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How to Plan Your Digital Marketing

Your digital marketing plan / strategy should flow similar to this one. I have also uploaded a downloadable version for you to edit – please let me know if this has helped you by emailing:

I have also included some examples of things to write to help you get started. Always add your own items that suit your business / organisation.

Topics covered in this blog include

Summarise your business

1. Briefly describe your business industry

2. Include stats in your local area & online

3. About your business – when you started and what you are all about

4. Your business goals, objectives, tag line

5. Why you need / want a Digital Marketing Plan / Strategy

Your digital marketing plan should include your current provision, review your position within the marketplace and help you make an informed decision on the direction your business needs to head in.

For the purpose of this blog we will assume that you want to improve your digital marketing, and online presence on social media.

Introduction to your business

Introduce your business. Your business idea, how you started out, and who was involved. Your why, and your vision for your business / organisation.

1 – What is Digital Marketing?

Digital Marketing - also called online marketing, is the promotion of brands to connect with potential customers using the internet and other forms of digital communication.

This includes not only email, social media, and web-based advertising, but also text / multimedia messages as a marketing channel pay-per-click (PPC), search engine optimisation (SEO), WhatsApp and more.

It has never been so important to have a digital marketing plan / strategy in place as it is today. Digital marketing has evolved since the 1990s and 2000s, has changed the way brands and businesses utilise technology and digital marketing for their marketing.

(A Study on Digital Marketing and its Impact, 2017)

  • Campaigns are more effective and efficient

  • Digital platforms are incorporated into marketing plans

  • People are using digital devices instead of going out to make purchases

  • People are using social media to stay connected and follow brands, make purchases, find out about businesses in real time

  • Businesses are able to use this data and build these relationships to convert to sales using their strategy they have put in place

“Social media is not a media. The key is to listen, engage, and build relationships.” --- David Alston

There is an increase in people starting their own business, online and physical stores. Having an online presence on social media or a website helps with building a strong presence and can help;

  • Increase online exposure

  • Increase sales

  • Build relationships

  • Create and nurture new leads

  • Improve customer loyalty

  • Boost your content via shares, retweets, tags, likes etc

  • Reduce marketing costs

Digital marketing has many benefits, including; engaging with customers in real time, customers are able to get full description of products or services online, the option to compare similar products / suppliers and have a wide variety to choose from, a website is available 24 hours, you can use chat bots to interact with customers from all time zones, customers can contact you on a variety of platforms, and customers can leave feedback about your products / services.

2 - The SOSTAC Marketing Planning Framework

The SOSTAC planning framework was created by Paul Russell Smith to help with Marketing Planning – I follow these guidelines when helping people with their digital marketing plan / strategy.

SOSTAC is simple, clear, logical, and a memorable structure. It can be used as a template that ensures consistency when presenting plans from different teams.

(Smith, 2018)

PR Smith's SOSTAC Planning Framework

3 - SOSTAC | Situational Analysis

The first stage of the SOSTAC planning framework is undertaken by the application of the SWOT and Competitor analysis.

SWOT Definition

SWOT analysis is a strategic planning and strategic management technique used to help a person or organisation identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats related to business competition or project planning. It is sometimes called situational assessment or situational analysis. Wikipedia

SWOT Analysis is a tool that can help you to analyse what your company does best right now, and to devise a successful strategy for the future.


Notes to help you complete your SWOT analysis.

  • Do you have a competitive advantage?

  • What are you doing to remain competitive, and what can you do better?

  • Do you have room for improvement in your digital marketing?

  • Are you established on social media platforms and do you update them regularly?

  • Is there room for improvement?


“The purpose of the competitive analysis is to determine the strengths and weaknesses of the competitors within your market, strategies that will provide you with a distinct advantage, the barriers that can be developed in order to prevent competition from entering your market, and any weaknesses that can be exploited within the product development cycle.” (Entrepreneur, 2006)

When completing a competitor analysis you should take note of and research the following;

  • Product / service

  • Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

  • Website

  • Social media platforms

  • What they are doing well that is getting the most attention

  • Key strategies competitors use

  • Their branding

  • Points of interest such as taglines, visual imagery, tone, and core messaging

  • What can you do to differentiate

Competitor analysis recommendations

Based on your research carried out for the competitor analysis list your main competitors.

  • Who is your biggest contender?

  • Who is in the same industry, completely different, and what are they doing well?

  • Who has a great online presence?

  • What areas need reviewed and improved?

  • Do you need to integrate traditional marketing?

  • How do people know about you?

Some points to think about:

  • Mix digital marketing with traditional marketing techniques to increase brand awareness as competition in your area / country.

  • Have you a website?

  • Are you consistent on social media?

  • Do you check your trends and insights?

