In this series, we’re talking about the value of Google Analytics for small business websites. If you’ve missed it, click here to read the first post. Before we delve into how Google Analytics works, let’s stop and consider a very important part of the program: your own digital marketing plan. Starting with your first foray into Google Academy, Google Analytics’ training program, I’ll bet you noticed something: you’re supposed to have a digital marketing plan in place. Why this insistence on a marketing plan? And how can you go about building one?
Why You Need A Digital Marketing Plan
Without a digital marketing plan, the information you get from Google’s analysis of your website traffic means next to nothing. It doesn’t matter if your visitors are coming because of a banner ad or a search result; a lack of marketing plan means you have nothing to measure your results against, and no idea of where you want to go in the future. Don’t feel too terrible if you’ve let your digital marketing plan slide until now. Lots of small business owners have done the same. Let’s work toward fixing the problem.
What Is a Digital Marketing Plan, and How Can You Build One?
You can’t build a marketing plan from reading a single blog post. They’re complex beings. What we can do is explore what a marketing plan is, and where you can find resources to help you create your own. (And yes, this takes time, patience, and multiple revisions. Hang in there.) A marketing plan is your roadmap to growing your customer base. Broadly speaking, your marketing plan requires you to complete several steps:
- Define your objectives - what you hope to achieve with your digital marketing within a set time.
- Consider how your business is currently situated with regard to these objectives.
- Think about what you can do to reach your objectives.
- Decide how you’ll measure progress towards your objectives.
- Set up Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to help you chart your growth over time.
It’s fine to brainstorm ideas at this point, but don’t forget about your customer. For any campaign to be effective, it absolutely must appeal to your target audience. So think about your present and future customers. Put yourself in their shoes, and craft your approach accordingly. As you go further into your digital market plan, you’ll notice plenty of emphasis is being placed on selecting the right channels. “Channels” is the marketing term for how you’ll reach your audience. This can be via email, social media engagement, online ads, sponsored search engine results - basically any form of online advertising or interacting. The question here is what will my target audience respond to? Again, tailor your plan accordingly. So, a good digital marketing plan takes time. Before you invest in learning the nitty gritty of Google Analytics, you’d do well to get your marketing plan going first. (It doesn’t have to be perfect; you can always tweak it later as needed.) Be sure to join us next week, when Techsperts Talk takes on the task of explaining how Google Analytics works!