How to Build an Effective Digital Marketing Plan
Your business needs a digital marketing plan, regardless of whether it’s a small business or a Fortune 100. More than half of the US population made purchases online in the past 2 years. In a research performed by Nielson, 60% of participants answered that they were more likely to purchase a product after finding information about it online. 45% of the participants stated they have visited a brand or manufacturer’s website. If you’re not marketing your business online, you are really missing out. Forget about that old saying, “If you build it they will come.” Simply building a website isn’t enough. You need to build and execute a strategic digital marketing plan to get your website in front of your target market.
In this article, we will be giving you tips on how you can build an effective digital marketing plan.
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Important Data to Track
It’s important to set goals and measure specific metrics when executing a digital marketing plan. Google Analytics is available for free and will help you track things like:
Incoming web traffic – Which will give you details on how many visitors are coming to your website.
Acquisition – Where your customers are coming from (search engine, links to your site from other websites, marketing emails, or social media channels).
Drop off rate – What percentage of visitors are landing on a page and leaving, and which pages are abandoned the most.
Goals – Goals that you can set, which will tell you when customers do something desirable, such as make a purchase, request a quote, sign up for a newsletter, etc.
Your company should already be tracking sales, but now you will be able to have a deeper understanding to how your website influences sales. You should look over your analytics at least every month to ensure that your website and marketing campaigns are performing well.
Determine Your Target Market
In order to build an effective digital marketing plan, you’ll need to focus on your target market. Divide your customers into segments utilizing information pertinent to your company, such as demographics, past purchases, the industry they’re employed in, etc. Determine who your best customers and create personas (or fictional profiles) based on their characteristics. For example, a wedding coordinator would create personas that would represent bride-to-be’s that fall under different segments, such as low budget limit, medium budget limit, high budget limit. This would allow the wedding coordinator to build a digital marketing plan targeting customers that fit those personas.
Keep in mind the life cycle of your customers. If you sell small ticket items directly to consumers their life cycle likely runs its course in a short period of time. While companies who sell to businesses or sell big ticket items would have customers with a longer life cycle, especially because of the longer evaluation phase required for your prospects to make a purchase.
Understanding the life cycle will allow you to create marketing material that will appeal to your prospects every step on the way. You can ensure your website is optimized and has essential information so that customers in the discover and evaluation stage can find what they are looking for.
Be Everywhere Your Customers Are
For your digital marketing plan to succeed you’ll need to be everywhere your customers are. There are various ways to reach your customers while they’re online. To connect with them you can do the following:
The quickest way to reach your target market is through paid advertising, such as Google Adwords, paid social media ads, etc.
98% of your website visitors do not make a purchase on their first visit. Retargeting allows you to advertise directly to individuals who have already visited your website.
Just about everyone has a social media profile. You need to be in the platforms they frequent. Whether that is Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or LinkedIn, your business needs to have an account there and needs to be posting regularly. Keep your prospects informed about your products, the latest news about your company and even articles, reviews, or videos your company or product has been featured in. Keep your prospects and customers interested by posting more than just about your products and service, post about relevant information. For example, if you’re in the IT industry you can post about the newest advances in information technology. On the other hand, if you’re in the dental field you’ll want to post about a new treatment that is being tested for treating gingivitis.
Search Engine Optimisation
According to a study by SIMs, 61% of their study participants stated that they had made a purchase after a local search on Google for a product or service. In a study by MineWhat, 81% of consumers who responded stated that they research a product or service online before making a purchase. If your website isn’t optimized it won’t show up on search results, which means prospects looking for services or products you provide won’t find your website.
To ensure your website is search engine optimized you’ll need to make sure of the following:
- All content is original and there is no duplicate content on your site.
- All web pages have a title, meta descriptions, and working links.
- The website is easy to navigate.
- Pages are focused on a specific topic of “keyword” and have the keyword included in the URL, title, and throughout relevant text.
- All company information such as locations and phone numbers are up to date.
- That you are using H1, H2, and H3 tags on each page.
- Your website is easy for a search engine to read and navigate through.
- And that you constantly publish fresh, high-quality, relevant content, through blog posts, articles, or videos.
If you have your target market split into segments there is likely an influencer already marketing to one or more of those segments. You can launch marketing campaigns where you collaborate or do cross marketing with influencers who are already targeting your desired audience.
Email marketing is the best way to nurture leads that come into your website. By offering prospects a chance to register for your newsletter, a discount for signing up for an email list, or having them sign up for a webinar or ebook you’ll be able to get their email address. You can utilize email marketing platforms, such as MailChimp and ConstantContact that allow you to automate emails going to prospects or customers in assigned email lists. You can also create a newsletter and have them go out automatically in intervals to keep prospects interested.
Rules for your Website
The main rules to follow when creating or updating your website are:
Keep it Simple
Your customers don’t want to go digging through 20 pages on your website to find what they are looking for. Make it easy for them to find what they are looking for and even easier to buy it! Keeping most of the information “above the fold” (what the website visitor sees on that page without scrolling down) and don’t overload the page with useless and unimportant information. Make sure your menu is easy to use and include a call-to-action to get the prospect’s attention.
The content on your website needs to be original and high quality. If your page title is not relevant to the topic of the content on that page search engines, especially Google, will push your content into the abyss (also known as, anything past the 10th page). If you run an e-commerce site it’s important to include photos and if possible, video of your products for your prospects to see. Luckily, photos and videos also get detected by search engines and help you move up in page rank.
Encourage Visitors to Convert
Whether you encourage visitors to “Buy it now!”, “Order Today!”, or “Request a Free Quote”, it’s important that you include that call-to-action. Including a call-to-action can help increase conversions on your website, which in turn helps increase overall sales and profit into your company.
Take Advantage of Marketing Platforms
There are various useful platforms that can help you fine-tune your marketing strategy. Hootsuite, for example allows you to schedule social media posts. Various CRM tools can link to your website and collect prospect and customer information, which you can use to nurture leads and close sales. Moz tracks each of your keywords (or keyphrases) and web pages and makes suggestions on how you can better optimize that page to move up in positions. There are many other platforms and you need to find the one that’s right for your business.
Consider Hiring a Professional
Digital marketing is effective is your just “wing it”. Instead, it’s important that you have someone with a deep understanding of each component of digital marketing. Many companies make the decision to either hire an employee who specializes in marketing, a marketing consultant, or outsourcing their marketing to an agency. Those companies understand the importance of investing in digital marketing, especially in today’s world, where many stores are closing, but online sales are soaring. If you do consider hiring someone or a company make sure you do your research. Find a person or company that is experienced in your industry and can help build a digital marketing strategy from the ground up.