A well-thought-out marketing plan is essential to be able to grow online in 2021. This way you know where your company stands 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 with creating an online marketing plan. Some only have it in their head, 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. Download our free whitepaper and get started right away. This is how you start 2021 with a strong strategy!
What is a marketing plan?
In a marketing plan, you set goals that you want to achieve. An online marketing plan, or internet marketing plan, is of course about goals that you want to achieve online. Some organizations have a marketing plan that includes online activities. However, online marketing is increasing in B2B and B2C organizations. In that case, a separate online marketing plan is essential.
Why do I need it?
After the question “What is a marketing plan?” you may be wondering what the point of it is. If the internet is not very important for your company, for example, because you mainly focus on offline marketing, an action list can 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, the budget, and the overview. Moreover, knowing where you stand and where you want to go is important to be able to grow online.
How do I create a marketing plan?
You can of course write out a marketing plan on a large sheet of paper. In this way, you can brainstorm well with colleagues and exchange ideas. Making a marketing plan online is also an option. This way you can easily update it and share it with colleagues.
First of all, you are asked about the current online situation. 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 as best as possible for yourself. It is okay if not all answers are described exactly. You can always improve and perfect it. Based on the 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?
- Do they run well?
- Are leads/sales coming out?
- How much budget is spent on it each month?
You can go one step deeper during an online marketing plan by looking at your own website. By including this in your plan, conversion optimization can be achieved:
- How many visitors come to the website each month?
- How many leads/sales come out of the website each 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 via Google Analytics. This free program keeps track of what visitors do on your website. To measure sales/leads, you must first set so-called goals within Google Analytics.
By knowing where the company/website is currently online, 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 an online market leader within two years is not feasible for most companies.
Step 3: Elaborate objectives
Now that you have thought about your ambition in step 2, you will determine how this can ultimately be achieved. This, of course, does not happen overnight. By achieving goal after goal, you come step by step closer to achieving your online ambition.
Determining good objectives often proves very difficult in practice. We often hear objectives such as “We always want to be 1 in Google” or “We want to sell as much as possible at the lowest possible cost”. These are not real objectives, but more ambitions (and often too ambitious).
A well-formulated objective in your online marketing plan is always SMART. This stands for:
- Specifically. Is the objective clear enough?
- Measurable. Can the objective be measured (in retrospect)? For example in the number of products sold, amount of turnover, or the number of website visitors?
- Acceptable. Is there agreement within the company?
- Realistic. Is the target achievable? Be ambitious, but stay realistic.
- Time-bound. Within what time must the objective 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 with the outside world. For example, an online marketing agency that is going to support the company knows where to work towards. Without a clear objective, this is not clear to anyone and it remains to be seen whether the company is doing well or not.
Step 4: Map 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’s important to only focus on those products that generate the most sales (or 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. Use 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 turnover and which are distinctive. You can focus on this initially.
Step 1 can serve as a good basis for this. Google Analytics is an excellent tool to find out which products/services are sold the most, or which generate the most traffic to the website. Setting goals helps a lot with this!
Step 5: Decide who you prefer to sell your products to
Try to think of 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 businesses (B2B). Do you want to sell throughout the Netherlands, a few provinces, only Amsterdam, or various countries? Also, try to think about what problems or questions people contact you with. This helps in providing the right solution. You can also have this solution reflected in your online expressions. By thinking about this carefully, you can make much better choices when it comes to online marketing.
To make an online marketing plan, go through the above steps. It is important that you do this at least once. It is even better to review the plan several times a year. This allows you to 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 confronted with developments.
These changes are picked up and implemented faster and faster these days. To remain online, you must continuously work on your own objectives based on results and continue to make adjustments. Stay sharp, make timely adjustments and be flexible to gain an advantage over your competitor.
Help with your strategic online marketing plan
The end of the year is the perfect time to draw up or fine-tune your online marketing plan. Are you having trouble completing the above steps? Or do you think you will not be ready in time for the new year? Our team of specialists will be happy to help you with this. Make an appointment so that we can discuss the details of these 5 steps with you. Moreover, the experts at Online Marketing look at your company from a different perspective. This can provide new insights that can be a boost for your organization. Based on an online marketing plan example, we will help you on your way in 2021!
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