I’ve put together this list of 15 reasons why you need a digital marketing plan whatever your business and whatever industry you are in. Obviously, there are many other reasons, however this list covers the main areas of customers, budgets and ROI.
If you are like many business owners, you are reluctant to create a digital marketing plan for the following reasons:
• Don’t have the skills or experience
• Don’t have time
• Won’t work for my business
• Too expensive
However, without a plan to track progress and optimise your digital marketing strategy, you have little chance of success.
So here goes:
1. Create achievable objectives
With a digital marketing plan in place, you will create more specific and achievable objectives that are tied to the resources you have at hand. Your objectives will be relevant too and will be based on your strengths and opportunities and what your potential customers are looking for.
2. Meet the needs of visitors and customers
Your website visitors and customers should be at the heart of what you do. First, you need to identify who they are (age, gender, income, location etc) and then you should create an outstanding product or service offer that meets and exceeds what they need – and do it better than your competitors.
In analytics, you have a rich list of tools and features to understand who your visitors are and using segmentation features, you will gain greater insight and turn them into customers even if you can’t personally identify them initially.
3. Know your competitors tactics
With the help of tools such as Compete and SEMRush you will gain insight into the keywords your competitors are using and to analyse their performance for SEO/SEM campaigns. You can use this info to create your digital marketing objectives and benchmark your progress towards achieving them.
4. Avoids any surprises
Whatever online campaigns you are managing, your digital marketing plan is there to guide you to ensure that you have considered all costs of reaching your target audiences. Often, many advertisers will create an adwords account and run ads without research and planning what their goals are and they quickly run up a huge bill with few results to show for it.
5. Allocate budget effectively
Effective budget allocation to various online channels can only happen if you know what you want to achieve and have a list of tactics that you need to do to achieve your objectives. So your digital plan should include all the tactics that are important to your goals and it should list the costs of each tactic and this will add up to your total budget.
6. Understand how customers use your website
Your digital plan will help you to segment your visitors to help you understand better how they use your website. So you will see what the bounces are, what pages they’ve visited and exited from and how many pages they’ve viewed. Your plan will then help to shape design elements, content and the user experience and you can keep track of this in your plan.
7. Know who are the best visitors on your website
Not all visitors on your site will be profitable and many of them in fact will not convert into customers. So you will need this info to make your online promotion more effective and with the help of your digital marketing plan, you will segment these accordingly and target them more effectively on the main online channels with your products, services, offers, discounts and so on.
8. Track the effectiveness of your online promotions
It’s crucial to track your online advertising to make sure you are meeting your goals. There are tools that will help you do this efficiently and effectively and your marketing plan is there to help you reach your goals.
9. Get senior level buy-in
Selling the benefits of online promotion channels and vehicles to top managers in your company will be a lot more effective if you have a digital marketing plan that shows what can achieved, at what cost and by when.
10. Understand all the competitive forces
Online, your competitors are not just businesses that sell similar products and services to you. There are indirect competitors too and they will be chasing the attention and money that your business is targeting too. For example, some people will choose between purchasing a new set of sofas or going on holiday; so these are indirect competitors for both business types. Your marketing plan will help with research into all competitive forces.
11. Measure your progress
Whatever your plans and goals, you will now be more effective at measuring them, because you will have a marketing plan in place that lists them all and also describes how you will succeed.
12. Do things when they should be done
Your marketing timeline will list all your tasks and when they should be done. This will help you to focus your efforts and do things when they should be done – with no procrastination.
13. Research your industry
Before launching any online campaigns, you should know who the players are in your industry – who are the market leaders, challengers, followers and nichers. You will include this in your plan including details about who your target audience is and how you need to reach them.
14. Increase brand awareness
The web provides many opportunities for raising brand awareness, especially on sites in the Google Display network. So you will research these opportunities and understand who frequents them and in what volumes and then you can produce creatives to target them and increase brand awareness for your products and company.
15. Achieve your corporate mission and goals
Ultimately, you want to achieve your goals and mission and your digital marketing plan is one effective way to help you do that. So everything in your plan including your objectives, strategy, promotional tactics and others should be focused on helping you get closer to achieving your goal and mission.
To get started on your plan, download the free digital marketing plan template to plan your activities. The template covers all areas listed above and please feel free to contact me if you need any help with your online marketing campaigns.