Marketing your business on the internet is a daunting task so you need a good internet marketing plan. There are many components to a successful internet marketing strategy and knowing where to effectively put your time and resources is not always obvious. Planning your time and expenses is critical to make the most of your resources. So we’re providing an overview of what steps to consider and a Free Digital Marketing Plan Template for your own use. These steps will get you thinking about what key efforts you want to make part of your digital marketing plan.
Internet Marketing Plan
1) Target Demographic
Use this section to understand and define your target market. Different groups use different media in different ways and understanding who your customers are and how you can best reach them is a critical starting point. Who will likely use your product or service? Consider the following:
Social media platforms appeal to genders differently. In general, men use social media more than women. On the other hand, Pinterest is skewed heavily towards female users. Understanding the gender of your target audience can inform where you put your resources.
Like gender, the age of your audience will dictate how best to reach them on the internet. A younger audience uses social media far more than an older audience. In addition, the younger crowd tend to be more sophisticated users and expect a well designed user experience.
Consider your target audience’s education level as well. If you’re selling high tech products to engineering teams, you’ll want your content to be formal and professional. On the other hand, if you’re selling a product or service to a broader group, a more personal, less formal tone will make sense.
2) Competitive Analysis
This section is used to identify your competition. What are they doing right? What are they doing wrong? How can you provide value that they are not? There are many ways to gain intel on your competitors and tools to help along the way. At a minimum, look at the following:
Most SEO tools can provide data regarding what keywords and phrases your competitors are ranking for. This can inform your decision regarding which keywords you will want to support. The sooner you have a good keyword strategy, the sooner you can apply that to your digital marketing efforts. Consider consulting with an SEO expert to develop a keyword strategy early on in your planning process. High volume keywords can be used in:
- business names and domain names
- content creation
- social media posts
- business profiles
Quality backlinks to your website have a huge impact on search ranking but getting backlinks can be a challenge. Once again, SEO tools can automatically find backlinks to your competitors that can also link to your website. Make a list of backlinks that will be helpful for your site and add them when you’re ready.
Social Media Presence
Evaluate your competitor’s social media and other offsite presence. You can usually find their social media pages linked on their websites. Be sure to look at some other places as well to see what might make sense for you. For example:
- Google Business Profile
- Bing Places
- Local business directories
3) Keyword Analysis
We touched on keyword analysis in the last section and will cover it here for your specific business needs. The best way to get traffic, leads and sales for your business is through (free) organic search like Google. It’s free! To get traffic from search engines, you need to rank well for keywords your prospects and customers search for on Google. Some keywords may be obvious but you can be sure there are a lot more than you can’t think of.
Your internet marketing plan must involve a keyword analysis. Keyword analysis is used to understand the keywords and phrases your visitors are using in their search efforts. It is critical to identify both short and long phrases keeping in mind that there may be keywords you haven’t considered. Identify how often keywords are used in search so you can support the ones most likely to result in visitors to your site.
If you can afford to get SEO tools, even if it’s only for the planning phase, great. These tools can provide a ton of info plus all kinds of other useful digital marketing insights. If your budget is tight, try some of the free tools listed here.
4) Search Engine Optimization
SEO is used to rank individual website pages for keywords that are important to your business. Keyword analysis, discussed above, is the first step in this process. Once you have identified important keywords, you then implement a process to maximize your rankings for those keywords. Tasks can include:
- Technical SEO: making sure your site meets a number of technical criteria and has good load times
- Content development: provide support for your target keywords
- On-page SEO: making sure your pages support the keywords assigned to them
- Backlinks: obtain quality backlinks to your site to help search ranking
- Off-Page SEO: setting up a presence in other places to broaden your internet presence
SEO can be technically challenging and involve a lot of time and effort. When done right, it can be extremely valuable bringing in free traffic and leads to your website. At this stage of your internet marketing plan, you should consider what you will do regarding SEO:
- In house SEO versus hiring a consultant
- How much budget is allocated to SEO?
