats.
Buyer Persona Development
HubSpot defines the buyer persona as “a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers”. When developing your buyer personas, keep in mind that the details you put down are concise and organised. You should be able to easily refer to your personas as needed without difficulty. A key criterion for selecting your digital marketing channels is whether you can find your target audience there or not. Focusing on channels that are irrelevant to your business is a waste of time and money.
Marketing Funnel Creation
The marketing funnel is a great visual representation of your marketing goals. The overarching business objective is to help move your prospects from the Top of the Funnel (TOFU) or Awareness Stage to the Bottom of the Funnel (BOFU) or Conversion Stage.
Email Marketing Plan
Email marketing can be used to engage, convert, and retain your customers, making it one of the handiest tools you can use to grow your business. The goal of your email marketing plan should be to assist and precipitate your customers’ movement from one stage of the buyer journey to the next. A successful email marketing plan doesn’t just give you more ROI; it also helps you build brand authority and foster a good relationship with your leads and clients.
Social Media Plan
Contrary to what you might think, incorporating social media into your marketing efforts isn’t as easy as it looks. “Going social” isn’t just about posting on Facebook or LinkedIn; it revolves around the social cycle of listening, influencing, networking, and selling. These four (4) stages are key to making a successful social media plan.
Paid Media Plan
Increased web traffic is one of the most sought-after outcomes of marketers — for good reason. Paid traffic helps you reach a new audience and bridges the gap between your organic efforts. One campaign is not going to cut it. To succeed you need to create a comprehensive paid media system that meets your potential audience at the right time with the right message.
Content Marketing Plan
Your content marketing plan should be about delivering the right information at the right time in the customer journey. Content marketing done right not only attracts prospects; it also drives more sales and pushes your business to ascend to the next level. Having great content strengthens brand authority and builds a following.
Search Marketing Plan
Getting discovered online is one of the first steps in your buyer’s journey. A well-crafted search marketing plan provides much-needed support for boosting your website’s traffic and visibility. Google’s algorithm is ever-changing, so your search marketing tactics need to be able to adapt. That way, you can be there at the right moment when your customers are searching for solutions.
Finally, you need to map out the precise resources required to execute your plans and overall strategy. This will include the manpower hours per skill, such as writing, design, project management, paid media work, etc. Once you identify the types of resources, you can begin to organise and create tasks for your team to work towards your goal.
There’s no limit to what you can achieve when you have the right resources and a plan in place.
The saying is true: “When you fail to plan, you plan to fail”.
With a solid annual digital marketing plan in place, you are one step closer to growing and scaling your business, and at the end of each year, you can say with utmost confidence that your metrics have improved across all areas of your business.
If you’re eager to build a truly effective digital marketing plan to help grow your business in 2022, there’s no better time than now.