How do you begin creating a digital marketing plan for startups?

How do you begin creating a digital marketing plan for startups?

It is no secret that marketing is essential for a company’s success. But what remains a mystery for many startup businesses is how to start. Creating a digital marketing plan is an important first step, and you do not need a fat budget to achieve optimal results. What it does require is dedication, time, and creative thinking. Learning how to create a digital marketing plan for a startup is one of the most valuable things you can do to ensure that your business will attract customers, generate revenue, and continue to grow in its earliest stages.

What is a digital marketing plan and why is it important for startups?  

A digital marketing plan outlines a company’s digital marketing goals with the associated strategies, timelines, tactics, channels, and budgets they will use to achieve them.

Taking the time to build a digital marketing plan will keep you on track and focused as you juggle an array of other important functions that are necessary for your business.

Having a digital marketing plan will make better use of your time and resources, and align your team to work toward the same objectives. 


What are the components of a digital marketing plan?

Every company’s marketing goals and strategies will look different, but there are some standard elements that every digital marketing plan should include:

  • Content marketing
  • Email marketing
  • Advertising
  • Social media marketing
  • Video marketing
  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Web analytics 

What are the 5 steps to follow to have an effective digital marketing plan?


Creating a digital marketing plan is not just a matter of brainstorming ideas for social media or emails. There are steps that your startup business should take to ensure all of your plan’s components are strategic, align with your company’s goals, and ultimately yield the best results.


1. Conduct Research

Reliable and credible research can reveal a lot about the marketing direction your startup should take. Learning about historical market trends, current industry practices, competitor analyses, and what consumers want can be the most invaluable tool you have to create a phenomenal digital marketing plan. 

Research can include primary research (conducting surveys, interviews, polls, etc.) or secondary research such as published reports.


2. Develop a Deep Understanding of your Brand

Understanding your own brand will set the foundation for everything else that follows. Start by thinking about popular brands that you would to be comparable to. Is your brand like Apple or is it like Microsoft? Is your brand a Tesla or is it Ford? This is a great way to start shaping what your brand is, how consumers will perceive you, and discovering your brand archetype which are all crucial to know before defining your target audience or style of communication.


3. Define Your Target Audience

Knowing exactly the type of consumers you will be targeting will make it much easier to define your messaging, what digital channels you should use, and the type of content you need to develop to establish a connection with your audience. 

What is your target’s demographic, lifestyle, worries, wants, and needs? Your marketing efforts need to be tailored to your target audience because marketing to everyone is marketing to no one. Spending time developing buyer personas – semi-fictional representations of your ideal customers – will help you tremendously with all marketing efforts moving forward.


4. Create Clear Messaging 

Consumers want clear messaging on what your product is and how it will benefit them. If people are left questioning what you do, chances are they will not become a paying customer. You also need to define a messaging style or brand voice, which leads back to having a deep understanding of your brand. What does your brand sound like? Is it laid back and relaxed? Is it professional and sophisticated? Determining your style of communication will also help you reach your target audience much more effectively.


5. Define Your Digital Marketing Goals, Timelines, and Budget

If you do not set tangible goals, timelines, and budgets it is much harder to track and measure your progress. The goals you set should be realistic and obtainable, yet provide enough of a challenge so you feel a sense of accomplishment when you reach them. 

Setting a detailed, itemized budget for your digital marketing plan will keep you organized, and allow you to easily see if you are spending too much or too little on particular initiatives. It will also keep you on track with your overall startup budget for the company.


Following these five steps are critical before you can dive deeper into specifics such as what channels you will use (i.e. Facebook, YouTube, Instagram) or what type of strategy you will follow for paid advertising. You need to lay a foundation for your digital marketing plan to thrive.

Working with a startup incubator is a great way to receive high-quality mentorship on digital marketing plans, low-cost marketing strategies, and a long list of other entrepreneurial needs. 


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