1. Conduct a Situation Analysis
Before you can start to even thing about creating a great Digital Marketing Plan you need to know what what marketing your fighting for attention in. Define your business, your product/service, your customer and, finally, your USP (Unique Selling Point). What makes you different? What need does your product/service satisfy for your customer?
When you have a good definition of your own business, have a snoop at your competitors. How are they marketing themselves? What style of content and platforms are they using? What similarities do you have with the competition – and how do you differ? This may help you see some marketing opportunities.
Finally, a SWOT is an essential first step for any Digital Marketing Plan. What are your Strengths and Weaknesses? These are generally internal factors and may be things you have a degree of control over – range of products, method of sale, staff, budget. Opportunities and Threats are external factors and usually outside our control, however, we can often use our strengths to help us navigate through them. An obvious threat right now is Covid19, but before that it was Brexit – anyone remember Brexit???
2. Define Your Target Audience
Who is your customer? Sounds easy, right?
You’d be surprised how many businesses have never taken the time to sit down and really define their customer – what age are they, where do they live, what platforms do they use, what devices, what are their socio-economic preference?
If you don’t know who your customer is, how can you possibly know how to reach and engage them?
3. Set Your Marketing Goals
Digital Marketing isn’t about slapping up a post and hoping for the best. It’s SMART – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-Bound.
Marketing goals may include:
- Sales of specific Products/Services/Events
- Raising Brand Awareness
- Increasing Newsletter Sign-ups
- Reaching new audiences
- Improve SEO
Once you have defined your marketing goals, you can set about achieving them through creative content, call to actions and setting your goals for measuring ROI.
4. Create & Publish
This is the fun part!
Once we have defined our audience and set our marketing goals, we can start to create relevant content. Content can be created, curated or commissioned and, much like baking a cake, success is in a good mix!
The style of content should depend on your audience and the social media platform you are using. Video is content gold right now and gets up to 60% more interaction than images. Luckily, it’s never been easier to make your own, with an abundance of apps available.
Image quality is also really important online and there is no excuse for poor quality and thought out pictures in this day and age. Most smartphones have great inbuilt tools for editing, as do social media apps. If you’re looking for something a bit more high-tech though, there are hundreds of fun and easy to use apps you can download for free.
Infographics are another big hit right now and work well for businesses who need to get a lot of information across in a post. With the current online attention span at less than 8 seconds, we are more likely to engage with a graphic rather than a large paragraph of text. Again, there are plenty of free online tools to help you create an infographic masterpiece!
Next up is to publish. It’s a great idea to schedule posts online and use a content calendar to keep you on track. Creator Studio will allow you to schedule to Facebook and Instagram, and Twitter has recently allowed scheduling in-app also – although for now this is only available on desktop. You’ll need an external scheduling app, like Hootsuite, for LinkedIn.
5. Set Your Budget
The key elements of any Digital Marketing Plan are people, time and money….and the first two are very often reliant on the last element.
Your online marketing just won’t work unless you fully commit to it and set aside a budget for content creation and adverts. The day for free dinners online is well and truly over, but the good news is, online dinners won’t break the bank.
Online adverts allow excellent targeting and provide very valuable analytics for businesses. They’re also generally affordable and provide a good ROI and help build brand awareness. Set a 6 month budget and analyse the results – I bet you’ll be impressed!
Karen Twomey has an M.A. in Public Relation with New Media and provides one-to-one and group training sessions in all things online. For more information, see www.communicationshub.ie