In recent years, digital marketing has become increasingly complicated, with the emergence of new channels and rapid change to existing ones. With plenty of digital marketing channels and platforms to choose from, deciding on the right fit for your business can be overwhelming. Should you focus on SEO or PPC? Social media or newsletters? That’s when a detailed digital marketing plan comes in handy.
What is a digital marketing plan?
Every marketing strategy should incorporate a digital plan. Digital marketing has become one of the most effective ways to engage with potential customers. A digital marketing plan lays out what you intend to accomplish within a specific time frame, and should align with your business objectives.
At the core of marketing is how you express the benefits of your products and services to customers in a way that resonates with them. With that in mind, your plan should focus on the marketing methods that give your target audience a cohesive and engaging experience.
It’s worth noting that digital marketing incorporates many different channels. When working on a digital marketing plan, you can always experiment with various approaches and make ongoing adjustments based on the results.
What should a digital marketing plan include?
1. Situation Analysis
The first thing to do when developing a digital marketing plan is to carry out a thorough SWOT analysis of the business. This analysis framework allows you to look at your business’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as opportunities and threats in the marketplace.
2. Business Goals
Next, you’ll need to establish short, medium, and long term business objectives that the digital marketing plan will help you reach. Everything in the plan should work towards meeting those specific goals.
The SMART goal framework is a great tool for this stage. It helps you define:
specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely goals.
A SMART goal can help build quantifiable plans, by identifying precisely what needs to be accomplished and how to measure your success.
3. Audience Targeting and Messaging
Personalisation is the key when it comes to creating your digital marketing plan. Keep these things in mind:
- Segment your target audience: Understand who your audience is, their wants and needs, tastes or preferences, and the digital channels they spend time on. Never underestimate the value of market research. Whether it’s surveying customers, purchasing reports or basic desktop research, the better you understand your audience the better you can connect with them.
- Positioning: Why should the consumer choose you and not your competitors? What are your unique selling points? How are you going to communicate that to your audience, and which messages are best for which channels?
4. Organic Content Marketing
The more valuable your content is for your audience, the more likely your audience will engage with you, and ultimately become your customers.
Three key areas to focus on are:
- Keyword research: Analyse the search terms your audience enters into search engines, and use these as topics for blog and social posts. Keyword research can also help you uncover queries to target through paid ads, showing you their popularity, ranking difficulty, and more.
- Content calendar: Developing a content calendar is critical for content marketing, helping you create ideas and optimise your resources. Content calendars typically include details around planned blog posts, status updates, planned promotional activity, partnerships, and updates to existing content.
- Social media posting: Social media (such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter) is a low-cost and effective way to promote content for most businesses. Plan exactly what you’re going to publish and when on every social media platform, including copy, links and hashtags for each post.
5. Other Digital Tactics
Choose the digital marketing tools that are best suited to the needs of your business and your target audience. They range from email marketing campaigns, website optimisation, SEO, and influencer marketing, through to paid media advertising such as Facebook Ads and Google Ads.
You will likely need to manage multiple channels at a time, so consider using marketing automation tools such as MailChimp to automate your digital marketing campaigns.
A Key Performance Indicator (KPI) is a measure of how effectively a company is achieving key business objectives. Setting KPIs and measuring the efficacy of the digital marketing tactics will allow you to understand what didn’t work and what did, to help ensure you meet your initial goals.
Make sure you have real-time data analytics in place, such as Google Analytics. You should be on the alert at all times to spot opportunities and room for growth.