How do I create a digital marketing plan for my business?

Updated: May 10

Congratulations!


By reading this e-book, you're taking the first steps to becoming an online marketing wizard.


After reading this guide, you'll be able to attract leads that turn into customers, giving your business the best chance of success.


Online marketing can feel overwhelming.


Whether you are a start-up or have a well-established local business, digital marketing rules constantly change.


It is often difficult to know where to start and concentrate your efforts. Fear not. This guide will provide a step-by-step guide of what to do and when to do it.


Before embarking on any journey, you must first have a direction you want to head. Seems obvious, right? It is still often the most overlooked step for online marketing.


It all starts with a plan.

I know you are reading this looking for a quick fix and simple hack to suddenly turn your website into an online money printer but to achieve this, you need to make sure you know your end goal and how you will get there.


Bear with me while I discuss what you need to research and why and then I will give you one simple trick to get it done quick and easy.


Understanding your market

Before you can choose which social platform to use and start deciding on what tools will work best for your business, it comes to the critical step of understanding your market.

You must research your market to find out as much about your 'perfect' customer. In digital marketing, this phase is called creating 'buyer personas.'


Your buyer persona will tell you the basic demographics of your audiences; average buyers' age, sex, relationship status, and education. It will also uncover your customers preferred social media platforms and how they search for things on the internet.


It will reveal other websites they frequent and the search terms they use when looking for your product or service.


Example of a Buyer Persona
Example of a Buyer Persona

But most importantly, your buyer personas will give you an imaginary figure you can aim all of your communication towards in a language they appreciate.


Hopefully, you can see why this first step is so essential. Conducting this research can feel daunting; however, skip this step at your peril.


Can't be bothered?


We can help you with this step - Check out our "Done for You 12 Month Digital Plans."


Benchmarking

I know what you are thinking, "When do we get to the juicy part?" We will get to the tools and strategies shortly, but as with any great journey, not only do you need a direction, you need to know where you are starting from.


  • Where are you right now?

  • How many visitors are currently visiting your website?

  • How many leads do you get, and what is your conversion rate?

If you are starting, you don't have a lot of this information available, but what is your goal? Are you just wanting more traffic, or are you looking to improve your conversion rate?


"What can be measured can be improved" - Drucker.


You can also use this step of self-discovery to take a peek over your shoulder to see how your competitors are doing. How much traffic are they getting to their site both organically and paid?


Milestones

Digital marketing is an ongoing activity that needs to be scheduled into your weekly and monthly routines.


So it will be imperative that you set out little milestones that allow you to poke your head up out of the forest and look around.


Good milestones are set monthly or quarterly and determine goals to stop and reassess if things are working or whether you need to pivot and focus your efforts on different areas.


Small business owners should set aside monthly and quarterly to review their goals and objectives is essential to measure and take stock of their activities.


It takes an average of 22 contact points or impressions to convert a visitor into a client.





Digital Marketing Action Plan

Here is where the rubber hits the road—a plan of what to do and what order will put focus and energy into your activities.


Here I will lay out a framework to get your small businesses found online;


Website

Your foundation - Obviously, it is necessary to have a website to rank on any search engine.

However, you do not need to drop a fortune on an expensive website when starting your small business.

Website costs can range from under $500 to over $10,000. If you are starting, chances are your site, and your business concept will evolve, which means you may not necessarily need all the bells and whistles that can feature on a website.


Do not get bogged down trying to perfect your website. A functional website is much better than a beautiful site that no one can find.


A clean and straightforward layout, great pictures and excellent web copy should be enough to get started.


A website is never finished as it requires ongoing maintenance, content, updates and improvements to stay relevant.


Soon, you can see what works and what doesn't, and you can upgrade your site from there over time.

Are you interested in having your website reviewed and optimised for the best conversion rates?


Check out our website optimisation package!


Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Now it is time to fine-tune your website for improved performance. There are essentially two types of website optimisation - onsite and offsite at the risk of sounding too nerdy and losing your interest.


