A well-thought-out marketing plan is essential to be able to grow online in 2021. This way you know where your company is and where you want to go in the new year. There is also better communication within the team and you determine how you spend your budget most effectively.
Still, many companies struggle to create an online marketing plan. Some only have it in their heads, others don’t think about it at all. Now is the time to make the right strategy concrete. With the 5 steps below you can easily create a beautiful base.
What is the marketing plan?
In a marketing plan, you set goals that you want to achieve. An online marketing plan, or internet marketing plan, is naturally about goals that you want to achieve online. Some organizations have a marketing plan that includes online activities. However, online marketing is growing in B2B and B2C organizations. In that case, a separate online marketing plan is essential.
Why do I need it?
If the internet is not very important for your company, because you mainly focus on offline marketing, for example, an action list may be sufficient. In that case, an extensive internet marketing plan is not necessary.
Are multiple departments or people with different roles involved? Then a strategic online marketing plan is useful for internal communication, budget, and overview. Moreover, knowing where you stand and where you want to go is important to be able to grow online.
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How do I make a marketing plan?
You can of course write out a marketing plan on a large sheet of paper. This way you can brainstorm with colleagues and exchange ideas. Making a marketing plan online is also an option. This way you can easily update and share it with colleagues.
First of all, the current online situation is asked. Then you move on to the online ambition, the objectives, the (best-selling) products and finally the target group.
Do you want to make an online marketing plan? Then try to work out the steps below for yourself as well as possible. It is okay if not all answers are precisely described. You can always improve and perfect it. Based on results, you can create and optimize your own ideal (online) marketing mix.
To answer the question “How do I make a marketing plan?” Below you will find 5 steps to draw up such a plan.
Step 1: Determine the current situation
When you get started, it is important to start from your current situation and look further from there. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What is the business strategy?
- What is the sales/marketing strategy?
- What position does online marketing have in this?
- What activities are currently taking place?
- Are they running well?
- Are there leads/sales coming out?
- How much budget is spent on it every month?
You can take a step deeper during an online marketing plan by looking at your own website. Including this in your plan can achieve conversion optimization:
- How many visitors come to the website every month?
- How many leads/sales come from the website every month?
- How long do visitors stay on the website on average?
- How many pages do the potential customers view?
The above points can be mapped out via Google Analytics. This free program keeps track of what visitors are doing on your website. To measure sales/leads, you must first set so-called goals within Google Analytics.
By knowing where the company / website is online at the moment, you can determine much better where you want to go.
Step 2: Think about your ambitions
In step 1 of the online marketing plan, the current online situation is mapped out. Now we can look to the future. What are the ambitions with online marketing? Is it the intention that all turnover will come from this or does it serve to support offline marketing? You don’t have to be specific here yet. Try to keep reality in mind. Being the online market leader throughout Europe within two years is not feasible for most companies.
Step 3: Work out objectives
Now that you have thought about your ambition in step 2, you will determine how this can ultimately be achieved. Of course, this does not happen overnight. By achieving goal by goal, you get closer to achieving your online ambition step by step.
Determining good objectives often proves to be very difficult in practice. We often hear goals such as “We always want to be number 1 in Google” or “We want to sell as much as possible at the lowest possible cost”. These are not real goals, but more ambitions (and often too ambitious).
A well-formulated objective in your online marketing plan is always SMART. This stands for:
- Specific. Is the objective clear enough?
- Measurable. Can the objective be measured (afterwards)? For example in the number of products sold, amount of turnover or number of website visitors?
- Acceptable. Is there agreement within the company?
- Realistic. Is the target feasible? Be ambitious, but stay realistic.
- Time-bound. Within what time frame must the target be achieved? For example in 6 months, 1 year or 12 weeks.
Online marketing plan example SMART objective: Generate 30% more contact requests in the second half of 2019 through the use of Google Ads compared to the previous half year.
Having one or more clear objectives indicates where the company stands and where it wants to go. This is also easy to communicate to the outside world. An online marketing agency that is going to support the company, for example, knows well where to work towards it. Without a clear objective, this is not clear to anyone and it remains guesswork whether or not the company is doing well.
Step 4: Identify the best performing products
A common mistake is that entrepreneurs often want to promote all their products at the same time through online marketing. Take it from us: don’t do this! It is important to focus only on those products that generate the most sales (or that bring the most traffic to the website). The products that distinguish the company from the competition are also important.
See which Unique Selling Points the products have and bet on them. Make use of the 80/20 rule. In general, 80% of sales are generated by 20% of the products (or customers). In this step of the online marketing plan, map out which products generate the most sales and which are distinctive. You can initially focus on this.
Step 1 can serve as a good basis for this. Google Analytics is a great tool to find out which products / services are sold the most, or generate the most traffic to the website. Setting goals helps very well with this!
Step 5: Decide who you prefer to sell your products to
Think about who would want to buy your product or service. Go beyond just “anyone interested”. First, consider whether the company’s focus is on consumers (B2C) or companies (B2B).
Do you want to sell to a specific country or globally? Also, try to figure out for yourself which problems or questions people will contact you with. This helps in providing the right solution. You can also have that solution reflected in your online communications. By thinking carefully about this you can make much better choices when it comes to online marketing.
To create an online marketing plan, you follow the steps above. It is important that you do this at least once. It is even better to review the plan several times a year. This way you know in time whether the objectives are being achieved, whether that one product still generates the most turnover and whether the target group is still the same.
In the online world, we are constantly faced with developments. These changes are being picked up and implemented faster and faster nowadays. To stay online you have to continuously work on your own goals based on results and keep adjusting. Stay sharp, make timely adjustments and be flexible in order to gain an advantage over your competitor.