Develop a digital marketing plan

Developing your digital marketing plan


It is important to recognise that planning for digital marketing does not mean starting from scratch. Any online communication must be in line with the overall marketing goals and current marketing efforts of your business.

The stages of digital marketing planning

The main components of a digital marketing plan will typically include the following stages:

Identify your target audience

If you identify multiple targets, rank them in order of importance so that you can allocate resources accordingly. Profile each target group and understand their needs and expectations. This type of customer segmentation will help you choose the right tactics for your plan.

Understand your competitors

Profile your competitors and the market in which you operate. What types of online marketing do your competitors use and how well do they perform? This type of benchmarking will help you understand the environment in which you are operating.

Set your objectives

Possible objectives could include raising awareness of your brand, improving sales or online registrations and improving customer retention. The objectives and strategy that you choose depend on your business needs.

Plan your tactics

Once you have a top-level strategy including your overall objectives, you need to identify the tactics that you want to use. The plan can also cover any other non-internet marketing activities that are being undertaken. Think about how you will measure your success - build in feedback mechanisms and regular reviews to enable you to assess the performance of your digital marketing activities and identify areas for improvement.

Agree a budget

Careful budget planning allows you to prevent costs from spiralling out of control. Identify the returns you expect to make from your investment in digital marketing activities and compare these with the costs to develop a cost/benefit analysis. 

What to include in a written plan

When you write up a document detailing your digital marketing plan - include these important elements:

  • executive summary
  • situation analysis
  • objectives and strategy
  • tactics
  • budget

Details of how to develop each element are included in this guide. 

Download a digital marketing plan template (DOC, 74K).