If you have a business, you know that marketing is an uphill battle. There’s too much competition out there.
The best way to beat this competition and get stellar results is to create a digital marketing plan! To help you better understand what digital marketing is, why you need to consider this option, and why creating a specific digital marketing strategy is necessary, you will need to get a little deeper into it.
Let’s explore all avenues of this question and finally start the process of turning your business into an industry giant!
Why you need a digital marketing plan
Digital marketing is a type of marketing you execute using digital and electronic devices. In other words, it is all about promoting your products using different devices, launching ads, and creating the right digital content.
But why on earth do people prefer digital marketing over traditional methods?
- Trackability: Compared to traditional marketing, digital marketing is easier to track, which means that you will see the bigger picture. For example, by using Google Analytics, you can assess your SEO efforts and understand which direction you should move in. Through traditional methods, you can only depend on feedback from others, which is a long and inaccurate process.
Image source: Eclipse Media Solutions
- Cost-Effectiveness: believe it or not, digital marketing is not only practical and easy to use, but it is also an excellent way to avoid spending a fortune! In other words, by using digital marketing techniques, you will find new customers, target potential buyers, and send them a message without spending too much. Of course, you can always set your budget and market your business within limits established by you. For example, if you want to run ads on Instagram, you can specify your audience, choose the budget, create visuals that match your Instagram feed aesthetic, and activate your promotion.
- Wider involvement: according to Marketing Charts, US adults consumed digital media for 7:50 (7 hours and 50 minutes) daily in 2020, which exceeds the results of 2019, when the maximum time spent on digital media per day was 6:49 (6 hours and 49 minutes). This means that people spend a considerable amount of time in the digital world, which is why chances that your Facebook or Instagram ad will be fruitful enough are significantly higher.
- Well-targeted audience: If you choose traditional marketing, you will have to work with magazines, flyers, or billboards. So, all of your strategies will be aimed at everyone, meaning they are meant for one audience! However, by using the correct tools, you will target your audience based on different factors, such as gender, age, interests, location, occupation, family status, and so forth. This is the reason your ad or promotion will be directed to someone specific and not everyone.
- Flexibility: you may have seen those pictures of a cardiogram and how it symbolizes the ups and downs of our lives. The same principle applies here: operating a business is not a stable process. You face challenges, seek improvements, and constantly find solutions, which is why flexibility is just what the doctor ordered.
- Saves time: There are also several startup marketing automation software that can help you save time!
The important components of a marketing strategy
- Strategic road mapping:
First of all, you should consider your marketing strategy as the roadmap that leads you to the desired destination. It is an excellent way to understand the direction you are moving and the final point where you plan to see your business after a certain period. Without this roadmap, all of your strategies would be disorganized, which would most probably break your business and its marketing-related goals! So, if you want to have something organized and well-planned, you will need a decent strategy.
- The right tools:
If you have a well-planned strategy, you will certainly see the bigger picture, which will, in turn, help you understand which external and internal tools and instruments you need to accomplish your goals more quickly. So, if you don’t want to turn your marketing goals into something that destroys your business, you will need to sit down, understand what your marketing team needs, which channels will be used in the marketing process, and so forth. Believe us. Once you’re done with the strategy, you will see how easy it is to implement it in reality.
In addition to this, don’t forget to leverage tools like task management software to handle this overwhelming process more efficiently. Using technology is always a good idea.
- Smart budgeting:
As you know, nothing in this world is free, and marketing is not an exception. Even though digital marketing helps you significantly lower expenses, you still need to invest some money into your marketing goals and actions. So, if you don’t want to spend a fortune on something that can be done at significantly lower costs, it’s essential to have a good budget plan!
Together with the right strategy, you will identify how much money you will spend and when. This is an excellent chance to see the bigger picture and understand the distribution of your financial resources. If the book does everything, your financial means will not be lost: otherwise, as they say, a fool and his money will soon part.
- Working with the right people
When you start drafting your digital marketing strategy, start by brainstorming and shaping the entire idea of your business and its goals. You will begin to understand how your business needs to be operated, who your customers are, which marketing channels work the best for you, and so forth. Therefore, you will have enough information about the tools you need, the resources you are going to use, what is more important, and about the people that are going to revolve around you.
