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Creating A Digital Marketing Plan For 2016

As 2015 draws to a close, time to develop your digital marketing plan is quickly running out. Whether you are suffering from writer’s block or you simply cannot focus from drinking a bit too much eggnog, the following 4-step guide should help give you a kick start. However, before we look at the points, it is important to clear up a common misconception many people have about marketing by answering one question:

 Is your marketing plan trying to answer the wrong question?

I can bet that you and your marketing team are smart – probably even much smarter than I am. However, it makes no sense to be smart but use your skills and knowledge to answer the wrong question! Let me illustrate this point with an example: a couple of years ago, our company carried out a survey of more than 100 business owners, asking them one question:

“What is the #1 thing you would like to know about digital marketing?”

As is to be expected, the responses were varied, but most of them followed a common theme. Many of the business owners polled wanted to know, “Is there one marketing tactic that I can use to give me the best Return on Investment (ROI)?”

I am pretty confident that if we polled business owners again today, we would get the same question coming up because it is one that our clients keep asking us. Chances are you are also looking for the answer to this question too!

If you have asked yourself this question, then this article should make it clear that there is no single tactic or strategy that gives the best ROI. When developing your marketing plan, you should not look to find a single ‘holy grail’ trick. What your strategy should do instead is to combine multiple channels in order to come up with a unified way to improve your ROI.

Now that we have got that out of the way, we can now move to the 4 steps to creating a successful digital marketing plan.

Step 1: Define Your Goals For 2016

The most crucial step of planning your marketing strategy is defining your goals. However, you should not just have any goals; they should be SMART goals. This is a mnemonic which means Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. Each of your strategy’s goals must meet each of those criteria.


It is common to hear business owners set vague goals like ‘we need more leads’ or ‘we should increase our sales.’ However, these are not real goals. How many more leads does the business need? How much growth is the business aiming for in 2016? If your goals are already set, be prepared to review them and make them as specific as possible.


You must have measurable goals so that you know what progress you are making toward achieving them. When carrying out your digital marketing efforts, Google analytics can help you to measure how close or far you are from achieving your goals.


Although it is a lot of fun to dream big and set your sights high, it is important that you give yourself targets that can be achieved within the next 12 months. The goals you set should not demoralize, but be a source of excitement and motivation.


Does your goal matter in the bigger picture of your business’ success? Achieving your goal should have a direct impact on your bottom line. A #1 Google ranking for ‘New York pediatric surgeon’ is a goal that is specific, measurable and could be achievable, but does no good for the business of a doctor who does not deal with children.


Because you are preparing your goals for 2016, the deadline for the achievement of your goals is December 31, 2016. Because some of your goals can (and should) be possible to achieve by then, set an appropriate completion date. Having deadlines for your goals is a great motivator to achieving them.

Step 2: Work Backwards When Defining Your Monthly Goals and KPIs

By this point, you should have set your goals. For example, your goal could be to generate sales of $1,000,000 in the next 12 months. This is a possible SMART goal if your business generated less than a million dollars in 2013.

Your next step is to figure out the future date you expect to hit this target and then work backwards. This is an important step as it allows you to identify the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) you must track to eventually achieve your goal.

Although it may sound strange, a simple way to do this is to start by assuming it is December 31, 2016. Write down what the performance of your business looked like that month. Picturing what your future would look like is a simple mind game that is, however a critical part of planning for 2016.

This exercise will help you answer questions like: how many sales were necessary in December to hit your 2016 goal? To generate the $1 million mentioned above, it is necessary to generate $83,333 every month over 12 months. Of course, this is an oversimplified figure as you should plan to have growth month over month from January to December.

So, how many sales are necessary to generate $83,333 every month? If you have an average customer value of $500, you will need 167 sales every month. The next question is: To make 167 sales, how many leads do you require? If your lead conversion rate is 10%, you need to attract 1,670 leads. Looking at your website’s historical analytics figures, you may find that your visitor to lead conversion also stands at 10%. This means you need to have 16,700 visitors to your website every month in order to hit your sales target.

