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The simple way to create a strategic digital marketing plan

by Richard Willner, Head of Strategy
21st Mar 2017 - 3 min read
Further stock image for strategic planning

Don’t know where to start with your digital marketing? In my experience, following a sequential, stepped process can really help in determining your options, and where your time and resource are best spent.

You’ll find it difficult to do a full situation analysis without the expertise of a digital marketing company like Further. But here’s a straightforward process that will get you on the right track – and all it takes is a simple, one-word question: ‘How?’

Begin with your objectives

How do you want your digital marketing to benefit your business? The answer could be to raise awareness of an information campaign, or a new business or product. But in most cases, it will be to increase revenue while maintaining an agreed profit margin.

How will you meet this objective of increasing revenue? The answer to this will depend on your business, your industry, your digital properties and what they offer. These are factors that you should know about your business. And if you don’t, you better learn fast – your digital marketing must be tied to your business requirements.

As an example, let’s say that your website is a lead generation tool. It’s not an eCommerce site, you don’t sell online, but you do need the website to generate enquiries. So, how will your website increase revenue? Hopefully, a simple answer: by it generating more leads.

How will it generate more leads? By driving traffic to your website, and getting that traffic to make an enquiry (conversion).

Depending on your business, you may also be able to drive more leads from repeat custom. If so, you can start another strand of ‘How?’ questioning. For this example, we’ll stick with: how will you drive more traffic? Through organic search, paid search, display, referrals via partnerships or affiliates, direct etc. Use the channels within Google Analytics to help you.

Is your business B2B? Read our article: 6 steps to an effective B2B digital marketing strategy.

You can now ask ‘How?’ for each channel

How will you drive more organic traffic? Assuming there’s an opportunity to do so, you’ll want to improve your organic search visibility through stronger keyword rankings. You could also improve your click-through rate from organic search with stronger and clearer meta descriptions. And you could look at generating more brand searches via a broader branding campaign.

How do you improve organic search rankings? Through on-site improvements and off-site link-building. How do you make on-site improvements? Through website structure, content and a variety of technical tasks.

At any of these stages, but particularly now, as your plan becomes more granular, you may want to start removing some of these channels and options (at least for the immediate future). If you don’t have the budget for a big on- and off-line brand awareness campaign combined with content marketing and social media activity, it’s fine to focus on improving non-brand keyword rankings.

Furth's strategic plan flow chart

Using this stepped process, you can begin building a picture of the activity you want to form your digital marketing plan. Taking a logical, strategic approach will enable you to make good decisions. And who doesn’t want to be able to do that?

If you’re feeling a little lost on your digital marketing journey, get in touch with Further using our contact form to see how we can help your business.

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