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The Insanely Simple One-Page Marketing Plan Template

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The Insanely Simple One-Page Marketing Plan Template

Every business needs a marketing plan. It helps guide your marketing efforts and keeps you on track to hit your marketing objectives. 

The problem is that creating one can get complicated, really complicated.

It’s not so bad if you’re familiar with marketing jargon and acronyms like SWOT and KPI. But if you’ve never created one before and want to hit the ground running, it can feel like you need an MBA in Marketing just to get started. 

That’s why we created the one-page marketing plan.

You’ll learn how to fill it in shortly but first, let’s make sure we understand the basics…

What is a marketing plan?

A marketing plan is a roadmap for executing your marketing strategy over a given period of time, usually a year.

What’s the difference between a marketing plan, strategy, tactics, and objective?

Despite many people using these terms interchangeably, they’re very different things. 

Here’s the simplest way to explain them:

  • Objective: What you want to achieve.
  • Strategy: How you’ll do it.
  • Tactics: The methods you’ll use.
  • Plan: Everything mapped out so you can take action.

For instance, imagine that you want to get from London to Paris on a budget. Your objective, strategy, tactics, and plan might look something like this: 

  • Objective: Get from London to Paris for under $100.
  • Strategy: Use public transportation.
  • Tactics: Bus, tube, and Eurostar.
  • Plan: Get the bus to the tube station, get the tube to St Pancras, get the Eurostar to Paris.

You can see how it would be hard to execute your strategy without the plan because you wouldn’t know whether to get the train, tram, or metro first. The plan explains how everything fits together so you can take action. 

It’s the same with marketing. Your marketing plan explains how your marketing tactics fit together to execute your marketing strategy and achieve your marketing objectives.

How to create a one-page marketing plan

Start by making a copy of the marketing plan template. You’ll see that it revolves around answering four simple questions. Let’s go through how to answer these. 

Question 1. Who are you targeting?

If you’re creating a marketing plan, you should already have done your market research and developed your marketing strategy. And that means you should already have a pretty good idea of who you’re targeting. However, it’s helpful to reiterate this in your marketing plan to keep you focused and on track. 

For example, if we were putting together a marketing plan for Ahrefs, we might put:

SEO professionals and website owners who want to drive more traffic to their websites.

This is a very simplified version of who we’re targeting, but it’s enough to set us on the right track.

Question 2. What are your objectives?

You’re not creating a marketing plan for the fun of it. You’re creating one to map out how you’ll (hopefully) achieve some marketing objectives. So you need to define what those objectives are.

These can be pretty much anything you like, but they should ideally be SMART.

Unfortunately, this is one piece of marketing jargon we have to tackle, but it’s pretty straightforward and just means that your objectives should be: 

  • Specific. They should clearly state the desired outcome.
  • Measurable. They should be something you can track the success of. 
  • Achievable. They should be realistic. 
  • Relevant. They should align with your overall business objectives.
  • Timely. They should have a time frame attached to them.

For example, here’s a bad marketing objective:

Increase organic traffic

Here’s a good one:

Increase organic search visibility in the US from 3 to 6% in the next 12 months.

Only the latter is SMART. The former is too vague, has no time frame attached to it, and isn’t measurable. The latter, on the other hand, is specific, has a 12-month time frame, and is easily measurable in Ahrefs’ Rank Tracker:

Search visibility in Ahrefs' Rank Tracker

Generally speaking, it’s best to have a few objectives but no more than a handful. Any less, and you won’t achieve much. Any more, and you’ll spread yourself too thin. 

If you’re struggling to think of relevant marketing objectives for your business, you might want to take inspiration from the examples in our guide to setting marketing objectives.

Question 3. How will you achieve your objectives?

Placing goalposts is easy, but scoring a goal is hard. That’s why you now need to get specific and think about the tactics you’ll use to achieve your marketing objectives and how much they’ll cost. 

Remember that your tactics should always align with your marketing strategy and objectives. Don’t just pluck them out of thin air or opt for shiny new tactics. Consider what tactics align with your marketing strategy and go from there.

