What is a marketing plan?
Every digital marketing strategy needs a plan that sets the path of the actions to be carried out. Therefore, when referring to a digital marketing plan, we talk about a document or guide that contains both the analysis of the current situation of the company and the environment in which it operates, along with the objectives that you want to achieve over a year, in addition to the proposal on the actions you need to implement for the strategy to succeed.
It is essential to emphasize that strategic marketing is based on creating a constant communication between commercial objectives and those related to digital marketing. So it’s not just an isolated area looking for comments and likes. To develop a successful professional marketing plan, it is necessary to have the support of all sections of the company; finance, customer success and the data analysis department must be an active part of the strategy development.
The marketing plan provides a platform to align the company’s business objectives and marketing objectives, providing common direction and a shared vision for all employees. This helps ensure that all workers have access to the same goals.
Why do you need it?
Here’s the short answer: just like any other business activity, digital marketing strategies need a «map» to guide.
Designing an annual marketing plan is key to establishing the necessary guidelines in digital marketing strategies. Like any other business, digital marketing strategies need a «map» to guide. Including everything in a single document will help you keep track of the plan and understand what works, detect areas of improvement or rule out strategies that are not working.
In addition, recording results will allow you to objectively measure the success of campaigns and make adjustments based on objectives and results. Key components of the plan include the definition of buyer people, the budget, the actions and the objectives to be pursued.
6 Advantages of having an annual marketing plan
The purpose of marketing is to improve the customer experience by measuring the events that occur inside and outside the company. This is achieved by improving products and/or services, as well as optimizing the ways in which the company establishes connections with current and potential customers.
In that sense, having an annual marketing plan will not only allow the company to set clear and realistic goals, save money, but also maintain focus and consistency in their marketing efforts and measure and evaluate the success of their campaigns. The advantages are many, here we explain the most important:
Marketing Plan vs Business Plan
Despite their importance, many companies underestimate the power of digital marketing and see it simply as a way to have a presence on the web. They set up social media accounts or create a website, but don’t take the time to plan and execute effective digital marketing strategies. This mindset can be detrimental to any business, as customers will not simply appear without an effort to attract them.
Therefore, it is essential to understand how the digital marketing plan relates to the company’s business plan. In the scheme presented, you can see that the digital marketing plan is not separate from the business plan, but is contained in it (or at least, should be). This is because the digital marketing budget must be related to the overall business budget, and digital marketing actions must be consistent with the overall business strategy.
It is important to note that the digital marketing plan is not the same as the company’s marketing plan, nor is it limited to online advertising. The digital marketing plan is a specific tool that focuses on digital strategies to achieve business goals through online channels.
Before drawing up a complete digital marketing plan, it is essential to take into account both the brand’s business model and the plans already prepared by the marketing department. In this way, coherent and effective strategies can be developed to achieve the company’s objectives. In addition, the results of digital marketing actions should be considered to measure ROI and adjust strategy accordingly.
Factors to consider in your digital marketing strategy
To create a successful digital marketing strategy, it is important to consider several key factors. One of the most important factors is the market to which your business is directed. You need to have a clear understanding of the market in which you want to position yourself and stand out so that the image you project is consistent with your value proposition.
Another crucial factor is the audience you want to reach. It’s critical that you know exactly who you want to reach and how you expect to be perceived. You need to consider their needs, wants and behaviors to create an effective digital marketing strategy.
Content is also a vital part of digital marketing strategy. You need to create relevant and interesting content for your audience, and this involves knowing the formats and channels that will be most effective for your business. The task of a content strategy is to guess the kind of information, the formats, in addition to the media, in which you will show your product or service, in addition to your proposals, benefits.
It’s also critical that you measure and evaluate your results using metrics. You need to measure everything you do on networks to better understand your audience, improve your content and achieve your goals faster.
In short, to create a powerful digital marketing strategy, you need to understand and consider key factors such as market, audience, content and metrics. In doing so, you’ll be able to create a coherent, effective and well-focused strategy for your online business.
Here are some examples of how these factors can be applied in a digital marketing strategy:
- Market: If you have a high-end clothing store, it’s important that your digital marketing strategy reflects your brand image and the style you want to project. Focusing on social media and blogs that appeal to your target audience, like Instagram and Pinterest, is paramount. It is also necessary that your website has a clean and modern design to convey the quality of your products.
- Audience: In the case of being a vegan makeup brand, your goal should be to reach those who appreciate animal cruelty-free products and natural ingredients. To attract this audience, you need to focus on educating and raising awareness about vegan beauty products, as well as sharing relevant content through your social media.
- Content: If we’re talking about a financial advisory business, you can point your content to the generation of blogs, videos or podcasts to inform your audience about financial advice and how to save money. It’s vital that your content reflects your financial consulting expertise to build trust among your audience. We recommend that you read our article What content to publish according to your sector? to become an expert in the subject.
- Metrics: If, on the other hand, you’re an e-commerce company, you can leverage data analytics tools to monitor and evaluate your website’s performance. Pay attention to conversion rates, time spent on the site and bounce rate to understand how users interact with your website and how to optimize the user experience.
