This is a guest post by one of our Guest Authors.
Not Act but Interact.
I prefer to start this article in an abrupt way. Bear with me. That is just because, before anything, I want to strike home a point. A point of such importance that I want it to be behind your every thought & action. Whatever may be the nature of the marketing strategy you stitch together, do ensure it gives a sense of importance to each & every customer of yours. Every single customer should feel that this plan is made especially for them. Doing this is half the battle won.
Now that I have got that off my chest, let’s proceed.
- Spending on Digital Marketing for 2015 is $13 billion. The projection for the year 2016 is $16 billion.
- According to statista, the number of internet users worldwide is 3.5 billion in 2016 up from 3.21 billion in 2015. A near 10% increase.
And it is growing as we speak. Reason enough to induce you to come on board this juggernaut?
This strategy is here to stay. Are you wondering about its reach?
It is huge, we are talking global here. And the cost? Enviably low.
Now that the advantage of this strategy is established, I shall proceed to the main topic, on how to structure a Digital Marketing plan for your business.
How to Structure a Practical Digital Marketing Plan
Here I have 4 simple tips and some statistics to show you how to structure and create a strong and practical digital marketing plan for your business. The objective is to understand what a practical digital marketing plan is, what all should go into it and how to ensure that it aligns to your overall organizational objectives.
Tip # 1: Your Goals.
Ask yourself the question “what is that you want to achieve from this plan? This should be the very first step you take towards building your digital marketing plan.
When defining your goals or objectives, be specific. Instead of declaring “Increase sales”, specify by what number, like for instance”Increase monthly sales by 50 numbers/increase sales by 15% over last year”.
- Increased sales: the top ranking goal of a plan. Undoubtedly, your main business goal will be to increase your revenue. This is one objective which is easily measurable. Like I mentioned before, be specific, though.
- Improved “CRO” (Conversion Rate Optimisation): To reflect an increase in sales, your lead conversion rate needs to improve. Say, for instance, you have, at present, 10 leads & your lead conversion rate is 2%, thus adding 2 new customers to your base. Your marketing plan objective could be “increased lead conversion rate by 1% by 2017 end”.
- Improved lead generation rate: Quoting again the numbers from the last point, you have 10 leads and, let us say, your site traffic is 100. That gives you a lead generation rate of 10%. Your goal could be to “increase lead generation rate by 5% to 15%”
- Increased organic traffic: I am talking about the “Free Traffic” here and not about “paid traffic”. According to PageFair in partnership with Adobe “200 million people worldwide regularly used the ad-blocking software in 2015, the main argument for you to concentrate on organic traffic. Sticking to the same numbers, your organic traffic is at 100 now. Your objective could be to double the same.
Achieving this goal will have a cascading effect on the other goals specified above.
The list is exhaustive. There are many others, Increased brand awareness, Reduced bounce rate, Increased return visitors etc.
Align your marketing goals with your overall business goals and your KPI (Key Performance Indicator). You need to measure your digital marketing plan’s performance, right?
Each & every online campaign of yours will be in line with your marketing strategy objectives.
Tip # 2: Website Optimization
The first impression is the best impression. Unfortunately, it can be the last impression also. A user’s first experience with your website can make or break conveying a good impression of your business and its brand.
A few tips to impress your user from the word GO.
- Content: Original & “thick” content (well researched & in-depth)
- Navigation: User-Friendly. No maze, please.
- Speed: I have been using this stat regularly now. One of my favourite. The attention span of a Goldfish is 9 seconds & ours is 8 seconds. Our attention span is 1 second lesser than that of a Goldfish.
So now, how long do you think your user will wait for your page to load before moving on?
- Mobile compatibility: This is the era of “Smart Phones”. Nowadays people browse while on the move. Just picture the number of visitors you can generate if your website is compatible
- For your audience: Your site is about healthy living but regularly features post on junk food recipes. Well….you figure out for yourself what the outcome will be.
Tips # 3: Digital Marketing Channels
There are many digital marketing channels available to you. Which among this will suit you depends on the type of business you run & your audience. I am yet to come across one channel that will universally satisfy every goal defined. An optimal marketing plan should involve, not one, but an integration of two or more channels for maximum benefit.
I will quickly run you through some of the most popular ones.
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation):
“93% of online experience begins with search engines”. imFORZA.
- The most popular among the available channels but a little confusing at times due to constant algorithm changes by search engines.
- Help optimise your website making it perform at peak level.
- Increased organic website traffic & conversion rates.
“Segmented and targeted emails generate 58% all revenue”. DMA
“Marketers have noted a 760% increase in revenue from segmented campaigns”. Campaign Monitor.
- A great tool to gain new customers and improve the relationship with existing customers.
- Targeted marketing
- Improve brand awareness
Social Media Marketing (SMM):
“There are over 2.206 billion active users, a global penetration of 30%”. Social Media Today
- Increased brand recognition and improved brand loyalty.
- Higher conversion rate: Social media is a platform where brands act like people and people like you & me prefer to do business with others like us and not with a faceless company.
- Increased inbound organic traffic.
“Total internet users worldwide are 3.175 billion, nearly half of world’s population (7.357 billion)”. Social Media Today.
- Mind boggling numbers. Am sure you can see the opportunity that is staring at you. Make the most of it. The good news doesn’t stop here, the number of internet users are growing by the second.
- The website is the first step to marketing for most of us & the most effective channel till date. Main portal to your brand.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. You have many more options available, like influencer marketing, guest posts, display advertising, affiliate marketing etc, etc.
The research data produced below puts the spotlight on 3 most popular digital marketing channels.
The preferred channels in relation to Return of Investment also run more or less on the same line.
Tip # 4: Budgetary Allocation; Finance & Manpower
I would advise you to give this tool the credit it duly deserves. A big business generator in its own right and to be treated as such. Separate budgetary allocation is a must for both financial and manpower resources. If, for some reason, in-house management of your digital marketing plan is not a viable option, outsource the same to a competent agency. But at all cost do not ignore it.
“72% of the respondents are increasing their marketing budget in 2016”.
“54% of the respondents are planning to increase their digital team in 2016”.
The graph below will give you the data for the year 2011 to 2016, proving beyond doubt the importance accorded to this tool worldwide.
Notice how the interest to increase the budget allocation has always remained in the 70% bracket and a mere 1% to 2% opting to reduce (it takes all kinds to make the world).
To sum it up, digital marketing strategy is now the synonym for marketing strategy. The punch it packs is not at all possible to be ignored.
I hope reading this article was worth your while and that you would have learnt how to put together a practical digital marketing plan for your business.
If you were able to get what you wanted, please do share the article with your social media circles using one of the sharing buttons below.
About the Author:
Natarajan Sriram has worked in management positions in Cement, Logistics & Garment Industries. He has now quit the rat race and is devoting time entirely on following his passions. His passions are reading and all things related to spiritualism.