A successful marketing plan is the heart and soul of a good business and these 10 simple steps will point you in the right direction.

  1. Clarify the purpose of your business.
  • Pay attention to the small targets – these will help you achieve your end goal. Short term goals will make getting to your end result more manageable.
  • Don’t over complicate it – It shouldn’t take more than 100 words to explain the vision you have in mind for your company. Just ensure that you include what’s most important to you.
  • Goals Should Be Achievable – Goals that aren’t achievable will only lead to disappointment, and this is disheartening for both you and your clients. Set goals you know you can hit and, if you find yourself exceeding them, you can always adjust them later.
  • S.M.A.R.T goals:
    • Specific
    • Measurable
    • Attainable
    • Realistic
    • Timely
  • Don’t Be Afraid To Change – It’s a good idea every couple of  months to review where your company is and how far from your targets you are. Remember that your digital marketing plan is a live document, ever moving, changing, developing and growing.
  • Be Specific – Clarity helps you, your employees and your clients

2. Define your products.

  • This one is fairly self-explanatory – just let clients know exactly what it is you’re selling to them. Whether it’s a product or a service, people want to know straight off the bat what they’re getting for their money. It’s a matter of clearly defining your actions:
    • Online conversions – the percentage of your prospective clients taking the specific action you want them to.
    • Micro conversion – a small step, leading your visitors towards your main conversion goal.
    • Macro conversions – this is the main conversion or objective on your website, e.g. a sale or a completed lead generation form.

3. Know your competitors.

  • Always know your enemy and stay one step ahead with your marketing plan. To succeed in any business it’s not enough to be amazing at what you do, you need to look at your competition and if you see them doing something even slightly better than you then you have to up your game.
  • Set a specific amount of time aside every month to do a complete competitor review where you sit down and take an in depth look at every aspect of their online actions.

4. Set your objectives and goals. Without objectives you can’t set goals and without goals you have no way of knowing where you expect your company to get to.

  • Begin by setting out your five year, three year and one year goals. You can then break this down further so that you can then define exactly where you need to be in three months time.

5. Know your market and your customers.

  • You now know what you’re selling so now you need to be absolutely clear about your target audience. Don’t waste time and money on pointless advertising – be specific.
  • It’s always better to begin by rolling out a small campaign to a select audience than going for the big ones right off the bat. It will save you time and money in the long run.
  • Measurability – the most effective way to have successful measurability is to segment your market which is an effective way to increase sales in your specific target audience. The five main areas of segmentation are:
    • Geographic – dividing your business based on geography
    • Demographic – according to age, race, religion, gender, family size, ethnicity, income, and education
    • Firmographic – characteristics which allow you to segment companies, much the same as demographics segment people.
    • Behavioural – dividing the market based on customer buying behaviours
    • Psychographic – grouping previous, current, or prospective clients by shared beliefs, values, personality traits, lifestyles, attitudes, interests etc

6. Set out the marketing strategies for your products, your pricing, the distribution, and all aspects of promotion.

  • Again self-explanatory. Be clear about every aspect of your business, consumers trust what they know.

7. Outline your communication methods.

  • There are so many social media channels available now for you to get information out there about your company:
    • Facebook
    • Twitter
    • LinkedIn
    • Instagram
    • Google+
    • Youtube……etc
  • Each platform will have it’s own tone depending on what message you’re trying to convey so you need to find your individual voice for each channel you’re using.

8. Define your digital marketing budget. Bear in mind that companies who rely heavily on the internet for their income need to invest more into their digital marketing budget to get the results they want. Many companies assume that the budget should only encompass things like advertising spend or the development of a marketing plan  but it is much more than that:

  • Advertising – all the usual avenues apply here from social media platforms to google adwords and everything in between.
  • Digital marketing development – SEO, content development, video production, A/B testing, this list isn’t exhaustive
  • Content – What content do you currently have? Does it need updated or expanded? What content do you need? Do you need to content for your social media platforms? These are all individual questions and for each one that you answer yes to it will require its own unique piece of content, all of which takes time and effort.
  • Posting on social media platforms – each one is different and requires its own voice, this takes time.
  • Man hours – everything mentioned above isn’t a stand alone expense. Behind each of these is the man hours it takes to do them. Essentially, your digital marketer is like any other person you employ, you expect monetary results from the work they produce. However, for them to produce the work they have to be paid for the hours they spent doing it, this is very much part of your digital marketing budget so make sure you factor it in.

9. Establish the company’s action plan. Have a marketing plan checklist and define individual responsibilities.

  • Marketing plan checklist – This will help define your market, research customers, prepare sales forecasts, and budgets.
  • Responsibilities – all tasks are completed to the necessary level or above and on time, and that all goals are achieved.

10. Have a content publishing workflow. It will help you define the steps or processes that need to be carried out to produce the content. It keeps everyone involved in the process coordinated, shows clearly what stage the process is at, and clarifies what more needs to be done.