A digital marketing plan helps you discover the most effective digital marketing strategies for your business and then execute those strategies.
Without a clear digital marketing plan, you will be wasting your money on ads and other marketing efforts that will not make an impact.
A well-defined plan helps you outline your ideas to make sure that you are continuously connecting with your audience, engaging them, and driving them to action.
What is a Digital Marketing Plan?
A digital marketing plan is a document that outlines your marketing objectives, as well as the strategies, channels, and budget you will use to achieve those objectives.
What Are the Benefits of a Digital Marketing Plan?
A well-crafted plan is mapped out with step-by-step instructions for achieving set objectives. Here are the main benefits of creating a digital marketing plan for your business:
Understand Your Target Audience
A good marketing plan begins with research to determine your target audience. With a defined audience, you will better understand how your customers behave and tailor your marketing strategy to meet their needs. You will be able to communicate in your customers’ language and offer them value. By understanding the needs of your audience you can prepare relevant product launches.
Efficient Use of Your Time and Money
A digital marketing plan prevents you from spending money on things that are not relevant to your business or marketing objective. It also helps you manage your time properly by providing specific deadlines for projects.
Coordinated Response from All Departments
Your marketing plan serves as an efficient coordination tool since it can be accessed by all departments in your company. It allows for smooth communication and sync between teams as everyone is moving in the same direction.
There are several components of a digital marketing plan, but all are geared towards achieving your goal and delivering benefits to your business. These components include content marketing, email marketing, advertising, mobile marketing, reputation marketing, social media marketing, video marketing, search engine optimization, and web analytics.
11 Steps to Creating Your Digital Marketing Plan
Follow this step-by-step guide below to create a successful digital marketing plan.
1. Outline Your brand
To create an effective marketing plan, you first need to outline your brand. Outlining your brand involves highlighting the activities of your business to sell to your customers.
Next, you have to list the benefits of your company. This will help you identify what makes your business unique and stand out from your competition.
Lastly, create your unique selling proposition (USP). This will present you as a professional brand and win your customers’ trust.
2. Determine Your Goals
Set your long-term and short-term goals before you enter the market. Your goals will determine tasks, strategy, and channels of communication with your audience.
Establish a clear, measurable, and attainable digital marketing plan goal. Define exactly what you want to achieve and measure.
When setting up your objective, use specific numbers and timeframes that will serve as an indicator of your progress and performance. Set up SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound) to get clarity on the actions you need to take to achieve your objectives.
For example, your goal can be to increase organic search traffic by %40 in the next 6 months. This allows you to set up a deadline, milestones, and specific strategies to implement (such as optimising your site, conducting strategic outreach for SEO, and creating engaging content).
Remember to monitor your goals regularly, if you would like to improve your marketing strategy.
3. Define Your Buyer Persona
One of the essentials for a successful digital marketing campaign is knowing who your target audience is. By segmenting your audience into buyer personas, you can determine what type of marketing will be most effective for each segment.
A buyer persona is a fictional person that represents your ideal customer. It helps you target prospects and develop a product that is capable of satisfying the needs of your customers.
To create a buyer persona, you need to outline the demographics of your ideal customers such as gender, age, location, and income, as well as their interests and communication preferences. Other information you may want to include are job title, priorities, goals, challenges, industry, pain points
Your goal in creating buyer personas is to get inside the minds of your target audience and see things from their perspectives. By understanding what matters most to them, you can create a digital marketing plan that speaks directly to their problems and desires.
4. Conduct a Competitive Analysis
For your marketing efforts to be effective, you need to know who your competitors are.
Competitive analysis helps you identify your competition, market share, and the best marketing strategies to use. Your analysis should provide answers to the following questions:
- Which audience segments are they targeting?
- What digital marketing channels are your competitors using?
- Where are they strongest?
- Where are they weakest?
- What portion of their traffic is earned/owned/paid?
- What’s their positioning in the market?
- What’s their claimed differentiation?
- What type of messaging and specific language do they use?
- What is their tonality and brand personality?
An in-depth competitive analysis will give you insights into how you can use online marketing to beat your competition. For example, you may realise that your competitors’ are strong in social media marketing but weak when it comes to search engine optimization (SEO) performance.
5. Conduct a SWOT Analysis
SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
A SWOT analysis gives you a framework for analysing your business in the overall framework of your market. It helps you to spot what is and isn’t working, identify potential growth opportunities, and prepare for external threats.
Start by examining the strengths of your company. What are your major advantages over your competition? What things do you do well? What unique resources and features do you have?
Then analyse your weaknesses. What parts of your business aren’t functioning well? What are the things hindering your sales? What areas are your competitors doing better than you?
Next, identify the opportunities available to your company. Are there any recent market trends you can take advantage of? Can you access a new technology that your competitors can’t? Is there a segment in your audience that has not been served?
Lastly, identify any possible threats to your business. Could a competitor steal your market share? Are there any hindrances to your business growth? Are there any threatening financial issues?
