By Jessica Bubenheim, on 18 May 2021
A 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 getting results.
To be truly effective, a digital marketing plan must include all the necessary information and be practical. If you dedicate time, care, and resources, the results will be worth it. So, let's review how to make an effective digital marketing plan step by step. No need to take notes, we’ve created a downloadable template just for you!
What You Need in a Digital Marketing Plan
A digital marketing plan is a document that includes (at minimum) the following information.
- The environment of the brand in question. In this context, environment refers to the current market situation, including consumer and competitor analyses.
- The objectives you want to achieve. These always have to be coordinated 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.
- The strategies and actions that you are going to carry out in order to achieve your objectives (planning, description of the campaigns, tasks, etc.).
- How you will measure the results of your actions.
Why Do You Need a Digital Marketing Plan?
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 audience. A good marketing plan always begins with a research phase that allow 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 dame 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 evolution of the process.
How to Make an Effective Digital Marketing Plan Step by Step
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 we offer and what is the unique selling proposition (USP) of the company?
- What have we done so far in our online marketing and what results have we obtained with it? What are people saying about us online?
- How is our website? Are there aspects that we need to improve?
- What is the competition doing? How does our brand compare and what can we learn from them?
The objectives are what we will use to measure the success or failure 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: meaning it takes into account your previous resources and achievements and, again, is feasible.
- Timely: finally, specify a deadline for your goal to establish a time frame 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 correct the course if 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 or have opposing trajectories. Here are some examples of common goals in a digital marketing plan:
- Reach new markets, either in term of geography or type of audience.
- Increase brand awareness among the target audience.
- Launch a new product or service.
- Improve the return on investment (ROI).
- Expand the market share with respect to the competition.
- Increase profits.
- Optimize the conversion funnel
- Attract new customers.
- Develop Loyalty programs for existing customers.
- Increase sales.
3. Buyer Persona
The buyer person is a portrait of your ideal client, which helps focus your product/service and guide all the segmentation of the brand. Sometimes it may be necessary to define more than one profile if you have product lines for different types of people.
A buyer person must include:
- Demographic information like age, gender, occupation, income level, place of residence, etc.
- 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 phases of consideration. The more the user has advanced in the conversion funnel, the more specific and focused the content should be.
Keywords are the backbone of SEO, SEM, and all the content that you are going to create. When it comes to researching keywords, 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.
- The level of competence.
The world of social media offers many platforms where you can promote your brand, but it is always better to focus on those that are most adapted to your objectives and your audience.
Therefore, 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
Now that you have your objectives (from section 2), "translate" 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. For example, what will you do if you do not reach the objectives by 75%, 50% or 25%? 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. You can download your template here.