Even in businesses in the same sector, variables change according to the objectives of each brand. That is why it is so important, not only to know specifically each of these factors, but to implement an original and own plan aligned with both commercial and marketing strategies of the business.
Recommendations for designing a digital marketing plan
Getting started is the hardest step, but also the most important. With the constant change and evolution of technology and the digital marketing industry, designing a successful digital marketing plan is a challenging task. That’s why designing a successful digital marketing plan requires proper planning and thorough research.
While it may seem intimidating at first, following the recommendations below will allow you to ensure you have a solid foundation for your marketing plan and get the best possible results in today’s digital world. Therefore, we recommend the following:
Audit the situation of your company
The best way to approach a successful marketing strategy for a company is to start with an audit of the current situation of the company. This involves analyzing in detail the positioning of the company in the market, its customer objectives and its competition. This audit provides a solid basis for setting the most appropriate marketing goals and strategies for the company.
In addition, it is important to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your business, in order to capitalize on the former and work on improving the latter. This will allow you to define the areas that require more attention in digital marketing planning.
Analyze how your business is doing. Try to have a balance of everything so far, to facilitate the process, we advise you to think about the following questions:
- Who are your customers? List them and investigate the reason for their loyalty to your company.
- What are your audience’s favorite products or services?
- How does your audience behave? What are the social networks or channels they use most?
- How has your development been in these channels?
- What opportunities have you missed?
- What are the goals you haven’t achieved yet?
- How much have you invested and how much are you willing to invest?
- Do you know who your buyer is? Do you know your Ideal Customer?
These are just some questions to inspire you. It is advisable to think about your company and what factors you should take into account before advancing in the design of your strategies.
Be clear where you’re going
Frustration is a common experience when implementing a digital marketing strategy, especially when trying to meet goals. This is due to several causes, such as lack of planning, resources, focus on the right goals, understanding the audience and the market, among others.
One way to address these challenges is to set realistic and achievable goals that are aligned with the company’s overall strategy. For this, it is crucial to use the data collected in the previous recommendation in order to define the direction in which our plan will be best oriented.
Understanding the fundamental differences between goals, actions, objectives and strategies is another factor that can dispel the initial anxiety or confusion at the beginning of our document. Below, we explain it in detail:
- Goal: Refers to the overall long-term goal. This will tell you the main direction you want to reach.
- SMARTs: Check that your goals are measurable, so you can evaluate progress and adjust your strategy if necessary. You can understand how to achieve this by reviewing our article on the importance of metrics in marketing strategy.
- Strategies: These are the general actions you need to take to achieve your goals. In other words, they are the action plan to achieve the goals set.
- Actions: These are the specific tactics that will be used to implement strategies and achieve objectives. Generally speaking, these are the concrete actions that are indispensable to achieving your goals within a given time frame.
Analyze how you will reach your goals
As you can imagine, just the vision of what you want to achieve is not enough. At this stage, it’s important to spend some time thinking about how you’re going to get what you put forward in your marketing plan.
By following these steps, you can carefully analyze how to achieve the goals set in the marketing plan and improve the chances of success in implementing the digital marketing strategy.
Here’s a check list with key points to consider to make sure you have everything you need to implement an effective digital marketing strategy:
- Establish a detailed budget: Make sure you have the financial resources you need to carry out the strategy effectively. The detail of how the money will be managed will be a great benefit also when measuring the return on investment.
- Make an audit of all the resources you have: In addition to establishing a budget that will help you implement your strategies, do not forget to take into account the time, the work team available and the technology you have at your fingertips.
- Make a list of the resources you’ll need: When you analyze your data, you’ll notice that there are weaknesses that can be easily overcome by adding new resources. Write them down and get them, don’t be afraid to try new technological tools, you will be surprised how much you can achieve with their free plans.
- Create a calendar of activities: This way you can manage your efforts and those of your team when you go looking for the objectives. We advise you to be as intuitive as possible. Be explicit about the actions your team should take and supervise that they go along with your strategy.
- Create a Gantt diagram: SMARTs objectives are designed only to create a strategic vision, in order to achieve the objectives in the right time, set deadlines and deadlines that help your team put the plan into action. Remember, in addition to creating a one-year plan, this will tell you how to organize your time.
- Establish a follow-up plan: When you get down to business, many forget to evaluate your results. Knowing the KPIs you will evaluate will be a great help in understanding the success or failure of your plan. Even if your results are excellent, it is always possible to improve it with the help of data and its conscious monitoring.
Having an annual marketing plan is a decisive tool for the growth and success of any company that wants to differentiate itself from its competitors, offer an excellent service to its customers, and ensure that it is profitable.
Now, if it’s true that an annual digital marketing plan will help you set goals and strategies, it’s not a limited document. In fact, if it is developed correctly it can be part of a long-term project that covers much more time. Creating it is just the beginning of a bigger plan that will be improved thanks to the recommendations we have shared.