August 16, 2017
Digital marketing continues to grow in popularity since it became the norm a couple of decades ago. In fact, the ad spending in the digital ad market is expected to reach $510 million by 2022. The need to succeed in digital marketing is now more important than ever.
At Digital Nova, we thrive in the success of our digital marketing timeline and campaigns, which is why we aim to establish and stick to processes that already work for us and our clients. We always want to know what needs to be done and work out how to do it to the best of our abilities.
Although there’s not much change in the things that need to be done, the how-to is constantly evolving.
There are no superheroes in the world of marketing and no one can do everything all at once. That’s why as a business owner, you need to have a timeline to implement the things you need to do.
This is where the 12 month digital marketing plan comes in.
What’s the 12 Month Digital Marketing Plan?
Our team at Digital Nova prefers following the 12 month digital marketing outline on all of our campaigns. The reasons for this are:
- We know that results don’t arrive in an instant. This is especially true when your website has a low authority since it can take more than one year before you start seeing solid results. Although there’s always the probability that minor moves can start to get things going, you should expect around 9 to 12 months for your ROI to show up.
- Unfortunately, some websites require so many optimizations that most of the available time needs to be allocated to fixing their digital marketing content more than anything else. When actual marketing is delayed, it also lengthens the time for ROI to be realized.
- Dealing with client expectations is no easy feat, especially because they always seem restless even when you’ve already told them to not expect results just yet. With a 12 month digital marketing plan, you provide an outline for them to focus on. A plan like this helps them stay on board and keeps them from bailing out before the true value of their campaign shows up.
- Digital Nova will always do its best in mapping out a complete 12 month strategy as the initial proposal for each of our clients. However, getting the starting plan right is no walk in the park. The more we analyze a website, the more issues that need fixing we find.
- We tell our clients that each campaign we work on has to be adaptive. We believe that marking several sprints (similar to milestones) throughout the year is an excellent approach. We break down our strategies in 4-month sprints so we can implement techniques and report on their success better.
Our goal for every sprint is to complete all of the non-monthly recurring tasks by the end of the third month. This should allow us to spend the fourth month on reporting and preparing the strategy for the following sprint.
Digital Marketing Sprint 1: Months 1 to 4
We allocate the first sprint to primarily focus on just doing research. Although it shouldn’t just be about research, most of what we investigate here is going to help us know what to do and how much time is necessary to accomplish tasks.
Our approach in marketing and optimization is just like when you build a house. Before any actual work on the structure can be started, you must first do other things such as obtain the right permits, develop plans, and get building approval. Once these have all been secured, you can then begin working on the foundation.
If you skip any of these steps, you may be able to build your house faster, but you’ll encounter many problems down the road.
Here are the main things we perform during the first 4 months of the campaign:
Identify KPIs and Create a Persona
We require all of our clients to fill out questionnaires as these allow us to draft a proposal that meets their needs. After on-boarding a client, we send them another questionnaire followed by an interview.
The questionnaires and interviews help provide us with the data we need to better understand how we can work with each client. It also lets us figure out the right approach in reaching their target audience and attaining their desired objectives.
Setting Up Analytics
Having the right KPIs and goals for your campaign will be worthless if you are unable to keep track of them. That’s why we ensure that our analytics code is installed accordingly on our client websites for accurate monitoring of statistics.
Whenever a client wants to see a specific site audit report, we make this our starting point for their project. If we believe the report isn’t that crucial, then this should let us make audits on areas of the website as needed. We don’t want to cram everything upfront as much as possible.
Our site audits are designed to gather all of the findings in one place so we can easily refer to them later on.
Topical Keyword Research
Nearly every website can be dissected into several topics related to its niche and it should be done as part of search engine optimization (SEO). For example, a retailer’s website can be broken down using its product categories. One thing to keep in mind is that this process requires a lot of client input as it’s quite interactive.
While performing the necessary research, we assess client goals and the direction they want to go in. Doing so should provide us with the much-needed data on how to perform additional research until all of the unique topics have been secured.
This is also the part where we go through a website to find out the URL that works best as landing pages for each of their topics.
Assessing and Implementing Site Architecture
The information architecture of a website is vital to the overall performance of the campaign moving forward. A faulty architecture not only makes it look bad for search engines, but visitors will also have a hard time accessing site content.
We spend much of the time for this approach analyzing the site structure but we also try to save time so we can carry out critical fixes as soon as possible.
