Digital marketing is more than just having a website and social media profiles. It is about knowing which part of the business should be managed online and what you expect to get out of it. Therefore, businesses must know what they are doing with digital marketing before starting it.
Importance of a digital marketing plan?
A digital marketing plan is important because it helps you to allocate resources efficiently. It will allow you to identify gaps in your strategy and plan for them, rather than getting sidetracked by other daily business distractions.
It also helps you prioritize activities and allocate resources effectively by setting measurable goals that can be tracked. A clear, documented plan also helps you to maintain a focus on the bigger picture rather than getting bogged down in day-to-day tasks.
A digital marketing plan allows you to take a step back and view the bigger picture, helping you identify gaps you should be focusing on. It also provides a clear, documented plan that can be shared with your business colleagues or clients. This helps them to understand how their role contributes to the overall objective of your strategy.
What do you need in a digital marketing plan?
There are no hard and fast rules for digital marketing plans. The important thing is that you think about your strategy at a high level, understand the current situation of your business, know which online channels are available to you, and have an idea of what activities are required to achieve your goals.
If you are new to digital marketing, you should get an external agency to help you with your plan. If this isn’t possible, there are lots of free online tools and templates available on the internet that can give you some inspiration.
The components of a digital marketing plan
What do you want to achieve with your digital marketing plan? Do you just want to get more traffic and inquiries, or do you also want to manage the customer experience and build a loyal fan base that evangelizes about your brand? Understanding what is important for your business can help you determine where best to spend time and money.
#1 Target audience:
Who is your target audience? Understanding who you are trying to reach will help you determine the best ways of achieving your objectives – whether using paid search, email marketing, SEO, or social media marketing.
#2 Marketing research:
This is where you can collect your current situation data to determine where improvements can be made. You should also use this section to gather any competitor research that will help you to benchmark your performance.
#3 Marketing strategy:
This is where you determine what actions you need to take to achieve your objectives. It’s also a good idea at this stage to estimate the costs and resources required.
What is your budget? You don’t need to get too detailed at this stage, but it’s good to make sure you have some economic context around your plan and whether you can afford to spend anything on marketing. It’s also a good idea to consider the potential return of investment (ROI) for any digital marketing activities.
When you plan for this section, it’s helpful to be clear on the following:
- Which channels and what creative assets will be used? E.g., organic SEO, content marketing, email, and social media using video and infographics.
- What is the expected duration of each activity? E.g., 1 month, 5 months, or permanent changes depending on the scale, frequency, and quality of the activities.
- How much will each activity cost? It is helpful to keep track of this information to see what has worked well and where your budget might be better spent in the future.
- Who is responsible for each activity? Try to break down activities into chunks that can be assigned to individuals or teams within your organization.
- What tools will you use to track the progress and success of each activity? E.g., Google Analytics, Google Adwords Keyword Planner, Search Console (formerly Webmaster Tools), Google Trends.
When will you launch your marketing activities, and how long will they last? Try and keep your schedule flexible where possible, but you should also make sure that you plan for any non-negotiable such as public holidays or half-term breaks in the US.
Who will be responsible for each activity? Include both internal staff members and any external agencies or freelancers that your plan depends on. If you don’t have the resources, outsourcing certain activities can make sense, especially if you need specialist skills or are planning time-consuming activities.
What tools will you use to track the progress and success of each activity? You should also note any specialist software or paid tool that could help your plan, even if they are expensive. If you don’t have the budget right now, bookmark them for future reference. For example, you can use a Sankey plot in data visualization to use as proof of how you increased the conversion rate.
When will you complete each marketing activity? You should think carefully about your budget and timeline when planning. Ideally, you want to allocate enough time for everything, but you also need to be realistic and set achievable targets.
What are your targets? Make sure you have at least one measurable goal for each marketing activity. For example, “achieve a 10% increase in online sales” or “increase brand awareness by 25%” rather than “marketing activities.” You should also include the target date and outline the measurement scale – e.g., an increase from 20 inquiries received per month to 40.
If you want to be successful in the competitive world of digital marketing, it’s crucial that you have a clear understanding of your buyer personas and how they behave. This will help you craft messages that resonate with them at different stages throughout their buying journey. Leverage data analyzing tools like Sankey diagram generator and data visualization techniques such as the Sankey chart to understand and help you strategize to achieve your objectives.