I often meet with entrepreneurs who have tried to take their business to the Internet, and then complain that they have not had good results. They invest in the creation of a website, in a community manager that takes their networks, and things like that, hoping to increase sales and this does not happen.
There are a thousand reasons that can cause money placed in digital channels, rather than an investment, to become a loss. However, there is almost always a common element that all the stories of failures have: they did not have a digital marketing plan.
In this article I want to share with you information that will help you understand the importance of digital planning. In addition, we will see how to create a digital marketing plan and what the component parts are. You will see that it is quite similar to the process to create a website from scratch.
What is a digital marketing plan
Let’s start at the beginning, explaining what a digital marketing plan is. It is a document that proposes a set of actions adjusted to a certain budget to reach certain goals, always starting from a diagnosis of the current business situation.
Designing a marketing plan without having made a diagnosis before, is like wanting to leave a forest guiding you on a map, but having no idea where you are standing. You could do it, but I’m sure it will cost you more time and effort than the rest of the entrepreneurs who had their position clear from the start.
The digital marketing plan must be integrated with the overall marketing strategy of the company. This is so, otherwise there is a risk that different, and even contradictory, messages will be launched through different channels.
There is no standard digital plan, as a recipe applicable to all businesses, regardless of type of entrepreneurship, characteristics or size. It is true that all plans are made up of the same parts, but these must be adapted to the particularities of the business as if it were a tailored suit.
The importance of the digital marketing plan lies in the advantages it offers, with respect to the competition and in relation to prospects and customers.
Advantages of the digital marketing plan
Companies that have a well-designed digital marketing plan generally have an advantage over the Internet over their competitors. The main benefits of counting and following the document that we are dealing with are:
First: When you have clarity about the current situation of your business, as well as its strengths and weaknesses, it is easier to overcome the obstacles that arise in economic growth.
Second: A well-designed plan will help you focus your resources and efforts on the most important tasks. In this way you make sure you do not lose money or time doing things that do not bring you benefits.
Third: Digital marketing plans focus on increasing conversions. A conversion occurs when you get a user who comes to the website, or your social networks, to perform an action that brings you benefits.
Fourth: It is a frame of reference to know if you are approaching the previously established objectives. In case of not being close to the goals, you can always rearrange your strategies, but without having to do the whole plan again.
Parts of Digital Marketing Plan
As I mentioned before, all the plans have a similar structure, although this must be flexible. That is, it is possible to create your digital marketing plan respecting the parts that I explain below. You can also modify the sections a little, but trying to have a common thread from beginning to end.
✅ As obvious as it seems, I prefer to make it clear that a good presentation is a plus in a digital marketing plan. By good, I mean that it captures the attention from the first moment, that falls in love. Of course, the format must be aligned with the visual identity of the business, and with the proposal within the document.
✅ In the introduction you must present the results of the market research prior to the creation of the marketing plan. There is no need to develop each aspect to the last detail, the important thing is to show a broad picture of the current situation.
One of the most important tools, which helps analyze the context accurately, is the SWOT matrix. It is not enough to know the strengths and opportunities, it is necessary to be aware of the weaknesses and threats to the business in order to draw realistic and effective objectives.
✅ When I have to talk about the objectives of a marketing plan, the phrase “when you do not know your destiny, any path seems good” always comes to mind. The problem is that, unfortunately, even the least recommended roads may seem good.
This is why a plan without clear and realistic objectives is not a plan at all. It is rather a difficult fantasy to achieve. The objectives of a plan must say what you want to achieve, when and where.
✅ To reach a goal you can follow different formulas, or ways of action. The ideal is to select the most appropriate according to the type of business, and the time it is. Depending on these elements you will choose some strategies or others.
For example, if your company (or your client’s business) is a fashion brand, the strategy could focus on creating a lot of visual content to exploit social networks. You will agree with me that, for a funeral home, this would not be an appropriate strategy.
✅ Once you have clear objectives, and you know what strategy you are going to follow, then you can decide which channels are appropriate to reach potential customers. You do not need to have a presence in all the channels, but concentrate on those who use the most prospects of your business.
It is more usual than you imagine that some entrepreneurs wear out attending profiles in many different social networks. Then, when they do not get results at all, they get frustrated. It is preferable to have few well-attended channels, which many with little attention.
✅ Objectives, strategy and channels … time to get to work. It is necessary to establish a work schedule, at least with the most important milestones to pay attention to. The actions must be distributed over time, so that you progressively get closer to the scope of the objectives you had set for yourself.
✅ A good digital marketing plan should consider the total cost of its implementation, even if you have designed it for your own business. I do not mean just what you pay for in digital advertising, but everything that is invested in the development of marketing actions.
Your time has a cost, so you can set a base price per work hour, and then, based on the hours spent on digital marketing actions, calculate your plan’s budget. You must also add the digital tools you occupy and, of course, digital advertising.
✅ The periodic evaluation will help you to know if you are approaching your goals, or if, instead, it is necessary to readjust the plan a bit. It is important that you evaluate all actions designed and implemented.
You must establish precise indicators that you will measure on each occasion, that way your metrics will keep relationship between them, and will make sense in the long term. By evaluating the actions separately, you can detect which work better than others, to exploit them repeatedly.
Also, after the period for which you designed your marketing plan, either six months or a year, you must measure the total results to know if the proposed objectives were actually achieved.
Well, you know how to create a digital marketing plan. Now it’s time to put your batteries and start developing yours.
If you think it’s not going to be perfect the first time, you’re right, but you should not worry. All of us dedicated to marketing started with a simple first plan, and then we created better proposals while our skills and experience increased.
Do not leave without leaving a comment telling me what you think about this article, if you learned something new, or at least refreshed knowledge that you already had. If you have doubts, or suggestions to improve the text, or the blog, you are welcome. See you in a next article.