Various strategies lay the foundation for all successful digital marketing planning, and they can be implemented at different levels of a business.

From the earliest stages of planning a startup to re-evaluating a digital marketing plan that just isn’t working, this is one of the most important steps you can take as a digital marketer to achieve a return on marketing investment.

Market segmentation is a key part of the strategic process for any online marketer, and it pays to invest the time it takes to understand your chosen market segment. Knowing your audience is fundamental to any marketing plan.

What Is a Digital Marketing Plan?

A digital marketing plan focuses on building an audience online through sound marketing strategies tailored for the digital consumer.

Digital marketing strategies are essential for growing your brand online and connecting with leads meaningfully. Nonetheless, many companies don’t have a clearly defined strategy for digital marketing.

Digital marketing planning featured

This oversight can become an opportunity for your brand, putting you well ahead of the competition.

Digital consumers behave differently online. From using smartphones and tablets to conduct transactions with digital merchants to how they reach out for customer support, digital consumers require extensive research to properly understand.

Making a digital marketing plan will help you address your digital consumers’ unique needs and challenges. Don’t simply assume that those needs are the same as those of your offline customers.

What is a Digital Strategy? | ProfileTree | Marketing Strategy | Strategies for Marketing | Business

Digital Marketing Planning: A Comprehensive Guide for Modern Businesses

To engage in effective digital marketing planning, you should first begin by establishing a customer profile. Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Who is my ideal customer?
  2. Where do they live?
  3. What is the biggest challenge this customer faces relative to my field?
  4. What are the qualities most important to the customer when making a purchase?
  5. Is price a major factor in deciding whether the customer makes a purchase, or is this an inelastic market?

Think about the digital consumer you are trying to reach with a specific service or product.

Factors such as age, geographic location, gender, hobbies and interests, career, and income are just a few of the consumer metrics you should consider putting into your digital customer profile.

Ask yourself questions about how you can get that customer to connect with your brand online and how your brand can answer a meaningful problem that the customer has.

Answering problems is the key to driving traffic to your website and turning website visitors into customers. With effective problem-solving strategies in place, you can also begin converting customers into loyal brand advocates who will market for you online.

Understanding User Behaviour

The best way to understand the digital consumer is to look into market segmentation. Market segments are even more valuable in digital marketing than they are in traditional marketing.

Traditional marketing mediums, such as print and Television advertisements, rely on crafting campaigns that appeal to broad audiences.

Even if you manage to isolate a prime time slot for advertising to a general demographic, the results of your marketing efforts will still be difficult to gauge with such strategies.

The digital landscape has changed the face of marketing, allowing marketers to create highly targeted campaigns for smaller market segments.

Digital marketing planning stats
Digital Marketing Planning Stats. Image credit: SmartInsights

In addition to knowing which market segments to target with your advertising campaigns, it is also important to understand how digital consumers behave.

This means that consumers are choosing to research and shop on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets more than ever before. The way consumers use these devices is dramatically different from the way they use desktop computers.

Convenience is the name of the game in mobile marketing.

Your website should be responsive, meaning images and features are adjusted to fit the user’s mobile display. This increases conversion rates and helps establish your company as a savvy, mobile-friendly brand.

Investing in a website that works well on mobile and desktop devices may cost more in the short term, but it grants access to a widening e-commerce market segment.

Market Segmentation

In basic terms, market segmentation simply means dividing a larger market into smaller, targeted segments. This allows you to focus on the unique needs of each smaller segment of customers your brand serves.

Targeted marketing is the greatest benefit of digital marketing, so your advertising efforts will likely be wasted if you aren’t already making it work for you. The effort it takes to identify your targeted market segments pays significant dividends in the long run.

The more specific a marketing campaign is, the better it can address a specific problem common to that market segment.

Consumers are more likely to engage with brands they view as having a specific purpose that is relevant to their unique situation, so targeted digital marketing campaigns can result in higher conversions than broader campaigns filtered through traditional marketing mediums.

Some basic criteria for market segmentation include:

  • Age,
  • Income level,
  • Education,
  • Gender,
  • Location,
  • Marital status.

When building a market segmentation strategy, it helps to consider practical examples. If you have come to realize that two distinct market segments value the goods and services your company provides, it makes sense to target them separately.