Optimizing the Navigation
Not all websites need their navigation optimized, but many do. Once keyword research has been completed, we move on to assess whether a site’s navigation should be improved or not.
If needed, then we will use the existing research to make changes to navigation for the website. We will then send the plan to the client for review and approval.
Reviewing of Social Strategy
We take our time to review the current endeavors of our clients so that we can develop a comprehensive plan that works for them. This review will include competitor analysis and everything else to help us map out a successful social media strategy.
As we near the end of our fourth month, we start putting together a benchmark report that provides a summary of our internet marketing calendar thus far. This report will have an assessment of performance data while providing us with the outline for the following sprint.
Although not much should be expected after this report since we’ve mostly prioritized research, we are hoping that some changes have started to take effect for this phase.
Digital Marketing Sprint 2: Months 5 to 8
The second sprint is where we begin applying the core of the plan based on the research we’ve conducted previously. The research should have provided us with an overview of the important elements to be successful and the time required to achieve each one.
Since we’ve already mapped out navigation in the initial sprint, we now know what needs to be done to start implementing it.
We will apply this if we have enough time in the first sprint. Otherwise, this period is allocated for this need.
With topical keywords completed from the first sprint, we can begin mapping out the keyword focus for the client’s website pages. We will use the data to do a sitewide optimization for the heading tags, description, and of course, the title.
Although the in-depth page optimization process isn’t included here, this is a significant step towards ensuring that the whole site is ideal for search engines.
Optimizing On-Page SEO
Our aim is to perform detailed SEO on a number of pages for each keyword desired by our client. We begin from the top priority topics (as determined by our client) and then do the necessary research for them.
After all the keywords have been finalized, we perform further research for related terms. We do this because we want our digital marketing content to be optimized for everything the client is about. Once it is approved, we begin implementing this on their website.
As you already know, site content is important to us. That’s why we always want to have a good overview of the messaging and whether or not it accomplishes the goal of our client.
If not, then we’ll work on updating the copy to make sure that visitors get what they are looking for on the website.
Setting Up the Internet Marketing Calendar
An essential aspect of a digital marketing outline is having the necessary content to share with your users. This begins with our editorial calendar, which we lay out at this point.
The calendar keeps track of necessary activities, whether the client wants us to write blogs and articles for them or just to develop a good content marketing strategy.
Implementing on Social Media
With the strategy at the ready, we can now begin implementing this on social media channels. Although we plan to start this as early as the first sprint, it would benefit our clients more if we did it after the first four months have been completed.
Assessing and Implementing Site Architecture
We may have started this process in the first sprint, but assessing and implementing changes to site architecture is simply an ongoing process. Our goal is to allocate several hours per month for research and implementation on what is needed.
For the last month of this sprint, we will again give a summary of what has been completed during this sprint, assess performance data, and prepare the plan for the next sprint.
Although we aren’t expecting significant results just yet, we should begin seeing our efforts take shape at this point.
Digital Marketing Sprint 3: Months 9 to 12
With every benchmark report completed, we can make small adjustments to our strategies as we move forward. It can be truly helpful to identify the areas that need improvement the most.
By the time we arrive at the third sprint, we will already have settled in some solid routines. We are still flexible as ever but we will push forward and base our actions on the knowledge we have obtained in previous sprints.
Assessing and Implementing Site Architecture
As stated, this part is a continuous process using the tools and resources necessary to pinpoint problems and perform fixes throughout the client website.
Optimizing On-Page SEO
Unless we’ve already optimized the primary keywords for high-priority topics, we will continue to do that here. This process will continue so long as there are still keywords to optimize.
Reviewing SEO Performance
After optimizing pages during the second sprint, we can go back and review the performance of these areas of the website. If there are any underperforming web pages, we’ll analyze each one and see what needs to be done to improve them.
Implementing on Social Media
Marketing on social media is another ongoing process. The more you engage on social channels, the more value you gain for your business.
By this phase, we can begin optimizing conversions and do some testing. This should give us an overview of the effect of the new navigation including the pages we’ve optimized.
The benchmark report for our twelfth and final month for the sprints is going to be what concludes all our efforts for the 12-month digital marketing plan. The ROI that we can see in the metrics should show up at this point.
Continuous Digital Marketing Sprints: Months 13 to 24
Digital marketing optimization should not stop. It needs to be an ongoing effort. With momentum and positive ROI on your side, why would you want to stop?
