Digital marketing is a very important part of running a successful business. It helps you reach new customers, grow your revenue, build up your brand and engage with your audience. If a company tries to succeed without any sort of marketing, it will almost certainly struggle.
But in order to have successful digital marketing efforts within your company, you need to have a plan in place. Aimlessly trying things without any rhyme or reason is likely to simply waste a lot of time, money, and effort.
With that in mind, this guide is going to go over seven crucial steps to creating a high-quality digital marketing plan that will give you results.
Strategic Steps to Create Digital Marketing Plan
Here are the steps to make a detailed digital marketing strategy.
1. Set Your Goals
The first thing to do when it comes to any marketing plan is to set your goals and objectives. You should set goals both in the short term and the long term. The smaller ones should generally be aimed at keeping you on track towards reaching your big ones that are more meaningful and important.
The type of goals you want to set might be completely different than another company, but that is fine. While most companies will have the goal of growing revenues, other options could be to increase social media followers, improve organic search traffic, build brand recognition, or anything in between.
These goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, and realistic. This will help you define exactly what you want your marketing to achieve. If they are too general, sticking to your goals and even knowing if you have been successful in reaching them can be a challenge.
2. Perform a Competitive Analysis
Another important thing to do during the early phases of your digital marketing plan is to perform some competitive analysis. This involves finding out what you’re up against. No matter your niche or industry, there will almost certainly be a couple of competitors that you are going up against.
You need to not only know who your competition is, but also learn more about your market share and where you fit, and help identify the type of marketing your competitors are using. This competitive analysis involves checking out their website, their content, and even their social media to get a handle on how they do things.
It can help you see what they are doing right, but also the places where they need some work. These weak points can be potential opportunities for you and your company to swoop in and do things differently and/or better.
When performing this analysis you should be considering things like who your competitors are targeting, what channels they are using, what their brand personality is like, and even where they are positioned in the market.
3. Create Buyer/Customer Personas
Whether a single person is handling your marketing or a full-service digital marketing agency, creating buyer personas is an important element of any plan. This is all about knowing your ideal customer, defining your audience, and learning who you want to reach.
Creating a buyer persona is basically like creating a fictional person who has the traits and characteristics of the people who you want to (or think will) buy your products. The buyer persona for a makeup brand will often be very different from those of a workout brand. You need to think about age, income, pain points in life, sex, job, goals, and hobbies when creating these personas.
All of this information can help you determine who you should be targeting with your marketing. The way you market to certain people is different from how you market to others, so creating these personas can ensure you provide the most relevant marketing and content possible. This can take some time and work but is an important part of developing and knowing how to reach out to your target.
4. Consider Your Budget
Before going too much further, it’s a good idea to consider your budget. While some companies will be able to spend millions of dollars on marketing every year, not every business is that fortunate. You need to ensure that whatever you end up spending is an amount you can afford.
If you are wondering how much to budget for marketing, the answer is that it depends. Many companies will spend around 10% of their revenues on marketing, but some are much lower while others can be higher. The amount your business should spend should be based on your revenue, your position in the industry, where you are located, your goals, and even your past marketing efforts.
Always establish your budget early, and do your best to stick to it. However, try to work a little bit of wiggle room into your budget. Opportunities may arise out of nowhere or things may not go as planned, so you always want a little bit of flexibility and not be essentially stuck without any ability to maneuver.
5. Choose Your Channels, Strategies, and Tactics
Once your budget is ironed out and you have a good idea of your target, it is time to choose your channels and marketing strategies. The channels you use may include SEO, PPC ads, social media, and content marketing, just to name a few. Choose ones that give you the best access to your target, whichever that might be. For example, social media has billions of users from all walks of life and is a brilliant tool for digital marketing as you can reach just about everyone there.
The strategies and actual tactics you employ are also crucial to achieving success. This could be making videos, releasing infographics, creating online courses, creating consistent content, building case studies or creating ads. Be sure to try out and test a few strategies before ultimately deciding which is the best for your needs and goals.
Some companies may find a ton of success releasing videos, while another might get a ton more business from sharing an e-book or hosting a webinar. It is hard to know what will produce the best results without trying, so keep that in mind.
6. Use a Marketing Calendar
Another important step in any good marketing plan is to have a marketing calendar and use it. This tool helps you decide exactly when to begin the campaign and when you implement certain strategies or tactics. This also provides some accountability and helps you stick to your deadlines.
This calendar should often be mapped out months in advance to provide an overall framework to stick to in terms of your marketing. If you just do things without any sort of calendar, dates for certain things can be forgotten, and deadlines will often be missed, which can lead to a lot of wasted time and resources.
In this stage, you should also constantly monitor progress and ensure different ads or pieces of content are being released as they should be. Also, do your best to be realistic and give yourself enough time to get everything done, without having to rush things, which could hurt the quality of the work.
7. Don’t Forget to Measure Your Results
Once your marketing plan is complete and your content/ads have been released into the wild, you may think your work is done and you can sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor. However, that is not even remotely the case. You need to be sure you are also measuring your results and seeing how successful your past efforts have been.
This can give you an idea of what aspects of your marketing worked, what didn’t, and what needs to be tweaked. This can save you from wasting money on ineffective marketing techniques, and ensure your strategy is as efficient and streamlined as possible.
As far as what you should measure, there are many options. You will want to look at your brand awareness, your cost per acquisition, and of course, your return on investment. Also, things like your bounce rate, lifetime customer value, response rate, and conversion rate are also important to be aware of. The specific indicators and metrics you track will depend on the goals and objectives of your marketing strategy.
All of these pieces of information and stats can give you incredible insight to assist with your decision-making going forward, and allow you to focus your attention on the digital marketing channels and strategies that yield the greatest results for your company.
They can also help you identify your weak points, and what you may need to do to improve them. Without measuring your results, you may not know whether your marketing has succeeded or failed in regards to your goals from way back in step one.
We hope that this guide and the information inside of it have been able to help you learn how to create a high-quality and successful digital marketing plan. It can take some work but is a very important part of growing your revenue and building your company.