digital marketing business plans

Digital Marketing Agency Business Plan Template

Written by Dave Lavinsky

Digital Marketing Agency Business Plan

Digital Marketing Agency Business Plan

Over the past 20+ years, we have helped over 500 entrepreneurs and business owners create business plans to start and grow their digital marketing agencies.

If you’re unfamiliar with creating a digital marketing agency business plan, you may think creating one will be a time-consuming and frustrating process. For most entrepreneurs it is, but for you, it won’t be since we’re here to help. We have the experience, resources, and knowledge to help you create a great business plan.

In this article, you will learn some background information on why business planning is important. Then, you will learn how to write a digital marketing agency business plan step-by-step so you can create your plan today.

Download our Ultimate Digital Marketing Agency Business Plan Template here >

What Is a Business Plan?

A business plan provides a snapshot of your digital marketing agency as it stands today, and lays out your growth plan for the next five years. It explains your business goals and your strategies for reaching them. It also includes market research to support your plans.

Why You Need a Business Plan

If you’re looking to start a digital marketing agency or grow your existing digital marketing agency, you need a business plan. A business plan will help you raise funding, if needed, and plan out the growth of your digital marketing agency to improve your chances of success. Your digital marketing agency business plan is a living document that should be updated annually as your company grows and changes.

Sources of Funding for Digital Marketing Agency Businesses

With regards to funding, the main sources of funding for a digital marketing agency are personal savings, credit cards, bank loans, and angel investors. When it comes to bank loans, banks will want to review your business plan and gain confidence that you will be able to repay your loan and interest. To acquire this confidence, the loan officer will not only want to ensure that your financials are reasonable, but they will also want to see a professional plan. Such a plan will give them the confidence that you can successfully and professionally operate a business. Personal savings and bank loans are the most common funding paths for digital marketing agencies.

Finish Your Business Plan Today!

How to write a business plan for a digital marketing agency.

If you want to start a digital marketing agency or expand your current one, you need a business plan. The guide below details the necessary information for how to write each essential component of your digital marketing agency business plan.

Executive Summary

Your executive summary provides an introduction to your business plan, but it is normally the last section you write because it provides a summary of each key section of your plan.

The goal of your executive summary is to quickly engage the reader. Explain to them the kind of digital marketing agency you are running and the status. For example, are you a startup, do you have a digital marketing agency that you would like to grow, or are you operating a chain of digital marketing agencies?

Next, provide an overview of each of the subsequent sections of your plan.

  • Give a brief overv iew of the digital marketing industry.
  • Discuss the type of digital marketing agency you are operating.
  • Detail your direct competitors. Give an overview of your target customers.
  • Provide a snapshot of your marketing strategy. Identify the key members of your team.
  • Offer an overview of your financial plan.

Company Overview

In your company overview, you will detail the type of digital marketing agency you are operating.

For example, your agency might specialize in one of the following types of digital marketing agencies:

  • Full Service Digital Marketing Agency : this type of digital marketing agency tends to be larger than most other types of agencies and offers a variety of digital marketing services. Businesses often partner with full-service digital marketing agencies because they have the experience doing specific projects that the businesses need done, such as lead nurture campaigns or a website redesign. These agencies can also bring added muscle to existing marketing departments at a lower cost than it would take to build them out with new hires.
  • SEO Digital Marketing Agency: this type of agency focuses primarily on helping their clients’ websites and website content rank high on search engine results.
  • Social Media Digital Marketing Agency: this type of digital marketing agency helps companies establish and maintain an effective social media presence. They produce social media content and manage their advertisements on social media sites, such as Facebook and Instagram. Other services offered are responding to customer interactions on social media platforms and can also manage influencer outreach for cross promotion and/or affiliate marketing.
  • Web Design Digital Marketing Agency: this type of agency is a team of creative designers who build customized and optimized websites for their clients’ businesses.

In addition to explaining the type of digital marketing agency you will operate, the company overview needs to provide background on the business.

Include answers to questions such as:

  • When and why did you start the business?
  • What milestones have you achieved to date? Milestones could include the number of clients served, the number of clients with positive outcomes, reaching X number of clients served, etc.
  • Your legal business structure. Are you incorporated as an S-Corp? An LLC? A sole proprietorship? Explain your legal structure here.