The information from your SWOT analysis will help you develop your digital marketing plan. Your plan should utilise your strengths, mitigate your weaknesses, drive toward opportunities, and proactively avoid possible threats.
6. Create a Digital Marketing Strategy
After setting your goals, the next thing to do is to achieve them. Choose a digital marketing strategy that fits your company. Think of which strategy is best to connect your business with your buyers.
Start by making sure your goals are defined. Ask yourself what you are trying to accomplish by using this strategy. For example, if you want to drive more traffic to your website, you need to employ an SEO strategy. It should be specific and spelled out like, increasing traffic to your web page by 40% in 5 months.
Next, examine your target audience. Review your buyer persona which contains information on the preferences, behaviour, and habits of your ideal customers. Use this information to create personalised email campaigns, relevant display ads, and segment your customers.
Generate leads by collecting subscribers. You can build your list of subscribers by using free subscription forms or online and offline events, social media accounts, contests, landing pages, surveys, quizzes, and partner websites.
Use chatbots, SMS, emails, and social media to nurture your leads and drive them towards a purchase. To get the most out of this process, you can provide some information on how to use your product.
Make efforts to retain your customers. Thank them for every purchase they make, and ask for their feedback or reviews of your product. There are several ways you can retain your customers: provide case studies to show how you communicate with your audience, set expectations, create a roadmap for clients to be informed about their relationship with your business, and many more.
Set up automation when you know what works well and what doesn’t. You can automate your email workflow to aid subscribers during their buyer’s journey. You can also use chatbots to answer FAQs on social media, and schedule SMS and web push notifications to your subscribers.
Having an automation feature set up will save you money and time on routine tasks, so you can focus on more important things.
7. Create a Budget
Decide on how much you will invest in your marketing campaign before you execute your strategy. A well-planned budget helps you to allocate money properly and direct the budget into specific channels and strategies.
Come up with a figure you are willing to spend to see some positive results. You may need to pay for SEO, website design, paid ads, email marketing, and more.
Your budget for digital marketing will vary based on factors such as:
- Position within the industry
- Previous results
- Profitability of a strategy, tactic, or campaign
While it is recommended to establish your budget upfront, remain flexible so you can capitalise on opportunities for greater Search Engine Optimization return on investment. Have a dynamic budget that can evolve to support your digital marketing initiatives.
8. Select Your Digital Channels
Choose the digital channels you will use before developing a content strategy. In selecting your channels, consider your audience, goals, and budget.
For instance, if your objective is to drive more traffic to your website, you can use Pay-per-click (PPC) ads for quick results. SEO and content marketing channels will cost you less but will take a longer time to produce results. If you are looking to boost your website traffic in the long term, then opt for SEO and content marketing for sustainable success.
Choose your digital channels based on where your audience spends most of their time. If you are in a B2B industry, you can utilise channels like LinkedIn, Youtube, and Facebook. Think of how you can deliver value to your customers within the channels they use the most.
9. Develop Your Digital Marketing Strategy
After selecting your channels, the next step is developing the digital marketing strategies you will use with the channels.
For example, if you have chosen search engine optimization as a marketing channel, you have to identify the keywords you will target and how you will target them. You can create comprehensive online courses, detailed how-to blogs, or provide insights on upcoming trends.
For B2B lead generation, use case studies that showcase your results to attract people’s attention. When developing your digital marketing strategy, try to distinguish yourself from your competition and stay up to date with the recent best practices.
10. Create a Marketing Calendar
A marketing calendar helps you to mark the dates you will execute your digital marketing campaigns. It also helps you to meet deadlines and effectively implement your plan all year round.
Prepare your digital marketing plans in advance for 12 months and use each month to achieve a specific objective. This way, you will have an overall framework of your marketing plans and enough time to prepare and implement them. Make sure you create a realistic timeline that gives you enough time to deliver quality campaigns.
11. Measure the Results of Your Digital Marketing Plan
The final step in creating a digital marketing plan is to measure your results with digital marketing metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs).
Compare the results of your marketing campaigns to the baseline and original goals. If the outcomes are unsatisfactory, modify and optimise your strategies, and then measure again. Measure each channel to know what’s working and what isn’t so you can remove it from your plan.
Use marketing dashboard tools such as Klipfolio, TapClicks, Grow, or Domo to keep your marketing team informed with recent updates.
Constantly track your performance to make sure your chosen strategy is effective. This will help you detect problems and improve your digital marketing strategy. The process of building a digital marketing plan promotes marketing integration which leads to greater business impact. Your customers will be unable to ignore your brand when you regularly engage them with your messaging, offers, and calls to action. Whether you are a start-up or an established brand, you need to have a digital marketing plan. It may take you some time, hard work, and collaboration, but you will be smiling when it’s done. Your marketing efforts will be more effective, and you will record higher marketing results and ROI for your business.