  • Do you mix your content up using posts, stories and reels?

  • Are you engaging with followers & other brands in your niche?

  • Are you are on the right platforms?

  • Is it possible to outsource your social media?

  • Buy branded templates to create a more engaging news feed.

  • Collaborate with other people in your niche that offer different services.

  • Look at your demographics, target audience and re-evaluate your audience.

  • Introduce email marketing campaigns.

  • Are you running promotional offers and discounts?

4 - SOSTAC | Objectives

To be successful, goals and objectives should be SMART - specific, measurable, agreed upon, realistic and time-based.

1) Specific – define exactly what is being pursued?

2) Measurable – is there a number to track completion?

3) Attainable - can the goal be achieved?

4) Realistic – doable from a business perspective

5) Timely – can it be completed in reasonable amount of time?

“Teams utilising the SMART goals template will outperform teams that do not utilise the template.” (Blaine Lawlor and Hornyak, 2012)

WHAT IS YOUR OVERALL GOAL? (Use these examples to brainstorm)


Increase business revenue by increasing technological growth, using an implemented digital marketing strategy.

Objectives created to help reach the overall goal.

Objective 1 - Increase online sales.

How are you going to do this? Explain your process.

Objective 2 - Use effective Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software / email marketing software and live chat functionality.

Explain your process, and why you want to implement these functions.

  • Send out bulk emails, to included promotions

  • Send automated email responses to anyone signing up online via your website and use email marketing more effectively

  • Have live chat facility so customers can contact you in real time

  • Use these tools to build relationships

Objective 3Implement consistent use of social media platforms and website.

Explain your process, and why you want to implement these functions.

  • Increase online sales, brand awareness, influence followers

  • Increase followers, liaise with existing customers, and engage with and reach new customers

  • To share information about the brand, business, staff

  • Ensure platforms are updated consistently

  • Ask customers to share their experience on your platforms

  • Run competitions, promotions and discounts to encourage engagement and sales

  • Ensure customers are responded to within 24 hours and any positive / negative comments are responded to and addressed

Objective 4 - To develop an effective social media strategy

Explain your process, and why you want to implement these functions.

  • Research content, keywords, captions, and hashtags for your brand

  • Research your competitors and what is working for them

  • Plan and schedule your content in advance to ensure consistency

  • Research social media management tools / resources

  • Consider using a social media manager if you do not have the time

  • Post on recommend times for each platform

  • Research design tools to help make your posts, stories, reels, videos more aesthetically pleasing, and so that your customers recognise your brand online

Benefits of including Social Media Objectives

  • Real time engagement and relationship building with customers, and new leads

  • Build brand awareness

  • Engage Social media influencers

  • Key performance indicators (KPI)

  • Only measure what you can control

  • Set realistic and achievable targets

  • Collaboration with other brands and influencers

  • Check out the competition

Benefits of SMART Goals

  • To be able to communicate the strategies and tactics to achieve the overall objectives

  • Control marketing plan

  • To motivate staff & teams to reach a common goal

  • To provide an agreed, consistent focus for all functions of the business

  • Clear objectives are important to determine which specific marketing tactics or channels are needed to achieve them

  • Increase market reach and grow the business

  • Increase brand awareness and loyalty

  • No what's working and what's not

5 - SOSTAC | Strategy | The STP Process

The STP process consists of these 3 concepts; Segmentation, Targeting and Positioning. (Free Management Books, 2018) states that, “Marketing is much more effective and efficient when it follows a model such as this one. By segmenting your market, targeting the right customers, and positioning your products/services correctly, you can take big steps forward overall”.


Identify segmented market

Segmented market by status

Evaluate target segment

  • Thrill seekers, action, adventure, corporate groups / groups, teams, families


  • Select target segments

  • If your into fitness this could be people that are: Active, Fit, Adventurous

  • Include your target market who are likely to avail of your service / products. Include who you are most likely to retain as a customer / client.

Your digital strategy will attract your target market by:

  • Increasing online brand awareness

  • Using paid advertising on social media sites

  • Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

  • Responding to all feedback across all platforms

  • Employing a full time digital marketing team to address these matters

  • Email marketing campaigns

  • Running online competition

  • Integrating online and traditional marketing techniques

Positioning - Identify segment

  • Focus and core target will be people that are fit and active, who will be offered a range of activities, delivered by industry professionals and are suitable on a one-to-one or group sessions.

  • When this customer group thinks of your business what will they think of? (A thrill seeking adventure, a friendly service, nice food, high end products)


It is very important to have and Integrated Marketing approach for a business to be successful and to create a seamless experience for consumers to interact with the brand / organisation.

Aim to ensure all marketing communication such as advertising, sales promotion, public relations, direct marketing, and social media are integrated to be competitive with digital marketing strategies of your competitors.

