Most business and marketing leaders know they need to include digital marketing as part of their business growth plans: things like blogging, email marketing, social media, paid advertising, and website development. They’re often already doing bits and pieces of it, depending on the skills, resources, and budget available to get the work done, but gaps in the strategy can cause a disjointed approach that detracts from the potential return on investment.
The most effective approach is consistent and holistic. Here is an example of an integrated digital marketing plan designed to consistently increase awareness, build a following, generate leads, and help salespeople meet their goals. I also included an example of how much it would cost and how you can create a realistic budget for your organization. Check it out, and if you have feedback or want to share some of your digital marketing successes, please comment below.
“The future is not something we enter. The future is something we create.”
~ Leonard I. Sweet
Digital marketing plans are based on the unique goals and objectives of each company. What you’re selling and who you’re selling to dictate the activities required to get good results. In the following digital marketing plan, the example company has three goals they want to accomplish:
- Have More Sales Meetings: have more conversations with target buyers starting to look for a solution.
- Create a larger sales pipeline: advance the sale by converting more conversations into sales opportunities.
- And close more deals faster: help prospective customers quickly overcome objections and make a buying decision.
Metrics and accountability standards for your goals are essential, so you have a clear vision of what success looks like. The success metrics for our example company are to:
- Increase new sales conversations from 10 to 50 and new leads from 3 to 15.
- Increase the sales pipeline from $5M to $10M
- Increase new deals per month from 1 to 3 and shorten the sales cycle from 90 to 60 days
The company will use digital marketing tactics to accomplish its goals with a strong focus on digital content. The content will be dually used for marketing to increase awareness and engagement, and sales to build relationships and guide buyers’ decision-making process, resulting in net new customers.
Let’s jump into the plan details, including the associated budget and resources required to get the work done.
|Full Digital Marketing Plan Example|
Strategy and Consulting (Weekly meetings)
The marketing leader or outsourced marketing team needs to continually invest time reviewing analytics and reports, developing strategic plans, and meeting regularly with key stakeholders to disseminate information and keep the project moving forward.
Growth-Driven Website Design (1 page per month)
The website is the hub of all sales and marketing activities. It’s not something you can set and forget. The example company will continually improve and enhance their site by working on one web page per month by creating a new page or updating an existing page design, copy, or function.
Lead Generation (Release 1 landing page every other month)
Prospective customers like to self-educate throughout the sales process. The company will create ebooks, webinars, papers, or other downloadable content or interactive campaigns to address typical prospect questions or concerns as they move toward a buying decision. The goal is to launch one new lead gen campaign every other month.
Blogging (1 per week)
Blog articles are essential for driving website traffic, improving SEO, and getting prospects engaged with your website. The company will publish one new optimized educational or industry news article per week.
Email Marketing (1 per week)
Regularly communicating with your customers and prospects is essential to building relationships. You know what they say - out of sight, out of mind! A weekly email to target lists will help sales and marketers nurture leads, keep customers engaged, find new opportunities, and close deals faster.
Social Media (15 minutes+ / day)
Being active on social media helps sales and marketers expand their reach, drive more traffic to the website, and find and connect with potential customers. The example company plan includes daily social media posts to promote various marketing campaigns and relevant curated content. They’ll also implement engagement strategies to find and connect with prospects, leads, and customers.
Targeting segmented groups with paid advertising that promotes quality content helps sellers and marketers quickly expand their reach to new potential customers and increase website traffic. The example company will manage up to three ads per month to promote various lead generation campaigns.
Sales and marketing alignment is essential for getting a good ROI. The plan includes assisting sellers with writing sales scripts and templates that align with the marketing campaigns, lead scoring, and list development.
It’s all about the search! On-page, off-page, and technical SEO, directories and citations, and link building – it’s all included in the plan to ensure the company maximizes their opportunity to rank for their target keywords and phrases.
One of the fastest ways to get in front of new potential customers and convert them to leads is to partner with companies that are not your direct competitor but share the same audience. Time will be dedicated to finding influencers, building relationships with them, and creating synergistic co-marketing programs.
|Total Monthly Hours Investment: Approximately 135|
Here is a graphic representation of the plan. Right-click to save.
Requirements for Successful Implementation
A plan is only good as your ability to execute it. There are three requirements for successful implementation:
- A strong foundation: For example, you can’t do social media if you don’t have social media profiles, and you can’t send emails if you have a bad list. Make sure you have everything you need in place to get the work done efficiently and productively.
- Skilled people: One person can’t do it all. It would be difficult - if not impossible - to find someone that excels in everything: data analysis, strategic planning, project management, content writing, SEO, graphic design, email marketing, database administration, sales, and website design, development, and coding. Make sure you have knowledgeable, skilled people to fill those roles.
- Money and Time: The plan requires technology, resources, and people to get the work done. Everything costs money and takes time - is it worth it? I won’t bore you with the ROI equation right now, but when it comes down to it, it’s mathematics. How much do you need to sell to make a profitable return on your investment?
Projected Marketing Budget
Speaking of money, you’re probably wondering how much the example plan costs. Most agencies charge between $125-$250 per hour. The projected budget to accomplish everything on the list would be $175K - $250K per year, including people, technology, and ad spend.
On average, companies spend between 7-11% of total company revenue on marketing. That means a company with about $1.6M annual revenue should be able to afford a comprehensive plan like this.
Cost Reduction Strategies
1. Do Less Marketing
If you’re a $500K company, your investment level might be more around $60K. That means the digital marketing plan and budget example I laid out above would be out of reach. But - there are ways to scale back if you’re a small business and can’t afford to do all that marketing. You can reduce the number of blogs, emails, social media posts, and content offers you’re putting out, or otherwise do less marketing. You can still have the same agenda, it just might take longer to accomplish it.
2. Get Everyone Involved!
Or, you can hire a specialist to train your internal team on various activities and spread the workload out across many people. Here are two of the best ways to reduce marketing costs and create a better customer experience at the same time, but it requires a culture shift:
- Everybody blogs: Train as many people in your organization to blog as possible. That way, you write about the entire customer experience, become trusted industry thought leaders, and have a steady flow of articles from multiple points of view. Customers and prospects will know where to go when they have questions or need help. And the more people involved, the less each person has to do.
- Everybody gets social: Create an organization-wide social media strategy. Clearly define roles, responsibilities, policies, and expectations. You know what they say: Many hands make light work.
The expectation is not that everyone is going to be an expert blogger or social media guru. You’ll still need a leader to oversee the strategy and operations, manage the projects, coach, teach, train, and maintain value and quality control. But if people within the organization can share their industry knowledge, expertise, and insights, it makes it easier and faster for marketers to keep pushing good content to your target audience.
Your digital presence is akin to your physical store. It’s a place where customers will “walk-in” and learn about you and see what you have to offer. It’s the first place the majority of your customers will find you. And if you don’t have a physical store, it’s the ONLY place people will find you! That’s why it’s so important to invest in a digital presence that is easy to find, informative, useful, and simple to use.
That said, it can be challenging to know how to invest your digital marketing dollars. There are so many things you could do; it can be overwhelming. To create a realistic digital marketing plan and budget, take a step back to look at what you have done in the past, what’s working and not working, and look for opportunities for growth. Good data and analysis will help ensure you spend money in areas that get the highest return on investment for your organization.