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How to create a Strategic Marketing Plan like a Digital Marketer: Your 7 Step Guide

We all know the importance of digital marketing, yet very few small businesses have a plan. Understandably so- creating a digital marketing plan can be daunting and time-consuming, especially if you don’t know how. However, a lack of planning can lead to hours wasted aimlessly creating content and just hoping that customers will bite. No thank you! That’s why we’ve created a list of 7 easy steps (with pictures!) to help you build a professional plan and scale your business. Open up a Word doc and let’s get started.

Step 1. Know Your Why

Write out your company’s mission & vision statements. If you have a marketing vision, include this here too. If you don’t yet have a marketing vision, ask yourself; what do I hope to achieve through marketing? How does my marketing vision align with my business vision & mission?

Step 2. Research & Analysis (ESSENTIAL!)

This step may seem tedious, HOWEVER, the success of your marketing plan depends on it!

  • Identify your target market, then break this into customer segments or buyer personas. Who are they, what is their income level, what platforms do they use, where do they go for information, what are their needs, what are their likes & dislikes?

  • Conduct a SWOT analysis for your own business and that of your competitors. Conducting a SWOT Analysis helps you to identify what's working for your business, what's not, what you could capitalise on, and what could harm you. You can also conduct this analysis on your competitors, which may indicate gaps in the market, opportunities, or threats in your own business. We love this breakdown by HubSpot, or you can use our template below to get started.

SWOT Analysis including strengths (internal, positive), opportunities (external, positive), weaknesses (internal, negative) and threats (external, negative).


HOT TIP! Include key metrics such as conversion rate, abandoned cart rate, etc., in your analysis so that you can later reference them in your marketing objectives (see Step 4).

Step 3. Set Goals

Based on the previous two steps, set marketing goals that align with your brand. Forbes recommends the ‘GSOT’ framework (Goals, Strategies, Objectives and Tactics) to help with this. We’ve adapted it slightly, so that each goal will be broken down into actionable objectives, then strategies to achieve those objectives, and KPIs to measure their success. We’ve created a table for reference.


Step 4. Work SMART-er

You have your big juicy goals, now you need to break them down into actionable objectives. For example, to achieve the goal ‘increase online sales’; you could set the following objectives:

  • Increase online conversion rate by 5% by 6 month’s time

  • Decrease abandoned cart rate by 3% by 6 month’s time

  • Increase engagement on Instagram by 10% by 6 month’s time

  • Grow email subscriber list by 20% by 6 month’s time

The specific objectives will depend heavily on your why, buyer personas and competitive landscape. Your objectives should be ‘SMART’ – Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant and Time-bound.

Step 5. Choose Your Fighter, i.e., Your Strategic Approach.

This is where you outline how you’re actually going to achieve your objectives. This could include improving your website navigability & SEO, engaging in influencer marketing, creating automatic email flows, and more. The options are endless and highly dependent on your goals.

In this stage, it’s also important to include your communications mix, AKA; define your chosen digital marketing channels. Based on your research, what platforms would be best for you to invest your time and money into? View some examples of online & offline marketing channels you could choose from below.

Step 6. Create Your Marketing Calendar

Now that you know how you’re going to achieve your goals, it’s time to implement these strategies. Create a monthly content calendar including key dates (i.e., promotional periods, public holidays, etc.), your posting schedule, budgets, and campaign timelines, including periods for preparation. Remember to include all the different platforms you are using. We recommend creating your calendar in Canva and then using a scheduling app such as Later (our personal favourite), as this allows you to schedule content for multiple platforms all in the one app.

Step 7. Measure

Last but certainly not least, you need to keep track of your marketing efforts. Otherwise, what’s the point? Keep track of relevant Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and metrics to see how your efforts are paying off, what’s working and what’s not. We recommend conducting weekly, fortnightly and/or monthly (max.) reports, depending on the tools you’re using and the human power you have available to you. This can feel tedious but is absolutely essential in tracking your progress so that you can identify what works well for you, where you could improve and what isn’t resonating with your customer base.

That’s it! You now have a blueprint that you can refer to and adjust as necessary. Still need help creating your marketing plan? Reach out to us and let’s strategise together.


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