Digital marketing segmentation metrics - Digital marketing planning
Digital marketing segmentation metrics. Image credit: Smart Insights

For example, middle-aged men from middle-income families generally respond to different marketing methods than college-aged men and women.

Identify what makes your product or service appealing to each demographic you would like to target and tailor your digital marketing efforts to that appeal.

One of the greatest benefits of digital marketing planning is the ability to get specific about your marketing efforts. By understanding your customer base, you are in a better position to address their problems and offer tangible solutions.

Digital Marketing Planning: 4 Steps for Success

When it comes down to creating a digital marketing plan, there are several things to remember. Additionally, every company needs a different plan to succeed in its unique circumstances.

Here are the four steps you should take to create an effective digital marketing plan.

Step 1: Identifying the Goal of Your Online Marketing Plan

Knowing your goal is an essential part of any online marketing plan. It puts you on your first steps on the road to success. A business may choose to launch an online marketing campaign for several reasons.

These reasons may be, but are not limited to:

  • Increasing exposure,
  • Good publicity,
  • Market penetration.

Of course, most businesses will have a combination of these goals.

Now, let us explore these options and identify their digital marketing strategies for your online marketing plan.

Step 2: Strategies for Success

Now that you have identified your end goal, it is time to choose your most suitable strategy. Regarding an online marketing plan, your strategy concerns the digital medium you will be using.

If you aim to increase your business’s exposure, you will find that the first thing you’ll need to do is to improve your search rankings.

This is otherwise known as Search Engine Optimisation (SEO for short), where you edit your content to ensure that it is up to the Search Engine’s algorithms of relevance. To begin working on your SEO, make sure you follow our SEO checklist.

Another important channel for online exposure is social media, where you can generate many views and interactions by creating an online page. This page will be the go-to place for anyone interested in your business.

This is effective when your business is already successful, and you want further growth.

To earn good publicity, customers must feel that their voice is heard. Your online marketing plan should involve constant customer interactions to collect information about their current satisfaction level and any necessary improvements.

In this case, social media is your friend as it simplifies customer interactions while providing you with a permanent location for your business updates.

SEO may be used in this case to further improve customer awareness of these pages to avoid unobserved conversations about your business on non-official pages.

Step 3: Setting Realistic Objectives

We all strive for success, but setting realistic objectives is essential to accurately observe the effectiveness of any decision. The first thing you need to consider is your current position.

This involves assessing your current digital marketing situation, including:

  • Your traffic figures,
  • Your audiences on different channels,
  • The ROI of your current marketing activities.

Afterwards, your online presence grows organically from all the online discussions.

Try to maximise the benefit of your current campaign by setting several objectives that cover both short-term and long-term goals. Preferably, your short-term objectives should augment your long-term vision of the business.

SMART Goals - Digital marketing planning
SMART Goals: Image credit: Hydrate Marketing

Step 4: Adopting the Proper Tactics

Social media is an essential tool for any online campaign; its strength comes from its incredible versatility. For the purpose of exposure, you will find yourself producing a lot of ads and perhaps some promotions.

Remember, creativity is key to getting that edge over the competition.

Another approach, if you are interested in gaining public relations, is to engage the consumers. This can be in the form of a discussion about what they like in your business or even just normal social interaction if you are going for a more “local” business type. Also, to mix things up – we also have different types of digital marketing to consider.

Giving consumers the sense that their voice is heard can work wonders for your brand. It generates acceptance and brand loyalty.

How to Create a Digital Marketing Planning That Works for You

Many studies indicate that a consumer is much more likely to recall a brand that they have interacted with recently, and they are much more likely to recommend your business once they’ve had a positive experience. Here, we detail a range of helpful content that will help you on your digital marketing journey:

Setting Objectives Having clear, measurable goals is crucial to an effective digital marketing strategy. Start by defining your overarching objectives – are you looking to increase brand awareness, generate leads, and boost revenue? Get specific with quantitative targets like “increase website traffic by 20% in 6 months” or “acquire 5,000 new email subscribers this year.”

Conduct market research to identify growth opportunities. Look at your current analytics and sales funnels to establish benchmarks. Set S.M.A.R.T. goals – specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. Align digital marketing goals with wider business objectives.

Define Your Target Audience Get crystal clear on who you want to reach with your digital marketing. Create generalized buyer personas based on demographics like age, location, and gender and psychographics like interests, values, and pain points. For instance, if you’re targeting eco-conscious individuals interested in minimalist living, consider including content about tiny house Oregon.

