According to Forbes, 55% of people on earth have access to the internet. Do you know what does this means?

It means that most of your target audience is spending most of their time online. And, if you’re not reaching out to them with your message, you’re losing out on a lot of people.

You’re not only missing out on customers, but you’re also falling behind your competition. 

Almost every brand has an online presence. As of 2021, 86% of brands use video as a marketing toolBut, this digital space is ever-evolving. It changes in an instant. 

New platforms are introduced, there are new digital spaces where people hang out, and there are new ad networks that promise a great return on investment every day. 

In order to make sure your efforts are not wasted and you’re on track with your goals, you need to have a proper digital marketing plan. 

In this guide, we will educate you on structuring a digital marketing plan. 

What is a digital marketing plan?

A digital marketing plan is a detailed document that contains all of your digital marketing strategies. 

A digital marketing strategy is a term used for your goals, objectives, and ways to achieve them through online marketing channels such as organic and paid media channels. 

The digital marketing plan is used to document the strategic objectives that you wish to achieve through specific strategies. 

The specific strategies that you use to achieve your objectives can be social media marketing, email marketing, or search engine optimization. It can also be a combination of multiple channels. 

Digital marketing is a vast area. You need to take into consideration SEO, brand awareness, brand positioning, KPIs, and LinkedIn analyticsAs essential as these channels are, managing them all at once can sometimes become tedious. 

Therefore, to keep things on track and ensure maximum productivity, you need to have a detailed plan. This is where a proper digital marketing plan comes into play. 

Reasons Why You Need a Digital Marketing Strategy

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Even though there are countless reasons why you need a digital marketing strategy. But, if you’re just starting out in this space, here are two top reasons that will have the greatest impact on your success. 

1.Measure your success

If you want to succeed in the online world, you need to have your mechanisms set for success. You need to define what success is for you!

If you do not know your current progress or your path, how would you move ahead? You need to have a perfect system to measure your progress.

Having a digital marketing strategy will help you measure your success more specifically. 

As you outline your goals and objectives beforehand, you’ll be in a better position to measure your success if you have a proper digital marketing strategy in place. 

2. Reach the right customer

It has never been easier to reach out to your customers. The digital ecosystem has made everything possible. It has also never been so easy to get confused and miss out on your target audience.

As empowering as it is, the digital ecosystem is also a lot more complex. You need to cut through the noise and reach the right customer. Yes, your end goal should not be to just get customers, but RIGHT CUSTOMERS. 

If your ideal customer is a gamer, spending thousands of dollars to target people older than 40 will not yield good results. We’re not saying that anyone older than 40 can not be a gamer. Of course, there are plenty of cool guys out there. But, the number is quite is low. 

Also, you need to focus on reaching your customers at the right time and at the right place. It means choosing the right platforms (FB, Twitter, Insta, etc.), and the correct time to produce/promote your content online. 

What do you think about promoting cold coffee in December? That’s a terrible idea! Isn’t it?

Therefore, reaching out to the right customers, at the right time, at the right place is essential to the success of any digital marketing strategy. 

Oftentimes, the terms digital marketing plan and digital marketing strategy are used interchangeably. But, they’re not the same.  

Let’s see what is the difference between these two terms?

What’s the Difference Between Marketing Strategy and Marketing Plan?

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As discussed above, a digital marketing strategy is a set of goals and objectives that you wish to achieve through utilizing digital channels. 

On the other hand, a digital marketing plan is a document that consists of these strategies and contains a detailed plan of action (from the budget to timeline) to accomplish them. 

People often confuse both terms with each other. But, a digital marketing plan and a digital marketing strategy are two different things!

A digital marketing plan is the superset of all the digital marketing strategies that you have to apply in order to achieve your marketing goals. It contains your digital marketing goals, your audience and competitor analysis, your budget, and your digital marketing calendar. 

Let’s find out more about the structure of an effective digital marketing plan. 

How to Structure a 2021 Digital Marketing Plan

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Let’s talk about the elephant in the room. How to structure that ‘Digital Marketing Plan’ we’ve been talking about.  As the title suggests, this is a step-by-step guide to structuring a digital marketing plan, we’ve broken down the process into 5 easy steps.

1. Define your digital marketing goals

The first step of the process is to define your marketing goals. This is the ‘defining your marketing strategies’ part. 

You have to clearly define what do you want to achieve from your online marketing efforts, and through which channels. 

Remember, you need to set SMART goals. A goal like ‘we want to increase our sales through using Instagram” is not a smart goal. 

Rather, define your goals such as, ‘we want to increase our followers on Instagram by 25k, focusing on customers that will actually make a purchase. 

2. Define audience segmentation

After you’ve outlined your SMART goals, it’s time to segment your target audience. 

Segmenting your audience is as important as it is to have an audience! 

Having a buyer persona will help you in this process. A buyer persona is a semi-fictional character that you create as your ideal customer. 

When defining strategies to reach your customers through digital mediums, always segment your target audience in accordance with their stage in the buyer journey. This will help you to use the most effective marketing assets in the most effective way. 

3. Conduct a competitive analysis 

Once you’re done with outlining your goals and segmenting your target audience, the next step is to conduct a competitive analysis. Now, you need to assess your competitors. What channels are they using the most? What type of content are they producing

Doing a thorough competitor analysis will help you come up with groundbreaking ideas that will establish you as a market leader. 

Assess your competition, use their strategies and improve on them. This is a sure-shot recipe for success. 

4. Calculate your digital marketing plan budget

Now that you’re done with outlining your goals, segmenting and defining your target audience, and thorough competitor research, it’s time to shift your focus on the budget. 

Remember, if you do not have a set budget for digital marketing strategies, you’ll probably end up wasting your money or underusing it.

Irrespective of the digital channels you target, you will need to invest in your marketing efforts. Along with the money you have to spend on paid media, you’ll also need to pay the salaries of your digital marketing team.

Your digital marketing plan must include all the costs associated with your marketing efforts for the next year.  

5. Create a marketing calendar

In the marketing space, staying on track is the most difficult thing to do. Marketing involves a lot of creative work, and getting creative work done on time is challenging at times.

So, in order to stay on track, create a marketing calendar. Assign deadlines to specific projects, and conduct proper project management for digital marketing efforts. 

This is the last thing to do while creating your digital marketing plan, and according to our experience, this is the last you want to miss if you want to succeed!

What can you achieve with Digital Marketing?

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The potential of what you can achieve with digital marketing is endless. 

Are you just starting out and want to get your first sales? Do you have a customer base but want to grow in another city/state/country?

Are you an established brand and want to foster brand loyalty among your customers? Do you operate in a crowded space and want to stand out from your competition? 

All of the above can be achieved through proper digital marketing strategies. But, in order to be successful, you should have a proper digital marketing plan in place. It will always keep you on track and ensure your success.