Whether you’ve decided to take a step forward and build your own company or just need to redefine your goal and strategy to adapt to the current situation, here is all you need to know to create the perfect digital marketing plan. Grab a cup of coffee, take some time to read and think and start taking your notes. Ready?
Analyze your position
As obvious as it seems, understanding your company and its position might be actually harder than you think. It’s easy to be carried away by our own dreams. They have to transform into realistic goals, but we need to know where we are in order to envision the path that leads to them.
Be honest about where you are and realistic about where you’d like to be. Think about what you’ve already achieved, your current position, assets and capabilities. Figure out your potential ones and think about the things that you can start improving. Where are you? Where do you want to be? What do you have? What can you do? What do you need to have and do in order to be where you want?
Define your goals
Now that you’ve identified your current position and capabilities, think about what you want to achieve in the short to medium term. This way you can start planning a strategy with a realistic approach and it will be easier to focus on specifics.
Now, you should not lose sight of your big dream, but think about it as the consequence of many little victories. Your short and medium term goals are milestones along the way to reaching your long term objectives.
Understand your audience
Who are they? Where are they? What do they need? What can you do for them? Try to build buyer personas. Use your knowledge to start defining them and your data to adjust and reshape your personas to a more accurate depiction of reality.
Once you’ve understood their characteristics, needs and desires, you will understand where to find them and how to approach them.
Define channels and actions
Now it’s time to think about how are you going to make it happen. If you were thinking that this article was just about preparation, well, then get ready to take action, because we’re going straight to the nitty gritty.
You know your company and your audience. What you can do and what they want you to do. Where you are and where to find them. Now it’s time to make a move. Think about what you do when you want to buy a product or hire a service. It’s always a process, right? And it happens across several devices and channels.
Maybe you saw an ad on TV or a banner, then you looked for more info on the Internet, you found a blog, compared reviews and bought what you wanted or needed. Since you liked the product or the service, you also subscribed to the newsletter to know more about how to use it and be up-to-date. Fantastic. But, hey, you had a question and you needed an answer, so you asked them via Facebook. Does this all sound familiar to you? Well, this is also how your audience behaves.
You have to be present along the whole customer journey. Therefore, you need to define what channels are key for you and the specific actions that you are going to perform on them. Multiply chances by multiplying channels.
Think about your assets
Do you have everything you need to take action? Put together all your assets and organize processes accordingly. Try to mentally simulate specific situations. Does your marketing plan work? Is there anything you miss? Do you identify any weak spot? Would there be a better alternative?
Finding the best use for every asset is key for you to get the most our of it. Also, identifying weak spots and strengths is the first step to developing contingency plans.
Set timing and budget
Now that you have figured out what you have to do, you just need to define how long you need to reach your goals and how much this is going to cost you.
However, It is possible that, moving forward on your planning, you have realized that you need more money or more time to make things happen. Well, that’s totally OK. Some people find themselves in really difficult situations because they were not able to foreseen that they assets were not enough to successfully develop their plan. But you, instead, have a great chance to adjust details now and avoid unpleasant surprises later.
Have a contingency marketing plan
On the one hand, your marketing plan is ready to be implemented, but as you might know, things don’t always work as planned. If there is something that COVID-19 has taught us is that everything can change in the twinkle of an eye. There are two ways of dealing with uncertainty: by freaking out or by assuming that it exits and that we can’t control everything.
On the other hand, we can’t predict the future, but we will certainly be in a safer position if we think about a couple of different scenarios. Just put yourself through the little discomfort of this exercise. I know, after the making effort of creating a solid plan, this feels almost painful. Though, having contingency plans could be the key factor to overcome all sorts of negative situations.
Get the ball rolling
This is it! You’ve come a long way to get to this point. Congratulations, you’ve reached your first milestone. You should feel proud of it. You are ready to get the ball rolling, so take a deep breath and just press play. Set the plan in motion and remember: having a plan does not mean that things are always going to work according to it.
In short: get ready to monitor, analyze, adjust and optimize.