4 steps to making a rock-solid digital marketing plan

Social media is a powerful tool that gives SMEs the ability promote their offering to a targeted and devoted audience. Here are the four steps in making an unbreakable digital marketing plan that will help you maximise the high potential of social.

The commercial marketing and advertising landscape has come a long way over the last few decades. Traditional marketing mediums may still be in use, but they now make up a very small percentage of the methods that businesses use to advertise.

Digital marketing is by far the most popular method of advertising these days.

Over the years, technology giants like Google, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have been doing all the hard work in gathering data on endless amounts of people (basically, the entire world population) – making it easier than ever for businesses to target the right people in their ad campaigns.

But, in order to maximise the real potential of these platforms, it is important to develop a digital marketing plan with the right foundations, together with the right insight into how to execute that plan effectively.

When it came to giving advice about utilising social media effectively and developing a dependable execution plan, Es Chandra, managing director of Glide Agency had plenty to share.

With over a decade of experience in assisting SMEs navigate their way through the tricky world digital marketing, Chandra broke his guidance down into four steps that cover the broader mistakes that founders tend to make, as well as a couple of specific tips for developing effective and relevant content on social media.


Step 1: Correctly allocating ad spend


There are many intricacies that are associated with a true understanding of how to utilise social media for business effectively. Before going through some of the main ones, Chandra flagged what he believed to be the two most common mistakes early stage founders make when first approaching digital marketing.

“The first common mistake that founders make is when they incorrectly allocate and distribute their ad spend,” Chandra told The Pulse.

According to Chandra, the approach that founders need to take is to ensure that their ad spend is distributed such that “the right digital channels” are reached, and that the ad campaigns “deliver tangible business outcomes”.

Just like we saw with the Purplebricks saga earlier this year, not going overboard with ad spending and allocating the budget correctly can be the difference between a successful venture and one that loses its footing very quickly.


Step 2: Stay focused on building the foundations


The second common trap that Chandra warned founders against is the whirlwind of distractions that surface when starting up a business.

READ: 5 tips for developing a business idea into a real venture

“When making a digital marketing plan, founders often become distracted by new innovations and technologies.

“The danger of these distractions is that they lead the founders away from the important task of building the core foundations for solid and continual growth.

“For example, founders will decide to build an app instead of focusing their efforts on getting their website right. Sometimes, they allocate all of their resources on developing an overblown customer database, when they could use a simple cloud-based CRM.”

In other words, an SME’s digital marketing strategy needs to be treated like a blueprint of the business’ future structure. It’s always important to stay across the trends and hypes of the tech world, but in order to find success in online advertising – the founder’s mindset needs to be in the right place.


Step 3: Create an ad to suit the medium


Each social media platform has its own set of rules that need to be adhered to. Some of them are better suited for shorter form text, others have more of an image or short video focus.

READ: 4 video content marketing hacks for businesses

When asked about the way a founder should approach spreading their content across the different mediums, Chandra said that different ads need to be created to fit within the “context” of each medium.

“It shouldn’t be about whether the ad is suitable for a specific medium.

“The question that a founder needs to ask when developing their social media content is: what ad can we create for each medium that would work for the audiences on those platforms?

“Just like audio ads are recorded for radio and a 30-second television ad specifically for a TV segment, social media ads need to be purpose-created in order to have maximum impact.”


Step 4: Want a devoted audience? Respect the context of the medium


Following on the same theme as the above, the final piece of advice that Chandra gave was about the importance of “respecting the context for which the content is created” as well as “keeping your motives genuine” when developing it.

“Content which you intend to create with paid social media advertising behind it should provide a return on investment by building brand awareness, generating leads or an increase on bottom line sales.

“On the other hand, content for organic posting on social media should have no monetary motive. The intention needs to be about building, educating and engaging an audience over time.”

After all, you’re in business to service a customer segment, and that means everything you do should be created with them in mind, including your digital marketing plan.

“Creating genuinely organic content should be about giving your audience real value so they can associate that value with your brand.”

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