How to create a successful digital marketing plan
As you know, a goal without a plan is only a dream. This means that having a well-structured plan, or let’s say, strategy, is essential!
So, let’s see what steps you need to make to create the most effective digital marketing strategy.
Step 1: Research your audience and create a buyer persona
As you may know, researching your audience and creating a buyer persona is one of the core elements of your digital marketing strategy. Why? Because all the actions you are planning to take revolve around your customers. But here’s the question, do you know who your customer is? If you don’t, how are you planning to launch your campaigns, how will you strengthen the customer lifecycle, and accomplish other tasks?
Creating a buyer persona requires having detailed information about your buyer. If, for example, you’re selling furnished apartments in Paris, what would your perfect buyer look for? It’s not just vague details: remember, every customer is unique! So, you need to collect data, such as:
First of all, start to find and collect all the geographical data about your future buyers: where your customers live, where they primarily work, what’s the climate like in their hometown, and so forth. A simple example: you are selling candles, which is handy especially during the holiday season. So, you can direct your campaign to the people who actually celebrate Christmas and love decorations. So, you need to understand the geographical data you have and use it to your advantage.
Image source: Pinterest
Another thing to pay attention to is the demographical data of your customers. The latter include gender, religion, occupation, salary, education, and many other factors. So, for example, if you are selling luxury products, you need to make sure your customers can afford them. Otherwise, your campaigns will suddenly pop up on the phones of people who don’t need your product or who can’t afford them.
Of course, there are several additional factors you should take into account to understand who your customer is-for example, their interests, beliefs, behavior, and many other small details. In any case, you should closely pay attention to this part of your digital marketing strategy because everything, including ads, campaigns, video templates, and call-to-action blogs, revolves around your customers.
By the end of this process, you will have the overall description of your potential customer. For example, you should get something like this: Linda, 20 years old. Studies law and values affordability. She does not have enough financial resources to wear luxury brands or eat in fancy restaurants because she pays her tuition fees and rents an apartment. Linda has two cats which is why she purchases products for her pets regularly. She uses public transportation, and on the way home, she is listening to her favorite online podcast.
Step 2: Research Your Competition
To stand out from the crowd and sell products/services online without stressing out, you need specific details about your competitors, products and services they offer, their marketing strategy, etc. This way, you will better identify the gaps existing in your business and find solutions to fill them in!
- Identify your competitors
Let’s say you are selling electric skateboards and want to know who else generates income the same way. For this, you can start from a simple Google search. In addition to this, you can resort to traditional methods and start asking questions to your potential customers. For example, you can ask what stores they are using, which store they found their skateboards from, and so forth.
- Assess your marketing actions
Every business has its marketing plan, which can be either perfectly effective or destructive and harmful. This is why you need to understand what your competitors do to make their business stand out.
Go through their social media accounts, identify the channel they mostly use to market their business, read the feedback they receive, and so on. Apart from this, it is essential to understand what they prioritize the most: creating content, having an aesthetic feed, operating the business mainly through the website, or maybe something else?
Discover all the platforms where your competitor has established its online presence. Next, look at the way they market their products and the way they approach customers. While doing so, make sure to ask yourself the following questions:
- Is it easy to understand what product they sell?
- Are they using specific colors to catch their customers’ attention?
- What’s the first thing that catches your eye?
- Can you see customer reviews right away?
- Or do you need to make additional efforts to look for more information?
- Do they use chatbots?
These questions and numerous other ones should be asked while assessing your competitors’ marketing strategy and efforts: once you’re done with the research, everything should be crystal clear!
- Evaluate your communication system
Business is all about proper communication! If the basis of your customer-business relationship is established correctly, your company will get off with a flying start! So, don’t forget to research your competitors and how they handle all the communication across the website and social media accounts. If, for example, you sell courses online, how are you going to deliver your message? What communication channels will you use?
Here, you should pay attention to the following factors:
- Are they using chatbots?
- How is their customer support working?
- How responsive are their reps?
- Do they address all your questions promptly?
- Can you subscribe to their email list?
These are the questions you need to pay attention to while discovering your competitors. What’s more, you can subscribe to their “news” section and get emails about discounts, new products, and other exclusive features by email. Later on, you can use an email template builder to create your own engaging emails and use them for better marketing.
