Does your business have a digital marketing plan?
Running a business is hard with lots of moving parts and demands on your time. One important task is marketing, especially digital marketing. Developing an actionable marketing plan is critical to success.
The downside is that digital marketing can be a challenge to understand. It takes expertise to craft an effective digital marketing plan. Marketing planning tends to get “pushed to the back burner”. Worse, the planning process turns into a major time investment that does not drive action.
Failing to focus on digital marketing for your business is a mistake. Businesses with a good digital marketing plan have 2x the revenues per employee. They are also 2x more likely to be growing.
Not having a plan to support this focus means activity without coordination and strategy. The result – poor performance.
Here are 7 steps to help you develop a digital marketing plan that can guide your team to better results.
1. Think marketing system not website
The first step is to stop thinking as your site as an independent concept. A website is one part of a marketing system. Building a more effective website on its own will not make a big impact on your business. Building a more effective digital marketing system will.
A system needs to be managed. That is why you need to set goals and measure them regularly. Start by tracking these metrics.
You can view your site’s traffic performance in Google Analytics. Look for “Active Users” under audience to see the number of visitors to your site.
Traffic on its own is not valuable. Converting visitors to contacts shows that you are attracting relevant traffic. You can track contacts in your email marketing system.
Converting contacts to customers validates that you are attracting the right traffic and contacts. You can access this metric in your accounting system or CRM.
Consider implementing a Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey to identify which customers may be open to referring new prospects and which ones need additional support.
A healthy marketing system will show growth across all four of these metrics.
2. Decide who your “best customers” are and target them with the right offer
No successful business targets everyone. You need to build a marketing system that focuses on a group or groups of people. This is the vital first step in developing your digital marketing plan. Your product or service should deliver more value than anyone else to these groups.
There are a number of ways to think about your best customers.
You can segment using behavior, demographics, company-specific information, psychology, and geography. You want to find a group that is large, growing, and with fewer competitors. Also, consider the average profitability of each segment.
Personas let you dig a little deeper. They are fictional profiles of people that represent your target segments. You should identify how they act, goals, skills, attitudes, and environment. This creates a fictional picture of your target customer that feels real.
Here’s a useful guide to personas.
- Life cycle stage
Customer life cycle also helps with focus. A prospect making an initial contact is just starting to learn about you. A customer that has been with you over one year has different interests. Make sure that you are making the right offers at the right time.
Focusing on the jobs that a customer needs to be done is another way to group customers. There are two types of jobs to be done. The main job and the related jobs. There are functional (requirements / goals) and other needs (emotional, personal, social) with each job. The “job” focus allows you figure out which jobs are the most important and hardest. Then you can fix the problem with your product or service.
3. Make it easy for the right people to find you
Business growth via digital marketing is about converting web visitors to profitable customers. The website is a big factor in converting visitors. You need to create a traffic building system to grow the denominator (traffic).
To connect with your best prospects, you need to be part of their world.
The fastest ways to reach your best prospects is paid advertising.
98% of visitors to most websites don’t convert. Retargeting allows you to show ads to your visitors after they have left your site. Here’s a great retargeting guide.
The free Facebook marketing opportunity is over, but there are opportunities with their paid advertising especially if you have a large Facebook community. LinkedIn advertising is a good option for business-focused organizations.
Adwords is the driver behind Google success. You only pay if someone clicks on your ad. Set up an account and try Adwords.
- Showing up in search results
Search marketing is free though takes a lot of time to do well. It is not instant. You want to target keywords that are popular with your target group. You need to beat companies that are currently ranking for the keyword phrase.
A big ranking factor is your domain and page authority. This is called off page search engine optimization (SEO). Use this authority measurement extension by Moz to review your site. Here’s a great post on how to increase your domain authority.
You also need to optimize your pages. This is referred to as on page SEO. Check out this great guide to on page SEO optimization.
- Influencer marketing
Another way to reach your target market is to partner with other companies. Think about non competitive companies that are already working with your target customers and prospects. The relationship needs to be beneficial for both parties. Offering to provide a guest blog post is a good way to kick off things off.
Email continues to have the best ROI though you need to build your list. Joining an email list is a low-risk option for website visitors. Lead nurturing can triple the growth of your business.
- Social Media
Social Media is useful from a trust building perspective. Visitors may want to check out that you have a community of interested people. You also want to post content regularly to demonstrate your expertise. Curating content from other experts in your area should be part of your strategy.
- Keep it simple
The reality is that people do not read a website. They scan it. Visitors make a decision about whether they will take the next step in seconds. Focus on simple, clear language. Use authentic visuals where possible to communicate your value proposition and values. The strength of your value proposition is the #1 conversion factor. Here are some handy value proposition formula’s to get you started.
Don’t try unusual menu placement or other website features that are not normal. Give users what they expect. Make the next step obvious with only one next step or call-to-action per page.
Be careful about “design” features. For example, image sliders can dramatically reduce your conversion rates.
- Use research
Very few businesses know how to use digital marketing well. You can be “inspired” by top digital marketers. Either competitors or good operators from other industries.
Don’t rely on your opinion, though. Try to do some level of research with your target customers. Use surveys to test logo options, color palettes, image selections, and other key elements. You can also test headline copy with some simple ads on Adwords.
Use personas, scenarios and user stories to help make the process fact-based.
- Get visitors to act
Here’s some great advice on how to encourage visitors to act or convert. Remember, increasing a conversion rate from 2% to 3% means a 50% increase in sales.
5. Use the right technology
The right technology depends on the maturity of your marketing program. If you are getting started, simple, low cost tools make sense like Squarespace for your website or MailChimp for your email marketing. Larger teams with more experience might consider integrated platforms like Hubspot or Marketo. It is relatively easy to upgrade as your business grows and you become more skilled.
6. Set SMART growth goals
Most people are aware of the SMART goal setting model.
- Specific – Set specific numbers with deadlines.
- Measurable – Make sure that you have a way to track your goal.
- Attainable – Use your segment research to make sure that you goal is possible given the segment size and level of competition.
- Realistic – Do a reality check. Look at your current year’s results. Are the changes that you are planning going to make enough of a difference to support your growth objective.
- Time-bound – Have regular check ins (monthly is frequent enough) so you can make sure that you are on track. This also allows you to do a “what’s working / what isn’t” review.
Remember that you need to think about your full customer experience from awareness and top of the funnel engagement to customer success and referral goals.
We have a few spreadsheets built to help model your growth plan. Contact us and we would be happy to send over a baseline model based on your business type to get you started.
7. Get help
Planning can be time consuming. Getting some outside help can accelerate the process. Marketing consultants are no longer only for large companies. Revenizer offers digital marketing plans for all company sizes.
The important thing is to develop your marketing system with the right expectations. Don’t try to boil the ocean with an end-to-end rework. Start with a prioritized plan and focus on consistency and continual improvement to the marketing system. The process is likely to include website improvements but only when your strategy work is complete.