5 Simple Steps to Create a Digital Marketing Plan to Increase your Sales

david b otha

David Botha

David Botha is the founder and MD of Brand Labs Marketing Agency

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Why you need a Digital Marketing Plan?

A digital marketing plan is a document/report that outlines your digital marketing strategy for a predefined period of time. You can create a plan for an entire year and then tweak your document for the following years. 

After following these simple steps in creating your plan, you will have a blueprint to use for every campaign you decide to roll out. Without a digital marketing plan, you will have no direction and waste money in the process because you will target the wrong audience,  use the wrong digital channels and continue on a path that will limit your companies potential.

5 Simple Steps to Create a Digital Marketing Plan to Increase your Sales

*Navigate from the menu above to go to each section

Define and know your brand?

It’s important to really understand your brand before you can sell your products or services. Many companies skip this step which results in a matrix of confusion and inconsistency down the road.

By understanding why and what your company does is an important starting point to make your digital marketing efforts more focused in the future.

Your brand needs to be top of mind when a customer has a problem that needs to be solved. Understanding your brand will make it easier to do your messaging, fonts, colours etc and develop a consistency in your implementation.

How to define your brand for your digital marketing plan

  • Why you do what you do?
    • Why are you in business and what motivates you to get up every morning. 

      For example: Johns local takeaway and restaurants mission is to get more people eating healthy who are not able to pay the prices that the local delis and health shops offer. For every cost effective health meal John sells, he contributes 10% to a food shelter to provide for the homeless

      You can see from the example that John has a clear mission and motivation to sell and do what he does.

  • Who are my competitors?
    • Make a list of all your competitors and identify their strengths and weaknesses
  • What problem does my company solve?
    • John’s restaurant is able to provide food to people so they can live a healthier life at an affordable price

  • What are the functional benefits that we deliver to our customers?
    • Example: Fresh healthy ingredients, Tasty food, biodegradable takeaway boxes, big portions

  •  What is my value proposition? Is it unique? Is it targeted to my customers?
    • List all your unique selling features.

      Example: Fresh ingredients at an affordable price, Healthy food at fast food prices. 

This is a strong position for John as he will gain more credibility and get more people buying his food because of his generosity and aim to provide something that the community wants and needs

Your Turn

If you want to have success with your digital marketing plan, start by defining your business’s brand and figuring out what makes your company unique.

Complete this section and you will see how easy this makes the rest of the process of creating a digital marketing plan. It will keep your thoughts, focus and intentions streamlined so you can get more leads and customers when you start implementing your plan.

  1. Do this brand personality quiz to really know who your brand resembles
  2. More information about Brand Archetypes here

Create your buyer personas for you digital marketing plan

One of the key steps to creating your digital marketing plan is creating buyer personas for your company. You need to understand who you trying to talk and reach out to if you want to create a digital marketing plan that’s going to be effective. This is the person who is most likely to buy your product or service

What is a buyer persona

Simply put, it’s a fictitious representation of your ideal client or customer based on who your existing clients are as research.

Take time on this and really map out what this customer looks like. Start by including demographics, behaviour patterns, what motivates them and what are their goals. What is your typical customers pain points.

Let’s look at an example and how many buyer personas you need in this case scenario.

An outdoor store may have departments for each category each with a different target audience, or in some cases they may have a crossover, but to simplify, let’s assume they have a camping section, mountain climbing and skiing department.

You will have a different persona created for campers, mountaineers and skiers. You can then break this down even further to say you have women and men for each and some may even have different behaviours to others in these sub categories, for example a single camper compared to a family camper. Buyer personas help you group your messaging for different audiences so you have the most relevant marketing message

Your turn - Create your buyer persona using this methodology and following the steps in this article.