Industry Analysis

In your industry or market analysis, you need to provide an overview of the digital marketing industry.

While this may seem unnecessary, it serves multiple purposes.

First, researching the digital marketing industry educates you. It helps you understand the market in which you are operating.

Secondly, market research can improve your marketing strategy, particularly if your analysis identifies market trends.

The third reason is to prove to readers that you are an expert in your industry. By conducting the research and presenting it in your plan, you achieve just that.

The following questions should be answered in the industry analysis section of your digital marketing agency business plan:

  • How big is the digital marketing industry (in dollars)?
  • Is the market declining or increasing?
  • Who are the key competitors in the market?
  • Who are the key suppliers in the market?
  • What trends are affecting the industry?
  • What is the industry’s growth forecast over the next 5 – 10 years?
  • What is the relevant market size? That is, how big is the potential target market for your digital marketing agency? You can extrapolate such a figure by assessing the size of the market in the entire country and then applying that figure to your local population.

Customer Analysis

The customer analysis section of your digital marketing agency business plan must detail the customers you serve and/or expect to serve.

The following are examples of customer segments: large companies, small businesses, and nonprofits.

As you can imagine, the customer segment(s) you choose will have a great impact on the type of digital marketing agency you operate. Clearly, nonprofits would respond to different marketing promotions than large companies, for example.

Try to break out your target customers in terms of their demographic and psychographic profiles. With regards to demographics, including a discussion of the ages, genders, locations, and income levels of the potential customers you seek to serve.

Psychographic profiles explain the wants and needs of your target customers. The more you can recognize and define these needs, the better you will do in attracting and retaining your customers.

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Competitive Analysis

Your competitive analysis should identify the indirect and direct competitors your business faces and then focus on the latter.

Direct competitors are other digital marketing agencies.

Indirect competitors are other options that customers have to purchase from that aren’t directly competing with your product or service. This includes social media platforms, apps, and freelancers. You need to mention such competition as well.

For each such competitor, provide an overview of their business and document their strengths and weaknesses. Unless you once worked at your competitors’ businesses, it will be impossible to know everything about them. But you should be able to find out key things about them such as

  • What types of clients do they serve?
  • What type of digital marketing agency are they?
  • What is their pricing (premium, low, etc.)?
  • What are they good at?
  • What are their weaknesses?

With regards to the last two questions, think about your answers from the customers’ perspective. And don’t be afraid to ask your competitors’ customers what they like most and least about them.

The final part of your competitive analysis section is to document your areas of competitive advantage. For example:

  • Will you provide non digital marketing services?
  • Will you offer products or services that your competition doesn’t?
  • Will you provide better customer service?
  • Will you offer better pricing?

Think about ways you will outperform your competition and document them in this section of your plan.  

Marketing Plan

Traditionally, a marketing plan includes the four P’s: Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. For a digital marketing agency business plan, your marketing strategy should include the following:

Product : In the product section, you should reiterate the type o f digital marketing agency that you documented in your company overview. Then, detail the specific products or services you will be offering. For example, will you provide website design, SEO management, social media management, or public relations?

Price : Document the prices you will offer and how they compare to your competitors. Essentially in the product and price sub-sections of yo ur plan, yo u are presenting the products and/or services you offer and their prices.

Place : Place refers to the site of your digital marketing agency. Document where your agency is situated and mention how the site will impact your success. For example, is your digital marketing agency located in a busy retail district, a business district, a standalone office, or purely online? Discuss how your site might be the ideal location for your customers.

Promotions : The final part of your digital marketing agency marketing plan is where you will document how you will drive potential customers to your location(s). The following are some promotional methods you might consider:

  • Advertise in local papers, radio stations and/or magazines
  • Reach out to websites
  • Distribute flyers
  • Engage in email marketing
  • Advertise on social media platforms
  • Improve the SEO (search engine optimization) on your website for targeted keywords

Operations Plan

While the earlier sections of your business plan explained your goals, your operations plan describes how you will meet them. Your operations plan should have two distinct sections as follows.

Everyday short-term processes include all of the tasks involved in running your digital marketing agency business, including client communication, planning and scheduling advertisement campaigns, staff meetings, billing clients, etc.