6 - SOSTAC | Tactics

The RACE framework, was developed by (Smart Insights, 2010) to help digital marketers

plan and manage their activities in a more structured way since they found that many organisations do not have a digital marketing strategy, with clear objectives and KPIs (key performance indicators).

“RACE consists of 4 steps designed to help engage prospects, customers and fans with brands throughout the product life cycle.(Chaffey and Ellis-Chadwick, 2016) These 4 steps are Reach, Act, Convert and Engage.

Using the RACE framework for this blog, has helped create a simplified approach to reviewing online marketing, and has enabled me to put an action plan in place to improve a business’s digital marketing to engage prospects and customers, and also improve its effectiveness. Image Source: (Smart Insights, 2010)

A Sample Strategy


  • Using Digital Media channels you need to communicate with customers and potential customers to generate leads via your website, social media platforms, text advertising and business apps.

  • Your website could be interactive and include information about your products / services.

  • You can include who your target audience is, imagery, videos, reels and customers testimonial’s.

  • Will you rely solely on digital platforms, billboards and word of mouth to increase your sales and brand awareness – or will you mix with traditional marketing methods such as promotional posters, newspaper and local advertising.

Increasing website traffic, social media presence, and offline communications – is an effective method to use to ensure you keep up with competition, and on trend.

Some examples include:

  • Social media marketing campaigns - competitions, managing social presence effectively and consistently, responding to customer feedback and comments

  • Offline communications - advertising, sponsorship, distributing promotional materials, sales promotion, direct mail, exhibitions

  • Search engine marketing

  • Search engine optimisation

  • Opt-In emails

  • Social media planner - plan posts on each platform, schedule time to respond each day

  • Creating engaging content, using content pillars and creating stories for your customers, and new leads to follow.


Are you interactive on your social media platforms, do you respond to customer reviews and comments. Key areas to address include:

  • Respond to all feedback with 24 hours

  • Respond to all customers comments on all platforms

  • Respond to queries promptly via email, post and telephone

  • Retweet on twitter and engage with other businesses, customers and influencers on all platforms

  • Setting up chat bots, automated messages and automated emails are just a few of the many methods of automating this process


The objective here is to convert a lead to sale, for example how to get your customer to pay for a transaction online via your website.

Some examples include;

  • Set up an online booking system for customers to increase sales.

  • Set up a shop / ecommerce store to sell products / services.

  • Set up automated email systems via the website for all new visitors. Automatically send them a welcome email.

  • Send out consistent email marketing campaigns with offers, promotions to increase sales.

  • Always include your call-to-action in any process you use. Tell your customers how to buy from you. Guide them through the right process.

  • Always thank your customers for their custom at the end of each transaction, provide discounts, information etc. to encourage them to return.


The main objective in engagement is to build relationships and retain customers to ensure they keep coming back. As a business it is important to increase your online and offline interaction with customers. Otherwise you are just another business competing with other ones in your niche.

I have seen business’s having more success when their online systems are on power with competitors by engaging, interacting, keeping customers interested, responding to feedback and reviews while keeping content fresh, and promoting your brand.

Technology has made this process so easy for customers, and if they get bored, or your process takes too long they need a reason to stay with you, or they will

7 - SOSTAC | Action Plan

To ensure you meet all of your goals, objectives and targets there must be an action

plan put in place.

It is of the utmost importance to clearly define roles and responsibilities to achieve marketing objectives. It is an option to employ a Digital Marketing Manager that concentrates on the implementation of a Digital Marketing Strategy for your business.

8 - SOSTAC | Control and Implication

To monitor success of the 3 Marketing Objectives you may have to undertake the following tasks;

  • Track new revenue

  • Monitor web analytics

  • Track marketing generated sales leads

  • Track employee engagement

  • Track the efficiency of business process

  • Use Google Analytics

  • Implement survey monkey to create online surveys

  • Create online polls

  • Monitor key performance indicators

  • Use social media analytics

9 - Conclusion / Recommendations

  • The business market presents a lot of opportunities for growth and customer retention when you implement a digital marketing strategy and are present on online platforms.

  • Research shows that being more consistent online and increasing digital presence will help increase brand awareness and customer loyalty.

  • Integrating online marketing and traditional marketing is essential. Using direct mail for example is an option as people still like to receive hard copies of promotional materials.

  • Being present and active on all social media / online platforms, engaging and interacting with customers / followers will help boost growth and brand awareness.

  • If you wish to increase sales and compete with up and coming rivals you need to ensure what you offer is what you claim it to be.

  • Having automated systems and processes helps save time, effort and enhances the customers over all experience.

If you would like an editable copy of this blog please feel free to download it and let me know if you found it useful for your business by emailing


Download DOCX • 38KB


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