Digital Marketing Plan 101: Everything You Need to Know

Nadica Naceva
Last Updated:

We currently live in a time where everything that can be done online is being done online. The digital landscape has expanded significantly in the past few years, encompassing the business world, too. 

Marketing, which was previously limited to our TV screens, newspapers, brochures, and billboards, has now found a new home in the digital world. This shift has given birth to a new form of marketing—digital marketing. 

But what is digital marketing, and where does it fit in the grand scheme of things? The guide below answers your questions.


What Is a Digital Marketing Plan?

A marketing plan is a step-by-step guide that outlines the strategies and tactics a company will use to promote its products or services. A digital marketing plan, therefore, is implemented in the digital space. 

Your company's digital marketing plan includes the tools and processes you'll use to accomplish your business objectives. 

Is a marketing plan the same as a marketing strategy? 

Although both terms are often used interchangeably, they actually serve different purposes. A marketing strategy is the overall approach or game plan to meet the end goal. 

The marketing plan is the actual process of executing the strategy. 

Let's take the example of a sustainable apparel company. Their marketing strategy may be to target environmentally conscious consumers through social media and influencer partnerships. 

The marketing plan would then outline the specific tactics and channels. For instance, the marketing team might highlight three channels for marketing: 

  • Social media 

  • Paid advertising 

  • Email marketing

Each of these channels would further have specific processes. For example, on social media, the brand may work with influencers. 

In paid advertising, they may use Google Ads

And for email marketing, they may use a combination of newsletters and targeted campaigns. 

This breakdown of channels and processes is what makes up the digital marketing plan

Importance of a Digital Marketing Plan

There are many digital channels where you can market your company's offerings. Social media, email, website, and paid advertising are just a few examples. 

However, without a well-defined plan, your marketing efforts may lack direction and consistency. 

A digital marketing plan provides structure to your campaign. It outlines the goals, target audience, messaging, and channels to be used. 

A marketing plan also fosters team alignment. Since everyone is on the same page, it becomes easier to work towards a common goal. 

When you have a clear digital marketing plan, it also becomes easier to measure results. You can set key performance indicators (KPIs) before the campaign and track progress against those targets.


Types of Digital Marketing Plans

The categorization of digital marketing plans can vary depending on the source. However, broadly speaking, there are five types of digital marketing plans. 

Time-Based Plans

One way to differentiate digital marketing plans is by the duration of the campaign. Your marketing plan could be annual or quarterly. 

Quarterly marketing plans focus on short-term goals. For example, as a fashion brand, you may want to launch a collection for Valentine's Day. 

Your marketing plan could cover the three months leading up to Valentine's Day. 

Annual plans take a long-term approach. They outline marketing initiatives that will run throughout the year. 

For instance, your annual plan may include monthly email newsletters and quarterly website refreshes.


Campaign-Specific Plans

Campaign-specific marketing plans are designed for a particular product launch, event, or promotion. 

It comprises a targeted strategy and budget for that specific campaign. 

McDonald's marketing campaign for Grimace's birthday is a good example. The fast food giant took a culturally relevant marketing angle and brought back their popular mascot from the 80s to promote their limited edition menu items. 

McDonald's marketing campaign Grimace birthday

The campaign garnered over 3 billion views on TikTok and resulted in an 11.7% increase in the company's global revenue in Q2 of 2023.

campaign

Chris Kempczinski, McDonald's CEO, hailed Grimace as the theme for the quarter and mentioned it to be "another proof point of the power of marketing at McDonald's today."

All the marketing efforts around the campaign, including the social media hashtag and limited edition merchandise, ended when the campaign did. So, the marketing plan was specific to the campaign. 


Channel-Specific Plans 

Digital marketing plans can also be created for specific channels. Some of them include: 

Envato Elements, a marketplace for creative assets, is a good example. They have a PPC campaign, under which they run ads on Google.

Envator PPC ads

Their website is also optimized to rank high on search engine platforms. 

They have a blog on their website to tap into content marketing. Their content hub provides company news and updates for creatives.

Envato blog

Their social media strategy involves a heavy focus on YouTube, where they host creators, share marketing trends, share tutorials, and introduce their products. 

Similarly, you could create a marketing plan for each channel you plan to use in your digital marketing strategy.  


Product Launch Plans 

Much like campaign-specific marketing plans, a product launch digital marketing plan is also short-term. It is aimed at generating buzz around your product. 

A product launch marketing plan could include influencer and celebrity collaborations to get the word out about your product. You could also run social media campaigns and contests to create excitement. 

Kim Kardashian's shapewear brand, SKIMS, is an ideal example here. 

The company uses social media to promote their new products, featuring influencer partnerships and using organic reach. In a recent underwear line launch, SKIMS partnered with Usher and other celebrities to create hype. 

SKIMS ads story

SKIMS also sends weekly newsletters to their email subscribers, updating them on new product launches and promotions.

SKIMS email / new product launch

 The goal of product launch marketing plans is to generate immediate sales for the product. After the initial buzz, the focus shifts towards maintaining a steady stream of sales through ongoing marketing efforts. 


Growth Plans 

A growth digital marketing plan focuses on growing the brand's reach. It could be through:

  • Audience expansion 

  • Collaborations with other brands 

  • Influencer partnerships 

  • Paid advertising 

The goal is to bring in new customers or subscribers. 

Growth plans are ongoing and long-term. Loyalty programs are an example in this regard since they help retain customers while also attracting new ones. The Body Shop’s loyalty club is one such example. 

The Body Shop loyalty club


Components of a Digital Marketing Plan 

Before we go on to explain how to create a digital marketing plan, let's look at its components. 

Website and SEO 

Your website represents your brand on the web. Ideally, you want it to be well-designed and responsive. It should also follow the guidelines set by Google to appear higher up in search engine page results (SERPs). 

For example, at Influencer Marketing Hub, our website is optimized for keywords. 

Influencer Marketing Hub website

 It's also mobile-friendly and easy to navigate. We use images and illustrations to keep our audience engaged. 

Influencer Marketing Hub website 


Content Marketing 

''Content is king'' is among the most popular beliefs in digital marketing for the right reasons. Your site's content is what attracts potential customers. 

In a digital marketing plan, the content acts as a vehicle to deliver your brand's message. It can also provide value to your audience, encouraging them to engage with your brand. 

Influencer Marketing Hub's content marketing strategy involves producing high-quality and informative blog posts. 

Influencer Marketing Hub content


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