How to Develop a Digital Marketing Plan for a Small Business

Did you know as high as 50% of all businesses do not have a digital marketing strategy in place? (Source www.ana.net) Developing your digital marketing plan does not have to be hard. It is something that will evolve over time as you get better at marketing to your core audience and also as you adapt to new markets.

Developing a strategy and marketing plan definitely offers you a strong competitive advantage as you already are ahead of 50% of other businesses! You will also be able to prioritize your marketing efforts and gain a strong understanding of where your customers are online, what they are searching for and how well your marketing efforts are doing. You can develop a detailed SWOT analysis of your marketing thus far and develop buy-in for your business through sales funnels, business case examples and social engagement.

For businesses that are marketing to other businesses, some of the most effective ways to market online include social media, e-newsletters, blogs and articles on your website, photos, videos, in-person events, branded content, infographics, microsites and mobile apps.

Your website is also your #1 decision making touchpoint for B2B customers. You will want to make sure your website is regularly updated and has fresh new content that is valuable to your customers. Your site must be customer-centric. Think about how your customer travels through your website. Is he or she able to find the info necessary to make a buying decision? Set up Google analytics and event tracking so you can learn more about your visitors - where they are coming from and what pages have the most engagement.

Your website needs to convey some important elements such as:

  • Credibilty
  • Trust
  • Professionalism
  • Stability
  • Approachable/Friendly
  • Informative

It also needs to reassure customers that they came to the right place and that your business is a company they can work with.

Your digital marketing plan must also include some of the following activities and methods depending upon the nature of your business:

  • marketing automation
  • content marketing
  • big data
  • mobile marketing
  • social media marketing
  • search engine optimization
  • online PR 
  • paid search marketing
  • community engagement
  • partnerships with affiliates and co-marketing
  • wearables/internet of things (IOT)
  • interactive elements (video, animation etc.)

Search Marketing is very important for your business to be found online. While search volume may be less, using long tail keyword strategies can help you tightly target to your market. You can define and focus your brand message. Through PR, you can develop quality backlinks.

Search is important for research as customers go online to find more information about products, services and companies. Search leads in channels for information gathering and research, followed by websites, customer reviews and case studies, blogs, social and mobile outlets. (Source: Blue Nile Research)

Content marketing through blogs and articles is essential to build your audience over the long term and to work smarter. Your blog must become your content hub and help you make your case for your business.

Social media is essential for B2B marketing for driving visibility and engagement whether you are looking to build direct connections (LinkedIn), share useful content (Facebook) or have other specific goals.

Lead generation for B2B can take time but is worth the effort. You must be prepared to nurture leads with calls to action on your website, landing pages for inbound campaigns, welcome emails and responding promptly to inquiries. By far the most effective method for lead nurturing content is email newsletters followed by direct sales calls, white papers, thought leadership articles, webinars and blogs. (Source: Oracle and Demand Generation Report)

Finally, you must set up analytics and methods to measure your progress, regularly testing and improving your digital marketing efforts. This includes setting up goals and funnels in Google analytics or other analytics programs, checking conversion rates on key pages and optimizing performance.

Your conversion goals can be tied to specific actions such as filling out a contact form, requesting a call back, registration on your site, downloading a PdF, watching a product video demo, requesting a trial or demo or signing up for an event or webinar.