How to make a successful digital marketing plan for your small business

Running a digital marketing campaign is like driving your car through the middle of nowhere. Without a proper map or adequate road signs to help you on your way, you won’t be able to make heads or tails of the general direction in which you’re heading. You could be going further and further away from your target destination or you could be running around in circles.

That is why constructing a well-conceived plan is the foundation of every successful digital marketing campaign for your small business. In a way, this plan acts as a roadmap for your marketing efforts on your journey towards success. What’s more, competing online doesn’t require a large corporate budget if you know exactly what you should be doing with your resources.

How to create a digital marketing plan for your small business

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you develop a digital marketing plan for your small business.

Step 1: Conduct market research

In order to get the most out of your digital marketing campaigns, you need to find out how your competitors market their products. This information is vital as it lets you know exactly which tactics work and which don’t in your industry. In short, once you find out what these strategies are you want to reverse-engineer them to accommodate your particular business. For example, social media monitoring tools can help you get a good grasp of what type of content performs best in your niche and identify high and low competition keywords for organic searches.

Step 2: Utilize SMART goals

The next step on our agenda is to use SMART goals to define our marketing aims and set up concrete targets for us to accomplish. If you were wondering, SMART is an acronym of the following words:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound

Specific, in other words, means the need to focus on one particular metric such as leads, followers, and traffic; measurable, as in being quantifiable, like a 10 percent increase in traffic; attainable as in not biting off more than you can chew; relevant as in relating to your company’s overall goal, for example increasing traffic to boost brand awareness; and time-bound to set up realistic deadlines for your team. Use these to keep your digital marketing plan in sync with your small business objectives.

Step 3: Define your brand

The number of entrepreneurs that want to register a company in the form of a small business is on the rise. According to the ASBFEO, small businesses already make up more than 97 percent of all businesses in Australia. Yet, how many of these small businesses have a clearly defined brand?

Too few if you ask me. The most common excuse, however, is that small businesses lack the financial power to compete with the ‘big boys’ when it comes to branding. Without a clearly defined brand, you cannot effectively set yourself apart from the rest of the competition.

For example, take a look at the Death Wish Coffee brand and their unique selling proposition “the world’s strongest coffee.” It only takes a bit of ingenuity and brand consistency (both their logo and their content are a clear reflection of the brand’s personality) to get stuck inside of people’s heads. Follow their lead and create your own unique selling proposition out of the info you gathered from your market research.

Step 4: Choose the right channels

When choosing the channel into which you’ll funnel most your marketing efforts, it’s important to note that some channels are more equal than others.

For example, email marketing has long been considered the best form of digital marketing as it has an average ROI of $38 for each $1 spent. Of course, this does not mean that you should focus all of your efforts exclusively on email marketing, as there are plenty of other viable strategies out there, including: content marketing, display advertising, pay per click (PPC) advertising, social media marketing, affiliate marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), and so on.

Likewise, you don’t want to spread yourself too thin, which is why you want to focus all of your efforts only on a select few of these channels that fit into your marketing budget.

Step 5: Employ clever tactics

Picking the right channels for your marketing campaign is only half the battle. Now you have to employ the use of clever tactics to make those marketing strategies come to life. For example, a solid tactic for your email marketing campaign would be to encourage people into subscribing to your email list by offering them limited-time discounts or even a chance to win some cool prizes as incentive. Next, you need to keep an eye out for current trends such as using Facebook live stream to boost your social media following.

Also, there’s a number of interesting methods to increase blog traffic that you haven’t tried before. For example, participating in forums, commenting on relevant content, and posting on Quora are all neat ways to build your authority over the internet and gain traffic. Finally, referral programs are excellent at spreading word-of-mouth marketing both offline and online.

Bringing it all together

In the end, you need to keep a close watch of your marketing efforts and analyze them accordingly. This way you keep adapting your plan to the most optimal strategies. Rinse and repeat.

This guest blog post was written by Elaine Bennett who is a digital marketing specialist focused on helping startups and small businesses grow. Besides that, she’s a regular contributor for Bizzmark Blog. She writes hands-on articles about business and marketing.