The Importance of a Long-Term Digital Marketing Plan

If you’ve ever searched for a new job, chances are that you’ve run into this common interview question:

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

It sounds like just another cliche question, but it often hints at how people think about where they’re heading in life. Similarly, it’s crucial for your digital marketing partner to have a plan in place for your business — and not just a day to day plan. Knowing what you’re ultimately trying to achieve will help guide your daily activities and plays a huge role in determining your success failure online.

So how do you start?

Thinking about the different elements of a digital strategy, there are several elements we can pinpoint while being specific and measurable:

  • Website conversion rate. If you or your digital partner currently have goals set up in your analytics software, what is your current conversion rate? What’s a realistic goal to strive toward?
  • If you’re running paid search campaigns, what is your current click-through rate, cost per conversion, etc. What would you like to achieve?
  • Form submissions and phone calls. Based on your closing ratio, do you have a specific number of leads you’re hoping to earn to grow your business?

When we partner with a new client, we have an “onboarding process” to help our team learn about the client’s business, understand his or her goals, and gather crucial information to help our team be as effective as possible. We consider this the foundation to a solid partnership as we not only gather information like correct address formatting and phone numbers but talk through more strategic details like:

  • Immediate priorities. Are there broken links, missing information, duplicate content, etc.?
  • Long-term priorities. Is there a specific number of leads you’re trying to hit? Are you trying to encourage lead submissions, online purchases, or in-store traffic?

This conversation sheds light on how to determine success and allows us to start implementing a detailed, step-by-step strategy to reach those goals.

Developing Your Digital Game Plan

Like with any goal, your digital game plan should include specific goals: the more specific the better. Using S.M.A.R.T goals is ideal, meaning they’re Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. All of these criteria will help keep your team on the same page and will give you a timeline to achieve each piece of your plan.

Focusing on the time-based element of the SMART acronym, how long is reasonable to plan ahead?

For our purposes, let’s focus on a 6-month period, breaking that into 6, 3, and 1 months. Now, we can separate goals into short, near, and longer terms, relegating the longer, more complex projects to be due in those 3- or 6-month periods. However, this doesn’t mean every element of those projects will get pushed to those further time periods. It simply allows more time to thoroughly plan out each detail of the project.

Because we offer a number of different services, I’m going to suggest a few questions as starting points for each area we can help influence your digital strategy.

Website Management

  • If you don’t have Google Analytics goals for shopping behaviors like form submissions, phone calls, etc, set up, make that your first priority. (Achievable in Month 1)
  • What is your current website conversion rate? Benchmark using a few months of data and determine what a realistic increase from your current rate is. Then, determine how you can increase this rate. Moving lead forms to a more obvious spot, adding a clickable phone number to the website header, and refining your navigation to steer shoppers in the right direction are all good starting points.
  • How many leads do you currently get from your website? What is your goal? Consider upping your digital advertising budgets to boost an influx of leads.

Content Marketing

  • If you don’t currently have pages built for your main services, start here! Our content team focuses on the most highly searched-for terms first to gain your business as much exposure as possible. Make sure you have high-quality, unique content that your customers will find beneficial. Answer their questions!
  • Optimize your current content. Can you flesh out current pages with updated information, statistics, etc. to make your site more pertinent to current searches?

Paid Search

  • What are your quality scores for important keywords? You can improve these by writing more relevant ad copy or choosing a more well-suited landing page.
  • What’s your current search impression share? Are you losing lots of exposure due to budget or your ad rank?
  • Break your account into more specific campaigns and ad groups. This will allow you to more narrowly target your ad text, landing pages, site extensions, and more.

Social Media

  • How many Twitter followers do you currently have? By actively interacting with other Twitter users, you can gain a wider audience.
  • How many likes do you currently have on Facebook? Consider putting a small amount of budget behind a “Facebook Likes” campaign to boost your audience size. What do you want your audience size to be? Consider comparing to local competitors to benchmark.

Once you’ve thought through each of these pieces that applies to your business, it’s time to assemble your plan. Consider what you, your team, or your digital marketing partner can realistically get through in a month. For larger projects like a homepage redesign, it will be crucial to break this into smaller milestones to give you a better idea of what’s involved. Keep in mind that your goals need to be S.M.A.R.T., with an emphasis on realistic and time-bound.

If you need help on direction and implementation of your long-term digital marketing strategy, Reunion Marketing has a team of tenacious marketers eager to help you set a plan in place and carry it out, all with the ultimate goal of positively affecting your business. Reach out to us today for a free digital analysis.