Our 8-Step Marketing Planning Process

It’s not enough to get traffic to your website. It’s not even enough to get leads. You need new, quality customers, and that takes a complete strategy with a marketing partner. True strategy can only be obtained by people who understand all of the tactics and the relationships they have with each other, as well as your specific business/objectives. We’ve been trusted by large and small companies alike since 1995 to do 100% digital marketing, and we take great pride in our ability to customize our strategies and solutions to your unique situation. The following are the steps we take to ensure you have a comprehensive and strategic solution versus a mere list of tactics you’re performing.

8step 1. Assess the situation using competitive analysis and web marketing tools, as well as using our knowledge to determine what you’re doing well and where you could improve. If you’re aching to get a quick snapshot of where you are at, try this fun tool from HubSpot to get a quick glimpse of your online marketing strengths and weaknesses: http://marketing.grader.com The following list of tactics are discussed in our 2013 book Web Marketing On All Cylinders, and are part of our initial evaluation process for those who would like a more complete picture of what’s possible with their online marketing.

  1. Internet marketing strategy
  2. Web design
  3. Web development
  4. Search engine optimization
  5. Link building
  6. Public relations
  7. Reputation management
  8. Social media marketing
  9. Online copy writing
  10. Blogging
  11. Paid search marketing and paid social media marketing
  12. Analytics and ROI tracking
  13. Conversion rate optimization
  14. Local search optimization
  15. Mobile optimization and advertising
  16. Viral video and viral marketing
  17. Email marketing
  18. Marketing automation
  19. Sales process optimization

2. Discuss your goals, so that we understand not just your marketing goals but how they align with your organizational goals. When we align tightly with your goals, we have a better experience together.If you just want one thing done on a project basis, no worries, but we’re here for you should you decide to move from individual projects to a strategic and more comprehensive plan. Some initial goals to consider:

  • What are your goals for this project?
  • How much web traffic are you hoping to generate?
  • How many leads and sales do you hope to generate?
  • Do you have internal resources that we can make use of during the campaign, or will we be doing 100% of the marketing?

3. Create a strategy, so that we have a document to reference that keeps us on track with the big picture. It’s easy to get lost in the weeds with web marketing, and that’s why we created this client onboarding questionnaire, as well as for more advanced projects, a complete Internet marketing strategy software at plansprout.com Here are a few of the things to consider when creating a strategy:

  • A fantastic and persuasive website that works across all device types can get you more leads and sales, even if you get no additional traffic.
  • Having a blog and good content on your site makes you a thought leader. People trust authorities and buy from them more than from “regular people.”
  • Search engines also trust authorities more and rank them better.
  • Having great content lets you have more to share in social media and gets you more media coverage, as well as links that make your SEO go up!
  • Paid Search dollars go WAY further when you have great content that helps increase your conversion rate.
  • Having a robust analytics system lets you be sure your marketing dollars are going to the right places.
  • Doing social media provides trust and social proof that customers and journalists appreciate.
  • Making sure your sales people are aligned with the marketing team means more good leads due to an increased understanding of who you’re targeting.

After discussing these issues and the approach we’ll take that works within your budget, we usually move on to the website itself.

4. Design and Development

There’s almost always some level of issue with your design (e.g., Does it use conversion optimization best practices?) and/or your development (e.g., Is it fully Google-, user-, and mobile-friendly?). An average website means you need far more leads, and a website that’s not built well for search engines is simply costing you money. We can either take over your design and development or work with your team. It’s up to you, and we welcome working with your web designers and developers if that’s the approach you’d like to take. About half of our clients have us do everything, and the others have us work with their teams. As long as the work gets done properly, we are happy either way.

5. Conversion optimization can make or break your business, so even if you don’t sign up for our advanced A/B testing programs, we’ll give you some initial advice to make sure your site will generate leads when we drive more traffic to it. A few things to consider:

  • Do you have top-of-the-funnel and middle-of-the-funnel calls to action like whitepaper/e-book downloads or case studies, so that the 95% of the web that’s not ready to buy can at least become a lead?
  • Do you know what your conversion rate is before we begin?
  • Have you used tools like usertesting.com, ClickTale, or Optimizely to actually prove your creative ideas are working? If not, you’re simply shooting in the dark.

6. Analytics setup and ROI tracking is one of the most important things you can invest in. Without an understanding of what sources are driving the best leads, you can’t possibly know with full confidence you are making the right changes and not moving your marketing backward. We are resellers and proponents of HubSpot, and can discuss options that extend beyond the great things Google Analytics can do. We also are huge advocate of tools like crazyegg.com, feng-gui, and clicktale.com that let us dig deeper into customer engagement and diagnose conversion problems. Consider the following:

  • Do you have conversion tracking set up on website phone calls, form submissions, and/or shopping cart sales?
  • Do you have analytics installed but no one to analyze the data and make thoughtful recommendations on a monthly basis? The biggest problem with analytics is that many people have it but don’t really use it. We can change that overnight by making a comprehensive dashboard and a monthly PowerPoint presentation that point out whether or not we are succeeding at our key performance indicators.

7. Content marketing is going to make or break your SEO and social media, so we need to know what level of commitment you will have to the process. SEO used to work with weak and infrequent content, but it doesn’t anymore. Social media is pointless without something to share, even if it will be mostly through curating other people’s content. Once we get a list of agreed-upon content, we do the keyword and customer needs analysis so we can make a list of content to create, as well as a calendar of when things will get posted. Below are some of the content types that we create:

  • Videos
  • Blogs posts
  • New website pages
  • Infographics
  • Whitepapers and e-books
  • Podcasts
  • Slideshows
  • Image galleries
  • Case studies
  • Resource pages that will allows us to get more links to your site

8. Individual tactics. This is where the rubber meets the road and we start doing SEO, social media, paid search, PR, email marketing, lead nurturing, scoring, and all the amazing things that can get you more leads. Without the process before the tactics, your campaigns will be limited, whereas with a great strategy, the sky’s the limit, as can be seen by some our case studies.

Why people work with us

We’re not interested in churning and burning clients like so many agencies trying to grow at an accelerated rate. The McDougall family has been in marketing since 1970 and we have a reputation to live up to. We are looking for partners and not projects, and the following video testimonial from Stephen Immerman, PhD, hopefully illustrates the level of commitment we make to each client:

Our customers also frequently compliment us on our knowledge and overall helpfulness. For more on our thought leadership, check out our award-winning book, e-books, Internet marketing DVD training package, our New York Times-featured seminar series, and our blog.

Check out The Legal Marketing Review, if you are interested in law firm marketing.

McDougall Interactive Highlights

  • Founded in 1995
  • Grew out of McDougall Associates Advertising – the sixth largest agency in New England in the 1990s
  • Over 300 SEO and website clients served over 18 years
  • HubSpot Partner/VAR
  • Google Elite Paid Search Partner (we manage millions of dollars in paid ads a year)
  • Google Adwords and Analytics certified
  • Conversion Optimization Certified
  • Multiple authors on staff
  • Small and large clients from Philips Medical and to niche local businesses
  • Creative videos, including a viral video with 15 million views
  • Featured in the New York Times, Boston Herald, Internet Retailer, and more

How to start working with us If you want a free consultation, either pick up the phone and ask for John McDougall at 978-750-8000, send us an email, or fill out the form on the right. However you contact us, we’re happy to discuss what you’re up to and see if there might be a fit and a way we can really help you. If you’re not ready to get started right away, feel free to browse our e-books and blog.