Greetings! For today’s blog we just want to be clear about our intended audience right off the bat. We’re looking at how to create an online marketing plan. If you’re a small business owner then this one’s for you. If you’re new to marketing or have perhaps had the online marketing tasks handed off to you even if it’s not technically your job (as can often be the case), then we’re here to help! This is not an in depth technical analysis of the activity, but a rough guide to help you get yourself on the right track so that you can gather your thoughts and give this whole thing a red hot go in an organised and as methodical as possible a way. So with that said, let’s get straight to it!
The absolute first port of call for anyone wondering how to create an online marketing plan is to put some goals in place. They will drive everything from that point on so it’s important that they are not only well defined and achievable, but you need to know for certain that what you’re proposing is physical possible via the platforms that you’re exploring. “Increasing sales” is not a goal. Profitability of the campaigns to a certain percentage point is, as is a particular number of sales, levels of engagement, views, shares and much more. Furthermore if you’re looking to get some sort of idea around what a reasonable expectation could be around those metrics, simply Google a few case studies around your industry. You’d be hard pressed not to find something at least loosely related to your product or service with data you can use to make informed decisions about what your goals should be. We can’t offer a definitive link for you to explore this given the range of businesses we’re likely speaking to right now, so just Google “digital marketing case study (your product of service)” or something to that effect and you should be in good stead.
Potential of different platforms
Once you’ve decided what your goals are and you’re confident that they’re achievable with a bit of work, it’s time to look into what different marketing platforms can do for you. There are a few of the obvious examples, such as social media being the channel to turn to if you’re looking for shares or likes and SEO/Google Ads being the channels which can best accommodate acquiring a large number of clicks from motivated users in the right stage of the buying cycle. But there is also crossover to consider, such as all of the previous examples being able to provide results for direct retail sales, but only one being able to tell a story and enable meaningful ongoing relationships with your customer base. The other important thing to consider is re-marketing. If you were considering the examples we gave and thought that they all sounded like they could be of use, then it’s very likely that they not only could be, but could also feed into each other in ways you may not have considered. We’ll be doing blogs around re-marketing in the not too distant future, but in the meantime here’s some reading we’d recommend on the topic.
This is where we really get to the meat of the matter. The fact is that many businesses get their budget all wrong from multiple angles. Here are a few common pitfalls to avoid:
- Research the average CPC (Cost Per Click) in paid advertising for your industry as well as the search volume around the keywords you plan to target to understand how much you need to allocate.
- Understand that if 1 out of 100 clicks results in a sale, but that sale makes you more money than you spent on those 100 clicks, then you’ve got a good starting point from which to continue optimising so that you can reach more conversions per 100 clicks (as an example). It won’t perform optimally first try and even if it’s just breaking even, that’s still a starting point to work from. Eliminate the losses, build on the rest.
- Understand that if either of the above things make you nervous, then you might not be bringing in enough money to afford a decent marketing campaign. There definitely is a baseline that needs to be applied for any given budget that can be worked out with the above examples (as well as this much more detailed breakdown) and going below that baseline to try “testing the waters on a smaller budget” will often give a business the wrong impression about how effective that channel can be. Basically, you don’t buy the $20 version of a $100 chair and expect that those two things will be the same and this is no different. So do your research and allocate accordingly. You may need to look elsewhere for ways to increase profits for a while so that you can afford to run an effective campaign.
The smallest of points, but it’s definitely important to note that you should allocate the proper amount of time to set these campaigns in motion. You do not want to find yourself rushing through such an important endeavour so be sure to set some time aside to do nothing else until you’re finished.
Planning your activities is not enough. You need to ensure that you are tracking the success of those activities and adjusting accordingly. We’re not here today to explain how exactly to do that (we’d suggest checking out this YouTube channel for some great tutorials), but something we want you to take away from this is that it’s nowhere near enough to simply turn the ads on and see if you start drowning in cash. You need to understand the data and how to take action in order to steer the ship to where it needs to be. It will not happen overnight and there is often a period of investment required while you utilise the data the campaigns produce so that you can fine tune everything and get your marketing humming, so don’t assume it to be a failure if it doesn’t work right away. It’s all about testing, review & action giving you incremental improvement as you edge your way to a successful campaign.
That’s it from us for another blog! As always if you’d like us to explain any part of how to create an online marketing plan better or want to explore your Brisbane online marketing options then feel free to get in touch! You can also leave a comment below if you think that there’s anything we’ve missed or want to start a discussion.