Step By Step Guide To Create An Online Internet Digital Marketing Plan
How To Create An Online Internet Digital Marketing Plan Guide
This instructional article guides your through the process of writing an online internet digital marketing plan. The internet is ever changing, but so is this guide. This online marketing planning guide encompasses the most current advancements in digital marketing. This includes the leaked Google Search Quality Ratings Guide which you can download here. This online marketing plan guide includes a link to a digital marketing plan instructional template & an overview of the tactics and channels to consider as part of your strategy.
A Step By Step Guide For Creating an Online Internet Digital Marketing Plan
This step by step guide will support you in creating a powerful online internet marketing plan. Your digital marketing plan will increase your online presence. Internet marketing is just traditional marketing with an incredibly powerful assortment of cost effective tools and a rapid measurement feedback loop. With that in mind, keep flexible in your planning, knowing that you will be adjusting your channels and tactics quickly as your read the results of your digital marketing approaches.
Set Business Goals
Step 1: Start With An Understanding of The Entire Business & Marketing.
Regardless of your size of your business, whether you are a startup or part of a multinational corporation, you need to have a clear understanding of your overall business objectives. Marketing (and sales) drives the revenue stream of your business and is a product of your business goals and thus has to be aligned to your overall strategy. Of course, with Digital Marketing and the astounding power of the Internet, feedback from your marketing efforts may dramatically send a signal to shift your business goals. However, these goals would have to be integrated into your overall business planning.
The image to the left is of what we consider to be one of the best business planning & strategy books on the market. It is called New Venture Creation by Stephen Spinelli and Rob Adams. A good business planning book like this would be essential for a startup and possible could assist someone in a larger business in a least enabling them to determine the drivers of marketing planning.
Research & Analysis
Step 2: Your Customers
With Step 1 you should now have a firm understanding of where business is and where you want it to go. If you do not, you need to work extra hard with the Research and Analysis.
With Step 1 you would have hopefully have profiled your target customers. Regardless of your efforts with Step 1, I want to reemphasize a very important aspect of your planning here.
You want a firm understanding of who and where your customers are. One way to do this is to build a profile of your typical customer. Think of the demographics (their averages with everyone else), geographics (where they live) and psycho-graphics (how they think/lifestyle). With this information you will have a description of the typical buyer of your product or services.
Here are a few resources to help you in creating a Customer Profile (also called a Persona):
Research & Analysis
Step 3: Your Competition
There is “science” and “art” to sizing up your competition.
Your analysis can start with a spreadsheet. I use a few different types of pages.
- Listing of your competitors and their online presence (ie website review, social media, their content)
- Ranking of keywords and the landing pages versus your competitors (you want to be able to update it as it changes with time)
- Ranking of competitor advertising / promotion / content pages. Again, you want to design it so you can update it with time.
There are also tools for researching your Competition that you can find online.
One tool that I like is a competitive tool by Screaming Frog Spider. Screaming Frog is a great service and offers great value for SEO Auditing.
Another Competitive Analysis tool I like is SEMrush. It audits site and a lot more. It is a great tool that I use quite often. It makes keyword rankings and content marketing much easier. You will want to also look at the SEMrush blog for Online Marketing information.
A final tool I will mention here is the amaze balls Rival IQ. It is a great website and SEO audit tool that will save you a lot of research hours. It looks at Social Media, meta descriptions and the general online competitor space. It will let you know where you fit in it all.
There are countless number of tools. There are also premium SEO tools like Raven Tools and the one of the best out there called SEO Moz tools to get you an deeper understanding of your competitor keyword and links.
Your competitive research will help you in determining your Digital Marketing Obejctives. Which is what we are going to cover off in the next Step.
Step 4: Define Your Digital Marketing Objectives
At this point, you have reviewed or understand your overall business goals (includes products and services), and have also focused in who your customers and competitors are. You also know what is CURRENLTY possible.
You are ready to begin to go into your marketing planning in more detail. I will emphasize that “business planning” is about your overall business and your “marketing planning” is about how you get to your business goals via marketing (and sales) activities. Your Digital Marketing Plan is a direct offshoot off your Business Marketing Plan.
There are a couple “tools” I would recommend in helping you get a better understanding.
The first is called PR Smith’s SOSTAC® Planning Model. There are six aspects to this planning tool:
S = Situation Analysis – where is your business now?
O = Objectives – where do you want to grow or strengthen your business?
S= Strategy – in general terms how do you get to your objectives?
T =Tactics – what aspects of the marketing mix are you going to use?
A = Action – how are the tactics going to be executed?
C = Control – how are you going to measure your activities?
Here is a chart by the SOSTAC® creator:
For more on SOSTAC® certification – see www.SOSTAC.org.
A second tool I really like is called SWOT.
S = Strengths – where is your business now?
W = Weaknesses – where do you want to grow or strengthen your business?
O = Opportunities – in general terms how do you get to your objectives?
T =Threats – what aspects of the marketing mix are you going to use?
Here is a chart:
SWOT is one of the best brainstorming tools I have used. I teach a Business Strategy course and find it to be very helpful and revealing the proper position for your marketing. The key to using SWOT is to keep going (don’t even worry about the notion of internal or external to your company) with ideas until a “pattern” appears. If you keep adding in ideas into the four areas a “eureka” moment will occur. Keep going until this happens, whether that be hours or days. Trust me on this.
