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April 14, 2020

How to Put Together a Digital Marketing Plan

Introduction

From lower costs to data-driven insights, there are many benefits of digital marketing. Yet without a concrete, well-considered digital marketing plan, it’s all too easy to waste valuable time and effort on initiatives that don’t pay off. According to a 2019 study by Smart Insights, 45 percent of companies don’t have a well-defined digital marketing strategy.

In this article, we’ll discuss how to create a digital marketing plan that will be most successful and effective for your business.

What is a Digital Marketing Plan (And Why Do You Need One)?

A digital marketing plan is a document that describes how you intend to conduct your digital marketing campaigns. This includes an assessment of your company’s current situation, the content you have created and plan to create, and the benchmarks for assessing the success of your digital marketing initiatives.

Digital marketing plans are necessary for any business that wants to seriously invest in digital marketing. These documents serve as guides to support the digital transformation of your business and the sustained growth of your organization.

5 Steps to Building a Digital Marketing Plan

1. Defining a brand identity

If you could make your audience remember just one thing about your company, what would it be?

Brand identity—the ways in which customers view your company—is one of the most crucial parts of marketing. The elements of brand identity include:

  • The company’s purpose and philosophy (e.g. creating products that are high-quality or environmentally friendly).
  • The company’s target audience(s).
  • The company’s visual identity, including logos, color schemes, typography, and packaging.
  • The company’s tone and personality for written content (e.g. casual, accessible, knowledgeable).
  • The company’s unique qualities and selling points.

For example, when creating a brand identity, the task management software company Asana first selected four key brand attributes: purposeful, empowering, approachable, and quirky. With these attributes in mind, the company redesigned its logo and created a new visual motif that mixed clean white backdrops with appealing bursts of color.

Settling on a definite brand identity is essential for creating a digital marketing plan—it ensures that your marketing initiatives are always consistent and on-message. The more coherent your brand is, the more memorable you’ll be to new customers and the more likely they’ll be to stick around. If necessary, you can consult and reevaluate this identity as your company scales and enters new markets.

2. Performing SWOT analysis

SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) is a management technique for assessing your organization’s current position, ensuring that you’re fully informed before making an important business decision.

An example of a simple SWOT analysis for digital marketing could look like:

Strengths

  • Employees highly skilled at SEO and copywriting
  • Loyal customer base
  • Popular mailing lists and social media pages

Weaknesses

  • Not enough employees with technical and programming skills
  • Reliance on legacy IT systems
  • Poor brand perception

Opportunities

  • Access to new tools or software
  • Gaps in the market that you can service
  • Viral trends that you can take advantage of

Threats

  • Newer competitors entering the market
  • Regulations affecting business operations (e.g. GDPR and CCPA)
  • Quickly changing technology landscape

Once you’ve done a sober assessment of these four factors, you can use your conclusions to build short-term and long-term digital marketing plans. Understand how you can minimize your weaknesses while using your strengths to maximize opportunities and reduce risk.

3. Choosing metrics and KPIs

You can build the best digital marketing plan your company has ever seen, but you won’t be able to assess its effectiveness unless you choose the right metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs). These values are measurements of your company’s performance along some axis: for example, the number of visitors to your website, or the percent of users who click on a Facebook ad.

Selecting the right metrics and KPIs should be done well in advance before your digital marketing plan goes live. Below are just a few of the most common metrics and KPIs for digital marketing:

  • The number of new monthly leads or acquisitions.
  • The average cost per conversion for each paying customer.
  • The retention rate of existing customers.
  • The Net Promoter Score measures how likely customers are to recommend your business.
  • The average time spent on your website.
  • The percentage of returning vs. new visitors to your website.
  • The percentage of website conversions (e.g. making a purchase or signing up for a mailing list).

When you have the right metrics and KPIs in hand, you can use these to set SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely) for your digital marketing campaigns.

4. Creating buyer personas

Even the most niche markets will have a wide range of customers, which means that customer segmentation is a must-have for effective digital marketing. Your audience can be split up according to four basic customer segmentation methods:

  • Demographic (age, gender, race/ethnicity, marital status, etc.)
  • Geographic (city, state, region, country, etc.)
  • Psychographic (opinions, beliefs, core values, personality traits, etc.)
  • Behavioral (buying behavior, loyalty, etc.)

By identifying the most insightful ways to split up your audience, you can separate them into a few key buyer personas. These are fictional representations of people who similarly interact with your business, fleshed out with important details such as location, career, education, values, and pain points.

Creating these buyer personas will pay dividends when running your digital marketing campaigns. By understanding your customers on an individual level, buyer personas allow you to direct your efforts to the right places, generating more relevant content that will win more conversions.

5. Understanding the digital marketing funnel

The digital marketing funnel is an abstract representation of the buyer’s journey for digital marketing campaigns. Most versions of the digital marketing funnel divide this process into four to eight different stages:

  • Awareness: The customer is first aware of your brand (e.g. through advertising campaigns or social media).
  • Interest: The customer learns more about your brand and your products.
  • Consideration: The customer first considers the prospect of purchasing your product.
  • Intent: The customer seriously intends to purchase your product.
  • Evaluation: The customer makes the final decision about whether or not to make a purchase.
  • Action: The customer takes the action of making the purchase.
  • Retention: The customer consciously decides to continue using your product.
  • Expansion: The customer purchases additional products through cross-selling and up-selling efforts.

With so many different stages of the digital marketing funnel, you can’t hope to reach all your customers and prospects with a single campaign. That’s why marketers speak about three different types of content for the digital marketing funnel:

  • “Top of the funnel” (TOFU) content is intended to attract a wide audience, often by educating or solving a potential problem. TOFU content often takes the form of blog posts, white papers, and e-books, without getting too specific about your products and services.
  • “Middle of the funnel” (MOFU) content is intended to build trust with the prospects who have filtered through the TOFU stage, without making an explicit sales pitch. MOFU content often takes the form of product comparisons, videos, and webinars.
  • “Bottom of the funnel” (BOFU) content is intended to seal the deal for prospects who remain interested in your products. BOFU content often takes the form of case studies, demonstrations, consultations, and free trials.

Conclusion

A solid digital marketing plan is essential for businesses of all sizes and industries. Digital marketing plans ensure that your marketing initiatives are always on-brand, high-quality, and targeted toward the right people. 

About Eniture Technology

Eniture Technology specializes in helping e-Commerce merchants grow by providing useful information, digital marketing services, off-the-shelf apps that solve common problems, and custom programming services. Please contact us if you need help growing your online business or implementing the concepts presented in this blog post.

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