Do you need strategies that will improve your brand online and help you stay competitive? If YES, here are 7 steps to writing a winning digital marketing plan.

Digital marketing can be described as the marketing of brands, products or services using digital technologies, mainly on the internet but also including mobile phones, display advertising, and any other digital medium.

With the proliferation of the internet, most businesses are now located online. This is including businesses that are solely run online and the ones that have a brick and mortar store but also have an online presence.

Why Prepare a Digital Marketing Plan for your Business?

In today’s digitally-connected world, an Online business can thrive or fizzle out based on the effectiveness of the digital marketing plan the company adopts. As marketing and publicity is very beneficial to a brick and mortar store, so is it also beneficial to a digital store, and any company that does not have a solid plan of how to market its products or services to its customers is really flying blind.

It would find it difficult to reach its target market, talk more of breaking even in record time. In fact, having a well-crafted marketing plan in place for your business is non-negotiable if you really want to succeed.

According to a study by Smart Insights, 46% of brands don’t have a defined digital marketing strategy, while 16% do have a strategy but are yet to integrate it into their marketing activity. This is essentially why most businesses don’t make it past the first few years because, if you don’t have a plan in place, how can you expect to grow, innovate, measure meaningful results and learn from your past mistakes?

Digital marketing methods are said to include search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), content marketing, influencer marketing, content automation, campaign marketing, data-driven marketing, e-commerce marketing, social media marketing, social media optimization, e-mail direct marketing, display advertising, e–books, optical disks and games, and they are becoming more common in our advancing technology.

A comprehensive digital marketing plan will help direct your day-to-day activities, guide your approach, measure your successes and failures and ensure that you are getting the most from available resources.

Quite a number of entrepreneurs get intimidated when it comes to developing a marketing plan for their online business, they feel that it is too technical. But that is not true because writing a digital marketing plan is quite easy, you just need to cover the basics, do your research, effectively implement it, and you are done.

What You Must Know Before Devising your Digital Marketing Strategy?

When writing a sound digital marketing plan, you have to first outline the objectives of your business – that is what you intend to achieve while running the business. You also have to craft clever strategies that would enable you to not only become visible to your intended target market, but to persuade them to patronize your products or services despite the competition.

This article aims at covering the basics of what you need when it comes to writing a digital marketing plan for your online business; and with this outline, you can then go ahead to put together your own digital marketing plan.

7 Steps to Writing a Winning Digital Marketing Plan & Strategy

There are several things to take note of when attempting to write a digital marketing plan and there also few tips to follow which include;

  1. Become very familiar with your audience

The first step for you to take when attempting to craft a digital marketing plan for your business is to know who you are targeting with the plan. You need to, of necessity, know your audience intimately.

You need to know who they are, what they love, how they relax, what they love reading, their needs, motivations, preferences, biographical information etc. These information, though they seem unnecessary and invasive, would help you craft digital marketing strategies that would help you get directly to them.

  1. Review the Digital Marketing Strategies you already have in use

Chances are that you already have a digital marketing strategy or plan for your business, but you feel like you need another because maybe the first one was just not working out. It is very pertinent that before you proceed to create another plan, that you to review the former one.

You need to find out what went wrong, why it did not help you achieve your goals, what you feel is missing from it etc. Reviewing your current digital marketing strategy can take many different forms. You should find out all the social media sites you have profiles on, do you have a YouTube channel or any other videos posted online?

What worked and what didn’t work? Proving answers to these questions would help create a solid foundation for you to start a new online marketing plan. Remember that successful websites need to be responsive across a wide array of devices, so check the responsiveness of your current web assets.

  1. Formulate your digital strategy

Here, the first thing you should consider is which platform you are going to use. Note that the audience you want to target would determine the plan you are going to use. Your plan should also have strategies that would help you differentiate yourself online and from your competitors.

You plans should include how to make use of search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), content marketing, influencer marketing, content automation, campaign marketing, data-driven marketing, e-commerce marketing, social media marketing, social media optimization, e-mail direct marketing, display advertising, e–books etc to bring your business to the attention of your target audience.

While you are at it, you should not forget mobile optimization as mobile devices account for 77 percent of all internet users in the US, so your website should be mobile device friendly. There is nothing more frustrating than visiting a website that cuts off the screen.

Likewise, you should choose social media sites that would prove beneficial to your business and stick to them. In fact, maintaining an active presence on social platforms like Facebook and Twitter is a great way to engage with customers and raise brand awareness among your prospects at little or no cost.

Contests, helpful tips, and discount codes are all great ways to encourage followers to interact with your business on social media. To further expand your reach, you might want to consider paid advertising and promoted posts on platforms that are most relevant to your brand. Do not also forget to set up your business on online business listings like YELP, Google etc.

On all your platforms, however, be sure to timely and effectively manage customer feedback — especially the negative kind. This is crucial to maintaining your brand’s reputation, as well as providing your customers with the personal interaction they desire.

Once your platform has been selected, you should choose a team that would help you run your new digital marketing campaign. You need people who will remain dedicated to the plan throughout the implementation and revision stages. They will need to continually track the success of the plan in order to tweak it as needed.

  1. Check out the competition

While formulating digital marketing strategies for your online business, you need to spy out your competitors to see what they are doing and what methods they are using that seems to be working for them. You need to check how their websites look, where they got listed, their content, if they offer any added services that you don’t, etc. You can take it a step further by doing a bit of mystery shopping, search or a product to see if their business comes up first or yours. You can then use your findings to further modify your strategies.

  1. Launch your campaign

After putting together the perfect digital plan, the next step would be to launch or execute your digital campaign. It may take time to effectively launch your digital marketing campaign because you need to make sure that each of your new web assets goes online at the best possible time and that all of the software is working as intended.

You have to be realistic about how much time needs to be set aside for your campaign launch and be sure that you have a mechanism that would enable you to track your progress properly. There are plenty of online marketing tools available to help you identify the calls, emails and inquiries made as a result of your campaign. You need to carefully monitor your strategies at this point to know which is performing the best and which needs a bit of tweaking.

  1. Monitor your digital campaign

Launching your digital marketing campaign is not the last thing to do when writing a digital marketing plan. You need to test whether the marketing campaigns you launched are working by tracking your traffic, goals and conversions in Google Analytics and other metrics like Facebook Insights.

You can also use Clicktale or Crazyegg to see where potential customers are exiting your sites. Monitoring your plan enables you to see how well your digital marketing strategy is performing and gives you great insight into your next course of action.

  1. Make improvements

When formulating a digital marketing plan, your job is never done as you have to constantly monitor your campaign and use the results to obtain insights on the strengths and weaknesses of your marketing efforts. You might notice under-performing areas that could use improvement, or successful tactics that you should continue to support. Following up on your marketing plan and making improvements on them is the only way to ensure that your business meets its digital target.

Ejike Cynthia