- Look for reviews
Even though some companies fake their reviews, it is still possible to see the bigger picture by conducting a comprehensive and in-depth analysis.
So, start from their website. Once you’re done gathering information from here, move to the next step – their social media accounts. Read as many comments and opinions as you can to better understand what customers think about your competitor and what issues buyers encounter while shopping from them. In other words, make a complete social media analysis to gather essential data. Moreover, pay attention to the way negative reviews are addressed. If your competitors ignore the dissatisfied customer or do not respond appropriately, it speaks a lot about their strategy and, of course, their reputation!
Image source: Instaboom
- Use specific research tools
As you can see, there is a full plate of actions you need to take to research your competitors. This is why you can make use of software that handles this complicated process and lightens your burden. In any case, explore all avenues, weigh all the pros and cons of the software provider, analyze client feedback, and start working with them.
Step 3: Set Your Business Goals and Include Them in Your Marketing Plan
If you want to have an effective and powerful digital marketing strategy that will help you succeed and dominate the industry, you need to set specific and measurable goals. This way, you will automatically turn your dreams into something more tangible, easier to achieve.
Long story short, make sure you set goals that are:
- Well-defined and precise: don’t want to have vague and blurry results? It is easy to solve. Just make sure your goals are clearly defined, and don’t forget to highlight all your expectations and the final destination you want to get. If you know what you want to see in the future, you will see the bigger picture. This will, in turn, help you choose the tools and resources you will need in marketing your business. So, don’t forget to define your goals as precisely as possible!
- Tangible: heard about actual results but not about real goals? Here, your primary mission is to create specific, visible, and measurable goals that you can easily track and monitor. Besides, it would help if you thought about all the tools and instruments that you will need to estimate and measure your progress. For example, how can you continue with your marketing tactics if you don’t know how effective your marketing campaign is? In such cases, you can use different instruments like Google Analytics, which, as Google itself says, “lets you measure your advertising ROI as well as track your Flash, video, and social networking sites and applications.”
- Down-to-Earth: if you simply find Facebook influencers and hope that you will conquer the world only with their help, you need to pay attention to this principle more carefully. If you’re not honest with yourself, your marketing actions will not meet your overall expectations. Just use the three small principles: visualize your goals as if you have already achieved them, have your plan B, C, D (you can continue), and the most crucial principle-never give up. But don’t forget about the realism of your goals. Besides, who needs unaffordable and unrealistic goals? Only plans that genuinely can be achieved have the potential to become a reality.
- Attainable: to see how a goal is achieved, one should have a task list to be completed to have the plan in a ready-set-and-go mode. Wisely distribute your tasks, set your attainable goals, and everything will be as easy as A-B-C. The rule of having achievable goals is closely connected to the previous one, so make sure you follow both! And if you feel confused and can’t handle all the pressure that comes with creating a digital marketing strategy, you can always use tools like task management software to simplify your life!
- Time-Limited: goals and dreams have the habit of turning into reality if you set deadlines. So, if you want to increase brand awareness and engagement by 10%, make sure you select a specific deadline for that. The good news is, if you handle your marketing actions within a clear and well-defined period, you will better achieve your tasks and goals. After all, it is not said in vain that deadlines empower the dreams and that nothing would be done if it wasn’t for deadlines. Let’s face it. Deadlines help us work and be creative whenever needed and not when we are inspired or motivated!
Step 4: Getting Into the Digital Marketing Mix
To get into the digital marketing mix, you, first of all, have to understand what digital marketing offers. More specifically, here is the arsenal of all the categories that you can benefit from after choosing digital marketing:
- SEO or Search Engine Optimization
- SMM or Social Media Marketing
- Content Marketing
- Mobile Marketing
- Email Marketing
Let’s go through all these sub-categories and understand how you can derive benefits from each of them!
- SEO or Search Engine Optimization
SEO or Search Engine Optimization is proper for you to make the best out of simple, natural, and organic search results. In other words, the main goal of conducting SEO is to position your web page on top of the organic search results, thereby attracting your customers to choose precisely your company and not the website set below or above you. Whether you sell courses online or own a SaaS business, SEO will save you a lot of money and bring real results.
