Kickstart Your Digital Marketing Success: Essential Planning Steps

  • July 11, 2024
  • SEO
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  <p><em>This excerpt is from "The Digital Marketing Success Plan," the new book by SEJ VIP Contributor Corey Morris.</em></p>

  <p>
    We are currently in the most distracted and disrupted era in the history of digital marketing, particularly in SEO. The pace at which we test and experiment is unprecedented. Amidst this rapid change, having a documented, actionable, and accountable <a href="https://www.searchenginejournal.com/digital-marketing-strategy/480782/">digital marketing plan</a> is essential.
  </p>

  <p>
    Corey Morris, in his new book, elaborates on the five-step START Planning process designed to help brands develop their own digital marketing success plans. This approach ensures that ROI and business outcomes are at the forefront of every marketing effort, while also allowing for the flexibility required to adapt to the fast-paced changes in digital and search marketing.
  </p>

  <p>
    Search Engine Journal features an exclusive look at the first step in the START Planning process—"S for Strategy"—which breaks down the four crucial steps within this foundational phase.
  </p>

  <h2>Chapter 3: S For Strategy</h2>

  <p>
    The Strategy Phase is the backbone of the START planning process. The effectiveness of the subsequent phases hinges on the thoroughness and clarity achieved here.
  </p>

  <p>
    The Strategy Phase involves profiling, auditing, research, and goal setting. Understanding past marketing efforts, assessing the current state, and defining future objectives are all pivotal for any successful digital marketing plan.
  </p>

  <p>
    The first step in this phase is to profile. While this may seem straightforward as it involves gathering information, it can be challenging and requires an expert to ask the right questions. This includes defining the team, product or services, brand, and target audience.
  </p>

  <p>
    Profiling involves clarifying who we are, our resources and capabilities, what we are selling, its value, delivery methods, and pricing models. It's also critical to understand the brand's positioning, differentiation, and equity.
  </p>

  <p>
    Crucially, we must identify our target audience personas, their behaviors, and the purchase journeys they undertake. While it is easy to list demographics or targets, achieving a shared understanding of what the business sells, its customers, and associated costs is complex, especially as companies grow.
  </p>

  <p>
    It's essential not to get bogged down in details or assume consensus without thorough validation.
  </p>

  <p>
    The second step is auditing. This involves reviewing past and current marketing efforts to comprehensively understand what has worked, what hasn’t, and why. This step can be time-consuming but is indispensable for developing a robust digital marketing success plan.
  </p>

  <p>
    Effective audits require access to historical data and all relevant networks and platforms. This deep dive includes technical <a href="https://www.searchenginejournal.com/seo-audit/">SEO audits</a>, paid search, <a href="https://www.searchenginejournal.com/technical-seo/technical-necessity/">technical SEO</a>, content SEO, web systems, <a href="https://www.searchenginejournal.com/email-marketing-an-in-depth-guide/477489/">email marketing systems</a>, and more, based on available data.
  </p>

  <p>
    The third step is research, where we expand our scope beyond internal data to gain new insights. This involves gathering perspectives from marketing, sales, operations, product teams, stakeholders, and customers or clients. External research on competitors and market trends helps to validate assumptions and identify opportunities.
  </p>

  <p>
    The final step in the strategy phase is goal setting. Armed with a comprehensive understanding of our position and opportunities, we can establish <a href="https://www.searchenginejournal.com/seo/top-seo-kpis/">realistic goals</a>. Whether starting from scratch or refining existing objectives, this step aligns business goals with marketing efforts and sets clear expectations as we transition from strategy to action.
  </p>

  <h3>Case Study: “WE HAVE A PROBLEM” - Premium Roofing Manufacturer</h3>
  <p>
    A high-end roofing manufacturing company, facing a noticeable drop in SEO traffic, sought assistance. Marcy, the marketing manager, had previously succeeded with multiple agencies. However, a mysterious decline in traffic prompted her to reach out for an audit, which revealed two hidden issues.
  </p>
  <p>
    After presenting technical fixes and strategic plans, the company opted for a new website solution, leading to continued success and eventual record-breaking acquisition. This case underscores the importance of expert audits and proactive strategies.
  </p>

  <h3>Case Study: “WE HAVE TO GET THIS RIGHT” - Continuing Care Retirement Community</h3>
  <p>
    Jamaal, overseeing admissions and marketing for an upscale retirement facility, faced budget constraints yet needed comprehensive digital marketing services. Upon analyzing their audience and existing data, our recommendation was to start with SEO, contrary to other agencies' expensive suggestions.
  </p>
  <p>
    Focusing on SEO provided immediate results. Eventually, expanded marketing efforts and a new website fostered sustained growth, leading to acquisition by a large hospital system. This case highlights starting with impactful, budget-friendly strategies and growing from there.
  </p>

  <hr/>
  <p>
    To delve deeper into the importance of digital marketing planning, Corey’s START Planning process, and practical implementation steps, download the full book on <a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0D94Y2R13/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Amazon</a>. For a limited time, the Kindle version is available for only 99 cents until July 17.
  </p>
  <p>
    Additional information and free resources are available at <a href="https://thedmsp.com" target="_blank" rel="noopener">https://thedmsp.com</a>.
  </p>

  <hr/>
  <p><strong>More resources:</strong></p>

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  <p><em>Featured Image: nuruddean/Shutterstock</em></p>
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