Interest in Integrated Digital Marketing is growing by leaps and bounds and it has become a focal point for nearly all marketers out there. Now, you would be consistently hearing about the benefits of digital marketing campaigns like:
- How successful digital marketing campaigns can be to grow your business?
- How effectively it gives your returns on your investments?
- How effectively you can manage with simple digital marketing tools?
- How new-age marketing tactics can help you generate more sales?
All this is great. But where exactly do you start?
The popular quote by Benjamin Franklin is still true!
“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail”
Everyone in the business believes that it is important to write a plan, but still many of us do not know where to start and get busy in initial non-productive tasks.
Why do you even need a Digital Marketing Plan?
- It keeps you focused on.
- It works as a strategy guide for your marketing campaigns.
- It helps you understand priorities
- It helps you allocate appropriate time & resources
- It gives you a clear direction
- It helps you in crisis
- It helps in giving you a head start
It doesn’t mean that you have to write down every detail of your campaign. An ideal digital marketing plan is a well-crafted, crisp document including a series of events with a brief of each activity & a timestamp on it. Your digital marketing plan will describe how you can get your business goals met using online marketing techniques.
What are the components of a great digital marketing plan?
You needs to be very clear while setting a digital marketing goal. Are you going to use this campaign to increase your brand awareness? Should you focus on generating more leads for your business? Are you trying to generate more sales for a particular category on your e-commerce portal?
You have to identify the reasons for what you are trying to achieve through this campaign. This will help you to track the effectiveness of campaigns, measure success at the end.
Everything you will be planning has to work towards attaining the specified marketing objective and aligned with overall business goals.
You can use SMART goals framework for reference:
Specific — Increase category sales
Measurable — 10% sales growth
Attainable — Industry benchmarks and possible resources
Relevant — Relates to the overall business goal of growth
Time-frame — To achieve within a month
This is important for focusing on trying to get the traffic and reaching the right audience.
If you don’t research your audience before creating your content or you might end up creating something useless. You need to analyze their demographics and behavioral interests.
Try to outline few simple things like gender, age group they belong to, what geographies they are in, a specific tier of cities you will be targeting, try to be as precise as possible, you do not want to target all the adult male of India. Try to pick up cities where you usually get most of the sales from.
Also understand if your audience has specific behavior, like someone like to shop online. Someone likes to check out reviews online but they usually purchase through stores, etc.
Create a buyer persona out of it. The buyer persona is a fictional character who represents the traits of people you are going to target. Buy persona can be a single character or group of characters that you want to target.
Usually, you can get this data from your current website analytics, blog posts comments, Quora & Twitter. You can also conduct specific short surveys within your closed user group to understand their needs better. From these mediums, you can get some information on your target audience
Marketing Intent / Message
Messaging is the part where your consumer positions your brand through your communication strategy. Framing a message is critical for any campaign to succeed. A well-thought message would assist you in designing your communication. Different kinds of messages will resonate with different kinds of audiences. Create a value proposition in such a way that it exactly answers the problem you are going to solve.
When you are creating your marketing communication, put your feet in customer shoes, and answer yourself. If there are any benefits in buying a product from you, or submitting a lead to your business or building an affinity towards your business.
Content strategy & Channels
The basic objective of any digital marketing strategy is to create a content piece that is share-worthy & able to actively engage your audience. Here content could be anything that your audience takes an interest in. It could be a blog post of comparing two fast-moving products in your category; it could be a series of YouTube video tutorials on how to use a gadget or it could be a valuable Infographics for your audience.
Create such a format of unique content where your target audiences are influenced by your marketing message. Your content would play a key role in solving their problem. It should compel them to go ahead and make a purchase.
Channel and content strategy goes hand in hand. Your target audience decides the channel and channel decides the content format and frequency.
Let’s say, for example, you want to increase sales of a slow-moving product on your e-commerce platform what can you do?
You need to find where your buyers are; probably they are out there checking our reviews of similar product categories on YouTube. They are checking on Quora for recommendations, e-commerce websites for verified user’s comments, or any other blog posts for comparison.
How you can be present at each of the events of your buyer’s journey would help you in defining your content and channel strategy. Your content strategy would include the format of content you are creating, copy or story of content, frequency, channels you will be using to host & distribute, and pre-defined responses to queries you are anticipating. It would also include an integration plan of your micro-campaigns on individual channels to leverage the maximum out of it.
You have to chalk out your content format for each of the channels you will use. For example, if you are creating a product review video on YouTube, you need to distribute it through your social channels, embed it on your website may be, and broadcast it through your email marketing system. List down all the tools you will be using to maximize your reach and increase the overall engagement rate.
Investments & Budget
The question isn’t that should you invest in campaigns, it is that how much should you invest and what would be your ideal budget to attain the goal. It has always been a dilemma while fixing up your campaign budget that if you spend too little you won’t be getting much reach and if you end up spending much on ads nothing will be left to invest in content and other aspects of the digital marketing plan.
Fixing up the digital marketing budget depends on your marketing objective, target audience, and content strategy. If your marketing objective is to increase business leads, you can invest in a high-quality lead magnet where users will be induced to share their details.
Do not copy your competitors upon what they have been spending. Remain focused on your marketing goals. Checkout industry trends of different channels and their average spends. Analyze your past efforts and the effectiveness of campaigns. Check for the lead and lag indicators from our previous campaigns and draft learning from them. It is always wise to create an A/B Testing plan for each of your content and continuously monitor the performance.
Allocate your investments wisely in each of the resources, be it content creation or content distributing through channels, it should reach your target audience creating a long-lasting impact.
Calendared actionable Events
A digital marketing plan is a documented plan of actionable events and their current status. It is a tracker to keep a check on your plan’s course of action. Therefore it is crucial to write down each activity you will be carrying out in campaign with its KPI (Key performance indicators).
Designing a content calendar takes a lot of iterations. It is a time-consuming activity. It will help you to communicate with your audience consistently and avoid spamming too much. It gives you a precise view of how your content will be laid out over a specified course of action. Consider industry standards for the frequency of content you will be broadcasting. Always prefer for quality of content over quantity of content
Ideally, you should plan your publishing content at least a month in advance. A lot of brands have been posting last-minute content on social media with silly mistakes creating oops moment for them.
Your work doesn’t stop when you create content, upload it, and distribute it on social media. You have to keep a check if you are on the path of attaining your set objective. Keep a check if all things are in place or if any deviation is required. Make sure you have the appropriate tools to measure your campaign effectiveness. For each channel, different analytical tools are showing the performance of campaigns. You can examine your content’s reach and engagement metrics from time to time. You must have a real-time data visualization system to monitor your campaigns. Always be updated with the current performance and keep a room for improving your campaigns.
And finally, when you look at your final well-crafted digital marketing plan document, it will be reassuring that your plan makes sense. It helps you think of long term strategies for your same marketing objectives. It gives you a sense of value offering to your customers.
Take the help of technology in building automated & tailored plans to reach out to your customers. Create a plan that works for you, not the other way around. There are many automated tools to streamline your work. Keep all the points in your mind and don’t leave any stone unturned. Everyone is digital space has equal opportunity. Create one of the best digital marketing plans and increase your presence in digital space.