This example shows how working backwards makes it simple to identify KPIs for your business.

 Step 3: Get Real

The third step in developing an effective marketing plan for 2016 is to check your goals against the KPIs in step 2. Given your traffic statistics, is it possible for you to achieve visitor numbers of over 16,000 every month? Are the conversion rates you used attainable when measured against similar businesses or your own historical data?

Getting the answers to these questions requires a fair bit of research and probably some expert third-party advice. The key question is whether you generate enough traffic to help you achieve your goals. For instance, Google’s Keyword Planner may indicate that there are 100,000 searches every month for the product or service you offer; is it possible for your SEO and Google Adwords to deliver 16,000 visitors to your website?

Although 16% of all the searches for your keyword may not look like much, it is important to remember that – for most businesses – a 2% AdWords click through rate can be termed a successful campaign. It is recommended that you seek the advice of a Search Engine Marketing (SEM) expert to ensure that the goals you have set are achievable and realistic. If you discover that you have set unattainable goals, do not be ashamed to revise them. It is better to do this at the beginning than to spend 12 months chasing shadows.

Step 4: Assign Responsibilities

The last step of developing your strategy should be fairly straightforward. This step involves assigning a member of your team the responsibility for the implementation and measurement of monthly progress. If your plans for growth are big, you may need to hire someone specifically for this task, or outsource it to a different company.

Online Video – The Diamond of Digital Marketing

“A picture is worth a thousand words” is a phrase credited to Frederick R. Barnard commenting on the addition of graphics to advertising in 1921. The concept of a picture giving the viewer an image in a second that might take any length of time to describe in writing, is even more applicable to the modern internet age lifestyle. An image remains in the mind for much longer than the spoken word, while very few people have the time or inclination to read written advertisement in today’s rushed world.

Moving pictures have been around since 1890 when the first films were made which lasted for a minute or even less. The motion picture industry has gone through amazing changes and developments since then, all the way from the big reels to the CD and DVD concept. The computer and internet revolution has turned every computing device, from the smallest mobile phone upwards, into a receiving and viewing device and subsequently, into a shop window.

The use of this online video technology as an advertising medium makes it possible for the smallest business enterprise to reach a previously unheard of number of potential customers. Using the new technology in combination with Google, the world’s most popular search engine, you can have exposure to over a billion viewers monthly according to the eBizMBA ranking on 1st June 2015. The second most popular search engine is YouTube, owned by Google, which processes over 3 billion searches every month.

Putting Google and YouTube together and then factoring in the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) criteria employed by Google, the exposure your brand or advertisement receives can be mind boggling. We will take a look at some the factors around Google and YouTube to try and make you aware of the virtually unlimited advertising mileage and exposure you get by making use of YouTube.

  1. YouTube processes more than 3 billion searches every month with the number   growing steadily. Statistics show that YouTube is the fastest growing video sharing website in the world.
  2. With one out of every two internet users on YouTube, there are 1 billion unique visitors viewing 6 billion hours of video every month. In addition to this, 100 hours of new videos are uploaded every minute.
  3. Mobile YouTube viewers make up 25% of the global time that YouTube is being watched with more than 1 billion daily viewers. Your shop window is even open to viewers on the move in today’s non-stop world environment.
  4. In the same way that your website content and format determines your Google ranking, there are similar factors that rank your YouTube advertising video. Some of the factors that can affect the ranking are the number of views, the video title and description as well as the viewer ratings feedback that YouTube receives.
  5. E-marketing is the sales tool of the future with an almost unlimited number of potential clients out there waiting for you to connect with them. YouTube is the most cost effective advertising medium you will find.

The entire business community is continually searching for ways to increase market share and sales. The old days of putting your merchandise in the shop window or advertising your services on billboards and waiting for customers are long gone. Utilizing the internet and the modern online video and YouTube approach for business and service advertising, can have tens of thousands of potential clients passing your ‘shop window’ every single day. The vast numbers reduce the ratio of the cost of advertising to sales dramatically. To look into the future of advertising, all you need to do is to look into online videos.