Questions to Help Create Your Marketing Plan

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    As you’re finally getting over your holiday hangover and becoming excited about a successful and prosperous 2016, it's a good time to take a step back and make sure you have all of our ducks in a row regarding our organization's digital marketing plans and strategy.

    Questions to Help You Craft Your Marketing Plan

    1. Does your business need a Website Refresh?

    Is your site adding value to your business? Creating leads for yoursales team? Does it support your brand by making you more credible? Do you want to send prospects there, because you think it will improve your chance of doing business with the potential client? If the answer to these questions is no, then you probably want to consider a website refresh.

    2. Is your website mobile-friendly (responsive)?

    If your website isn't responsive or mobile-friendly yet you are probably losing opportunities to your competitors. As of July 2015, over 51% ofinternet traffic in the United States now comes via mobile devices (mostly smart phones). That means many customers and prospects are likely having a poor experience with your brand, as non-mobile friendly websites are very difficult to browse from aphone. Making matters even worse, Google started penalizing non-mobile friendly websites back in April, so if your not mobile-friendly yet, your website's ranking on search results pages (SERPS) has probably dropped, meaning your businesses visibility and lead generation has also dropped. If your organization doesn't already have aresponsive web design, you better get one quickly.

    3. Do you know how people or prospects are finding your organization online?

    In other words, if a person doesn't know your organization's name, howare they searching online (via Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.) to find yourwebsite or social media sites? If you don't know, I'd suggest doingsome basic research to find out. If you don't know there is probably agood chance you don't have a clear cut search engine optimization (SEO) plan in place. If that is true, then I'd recommend you start with somebasic keyword research and then develop a list of prioritizedkeywords you want associated with your organization.

    4. Are you measuring your digital marketing activity?

    The search engine results I mentioned above should be just onecomponent of your digital marketing measurement plan. Regardless of the marketing activity we engage in, Marketpath is always trying to impact at least one of the following components of the marketing funnel: visibility, engagement, and conversion. These are also the items I'd recommend measuring, whether it's via a website analytics tool like Google Analytics, your email solution, or a specific socialmedia site's dashboard.

    • Visibility (Search Engine Results, Website traffic, Email opens)
    • Engagement (articles read, videos watched, comments on social media, sharing your content)
    • Conversions (Purchasing, signing up for email newsletter,downloading a white paper, registering for an event)

    5. Do you have a social marketing plan?

    The degree of importance of social media will vary depending on your business and your market, but regardless of whether you are B2B orB2C, it is clear that social marketing is important. Why you ask? Well the answer is simple. Social media sites are where people are, so if you want to connect with people on those sites, you better be there as well. Need proof? During the 1st quarter 2015, over 31% of all website traffic came directly from social sites. And the average internet user has five (5) social media accounts.Now that doesn't mean you need to be on every social site - I realize small businesses have limited resources. But I do believe that most organizations should have a social media presence where it makes the most sense.

    6. Do you have a content marketing plan in place?

    Regardless of your digital marketing initiatives, content marketing is critical. Whether it's for your website, social marketing, or email,strong content is what will position your organization as a credible option to do business with and what will improve your visibility,engagement and conversions. The stats below provide some insight intohow important marketers now view content marketing.

    • ​98% of B2B marketers say content marketing is core to their marketing strategy
    • 88% of business buyers say online content plays a significant role in vendor selection
    • Utilizing an inbound marketing strategy with content marketing doubles website conversion rates

    7. Is someone clearly in charge of your digital marketing?

    This may seem like a weird question, but many small businesses still don't have anyone clearly responsible for digital marketing strategy and activities such as website marketing, email, social, etc. Even ifyou don't have a unique role for online marketing, your company at least needs to have a high level position accountable for your digital marketing. By having someone accountable, that individualcan then decide if your marketing can be done by direct employees or if outside help is needed.

    8. Do your have the personnel to execute on your plan?

    As you look at 2016 and your marketing strategy, do you have the internal resources to execute your digital plan? If not, you may want to consider outsourcing certain digital marketing services including content marketing, social marketing, PPC, or email.

    Now is the time to grow your business and enhance your brand through more effective online marketing. But don't wait too long to get started.

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    About the Author

    Kevin Kennedy

    Kevin Kennedy, Marketpath’s VP Marketing and Professional Services, has been working on business strategy, digital marketing, and website technology for over 20 years. Prior to joining Marketpath in 2009, Kevin worked for Delta Faucet Company, including roles as Director of E-Business, where he led the company's technology strategy, and Director of Interactive Marketing. 

    Kevin graduated with a B.B.A. in Finance from the University of Notre Dame and received his M.B.A. from Eastern Michigan University. In his free time, Kevin enjoys spending time with his wife, Bridget, and their five children, travel, and various sports activities, while also participating on the non-profit boards for The Children's TherAplay Foundation and Juega Como Campeon.

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