By Susan Tucker
Planning season is upon us! Have you thought about your Digital Marketing Action Plan for 2015 yet? If not, I am here to help.
With all the SEO changes of the past several years, one thing we have learned for sure: the fresher the content you put out, the more successful your digital marketing efforts will be. That is why setting up a content calendar is necessary to gain traction. But, it doesn’t stop with just content, the entire digital marketing cycle should be planned, analyzed, tweaked and planned again.
Here’s how to get started.
Get To Know Your Customers
Buyer Personas are semi-fictional representation of your ideal customers base and a more in depth look at who your target customer will be in the next year. You can create the skeletons of your Buyer Personas by taking a look at common elements of your current customers. Is there a similarity? What are their pain points? What problems can you solve for them? Once you have profiled and segmented your customer base you are then ready to create content most likely to attract more sales because you have humanized your content for your target audience.
All of this information can help you come up with a variety of topics in your digital marketing that should appeal to potential prospects but really help you determine who your prospects are.
Understand the Buying Cycle
When sitting down to create your own digital marketing calendar you will want to truly understand how the buying cycle works. Once you have determined where your contacts are in the buying cycle, you can then map content specific to their needs at that time.
There are three stages of the buying cycle.
- Awareness – prospects have become aware that they have a need or a problem to solve and can likely become leads at this stage.
- Consideration – leads have become aware that your product/service can likely solve their problem and are considering it as a solution.
- Decision – leads are ready to make a purchase and are comparing vendors.
Creating content around the phase of the buying cycle is a key element to creating a successful digital marketing program. This is called Content Mapping. In fact, as small business owners become more digitally savvy, this personalization is what is going to set you apart.
Hubspot shows the type of content that should align with each stage of the buying cycle here…
Come Up With Helpful Topics
Really get into the heads of your potential clients and current customers and think about what type of content would interest them. Think about the services or products that your company provides and about how you can solve potential issues. This part of your content calendar will include a good, lengthy list of topics that you can get a lot of traction from.
Choose Your Channels
Not every social media channel is right for every business. (Your website and landing pages are always right, however.) Assess the success of your current social channels by reviewing the analytics. Decide which ones to keep using and which ones to put less time into, then search out new, up-and-coming choices.
Here are a few you may not have tried out yet:
Ello – the anti-Facebook network (think reaching the early adopters)
Quora – the Q&A network (think positioning yourself as a thought leader)
SnapChat – instant messaging (think Flash Sales!)
Pheed – the new Twitter/Instagram/Next Best Thing (think multi-media engagement)
Determine Your Delivery
Text, video, micro-video, slides, images, podcasts, webcasts….Whew! There are a lot of delivery options out there and they are all important. Why? Because people consume content differently. Even if you have identified your Buyer Persona through common traits, we are all still different learners.
Consider your helpful topic (see above) and how many assets can you get from this. If you’ve written a blog post, pull out a quote and overlay it on a snazzy image for a visual. You can also craft a podcast or webinar around the blog topic. Break down the points of the post and create slides for your SlideShare account. The point is, don’t get overwhelmed by the sheer choices – take your content and rework it to fit the wide-range of delivery methods.
Make Your Calendar
You are going to now want to make your actual digital marketing calendar. You can simply use a plain old desk calendar or you can utilize one of many online calendar or scheduling programs.
Map out each month of 2015 with the obvious information such as seasonal or holiday topics relevant to your business. Fill in industry events, news and information. Then, consider the buying cycle of your prospects and fill out content to address each phase of the cycle. For every asset – such as blog post, craft social posts and visuals and test out different wording and posting times.