Digital marketing should not be underestimated. It is an activity that requires careful consideration and ultimately extensive planning. The most successful digital marketing campaigns have a robust plan and are executed skilfully. I personally advocate the use of project management practice within marketing, ensuring that a defined framework is in place can often set a campaign onto a path to success. In my article, I’m going to outline my five step process to planning your digital marketing. This process is truly universal and can be applied to any company irrespective of its size or the sector that it operates within.
- Consider your Business Goals
Digital marketing is an incredible powerful tool and a successful campaign is likely to help you make progress towards achieving one or more of your business goals. At this first stage of the planning process I always encourage my clients to think beyond digital or marketing and consider their business goals. Common business goals might include: grow my customer base, increase customer retention or become the market leader within my sector. Once you have identified at least one business goal, you can develop a marketing campaign that can help you attain your business goal(s).
- Set Your Campaign Objectives
Now you have identified a relevant business goal, it is necessary to translate this into one or more objectives that are achievable within the digital marketing context. If your business aspiration is to grow your customer base your campaign objectives might be: drive 30 new visitors to my website each day, generate five new qualified leads per day by the end of the first month of the campaign and increase your social media reach by 40% during the first two months. It is essential that your campaign objectives are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-Based), if they are not SMART it will be challenging to measure your progress and hold your campaign accountable for the results that it is delivering. Ideally, you should formulate between three and five objectives for your campaign by the end of this step.
- Develop Your Campaign Strategy
Knowing what you want to achieve in terms of business goals and campaign objectives is powerful in itself, but to execute a successful campaign you need to understand how you are going to achieve your objectives. Your strategy is your plan of attack and should guide your day-to-day activities. In the digital marketing context a good strategy should include: an approach definition (description of how your digital marketing activities will be conducted); campaign objectives (as defined in step two); key messages (the critical messages that you want to reach your target audience); channel selection (detailing which digital marketing channels your campaign will use – e.g. social media or pay per click (PPC) marketing); campaign content (the text and images that you will use during your campaign) and a marketing measurement plan (outlining the measurement metrics that you will use to judge the success of your campaign).
- Establish Your Marketing Measurement Methods
By now you will have a great idea of what you want to achieve and how you are going to achieve it. It is almost time to hit the launch button, but before you do you need to enact the measurement plan that you developed in the previous step. Some digital marketing measurement tools such as Google Analytics (which is most commonly used for SEO and PPC campaigns) and Google AdWords (For PPC campaigns) should be setup prior to your campaign launch. This step may seem slightly tedious, but if you are to accurately judge the success of your campaign and collect valuable data it is essential.
- Launch The Campaign
Now for the moment that you have been waiting for! Pressing the go button is always great fun! Knowing that your planning is complete is a wonderful feeling. However, the work is far from over – in fact it is just beginning. The biggest mistake I see across all digital marketing campaigns is when businesses just let a campaign run! Whether you are running a PPC campaign or a targeted social media effort, there is an abundance of data collecting on your chosen platforms that is just waiting to be used. This data will provide some fantastic insights into how you could improve your campaign and increase your ROI. So make sure you use it! The best campaigns will evolve over time, adapting to the insights that can be gleaned from the campaign data.Did you find this post useful? Do you have any digital marketing planning tips that you would like to share? Leave a comment in the section below.
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- Consider your Business Goals