Five tips to create an effective digital marketing plan

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By Andrew Witkin, founder and president, StickerYou

With billions of people accessing the internet on a daily basis, digital marketing has become a necessity for businesses across the globe. How well you plan and execute your digital marketing strategy will directly affect the growth of your business and scope of your customer base.

By introducing your brand to the digital world, you connect with a much larger audience than through print or other mediums for marketing. But the potential for accessing this larger audience is tempered by the increase in competition. It’s a crowded playing field with an even more crowded fan base, and a strong digital marketing strategy is crucial in order to stand out and effectively navigate this space.

Image courtesy of Igor Miske, Unsplash

You can set up an effective digital marketing by following these five steps.

1. Define your audience

By defining your audience or your target client or customer, you have an idea of what they like or dislike, what they want when they are searching for a particular product, or even what their search histories look like. It may sound simple, but getting granular about who your target market is takes time, research and a lot of thought.

The first step is to choose the general audience that fits best with the product or service that you are offering. For example, a stroller company would choose an audience of parents rather than tweens, and a vegan cheese company would target people looking for meat- and animal-byproduct alternatives rather than big-game hunters. For us at StickerYou, it’s small businesses that use our customized sticky products such as stickers, labels and decals to brand themselves. By defining, understanding and finding your audience, you’re able to effectively grow it alongside your brand.

Once you’ve defined your general audience, it’s time to break that down into smaller segments to best understand how to reach them. Try using these 12 basic questions, and add on a few more that are more specific to your particular industry:

  1. Are my customers male or female?
  2. Are they single or in a marriage or other partnership?
  3. Have my customers finished schooling? If so, what level of schooling?
  4. Do my customers have children or a family?
  5. Have my customers finished schooling? What level of schooling?
  6. What is their job profile (stay-at-home parent, business executive, entrepreneur, etc)?  
  7. In what industries do my target customers work?
  8. What is the net annual income of my customer or their household?
  9. Does my customer spend a lot of time online or a little?
  10. Does my customer want to purchase online or through a retail outlet?
  11. Does my customer have the budget to cover the product or service I am offering?
  12. Do I need to offer different payment options and plans to align my fees with different client budget ranges?

2. Target your markets

There are many places you will want to market to your audience, and knowing the medium you’re going to use is going to be helpful in choosing the most effective campaign. Many companies choose a few different mediums, as a mix can prove to be successful for many businesses. For example:

  • Instagram Advertising
  • Facebook Ads
  • Twitter Ads
  • Pinterest Ads
  • Google Adwords (PPC)
  • Website Ads
  • Newsletters

Consider whether or not you have competitors currently advertising on the medium you choose, or if the advertising that you do is going to complement your business. Also consider, and perhaps run a survey or conduct other methods of research to find out, what marketing medium is most likely to reach your customers. There’s no sense in mounting an extensive Instagram ad campaign if most of your customers are on Instagram, or putting money into Pinterest ads when your customer base wants newsletters.

Get familiar with conversion rate ratios when measuring the results you are getting. For example, if your page has 1,000 hits, 16 clicks and two sales for the day then this ratio would be 1:16. These will vary with the medium you choose, but with some research you should be able to find average rates for successful campaigns to measure your own campaign against.

3. Know your budget

When you have an idea of where you want to advertise and what medium or mediums you want to use, you can then consider how much you want to spend — or can afford to spend — on your ads or other marketing efforts. While many feel this should be the first step, it is important to first know how much it costs to advertise on your preferred mediums. From there, you can set a budget that works with your medium and your choice of target market.

Build the cost of A/B testing and experimentation into your budget for your digital marketing campaign. As you test out the mediums you’ve chosen and monitor the progress, you’ll discover opportunities to tweak things with various tests that will make the engine of your campaign run more smoothly. This is an essential part of your budget. Don’t underestimate it.

4. Create engaging content

Creating content that draws people in is important. If no one is interested in looking at what you’ve created, it doesn’t matter how much money you spend or where you place it – it will flop. You need to create something that your audience will want to see, that catches their eye and captivates their attention. It should be something that relates to them and really stands out to them. Creating emotional context with content can hit home and significantly drive traffic to your site.

Adding promo codes or giveaways are effective marketing tools that can both help build interest in your business and give you a way to measure the effectiveness of an ad or piece of content. Even better, make them socially shareable and they can help push traffic to your site and produce better KPIs.

5. Track and monitor KPIs

Track and monitor how well your digital marketing campaign is doing with the tools available from the specific medium that you choose to advertise through. Assess the relevant conversion rates, and familiarize yourself with the tools you are using to uncover where along the funnel you may be losing customers.

If you aren’t familiar with how to use these tools, either learn, or find room in your budget to hire someone to help you. There are plenty of ad management services and digital marketing consultants available that can effectively help you track and manage the ads for the best possible outcome at a variety of price points.

Andrew Witkin
Founder & president
As the founder of StickerYou, Andrew believes in the enormous power of customization. With over a decade of StickerYou success, he is one of Canada’s leading experts in e-commerce, customization, startups, marketing and the tech economy.

He is a graduate of Dalhousie University and holds an MBA from the Schulich School of Business, York University. Witkin has previously served as VP North American Licensing for Nelvana/Corus Entertainment and Director of Marketing for MegaBrands/Mattel.