Think about the following options to narrow down the list:
- Marketing Objectives – Try to break down the Objectives from the last Step into more actionable goals.
- Budget – How much do you plan to spend on your online marketing?
- Available resources – How many people can you allocate to the online marketing and/or what support do you havet?
- Available content – What is currently working with your content?
- Your website – How is your website. Does it have enough content, is it structured well, is it mobile friemndly? Does your website follow Google webmaster guidelines?You can click here to see.
Let us move to the next stage.
Step 5: Plan Your Digital Marketing Tactics & Channels
In the last step you determined what your Digital Marketing Objectives were. At this step you now think about how you are going to make those Digital Marketing Objectives happen. Consider what has worked or not worked well in the past. Look at what your competitors are doing. Consider who are where your customers are. Take a look at your Social Media, your Email Marketing, what directories are listing you, what the press is saying, etc.
Look at your Google Analytics and review the referral traffic, keywords, landing pages and more. Value can be defined as existing referrals, % of new visitors, No of new leads etc use your Google analytics data to see trends.
With this understanding of what has worked and what should work, and the effort to perform it. With this understanding now consider the tactical pieces of your Digital Marketing Plan. Marketing is always about taking the low lying fruit; try to get the easiest wins.
The link at the top of this step links to almost all Online Tactics and Channels you need to consider.
Action Plan or Tactics
Step 6 : Launch Your Internet Marketing Weapons : Machine Gun Versus A Riffle
Okay, you are now ready to launch.
VERY IMPORTANT TO CONSIDER! – Digital Marketing is dynamic. You want to sequence out your marketing tactics and almost daily read the results and adjust. Some successful tactics will take off and you will follow them. Some you may never get to, because your initial launch tactics were so successful. Your Tactical Plan should be updated monthly at the very least.
You lay out your tactics in a time-based fashion. Also with a consideration of how the different tactics could possibly interact. Make sure you design your tactics to follow your Marketing Objectives. For example if you want to build customer relationships, take a good look at your social media. If you want to increase sales of a specific product or service, look at your content marketing.
With Digital Marketing tactics, you are juggling. Move your tactics like Cheese Players, always in motion. In your roll-out – your are monitoring & measuring and reacting always.
Action Plan or Tactics
Step 7 : Is it Working? Measuring Results, Measure Again, Again…..Again
You are measuring your tactics themselves and you are also measuring your tactics in light of your Marketing/Business Objectives. Examples include:
- Increase sales of a product or service by 10% from time period to time period
- Increase organic website visitors by 15% from time period to time period
- Increase social media likes on Facebook page by 20% from time period to time period
There are lots of services and tools available to assist you with your measurement of your Digital Marketing efforts. Other than Google Analytics and Google Webmaster. take your time and figure out what you think will work best for your situation. Ongoing going review and measurement of your tactics allows you see how your online tactics are working and what you might need to do to make it work better.
Your fundamental measurement tools are Google Search Console (Google Webmaster) and Google Analytics. There is an incredible amount of measures that you can view – aspects such as traffic, goal conversion, landing pages, etc.
The cornerstone of any measure is the scientific method of a control and a test. Google allows you undertake AB or split testing, Look to Google Content Experiments for more information. Also look to Customer Journeys for insights into customer buying journeys.
Clicktale or Crazyegg can be used to see customer behavior on your website. It will show where they enter, browse to and leave your site. Heatmaps are a great visual tool to see where customers are clicking on your site.
For social media, Simply Measured offers some great free social media reports. There is also a list of 44 Social Media Tools offered from Social Media Examiner. Other Social Media measuring tools to consider are analytical tools like Facebook insights, Pinterest Analytics and Iconosquare ( Instagram). Other social media measurement dashboards can be found with Hootsuite, Hubspot and Sproutsocial.
A websites that document various tools can be found at these sites:
- Ultimate seo tools checklist
- Or another one seo and social media tools
- and the finally marketer toolbox.
In addition to the number try to understand why certain measures are working. For example if an established newspaper linked to a page on your site, the page would skyrocket in measurement.
Remember that the Internet is a “wall” between you and the audience you are trying to promote to, measurement is the only way to bridge the gap. It is fundamental in your planning and ongoing review of tactics.
Step 8 : Daily, Weekly and Monthly Digital Plan Review
With your measurement and analysis in Step 7, you now want to move up a layer. You want to take a look at the big picture of how your Digital Marketing is working and how it is affecting the success of your Objectives. On an ongoing basis read your marketing tactics and adjust your Digital Marketing Plan accordingly. Closing off failing initiatives and opening up new opportunities.
Your Digital Marketing Plan is a living document, never static. You will be updating it constantly. You should be constantly highlighting in the plan what worked and did not.
Bonus : Digital Marketing Plan Template
Smartinsights have given a free to use Digital marketing strategy and planning word template. You can check out the marketing planning template on the Smartinsights site. If you join Smart Insights as a Basic member (highly recommended) you can download the PDF!
I would also recommend purchasing a book called Emarketing Excellence. The author of Emarketing Excellence also has a great tutorial on using Google Analytics to improve business results.
Have Any Questions? Want to Learn More?
We have been at this for 30 years, so for many of you, we have a head-start. Looking for a little help in developing your Digital Marketing Plan? Send us an email or contact us phone. We live and breath Internet Marketing and can help guide you or your organiation to where you need to be. Get in touch with us with any questions relating to your planning, we will help you out a bit for free.