You can set yourself apart from the competition if you create a detailed, customer-focused digital marketing plan.
How can you stand out from the competition when an average consumer is exposed to at least 5,000 ads every day? How would you craft your ads so you can capture the attention and interest of your target audience whose attention span is as short as a goldfish’s–at least according to some studies?
With a customer-focused digital marketing plan, you can set yourself apart from others. However, it requires meticulous use of social media, other online platforms, and data analysis, and above all, it must have a genuine desire to provide valuable information instead of a blatant, product-focused sales pitch to your target audience.
This article will discuss how the right digital marketing plan can help your business drive sales and reach high-quality leads, i.e., consumers who are the most likely to buy your product or service based on their demographics and online activities.
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What Is a Digital Marketing Plan?
A marketing plan acts as a guide to help your business organize, implement, and keep track of your marketing efforts in social media, search engines like Google, and other online platforms, for a specific period of time.
To make your digital marketing plan work, all the stakeholders such as your social media managers, SEO specialists, content creators, and web developers and designers should work together to achieve your core goal: Reach high-quality leads, transform them into actual customers, and “nurture” them even after post-sales.
With a detailed digital marketing plan, all the stakeholders can collaborate to stick to the same goals, identify the buyer persona, and work within the budget.
Types of Marketing Plans
The “right” marketing plan type depends on multiple factors, including the nature of your business, the buyer persona, your budget, and revenue goals.
- Quarterly or Annual Marketing Plans: As its name suggests, this plan is focused on delivering specific goals at a predetermined time.
- Paid Marketing Plan: This plan focuses on paid advertising strategies like native advertising, pay-per-click, and paid social media ads.
- Social Media Marketing Plan: This details what social media platforms your business will use, how to engage with high-quality leads, and what content to share.
- Content Marketing Plan: This plan is about your content, ranging from blogs and infographics to video tutorials and ebooks, that is valuable and interesting to your target audience.
- New Product Launch Marketing Plan: This plan will describe the strategies for launching and promoting your new product or service.
What Makes Marketing Plans Essential
Having a detailed marketing plan is critical because it allows all the stakeholders to collaborate toward the same goal, making the promotion and advertising a streamlined process. Furthermore, it enables everyone in your marketing team to target the right customers based on their demographics and online activities.
It provides focus
A marketing plan is a blueprint of how you should execute your marketing efforts. It also ensures that all marketing activities support the brand and the revenue goals.
Small and medium enterprises or SMEs often overlook the importance of focus, especially in digital marketing. This is one of the reasons why more than half of startups fail within their first five years, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics report.
With today’s new norm that entails business and consumers to shift online, having a focus on digital marketing is no longer an option but a necessity.
It provides transparency
One of the core goals of marketing is to generate more money than what you spend. With a detailed plan, you will have key performance indicators or KPIs that will help measure your results, remove campaigns that are not giving the desired outcome, and tweak your approach until your efforts drive huge sales.
For example, a marketing plan may contain activities to improve the company’s website ranking in search results through an SEO strategy. These activities can increase your website traffic and eventually drive your sales.
The above mentioned example can also be applied across many different marketing activities, providing total transparency on how each part of the marketing plan performs.
It allows you to plan and manage your [limited] resources
Because SMEs have smaller marketing budgets than their more established competitors, having a marketing plan is particularly important. Paradoxically, this is a common mistake among startup owners who often treat digital marketing as an afterthought.
Contrary to popular belief, a marketing plan does not always require a huge budget. On the contrary, its goal is to allow your digital marketing team to take advantage of online platforms, many of which are free and readily accessible, without going over budget.
The main reason why many companies have insufficient marketing budgets is that they don’t know what they need and what they should be doing. A comprehensive marketing plan solves this by describing the detailed steps every stakeholder should take.
One way to reduce your overhead cost is to outsource digital marketing, allowing you to access high-quality talents without having to hire and maintain your own team. Some vendors such as LOJO even provide large discounts for bundled services (e.g., SEO with PPC campaign, or social media management plus content marketing) to help their clients reduce their cost.
It ensures consistency
Without a clear marketing plan, many companies focus on marketing activities per se rather than driving sales.
A typical scenario goes like this: A company launches a new marketing activity to generate new clients. However, without having a detailed marketing plan, it may fall into the trap of focusing all the resources to make these customers “happy” to the point that other equally important goals are side-tracked–e.g., make sure the brand is consistent across all media platforms, increase revenue through PPC campaigns, etc.
It provides clarity
The most successful businesses share one thing in common: everyone in the team knows his roles, responsibilities, contributions, and performance level.
With a marketing plan, all the stakeholders will have absolute clarity about the direction of the business, its growth targets, and their roles to help achieve them.
When your staff has “clarity” about their roles, everyone knows their own and their coworkers’ responsibilities. Also, they can manage themselves better and even support each other when needed.
Difference between Marketing Strategy and Marketing Plan
A marketing strategy describes how a company will achieve a particular goal. It also includes the channels, campaigns, content, and marketing software that they will use for that mission and track its success.
Meanwhile, a marketing plan may contain one or more marketing strategies. It is the framework that all of your marketing strategies are anchored to.
Let’s say your company is launching a new product and it wants customers to make a pre-order. To achieve this, your marketing department can develop a plan with the goal of introducing this product to the target audience.
Your marketing department can also create a blog for your product, or post a new Youtube video to show what makes it different from the competition, or Tweet to engage with the customers. All of these will serve to attract high-quality leads and convert them into actual buyers.