Leverage analytics to see who is currently visiting your site and engaging with your content. Speak to existing customers about what resonates with them.

Consider how personas differ across your products, services and funnel stages. Prioritize primary and secondary personas to cater to your digital channels and content strategy.

Choose Your Digital Marketing Channels With a clear understanding of your goals and target audience, assess which digital channels make the most sense for your business.

While a presence on all major platforms can help broaden reach, it’s smarter to focus your efforts on the 3-5 channels that will best attract and engage your personas.

Consider reaching people at multiple touchpoints in their buyer’s journey, like paid ads for awareness, organic search for consideration, and email for retention/loyalty. Measure past performance and expected ROI to optimize your channel mix.

Create A Documented Strategy With goals set, personas defined and channels selected, pull all this together into a comprehensive documented digital marketing strategy.

This 6-12 month plan should outline your objectives, targets, tactics and budget allocated across channels like content marketing, SEO, PPC, email, social media and more.

A documented strategy allows you to track performance against benchmarks, gain stakeholder buy-in on resource needs, and pivot tactically based on changing market dynamics.

Only 32% of businesses have a clearly defined digital marketing strategy, according to Smart Insights’ latest research.

Execute and Monitor Your Plan With a solid strategy in place; it’s time to execute – start rolling out content, optimizing pages, running ads, sending emails and driving engagement across the channels outlined.

Have a system to monitor KPIs and compare them against your pre-defined targets. Look at metrics like website visits, rankings, social reach, lead generation, sales pipeline velocity and revenue growth.

Continuously optimize based on performance data – double down on high traction areas and revisit underperforming components. Keep an eye on competitor activity as well.

digital marketing planning

The Digital Marketing Landscape in 2023

Recent reports show that digital ad spending in the UK is expected to reach £29.8 billion in 2023, representing 67.1% of total ad spend. This reflects how digital marketing has become indispensable for businesses looking to reach and engage customers.

According to HubSpot’s 2022 State of Marketing Report, the top digital marketing channels used by marketers today are:

  1. Social media marketing – used by 94% of marketers
  2. Content marketing – 77%
  3. SEO – 73%
  4. Email marketing – 71%
  5. PPC/Paid Advertising – 65%

Other key digital marketing trends shaping the industry in 2023 include:

  1. Video marketing is gaining further traction.
  2. Emerging formats like live audio rooms and podcasts
  3. Personalization and contextual marketing
  4. Privacy changes like cookie restrictions impacting targeting
  5. Voice search optimization
  6. Focus on digital accessibility and inclusive design

Businesses that want to succeed with digital marketing in 2023 need an effective strategy that leverages the top channels and adapts to privacy and technology changes. This article provides an in-depth guide to creating a strategic digital marketing plan.

Setting Concrete Goals and KPIs Having clear business goals is the foundation of any successful digital marketing plan. Rather than vague objectives like “increase website traffic”, goals should be:

Specific – Target a certain metric, like website conversions. Measurable – Quantify the desired increase e.g. 20% more conversions. Achievable – Make sure the goal is realistic. Relevant – Aligns with wider business goals Time-bound – Set a deadline to achieve the goal e.g. 6 months

Great examples of S.M.A.R.T digital marketing goals include:

  • Increase organic website traffic from search engines by 30% in 12 months
  • Grow email newsletter subscribers by 15% this quarter
  • Achieve 100 social media mentions per month by the end of the year.

Once goals are set, identify 2-3 key performance indicators (KPIs) to track progress for each one. Common digital marketing KPIs include:

  • Website Traffic
  • Lead generation and conversions
  • Sales revenue
  • Email open rates
  • Social media engagement

Regularly monitor these KPIs and optimize efforts to hit the goals. For example, if website traffic is not growing as expected, try creating more in-depth content or promoting it on social media.

Researching Your Target Audience Personas Understanding your target audience is crucial for effective digital marketing. Develop detailed buyer personas based on market research to identify:

  • Demographic information – location, age, gender etc.
  • Psychographic profile – values, interests, pain points
  • Behavioural data – where they spend time online, how they search and purchase
  • What motivates them – desires, goals, challenges

For example, a health brand’s persona could be Sandra, 38, who lives in London. She’s focused on natural wellness, enjoys yoga, and reads health blogs. She searches for “organic health supplements” as she’s concerned about ingredients in some vitamin brands. She wants convenient delivery.