What your buyer persona will look like after using this simple methodology for a B2C persona

  • Personal background of fictitious character 
  • Name and photo to humanize your fictitious character
  • Interests and hobbies
  • Financial situation and behaviours
  • Typical day of this person
  • Wants and needs
  • Fears, challenges and concerns
  • Technology
  • Social media profiles and brand affinities
  • Quote – overarching statement about your persona. Chat to your sales team and revisit sales emails to figure out what statement best reflects your persona.

Guide on how to build your buyer persona for your digital marketing plan

  • Personal Background and Story?
    • Example 

      • Demographics – age, gender, marital status, education, career info, geographic location
      • Hobbies and interests
    • Resources
      • Demographics – age, gender, marital status, education, career info, geographic location
      • Hobbies and interests
  • Name and Photo?
    • Example 

      • Select a photo you think will resemble your persona
      • Try not to use a name of an existing customer or someone you know
    • Resources
      • Find an image of actual customer on social profiles.
      • Use a stock image that will resemble your character
  • Finances?
    • Example 

      • Financial background of a persona, like income, spending habits and the personas preferred method of payment may influence how we market our products or services. 
      • What is this personas prefered buying method, credit card, cash on delivery etc
    • Resources
      • Google generational buying power and generational spending habits, this will give you data over the past 6 months. 
      • This will give you info based on surveys and studies of generation groups spending habits and powers.
  • Typical Day of our Persona?
    • Example 

      • Create a simple snapshot of their day, nothing lengthy just a few highlights of their typical day. 
      • Think of this as a trailer for a movie. 
      • This will help us understand how they consume marketing messages and what stops them from seeing our message which gives us an opportunity to market to them in a different way.
    • Resources
      • Google generational buying power and generational spending habits, this will give you data over the past 6 months. 
      • This will give you info based on surveys and studies of generation groups spending habits and powers.
  • Needs and Wants?
    • Example 

      • What is this person’s hopes and dreams. By understanding their needs and wants, we can tailor our messaging in such a way that connects with them more effectively which will result to more sales

    • Resources
      • Look at comments posted on Facebook, 
      • What shopping sites they follow? 
      • Where they have been on holiday?
      • Pay special attention which posts they like.
  • Fears and Challenges?
    • Example 

      • Identify fears of your persona. 
      • What are their external and internal challenges they face? 
      • This will help us empathize with them and connect better.
    • Resources
      • Social media will give you some great info. 
      • You could also do a  survey on your website. 
      • Make sure you understand their top frustrations in general.
  • Technology?
    • Example
      • How does your persona use technology?
      • What devices do they use?
      • How do they browse for information?
      • What information are they accessing?
      • This will give us a good understanding on how we connect with them and what jargon we use. 
      • Dont assume its age related, it’s more about their lifestyle.
      •  
    • Resources
      • Facebook insights is a great tool to use to understand their behaviours and what technology is being used. 
      • Customer surveys.
  • Social Media Profiles and Brand Affinities?
    • Example 

      • Find out what social media profiles they have.
      • Are they posting regularly.
      • Do they engage with brands and which ones. 
      • Find out where they go to to ask questions.
      • This information is vital as we know how to target our persona. 
    • Resources
      • Social media analytic reports will give you great insights.
  • Their Quote?
    • Example
      • Assign them a quote/statement that defines their point of view. What kind of statement would this typical person make over and over again

“I want a vehicle that is efficient and reliable that can save me 20% on my fuel consumption and not pay for services. The vehicle must have enough space for me and my family of 3 with high tech features”

    • Resources
      • Review sites
      • Quora
      • Sales team
      • Research on Google
      • Social media groups

What Now?

Once you have your buyer personas created, it will help you target your customers effectively in your next digital marketing campaign. You can resonate with your audience a lot better which results in better engagement and conversions. 

Just remember, you will only do these initial personas once and tweak as you understand your audience better. This will save you loads on advertising spend and time. If you have a marketing team, this allows everyone to mould the same messaging from these buyer persona models.

You will have a different persona created for campers, mountaineers and skiers. You can then break this down even further to say you have women and men for each and some may even have different behaviours to others in these sub categories, for example a single camper compared to a family camper.

