Developing a Digital Marketing Plan

As the majority of markets move on to the internet and become ever more dependent on technology, digital marketing is becoming ever more integrated with the traditional, and is becoming a way of life for marketers. Therefore knowing how to plan for this medium is a vital part of the marketing job role. Planning for digital has many of the same concepts as traditional marketing planning does, and the goals are almost identical, but the way we achieve and measure these through the digital medium is a whole different ball game. 

Who is your target audience?

To identify who your target audience is, a popular technique to use is the creation of multiple specific groups. To identify these groups we can create fictitious customers and stating their gender, age, location, wants and needs, preferences, etc. The multiple groups help us demonstrate the spectrum of your target audience.
You may find that during this step you find that nothing really changes in terms of what you already knew about your target audience from your previous traditional marketing plans, but what you will find more than likely is that there is a wider audience to be accessed through the internet, an audience that you never considered or had access to through traditional methods, opening up possibilities for new prospective customers.

What’s your offer? And who else is offering it?

Use a spreadsheet or similar to collect data on all your top competitors, noting names, company size, location, unique selling point, etc. and look into how they are using their digital marketing channels in order to reach your target audience.

Now imagine you are one of your specific groups from your target audience and try to find one or more of your products or services online. Try to consider how each group would go about this search, as it may differ for each one. Now who do you find first, is it your company or one of your competitors? Make a note of the result, where your search led you, and how long it took. Repeat the group search process for each separate group, each time documenting the results, as this analysis will come into play when you move onto prioritising your channels.

What’s your unique difference? And why should customers choose you?

If you found one of your competitors first, then try to determine how they are making the connection with your audience online, and what are they offering that you don’t? You also need to determine what you offer that your competitors don’t, and how you can use this to leverage the connection with each specific group. The reason for choosing you may be different for each group, so use the information gathered when defining your groups to determine what you can offer to each group that your competitors can’t. Can’t find that reason? Make a reason!

How will potential customers hear about you? And what will make them talk to you?

Below is a list of the commonly used channels on the internet today that can be used for digital marketing. Depending on your budget you will need to cut some if not many out of the picture, at least at first, and determine which ones hold the greatest value: effort ratio. Before you begin, consider how you will measure value. This could be in how many new visitors or leads it will bring, how much the cost of sale will be lowered, how much profits could be increased, etc. Engagement is also a big part of digital marketing, so take into account the level of engagement you could achieve with your customers when considering each channel.

·         Blogging
·         Micro-blogging
·         Blogger relations
·         Online communities/forums  
·         SEO (Search engine optimization)
·         Pay per click  
·         Social Media Platforms
·         Email Marketing
·         Video marketing  
·         Digital PR (public relations)
·         Affiliate marketing  
·         Company website and mobile website
·         Viral marketing
·         Free content (eBooks, etc)
·         Webinars
·         Podcasts 

Identify the criteria for success

At this stage you need to determine what your objectives are, i.e. the quantifiable and measurable aims that when reached qualify the marketing strategy as a successful venture. This will be based on what the values of the channels were to your business. E.g. if you chose to go with social media, and you considered the value of this to be that it could increase website visitors by 20%, then when this value is achieved, your social media strategy can be considered a success.

Implement and monitor your plan

The best way to test your plan is to put it into practice, and closely monitor the results using analytics and tests to track the identified success criteria. The beauty of digital is that if something isn’t performing well, you can identify the issues almost immediately through tracking, and can make necessary changes instantly as well as keep previous records of successful and failed areas of your digital plans for consideration in future planning.

 For more information on planning digital marketing, visit the Evonomie website or post us your questions and thoughts below in the comments section.