For example, our marketing strategy is pretty simple at its core:

Help our target audience solve their SEO and marketing problems with the help of our tools by creating informative and useful content about topics they’re searching for

Because your strategy should always dictate the tactics you use, it’s clear that any tactics we use will be content-related. This is also clear from the objective we set ourselves in the previous section:

Increase organic search visibility in the US from 3% to 6% in the next 12 months.

So what tactics should we utilize to achieve this objective?

Given the objective itself, there’s really only one thing we can do here: SEO. However, if we really want to create an actionable marketing plan for ourselves, we need to be more specific. 

This is where a bit of research is needed…

If we scroll down to our tracked keywords in Rank Tracker and sort by estimated traffic, we can see the keywords where our search visibility is low or non-existent:

Low search visibility keywords in Ahrefs' Rank Tracker

To improve our organic search visibility for these keywords, there are a few tactics we could use. However, to keep things simple, let’s say that rewriting the posts that target them seems like the most viable tactic. 

Let’s also assume that we don’t have the manpower to rewrite all of these posts, so we’ll focus on the most low-hanging opportunities. That would probably be the posts that target high-volume keywords and currently rank okay but not great. 

Here’s how we can filter for these keywords in Rank Tracker:

Filtering for low-hanging keywords in Ahrefs' Rank Tracker

Now, it looks like a few of those keywords (“youtube tags”, “what is https,” etc.) don’t align particularly well with our target audience of website owners, so we’ll exclude those.

This leaves us with around 80 keywords, which equates to 80 posts to rewrite.

Next, we need to estimate how much all of this is going to cost us. 

This is a crucial step that you shouldn’t neglect as there’s no point in creating a pie in the sky marketing plan. It needs to be realistic, doable, and any numbers should actually be based on something (not plucked out of thin air). 

Given that we do content rewrites in-house, it makes the most sense for us to base cost estimations on how much time we think all of this will take our team (and how much we pay them).

To keep things simple, let’s say that the numbers look like this:

Time per rewrite: 20 hours.
Cost per hour: $20
Number of rewrites: 80

Based on these numbers, it looks like it will cost us around $32k and 1,600 man hours to execute this tactic. That might sound like a lot but it’s less than one full-time employee’s yearly working hours.

Repeat this process as many times as necessary to build out a list of tactics you’ll use to hit your marketing objective(s).

Learn more: 16 Marketing Tactics That Work in 2021

IMPORTANT

If you’re working to a specific marketing budget, don’t be tempted to “make everything fit” by randomly allocating and re-allocating budget between tactics. The budget for each tactic needs to make sense. If your proposed tactics end up costing more than your allocated budget, it means that you simply don’t have enough money to achieve all of your objectives. In which case, you should cut the less important objectives until your proposed tactics and budget align.

Question 4. When will you do everything?

Marketing plans cover a specific period of time, so it might seem like the answer to this question is obvious. If you’re creating a 12-month marketing plan, then the tactics you outlined in the previous step need to be done in that timeframe.

Although this is true, simply having a list of things to do over the course of a year isn’t very actionable. It’s better to break things down into manageable chunks so you can track progress throughout the year. 

How much you break things down is up to you, but a quarterly plan is a good starting point.

Here’s what that might look like for our tactic of rewriting 80 low-performing blog posts:

Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4
Rewrite 20 low-performing blog posts Rewrite 20 low-performing blog posts Rewrite 20 low-performing blog posts Rewrite 20 low-performing blog posts

This might seem like a small and insignificant change, but it means that we can review our progress every quarter to keep things on track. For example, if we find that only 10 posts have been rewritten after the first quarter, then we might need to intervene and optimize workflows to ensure we meet our objectives by the end of the year.

Planning tactics on a quarterly basis also helps you to allocate resources more efficiently.