Onsite Search Engine Optimisation

  • Keyword research - your website needs to contain your customers' terms and phrases to find your goods or service. These phrases and words can change over time or may not be as apparent as you think, so using a tool such as Google Keyword Planner can help you with your keyword research. Once you have these phrases, you need to incorporate them into your web copy.

  • Website loading speed - nothing loses eyeballs quicker than a slow loading website - try https://gtmetrix.com to check your score.

  • Improve website content. Create persuasive copy designed to convert visitors into customers.

  • Check Headline tags, meta descriptions and image alt tags. In essence, all of your headings should be labelled H1, H2, or H3 to be noticed by search engines.

  • Images should also be marked for the same reason.

  • Meta tags are page descriptions that should contain relevant keywords and be correctly applied.

Offsite Search Engine Optimisation

  • Citation development is critical for local businesses such as landscaping to rank well on maps. Citations are directory listings that need to be carefully managed to ensure consistency of information, but managed well is a very high indicator of your search engine ranking success.

  • Reputation management – reviews and ratings are also extremely important for converting customers online.

Blogging

"Small businesses with a blog receive 55% more website visitors."


Blogging may not be everyone's cup of tea, but it works!


Your blog post should be helpful, appropriate, and well-written content that answers your customers' problems. Google uses algorithms to find solutions to the questions people ask. Google favours websites that contain useful, relevant and well-written content.


Therefore your website is viewed favourably in the eyes of Google, and it will then send searchers on the internet to your site. This is the basic principle of organic search traffic or search engine optimisation or making your website attractive to search engines such as Google.


Want to outsource your monthly blog? We can help.


Content marketing strategies

A content marketing strategy should form part of your digital marketing strategy.


Content marketing uses company-crafted collateral to tell your story and inform potential customers and existing customers about your products.


Valuable content can come in visual content such as photos, images, infographics or video content.

Written content marketing can come in relevant articles, online reviews and a landing page.


Content Marketing is an essential digital marketing strategy that small business owners can not ignore.


The great thing about content is that you create it once and then use it across multiple platforms to drive website traffic back to your web page.


You can use your content piece for email marketing, influencer marketing, mobile marketing and even online ads


Google AdWords

Google is the largest search engine globally and typically the best place to advertise your business when starting out.


Search engine marketing or online ads capture leads and attract customers as they actively seek information on your service. This differs from advertising on other platforms such as Facebook. Instead of using a searcher's intent, you explicitly target your ideal customer to tell them about your product or service.


Facebook advertising is a different kettle of fish, and we will touch more on social media marketing. While social marketing can be an excellent way to get people to know about your business, products, or service, you need to be careful. You don't want to distract people from what they were initially doing on Facebook. You also don't want to annoy them by constantly trying to buy something.


Google Adwords can be set up quickly, and you can get results fast.



Google Adwords example
Example of Google Adwords

Retargeting

Have you ever wondered why you are suddenly inundated with ads for those exact products you were seeking after searching for a holiday or the latest mountain bike?


Retargeting involves placing a cookie on each visitor to your website. Once the cookie is set, you can advertise on other sites using Facebook and Google to promote to that person.


Retargeting has a smaller but specifically targeted audience and often has a much higher conversion rate and can be a very effective form of advertising once you have been operating for a while.


Paid online directories and backlinks

We have already talked about listing your business on free advertising listings in our section on SEO – now it is time to evaluate paid listings. There are quite a few options, ranging from $25 to $200 per year. A bit of research into these directories can significantly improve traffic to your site.


Backlinks are the links from other websites to your site, and these can be beneficial, but you need to know where they are coming from, what the website is about and how reputable it is. There are many places to get backlinks, such as blog postings, social sites and directories. These links will help increase your search engine result rankings for your chosen keywords and drive traffic to your website.


You need to be aware that Google does not like spammy backlinks, and you cannot trick Google by shortcutting this process.


Email Marketing Campaigns

Email Marketing has one of the best digital marketing strategies because of the return on investment. Email marketing campaigns are instant, and you can potentially get results within the hour for a well-crafted email.


Have you ever heard the saying, "it is easier to sell more to an existing customer than it is to gain a new one"? Email marketing campaigns follow this logic.