Image source: Neil Patel
Good Search Engine Optimization requires not only hard work. You also need to take care of the following processes:
- Identifying to-the-point and relevant keywords
- Generating keyword-rich and valuable content, which also includes relevant links to reputable sites
- Content optimization and website protection.
- Content Marketing
Nowadays, everything revolves around content, so all the other marketing types highly depend on the content you create. For example, search engines like Google assess and reward businesses with a decent place in organic searches based on businesses’ content. What is more, Social Media Marketing (SMM) cannot be handled without having good content. So, make your conclusions!
Long story short, instead of aggressively promoting your services or products, you should start by educating your customers, providing them with up-to-date, relevant, and helpful content, which has numerous advantages, namely:
- Fairly earned trust
- Improved conversion rates
- Bigger organic search traffic
- And so much more…!
Let’s say you run a fitness website and sell sports equipment. What type of content would your audience consume better? Maybe blog articles about healthy habits, training videos and guides, and even educational podcasts. Either way, content is a key piece for gaining customer trust.
- Mobile Marketing
Mobile marketing is one of the branches of marketing that entails reaching customers through SMS and MMS marketing, mobile applications, etc. Unfortunately, some people still confuse this type of marketing with direct digital marketing. However, there is a slight difference between these two.
First of all, mobile marketing itself is a part of digital marketing. Secondly, digital marketing is more general and is aimed to market the business through all the possible digital channels. Meanwhile, mobile marketing is created to reach customers through mobile devices used by customers every day.
- Email Marketing
The main goal of email marketing is to reach customers, mainly using email as a form of communication. Therefore, the concept is quite simple: create an email database that includes all your customers’ emails and start the promotion process.
Long story short, whenever you want to remind your customers about your business, have discounts or new products to show, you send an email to all the people from your email list, and voila, you wait for results! Just be careful with the emails you send: those trying to avoid email scams permanently remove the seemingly fishy email right away. This is why you have to be accurate, precise, and straight to the point! Some business owners even use SaaS Email Templates to avoid stress and have better results. Moreover, consider using an SPF checker to ensure high email deliverability and efficient results.
Why email marketing? First of all, based on statistics from Radicati’s 2020 report, email is used by over 4 billion people! (let us remind you that the world population has reached almost 7.8 billion) And besides, if we look at statistics provided by getresponse.com, 21% of emails are read within the first hour of receiving them. So yes, email marketing is truly effective.
Step 5: Determine your business capabilities
Many different methods help you better understand your business and its capabilities. The most popular among these techniques is the SWOT method. Let’s see what it entails.
What is SWOT?
The word itself abbreviates the following terms: strength, weakness, opportunities, and threats.
- Strength: with the help of SWOT analysis, you will, first of all, understand what makes your business so unique and why customers will choose you over your opponent. Make sure you use your and your colleagues’ opinions and the opinions of those who have encountered your business. This is an excellent way to understand what your customers like and what they don’t, what you’re especially good at, and what you do to make customers satisfied.
- Weakness: Let’s be honest. No business is perfect. And we are not even kidding. Think about Apple, the weakness of which are high-priced products that not everyone can afford, incompatibility with other systems, and so forth. So, please don’t get upset while pointing out weaknesses of your business: even industry geniuses have them. Make sure you have a proper digital marketing approach, productive employee training strategy, and find out new ways of improving your weaknesses.
- Opportunities: in short, opportunities are all those actions that you can do to boost up your business, skyrocket your sales process, and improve your business. Maybe you can expand your company locations or implement a business mentorship program successfully. If you still don’t understand how the “opportunities” part works, let’s have a look at the all-famous Apple again. So, one of Apple’s opportunities is the growing popularity of Artificial Intelligence. For this very reason, Apple does everything to make sure this opportunity is used to its fullest by adopting features like intelligent searches, FaceID, and so forth.
- Threats: this is the part where you have to think about your business, its future, and all the risks and challenges that you will probably face in the process. Again, looking at Apple’s example, one can see that the growing popularity of Android, the COVID-19 pandemic, and many other factors are considered threats in the eyes of this industry giant.
Startup funding was only the first phase where you encountered money-related problems. So, even during the strategy creation process, you will need to pay attention to the financial aspect of marketing your business.
This means that you need to consider all the expenses you will make while marketing your business. This includes paying salary to the marketing department and using different tools like Google Analytics that provide its users with data to structure better their campaigns, target customers, and so forth.
