Like bears getting ready to emerge from hibernation, it’s time to start thinking about your 2019 digital marketing plan.
- Is your plan ready?
- Is it written down?
- Have you set your goals for the year?
- Are these communicated to your team?
Having a plan and knowing how to measure your progress is key to ensure that all your hard work is going toward the right goals and outcomes you are looking for in the new year.
We at Blue Ascension Media are here to help, and there’s no better time than now to get your 2019 plan started, adjusted, communicated — and implemented.
To hit the ground running, let’s dig in and review our top seven tips to get you on your way to a successful 2019.
Step 1: Look back.
Revisit and evaluate your 2018 digital media and marketing plan and its results.
- Did you have a plan? How did it go?
- Did it achieve your goals? Why or why not?
- What was your budget, and was it tracked? Are you using that to set a budget for the next year?
- Review your content for the year. Was your brand messaging on track? Did the content help achieve your marketing goals?
- Did you track your milestones and successes?
Take a little time and go over each of these questions. Really think about the answers for your business. When you can see the year as the whole, looking at your milestones and successes from a macro view can help you gain perspective and insight into the next year’s plan.
Step 2: Clarify your audience.
Defining the target audience for your business is key. This will help you refine the message, content, and social media channels you will use to get your content out and ensure it reaches the right people.
One of the best ways is to create a customer persona — an aggregate “customer” who has all the attributes and demographics of your best customer (or customers).
Here are a few good questions to ask as you envision your customer persona. Depending on your business, you may have more than one persona.
- What is their age group or age range?
- What are their challenges (pain points & needs)?
- What do they like to do?
- Where do they hang out online?
- Where do they research and how do they gather and consume information for decision making?
- What are the key factors that they use to make those decisions?
Once you have a good persona(s) that focuses on the customer’s pain points and needs, it will become your reference as you guide them on their own customer’s journey as they transition from new customers to buyers of your products to advocates for your business.
Step 3: Set goals.
Once you have a specific persona, set your goals and map them to the stages of your customer journey.
By keeping the customer journey at the center of your digital marketing plan, you’ll focus on the overall goal of getting in new customers and keeping them happy, all the while building brand awareness.
Match your goals to your business, industry, and specific outcomes you are looking for this year. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Brand awareness; get your brand in front of new audiences
- Get better search results in product keywords (content & SEO)
- Capture interest in products and services
- Potential focus areas: content curation, content creation, micro-content (short tidbits for quick consumption)
- Engage your customer through messages and calls to actions; lead them to the next conversation
- Listen and dialogue with buyers
- Segment your customers based on preferences (pain points & needs)
- Potential focus areas: content (education and enjoyment of product/services)
- Here want to make the process convenient and monitor to guide buyers throughout the process.
- Potential Focus areas: Landing pages with conversion technology (ie, facebook pixels, etc). Using more landing pages in the right context can dramatically increase your lead generation activities.
Retention / Brand Loyalty
- Invite customers to your social media audience and to be part of the conversation
- Get feedback on the products and experience; share success stories, testimonials, feedback
- Potential focus areas: surveys, loyalty programs
- Continue to provide value to customers
- Look for for cross-sale and up-sale opportunities.
- Potential focus areas: content focused on enjoying (or continuing to enjoy) your products and services; segmented newsletters and offers
- Special recognition offers
- Ask for customers to share (and refer) your brand and message
- Potential focus areas: review your loyalty program with an eye toward your long-term customers. Does it recognize and reward your brand advocates with exclusive offers or other high-perceived-value awards?
Step 4: Plan your content.
Now that your goals are set, it’s time to start to add details to the plan. Here are a few ideas to consider as you develop your content and themes.
- Do you have a broader message that you want to filter through your content and goals this year?
- What will differentiate you from your competitors?
- What is going to get your team pumped up and ready to rally behind?
Step 5: Write it all down! “The Plan”
Now that you’ve identified your customer and captured your goals and content focus for the year, create a baseline plan for the year that you can refer to each quarter or each month.
Don’t worry if your plan shifts during the year. You may need to modify it to align with market changes or adjust for other reasons. But having your plan written down provides the foundation for the next 12 months. Without it, you may feel adrift in a continually moving ocean.
We recommend using your plan to build an editorial calendar for the year. Fill in key dates for your major projects and milestones. Add interim deliverables and deadlines so the big projects are broken into manageable chunks. Also add any campaigns, events, and promotions into this calendar.
We also find it helpful to create a framework for ongoing goals without a defined deadline. These might be your efforts in building and engaging audiences. One idea is to focus your content on a certain theme for a period of time. Maybe you do product highlights every Monday, or you spotlight employees or loyal customers on a certain day of the week.
Step 6: Communicate and share your plan.
You’re one step away from rocking your 2019 digital marketing plan.
Start with a fun team meeting — and really celebrate the past year. Your successes, your learning, your growth. Ask for ideas and feedback. What does your team think was the biggest success? What do they wish they could have done, either individually or as a company?
Now share your 2019 plan. Ask your team to build on the ideas and make them personal. Which ones do they want to own? Capture their ideas for making the coming year even better.
Step 7: Track & Measure (Reporting)
Congrats — your 2019 plan is officially launched!
As the months tick by, regularly measure and track your results. Here are some basic metrics you can capture:
- Website traffic & bounce rate
- Search volume for brand (and ranking keywords)
- Social followers (per platform)
- Engagement & engagement / followers (i.e., how engaged are your fans)
- Leads & conversions generated
- Return on investment (ROI)
Likes, shares, new followers, and engagement are common metrics to track. But the ratio of engagement to your total fan base is even more important. If you have 10,000 followers but only 5% engagement, something’s not quite right.
Creating a report at the end of each month and sharing it with the team allows you to make adjustments to your plan based on results. For example, is a certain post pulling in a ton of social media engagement — or enticing new customers to come into your store? Analyze it and try to figure out what resonates with your customers. Try creating a similar post and see what happens. Do certain themes get better engagement (or less engagement)? Stay curious and stay open to what’s working.
After a couple months, you may start to see trends that you can leverage.
We’ll cover more details about metrics and reporting in a future article.
Bonus Step 8: Celebrate your successes.
Creating and implementing a solid social media and digital marketing plan is a long-term project. It takes work, focus, and diligence, so be sure to celebrate your successes along the way!
Not only does celebrating help you and your team stay motivated for the whole year, it highlights what’s working so you can capture the ideas and perhaps use a modified version next year.
As you work your plan during the year, you’ll begin to see what is working and refine as needed.
Remember that social media is as much science as art. So by having a sound strategy and devoting the planning, time, and effort needed to implement the process, you can effectively leverage digital media to help you achieve your business goals.
We know you can do it. We’d love to hear some of your insights as you plan your new strategy.
Blue Ascension Media is committed to working with businesses as a full-service partner to implement digital marketing plans that make sense and align with the needs and goals of each business.
All great things begin with a conversation. So let’s talk. We’d love to hear your goals and share some ideas about how we can help build your business goals through social media.