It’s 2020, and digital marketing has absorbed an integral part of industries. A company’s success largely depends on how good the marketing plan is.
Digital marketing is much more than creating catchy videos or taglines, social media postings, and others; it requires creating an effective plan that meets your organization’s long term goals.
World of marketing has been evolving; traditional marketing no longer works if you want to expand your business. Promotion is necessary, especially its online aspect.
In this article, we will take you through six steps to create an effective digital marketing plan.
Importance of Digital Marketing
Digital marketing is a broad concept that provides a lot of opportunities to grow. You can reach many more people online than in your local market.
Similarly, digital marketing requires skilled professionals to do the job. As we have said before, it is a vast concept, and just a simple internet connection will not do the trick. Just like traditional marketing, it requires trial and error to see what works and whatnot. But the benefits achieved are much more than conventional marketing.
Some of the advantages of digital marketing are:
- It is much more cost-efficient than traditional marketing
- You will be able to reach the global marketplace
- You can easily target your audience
- Connect with your potential customers to know about their interest
- Helps in creating a brand
- You can track and measure campaign results
- Better conversion rates compared to offline marketing
Hence, a well created and implemented digital marketing plan generates a lot of benefits.
How to Create a Solid Digital Marketing Plan in 6 Steps
Let’s get into the various steps required to design and develop an effective digital marketing plan.
Step 1: Researching the Target Audience
Target audience consists of people who are most likely interested in your product and will buy them. These are the people who will engage with you the most.
The first step of any digital marketing plan is to find its target audience – the audience for whom the products or services are created. If you fail to identify your target audience, you are bound to experience loss.
It is essential to know who you are trying to reach. For example, if your company sells digital marketing courses, then your target audience includes people who are looking for such classes.
How to identify your target audience?
Research and create a list consisting of questions like
- Who is buying similar products?
- What are the demographics of your target market?
- What is their interest?
- How will my brand help them?
- Who are my competitors?
- Where does my target audience spend most of their time online?
- What can I do better than my competitors?
These are only some of the questions, not a complete list. Once you find answers to such questions, it will be easy to define your target audience.
Some methods for researching your target audience are:-
1. Developing Buyer Personas
Buyer personas are people who are envisioned to have traits of an ideal customer. These customers will purchase your products. They are fictional people that will help to know about the targeted audience’s information like,
- Income, etc.
This will help to shape your Buyer Persona. In most cases, you have to create more than one persona. For example, suppose your company produces health drinks. A persona created for health drinks for children will be different than those created for an adult. In this way, you can easily separate your audience according to their needs.
This is very effective in creating a digital marketing plan because you will have a better idea about your target audience.
2. Conducting Surveys
Surveys help to get into more detail. Conduct large scale and small scale surveys to know more about the target audience. Create questions that are to the point for the best results.
3. Checking Insights Regularly
Tools like Google analytics provide an in-depth answer to questions. It tells you everything, including customer behavior, their engagement and time spent online, etc. Hence, checking the insights of your website and social media is essential.
4. Tracking Content Performance
The insights of contents with poor performance are equally important as those with good results. Poor performance will help you to understand what went wrong and where you can make necessary changes.
Be dynamic in your approach while targeting the audience. Record them in detail so you can modify it whenever required.
Step 2: Analyzing Competitors Marketing Plan
The second step is “competitive analysis”.
Here, you basically analyze the marketing strategy of a competitor. If you want a successful marketing strategy, you need to understand what you are up against.
Try to answer questions like:-
- Who are your competitors?
- Where are they targeting to find their buyers?
- How do they connect with their audience?
- What has worked for them, and what not?
- What are customers saying about them?
These are just some of the questions that will help you in your analysis. Through these, you can get an insight into their strengths and weaknesses.
A competitive analysis also helps to avoid marketing mistakes that have already been made. This will help to create a better marketing strategy than your competitors.
There are many analytics tools that will help you with tracking your competitors’ performance. Using this you can analyze their
- SEO tactics
- Online campaigns
- Engagement pattern
- Content strategy, etc.
However, it is important to understand that competitor analysis is much more than just copying your rivals’ keywords. It is more of adapting their strength and eliminating their weaknesses in your plan.
Step 3: Devising an Effective Content Strategy
Now that you have found your audience and know about your competitors, it is time to devise an effective content strategy. The above analysis will help you in strategy preparation.
The success of any marketing plan depends heavily on creating unique and powerful content. People’s decision depends largely on emotions. If they cannot connect with your content, then all other efforts are futile.
