How to Create The Right Digital Marketing Plan For Your Business

Whether you’re a new business and want to jump start your sales or an established one trying to expand your reach, you need to have a solid digital marketing plan in place to grow and thrive in the 21st century. When you start to investigate your digital marketing options, you will discover that there are many channels and tactics from which to choose. This article is designed to provide clarity and map out a step by step process to wade through these digital marketing waters and develop a plan that makes sense for your business. So, come on in, the water is nice!

Identify Your Marketing Budget

An important first step in creating your marketing plan is identifying your digital marketing budget. One of the most common methods of setting budgets for marketing is by percentage of gross revenue because it allows your spending to fluctuate as your revenue does. However, marketing and advertising budgets vary widely based on industry, competition, profit margins and a host of other considerations.

We recommend allocating between 7% and 13% of gross revenue for your marketing budget based on what works best for your unique business. Most companies spend around 12% of their annual revenue on marketing. (Source) If you’re doing less than $5 million a year in sales and your net profit margin is in the 10 percent to 12 percent range, the U.S. Small Business Administration recommends spending 7 to 8 percent of your gross revenue for marketing. (Source)

As you workshop your goals, target audience and best digital marketing channels to reach that audience, you need to factor in the budget allocation for each channel. It is very important to find a balance between how much you are spending on each channel with how much you need to invest to drive good results. This is always a tough choice between doing enough tactics while avoiding the common issue of spreading your budget too thin across too many tactics. One way to avoid spreading the budget too thin is to break down your budget by month and channel to determine channels and tactics that may need cut and ones that need more cash flow to produce the best results.

Set Your Goals and Communicate Them to Your Marketing Team or Agency

After identifying your budget, it is important to set specific large and small digital marketing goals that align with your overall business goals. Maybe you have the strategic goal of driving brand awareness and sales. That is great, but very vague and what just about every business wants from their advertising! A better description would be something like: “we would like to increase phone calls and online appointment bookings by at least 20%, and drive more awareness of our business in the South Hills communities to people over 35 years old near our physical store locations.”

When setting goals, we recommend setting measurable ones, also known as SMART goals. SMART stands for:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Timely

Here is an example of taking the vague goal of “we want to increase form submissions” and transforming it into a SMART goal:

To make this goal a SMART goal you would first want to look at current form submissions and calculate your estimated ROI from the goal. Let’s say you’re currently getting 9 form submissions per month with no advertising. You then factor that it usually takes 3 form submissions to get a sale, each sale is worth on average $2,000 and your advertising budget is $12,000 per month.  You then estimate that you at least need another 9 submissions to break even from an ad spend perspective. Now you can set the SMART goal of getting at least 18 form submissions through all digital channels each month.

Identify Your Target Market

Knowing who you are trying to reach is very important in creating an effective digital marketing plan. We work with our clients at 535media to create different “personas” to tailor their digital campaigns and messaging toward to ensure their ads are reaching the most qualified audience. Personas are fictional people who are most likely to engage with your site and buy your products and services. Any specific, detailed information you can provide around location, age, income, interests, goals, and other demographics can help you better define and reach your audience that will be most receptive to your ads and be your customer.

You would not market products to a single man in his 20’s the way you would market to a 40-year-old married man with three kids. Identifying these key personas that engage with your brand allows tailoring of the marketing message for specific groups.

Choose Your Digital Marketing Channels and Tactics

Now that you have identified your budget, goals, and target market, it is time to figure out which digital marketing channels and tactics will help you fulfill your advertising mission. There are many ways to reach your audience digitally, including, search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), display advertising, OTT, HULU, Pre-Roll Video, programmatic audio, social media advertising and more.

Within each of these channels are different tactics that are designed for different goals. For example, you can do a targeted display campaign to build awareness to people who have shown interest in a topic related to your services. You can also use the targeted display channel as a lower funnel tactic by setting up a conversion fence to measure the effectiveness of driving people who view the ads to your physical location.

Your advertising goals, budget and target market will help guide the process of what channel mix will work best for you. If you have a small budget and are laser focused on sales, you will want to focus on a lower funnel channel such as paid search. If you want to build brand awareness and sales with a younger audience with a large budget, you will want to do a mix of programmatic video and audio, as well as social media marketing and a smaller portion focused on paid search.

Measure Results

Well planned campaigns that lead with the end goal in mind lend themselves well to clear and concise reporting. It is impossible to hit a target that is not defined. Defining the targets and KPIs (key performance indicators) you want to reach are crucial in determining if your business was successful in your digital marketing efforts. 535media uses a launch, learn, and pivot approach to campaigns, where we constantly monitor results and optimize campaigns based on our study of what tactics and creative are producing the best results.

Start Creating Your Digital Marketing Plan Today!

A strategic digital marketing plan will help you reach new leads and earn new business for your company. If you would like to partner with a world class digital marketing agency to create a custom plan for your business, feel free to contact us at 535media to get started. We have a team of 37 marketing experts and creatives that can fulfill all aspects of your digital marketing campaigns.