How to Plan for Digital Marketing

In our second article on digital marketing strategy (see the first article here), we look at the building blocks of a strategy and how you can start thinking about your plan for online marketing.

The scope of digital marketing can seem overwhelming. With so many channels and opportunities presenting themselves, the concern isn’t which ones to capitalise on but rather which golden opportunity are you going to miss?

That’s why having a plan is key. Approaching digital marketing with a clearly defined strategy allows you to analyse the possibilities and make an informed decision about which opportunities to take – maximising your chances of success.

Simply answer three questions…

A great way to get yourself thinking about your digital marketing plan is to ask yourself the following three questions about your business:

  1. Where are we now?
  2. Where do we want to be?
  3. How are we going to get there?

Below we break these three questions down, and look at the specifics of how you can analyse your business in these terms.

Where are we now?

This is all about your current situation.

Internally, you need to look at your existing marketing activities – both online and offline. What’s working for you? What isn’t? What data do you have available? All of this information should be feeding into your plan going forwards.

You need to assess your current messaging and how customers are responding to it. What opinion do customers have of your brand? What kind of offers can you make to incentivise them interacting with you?

However, you can’t just keep it internal. Your position within the market is massively influenced by a clutch of external factors.

You need to look at what your competitors are doing, as their activities could have a major impact on elements of your digital strategy – particularly in areas like paid search where you are likely to be bidding against each other on similar search terms.

SMART Objectives

S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Achievable
R – Realistic
T – Timebound

Where do we want to be?You also need to assess marketplace trends, and whether any technological developments have left you behind. A great example of this is the emergence of mobile browsing – do you have a mobile responsive site? This has been a major technological development that has left many companies in the dust.

This might start out as a general business objective, eg: X% year on year growth.

However, we’d recommend creating a set of SMART objectives with which you can
define the success or failure of your strategy. Examples of objectives you could
consider outside of revenue might include a target for traffic levels to your site,
or objectives around increasing levels of brand awareness.

How are we going to get there?

Arguably the crux of your digital strategy – how are you going to achieve your objectives, and move from where you are now to where you want to be.

Taking into account your objectives and other factors, like competitor activity and marketplace trends, you need to select the channels and tactics that are going to work best for you.

This is where your data about your current marketing activities can be a gold mine. Don’t jump to conclusions though, just because a channel isn’t working doesn’t mean it’s wrong for your business – it may simply be a case of adjusting how you use it.

Your objectives come into play once again here – for example, let’s think about Display advertising. Display requires a very different approach if you’re aiming to drive brand awareness than it does when you are looking to increase sales traffic.

When you’re looking at how you’re going to complete your objectives, you need to keep in mind limitations like resources, budget and your timeline. This is all part of keeping your approach realistic and achievable.

Data driven

Creating a digital marketing plan is not a one and done exercise. You need to constantly analyse the data your activities are generating – review where you are getting the results you’re looking for and where you need to adapt to take advantage of new opportunities.

Want to find out more about digital strategy and how you can make data the core of your plan? Register for our free webinar and assess the true value of digital strategy to your business.