Therefore, it is necessary to create engaging content that speaks to your audience.
Content Marketing strategy is important because:-
- It drives a lot of website traffic hence essential for SEO
- Increased visibility and brand awareness
- Increase in engagement rate
- Increased ROI
- Building a healthy relationship with your customers
These are just some of the very benefits of content strategy. Being said that, it is not necessary to create random and relevant content. The content should be informative to increase the business’ credibility.
Before publishing on creating any content to look out for certain points like:-
- The blog should provide value
- The focus should also be on creating an image, infographic, and video contents
- Set up a calendar to be consistent
- Insert relevant keywords though stay away from keyword stuffing
- Versatile content for different sections of the target market
- If you are claiming something, provide links as evidence
- Content should reflect the brand’s persona and image
Don’t forget to take certain hints from your competitive analysis to develop a better content strategy.
Step 4: Select the Correct Marketing Channels
As we have said before digital marketing is versatile. In today’s generation, there are lots of ways of reaching out to an audience. There are multiple available marketing channels through which you can reach your customers. Social media, blogs, podcasts, emails, YouTube are some of the many marketing channels.
One of the most common mistakes marketers make is to reach their audience through all channels. The problem arises where some platforms do not generate much engagement. If you focus on the ones not working much more compared to ones that are working, then resources are being wasted.
To tackle this, you can examine audience insights on various platforms to understand where the engagement is better. Use Google analytics, previous campaign insights, and social media insights to track the performance. This will help to determine from which channel you are most likely to generate higher ROI.
Therefore, to ensure the success of your digital marketing plan focuses on the best channels first.
Step 5: Develop a Marketing Funnel
If you have made efforts to promote your business, then you have unknowingly created a marketing funnel. A marketing funnel is where you have attempted to turn strangers into loyal customers through advertising.
But is just having a funnel enough?
No, it is not. You are grasping the concept of how it works the main deal here. Imagine a funnel as a cone with different stages. You want your leads to go through this funnel to reach the end stage that is conversion.
It is rare for people to see a single ad and purchase it immediately. Therefore, your main aim is to guide your prospective buyers through the marketing funnel.
A marketing funnel consists of the following stages:-
People entering your marketing funnel knows nothing about your brand. Therefore, the first stage is to make them aware of,
- Your brand
- What you are going to sell?
- Why should they buy your products, etc.?
One thing to remember in this stage is that do not try to sell yet. You are nurturing your prospective leads. Take time to build trust with them. Focus on content that is open and informative such as,
- Freebie offer
- A free webinar
- Behind the scenes video of social media post
- An attractive blog post about the company, etc.
Finally, brainstorm ideas to attract your target audience. Give them reasons to choose your product over your competitors. Once your buyers have joined your email list or followed you, they have moved on to the next stage.
This is a stage where you need to convince your customers to purchase your products. In a nutshell, your customers need reasons to choose your brand. What value will it add to their life? They need to answer questions like
- Product description and its features
- What value is it providing?
- How is your product service better than others?
- What are others saying about your product?
- Any additional benefits
Hence, the primary goal is to make your buyers feel good about choosing your brand. Make sure that your website has useful FAQs. The buying process should also be easy and convenient.
The final stage that we all have been waiting for, “the conversion stage”. Here you would want your buyers to take action and make the purchase.
Your customers will evaluate the product, look for its pros and cons. Therefore, it is necessary to highlight all the benefits of your products in front of them.
Again, just because the buyer has clicked on “confirm order” it is not necessary that you are done. You have to cater to them till the end.
The best way to ensure repeat purchases is to make the purchasing experience good. Create emails to thank customers for their purchase and encourage them to share feedback through reviews. This will help in creating brand loyalty.
Step 6: Determining Budget Allocation
Once you’ve completed the above steps, it is time to allocate the budget. Going through the above steps, now you have will have an idea about
- Who is your target audience?
- What type of content do they like?
- Which marketing channel is giving the best result?
- What tools are best to track the performance?
All this information will make the budgeting process much easier. It doesn’t matter if a company is big or small, they will need a budget to focus on resources.
The article ends here. Digital marketing is not just selling off products but creating a brand with its own set of loyal customers.
All this may sound time-consuming, but the more the effort you put in today, the better results you will get in the long run.
An author of Namaste UI, published several articles focused on blogging, business, web design & development, e-commerce, finance, health, lifestyle, marketing, social media, SEO, travel.
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