Everyone knows you need a business plan, yet many forget about a strong marketing plan that incorporates both traditional and digital marketing. According to the Managing Digital Marketing study by Smart Insights, 44 percent of brands don’t have a defined digital plan integrated into their overall marketing plan. In an ever-changing digital landscape, success in business can often depend on what a brand does, or sometimes doesn’t do, to market itself online.
To craft a plan that can pack a powerful punch, here are four important points to keep in mind to ensure your digital marketing plan will have a real impact on your bottom line.
Know where you are and where you’re going
To create an effective digital marketing plan, you need to understand where your brand is currently in the digital landscape and where you’d like to be. Three questions to evaluate this are:
- What is the long-term plan for the brand?
- What is the objective you want your digital marketing efforts to achieve?
- Is your brand leveraging digital channels such as Google search, social media, email, and websites to connect with current and prospective customers?
By understanding your company’s long-term goals, you can incorporate them into the digital marketing plan and measure their effectiveness along the way. There is no reason you should go into this blind. Use your resources to evaluate your current efforts by analyzing your website traffic, open email rates and social engagement; this will help you better understand where you can improve to make your digital marketing strategy stronger. For example, maybe your Facebook page has a larger and more interactive audience than Twitter. If this is true, the digital marketing plan will outline a stronger content plan for Facebook.
Understand your market
Your audience is the heart of your digital marketing strategy, and it is important to know your target audience — the people you are trying to reach. Your brand communicates with your customers through blog posts, marketing copy, email newsletters, and more. The entire content marketing strategy should be audience-centric. The best way is to know your audience, uncover the channels they are using, identify the lingo that resonates with them, and create content pieces that include their tone of voice, most-used hashtags, etc. Most likely you already know who they are, but it’s time to put it down on paper. Start with understanding the basics — like age, gender, and where they live. Then, you’ll want to dig a little deeper and uncover where and how they spend their time, and how they interact with your brand currently. Most importantly, who are their influencers, what are their hobbies and how will you communicate? No matter who your target audience is, be sure to narrowly define them because it will be your guide as you plan campaigns.
Keep an eye on the competition
Take a moment and analyze the competition. How are they leveraging their digital marketing efforts? Compare your progress to your competitors’. A simple way to do this is by creating a spreadsheet of their online activities, outlining the number of emails they send out, the number of blogs they post quarterly, their social audience growth, etc. By understanding what the competition is doing, your company can position your products or services to show how you provide a better value in the marketplace.
Make time for analyzing and optimizing — it is essential to growing your digital marketing plan and your business. By examining your digital marketing efforts, you can understand your successes, failures, or identify new opportunities. Create a measurement and monitoring plan that fits your goals by first clearly identifying key performance indicators (KPIs). For example, keeping track of the most viewed blog pages gives you insight into the topics that resonate with your viewers, offering helpful direction in future social content or blog articles. Rarely will users find your site by typing in the URL directly. Most sites rely on referral traffic; by understanding where users are coming from, you can build your digital marketing plan around this to optimize exposure of the brand. If traffic is frequently entering your site as a referral from Facebook, it would be important to increase the frequency of social postings to the digital marketing plan.
“Creating a Digital Marketing Plan” by our own Kylie Rogers-Strahan was originally featured in the July 2017 MFDA Journal, the quarterly membership publication of the Michigan Funeral Directors Association. For more than 10 years, BCP has worked with Michigan Funeral Directors Association to edit and design the MFDA Journal.