- Published: Aug 31, 2023
- 12 min. read
Macy StormSenior Content Creator
- Macy is a marketing writer with over five years of experience creating content for dozens of industries including food and beverage, home services, and education. She also specializes in creating SEO and PPC content. Her work has been featured by Search Engine Journal, HubSpot, Entrepreneur, Clutch, and more. In her free time, Macy enjoys trying new crafts and reading comic books.
If you want your business to continue growing in the 21st century, you must have a digital marketing plan in place. Digital marketing contains the most effective strategies for reaching valuable leads interested in your business.
If you don’t have a digital marketing business plan set up, now is the time to create yours! In this post, we’ll provide you with 10 steps on how to create a digital marketing plan.
Let’s dive in!
P.S. If you’re looking to grow your online store, check out out guide to building an ecommerce marketing plan.
What is a digital marketing plan?
A digital marketing plan is an outline of how businesses will promote their company through online marketing tactics. It considers your company’s goals, the time frame you want to complete the tasks in, and how you will measure the success of your strategies.
10 steps to create a digital marketing plan
Ready to start creating your digital marketing plan? Here are 10 steps to create your plan:
1. Define your brand
The first step to driving success with your digital marketing plan is defining your brand. It’s important to know the ins and outs of your brand, so you can sell it to your audience.
Define what is unique about your business. What do you bring to the table that your competitors don’t? It’s essential to understand what makes your business unique, so you can market that to your audience.
Create unique selling points (USPs) to give your audience insight into your brand.
These are facts about your business that are both unique to your company, but also convince someone to choose your team. USPs strengthen someone’s image of your brand and makes them feel more confident about selecting you over the competition.
Aside from your USPs, you’ll want to define your brand’s mission and values. Define why you do what you do. What motivates your business to start up every day and provide for customers?
Many people define a business based on their values and mission. For example, Tom’s, a shoe company, is strongly characterized by its goal to provide people in Africa with shoes. Each time someone makes a purchase, Tom’s donates a pair to someone in Africa.
This is a strong USP for Tom’s. It motivates people to purchase from them because they know that there is a huge benefit to buying the company’s footwear. Tom’s generosity and mission to do good attract people to the brand.
If you want to have success with your digital marketing business plan, start by defining your business’s brand and figuring out what makes your company unique.
2. Create buyer personas
You can’t create an effective digital marketing plan without knowing who you’re trying to reach. The next step of your digital marketing plan is creating buyer personas to define your target audience.
Buyer personas are fictional people that represent the traits of the people you’re trying to target to buy your products or services. They embody your ideal customer and the person who is most likely to purchase from your business.
To create your buyer persona, collect information like:
- Job title
- Hobbies and interests
These are all great tidbits of information that will help you shape your buyer persona. So, how does creating a buyer persona help your digital marketing plan?
Buyer personas help you know who to target when you’re running your campaign. In many cases, you’ll have more than one buyer persona you’re targeting. Creating these personas helps you market to different types of buyers based on their interests and needs.
Think about a clothing store that offers clothes for men, women, and children. In that case alone, you’ll have an individual buyer persona for men, women, and parents.
The way you market to a single woman is not the same way you’d market to a married woman with three kids. Buyer personas help you keep these different people in your audience separate, so you can provide them with the best and most relevant marketing message.
Creating buyer personas will help you create a better digital marketing plan because you will know how to better target members of your audience.
3. Set your goals
Before you embark on a journey to market to your target audience, define your goals. It’s important to set goals, so you can determine whether your marketing campaign is working effectively to help your business grow.
When you set goals, set both small and big ones. Your small goals should help keep you on track to achieving your big goals.
Let’s say that your big goal is to increase conversions by 40 percent. A small goal towards helping you achieve that goal may be to gain 10 new email subscribers. This smaller goal helps you work towards accomplishing your bigger goal.
When you set goals, it’s crucial that you set measurable ones. These are also known as SMART goals.
SMART stands for:
You want to set goals that define what you want to achieve.
They should be easy to measure, too. Don’t say, “We want to earn more subscribers,” but rather, “We want to gain 50 new email subscribers each quarter.” The second goal is specific, and you can easily measure it in a time frame.
By setting goals, you’ll put your digital marketing business plan on the fast track to success.
4. Conduct a competitor analysis
Once you know who you’re targeting and what you want to achieve with your marketing, it’s time to look at your competition. You need to know who you’re facing when you’re marketing your business, so you can create a digital marketing plan that outshines your competition.
When you conduct a competitor analysis, you’ll want to look at who you’re competing against, the strategies they use to promote their business, and your market share compared to these competitors.
Here are some areas to consider when comparing your business to the competition:
- Who they target
- Strengths and weaknesses
- Strategies they use to market their business
- Position in the market
- Brand personality and tone
- Messaging language and promotional style
You’ll want to analyze all these aspects of your competitors so you have a better understanding of who you’re competing against online.
5. Conduct a SWOT analysis
In addition to assessing your competition, you’ll want to assess your business as part of creating a digital marketing plan. Having the full picture of your business will help you create more successful marketing campaigns.
