Digital marketing changes drastically from year to year (and for some industries, from week to week). Industry shifts, web trends, and ongoing marketing innovations present companies with new challenges and new opportunities around every corner. These constant fluctuations mean that marketing success is never a given thing, regardless of how successful certain tactics and strategies may have been. The “tried and true” can quickly become just the “tried.”
To that end, a critical part of effective online marketing lies in creating a strong and balanced digital marketing plan that will guide your marketing efforts. Regardless of your company’s size, industry, or mission, this much is certain: a digital marketing plan is the first step towards digital marketing success.
Creating Your Digital Marketing Plan
A digital marketing plan can take many different forms; however, most plans will include your company’s goals, areas of focus, and the exact strategies to pursue.
Goals, as one can imagine, will vary from company to company. Some organizations may simply be looking to increase their year-over-year sales, while others may be seeking to build and grow new areas of their business. Each aspect of the digital marketing plan should be designed with these goals in mind.
Areas of focus typically mean the marketing strategies your company is looking to bolster and strengthen. These could be anything revising your corporate branding to writing a new positioning statement and more.
Exact strategies (and tactics) are the methods and approaches your organization intends to use to implement the digital marketing plan. These tactics often include content marketing, social media marketing, search marketing, and paid media outreach. Some tactics – SEO, branding, and CRM – are “evergreen” tools that will find a home in most digital marketing plans. Other tactics – like paid social advertising, video advertising, and email marketing – may only be appropriate for companies of a certain size or orientation.
Your digital marketing plan should include input from your sales, marketing, and accounting teams. For tech-focused companies, you may also need to seek input from your engineering or development departments.
Evaluating the Success of Your Plan
Part of creating a digital marketing plan includes deciding what digital marketing tactics work best for your particular company and/or your goals for the year. Facebook advertising is a great way to reach potential customers, but that doesn’t mean it’s an appropriate solution for every organization; the same can be said for everything from Google AdWords to direct email marketing.
Another critical aspect of creating a digital marketing plan is establishing your criteria for success. It’s easy enough to simply stipulate financial success as the only metric of your plan’s effectiveness; however, such an approach is misleading at best. A digital marketing plan can be evaluated on any number of factors, but many companies tend to look at ROI as the cornerstone metric of their marketing success. Businesses also tend to look at their overall web and social metrics to determine the effectiveness of the marketing tactics, as well as looking at any instances of earned media.
You’ve Got Questions, We’ve Got Answers
Your digital marketing plan is a critical element for ensuring overall marketing success. That being said, the execution of the plan is just as important as its creation.