Persona profiles help create content, choose marketing channels, and personalize messaging to resonate with your audience. Refer back to personas as you execute your digital marketing plan.

Selecting Relevant Digital Marketing Channels With personas and goals defined, carefully evaluate the top digital marketing channels and identify 3-5 that align with your audience and objectives.

For a B2B SaaS company targeting CTOs, effective channels could include:

  • Content marketing – educational whitepapers, ebooks, blog
  • SEO – optimize the website for informational queries
  • Social media – LinkedIn for professional engagement
  • Paid ads – targeted LinkedIn-sponsored content
  • Email – newsletter with relevant insights

Avoid selecting too many channels, as this dilutes efforts. Focus on channels where your audience is most active and that support your goals, like lead generation. Leverage channel features to achieve goals e.g. YouTube cards to drive conversions.

Creating Valuable Content Across Channels Content fuels and amplifies effective digital marketing. Develop a content strategy and editorial calendar covering:

  • Blog posts – 2x per month, optimized with target keywords
  • Ebook guides – quarterly on high-value topics to capture leads
  • Videos – monthly tutorials, product explainers, interviews
  • Infographics – bi-monthly for social media engagement
  • Podcasts – weekly episodes if aligned with audience interests

All content should provide value to personas, such as solving their problems. Optimized and promoted content will achieve SEO, social media and lead generation goals.

Curating content on a platform like Feedly helps find and share useful third-party articles. Repurpose content across channels e.g. excerpts from ebooks as blog posts.

Leveraging The Power of Email Marketing Email marketing remains a cost-effective digital strategy. Send regular newsletters with valuable content to nurture subscribers. Promote emails and give people incentives to subscribe to landing pages.

Segment your list to send tailored messages based on interests and engagement. Test email subject lines to increase open rates. Stay top of mind while providing subscriber value.

Automate sequences to onboard subscribers, cross-sell products or re-engage inactive contacts. Email works synergistically with other channels – promote social media and drive traffic to your website.

Executing Paid Ads Strategically Paid ads like PPC and social media ads help amplify content and offers. Take a strategic approach to paid ads to maximize return on ad spend:

  1. Set specific objectives – traffic, conversions, or brand awareness
  2. Identify audiences likely to convert using previous site behaviour.
  3. Create targeted ad content and landing pages that align with campaign goals
  4. Continuously optimize ads through A/B testing of ad copy, creatives, and landing pages.
  5. Analyze performance data to identify the best-converting keywords and audiences.
  6. Allocate budget wisely across channels and dayparting as needed.

Integrating and Tracking with Marketing Automation Marketing automation platforms like HubSpot help manage complex digital marketing plans. They provide benefits like:

  1. Centralized control of content, email, social media
  2. Pre-built workflows to onboard nurture prospects
  3. Landing page and form builders to capture leads
  4. CRM integration to track prospect journeys
  5. Robust analytics on channel performance

With marketing automation, you can identify your most effective strategies and double down on those to achieve goals.

Launching and Measuring Results Once your digital marketing plan is prepared, it’s time to launch it and consistently track results:

  1. Map content to stages of the customer journey to attract, engage, and convert
  2. Set up tracking such as Google Analytics, Facebook Pixel, and UTM campaign tagging
  3. Monitor marketing KPIs like email open rates, traffic sources, lead quality
  4. Assess the impact on business KPIs like customer acquisition costs and revenue
  5. Optimize underperforming aspects and capitalize on successes

With an agile approach, the plan can be continually refined and improved based on measured outcomes. This data-driven digital marketing plan will form a strong foundation for marketing success as we move into 2023 and beyond.


