You know the feeling. You have data, but if you don’t know the right digital marketing questions to ask, how do you know where to start building your market plan?
You know your strategy stinks (or it doesn’t exist). You know it, but how do you fix it? How do you build the right marketing plan for your business?
Prefer video? Check out this video on how to build a Marketing Plan using (almost) Free Keyword Research!
Every Plan for marketing starts with the right questions.
“The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits that person and sells itself.” – Peter Drucker
This classic quote by Peter Drucker sums up everything about marketing functions in your business. It should power all your activities and provide a centering guidepost that gives meaning to the smallest seemingly insignificant social media post.
Your marketing planning for 2021 should be then, asking the questions of your business that fulfill your core purpose: know your customer.
Digital Strategy for 2021
In 2021, your digital marketing strategy has to be integrated online if it’s going to be successful. That’s true for all but a few businesses.
You might say, “I’ve been doing postcards for 10 years, and it’s working just fine for me. I don’t need all this online mumbo jumbo!”, and you’d be partially right. But this is where not asking the right marketing strategy questions can hurt you.
What you may not see is that if it’s true that you’ve built a strong offline, referral-based business supported by postcards, it’s a near certainty that you’re leaving money on the table by not taking advantage of other outlets that would respond to the same messaging.
Consumer habits today are far too “omnichannel” (meaning that a prospective client will be consuming digital marketing content across many mediums like streaming tv commercials, social media ads, niche blogs and forums, etc…) to justify only focusing in on only one or two channels for your 2021 marketing plan. You owe it to yourself, your business, and your future customers to at least branch out and vet some other channels like social media and maybe even SEO. It’s almost impossible that if messaging works in one channel like postcards, that it won’t work in another.
Do You Measure Strategy Progress with Google Analytics?
This is a digital marketing strategy question that gets overlooked a LOT. Many small business owners plan, few of them measure.
If you’re like most small business owners I talk to, you don’t measure your online marketing data.
You have a Google Analytics account, but you haven’t signed into it since you got your first iPhone, and you’ve only peeked through the crack of your door at Facebook advertising like a kid trying to find out if it’s a monster under the bed or not.
Not to worry.
There are lots of measuring tools out there, but it’s hard to beat the feature set that Google Analytics and Search Console offer at no charge. If you’re not already using this wonderful free tool to build out your marketing plans, it’s probably the best possible use of your time.
It’s easy to get lost in the weeds of everyday details, but if you’re not measuring data, then your strategy suffers. Planning helps, but where do you start? Great question!
Perhaps the BIGGEST Question for 2021, How Do You Market and do SEO with COVID (Coronavirus)?
While it isn’t the only tactic you’ll ever need, I would argue that SEO still indispensable for planning marketing in 2021. There are some small businesses that won’t need SEO for their plan for marketing, but they are certainly in the minority. Get started with the questions above, but unless you’re an SEO expert, you’ll definitely need to call a pro eventually.
Social Media has evolved from a fringe platform set that you might or might not be able to use to plan marketing efforts, to now being a fully formed, multi-faceted customer communication tool that is almost certainly useful for your business in your 2021 marketing planning. You should definitely start putting together a market plan to test the waters on Facebook, probably LinkedIn and some other social media platforms.
NOW talk numbers; how many of what per year, and per month?
Is your Current “Farm” Sufficient to Produce This Increase?
You simply cannot have or execute a digital marketing plan without sales, and you can’t execute sales without understanding these questions.
Bonus Marketing Strategy from Seth Godin!
Love this from Seth (got it in email, and if you like it, you should go sign up for his emails; they’re pretty good stuff):
“At the lab, the pressure is to keep searching for a breakthrough, a new way to do things. And it’s accepted that the cost of this insight is failure, finding out what doesn’t work on your way to figuring out what does. The lab doesn’t worry so much about exploiting all the value of what it produces–they’re too busy working on the next thing.
To work in the lab is to embrace the idea that what you’re working on might not work. Not to merely tolerate this feeling, but to seek it out.
The factory, on the other hand, prizes reliability and productivity. The factory wants no surprises, it wants what it did yesterday, but faster and cheaper.
Some charities are labs, in search of the new thing, while others are factories, grinding out what’s needed today. AT&T is a billing factory, in search of lower costs, while Bell Labs was the classic lab, in search of the insight that could change everything.
Hard, really hard, to do both simultaneously. Anyone who says failure is not an option has also ruled out innovation.”
In my opinion, this is the hardest task for a small business owner, and nearly impossible. How do you innovate while also concentrating on the necessities of scaling (efficiency, repeatability, sales team, marketing message). This is where getting outside eyes to look at your work and ideas has great value. The more experience and industry knowledge your “outside eyes” have, the better. That means you will probably have to pay for the eyes, but that’s good. You don’t value information you get for free.”
Seth Godin never pulls punches.
Final Marketing Plan Thoughts
Of course, this list is not exhaustive, and you should always check with experts before finalizing market plans in any area in which you’re not an expert. This list will help you, but is not a “one-shot cure-all” (of course, nothing is).
I hope it’s helpful. If you have market plan questions, or you just want to yell at me for not including your favorite marketing outlet, just leave a comment below.