Long-term goals are the milestones you hope to achieve. These could include the dates when you expect to book your Xth session, or when you hope to reach $X in revenue. It could also be when you expect to expand your digital marketing agency to a new city.  

Management Team

To demonstrate your digital marketing agency’s potential to succeed, a strong management team is essential. Highlight your key players’ backgrounds, emphasizing those skills and experiences that prove their ability to grow a company.

Ideally, you and/or your team members have direct experience in managing digital marketing agencies. If so, highlight this experience and expertise. But also highlight any experience that you think will help your business succeed.

If your team is lacking, consider assembling an advisory board. An advisory board would include 2 to 8 individuals who would act as mentors to your business. They would help answer questions and provide strategic guidance. If needed, look for advisory board members with experience in managing a digital marketing agency or successfully running an advertising and/or public relations agency.  

Financial Plan

Your financial plan should include your 5-year financial statement broken out both monthly or quarterly for the first year and then annually. Your financial statements include your income statement, balance s heet, and cash flow statements.

Income Statement

An income statement is more commonly called a Profit and Loss statement or P&L. It shows your revenue and then subtracts your costs to show whether you turned a profit or not.

In developing your income statement, you need to devise assumptions. For example, will you book 5 clients per day, and/or offer advertising packages that can be customized ? And will sales grow by 2% or 10% per year? As you can imagine, your choice of assumptions will greatly impact the financial forecasts for your business. As much as possible, conduct research to try to root your assumptions in reality.

Balance Sheets

Balance sheets show your assets and liabilities. While balance sheets can include much information, try to simplify them to the key items you need to know about. For instance, if you spend $50,000 on building out your digital marketing agency, this will not give you immediate profits. Rather it is an asset that will hopefully help you generate profits for years to come. Likewise, if a lender writes you a check for $50,000, you don’t need to pay it back immediately. Rather, that is a liability you will pay back over time.

Cash Flow Statement

Your cash flow statement will help determine how much money you need to start or grow your business, and ensure you never run out of money. What most entrepreneurs and business owners don’t realize is that you can turn a profit but run out of money and go bankrupt.

When creating your Income Statement and Balance Sheets be sure to include several of the key costs needed in starting or growing a digital marketing agency:

  • Cost of equipment and office supplies
  • Payroll or salaries paid to staff
  • Business insurance
  • Other start-up expenses (if you’re a new business) like legal expenses, permits, computer software, and equipment

Attach your full financial projections in the appendix of your plan along with any supporting documents that make your plan more compelling. For example, you might include your office location lease or a list of digital marketing services you plan to offer.  

Writing a business plan for your digital marketing agency is a worthwhile endeavor. If you follow the template above, by the time you are done, you will truly be an expert. You will understand the digital marketing industry, your competition, and your customers. You will develop a marketing strategy and will understand what it takes to launch and grow a successful digital marketing agency.  

Digital Marketing Agency Business Plan FAQs

What is the easiest way to complete my digital marketing agency business plan.

Growthink's Ultimate Digital Marketing Agency Business Plan Template allows you to quickly and easily write your digital marketing agency business plan.

How Do You Start a Digital Marketing Agency?

Starting a digital marketing agency is easy with these 14 steps:

  • Choose the Name for Your Digital Marketing Agency
  • Create Your Digital Marketing Agency Business Plan
  • Choose the Legal Structure for Your Digital Marketing Agency
  • Secure Startup Funding for Your Digital Marketing Agency (If Needed)
  • Secure a Location for Your Business
  • Register Your Digital Marketing Agency with the IRS
  • Open a Business Bank Account
  • Get a Business Credit Card
  • Get the Required Business Licenses and Permits
  • Get Business Insurance for Your Digital Marketing Agency
  • Buy or Lease the Right Digital Marketing Agency Equipment
  • Develop Your Digital Marketing Agency Marketing Materials
  • Purchase and Setup the Software Needed to Run Your Digital Marketing Agency
  • Open for Business

Where Can I Download a Digital Marketing Agency Business Plan PDF?

You can download our free digital marketing agency business plan template PDF here . This is a sample digital marketing agency business plan template you can use in PDF format.

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OR, Let Us Develop Your Plan For You

Since 1999, Growthink has developed business plans for thousands of companies who have gone on to achieve tremendous success.   Click here to see how Growthink’s business plan advisors can give you a winning business plan.

