If you’re not 100% confident in your digital marketing plan for 2017, then you need to walk through the 4 steps in this article. These steps are designed to ensure you have all of your bases covered in your plan.
Step 1. Do you Have Proper Tracking Set Up?
The first step is to review your tracking. Do you have the necessary tracking set up to measure the effectiveness of all of your marketing?
If you do, then skip down to step 2. If you have any doubt, then keep reading because there may be some holes in your tracking that would prevent you from making the best decisions with your marketing campaigns.
To know for sure you have to list all of the ways prospects contact you before becoming customers. For example, here’s a list of some of the common methods:
- Phone calls
- Live chats
- In-person visits
- E-commerce sales
For each of the methods that prospects use to contact your business, you must answer the following question:
Can you track which marketing campaign generated the lead or sale?
If yes, then you have proper tracking set up. If no, then you’ve got some work to do.
Please do not move on to step 2 until you at least identify where you need better tracking. Then make it a priority in Q1 2017 to plug the holes in your tracking. Otherwise, you’ll never know exactly what is working with your marketing and where you’ll get the biggest bang for your budget.
Step 2. What’s Currently Driving Sales?
This sounds like such a simple question, but in many cases it’s not easy to answer. Do you know exactly which marketing channels are driving sales in your business?
If you already completed step 1, then you have the data to figure this out.
Again, it does depend on your business and how sales are generated. For example, a 100% e-commerce business can track sales by simply using Google Analytics. That’s because all sales flow through the website and Google Analytics can see everything that is happening on the website.
However, if some of your sales are generated via phone calls or in-person visits, then you need to take this a step further and use a system to track your offline leads and sales. Specifically, you’ll need a CRM, customer relationship management tool, or a spreadsheet to document the source of your leads.
Then you’ll be able to run reports to see which marketing channels are actually driving sales.
Can you guess how you use this data in your marketing plan?
First, you’ll want to allocate some of your 2017 budget to what’s already working. That’s a no-brainer.
Second, you’ll want to eliminate from your 2017 budget anything that has proven to be ineffective. Again, I’m assuming you have tracking in place and can says with confidence where your sales are coming from. If you can’t, then unfortunately you can’t run this analysis.
Step 3. Can You Improve Conversion Rates?
At this point, you should have your tracking set up (or you’re at least working to fix it) and you have a good idea for which marketing channels are driving sales.
Now it’s time to squeeze out even more sales from those marketing channels!
To squeeze more sales, you have to increase your conversion rates throughout the sales funnel. A good analogy here is to think of a long hose that you would use to wash your car or attach to a sprinkler. What happens if the hose gets a kink?
The water stops flowing!
In the worse case the water completely stops, but if the kink isn’t too bad then the water will just slow down to a trickle. We all know the solution…
Identify and eliminate the kink.
The same is true with your sales funnel. You must first identify the kink that is slowing down your sales conversion rates. This might be the sales page on your website, or it could be the webform, or it could even be something off of your website like your sales team.
Regardless of your exact sales funnel, the process is the same. Go through each step in the process, calculate your conversion rates between key sections, and then work to eliminate the kinks.
Step 4. Can You Increase Your Customer Value?
This last step is often overlooked when creating a marketing plan. Yet, this one step can easily be the difference between profit and loss for certain marketing channels.
Let’s look at an example…
One of our clients advertises a product that is sold for about $100. On an average month, the ad campaigns we’re managing generate sales of that same product for a cost of about $120.
Wait a minute… Why is this client OK selling a $100 product when it costs $120 in ads?
The answer is found when you look at customer value. In this example, I only told you the price of one product. What I didn’t tell you was that after this initial purchase, our client sells additional products and services, which results in an average total customer value of about $160.
Ah ha! Now it makes sense why our client is willing and happy to pay $120 to sell a $100 product.
Now apply this to your business…
What else can you offer your customers after the initial purchase that would increase the total customer value?
Then once you have an answer to this question, go back to step 2 to see if there were any unprofitable marketing channels that would have been profitable if you had a higher customer value. Those are the channels you can now retest once you’ve increased your customer value.
You now have the 4 steps to create your 2017 digital marketing plan.
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“How to Create an Effective Marketing Plan for 2017!”