Another thing that you should consider while creating your budget is using the cryptocurrency Ethereum for security and safety. Nowadays, many progressive IT, digital marketing, and other companies accept Litecoin (LTC), Ethereum, and other cryptocurrencies with only one purpose – to simplify and secure money transactions. So, whenever you choose the companies you want to work with, don’t forget to pay attention to the payment methods they accept.
Step 6: Track and measure results
Luckily, digital marketing is straightforward to track and monitor, thanks to different tools like Google Analytics. Now you can easily understand how effective your ads are or how many customers followed the link after receiving the marketing message. What is more, you know what customers do when they enter your website, which section or which product category they are most interested in, and so much more. All this information will eventually improve your business operations and help you with acquiring new customers over time.
Image source: Universem
Having Google Analytics as an example, you can derive the following benefits from the perspective of digital marketing:
- Tracking: Google Analytics tracks your website and makes the monitoring process more accessible.
- Reports: With this tool’s help, you will receive various reports regarding your digital marketing performance.
- Alerts: Google Analytics will be sending you signals whenever it is needed. You can create and manage your alerts, which is a handy tool to work with.
- Audience: If you are not sure whether your website tracks the right audience, you can find the answer to your question through Google Analytics.
- Customer Interactions: Want to know how people interact with the website you built from scratch? If you’re using Google Analytics, it’s not a problem anymore.
- Insights: Google analytics is all about analyzing the data and generating insights based on that. So, if you’re using this tool, be ready for professional insights that you can use within your digital marketing strategy.
Bonus Tips For a Great Digital Marketing Plan
- Don’t forget about blog posts.
Digital marketing and active steps toward reaching the goal are essential, but you should also consider blogs that you can include on your website. This way, you will implore your SEO performance, educate customers and build trust, and what is more important, stand out from the competition.
- Keep the pop-ups popping
Popup marketing has been on the rise recently. This is because it helps engage and catch the visitor’s attention within seconds. There are various tools to help engage with your customers through creative popup templates. Elementor provides thousands of users with a no-code popup builder which helps make responsive forms and succeed in your marketing campaign. Moreover, you can customize these templates according to your business’s wants and needs, audience demands, and design requirements.
- Pay attention to your company characteristics.
Whatever you do, make sure your digital marketing strategy is adapted to the characteristics and needs of your business. Each company needs to have its strategy based on the products or services it offers. So, for example, a healthtech marketing strategy drastically differs from the marketing strategy of a pet store. You just need to understand what exactly your business needs and why.
- Use the “Google My Business” feature.
Google My Business is a feature offered by Google. With its help, you will highlight all the upsides of your business, include the essential info and show what makes your business unique. It’s like building a professional business profile that will be seen right after a customer searches for a service or a product you sell. So, you become more visible and outstanding on google, which, as you may know, is a great advantage.
- CTA is important.
The call-to-action part is one of the core elements of digital marketing. So, for example, if you want to inform your customers about the 30% discount and make them buy a product, you should tell them about the discount itself and call them to action. In other words, don’t just say, “we have a 30% discount.” Instead, focus on the CTA part and say, “get your 30% discount NOW!”
- Have your Plan B-marketing mentor
If you don’t have enough knowledge or experience in the digital marketing field, you can always ask for help. For example, you can work with a seasoned veteran of marketing or, let’s say, a marketing mentor who is ready to help your small business or startup grow and flourish.
Just remember, asking for help is always a good idea if you feel that your knowledge and experience can be invested in something else.
Now, let’s summarize all that we have covered in this article and wish you good luck creating your digital marketing strategy.
Always remember that the digital marketing strategy is the roadmap that will guide you wherever you go. If you do everything right, it will show and help you choose the right way of making your marketing efforts. With the help of a successful strategy, you will know which tactics to implement, what tools to adopt, and how to process the entire marketing system.
And we are not even talking about creating a budget and taking care of the customer segmentation process. Instead, a perfectly structured marketing strategy will help you connect with your customers, which is why we use and invest in the marketing department. This way, you will become your customers’ first choice when choosing between you and your competitors.
So, don’t ignore digital marketing strategy: it will positively affect your business, and all your marketing efforts will soon pay off.