Most small businesses have a list of previous customers who have at some stage bought from you or contacted you, so this seems like the first place to start for quick returns.


Check out our monthly newsletter writing service details.



Social media posts

When consulting with clients, we ask if they are using social media, and often the response is "we are on Facebook but..." and then they trail off. Understandable. Social media is complex for most small business owners because stepping onto the platform and expecting to understand, navigate, and use social media is no easy task.


However, if you shift your mindset about social media to thinking about, "what value can I add to my (online) community? What do I know about my industry that others don't? Can I share that?".

These sorts of questions can help you choose what to post, and here are a few more ideas we recently posted on our blog, 9 Social media post ideas for your small business.


Check out this helpful post on 11 easy social media ideas for small business tips for your small business.

Once a customer or prospective customer has engaged with you on social media, your content will appear in their news feed. There is no better way to promote your business than regular and consistent reminders, especially to someone considering or has used your services in the past.


The key to this strategy I have already mentioned is regular and consistent posting.


This is not always easy to do when running a small business.


Learn more about monthly social media posting.


Social Media Marketing

You may wonder why we have left social media advertising this far into the process.


The main reason is that Search engine marketing, as we discussed earlier, is a better form to capture customers' attention looking for information on your service.


Up until this point, Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is the only money we have spent on "advertising" that is actively trying to get our message across to the people who may be looking for it.


All activity up to this point has been designed to improve and drive traffic to the website. Search engine marketing allows for some quick wins while we wait for organic search engine optimisation to take effect.


Social Media Marketing is an entirely different ball game from Search Engine Marketing.


While SEO is designed to make your website appear on the first page of search engine results, social media marketing drives traffic from social media websites such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+.


Social Media Marketing will help grow your customer base by allowing you to connect with users on a one-to-one basis. This allows for getting instant feedback about specific topics related to your business which can be incredibly useful when trying to find out what products or services people want


You need to choose two or three Social Media channels relevant to your target audience. For example, if you sell baby clothing, try Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.


The choices are almost endless regarding the number of channels you could potentially use.

However, you should stick to a maximum of three because it can be difficult enough to manage two separate social media accounts, let alone five or more.


Tracking and measuring

However, none of this matters if you have not been tracking all of this along the way. How will you know the effectiveness of an email campaign if you did not realise your statistics before commencing?


Statistics to monitor are

  • Impressions

  • Clicks

  • Click-through rate

  • Costs

  • Cost per click

  • Website conversions

  • Phone conversions

  • Total conversions

  • Conversion rate (as a percentage)

  • Average cost per acquisition

  • The lifetime value of your customer.

The last two items listed here are perhaps the most important as they will guide all of your marketing efforts moving forward. For Example - If your customer lifetime value is $5000 and the acquisition cost is $100 or 5%, then it is worth investing heavily in the activities that drive that lead.


Marketing Budget

It is great to have all of these digital marketing strategies, but how much will it cost?


As a small business owner, you have seen there are many leads to be generated for each channel.


How do you get the best bang for your buck?


How much you choose to spend will depend on your business, industry and marketing plan.


Your marketing strategy will evaluate the lifetime value of a customer and reverse engineer your small business digital marketing strategy from there.


As a (very) general rule, you can expect to pay $1-$2 per click using paid media, and in truth, most websites will convert only 2% of those clicks into leads.


If you convert 20% of your leads into paying customers, you would need to spend at least $200 to get one paid lead through digital channels.


However, if your product or service is worth $1000, well, you do the math.


Final thoughts

By following the steps outlined in this guide and focusing your marketing efforts, as a small business owner, you should be well on your way to establishing a successful online marketing campaign for your small business.


Remember to tailor your strategy to fit your unique needs and goals, and don't be afraid to experiment with different tactics until you find what works best for you. Engage marketing professionals to cover your weaknesses.


With a little hard work and some creative thinking, you can put yourself on the map and start attracting new customers worldwide.


Are you ready to get started?


Would you like to have a digital marketing plan crafted and tailored specifically for your business?


Check out our done for you digital marketing plans here! If you have any questions, reach out to us and we wish you all the business success!

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