Planning A Digital Marketing Strategy

When starting up a new business or an online internet business, you need to decide on your marketing goals, how to achieve them and how to promote and market your products or services.

There are so many things new start up business owners have to juggle so keeping things simple is best.

All you beginners to Digital Marketing (also known as Online Marketing) can use a basic way to track your KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). Then, you can add to the plan and constantly flesh it out into a full Digital Marketing Plan.

Before you dive into marketing your business, take a look at some of our ideas for a basic business marketing plan, which may help you get started.

Basic Digital Marketing Strategy Template

Start with a structure to research and analyse your current business situation:

1.    Situation Analysis
2.    Audience
3.    Objectives
4.    Channels
5.    Action Plan
6.    Budget
7.    Measurement and Iteration

Let’s take a quick look at each of these in turn.

Most new web owners or start up business entrepreneurs don't know how to use YouTube for videos can find helpful articles on promoting or marketing their business on iHubbub

1.    Situation Analysis

This is where you get to understand yourself, your new business and your business start-up site. You may need to ask ‘Where are we now?’

Perhaps you’ll want to do an audit and SWOT Analysis to gage customers and competitors. It would be good to include trends (on your business start-up topic) and industry sectors.

SWOT: this analysis is a calculated way to plan and evaluate the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats involved in your online business.

2.    Audience

Now you should evaluate and understand your customer or client who starts out as a visitor. A clear understanding of your target audience (s) will impact all aspects of your marketing campaign.

If you have several different audiences, such as B2B or B2C, rank them in order of importance..

For example, iHubbub’s business audience ranges from professional consumers who work from home, home based businesses, journalists who want to use our site as a portal to get information on the home working world, to sponsors and corporate companies who want to reach this audience for showcasing their products and recruiters who may want to get their projects outsourced.

 

Break your main objective down into smaller ones. When I set an objective to make my first book an Amazon bestseller, I had several other goals to help me reach this high target, such as several different ways to reach potential readers.

So you should segment your audience down several layers to define each persona that you want to reach, albeit in different ways. Then allocate resources accordingly as you may not have time and ‘bodies’ to look after each audience.

Once you understand your audience’s expectations and goals, you are better suited to prioritise which ones you will tackle first.

Character Building

Experts often refer to ‘being in your visitor’s shoes’ as building a ‘persona’, almost like an author would build a fictional character.

A creative writing or screenwriting course will teach a new writer how to create a skeleton or Bio of a character and then add meaty character traits to outline a whole, 3D fully formed personality.

For your Digital Marketing Plan, you too will form a persona with human needs and behaviour in order to recognise who your customer, visitor or client is, what they do and where they go to make online decisions and purchases.

Just like an author would give their character a home, you too will designate geographical locations for your personas. In some cases this will be more relevant.
    

  • Age
  • Educational stage
  • Experience level
  • Technical, mechanical or industrial ability
  • Online aptitude
  • Relationship position
  • Financial status
  • Products they buy
  • Publications they read
  • Where they network, such as Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook
  • Channels they visit, for example their favourite TV channel or radio station

Mmm, lots to think about, hey?

 

Digital Space

If you were to draw a large circle or pie chart to find where this ‘persona’ goes to for making decisions about purchases, Google will most likely take up most of the pie with YouTube following closely on its tail along with other search engines.

Networking sites, such as Facebook and social media platforms, gobbles another chunky slice of your pie.

3.    Objectives

Set goals and objectives for your digital marketing campaigns. You may even need to create more detailed objectives to reach your main marketing goal.

Bear the following in mind:

Specific – get down to the nitty gritty with a calendar timetable
Measurable – have systems in place to accurately track your campaigns and stay on target. This way you will experience the excitement of achievement, which will motivate and urge you to reach your goal
Attainable – the actions to influence this outcome are under your control, so plan your steps and create a time frame. Start a list and tick each activity as you go
Realistic – be reasonable to achieve the goals set and include rewards or little treats when you reach different milestones
Timed – set a deadline for delivering on the objectives with a track-able date. In doing this you will set your mind into gear and without you being aware, it will be quietly working away at reaching the goal date. Setting a time also cunningly gives you a sense of urgency to ensure you keep making progress.  

4.    Channels

A channel is a ‘route to market’. This means the different channels and methods of reaching your target audience and where you detail the activities.

Include the following in your Digital Marketing Mix:

  • Keywords and Search Engine Optimisation
  • Search Engine Marketing, Pay Per Click Marketing and online display advertising
  • Online Marketing including blogs, eBooks and articles
  • Video Broadcasting
  • Social networking and Social Media
  • PR and publicity campaigns
  • E-mail Marketing

 

5.    Action Plan

How do you implement this marketing plan? Start by defining and establishing the who, what, when, where, how and how much. Make prolific notes on marketing activities you can do and read through our
Business Advice areas, and in particular, how to market your business.

All new thoughts are creative so use them as food for thought and then strengthen each idea with research and nailing down who is the best person to implement the marketing activity (internal and external resources), exactly what you will do, when you will do, where it will be done, how you intend to get all the elements organised and controlled and how much it will cost.
 

6.    Budget

Get costs and quotes for your activities and then decide on how you will set your marketing budget. Remember that your marketing budget can go up or down during your on-going marketing campaigns so if you work for yourself there doesn’t have to be a fixed cost. However, having one or at least a budgeting goal will help establish who quickly you can get your Digital Marketing working to get new business leads and make your business successful.

7. Measurement and Iteration

How will you know your Digital Marketing Plan has worked? There are excellent online tools to track, analyse and measure your Social Media campaigns.  Do the same for each activity in the channels you choose.

For example, if you are doing a PR campaign you can decide to pay for a PR monitoring service or you can track this via Google Alerts at no charge and keep a record of any press clippings.

It is also advisable to work out a ‘Return on Investment (ROI), in order to establish which campaigns work best and why. This will inevitably help your future plans from both a cost and budgeting point of view and a success ratio for activities you undertake.

Finally, set up KPIs or Key Performance Indicators, which help to identify and quantify key areas of your business plan and your website as the best or worst performers.

They will indicate how your online business is growing, what areas are weak and need more work and which are strong and robust. This information will also show you what opportunities lie ahead, think of your KPIs as the heartbeat of your business.

If you run reports in fancy graphs, they will quickly and clearly show you how well your site is performing and where to focus your energy.

Try setting up graphs in Excel or PowerPoint to monitor your traffic, your products, different services, your revenue and any other important indicators of success.

Read more on how to start marketing your business.

Paula Wynne is the bestselling author of Pimp My Site.

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