It is important to recognise that planning for digital marketing does not mean starting from scratch. Any online communication must be in line with the overall marketing goals and current marketing efforts of your business.
The stages of digital marketing planning
The main components of a digital marketing plan will typically include the following stages:
- Identify your target audience - if you identify multiple targets, rank them in order of importance so that you can allocate resources accordingly. Profile each target group and understand their needs and expectations. This type of customer segmentation will help you choose the right tactics for your plan.
- Understand your competitors - profile your competitors and the market in which you operate. What types of online marketing do your competitors use and how well do they perform? This type of benchmarking will help you understand the environment in which you are operating.
- Set your objectives - possible objectives could include raising awareness of your brand, improving sales or online registrations and improving customer retention. The objectives and strategy that you choose depend on your business needs.
- Plan your tactics - once you have a top-level strategy including your overall objectives, you need to identify the tactics that you want to use. The plan can also cover any other non-internet marketing activities that are being undertaken. Think about how you will measure your success - build in feedback mechanisms and regular reviews to enable you to assess the performance of your digital marketing activities and identify areas for improvement.
- Agree a budget - careful budget planning allows you to prevent costs spiralling out of control. Identify the returns you expect to make from your investment in digital marketing activities and compare these with the costs in order to develop a cost/benefit analysis.
What to include in a written plan
When you write up a document detailing your digital marketing plan – include these important elements:
- digital marketing plan - executive summary
- digital marketing plan - situation analysis
- digital marketing plan - objectives and strategy
- digital marketing plan - tactics
- digital marketing plan - budget
Know your legal responsibilities
- Do you need a licence?
- Get the right business insurance
- Comply with the law when providing goods and services
- Know your customers' rights
- Distance and online selling rules
- Understand pricing legislation
- Buying goods from outside NI
- Selling goods outside NI
- GDPR compliance checklist
- Pay your business rates
- Understand staff contracts and your responsibilities
- Taking on contractors and subcontractors
- Health and safety basics for business
- Know your legal obligations on pensions
Understand tax and VAT
Sell and market your products or services