For many business owners, the idea of creating a digital marketing strategy can feel like a stretch. Is email marketing still a viable strategy for driving business? Can social media do the job? How about SEO? Can I build a site around my products and use SEO to attract visitors and gain brand recognition? Can I rank #1 for my favorite search term (i.e. Google Adwords Rank Tracker)?
While it is true that the tools for digital marketing have changed dramatically in recent years, the fundamentals of marketing remain the same. What’s more is that SEO, social media, email marketing, and other digital marketing tactics have been integrated into a single platform, which makes the process of creating a marketing plan much easier. Let’s take a look at how.
The Importance Of Building A Marketing Plan
No one factor alone will enable your business to reach its full potential. Instead, you need to consider all of the variables, including the digital marketing plan you put in place. Why? A properly planned and executed digital marketing strategy can help you gain a competitive advantage and drive growth for your business.
If you feel that writing a business plan is essential for starting a new business or raising capital, you’re in good company. According to the Small Business Administration, 79% of businesses that started in the last year had a business plan. Even more impressively, 82% of those businesses were able to secure capital from investors or lenders. Without a business plan, it is almost certain that you will struggle to secure funding or secure long-term loans.
Why An Online Marketing Plan Is Different
If you’re reading this, it’s probably because you’re looking for an answer to the question “How can I build a digital marketing plan?” If that’s the case, you’re in luck because this article is going to give you a brief overview of how to do that.
The first and most obvious difference is that your digital marketing plan doesn’t have to be confined to one platform. As we’ve already discussed, the platforms have evolved to make the process much easier and, at the same time, more effective. Furthermore, the plan can be updated as new information comes in.
Finally, remember that your business has a lifespan. Instead of it being tied to a single quarter, or even a single year, your marketing plan should be able to handle multiple platforms, multiple touchpoints, and continuous improvement.
The 5 Step Process to Building a Marketing Plan
To give you a head start, here’s a step-by-step process to build a marketing plan:
- Set Up Your Own Mailbox
- Collect And Organize All of Your Marketing Statistics
- Determine Your Digital Marketing Strategy
- Create Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
- Develop A Marketing Budget & Schedule
- Final Takeaway
Let’s take a look at each of these steps in detail.
Set Up Your Own Mailbox
If you’re reading this, it’s probably because you’re looking for an answer to the question “How can I set up my own email box?” As we’ve discussed, email marketing is a tried and true way to reach your audience and build interest and trust in your brand. However, if you’re looking for a simpler and more streamlined way to communicate, you can set up your own email box through a service like MailChimp, Constant Contact, or Hello Fresh.
Why would you want to set up your own email box? There are several reasons. First, you can have complete control over the look and feel of your emails. Second, you can set up automatic replies to all of your customer’s emails. Third, your email provider can give you the tools to create more personalized emails based on what you know about your customers, like their interests, hobbies, or career.
Collect And Organize All of Your Marketing Statistics
In order to set up your email marketing campaign, you need to consider a number of things, including how much you’re going to spend, when you’re going to send the email, and who you’re going to send it to. However, one of the most important things is the analytics behind the email marketing campaign. Without it, you’re flying blind.
The next step in the process is to collect and analyze all of the relevant marketing statistics so you have a baseline from which to work. What does that mean? It means you’re going to look at everything from how many people opened your email to how many people clicked on a particular link, or performed a specific action (i.e. made a purchase, signed up for a newsletter, etc.).
In today’s world, marketers are always looking for ways to improve their results. The problem is that not all improvements are created equal. Some tactics work much better than others, and that’s why you need to consider what you’re trying to improve and why.
Determine Your Digital Marketing Strategy
Once you have all of the relevant statistics, you can start to develop your strategy. While there are various tactics you can use, like SEO, social media, and paid advertisements, you need to consider what is working and what isn’t working. This is important because you don’t want to get stuck in a rut where your strategy is dependent on what has worked in the past.
You want to be able to adjust and evolve as your business and marketing situation changes. What’s more, you want to be sure that your strategy is working for your business, not against it. To do that, you need to take a step back and look at the metrics and data at hand. Then, you can begin to think about what changes you need to make.
Create Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
Once you have a clear idea of what is working and what isn’t, you can begin to create key performance indicators (KPIs). Basically, a KPI is a measurement tool or metric that you can use to track the performance of your strategy. For example, you can use conversion rate, average order value, or revenue to measure the success of your tactics.
The advantage of having KPIs is that they allow you to track the effectiveness of your strategy. When you dig deeper, you can also see how each KPI relates to the others. For example, if you want to see how many email opens you get relative to how many people click on a particular link within the email, you can use an analytics tool like Google Analytics to track those metrics.
Develop A Marketing Budget & Schedule
Once you have a clear idea of how effective your strategy is, you can begin to develop a marketing budget and schedule. The budget is simply how much you’re willing to spend on the strategy, while the schedule details when you’re going to spend that money. For example, if you have a budget of $1,000 and you know that a certain link conversion strategy costs $200 to implement, you might decide that that’s the price you’re willing to pay for a proven link conversion strategy.
The schedule should be worked out with your accountant or business lawyer. Once you have that in place, you can begin to think about when you’re going to implement your strategy. You need to consider how long it will take, and how much you have to spend to achieve your goals. You can also consider what parts of your strategy you’re going to tackle first, and what you’re going to leave for later.
For example, if you’re looking to grow your email list quickly, you might want to focus on that first, rather than developing a social media strategy or SEO. The key is to focus on the parts of your strategy that work best for your business. Then, when you have the metrics in hand, you can decide which parts to expand upon and which to leave for later.
Why An Online Marketing Plan Is Important
Now that you know the basics of how to build a digital marketing plan, let’s discuss why this is important, and how critical it is to have one.