Imagine this scenario: you just joined a new company as the Head of Marketing, and your job is to get a plan in place, organize the entire department, and present your plan to the rest of the executive team. It’s absolutely normal to feel overwhelmed by the onboarding process as a new employee, but the top priority is to get caught up and get a plan implemented as soon as possible.
This is an all an all-too-common scenario I remember facing prior to running my company full-time. The excitement of starting a new job, meeting your new team, and drinking out of the firehose was something that motivated me to push myself. More specifically, I loved the idea of being able to build something or even rework something that I knew could positively impact an organization.
That being said, I’m sure you’re thinking to yourself:
- What tools are being used?
- What’s the org chart look like?
- What’s worked so far and what hasn’t?
- What’s my budget?
- What resources do I have?
And quite honestly, the list of questions just don’t end there. But I believe that separating everything out into three categories are helpful: people, process, and tools. From there, you can objectively look at everything and begin the hard work of building out a digital marketing plan.
Let’s get started…
Why Do You Need a Digital Marketing Plan?
A digital marketing plan paints the vision of what you’re trying to achieve, aligned with sales objectives. By having a solid strategy in place, you also know the following:
- Target demographic broken down by buyer personas and verticals. This will help you understand which personas and verticals yield the most revenue to your company, what their purchase journey looks like, what they care most about and how you can execute tactics to solve their needs as well as their pain points.
- The right digital marketing mix. Honing in on the top executions that you will help you meet your objective is key to success. For instance, you may decide that PPC isn’t the right road for you, but first, you have to take advantage of readily available data by implementing keyword research, competitive research, and popular content topics.
- KPIs you will be tracking and measuring. Identifying these metrics will help you figure out which set of analytical tools you will need to explore to ensure you don’t miss a beat.
- Alignment with business and sales objectives. Have a clear path of how a marketing qualified lead (MQL) becomes a sales qualified lead (SQL) must be identified. And knowing where in the sales process it makes sense to have marketing injection points will only help synchronize efforts.
Start with What You Know
As a starting point, it’s important to simply look at what you already know. This includes data sets that can be collected across analytical tools to advertising platforms and so on. And as I stated in a previous post:
From Google Analytics, heat/click maps, and Facebook Insights, utilizing data to help you see where there are gaps within your campaigns will help you make the necessary improvements.
When diving into your data points, a few key items to look at are:
- Demographic skews. Who’s coming to your website? Who’s engaging the most with your content and brand? What more can you be doing to give these people what they’re looking for?
- Actionable points. From messaging to CTA buttons and design, identify the key elements that are driving the most engagement.
- Popular pages. Look at the most popular pages on your website and make sure there are CTAs on those pages to drive visitors further down your funnel.
Existing customers are the lowest hanging fruit when it comes to figuring out how you can make improvements to your products/services.
To learn more from your customers, consider sending out surveys to help ensure that you’re delivering per their expectations, they are happy, and you’re getting feedback where needed to make changes.
Understanding more of what your customers want will also help with the following:
- Shape your content strategy to write about the things they care about.
- Add more service and product offerings for upsell opportunities.
- Increase their lifetime value.
- Develop case studies and get testimonials to better position your company.
You can read more here.
Set Your Goals
Before you can begin identifying your digital marketing mix and you want to achieve, you have to set goals. Sometimes the best place to get going with setting goals is to figure out what it is that’s most important to the business, and how digital marketing plays an integral role.
I’m a big fan of working backwards. Meaning once you have nailed down what it is you want to eventually achieve, you can work your way back to figure out which strategies and tactics will foster that vision.
I recently wrote a post on identifying KPIs, and I think this portion is applicable for a winning digital marketing plan:
KPIs that matter most to marketing and the shared KPIs between marketing and the business. But first, it’s important to figure out the following:
- What is the most desired outcome by tracking these KPIs?
- How will these KPIs help the business?
- Which KPIs are going to foster overall growth initiatives?
- How will you define what success really looks like?
For marketing, as an example, looking at open rates, CTRs, CPMs, CPCs, etc. all matter because these metrics allow you to figure out where you may need to optimize your campaigns. As for shared KPIs, the following make the most sense:
- New customers acquired
Push Data-Driven Practices
84% of marketers cannot measure and report on the contribution of their programs to the business, and that only 44% of CMOs say that they can measure ROI. With these two stats in mind, it’s no wonder why so many businesses are still facing challenges when it comes to dissecting the value behind the data that they collect.
Analytics should be at the heart of your marketing initiatives. It enables you to understand what’s working, what needs improvement, where you should be spending more of your marketing dollars and where you should stop spending.
Being able to also clearly understand which channels are driving the best results for the lowest cost and best LTV, for example, is something that can be used to your advantage. In other words, you will know exactly where you need to allocate more of your marketing dollars.
Wrapping It Up
Again, the only to feel reassured that your digital marketing plan will work is:
- To align with overall business objectives
- Know your target market and personas
- Use existing data to help with decision making
Finally, make sure you take on a growth hacking mindset so that you don’t stay stagnant with your executions, but you are always testing different ways to drive better results. It’s good to keep pushing the envelope and to refresh where needed.