For all business owners and entrepreneurs, 2015 brings fresh opportunities to start new projects. Strategic planning is one of the most important aspects you should apply so that your investment and efforts do no go to waste. This is especially true for digital marketing, where the platforms and market trends change every day, meaning that actions and results require constant monitoring and optimization.
The first questions you need to ask yourself for the creation of your annual Digital Marketing Plan are:
Where are we now?
Where do we want to be?
Having a clear picture in your mind of what you want for your business is the first step towards building up an effective strategy. No matter how many circumstances or trends change around you, if you have a plan of action from the beginning, it will be easier to adapt without losing track of your goals.
Here are 4 tips for creating your Digital Marketing Plan for the year.
1. Set your goals
It doesn’t have to be anything too complicated. You can create a solid strategy based on two or three very specific goals. A few basic things to remember when writing them down:
– Is it clear enough so that everyone involved in the process understands what needs to be done?
– Is it possible to set measuring criteria to this goal so that over time you will be able to tell what is working and what isn’t?
– Is it within your possibilities to carry out the actions that will generate the results you expect?
– Is it relevant for your business? Meaning, can you clearly see the benefits from accomplishing this goal?
– Is it possible to define a timeframe for it?
2. Define your target
Whether you have been years in the market or your company is just launching, you must always keep in mind who you need to reach, but most importantly HOW to reach them. You cannot use the same language for Baby Boomer mothers and for Millennial mothers, for example.
Answering questions such as “What do they like?”, “Where do they spend their free time?” “What technology they use?” gives you a deeper insight on who they are and what might be the best way to approach and engage with them. The more you know your potential customers, the better you can communicate with them. Social media is particularly valuable in this area, given the amount of behavioral data that can be obtained from it.
3. Choose the right platform
A common mistake many companies make is trying to be everywhere at once. This means having a social media profile on each network we come across with. However, this isn’t necessarily the best tactic, especially if you lack the time and/or resources to manage them in the best ways. It is always better to invest your efforts in fewer profiles, with quality content, and a targeted community of potential buyers. Here you can find some tips on how to choose the best social media platform for your business.
4. Keep an editorial calendar
We cannot predict what trends and changes will come during the year to each platform or to your audience’s preferences. However, there are certain aspects we can consider from the beginning to plan the entire year such as:
– International holidays (Valentine’s Day, Christmas, New Year’s, etc.).
– Federal holidays (Thanksgiving, Independence Day, etc.)
– Local holidays (Rosa Parks Day in California, Alaska Day, etc.).
– Religious holidays (Yom Kippur, Ash Wednesday, etc.)
– Seasonal events (spring break, summer vacations, etc.).
– Political agenda (elections or congress activity).
– Sports events (Super Bowl, FIFA World Cup, etc.).
Of course, this will all depend on a number of variables, such as your particular industry, your location, and your target’s characteristics. Define this calendar at the beginning of the year, or even better, a couple of months before. This will help you align your overall strategy more effectively, in such a way that it will be easier to track results and adapt to the changing market.
First and foremost, keep a positive attitude. Digital marketing is an endeavor that requires both consistency and flexibility. Staying ahead of the curve means to be always on the lookout for new ideas and opportunities, and of not being afraid of trying new things.