When is the best time to think about strategies for next year’s digital marketing? Not to rush you, but it is now.
Although many brands are still launching their final activities for 2015, the last few months of the year are exactly a good time to plan strategies for 2016 and forestall competition. Besides, web marketers are like explorers who, while moving forward, always keep in mind their previous journey, where the brand is at the present time and, in the meantime, think about their next destination. Here are some tips to plan your route for 2016, considering all the details to get there first.
Making a web marketing plan in 10 minutes
It is obviously not possible or useful to the brand. It takes the right time. Time dedicated to analysis is valuable, because therein lays the foundation for the following activities, it lets you get away from the daily flow of activities and allows you to look at your company from a new perspective. Digital strategies work exactly like the traditional marketing plan: you start from the current situation, then you carry out an objective analysis of your brand’s strengths and weaknesses, the budget, resources, your achievements and those of the competition.
Planning 2016 by stages and destinations
Once you’ve analyzed the end-of-year scenario, you will have a clearer idea on the position of the brand and from there you can realistically plan the next destination. Long-term goals must be precisely defined, with a date and measurable targets; then you hypothesize intermediate, monthly or weekly steps to evaluate in a timely and progressive way the progress of the strategy and any course corrections. There are two main goals which the web marketing plan should always take into consideration: to support brand awareness, to spread information about your brand through activities of content marketing, PR, institutional campaigns, and organizing promotional activities, which serve to support sales through advertising campaigns, e-mails, online coupons and so on.
It is therefore a matter of translating your goals into operational proposals. And in order to do so, you need not only theoretical, analytical and evaluation tools but also practical ones, to implement the activities on your plan. The following are some tips that will help you conquer new worlds in 2016.
To analyze: keep your consumers in mind and data in hand
#1 The usefulness of Buyer Personas: they are abstract simulations of your ideal consumers. They include demographic, behavioral and values information, which will compose a complete profile from every point of view. They serve to visualize and better clarify the targets and purchasing processes. If your brand has never used them, here is a free template to start. If you already have them, then you should occasionally check them and evaluate possible updates: Personas are theoretical tools, but they are live ones because they are based on real consumers, whose behaviors evolve continuously.
#2 The segmentation of data management: tracking user behavior online is a thousand times more immediate compared to off-line channels. We can know who visited the site, when, where and how many times. But it is also more complex, because there is so many data to manage. Luckily there are several platforms which collect and analyze them. A useful feature of Google analytics, for example, allows to segment the target, which means grouping the customers based on their common traits and then highlighting their behaviors, according to numerous parameters. The 3 most important data to keep an eye on, as ranked by Dave Chaffey on smartinsights.com, are the traffic source, visitor type, and geographic location.
#3 Tools for web reputation: over 50% of consumers admit that the opinions found on the web about a product have considerable importance in their purchase decision (source: moz.com). Therefore, monitoring the online reputation of your brand is fundamental and it is no coincidence that there are many tools on the web that allow you to check it. In 2016, they will become web marketers’ favorite assistants: amongst the free ones are IceRocket, which monitor blogs, Facebook and Twitter without the need to register and create an account, Talkwalker, which allows to track conversations on social networks or Topsy, an indispensable and effective search tool for Twitter. But there are a lot more on the list.
To take action: emails, coupons and app for a mobile sprint
#4 The evolution of email: they continue to be one of the most used communication tools, especially by small-medium enterprises, according to mobilemarketingwatch. In 2015 the daily traffic of e-mails sent and received by consumers around the world is around 80.2 billion (source: Radicati Group Report). These are important numbers, but the situation is changing: by 2017 the exchange of e-mail will decrease by 4%, in favor of messaging apps and similar services provided by social networks. This does not mean completely eliminating emails from your strategy, but rethinking them in an innovative way, integrating them with other channels, and bearing in mind that they are displayed more and more on mobile devices. So yes to emails, but keep them short and optimized.
#5 The convenience of Mobile Coupons: 96% of smartphone users who shopped online in 2015, sought a digital coupon before purchasing, an increase of 26% compared to 2014 (source: eMarketer report). Unlike coupons received via e-mail which have to be printed out and presented in the store, digital coupons are the evolved version, downloaded directly from the website through smartphones: consumers insert their data and then receive the coupon. It is an easy and convenient tool not only for consumers but also for web marketers who can promote the products while collecting useful contacts enriching their database for future campaigns.
#6 The many advantages of apps: people are constantly connected to their smartphones, at any time and in any context. One third of the population check their mobile phones between 25 and 50 times a day, while 16% do it over 50 times (source dailymail). Having an app tied to a brand means not only an opportunity to develop direct and frequent contact with your consumers (through push notifications, for example), but it also enables a new channel which collects their data and immediately measure the return on assets. There are online systems to create app, which don’t require you to be a web designer or a programmer: these simple and intuitive platforms allow the creation not only of apps, but also mobile sites and e-commerce, with which you can easily manage mobile coupons and many other tools for your digital strategy.
From these ideas, you can now start to compose your plan for 2016. One last tip: venture out and think outside the box. It’s better to think of ideas first, then decide how you can best implement them with your economic resources, and not vice versa, otherwise you’ll always end up going in circles. Being ahead is a matter of mentality, not budgets.
Guest article written by: Silvio Porcellana is the CEO and Founder of mob.is.it, the online tool over 1,000 agencies and professionals use to build mobile websites and native apps for customers worldwide. From his retreat in the Monferrato Hills in North West Italy, he bootstraps companies, writes about web and mobile marketing, and helps customers succeed online. Read more from Silvio at mob.is.it blog. Twitter: @silvioporcellan