For example, let’s say that another one of our marketing tactics was to update a bunch of blog posts in Q4 to maximize traffic from “2022” queries in the new year. Our content team would be pretty overwhelmed if they were also expected to rewrite 20 low-performing posts in the same quarter, so this would probably be a better plan:

Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4
Rewrite 25 low-performing blog posts Rewrite 25 low-performing blog posts Rewrite 25 low-performing blog posts Rewrite 5 low-performing blog posts
Update 10 blog posts for 2022

You might even want to consider color-coding your quarterly plan to show which team is responsible for which task. This will make it easier to spot when teams are likely to be overloaded and plan accordingly.

Final thoughts

Given that most marketing plans run dozens or even hundreds of pages, our one-page plan is admittedly very oversimplified. But that’s the point. It helps you get the basics down on paper as fast as possible without having to contend with endless marketing jargon and acronyms. 

Got questions? Ping me on Twitter.




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No Algorithmic Actions For Site Reputation Abuse Yet

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Looking up at an angle at the Google sign on the Head Office for Canada

Google’s Search Liaison, Danny Sullivan, has confirmed that the search engine hasn’t launched algorithmic actions targeting site reputation abuse.

This clarification addresses speculation within the SEO community that recent traffic drops are related to Google’s previously announced policy update.

Sullivan Says No Update Rolled Out

Lily Ray, an SEO professional, shared a screenshot on Twitter showing a significant drop in traffic for the website Groupon starting on May 6.

Ray suggested this was evidence that Google had begun rolling out algorithmic penalties for sites violating the company’s site reputation abuse policy.

However, Sullivan quickly stepped in, stating:

“We have not gone live with algorithmic actions on site reputation abuse. I well imagine when we do, we’ll be very clear about that. Publishers seeing changes and thinking it’s this — it’s not — results change all the time for all types of reasons.”

Sullivan added that when the actions are rolled out, they will only impact specific content, not entire websites.

This is an important distinction, as it suggests that even if a site has some pages manually penalized, the rest of the domain can rank normally.

Background On Google’s Site Reputation Abuse Policy

Earlier this year, Google announced a new policy to combat what it calls “site reputation abuse.”

This refers to situations where third-party content is published on authoritative domains with little oversight or involvement from the host site.

Examples include sponsored posts, advertorials, and partner content that is loosely related to or unrelated to a site’s primary purpose.

Under the new policy, Google is taking manual action against offending pages and plans to incorporate algorithmic detection.

What This Means For Publishers & SEOs

While Google hasn’t launched any algorithmic updates related to site reputation abuse, the manual actions have publishers on high alert.

Those who rely heavily on sponsored content or partner posts to drive traffic should audit their sites and remove any potential policy violations.

Sullivan’s confirmation that algorithmic changes haven’t occurred may provide temporary relief.

Additionally, his statements also serve as a reminder that significant ranking fluctuations can happen at any time due to various factors, not just specific policy rollouts.


FAQ

Will Google’s future algorithmic actions impact entire websites or specific content?

When Google eventually rolls out algorithmic actions for site reputation abuse, these actions will target specific content rather than the entire website.

This means that if certain pages are found to be in violation, only those pages will be affected, allowing other parts of the site to continue ranking normally.

What should publishers and SEOs do in light of Google’s site reputation abuse policy?

Publishers and SEO professionals should audit their sites to identify and remove any content that may violate Google’s site reputation abuse policy.

This includes sponsored posts and partner content that doesn’t align with the site’s primary purpose. Taking these steps can mitigate the risk of manual penalties from Google.

What is the context of the recent traffic drops seen in the SEO community?

Google claims the recent drops for coupon sites aren’t linked to any algorithmic actions for site reputation abuse. Traffic fluctuations can occur for various reasons and aren’t always linked to a specific algorithm update.


Featured Image: sockagphoto/Shutterstock



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WP Rocket WordPress Plugin Now Optimizes LCP Core Web Vitals Metric

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WP Rocket WordPress Plugin Now Optimizes LCP Core Web Vitals Metric

WP Rocket, the WordPress page speed performance plugin, just announced the release of a new version that will help publishers optimize for Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), an important Core Web Vitals metric.