A SWOT analysis consists of four areas:
- Strengths: These are areas where your business excels. What do you do exceptionally well –– top-quality products, customer service? You’ll want to analyze aspects that are solid about your business.
- Weaknesses: Every business has areas of weakness. Think about areas where you may struggle compared to your competition. Your pricing, for example, might be a bit higher than your competitors which creates problems with proving your value.
- Opportunities: The opportunities area looks at places where you have a chance to stand out from your competition. What is something you can do that they’re not doing? If none of your competitors offer a free trial, for example, you could offer one to help you stand out.
- Threats: When analyzing threats, you want to consider things that could hurt the well-being of your business. It’s important to identify any threats so you can strengthen your business and keep it from being vulnerable.
You can do a SWOT analysis on your biggest competitors, too, to help you understand how you compare to them.
6. Set your budget
Your budget is a crucial part of your campaign. You must know how much you can spend on your digital marketing campaign before you start implementing your methods. Having a set marketing budget allows you to better distribute your money to the services you need.
When you set a budget, you can break it down and allocate the money to different channels. You must find a balance between how much you’re willing to spend on each channel and how much you need to invest to drive valuable results.
For instance, you may think that $500 per campaign is sufficient to run a PPC campaign, and while it’ll drive some results, it won’t generate the same kind of results as someone who invests $1000 into a PPC campaign.
When you know how much is available in your budget and how much you need to spend on each channel, you will create a better digital marketing business plan.
7. Choose your digital marketing methods
If you want to know how to create an effective digital marketing plan, choose the right digital marketing methods. You know who you’re trying to reach and your goals, so the next step is to figure out which channels will help you reach them.
There are many methods available to your business to reach these leads:
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
- Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising
- Content marketing
- Email marketing
- Social media marketing
- Influencer marketing
These are just a few of the channels you can use to reach your audience. When you start to shape your digital marketing plan, you must choose which methods you want to use to reach your audience.
8. Determine your approach with your strategies
The next step in how to create a digital marketing plan is to determine your approach with your strategies. Knowing what strategies you want to do is the first step –– knowing your approach to them is the next.
For each strategy you invest in, you must determine what you need to do for those strategies.
Take SEO for example. What tasks do you need to complete to launch a successful SEO campaign? Your to-do list might include tasks like:
- Conducting keyword research to find relevant terms
- Improving your website’s load time
- Optimizing your title tag and meta description for pages
Knowing what you need to do with each strategy will help start you on the right foot and see success with your marketing.
9. Create a marketing calendar
Another critical component of your digital marketing plan is creating a marketing calendar. A marketing calendar is crucial for keeping yourself organized as you create marketing materials for your business.
You won’t be launching all your marketing materials at once. From social media posts to emails, you’ll need to do some planning and scheduling with your marketing materials.
For strategies like social media, for example, you’ll only want to plan your calendar a month in advance to keep your campaigns current. A lot of things can change with your business and marketing strategy, so you don’t want to plan too far in advance.
You can create calendars for each strategy, as well as a master schedule to keep track of all your marketing campaigns.
10. Measure results
A digital marketing plan should always have a strategy for measuring results. Measuring results is crucial in determining whether your business was successful with your efforts. It’s important to constantly monitor your results to ensure you’re putting out the best campaign.
You can use key performance indicators (KPIs) to determine your campaign’s success. KPIs are statistics that help you define whether you reached the goals you set.
If you aren’t meeting your goals, it provides you with the opportunity to restructure your campaigns to drive better results. You can alter and optimize your strategies to help you reach consumers better.
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WebFX has driven the following results for clients:
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FAQ about creating a digital marketing plan
When creating your marketing plan for the first time, you may have some questions about how to create a plan or what the best approach is for launching a successful campaign. Here are some commonly asked questions about creating an online marketing plan:
What do digital marketing plans include?
When you craft you digital marketing plan, you want to ensure you include:
- Your goals
- Your budget
- The strategies you want to use
- Analysis of your competition
All of these elements are crucial for ensuring you create a successful digital marketing plan.
Why is a digital marketing plan important?
Digital marketing is a big undertaking. There are dozens of strategies that are part of digital marketing, and each of those strategies requires completing certain tasks. As you invest in more strategies, it can quickly become overwhelming to keep everything straight.
A digital marketing plan helps you lay out everything you’re going to do. It helps you consider important information, like your budget and business goals, and how they influence your marketing choices.
Creating a plan helps you stay more organized with your marketing efforts. It enables you to see the bigger picture of your marketing efforts so you can see how everything works together and where you may have gaps in your plan.
Start succeeding and create a digital marketing plan today!
Following these 6 steps on how to create a digital marketing plan will help set you on the fast track to reaching more people interested in your business. A strategic plan will help you obtain new leads and earn conversions for your company.
Macy is a marketing writer with over five years of experience creating content for dozens of industries including food and beverage, home services, and education. She also specializes in creating SEO and PPC content. Her work has been featured by Search Engine Journal, HubSpot, Entrepreneur, Clutch, and more. In her free time, Macy enjoys trying new crafts and reading comic books.
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