Why do you need an Online Marketing Plan?
Recap your marketing efforts from the previous year
I can’t believe June is almost over! Is your business off to a great start as well? If not, it is not too late to ground yourself & work on a marketing plan with strategies for your business. If YES, GREAT! Congratulations! I still encourage you to read this post. There may be some takeaways for you!
If you don’t have a road map for marketing your business to take it to the next level, the first place is to start developing a marketing plan with short term and long term goals.
A Marketing Plan defines your final goal and all the milestones that you need to reach along the way. It’s a documentation of your strategic thinking—the why & how—behind both the goal and the plan for getting there.
Here are a few basic questions you need to answer before putting together an online marketing plan for this year.
- Did you have a marketing plan last year?
- If Yes, did you use any intelligence data on industry trends, competition, & your target market when you developed the plan?
- If Yes, you are off to a great start. If needed, you can optimize it for this year.
- if No, don’t worry. It’s not too late to start gathering intelligence and develop a marketing plan.
- How much money did you spend on Marketing last year?
- How many leads did you generate and what was the closing rate? Are you keeping track of ROI?
- Did you measure the performance of your marketing campaigns?
- If Yes, what are the most/least effective marketing channels?
- If No, you have to add this to the marketing plan
- Do you think there’s room for improvement in your strategies for this year?
- Did you have a marketing plan last year?
Industry Trends and Competitive Intelligence
Now that you have answered these basic questions, you have the historical data to use for your marketing plan. Additional intelligence on your industry trends and competition will help develop an effective strategy for your business.
Here are the areas you want to revisit and include or modify in your marketing plan for a better outcome:
Determine the responsiveness for devices, site speed, broken links & general health of the website. Google Webmaster tools is a free diagnostics tool you can use for this task. Analyze your competitor websites to understand the content, frequency of content updates, and such intelligence. The audit helps you understand your shortcomings and strengths compared to your competition and design a strategy accordingly.
The site needs to be configured to collect data on user traffic, bounce rate, page views, & other intelligence from real-time data. Define goals to track from the website for form submissions, click-to-call, document downloads, etc. If you have an eCommerce site, you need more comprehensive analytics tracking to measure your online store’s performance.
Conduct keyword research & evaluate how your website ranked for organic searches on various keywords relevant to services and products you promote on your site. Identify keywords that you are ranking poorly for and put a marketing strategy in place to optimize. Also, identify how well your competitors are doing in organic search rankings for the keywords you are targeting!
It is useful to know the search trends online for the keywords/services you are interested in promoting so that you can align your strategies accordingly. Google Trends tool allows you to gather this data. Major events, policy changes, or crises can influence industry trends. For example, COVID19 changed how businesses change their operating policies, which can create new business opportunities. Some businesses have to adapt to conducting virtual meetings, curbside services, and work from home opportunities.
Local Search Presence
If you cater to the local market, you want to be found on GMB (Google My Business), Yelp, Google Maps, and other prominent local directories. Make sure GMB and all the major local directories are populated with consistent information about your business. It’s essential to have your current business name, address, and phone number consistent across all the directories.
Online Reputation Management
When was the last time you made any significant purchase before reading reviews or recommendations from a trusted friend or a family member? Reviews are more important than ever now! More than 80% of consumers are doing their research online and making a decision based on reviews. If there are negative reviews, you can overcome them by gathering more positive reviews.
Search Engine Marketing or Paid Search
Evaluate what other businesses in your industry are doing, how much they are spending on ads. Gather competitive intelligence on this strategy before considering it in your marketing plan. Run through Google Adwords Keyword Planner to work out a budget and the right keywords to target for your campaign.
Social Media presence
Not every Social Media platform is suitable for every business. Some Social Media platforms are right for B2C and others for B2B businesses. So, carefully evaluate which social media network(s) your target market is hanging out on and the strategies your competition is using on social media. Based on this data, put a social media strategy in place. There are great social media monitoring tools that can help you listen in on social media conversation to gather competitive intelligence.
Performance measurement is a critical step in your strategy. If you are engaged in various campaigns without measuring how well they perform, you are throwing your money away. We already talked about Google Analytics to measure site traffic data.
Google Analytics is a powerful tool to get into finer details of statistics and metrics you want to measure for various campaigns that you are engaged in. Analytical tools are also provided by social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. to get insights into user behavior and campaign performance. Make sure you have all these set up the day you launch your campaign.
Don’t be overwhelmed by how much money and time it will take to build & implement your marketing plan. Remember, you have to start somewhere with your marketing efforts & creating a high-level outline is an excellent place to start, don’t you think!? You can implement your strategy in phases based on your marketing budget. But, you can feel better knowing that you are on the right path.
If we can help you answer any questions specific to your marketing needs or you want to schedule a complimentary consultation feel free to contact us.
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