Large Contentful Paint (LCP)

LCP is a page speed metric that’s designed to show how fast it takes for a user to perceive that the page is loaded and read to be interacted with. This metric measures the time it takes for the main content elements has fully loaded. This gives an idea of how usable a webpage is. The faster the LCP the better the user experience will be.

WP Rocket 3.16

WP Rocket is a caching plugin that helps a site perform faster. The way page caching generally works is that the website will store frequently accessed webpages and resources so that when someone visits the page the website doesn’t have to fetch the data from the database, which takes time, but instead will serve the webpage from the cache. This is super important when a website has a lot of site visitors because that can use a lot of server resources to fetch and build the same website over and over for every visitor.

The lastest version of WP Rocket (3.16) now contains Automatic LCP optimization, which means that it will optimize the on-page elements from the main content so that they are served first thereby raising the LCP scores and providing a better user experience.

Because it’s automatic there’s really nothing to fiddle around with or fine tune.

According to WP Rocket:

  • Automatic LCP Optimization: Optimizes the Largest Contentful Paint, a critical metric for website speed, automatically enhancing overall PageSpeed scores.
  • Smart Management of Above-the-Fold Images: Automatically detects and prioritizes critical above-the-fold images, loading them immediately to improve user experience and performance metrics.

All new functionalities operate seamlessly in the background, requiring no direct intervention from the user. Upon installing or upgrading to WP Rocket 3.16, these optimizations are automatically enabled, though customization options remain accessible for those who prefer manual control.”

Read the official announcement:

WP Rocket 3.16: Improving LCP and PageSpeed Score Automatically

Featured Image by Shutterstock/ICONMAN66

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Optimizing Interaction To Next Paint: A Step-By-Step Guide

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Optimizing Interaction To Next Paint: A Step-By-Step Guide

This post was sponsored by DebugBear. The opinions expressed in this article are the sponsor’s own.

Keeping your website fast is important for user experience and SEO.

The Core Web Vitals initiative by Google provides a set of metrics to help you understand the performance of your website.

The three Core Web Vitals metrics are:

This post focuses on the recently introduced INP metric and what you can do to improve it.

How Is Interaction To Next Paint Measured?

INP measures how quickly your website responds to user interactions – for example, a click on a button. More specifically, INP measures the time in milliseconds between the user input and when the browser has finished processing the interaction and is ready to display any visual updates on the page.

Your website needs to complete this process in under 200 milliseconds to get a “Good” score. Values over half a second are considered “Poor”. A poor score in a Core Web Vitals metric can negatively impact your search engine rankings.

Google collects INP data from real visitors on your website as part of the Chrome User Experience Report (CrUX). This CrUX data is what ultimately impacts rankings.

Image created by DebugBear, May 2024

How To Identify & Fix Slow INP Times

The factors causing poor Interaction to Next Paint can often be complex and hard to figure out. Follow this step-by-step guide to understand slow interactions on your website and find potential optimizations.

1. How To Identify A Page With Slow INP Times

Different pages on your website will have different Core Web Vitals scores. So you need to identify a slow page and then investigate what’s causing it to be slow.

Using Google Search Console

One easy way to check your INP scores is using the Core Web Vitals section in Google Search Console, which reports data based on the Google CrUX data we’ve discussed before.

By default, page URLs are grouped into URL groups that cover many different pages. Be careful here – not all pages might have the problem that Google is reporting. Instead, click on each URL group to see if URL-specific data is available for some pages and then focus on those.

1716368164 358 Optimizing Interaction To Next Paint A Step By Step GuideScreenshot of Google Search Console, May 2024

Using A Real-User Monitoring (RUM) Service

Google won’t report Core Web Vitals data for every page on your website, and it only provides the raw measurements without any details to help you understand and fix the issues. To get that you can use a real-user monitoring tool like DebugBear.

Real-user monitoring works by installing an analytics snippet on your website that measures how fast your website is for your visitors. Once that’s set up you’ll have access to an Interaction to Next Paint dashboard like this:

1716368164 404 Optimizing Interaction To Next Paint A Step By Step GuideScreenshot of the DebugBear Interaction to Next Paint dashboard, May 2024

You can identify pages you want to optimize in the list, hover over the URL, and click the funnel icon to look at data for that specific page only.

