2015 is upon us. If you haven't developed a digital planning strategy for the year yet, now's the time. Marketing managers typically understand the importance of having a firm, clear marketing plan in place, but business owners sometimes fail to see the point. Without a clearly defined digital marketing plan, any effort you put forth is likely to be wasted. You'll find yourself flailing around trying one random thing after another. By the end of 2015, you'll have little or nothing to show for it. Once you have a plan, though, the returns on your digital marketing investment are sure to be considerable.

First Steps

Before sitting down to draft your 2015 digital marketing strategy, there are a few things you should get out of the way:

Define Your Goals

Define Your GoalsFor a strategy to be effective, it needs to be designed with specific goals in mind. So, what are your digital marketing goals for 2015? Examples include increasing conversions, improving your site's bounce rate, ramping up your social media efforts, fine-tuning your email marketing, revamping your website, improving your search engine rankings and gaining a stronger foothold in the mobile marketing arena. While defining your goals, however, be realistic. The most important thing to keep in mind is that digital marketing results are never instantaneous. For any goal to be realised, consistency and persistence are key.

Set Budgets

BudgetsWhen it comes to digital marketing, throwing money at the problem will only get you so far. In fact, it's easy to spend vast amounts of money and end up with nothing to show for it. Fortunately, there's a lot you and your team can do yourselves, and that can help keep costs in check. However, you're going to have to delegate certain tasks too, and that most likely means hiring someone to handle various aspects of your digital marketing strategy. So, what does a realistic digital marketing budget look like? The answer varies from one business to the next, and it depends on the goals you've set and other variables. For help setting a realistic and effective budget, contact Quantum.

Review Last Year's Plan

Last Year's PlanWith any luck, you created a digital marketing plan for 2014. Get it out, dust it off and see how things went. Which goals were achieved? Which fell by the wayside? Where did you exceed your budget? Were your expectations missed, met or surpassed? These and other answers will help you fine-tune your digital marketing strategy for 2015. With each passing year, you'll learn more about what works and what doesn't.

Save Your 2015 Plan in a Centralised Place

Save Your 2015 PlanAs you put together your digital marketing plan for 2015, you'll probably end up with several disparate components. That's fine while it's still a work in progress, but the ultimate goal should be putting it all together in a centralised place. That way, you can easily refer to it as the year unfolds, and you'll be able to review it while putting together your plan for 2016.

Things to Include in Your Digital Marketing Plan for 2015

If you've never created a digital marketing plan before or have never put too much effort into it, you may be at a loss about what it should include. Many people only think about SEO and Pay-Per-Click, but there are other things to think about that can compliment or enhance these digital marketing channels A few crucial elements to include in your digital marketing plan for the year include:

Website Refresh or Overhaul

Website RefreshWeb design standards evolve rapidly. The general rule of thumb is to refresh or revamp a website at least every three years. While you're at it, revisit your SEO strategy. Chances are that your site currently contains elements that are keeping it from achieving the best ranking possible. Also, if it's been a while since you did anything to your site, it may be woefully behind the times with regard to mobile friendliness. Today, responsive web design is the best way to go as it uses a single set of code to render a site correctly across all devices. If your site doesn't already have a responsive design, make that a priority in 2015.

Content Development

Content DevelopmentContent has been and continues to be king. Refreshing it should be a goal that's included in your digital marketing strategy every year. In addition to refreshing existing content and creating new content, consider repurposing old content as well. For instance, turn old articles into slideshows, infographics or videos to reach out to wider audiences.

Social Media Marketing Review

Social Media MarketingThese days, no business can afford to go without effective social media marketing. New developments pop up all the time. For instance, if you use Facebook's advertising platform, did you know you can now create "lookalike audiences?" Just upload your database of email contacts and prompt the system to create a lookalike list targeting the same demographic. It works like a charm and is a great way to broaden your reach. If you're still not bothering with Google+, that needs to change in 2015 too.

Tracking and Analytics Usage

Tracking and AnalyticsThanks to advancements in tracking and analytics software, every dollar spent and click made can be tracked. It's in your best interests to do so in order to keep your finger on the pulse of the effectiveness of your digital marketing efforts. Take a look at the analytics and tracking tools you're currently using and look for better options as soon as possible. More importantly, use them consistently to ensure you stay on track throughout 2015.

Email Marketing Enhancement

Email MarketingAccording to econsultancy.com, email marketing continues to deliver the best ROI in terms of digital marketing. Consider increasing the frequency of the emails you send your list, and make expanding and refining your list a top priority for the year. Again, use tracking software to stay current on what's working and what isn't.

The preceding tips make a great starting point, but every business is different. Your 2015 digital marketing strategy will likely include many other points. By putting plenty of time and effort into creating your digital marketing plan, your business is sure to enjoy increased online visibility and more exciting online success for 2015 and beyond.

Need help with your Digitial Marketing Plan for the year? Call Quantum today on 1300 3888 11 to find out what we can do for you.