Digital Marketing Trends - Digital Marketing Planning
Digital Marketing Trends – Digital Marketing Planning

The world of digital marketing is constantly evolving, so it’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest trends. Here are a few trends that businesses should be aware of in 2023 and beyond:

  • The continued growth of TikTok and short-format video. TikTok is one of the most popular social media platforms in the world, and its popularity will only continue to grow in the coming years. Short-format video is also rising, with platforms like YouTube Shorts and Instagram Reels becoming increasingly popular. Businesses must develop strategies to reach audiences on these platforms and create engaging short-form video content.
  • Business podcasts and podcast advertising. Podcasts are another popular form of media, and businesses are starting to take advantage of this by launching their podcasts and advertising on other podcasts. Podcasts are a great way to reach a targeted audience and build relationships with potential customers.
  • Emphasis on sustainability, social responsibility, and reputation. Consumers are increasingly looking to support brands that are committed to sustainability, social responsibility, and good reputation. Businesses need to make sure that their digital marketing campaigns reflect these values.
  • AI-generated content. Artificial intelligence (AI) is being used to generate all sorts of content, including blog posts, articles, and even social media posts. AI-generated content can be a great way to save time and resources, but it’s important to ensure that it is high-quality and informative.
  • Cookieless future and zero-party data. With the demise of third-party cookies, businesses need to find new ways to track and target their audiences. Zero-party data is data businesses collect directly from their customers, such as email addresses, phone numbers, and survey results. Zero-party data is valuable because it is first-hand information businesses can use to create more targeted and personalized marketing campaigns.
  • B2B influencer marketing and user-generated content (UGC). Influencer marketing is becoming increasingly popular in the B2B space. Businesses can partner with B2B influencers to reach their target audiences and promote their products and services. UGC is another important trend for B2B businesses. UGC is content that is created by customers, such as reviews, testimonials, and case studies. UGC can be a very effective way to build trust and credibility with potential customers.
Social Media Statistics – Digital Marketing Planning

Digital Marketing Planning Budgeting

When setting a budget for digital marketing, it’s important to consider the following factors:

  • Your business goals. What do you want to achieve with digital marketing? Are you trying to increase brand awareness, generate leads, or drive sales? Once you know your goals, you can start to determine how much money you need to spend to achieve them.
  • Your target audience. Where does your target audience spend their time online? What devices do they use? What kind of content do they consume? Once you understand your target audience, you can allocate your budget to the channels that are most likely to reach them.
  • Your competitors. How much are your competitors spending on digital marketing? What kind of results are they getting? Benchmarking your spending against your competitors can help you to determine a realistic budget.

In addition to traditional digital marketing channels, such as search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing, and email marketing, there are several emerging trends that businesses should consider when developing their digital marketing plans. These include:

  • Voice search: Voice search is becoming increasingly popular as more and more people are using smartphones and other devices to search for information online. Businesses must ensure that their websites and content are optimized for voice search.
  • Artificial intelligence (AI): AI is being used in a variety of ways in digital marketing, such as personalizing content, targeting ads, and measuring results. Businesses should consider using AI to improve their digital marketing campaigns.
  • Influencer marketing: Influencer marketing involves partnering with people who have a large following on social media to promote your products or services. This can be a very effective way to reach your target audience and build brand awareness.

Digital Marketing Planning Case Studies

Here are a few examples of how businesses have used digital marketing to achieve success:

  • Dropbox used a content marketing strategy to generate leads and grow its user base. Dropbox created high-quality blog posts, articles, and infographics that were relevant to its target audience. The company also used social media to promote its content and engage with potential customers.
  • Airbnb used a combination of search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing, and paid advertising to reach its target audience and drive bookings. Airbnb optimized its website for relevant keywords and created engaging social media content. The company also ran paid advertising campaigns on search engines and social media platforms.
  • Shopify used a combination of influencer marketing, content marketing, and paid advertising to grow its business. Shopify partnered with influencers in the e-commerce space to promote its products and services. The company also created high-quality content about e-commerce and online marketing. Shopify also ran paid advertising campaigns on search engines and social media platforms.

How one business used digital marketing planning to achieve success

Acme Corporation is a small business that sells handmade jewellery online. The company’s target audience is women aged 25-45.

Acme Corporation developed a digital marketing plan that focused on the following channels:

  • SEO: The company optimized its website for relevant keywords and created high-quality content that would be informative and engaging to its target audience.
  • Social media marketing: Acme Corporation created social media accounts on the platforms where its target audience was most active, such as Instagram and Pinterest. The company posted engaging content regularly and interacted with its followers.
  • Email marketing: Acme Corporation collected email addresses from visitors to its website and used email marketing to send them special offers and updates about new products.

As a result of its digital marketing efforts, Acme Corporation has seen a significant increase in website traffic, sales, and brand awareness.

If you want help developing an effective digital marketing plan, contact ProfileTree today.

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