Unless you’ve been living under Fort Scratchley you’ll know that the world – and, by extension, business – is in a new digital age. So much so that digital advertising spend for the B2B industry is tipped to smash through the $6 billion USD mark this year, with no sign of slowing.
And no wonder! The prospect of higher value, more tightly targeted marketing to greater numbers across the globe has proven too good to ignore. But with so many now in the game, those low-hanging fruit are vanishingly few unless you know what you’re doing.
Picture the following scenario: you have a business that’s doing good numbers. You’ve identified areas where competitors are gaining through some savvy online activity, and you want to widen that gap – or narrow it, depending on your position.
You have a website, naturally, to better promote your products and services. You have a Facebook company page, you’re on LinkedIn – perhaps managing them takes time you simply don’t have, but they’re there at least.
Yet despite all this, you’re spending money to little visible effect, while your business competitors are ranking above you in search! Sound familiar?
If so, it may be because there is one must-have your business hasn’t put in place yet. And without it, everything you do in the online space is just tilting at windmills as your competitors outstrip and outwit you at every turn.
You need a plan. Not just any plan, however. You need a digital marketing plan.
Plan the work, work the plan
We’ve written before here at TMM about the difference between a marketing strategy and a marketing plan, but to briefly recap: one’s your thinking, one’s your doing.
Increasingly though, given the complex, multichannel nature of digital marketing, the two terms have become largely interchangeable; often, a strategy will contain within it the high-level outlines of your plan; or a plan will generally contain an introductory section featuring high-level strategic insights.
Regardless, a dedicated digital marketing plan maps out in detail every action you need to take to make your strategy play out. With it, you have a powerful means to build your customer base. Without it you’ll likely be throwing a dozen things at the wall at any time to see what sticks, and possibly – even likely – wasting money in the process.
Getting down to business
With that in mind, here are 5 key reasons why it’s essential for you to get your digital marketing plan happening today, so it can be up and working for you as soon as possible.
1. Define your sense of purpose
A lot of companies just want more – more followers, more sales, more mentions. And that’s great. But a better way of going about such things is to be specific.
Set your company measurable goals. For instance, determine what your industry average cost-per-click is and what you’re willing to spend. Cite how many followers per channel you want to see added to your numbers each month. Outline what constitutes a quality lead and know what conversion rate you want to hit.
Knowing your goals will not only make any online campaigns you’re running more focused, it will give you a much clearer sense of what constitutes success and what kind of ROI to expect.
2. Maintain (or reclaim) market position
Digital has made the world smaller. It’s easier than ever now for people to find product through international suppliers or OEM resellers, exposing you to the risk of competing purely on price.
If you’ve been around for 100 years selling or manufacturing speciality parts for industries and you’re losing business to upstarts or interlopers, it’s probably because they’re using digital marketing to establish a presence that all the word-of-mouth in the world can’t overcome.
If you’ve long been a pioneer or leader in your sector, and you don’t have a strong online presence or a long-term digital marketing strategy in place – with particular emphasis on how you’re going to drive organic and paid visibility in search – tomorrow you risk being the tree falling in the woods that no one hears.
3. Keep everyone on the same page
Bigger companies in particular are always looking to avoid double-handling and reduce waste of duplication of effort.
Even a little searching however can turn up businesses with multiple unlinked or orphan profiles across various channels – reminders or remnants of earlier, unfocused digital marketing efforts.
With a well-crafted, clearly communicated and well-supported marketing plan shared across your company’s different departments, you’ll see less wasted effort. You’ll also likely see better, more defined campaigns delivered on time and under budget.
4. Unlock your agility
Many clients – industrial clients in particular – deal in longer buying cycles and more invested relationships, making it seem difficult to try ‘new’ things in their approach in case it upsets the established order.
With a well-considered digital plan however there is the potential to experiment a little more, depending on what your objectives are. Your plan might be exploring new ways to better serve existing customers, it might be seeking more effective ways to better nurture new customers; it might even cover both in a multi-pronged strategy.
Whatever the case, if you’ve got a well-documented strategy with measurable objectives, you’ve also got the means to check how effective (or ineffective) your efforts are. And because digital campaigns are easy to track and monitor, you can pivot and adjust your strategy as you go with data-led insight.
5. Establish your authority
A lot has been written about Content Marketing and there is no question it needs to be a big, big part of any digital marketing plan. The reason is simple – when a potential customer is thinking about a product or service, they will typically go through an information seeking phase in order to make an informed decision before committing to purchase.
It might take them three or four rounds of searches around a particular set of questions, but make no mistake – the content that best answers their questions will be hugely influential on their final purchase decision. Content Marketing done right shows that you know your customer and can anticipate their needs. Good content will improve your search ranking, and your overall website traffic.
Best of all, it helps establish your authority on the topic – even if the topic happens to be the best hot-dip galvanised steel to use in mining environments – putting you at top of mind for prospective purchasers.
Make a plan with TMM
Make no mistake, businesses are spending on digital to make sure they take the leading edge in their respective sector. And having a rock-solid plan in place defining your mission, your audience profile, your target channels and your multi-channel campaign strategies will make all the difference as more and more customers make the internet their first point of enquiry.
TMM can help you make sure you have a seat at the digital table in FY 2019-2020 and beyond, with expertly crafted planning that highlights your strengths and amplifies your value proposition for your customer base. Think of it as your purpose-built blueprint for sustained business success.
And the sooner you start your plan, the better.
Why not drop us a line on 0449 845 595 or pop by our King St office, to see what kind of plan we can put to work for you?