How to create a successful digital marketing plan?

Digital marketing has come a long way in a short time. Looking back just a few years, it was still something of a novelty. Today it’s downright essential. Without a strong digital marketing plan, your business is never going to see the kind of growth it otherwise might.

Because the digital marketing plan influences everything else you do online. It’s your foundation. So it needs to be solid. And distinguish your brand or business from the competition.

When you start strong and have a proper plan in place, you’ll be amazed by the marketing effects that come next.  

Why a digital marketing plan is important?

If you don’t know where you want to go, you’ll never get there.

So in the same way you make preparations for a road trip, and remember to pack a map or GPS along, getting a quality digital marketing plan together will help define your journey towards success.

Whilst focused, a good digital marketing plan needs to remain flexible too. In anticipation of any unexpected changes you might encounter on the way towards accomplishing your goals.

A solid plan gives you room to breathe. Because you aren’t wasting time, effort or money making impulsive or uninformed decisions. Costly decisions that can add up in a hurry.

Without a digital marketing plan in place, it’s easier to lose focus. So understanding how to put one together is fundamental to finding success today.

How to create digital marketing plan?

The first time you try anything is usually the hardest. So if it’s your first attempt at creating a digital marketing plan, and you’re a little intimidated by it all, that’s understandable.

In so many ways, the digital rulebook is still being written. With new strategies and techniques emerging all the time.

So whether this is your first go at putting together a marketing plan, or you’ve been there before and just want to get more out of things this time around, our easy-to-follow, 5-step method to creating successful digital marketing plans is here to help you figure out where you want to go – and then get you there safely.  

1. Set your digital marketing objectives

First things first, ask yourself, “What do I want to achieve?”

Is it bigger sales? More customers and leads? A better position in your market? Or something else all together?

These objectives become the goals of your digital marketing plan. And need to be clear, measurable and achievable.

They should also be specific. Because the next step in creating your digital marketing plan is determining key performance indicators (KPIs) for those goals.

KPIs are what you use to measure the progress of your plan. Depending on what you’ve established as goals, these KPIs could be metrics like cost per lead per channel, conversion rate or return on ad spend.

Growth is good. But it’s accomplished over time. Not over night.

So when setting the value of your KPIs, it’s important to keep expectations in line with previous digital marketing achievements. You want to aim high enough to see an improvement on the previous year, but need to keep it real too.  

Once your goals are in place and you’ve figured out the KPIs you’ll be using to measure progress, it’s time to decide on the method you’ll be using to measure that progres. Luckily, there are lots of great options out there.

Like Google Analytics, a fantastic free tool that measures conversion. Google Analytics also provides valuable social media analytics you can use to track your social media effects.

Or BuzzSumo, an awesome tool used to evaluate the marketing success of your content.

2. Review the effects of your current digital marketing strategy

Mistakes are nothing to be ashamed of. So long as you’re able to learn something from making them.

So before drafting a new digital marketing plan, review the previous year’s plan. Continue doing anything that might be working. But where things aren’t working, start thinking about how to change up your gameplan.   

It can be really beneficial to evaluate the marketing strategies of your competition too. Because there’s often plenty to learn from what they’re doing right. And if you can learn from a mistake the competition’s made before making it yourself, that’s one less hole you’ll never have to dig yourself out of later on.  

Benchmarking Reports in Google Analytics is a great way to keep tabs on the competition. And SEMrush can provide you with valuable insights into competitive SEO strategies.

3. Create a new strategy and set a plan of action

You’ve got your goals and KPIs in place. You’ve taken a long, hard look at the best and worst of the previous year’s efforts. And have a pretty good idea of what’s working (and what’s not) for your competitors.

Now it’s time to build your new digital marketing plan.

Which includes everything you’ll need to focus on in for the following year.

  • What needs to be done?
  • Who’s going to do it?
  • What resources will be required to accomplish this?

Use KPIs to determine what digital marketing actions are going to work best for you. And remember your goals.

Are you looking to increase your number of leads? Then it might make sense to create more high-quality content with relevant, authoritative backlinks.

Looking to convert more leads to customers? Try a more proactive approach on your next marketing campaign.

Get practised at gathering data, adjusting your strategy on the fly and aligning yourself with the right partners, and you’ll be that much closer to mastering the art of creating successful digital marketing plans.

4. Build a team of capable people and get resources

A team is only as strong as its weakest link. We’ve heard the expression a million time. And there’s plenty of truth to it.

Because even the best laid plan struggles to come together if there isn’t a team of dedicated professionals committed to implementing it. A team 100% focused on the marketing goals as outlined by your digital plan.

And since resources are defined in line with your business goals, you need to set a budget – and stick to it.

Slight deviations here and there are one thing. But significantly exceeding the limitations of your set budget will bring things down overall. And a year from now, when reviewing the old plan, it’ll be one of the things you make a note to avoid when plotting next year’s plan.

  1. Transform your digital marketing plan into the action

Potential energy is nice. But kinetic energy is active. And it’s the kind of energy that gets you results.

A plan is nice too. But until that plan is active and put into action, you’re never going to see a result.

Define your timeline. Target customers and make them an offer the competition either can’t, or won’t.

Think big picture and consider everything that contributes to SEO and earning higher rankings. A solid digital marketing plan is a comprehensive one. So make time for social media and influencer marketing.

Keep your website updated. Be mindful of factors like page load speed that can have an adverse effect on user experience. Regularly assess your progress. And be willing to make adjustments to your digital marketing plan as conditions call for changes to be made.