By this stage, you should continue expanding your reach by improving more terms, building a social media following, and increasing conversion rates.
When you can work on a digital marketing plan that is separated into four-month sprints, you can develop an ideal rhythm for goal setting, implementation of changes, and results assessment.
How To Create Your 12 Month Digital Marketing Plan
Now that you know what comes with each sprint in a 12 month digital marketing plan, it’s time to learn how you can create one.
These steps should help guide you through a year-long blueprint to ensure you and your team stays focused.
Step 1: Assess the Market
The first step in your digital marketing plan should give you an overview of your offerings, your market and industry, as well as your objectives and goals for the year. With these starting items at the ready, you can have a better direction of where you want to go. It also lets you break down individual goals later on.
With your offerings, you want to assess how your business is doing and what it can provide to customers. Identify your unique selling position (USP) and what makes you unique from others.
For your market and industry, you want to see how your competitors are doing. You should know how well your rivals are performing, which of your competitors are dominating, and how your brand can fit in.
As for the objectives and goals for the year, you want to outline what your sales and marketing goals are going to be and see how your marketing strategy fits with your plan.
Step 2: Set Up Your Digital Marketing Outline
Now that you have a deeper understanding of your business’ status and goals, you should start working on being more specific with your 12 month digital marketing plan. For instance, you don’t want to start doing pay-per-click (PPC) advertising if you haven’t set up your outline just yet.
For this stage, you should begin planning how your overall campaign should look by knowing who will be reached by your campaign, who is needed to execute it, and how much all necessary activities will cost.
Data on the specific items below should further help determine your ROI if they are applicable for your business:
- Campaign timeline
Step 3: Audit Your Digital Marketing Content
With all your goals, current market, and campaign outline in mind, it’s time to dig even deeper and be more specific. This stage should see you taking stock of your existing digital assets and identifying what you need to change to ensure campaign effectiveness.
Your website and blog will be two of the most crucial aspects of your 12 month digital marketing plan and inbound marketing strategy. That’s why you should do a close inspection by performing a site SEO and content audit.
While exploring your website, you should have indications that traffic has been going in and out of your existing landing and thank you pages, if you have any. You want to know how your users are finding your pages, are they effective, and whether or not your current page template will be compatible with your new campaign.
Although it isn’t realistic to perform all of these changes overnight, making a checklist so you know what needs to be prioritized can be extremely helpful.
Step 4: Consider Using New or Repurposed Content
For this step, you should be planning more specifically for each of your campaigns. You could move in between this step and the next or you may perform edits to the digital marketing timeline you created in the second step.
Add any members you believe are a good fit to handle certain roles. While refining your strategy, you shouldn’t hesitate to make changes since it shows that you’ve found better ways to implement it.
With your existing content, you want to see what you already have and how you can reuse them. See if you have any downloadable content that’s still relevant including tools, templates, or other data that will be valuable to your audience. Being an expert in your industry means that you can trade your expertise to gain new leads.
As for new content, consider the problems and goals of your buyer personas and how you can help solve their pain points. You can start producing whitepapers, webinars, infographics, guides, ebooks, and more. You may even delve into podcasting if you want.
Step 5: Promote Your Digital Marketing Campaign
Your new and repurposed content will have a huge effect on the type of promotion you plan to use. Here are examples of content promotion methods that you can use:
- Social media
Before selecting a way to promote your digital marketing campaign, you should check to ensure that it suits your buyer personas, their sales journey, and your position in the market.
Step 6: Respond to Leads
With the specifics of your 12 month digital marketing plan in place, the next step is to respond to the leads that you get. Identify who should tackle leads, how your approach fits in your marketing campaign, and if there’s anything else you can do for the current leads in your database.
Doing this will ensure that your campaign takes into account your marketing activities as well as your customers.
Step 7: File a Report
Now that you’ve assessed your status, crafted your 12 month digital marketing plan, and left no stone unturned, it’s time to do the reporting. You want to check and see how you performed in your campaign by including the things that worked, those that didn’t, and how everything fits in your year-long objectives.
Creating a report this way can help you make alterations throughout the year that will improve your digital marketing campaign.
Applying the 12-month digital marketing plan that we’ve laid out can help you achieve better outcomes for the strategies you use.
Although it can be overwhelming at first, following the tips provided in this post should help you understand and create your own digital marketing blueprint for success.
Need help in crafting and implementing your digital marketing plan? Get in touch with us at Digital Nova to learn how we can bring efficient results to your business.
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