Why every Business should have a Digital Marketing Plan
The digital world is constantly evolving, as too are the different marketing techniques available. In fact, the coined term is that the world is “hyper-connected” which can literally mean a “thrive or die” situation for businesses. So how is it possible for a brand to stay ahead of the game? Having a strategic digital marketing plan is the first essential step, but also by being prepared to change the plan.
If the plan doesn’t work, change the plan but never the goal.
How to prepare a digital marketing plan
Know your customer
It all starts with knowing your customer. Once you know who your audience is, you will need need to understand where your customer is likely to come from – whether it is through a mobile device, a home computer or a tablet.
Meeting the needs of each customer is a critical element of your digital marketing plan. These needs must be met across the digital channels that your audience is likely to visit, whether it is social media, youtube, forums, etc.
Why looking back is the key to moving forward
There are three elements to this step in the process:
- Understanding your customers past behavior; this can often uncover opportunities for improvement or expansion of your existing digital marketing efforts. There are a number of online tools that you can use to review competitor online activities – such as SEMRush. These tools allow you to see what keywords they are ranking for, what PPC ads they have run and even the landing pages the ads have clicked through to and more.
- Reviewing your past online activities; What campaigns have you run in the past – what worked and what didn’t?
- Running an audit of your online profiles; this is absolutely critical – what social media sites do you have profiles on? Are all social media profiles up to date and have regularly maintained content and monitoring?
Taking the time to review and understand what’s happened in the past can help lay a solid foundation for preparing your new online marketing strategy.
Creating the plan
If you have “googled” the phrase “digital marketing plan template”, then you are one of hundreds of thousands to do so. And yes, we have too – many times. Over all of my years of studying, attending conferences and webinars, and running Promark, there is one marketing plan template that wins hands-down. Developed by Allan Dib, the 1-Page marketing plan is stated as a “breakthrough which makes creating a marketing plan simple and fast.” And yes, it is quite literally a single page (albeit, I tend to use it on A3!). Broken in to three core phases and nine pillars, this template and methodology cuts to the chase and allows you to build a robust and objective-driven plan.
Executing the plan
One of the most critical things to consider is which platform/s are you going to use to manage and maintain your efforts? There are a huge array of options available here including the likes of HubSpot, ActiveCampaign, Ontraport, MailChimp, WordStream and more. At Promark we use ActiveCampaign, Hootsuite, Adespresso and a few other core platforms to deliver and manage consistent campaigns.
Digital Marketing Hints & Tips
Here’s a few tactics here that can help you stay ahead of the game in the fiercely competitive digital world.
Make use of First Person in your Call To Action
Making use of the first person can improve your click through rate by up to 90%. This is as simple as changing buttons from “Make a reservation” to read “Reserve my table”.
Make use of an editorial calendar
Editorial calendars can help in numerous ways, and can be critical in ensuring consistent and regular content to share. Preparing ahead of time allows your team to stay organized, focused and have clear timelines to work to. It also allows complete transparency so that all communications – regardless of platform – can be coordinated and dispatched in line with one another.
Plan ahead and schedule your blog posts
Preparing your blog posts ahead of time and scheduling them can be hugely beneficial for a number of reasons:
- You can allocate a block of time – whether it is a half day, whole day, or a few hours – to write, format and schedule blog posts. This avoids the hassle and confusion of trying to remember where you were up to, and also helps to ensure consistency of writing across multiple articles.
- Leaves opportunity for adhoc posts – since you are already ahead of the game with scheduled posts, if something important comes up you still have the ability to write and publish the blog post. Because you have “front loaded” your workload and saved time by doing multiple blogs in one sitting, you should have more time to prepare these ad hoc posts.
- Allows you the opportunity to outsource blog or content writing if you simply don’t have the internal resource to manage it. Many businesses are confident that they can “find the time” to write their own content, only to discover three months later that they have not even finished writing their first article. Sometimes writing a blog can be incredibly daunting – you are putting it out on the “world wide web” for all and sundry to see – and the enthusiastic author will work diligently and timelessly to perfect the article, only to never complete it. At this point in time it is important to remember to “stick to your day job” and determine whether your internal resources have the skill set, time and motivation to prepare your articles.
Consider using content syndication
Content syndication is where your content is published on reputable and authoritative third party sites. Online platforms such as Taboola can help boost visitors to your website by sharing your content across various publisher’s sites. Whilst this is a form of paid advertising, it is quite different to other PPC platforms such as Google Ads.
This is two pronged –
Be responsive to all communications from visitors across all channels – never leave a message unanswered, and ensure you respond in a timely manner.
Ensure your marketing is compatible across all devices – your website should be responsive and have a great user experience regardless of device and also consider dedicated mobile marketing activity.
Digital marketing can be both a blessing and a curse, but the bottom line is it is definitely here to stay. Regardless of business size or type, it would be negligent to dismiss digital marketing as an avenue for growth an expansion for your business. There are huge opportunities that exist, but it is also a fiercely competitive environment. As with all aspects of business, ensuring you have a plan, budget and clear objectives can make all the difference – as can being consistent, relevant and authentic. Remember – your future is created by what you do today, not tomorrow.