How to Plan Your Online Marketing in 3 Steps

We’re in the last three months of our financial year so I am starting to think about planning our online marketing, for when the budget gets topped up. I thought it may be useful to run through some best practice advice for when you plan yours.

1. It’s never too early to plan!

It’s usually with best intentions that we say that this year we’ll make our lives easier and start planning well in advance. This rarely actually happens though and you’ll find yourself having to get your head down in the last couple of weeks or even worse you won’t plan at all and will just start to spend the budget when it becomes available. If you want to get the best results from your activity then plan it in and make it early, your ideas will have time to improve in your mind and you’ll be able to research more thoroughly and get better cost efficiencies.

2. Start with the outcome

Instead of starting with the actual activity – start with the outcome, the results you want. It helps to be focused on what you’re trying to achieve instead of just allocating a few thousand to PPC because it’s easy to switch up and down or getting an SEO agency in because you want good rankings. Why do you want the rankings? Is it revenue from the site you’re after? Is there a better way to achieve it or are there other things you need to do to help you get it? Once you know what your end goal is, it’s also easier to put measures in place to indicate whether you’re successful or not. If you’re using a new supplier then make it clear in their contract what targets they need to hit.

3. Review previous activity

Decisions are a lot easier to make when they are based on previous data and trends. If you want to know how much to spend in an area, or even if to spend in it at all, check what returns it gave last year. This is why it’s so important throughout the year to measure as much as possible – I keep a spreadsheet with at least 5 different measures per activity that I keep track on each month. At the end of the year I can then find trends and weak spots or even nicer, I can spot which are the best areas. Once you’ve identified your strengths, look to see if they are scalable – can you spend more and get more?

Keep track of ideas in the back of your notepad throughout the year so you have more inspiration and also talk to other departments to see what ideas can come from their requirements.