Digital Marketing

How to Make an Effective Digital Marketing Plan

By Jessica Bubenheim, on 21 February 2022

Having a good digital marketing plan is essential to achieving your brand's objectives. It's a tool that will guide all of your marketing activities and day-to-day work. However, just making a plan does not guarantee results. 

To be truly effective, a digital marketing plan must include all the necessary information and be practical. If you dedicate time and resources, the results will be worth it. So, let's review how to make an effective one!* Are you ready to create a Buyer Persona for your next inbound marketing  campaign? Download our free Buyer Persona Template Pack, which includes a free  template, over 30 interview questions, and our helpful ebook.


What You Need in a Digital Marketing Plan

digital marketing plan is a document that includes (at the minimum) the following information:

  • The current environment of the brand: In this context, the environment refers to the current market situation, including consumer and competitor analysis. 
  • The marketing objectives you want to achieve: These always have to be aligned with the business goals of the company. Some companies choose to include their online marketing plan as a part of their general plan and others separate it. Either way, it's important that the two are always aligned.
  • Your strategies and actions: You need to know how you are going to reach your objectives (what channels and campaigns you are going to use, etc.) 
  • How you will measure the results of your actions.


Why Do You Need a Digital Marketing Plan for Your Company?

With a well-developed digital marketing plan, you and your company will be able to:

  • Gain in-depth knowledge of the market and your target audienceA good marketing plan always begins with a research phase that allows you to understand the situation your brand is in and how to respond to it.
  • Align digital marketing actions with the overall brand objectives so that all departments within the company are working toward the same goals.
  • Use the resources that are available in an effective and organized manner, without unnecessary budget or staff time.
  • Improve internal communication, since all team members can use the marketing plan as a guide to coordinate with each other.
  • Improve communication with clients. It is essential for marketing agencies to develop a marketing plan with the client in order to ensure that it meets the client's needs and expectations. Throughout the project, the client and agency can refer to the plan to track the progress. 


How to Make an Effective Digital Marketing Plan to Reach Your Marketing Goals in 8 Steps

1. Analysis and Starting Point

The first step to creating your plan is to analyze the current situation your company is in. An effective online marketing plan always starts with research.

During this phase, you should aim to answer the following questions:

  • What are the products and services you offer and what is the unique selling proposition (USP) of the company?
  • What have you done so far in your online marketing and what results have you obtained? What are people saying about your brand online?
  • How is the website? Are there aspects that need to be improved? 
  • What is the competition doing? How does our brand compare and what can be learned from them?


2. Objectives

The objectives are what you will use to measure the success of the digital marketing strategy. When setting your objectives, use the SMART acronym. This stands for the following:

  • Specific: The objectives must be detailed, concrete, and answer the basic questions of what, who, where, when, how, and why.
  • Measurable: If you cannot definitively measure an objective, it will be impossible to know if you have reached it. Therefore, you should think about what KPIs you will use and how you will define success.
  • Achievable: Goals that are too easy or too ambitious do not help move you forward.
  • Realistic: It takes into account your previous resources and achievements and, again, is feasible.
  • Timely: Specify a deadline for your goal to see if it has been fulfilled or not and why. It may be useful to divide a larger goal into smaller objectives in order to be able to course-correct when necessary.

The specific objectives will depend on each brand and its situation. Include as many objectives in your plan as necessary, but always ensure they complement each other and do not compete with one another. Here are some examples of common goals in a digital marketing plan:

  • Reach new markets, either in terms of geography or audience type
  • Increase brand awareness among the target audience
  • Launch a new product or service
  • Improve the Return on Investment 
  • Expand market share in comparison to your competition
  • Increase profits
  • Optimize the conversion funnel
  • Attract new customers.
  •  Develop loyalty programs for existing customers.
  • Increase sales.


3. Buyer Persona

The buyer persona is a portrait of your ideal client, which helps focus your product/service and guide your segmentation strategy. Sometimes it may be necessary to define more than one persona if you have product lines for different types of people.

A buyer persona must include:

  • Demographic information like age, gender, occupation, income level, place of residence, and more
  • The user's online and work behavior
  • The customer's current relationship with your brand
  • Their aspirations and needs in relation to your brand



4. Content Plan

A good plan should outline what kind of content you are going to create and how you are going to distribute it among your target audience. You can define different formats and create a content calendar that helps with planning.

When it comes to creating the content, align it to both the buyer persona you just defined and the different consideration phases. The more the user has advanced in the conversion funnel, the more specific and focused the content should be.


5. Keywords

Keywords are the backbone of SEO, SEM, and all of the content that you are going to create. When it comes to keyword research, you have to take into account the following parameters.

  • The relevance of the keyword for your brand
  • The intention of the user searching for this keyword (at what stage of the funnel is it found?)
  • The volume of searches
  • How difficult it is to rank for that keyword


6. Platforms

Social media offers many platforms where you can promote your brand, but it is always better to focus on those that are most suited to your objectives and your audience.

Include the different social networks and media that you will use and the objectives that you hope to achieve with each one of them.


7. KPIs and Measurement Strategy

When you have your objectives, turn them into key metrics or KPIs.

For each key metric, set a monthly, weekly, or even daily goal and establish what controls you will use to make sure you are on the right track.


8. Contingency Plan

Finally, you must answer the following question: what will happen if the goals are not reached?

For each one of the KPIs defined in the previous section, you need to think about a response plan for different scenarios. You can define different actions such as diversifying the platforms, opening new investment channels, or even rethinking aspects of the plan that are not working as you expected.

Now you have everything you need to start working with your team and achieving all the objectives that you laid out in your digital marketing plan.

You should now be more clear on how to develop a digital marketing plan that responds to the needs of your brand. To make it even easier, we have created a downloadable template with all the steps you need to make a complete online marketing plan. Download it by clicking on the image below! 

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Jessica Bubenheim

International Business at Warwick Business School. Inspired by Social Entrepreneurs.