A digital marketing plan is a map of the direction that you are going to take with your digital marketing efforts. It is a definition, on paper, of what you are attempting to achieve (your objective) and how you intend to achieve it.
But an effective digital marketing plan needs to answer some specific questions in order to provide guidance to all parties involved. Here at Merkados™, our digital media marketing plan is called our AIM System. And it answers several questions that help us not only understand business, but also the consumer.
Below you’ll find a few important questions that your digital media marketing plan should answer.
What are your business and marketing goals?
Agencies are often tasked with building a website as fast and economically as possible, and often times the business already thinks they know what they need. You may have something in mind and maybe even have seen a similar website or template that you’d like to use for your project.
However, if you step back for a moment, you’ll realize that following in the footsteps of another business will always leave you behind. Business is competitive, and you want to come up with solutions that give you, and only you, a competitive advantage. You don’t see Target doing exactly what Walmart is doing. They do it slightly differently, but that slight difference must be sufficient to give them a winning edge.
So it is important to start your plan with a clear strategic definition of what your business is. What are you trying to solve for your target audience and what are your marketing goals? Are you confident in your pricing strategy? Do you believe that your product is competitive? Make sure to name exactly what your business does and what you want to see happen because of your marketing efforts.
What is your digital marketing budget?
At Merkados™, our AIM System comes primarily in two options: $1,000 or $2,000 per month (without considering ad spend). Over the years, we have discovered that when spending any less than $1,000 per month, it is almost impossible to get any noticeable results. As you grow your budget, you can, of course, find that controlling and adjusting to the results is a bit difficult. Think of it as driving a car. If you are going 5mph, obviously you’ll feel like you are not moving at all. And if you are going 100mph, you’ll feel as if controlling the car could be trickier. especially if you are starting from scratch. It is obvious that sometimes it makes sense to get on an airplane and travel at 500mph (you get the analogy).
What you are trying to do is utilize the Internet to market your products or services. If you use a few strategies for that, you’ll find that having a very small budget is going to give you very poor results.
Who are your target customers?
This is probably the most important question in marketing as a whole. And it is incredible that some companies are not clear about who their target customer is. What you want to do is define your audience in terms of what makes them similar. What brings them together? For example, let’s say that you are trying to market baby formula. A new, healthy version of baby formula. Let’s say that a hunting magazine has an open spot for one of their ads. For most people, it is obvious that you wouldn’t use that spot for your baby formula. Simply because the hunting magazine’s audience is not the same as the audience for your baby formula.
If applicable, you want to define your audience in the following terms:
- Geographically: Where are my clients?
- Demographically: What does their income look like? How old are they? What gender?
- Psychologically: Do they share other hobbies? What do they do for a living?
By defining your target customers, you’ll have a clear understanding of how to market to them and also how to better design your products and services.
Describe your audience with buyer personas.
A buyer persona is the process of defining one potential customer to exemplify the target as a whole. You give them a name, a profession, a salary, needs, preferences, stage of life, etc. You want to describe them in detail in order to gain insight into what could benefit them from your business.
Which online channels does your audience use?
Are your customers on social media? Are they on Google? Are they online at all? Let’s say you want to market a new t-shirt designed for grandmothers in India. And let’s say that you need to reach the grandmother herself, not the people around her. An Internet marketing plan may not be the right strategy to begin with. They are likely to not be online.
So it is imperative that you find out what online channels your audience is using. That way, you can reach them there.
Define your objectives.
What do you want to see accomplished by your strategies? Do you want to increase website qualified visitation by 200%? Do you want to increase e-commerce sales by 20%? Do you want to increase revenue by 10%? And when do you want to achieve those objectives? You should set your goals in a SMART way:
Specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. For example, you would come up with something similar to: I want to increase my website’s sales by 10% over the next year.
What is your competitive advantage?
Are you the cheapest in the marketplace? Is your product demonstrably better than the alternatives? In other words, if one of your clients was to try your product, would they immediately consider it to be better in any way at solving their problem? It doesn’t have to be in all ways. For example, if you are selling cars, your car doesn’t have to be a Ferrari and a dump truck at the same time. They have different uses, and one is better than the other in a very specific use case. So you have to understand what gives you an edge and for what reason you have to be selected from the alternatives.
What alternative solutions are there?
You may have “direct competitors,” which are other companies competing for exactly the same audience offering a very similar solution. Or you may have “indirect competitors” with other companies that could be used as an alternative. For example, pizza and tacos in a food court are direct competitors. They are competing for the same market to fulfill the same need. But how about a health clinic that helps people with fasting? This would be considered an indirect competitor, because people may end up not eating at all at the food court.
How are we going to measure success?
As we progress with our digital marketing plan, how are we going to measure if we are getting closer or further away from our goals? You may set very clear measurement metrics such as analytics or more intricate ones such as a combination of online orders and screen-recordings and heatmap analysis. The important part here is to know if you are succeeding in reaching your objectives.
Tactics and Strategy
Now that you have a clear starting point, it is time to define a strategy and tactics for those strategies. Those are going to become the ingredients in your soup. This strategy is going to define what you do and when. Your tactics are the actual steps you will accomplish.
Your strategy can include increasing your website traffic, getting more brand recognition, and increasing search engine visibility. Your tactics could be: redesigning a new search engine-friendly website, SEO, e-mail marketing, and social media marketing.
Once you have all these pieces in place, you have a real digital marketing plan and you are ready for success! If you are interested in learning more about Merkados™ and our digital marketing program, AIM System, please contact us today!