1716368164 975 Optimizing Interaction To Next Paint A Step By Step GuideImage created by DebugBear, May 2024

2. Figure Out What Element Interactions Are Slow

Different visitors on the same page will have different experiences. A lot of that depends on how they interact with the page: if they click on a background image there’s no risk of the page suddenly freezing, but if they click on a button that starts some heavy processing then that’s more likely. And users in that second scenario will experience much higher INP.

To help with that, RUM data provides a breakdown of what page elements users interacted with and how big the interaction delays were.

1716368164 348 Optimizing Interaction To Next Paint A Step By Step GuideScreenshot of the DebugBear INP Elements view, May 2024

The screenshot above shows different INP interactions sorted by how frequent these user interactions are. To make optimizations as easy as possible you’ll want to focus on a slow interaction that affects many users.

In DebugBear, you can click on the page element to add it to your filters and continue your investigation.

3. Identify What INP Component Contributes The Most To Slow Interactions

INP delays can be broken down into three different components:

  • Input Delay: Background code that blocks the interaction from being processed.
  • Processing Time: The time spent directly handling the interaction.
  • Presentation Delay: Displaying the visual updates to the screen.

You should focus on which INP component is the biggest contributor to the slow INP time, and ensure you keep that in mind during your investigation.

1716368164 193 Optimizing Interaction To Next Paint A Step By Step GuideScreenshot of the DebugBear INP Components, May 2024

In this scenario, Processing Time is the biggest contributor to the slow INP time for the set of pages you’re looking at, but you need to dig deeper to understand why.

High processing time indicates that there is code intercepting the user interaction and running slow performing code. If instead you saw a high input delay, that suggests that there are background tasks blocking the interaction from being processed, for example due to third-party scripts.

4. Check Which Scripts Are Contributing To Slow INP

Sometimes browsers report specific scripts that are contributing to a slow interaction. Your website likely contains both first-party and third-party scripts, both of which can contribute to slow INP times.

A RUM tool like DebugBear can collect and surface this data. The main thing you want to look at is whether you mostly see your own website code or code from third parties.

1716368164 369 Optimizing Interaction To Next Paint A Step By Step GuideScreenshot of the INP Primary Script Domain Grouping in DebugBear, May 2024

Tip: When you see a script, or source code function marked as “N/A”, this can indicate that the script comes from a different origin and has additional security restrictions that prevent RUM tools from capturing more detailed information.

This now begins to tell a story: it appears that analytics/third-party scripts are the biggest contributors to the slow INP times.

5. Identify Why Those Scripts Are Running

At this point, you now have a strong suspicion that most of the INP delay, at least on the pages and elements you’re looking at, is due to third-party scripts. But how can you tell whether those are general tracking scripts or if they actually have a role in handling the interaction?

DebugBear offers a breakdown that helps see why the code is running, called the INP Primary Script Invoker breakdown. That’s a bit of a mouthful – multiple different scripts can be involved in slowing down an interaction, and here you just see the biggest contributor. The “Invoker” is just a value that the browser reports about what caused this code to run.

1716368165 263 Optimizing Interaction To Next Paint A Step By Step GuideScreenshot of the INP Primary Script Invoker Grouping in DebugBear, May 2024

The following invoker names are examples of page-wide event handlers:

  • onclick
  • onmousedown
  • onpointerup

You can see those a lot in the screenshot above, which tells you that the analytics script is tracking clicks anywhere on the page.

In contrast, if you saw invoker names like these that would indicate event handlers for a specific element on the page:

  • .load_more.onclick
  • #logo.onclick

6. Review Specific Page Views

A lot of the data you’ve seen so far is aggregated. It’s now time to look at the individual INP events, to form a definitive conclusion about what’s causing slow INP in this example.

Real user monitoring tools like DebugBear generally offer a way to review specific user experiences. For example, you can see what browser they used, how big their screen is, and what element led to the slowest interaction.