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Example of a Full Digital Marketing Plan and Budget

 Krista Moon  30 Comments


Most business and marketing leaders know they need to include digital marketing as part of their business growth plans: things like blogging, email marketing, social media, paid advertising, and website development. They’re often already doing bits and pieces of it, depending on the skills, resources, and budget they have available to get the work done. However, gaps in the strategy can cause a disjointed approach that detracts from the potential return on investment.

The most effective approach is consistent and holistic. Here is an example of an integrated digital marketing plan designed to consistently increase awareness, build a following, generate leads, and help salespeople meet their goals. I also included an example of how much it would cost and how to create a realistic budget for your organization. Check it out, and if you have feedback or want to share some of your digital marketing successes, please comment below.

“The future is not something we enter. The future is something we create.” ~ Leonard I. Sweet

The Goals Dictate the Plan

Digital marketing plans are based on each company’s unique goals and objectives. What you’re selling and who you’re selling to dictate the activities required to get good results. In the following digital marketing plan, the example company has three goals they want to accomplish:

  • Have More Sales Meetings: have more conversations with target buyers starting to look for a solution.
  • Create a larger sales pipeline: advance the sale by converting more conversations into sales opportunities.
  • And close more deals faster: help prospective customers overcome objections and make a buying decision.

Check out the Co-Marketing for Business Growth discussion with sales expert  Debbie Mrazek and growth expert Krista Moon. They talk about how it's one of  the strongest strategies to expand your reach, increase awareness, and generate  leads. Watch now!

Metrics and accountability standards for your goals are essential, so you have a clear vision of success. The success metrics for our example company are to:

  • Increase new sales conversations from 10 to 50 and new leads from 3 to 15.
  • Increase the sales pipeline from $5M to $10M
  • Increase new deals per month from 1 to 3 and shorten the sales cycle from 90 to 60 days

The company will use digital marketing tactics to accomplish its goals with a strong focus on digital content. The content will be dually used for marketing to increase awareness and engagement, and sales to build relationships and guide buyers’ decision-making process, resulting in net new customers.

Let’s jump into the plan details, including the associated budget and resources required to get the work done.

Here is a graphic representation of the plan. Right-click to save.


Requirements for Successful Implementation

A plan is only good as your ability to execute it. There are three requirements for successful implementation:

  • A strong foundation and tech stack : For example, you can’t do social media if you don’t have social media profiles, and you can’t send emails if you have a bad list. And there are thousands of marketing platforms and tools, so while choosing is challenging, it's critical to your success. Remember that the more technology you have the more expensive and complex your system, so try to consolidate it into the least number of tools possible . That's why HubSpot is a good choice because it has everything you need in one platform to get the work done efficiently and productively.
  • Skilled people : One person can’t do it all. It would be difficult - if not impossible - to find someone that excels in everything: data analysis, strategic planning, project management, content writing, SEO, graphic design, email marketing, database administration, sales, website design, development, and coding. Make sure you have knowledgeable, skilled people to fill those roles.
  • Money and Time : The plan requires technology, resources, and people to get the work done. Everything costs money and takes time - is it worth it? I won’t bore you with the ROI equation right now, but when it comes down to it, it’s mathematics. How much do you need to sell to make a profitable return on your investment?

Projected Marketing Budget

Speaking of money, you’re probably wondering how much the example plan costs. Most agencies charge between $125-$250 per hour. The projected budget to accomplish everything on the list would be $175K - $250K per year, including people, technology, and ad spend.

On average, companies spend between 7-11% of total company revenue on marketing. That means a company with about $1.6M annual revenue should be able to afford a comprehensive plan like this.

Cost Reduction Strategies


1. Do Less Marketing

If you’re a $500K company, your investment level might be more around $60K. But - there are ways to scale back if you’re a small business and can’t afford to do all that marketing. You can reduce the number of blogs, emails, social media posts, and content offers you’re putting out or otherwise do less marketing. You can still have the same agenda; it just might take longer to accomplish it.