Buyer personas help you group your messaging for different audiences so you have the most relevant marketing message

Set your Goals for your digital marketing plan

Before you start with any digital marketing drives to your target audience, you need to set your goals.

If you dont outline where you want to get to, it will be difficult to see the effectiveness of your digital marketing and may take you off course.

When mapping out your goals, you should establish the main goal you want to achieve and have smaller ones which will help you reach the main goal

Example of a main digital marketing goal

  • Main Goal: Your main goal can be to increase your conversions by 60%
    • To achieve this, you can set a sub goal to gain 30 new email subscribers
    • Another one can be, to increase social engagement by 30%

As you can see, the sub goals or smaller goals can assist you to increase your conversions by 60%

SMART Goals

Goals are the measurement for your digital marketing efforts, they need to be set before any campaigns are implemented.

SMART, stands for: Specific, Measurable, attainable and relevant. The SMART framework is used by major brands and companies to outline their goals.

Set your goals for what you want to achieve

  • We would like to gain 60 new email subscribers each month for the next quarter.

  • This goal is specific and measurable because you are using an exact number you need to reach, its attainable and relevant to achieving your main goal.

  • Setting goals will allow you to measure success and fast track to success.

Your turn to add your goals to your digital marketing plan

Set your main goal for your business and create sub goals in order to reach that objective.

You can set as many small sub goals as you wish, make sure they are attainable keeping in mind your budget and resources you have.

Select your digital marketing methods and platforms

At this stage you have defined your audience, created your buyer personas and set your budget. It should make it easier on how to reach and communicate with your target audience.

I have categorized the digital marketing methods below to make it easier for you to select the most viable ones to use for your next campaign. These are not all the methods available but definitely the best result driven digital marketing methods.

Organic non paid methods

You will use content marketing as the overarching pillar to execute on the below

  1. Search engine optimization(SEO)
  2. Social media posting on your pages
  3. Commenting on forums and groups

Paid advertising (PPC)

Content marketing will also be used here depending on where your buyer is in the sales journey.

  1. Social Media Ads
    • Facebook and instragram Ads
    • Twitter Ads
    • LinkedIn Ads
    • Pinterest
    • And others like Snapchat etc.
  2. Google Ads
    • Search
    • Display
    • Remarketing
  3. Programatic
  4. Advertising on blogs and media sites

Influencer Marketing

90% of users trust influencers suggestions when purchasing or getting advice on a product or service. It’s a good idea to invest in the right thought leader or  influencer to gain more awareness and sales for your brand.

Look for influencers on social media platforms or blogs and send them a message on how they can benefit from posting to their  audience and linking back to your site. In most cases, when asking an influencer to post your content, there is a fee incurred, this is how they make their money. Finding the right influencer can be massively beneficial for your brand, these guys already have a following and database and they have earned their trust.

Sometimes, an influencer does not have to be an industry expert, look at celebrities. Fans trust them and will ofetn purchase on a recommendation by a cdelebrity because there is an element of aspiration.

Do some research and build a content and digital advertising plan that you think will reach your target audience spending the least amount of money to get the best results.

Your Turn - Insert your digital marketing channels into your plan

Create a spreadsheet with the methods and costs associated to each with potential reach. Work out what’s going to be the best ROI for your efforts.

Measure your digital marketing efforts

This stage will not form part of creating your digital marketing plan but its important to list the KPI’s you will measure for your campaigns in your digital marketing plan. Find the KPI’s you need to include in your plan here, you can also follow the steps on what to measure and to look out for.

Insert into a working document that can be part of your digital marketing blueprint you have created.

Whats next

You have now created your digital marketing plan and ready to put into use. Make sure you include in-depth sub digital platform plans to form part of your blueprint.

For Example, create a content plan on what you will produce and then use different marketing channels to distribute the content, either organically or through paid advertising.

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