1716368165 545 Optimizing Interaction To Next Paint A Step By Step GuideScreenshot of a Page View in DebugBear Real User Monitoring, May 2024

As mentioned before, multiple scripts can contribute to overall slow INP. The INP Scripts section shows you the scripts that were run during the INP interaction:

1716368165 981 Optimizing Interaction To Next Paint A Step By Step GuideScreenshot of the DebugBear INP script breakdown, May 2024

You can review each of these scripts in more detail to understand why they run and what’s causing them to take longer to finish.

7. Use The DevTools Profiler For More Information

Real user monitoring tools have access to a lot of data, but for performance and security reasons they can access nowhere near all the available data. That’s why it’s a good idea to also use Chrome DevTools to measure your page performance.

To debug INP in DevTools you can measure how the browser processes one of the slow interactions you’ve identified before. DevTools then shows you exactly how the browser is spending its time handling the interaction.

1716368165 526 Optimizing Interaction To Next Paint A Step By Step GuideScreenshot of a performance profile in Chrome DevTools, May 2024

How You Might Resolve This Issue

In this example, you or your development team could resolve this issue by:

  • Working with the third-party script provider to optimize their script.
  • Removing the script if it is not essential to the website, or finding an alternative provider.
  • Adjusting how your own code interacts with the script

How To Investigate High Input Delay

In the previous example most of the INP time was spent running code in response to the interaction. But often the browser is already busy running other code when a user interaction happens. When investigating the INP components you’ll then see a high input delay value.

This can happen for various reasons, for example:

  • The user interacted with the website while it was still loading.
  • A scheduled task is running on the page, for example an ongoing animation.
  • The page is loading and rendering new content.

To understand what’s happening, you can review the invoker name and the INP scripts section of individual user experiences.

1716368165 86 Optimizing Interaction To Next Paint A Step By Step GuideScreenshot of the INP Component breakdown within DebugBear, May 2024

In this screenshot, you can see that a timer is running code that coincides with the start of a user interaction.

The script can be opened to reveal the exact code that is run:

1716368165 114 Optimizing Interaction To Next Paint A Step By Step GuideScreenshot of INP script details in DebugBear, May 2024

The source code shown in the previous screenshot comes from a third-party user tracking script that is running on the page.

At this stage, you and your development team can continue with the INP workflow presented earlier in this article. For example, debugging with browser DevTools or contacting the third-party provider for support.

How To Investigate High Presentation Delay

Presentation delay tends to be more difficult to debug than input delay or processing time. Often it’s caused by browser behavior rather than a specific script. But as before, you still start by identifying a specific page and a specific interaction.

You can see an example interaction with high presentation delay here:

1716368165 665 Optimizing Interaction To Next Paint A Step By Step GuideScreenshot of the an interaction with high presentation delay, May 2024

You see that this happens when the user enters text into a form field. In this example, many visitors pasted large amounts of text that the browser had to process.

Here the fix was to delay the processing, show a “Waiting…” message to the user, and then complete the processing later on. You can see how the INP score improves from May 3:

1716368165 845 Optimizing Interaction To Next Paint A Step By Step GuideScreenshot of an Interaction to Next Paint timeline in DebugBear, May 2024

Get The Data You Need To Improve Interaction To Next Paint

Setting up real user monitoring helps you understand how users experience your website and what you can do to improve it. Try DebugBear now by signing up for a free 14-day trial.

1716368165 494 Optimizing Interaction To Next Paint A Step By Step GuideScreenshot of the DebugBear Core Web Vitals dashboard, May 2024

Google’s CrUX data is aggregated over a 28-day period, which means that it’ll take a while before you notice a regression. With real-user monitoring you can see the impact of website changes right away and get alerted automatically when there’s a big change.

DebugBear monitors lab data, CrUX data, and real user data. That way you have all the data you need to optimize your Core Web Vitals in one place.

This article has been sponsored by DebugBear, and the views presented herein represent the sponsor’s perspective.

Ready to start optimizing your website? Sign up for DebugBear and get the data you need to deliver great user experiences.


Image Credits

Featured Image: Image by Redesign.co. Used with permission.

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