How To Create A Digital Marketing Plan
So you've decided to create a digital marketing plan to help you achieve your business goals and mission, but do not know where to start? Fear not! Creating a plan is easier than you think and in no time you will have your own plan that will guide your online marketing activities and boost your ROI (Return On Investment).
Here are the most important elements of a digital marketing plan, that you can use to create your own:
You should carry out an internal audit of your organisation that covers all your stakeholders, to ensure you have the resources in place to launch your strategy. This will include your customers, what they need and what devices and online channels they use. You will also audit your competitors to see where they are advertising online and how well resourced they are.
Many tools will be handy here including Moz tools, Alexa, Compete and many others.
You will also carry out an external audit which covers details that are outside the control of your organisation like cookie usage legislation, trends in smartphone usage by customers and many others that you need to constantly review.
Now you will look at your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats and this is your SWOT Analysis. Based on your audit findings, you will have identified your strengths relative to your competitors and combined with your unique selling point, this will form your basis for competing.
You will also need to work on your weaknesses and minimise them and ultimately work towards turning them into strengths. Your opportunities and threats will be external to your business and you will list the most important ones and decide on how to capitalise on them and minimise the threats.
You will identify your direct and indirect competitors and study their digital marketing strategies to make yours unique and offer greater value to customers. There are many resources available online to study competitors including search engines, Hitwise, eMarketer and many others.
Having identified the market segments that you want to target, now you should decide on which ones to target based on your resources (financial and time). It's usually not possible to target all segments because of resource constraints so you should pick the most viable.
Ultimately, you want to build a relationship with your customers and the Internet is a great channel to do this compared to traditional bricks and mortar which is harder to build a relationship. Then you will work towards turning your loyal customers into advocates that bring more customers to your business.
Social media and online reviews are ways that your customers can become advocates for your brand and business.
The marketing strategy covers all the tactics of your plan and includes the 7 Ps of the marketing mix: product, price, place, promotion, people, process and physical evidence. You will describe your products or services, what prices you will charge and what online promotional tools and channels you will use to reach your target markets.
Some promotional tools you will include are SEO, PPC, social media, affiliate marketing, email marketing, online sponsorship, blogging and many others.
Your strategy could be short-term like 6 – 12 months, or long-term like 2 – 5 years or a combination of both. However, with the rapid changes in the online world, short-term strategies are often more suitable.
Overall, the strategy sets out the activities you will do to achieve your objectives and ultimately your goals and mission.
Budgets and Control.
With the information you have gathered about your objectives, target markets, your competitors, marketing strategy, you can now set a budget to implement your tactics. So your budget will list all tactics relating to your products or services, promotions and processes and what the cost of each will be.
It's important that you have a sufficient budget to be able to implement strategy and achieve your objectives and if you have a limited one, you can always prioritise your tactics.
Mike Ncube is a Digital Marketing Consultant and Marketing Author and his latest book is "The DIY Guide to Online Marketing Success". He blogs regularly about the latest digital marketing trends and he has published books, case studies & whitepapers that will help you with your campaigns.Visit his digital marketing website to discover more about online marketing & download templates and his books.
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