You wouldn’t think of setting out on a cross-country road trip without a plan for reaching your destination, and the same should be true of your marketing plan. Having a map that outlines how you’re going to reach your marketing destination can be the difference between success and failure.
Content Marketing Institute reports that 62% of the most successful content marketers have a documented strategy in place and 72% of successful marketers said strategy was a major contributor. Surprisingly, while most B2B marketers have some sort of strategy, only 35% have a documented strategy.
Every marketer needs a well-documented strategy to accomplish the goals. This strategy, which should be developed with your client, outlines what kind of results you want for your clients and how you’ll achieve them.
When creating a content strategy for clients, a marketing map can help document exactly what you’ll be doing and how it will improve your client’s business.
What’s a Marketing Map?
A marketing map is an inbound marketing plan you develop for your clients. It includes a number of crucial elements for marketing success, including the established baselines and goals, competitor analysis, content audit and much more.
Typically, the marketing map is a comprehensive guide that members of your marketing team will collaborate on. It will highlight your client’s past marketing efforts, establish realistic goals for them and show what you’re going to do to reach those goals. This will help attract more customers, increase brand awareness and improve their company’s bottom line.
The marketing map will serve as your guide when carrying out marketing plans and it holds you accountable to clients. It demonstrates to them that you have a plan of action and are willing to be transparent about how you reach your goals.
When constructing your marketing map, make sure you include these elements:
The introduction of your marketing map should comprise background information about the client, including a quick overview of their history, the brands they own, slogan and brand promise, websites and social media accounts, content they’ve created, any press they’ve received, industries they’re in and their challenges and pain points. Much of this information can be found online, and you can also interview your client to gain more information.
Baselines and Goals
The baseline portion of the marketing map will cover your clients’ current online presence. Together, you will determine realistic goals for the next few quarters.
When you’re carrying out marketing plans for clients, you have to know what audience you’re targeting in order to draw them in with your content and sell them on products and services. That’s where buyer personas come in. These are fictional representations of your client’s customers that are based on customer data and market research.
According to Protocol 80, using personas makes websites two to five times more effective and easier to navigate for targeted users. And marketing expert Stephen Zoeller reports that 71% of companies that exceed lead and revenue goals have documented personas in place. In your marketing map, create a few buyer personas for your clients and include a fictional name, stock photo, story, demographics, challenges and goals that your client’s customers might have. Use data from your client, and perhaps interview current customers, to find the information needed to create your personas.
Your clients’ websites are typically the first point of contact for customers, and that first impression matters. If these sites are poorly designed, slow or otherwise hard to navigate, they’re going to turn customers off and cause clients to lose business. According to HubSpot, 57% of mobile users won’t recommend a company if its mobile website is unresponsive or poorly designed, for instance.
In your website analysis section, highlight the traffic your clients receive, any dips that may have occurred in traffic (and what caused them) as well as ideas on how your client can improve their website. Perhaps they need to minify their code or invest in mobile-only design. Help them determine what they can do to make their sites go faster, look better and garner more traffic.
Your clients need to know how they stack up to their competitors online. Research things like competitors’ websites, paid ads, reviews, social media accounts and keyword and content strategy. Show how much competitors are spending on ads, where they receive reviews, what kind of content they’re creating and where they’re posting it, what keywords they’re ranking for and how many followers/how much interaction they have on social media. This competitor analysis will also show your clients how they can target their similar audience with content and offers online.
Before you determine what content to create for your clients, do a content audit. According to one study, 30% of Microsoft’s content – or 3 million out of 10 million pieces of content – had never been read, which the company didn’t find out until it conducted a content audit. To ensure clients are getting traction with their content, conduct an audit, which involves taking inventory of all content that exists, including blog posts, videos, photo galleries and white papers, and documenting any content gaps that you can fill.
Keywords are a critical part of a content campaign’s and a website’s success. According to Search Engine Watch, the top-ranked search result on Google will receive 33% of clicks, the second spot will receive 18% and the third will receive 11%. Ranking low on Google can be a death sentence to websites, but using keywords strategically will help combat this and get them to the top. Highlight which keywords are the most important, their search volume and difficulty as well as how you will be using the keywords in the content and on the website in general.
If your client is using paid ads on Google and other websites to target their audience, include an analysis of their campaigns and recommendations on how they can improve. Perhaps they can use better keywords, photos, calls to action, headlines or copy to draw in users. Maybe when users click the ad, they’re taken to a confusing shopping cart, or the ads aren’t presenting enticing deals when compared to competitors. Highlight how your client can get the most possible out of paid ads while still staying within their budget.
Creating Your Marketing Map
These elements are the bare bones of a marketing map. Including them, as well as any other information and recommendations for your clients, provides a good foundation to build on. Just like a good GPS or map tells you how to best reach your destination and avoid problems on the road, a good marketing map will help you and your client reach their goals faster and know exactly what path is best to follow.