Digital Marketing Blueprint (Free Download)
The success of your digital marketing efforts will directly relate to the quality of planning put forth. The most effective campaigns with the greatest return on investment are guided by a well-researched and thought-out plan. Digital marketing is complicated and multifaceted, you can’t simply “wing it” and expect good results.
In short, you need a digital marketing blueprint to be successful.
In this article, we’ll cover the eight pillars of an effective digital marketing blueprint. At the end, you can download our “Digital Marketing Blueprint Canvas,” a free resource you can use to guide and document your blueprint.
The eight digital marketing blueprint pillars are:
- Situation Overview
- Campaign Goals
- Key Performance Indicators
- Target Audience
- Competitive Analysis
- Channels and Platforms
- Content Strategy
Let’s dive into each one.
If you don’t know where you are, it’s hard to determine where to go.
Every blueprint should start with an overview of the current situation. This ensures anyone reading the document has the context to understand the initiative. This can be a brief paragraph explaining your current marketing efforts and motivation for change.
If you don’t know where you want to go, you’ll likely end up somewhere else.
You might think this step is unnecessary; after all, aren’t all marketing campaigns focused on building awareness and driving sales for products and services?
This is the most important step in the process. Without clear and actionable goals, you won’t be able to focus your efforts and will likely waste time and resources.
We recommend using the SMART goal format, which is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. This structure turns vague and unactionable goals like “Market our products or services” into clarity-building directions like “Increase product sales by 25% in six months.”
We recommend limiting the number of goals to 3 – 4 to prevent spreading your efforts too thin.
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
Goals clarify what you’re trying to accomplish. Key performance indicators (KPIs) measure your progress in achieving goals.
Simply put, KPIs are metrics you define to track your success towards a given goal. If your goal is to build brand awareness, how are you going to determine if your efforts are successful or not?
Each goal should have at least one KPI, however, you might find that two or three should be used in conjunction. For example, brand awareness could be measured by monthly branded search volume, social media followers, and social mentions.
It’s OK to have qualitative KPIs, where instead of a hard metric you’re measuring the general impression of a given audience. If you’re measuring brand perception for example, you might survey your target audience with open-ended questions rather than having them rate your brand attributes on a 1 – 5 scale.
The better you understand who you’re trying to reach the easier it is to reach (and motivate) them.
If you could only complete two portions of the digital marketing blueprint it should be campaign goals and audience research.
There are lots of ways to learn about your target audience including customer interviews, sales team interviews, field research, focus groups, etc… As you learn more about your target audience it’s important to analyze and document your findings in an easy-to-digest format. Traditionally you’d create “buyer personas,” but we recommend creating more robust “buyer models.”
Understanding your target audience’s goals, challenges, behaviors, motivations, and thought processes will directly inform where you’ll market and what messages you communicate.
In most cases, your audience will be considering multiple options. You have direct and indirect competitors and alternative types of solutions. For example, an inbound marketing company will compete with other inbound marketing agencies (direct), traditional marketing agencies (indirect), and hiring an in-house team (alternative solution.)
If you understand your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) you can tailor your messaging to highlight your strengths, address / minimize your weaknesses, and stand out as the best solution.
This understanding is obtained by analyzing your competitors. Competitive analysis can also uncover the strategies that are working for your competitors that you can leverage and improve upon.
You now have the background necessary to define your messaging. Messaging is the simple and memorable ideas you want to communicate to your target audience.
Communication is the center of marketing. Articles, social posts, advertisements, webpages, and emails are all different forms of communication. The question is, what do you want your target audience to know? What do they want to know?
Your messaging should tell your target audience how you can best solve their problem and why you’re different (and better) than everyone else.
Your prior research has uncovered your target audience’s goals, motivations, thought processes, and what makes you different. You just need to synthesize that information into a concise message.
We recommend identifying your primary message first. This is the most important thing you want your target audience to take away. From there you can break it down into 3 – 5 “pillar messages.”
For example, our primary message is “We will make you a hero of your organization.” Our pillar messages are, we make you a hero through:
- Strategic inbound marketing campaigns that drive leads and sales
- Delightful digital experiences that engage your target audience
- An enjoyable and collaborative working relationship
- Being your external success advocate
All marketing communication should reference your primary and pillar messages. It takes 8 – 10 exposures before we remember a message so it’s important to reiterate at every stage despite sounding repetitive.
Channels and Platforms
Now it’s time to be more tactical. Where and how will you reach your target audience?
Social? Search engines? Email? Advertisements? Webinars?
Your audience research should identify where they spend their time and buying process, which will inform your decisions. Do they spend time on Linkedin? Do they do online research before making big decisions? If so you’re probably looking at organic and paid Linkedin and Search Engine Marketing.
Things to consider are the level of effort and budget. Organic social media posting can be a high effort, long-term investment, requiring no ad spend. Social advertising on the other hand is low effort, but generally more expensive.
At this early stage, it’s worth exploring more channels and platforms to test the effectiveness of each.
Each channel or platform requires content. Social posts, articles, videos, emails, web pages, etc…
Your content strategy outlines what content exists, what content needs to be created, who will create it, and by when.
Start by evaluating your messaging and determining what content you already have that you can use or modify. Then identify where you have gaps. Finally, create a content calendar outlining when and where content will be posted, when content will be created, and by who.
This will serve as your working roadmap to execute your digital marketing blueprint.
Digital Marketing Blueprint Canvas
We created a simple, easy-to-use canvas to guide and document all critical aspects of an effective digital marketing blueprint. Download it below and use it to communicate your digital marketing plan ot your team in a simple, easy-to-digest format.
A solid plan is critical for success whether you’re a small business or large, or your goals are lead generation or brand awareness. The effort you invest into a digital marketing blueprint will pay back 10 fold.
If you need help with your digital marketing blueprint, schedule a call with one of our digital strategists. We’ve helped marketing leaders and business owners like you identify the most effective way to approach their digital marketing campaigns and we’d love to help you too.