2. Get Everyone Involved!

Or, you can hire a specialist to train your internal team on various activities and spread the workload across many people. Here are two of the best ways to reduce marketing costs and create a better customer experience at the same time, but it requires a culture shift:

  • Everybody blogs : Train as many people in your organization to blog as possible . That way, you write about the entire customer experience, become trusted industry thought leaders, and have a steady flow of articles from multiple points of view. Customers and prospects will know where to go when they have questions or need help. And the more people involved, the less each person has to do.
  • Everybody gets social : Create an organization-wide social media strategy. Clearly define roles, responsibilities, policies, and expectations. You know what they say: Many hands make light work.

The expectation is not that everyone will be an expert blogger or social media guru. You’ll still need a leader to oversee the strategy and operations, manage the projects, coach, teach, train, and maintain value and quality control. But if people within the organization can share their industry knowledge, expertise, and insights, it makes it easier and faster for marketers to keep pushing good content to your target audience.

Your digital presence is akin to your physical store. It’s a place where customers will “walk in” and learn about you and see what you have to offer. It’s the first place the majority of your customers will find you. And if you don’t have a physical store, it’s the ONLY place people will find you! That’s why it’s so important to invest in a digital presence that is easy to find, informative, useful, and simple to use.

That said, knowing how to invest your digital marketing dollars can be challenging. There are so many things you could do; it can be overwhelming. To create a realistic digital marketing plan and budget, take a step back to look at what you have done in the past, what’s working and not working, and look for opportunities for growth. Good data and analysis will help ensure you spend money in areas with the highest return on investment for your organization.

Business Growth Action Plan Objective data and analysis to help you quickly and  confidently create sales and marketing plans that drive the best results.  Request a Free Action Plan

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Digital Marketing Agency Business Plan

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Digital marketing is the need of the hour for every business around. Be it expanding the presence of your business or growing one from scratch, digital marketing can come in very handy.

And that’s when a digital marketing agency comes into the picture. As there are a variety of things a digital marketing agency can do, these agencies have a wide spectrum of opportunities too.

And if you are a creative individual who has good people skills and a good knowledge of social media, a digital marketing agency can become a profitable business for you.

All you need is a digital marketing agency business plan to help you get going.

Industry Overview

The global digital marketing industry stood at a whopping value of 49.43 billion US dollars in 2020, and with the rapid growth of social media and online business promotions, it wouldn’t slow down anytime soon.

The major reason for this growth is the rising use of social media and the internet to gain information about products and services as well as to buy the same.

Also, content consumption is increasing every day which contributes immensely to the growth of digital marketing.

Apart from all the above, as digital marketing is cheaper than traditional marketing methods its popularity is increasing, especially among small businesses.

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digital marketing business plans

Things to Consider Before Writing a Digital Marketing Agency Business Plan

Have a good team, build your online presence, pick your niche, build a system to help you keep up with the trends, chalking out your business plan.

With each passing day, the number of internet users is increasing. The world is changing much faster with the help of the internet, smartphones, smart televisions, and many other digital gadgets & technology.

Marketing is all about reaching out to your potential audience in all possible ways. Digital marketing is the best of them because people are spending most of their time on the internet.

Digital marketing includes Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Content Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Pay Per Click (PPC), Affiliate Marketing, Native Advertising, Email Marketing, Online PR, Sponsored content, Backlinks Generation, and many more services.

Before you start your digital marketing agency, it is important to have a clear business plan.

Writing Your Business Plan

If you are planning to start a new digital marketing business , the first thing you will need is a business plan. Use our sample Digital Marketing Business Plan created using upmetrics business plan software to start writing your business plan in no time.

Before you start writing your business plan for your new digital marketing agency, spend as much time as you can reading through some examples of  advertising and marketing-related business plans .

Reading sample business plans will give you a good idea of what you’re aiming for and also it will show you the different sections that different entrepreneurs include and the language they use to write about themselves and their business plans.

We have created this sample Digital Marketing Agency Business Plan for you to get a good idea about what a perfect digital marketing business plan should look like and what details you will need to include in your stunning business plan .

Digital Marketing Agency Business Plan Outline

This is the standard digital marketing agency business plan outline which will cover all the important sections that you should include in your business plan.

