1. Define your purpose.
The first step in any marketing or business plan is to define your goals and objectives. It’s important to do this early on because the rest of your plan, no matter how great, will fall short if you don’t know what you are aiming for.
The main purpose of your online marketing plan should be to generate leads and sales.
To do this you will want to focus on growing your email list, creating buzz, and engaging with your target audience.
You can use digital marketing to do this, or you can use social media to connect with existing and potential customers.
2. Identify the target audience.
The next step is to identify your target audience and create a buyer persona. A buyer persona is a role-playing exercise that helps you identify who your ideal customer is and what they need.
Include things like demographics, location, personality, and behaviours.
You can also consider age, gender, and interests when creating your buyer persona.
For example, if you are marketing to Millennials, you may want to consider including their interests such as social media, video games, and celebrity culture.
3. Select the right platform.
The last step in your plan is to select the right platform. This is where you will decide which online tool to use in order to reach your audience.
Each social media site has unique features and advantages. You must consider what is most important to you and your business. For example, you may want to perform better than your competitors on Facebook, so you can grow your audience there. Or, you may want to create content that performs well on Pinterest and Instagram, as these are the two biggest platforms when it comes to visual content.
When choosing a platform, you must set a budget and consider what is most important to you. You don’t want to cut corners or spend money on tools or features you don’t need.
4. Create content to increase leads and sales.
Once you have decided which platform to use, you can start creating content that will attract, engage, and convert your audience into buying customers.
The best way to generate leads and sales is to create content that is interesting, useful, and helps solve a problem.
Use case analysis to determine content strategy.
A use case is when a consumer (or potential customer) is using a product (or service) and explaining how it works for them. For example, if you are a car dealer and you want to encourage people to come into your store, you can create a list of the top five reasons why they should visit your dealership.
Sometimes the best way to get someone’s attention is to give them a scenario where they can relate or understand the value you are providing. If you want to get people’s attention and encourage them to visit your store or website, you can create content that explains how your product or service helps them solve a problem.
For instance, if your product is an iPad and you want to promote it to solve the issue of not having enough storage, you can create a blog post showing different applications that can help solve that problem.
5. Measure the success of your plan.
Include metrics in your plan to assess the success of your efforts. There are several key metrics you can use to determine the impact of your marketing plan.
You can measure the success of your plan in several ways, including:
- Lead generation,
- Appointment setting (phone calls, face-to-face meetings)
- Customer loyalty (percentage of repeat purchases, referrals, etc)
- Online store visits
- Conversion rate (appointment setting to sale)
- Cost per acquisition (marketing spend > acquisition cost)
- ROI (return on investment)
- Brand awareness
- Likes, shares, and comments
- User-generated content
- Online community and engagement
- Website traffic
These are all important metrics, and I recommend working them into your quarterly reports so you have that constant feedback.
Tips for a successful online marketing plan
The following are some of the things you can do to create a successful online marketing plan:
1. Research the competition.
You must do your homework before you start running your plan. Researching the competition means gathering information about your competitors and comparing it to what you know about your business. This way you can make sure you are doing everything you need to do to be the best possible version of yourself.
Competition analysis will show you what is working and what needs to be changed. If you are new to the field of marketing, comparing your numbers to those of your competitors can be a good place to start. You should learn things such as:
- The strength of the competitors’ brands
- The strength of their marketing campaigns
- The pricing strategies of the competitors
- The positions that the competitors are in the marketplace (e.g., brand awareness, trust, preference)
- The demographics of their customers
- The types of content the competitors are creating
- The social media platforms that they are using
- The websites that they are optimizing for
- The keywords they are targeting
- The links that they are getting from external websites
By seeing what your competitors are doing, you can figure out what will work for you. Remember, your competitors are your best allies in your quest for commercial success. They are the ones putting you in touch with potential customers. Also, seeing what others are doing is often the key to finding commercial success yourself.
2. Define your target audience.
Defining your target audience is a little more difficult than just choosing which group of people you will sell your product or service to. You have to consider things like:
- Where do they live?
- What is their demographic?
- What are their psychographic (psychological) make-up?
- What motivates them?
- What do they need or want?
- What are their values?
To determine these things, you will want to do some market research. If you are looking to purchase a vehicle, you can use public resources like Google or Bing to find information about the latest car models and make comparisons.
3. Create content that will increase leads and sales.
If you are looking to grow your business, the first thing you should do is to create content that will increase leads and sales. This content should be relevant and interesting to your target audience. The more you can capture their attention, the more you can grow your business. To achieve this, you will want to consider:
- The type of content you are using
- How frequently you are posting
- The titles of your posts
- The style of your posts
- The images associated with your posts
- The layout of your posts (blog articles, videos, etc)
- The type of language you are using
- Whether you are including quotes or not
- The amount of personal branding in your content
The goal is to create interest and a sense of value in your target audience. If you can do that, you will be able to grow your business successfully.
4. Measure the success of your plan.
Measuring the success of your plan is extremely important. You will want to do this regularly to determine the effectiveness of your efforts.