A business plan and marketing plan are things we often hear of when it comes to the business landscape.
A business plan embraces data about the organization. It’s comprised of mission statements, objectives, goals, and how those goals will be met. On the other hand, a marketing plan focuses on outreach methods, target markets, and budget – often supported by data and analytics.
Because there is some overlap between the two, people often wonder if it’s necessary to have a detailed digital marketing plan or if it’s enough to just market as things come up.
Let’s begin with a simple question: Do you want to attract more customers and more profitability? If so, then you probably need an exceptional digital marketing strategy. However, strategy without a plan won’t drive you the success you desire. Thus, you will need an exceptional marketing plan.
A marketing department follows a budget. You can develop or bootstrap digital marketing strategies that are cost-effective for small businesses. However, as you thrive and expand – and that’s the aim – you need to set and stick to a budget.
Let’s use Facebook as an example. Gaining recognition via organic search is nearly impossible on this platform.
There was a time you could build a company profile, share lots of content, and naturally draw attention to the page. Today, that’s only a dream.
Facebook ads as well as boosted content – all need funds and are essential to reach audiences today. It’s based on the algorithm of Facebook.
What we’re trying to tell you here is that you’ll ultimately hit a barrier when marketing without funds. Thus, when you allocate a budget to the digital marketing department, it’s vital to determine where the budget is being placed.
A digital marketing plan helps narrow down the focus on which marketing tactics will be used, and how much it will cost the organization. You must know these things for any future spending.
Businesses without a marketing plan face many complications.
Communication is affected as some people may comprehend the plan but haven’t informed those who truly should know, for instance, stakeholders.
In addition to the loss of communication, productivity begins to diminish. If no one knows their role in the marketing plan, how can they know where to begin?
The solution is visibility and fortunately, a marketing plan is a visibility enabler. In other words, it illustrates the company, objectives, target markets and many other crucial pieces of data. It enables stakeholders to determine whether a plan is really working, behind schedule, questionable, or requiring a complete evaluation.
Everyone must be on the same page in order to be successful and a marketing plan is an answer to that.
Have you ever been in a “she said, he said” situation? It’s merely a blame game.
The blame game happens in business too. A team member ends up doing something wrong but blames someone else. No one likes to be the “someone else” in this situation.
When there is a marketing plan in the place, you can quickly figure out when something has gone wrong, especially when team members and their roles have been allotted.
The great thing about the digital marketing plan for small businesses is that it provides you with a blueprint to follow. It keeps you and everybody on your team on the same page. Of course, it’ll be unique to each individual business, however, there are some basic elements that every marketing plan should have:
So, you need a marketing plan if you would like to make the most out of your marketing investment. No matter how much it long is – as long as it tackles objectives and criteria – it is a very valuable piece of documentation for the company.
While a marketing plan will tell you important activities for your small business, you should update it on a regular basis. Needless to say, marketing and its planning isn’t something to be done only once. You must amend your digital marketing strategy (in a plan) that isn’t driving desired results to you.
This can overwhelm many small businesses as keeping up with marketing trends and best practices really is a full-time job. Our full-time job. Give us a call for a complete breakdown of your current digital marketing plan and how we can help you to improve: (757) 333-3021.
Erik J. Olson is the Founder & CEO of Array Digital—a marketing agency that enables its clients to achieve their dreams, fulfill their missions, and impact more lives with their services.