Like bears getting ready to emerge from hibernation, it’s time to start thinking about your 2021 digital marketing plan.

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 digital marketing 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 year.

Step 1: Look back.

Revisit and evaluate your past year’s digital media and marketing plan and its results.  

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.

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 your goals.

With your identified persona, set your goals and map them to the stages of your customer’s 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:

Awareness

Engagement

Purchase

Direct correlation between number of landing pages and lead generation. Resource (Hubspot.com)

Retention / Brand Loyalty

Growth

Advocacy

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.

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. 

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 2021 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 digital marketing 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 2021 plan is officially launched!

As the months tick by, regularly measure and track your results. Here are some basic metrics you can capture:

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.

What next?

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.

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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.