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20

Jun

Digital Marketing: the importance of planning

Your Digital Marketing strategy is one of the most important components of your online business. Once your website has gone live, and even beforehand, if you want to make the most out of your online presence it is essential to have a game plan in place.

For many people (small business owners included), the phrase “Digital Marketing Strategy” still brings a few large question marks to mind. Where do you start? What do you have to include? How do you create a really good strategy? Well, our Digital Marketing team at Foundry Digital are here to help answer a few of these questions with our handy Digital Marketing Strategy checklist.

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Outline your digital marketing strategy goals

Before you start planning, you have to know what the ideal result of your strategy is going to be. Results don’t have to be huge like “I want to double my conversion rate in 3 months”, they can be as simple as “get 2 enquiries for my service in the next 3 months”, or “gain 1 more Twitter follower in the next month”. But whatever you want to achieve, make sure it is clear and also reasonably attainable…

Understanding your KPIs (that’s Key Performance Indicators for the beginners out there) will also help you track your campaign’s performance. You should start by looking at previous Digital Marketing efforts to see which pieces of data are important to you, and that you think represent your business goals best. Just like with selecting your goals, your KPIs can vary from “the amount of time that users spent on a certain page of your website”, to “the number of times a particular article was read”.

Identify your target audience

For a Digital Marketing Strategy to have the biggest impact and highest success rates, it needs to be focused. Having set up your online business, you’ll already have the best understanding of your service and what you can offer your customer base, and this understanding makes this part of the checklist easier for you. Think about who your target audience are. Here are a few things to think about to help you with this:

  • Who are your target audience
  • What demographic information do you have including age/location/sex/income/personal interests
  • What do your target audience want
  • What solution/service does your business offer that your customers wouldn’t otherwise have
  • How do they communicate and behave online
  • Do they use social media
  • What tone of voice do they use
  • Do they prefer reading articles or watching videos

All of these questions will help you to construct your Buyer Persona and enable you to build a more targeted strategy. If you can step into their shoes you’ll be able to present your service in a much more desirable way to them.

Complete initial research

Unless you have a completely and totally unique, never-before-seen service or product, it’s unlikely that your business doesn’t have any competitors. After all, having competitors is the reason you want to know the importance of planning a proper Digital Marketing strategy! And whilst your competitors may seem like a pain, they can sometimes be very helpful. This is especially the case for this step of competitor analysis and market research.

Conducting competitor analysis can give you an edge over your competitors because you can steal their good ideas and avoid their bad ones. Look at your biggest competitors and think about what strategies they’re using and whether these were successful or not, then learn from their strategies and apply what you’ve learnt to your own strategy.

Similarly, market research can reveal lots about how your target audience tick and therefore what you can do to make your Digital Marketing strategy as relevant to them as possible. This is an extension of creating your buyer personas; you want to find out what your target audience want and how they want to get it.

Identify your means to carry out your strategy

Having conducted your market research and built your buyer personas, you’ll have a much better understanding about which online channels are the most appropriate for reaching your customers. It’s important to identify which channels are likely to be the most helpful to your strategy so that you don’t waste precious time (and possibly money) creating content and promoting your service only to receive no return.

Another hugely important aspect of your Digital Marketing strategy that you’ll need to consider is whether you’ll be putting any money behind it. It’s not essential to do this and in fact research has suggested that organic content can be up to 5.66 times more successful than paid adverts. We’ll come back to display advertising later on, but for now funding is something you definitely need to think about as part of your strategy checklist.

Create a strategy timeline

This one is a bit like deciding what your targets and goals are for your strategy, you need to know time frames too so that you can keep an eye on your progress. Creating a timeline that outlines at which points you want to have achieved certain things will not only help you to visualise your strategy more clearly but it will also help you to be more focused. Here are some milestones to include on your timeline:

  • Complete research and planning
  • Decide on key goals
  • Create buyer personas
  • Complete competitor analyses and target research
  • Collect assets for your strategy
    • Copy and visual elements
    • Funding if using paid methods
  • Outline achievement milestones
  • Set targets to reach within that given timeframe

Put measurement methods in place

If you already have a website, it should be the case that you have some form of performance analytics set up to monitor your website traffic and consumer metrics. If you don’t, it’s really important to get one set up so that you can keep track of the success rates of your Digital Marketing strategy, as well as the performance of your online channels in general.

Google Analytics is an incredibly powerful tool that allows you to delve into the who’s, what’s, where’s and why’s of how your online channels are performing. Setting it up is really easy and free, and all you have to do is add a snippet of code to each page of your website so that the Google bot can track traffic and withdraw information.

Google also has a free tool that allows you to create tracked URLs, called UTMs. These allow Google to see where a user has come from and how they landed on the page that the URL leads to, a great way to track your consumers’ behaviour online.

FREE URL TRACKING TOOL

Social Media channels often provide various analytics that are also useful to you, should you be using them. You can see key information such as when your followers are most active online, so you can tell when is best to post your content. They also give you an insight into types of content that are more popular than others, allowing you to post the most relevant content for your audience which will increase the likelihood of them engaging with it.

All of these tools enable you to see which areas of your strategy are working and which aren’t, so make sure to keep an eye on them and adjust your activity accordingly. Be careful not to spend too much time checking the figures though!

Don’t be disappointed if it doesn’t go to plan

It’s really important that you don’t expect your strategy to be 100% successful, and certainly don’t expect the results to be instant. The results will come but you have to be patient! You can expect it to be very successful if you’ve done all your research and planned your strategy effectively, but there is always going to be something for you to learn. The best thing about it is that you can learn from your successes and mistakes so that the next time around you can do it even better.

Hopefully this article has given you some inspiration and motivation to really sit down and think about what your strategy is. It’s exciting to plan your Digital Marketing strategy because it can give you a real sense of its potential to boost your website traffic and ultimately increase conversions and ROI. 

If you have a small business and are looking for some help to get your brand noticed and to boost you website traffic, conversions and sales, get in touch today. Our team have lots of experience in promoting businesses online and know what it takes to get your brand noticed.

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