- When to start SEO? (Hint: the sooner the better)
5) Social Media
Social Media Optimization is an important part of any digital marketing plan yet can be challenging to do effectively. Your social media presence will be informed by your target demographic. A younger audience will be found on social media more than an older audience. In addition, the specific social media platforms you invest in will also be determined by target demographics.
High engagement on social media has the added benefit of sending positive signals to Google for search ranking. A high level of engagement on social media tells Google that your business is popular which in turn helps with your search ranking.
Effective social media is more than setting up an account on a few platforms. To be useful, you need to post and engage on a regular basis which takes time and resources. Consider the following:
- Which platforms make sense for your business?
- What resources are available to manage social media? (tools and people)
- How often will you post? (Consistency is key)
Use this section to determine which platforms are most important for your market and how to engage on social media in an effective way. Be realistic about the resources you have and how much you can do. Your internet marketing plan can include a phased approach to social media and other tasks. For example, you might choose to start on Facebook and Instagram initially, then add more social media presence as you grow and more resources become available.
Any business can benefit from adding video to their digital marketing portfolio. Video development can range from basic smartphone video clips to elaborate commercial grade content. Developing effective video can take some practice and can get quite technical. Platforms like Instagram and Tik Tok provide a variety of tools to make and edit short videos that can be posted on their platform. Video is the number one media format by far so getting good at it will pay dividends in the long run. Like all tasks listed here, video takes time and resources so plan accordingly.
Use this section of your internet marketing plan to find something that fits your budget and abilities and get started. The SEO benefits are worth it.
7) Content Marketing
Content Marketing is about producing fresh content that visitors would find useful. Strategic content can lead to posts going viral on social media and backlinks to your site, all of which lead to better search rankings and higher traffic. Consider the following as part of your plan:
- Long form page content: pages that support important keywords should provide plenty of content. Do be afraid to get into details.
- Blog posts: a steady stream of useful content on topics related to your business or market are gold for SEO
- Video: adding video to your content portfolio id very beneficial but takes time and effort
8) Paid Search (PPC)
There are a number of platforms offering paid search options. These include:
In general, paid ad platforms let you target certain audiences including location, interests, gender, age and more. You typically pay a price when someone clicks on your ad.
Paid ads are a good way to get traffic early on before Google knows your business exists. However, it can be expensive so you need to make sure your ads are high quality and you’re getting good clicks that turn into sales. There are a lot of moving parts on ad campaigns and it can be a challenge if you’re not familiar with how the platforms work. You will need to consider what budget you have for clicks and paying a consultant if you need help.
Use this section to consider if Paid Search makes sense for your situation and if so, how best to run a successful campaign.
9) Email Marketing
Email marketing, when done right, can be a very effective tool for engaging your clients and keeping them interested in your product or service. When customers “opt-in” for your newsletter or promotions, it’s an indication that they want to hear from you. This is a great way to reach your customer base and stay on their minds. Be careful not to overdo it or you risk losing subscribers. There are a number of Email Service providers available, many offering a free service up to a certain number of subscribers and email sends. Use this section to consider what might work for your market.
10) Editorial Calendar
These days, to be successful online, you have to produce fresh, interesting content on a regular basis. As outlined in this plan, there are a number of ways to reach your customers and prospects. An editorial calendar is a good way to schedule when content should be created and shared with your audience. If you plan to be very active with digital marketing and/or you have multiple people working on campaigns, it’s worth spending some time looking into the tools available to manage and schedule your online activities.
For each of the activities described above, you can find a variety of tools to help achieve your goals more efficiently. Use this section to identify which tools you can use to help with your internet marketing. There are many free and commercial tools available, use these to make your internet marketing job easier.
Most businesses need or can benefit from a successful internet presence. But it’s a lot of work and requires significant resources. We hope this internet marketing plan outline will help you create a plan that makes sense for your particular business situation. Of course, we are here to help with any or all of these activities so feel free to get in touch!