Whether you’re running a small local business or managing a multi-national corporation, marketing plans are a necessary aspect of the modern business strategy. Simply put, an online marketing plan can help you reach the right audience and effectively communicate with your customers.
Experts in advertising, management, and marketing are quick to recommend a marketing plan because it rolls all your advertising and content creation into one cohesive strategy—but how exactly does it work? Marketing plans rely on the information that a company already has on hand and that’s precisely why marketing online has become so popular: there’s data everywhere.
Most social media platforms have a statistics page that tracks demographic information on the people who are interested in your posts. Google Analytics can do the same for your Web site and when properly utilized, this information can help you to increase brand awareness and engage more effectively with the right customers.
An online marketing plan is all about strategizing and using the information already at your fingertips. And while marketing plans will differ depending on a company’s consumer base, there are a few common threads to help get your marketing plan up and running.
Implement Buyer Personas
Who are your customers? No, really; who are the people who will be interested in your products? Before you can market anything to anybody, you need to have an idea of the people who will have a need for your products or services.
A buyer persona takes this information and gives it a face and personality. How old are the consumers that your business is targeting? What sorts of jobs do they possess? Are they married? What are their interests and hobbies?
For example, a toy manufacturer knows who their markets are: parents, grandparents, and other caregivers who watch over children. They know the struggles that parents face. Parents want to be there for their children and connect on a meaningful level, but they also want some time to themselves.
Those sorts of details are much easier to take into account with buyer personas. If you’re struggling to create personas to segment your consumer base, polling your current customers can be a great first step.
Learn to Measure Success
Do you know where your customers are online? Baby boomers love Facebook while younger generations are more likely to use multiple forms of social media like Twitter and Snapchat. Depending on where your consumer base exists, you’ll need to be there as well.
Also – how do you plan to measure success? Many social media pages have built-in statistical insights, but how will you measure this interest and its relation to sales or conversions on your Web site? No matter what your objectives are, they need to be measured with appropriate digital tools.
Create Content that Works for Your Audience
Creating engaging content is an entirely different and nuanced topic, but measuring its success is the key to growing as a business. The only successful content is the type of content that engages and aids your customers.
Your marketing strategy should be flexible and change based on what works for your audience—but what “content” are we talking about here? In general, it’s important to plan social media posts, blog posts on your company’s Web site, and complementary visual content as applicable through photos and video. Depending on your budget and the industry involved, advertising through Google AdWords can be a great benefit as well.
Each of these platforms offers the opportunity to track exposure and how people interact with your content. Try different things, post at different times, and find what works best for your company. If you’re willing to put in the effort and remain flexible, your marketing plan will have your business growing in no time.
By Alex Briggs, a contributing author for Coastal Business Supplies, a company that specializes in printing supplies for businesses.