  • Introduction
  • Mission Statement
  • Vision Statement
  • Keys to Success
  • 3 Year profit forecast
  • Company Ownership
  • SWOT Analysis
  • Market Trends
  • Target Market
  • Competitive Advantage
  • Payment Options
  • Sales Forecast
  • Sales Yearly
  • Detailed Sales Forecast
  • Personnel Plan
  • Average Salaries
  • Important Assumptions
  • Brake-even Analysis
  • Profit Yearly
  • Gross Margin Yearly
  • Projected Cash Flow
  • Projected Balance Sheet
  • Business Ratios

The Quickest Way to turn a Business Idea into a Business Plan

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Download a sample digital marketing business plan

Need help writing your business plan from scratch? Here you go;  download our free digital marketing business plan pdf  to start.

It’s a modern business plan template specifically designed for your digital marketing business. Use the example business plan as a guide for writing your own.

After getting started with Upmetrics , you can copy this sample business plan into your business plan and modify the required information and download your digital marketing agency business plan pdf or doc file. It’s the fastest and easiest way to start writing your business plan.

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About the Author

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How to Write a Digital Marketing Agency Business Plan in 2023

When you try to find out a thing or two about writing a digital marketing agency business plan, you are bombarded by an endless barrage of more or less annoying acronyms such as SCOMS, SUCUTS, AMBERS or something along those lines -none of the aforementioned are actual business plan acronyms, at least to the author’s knowledge.

In other words, various business gurus are trying to sell you a prepackaged solution that is supposed to work for any company, no matter what it does or how it makes its money.

Like with all prepackaged solutions, the results are, at best, mediocre.

For a digital marketing agency , due to the exceptionally fluid and innovative niche, such an approach is almost guaranteed to fail. Instead, you have to dig in, brew yourself a gigantic pot of coffee, and really get down to it.

digital marketing business plans

Of course, since we are living in the year 2023, there will be some specific things to look out for, too.

1.Who Is It for?

Inexperienced business owners almost invariably ignore the basic and eternal truth of writing a digital marketing agency business plan: focusing on the audience. 

Internal Purposes

For example, you may be coming up with a business plan that will be used mostly for internal purposes. You will be laying out your goals and means to achieve those goals for your employees. You will let them know what is expected of them and what kind of performance will be considered satisfactory. It will also let them know how the company is doing and try to convince them to stay on board.

An internally-oriented business plan is also a great way to understand where you stand realistically , which is often a problem for digital marketing agencies.

 Investors and Partners

Another kind of digital marketing agency business plan is aimed at investors and partners. This kind of business plan is intended to reinforce their trust and belief in your digital marketing agency. It goes without saying that this kind of business plan will be finance-heavy, dealing with cold, hard numbers.

Potential Customers

Finally, your digital marketing agency business plan may be aimed at your existing and potential customers. It will be a borderline marketing tactic where you will point out all of the amazing things you are planning to accomplish and the tools that you intend to use. It can also be a great way to advertise the wide array of your services and introduce new ones.

For example, if you just started expanding and are now offering digital marketing strategy services , your customer-oriented business plan is the perfect “delivery mechanism” (to borrow from pharmaceutical terminology here) for this announcement.

It should be pointed out that your digital marketing agency business plan should also start introducing certain terms and concepts that will be more effective in the future, such as AI in digital marketing , natural language processing, data analytics, account-based marketing and so on.

There is nothing wrong with being ambitious in your digital marketing agency business plan, especially if it is aimed at investors and potential customers.


2.Know Your Market Very Well

A big part of knowing whether your agency will be successful is understanding your audience. Make sure your plan is clear about the definition of your target market—who will you be selling to and how many other agencies are already selling similar services?

Your ads won’t work if they don’t appeal to what your potential customers want or need. Research and find out as much as possible about the people you want to sell to.

Many business owners fall into the trap of believing that their products or services are “for everyone”— that is, anyone would be interested in or need the products. But even if you define your business as a full-service digital marketing agency that appeals to a broad market of diverse consumers, you need to identify who your ideal consumer is.

3.Numbers. Numbers. Numbers.

Whether you like figures or not, having a thorough understanding of the numbers that impact your business is a crucial component of an agency business plan. It does not matter who the audience for your former digital marketing business plan is, you will have to be excruciatingly precise with your numbers.

When you dig deep enough, a digital marketing agency business plan is never about the words. It is about the numbers.

  • How many clients do you have at the moment?
  • How many more do you plan on attracting?
  • What are you doing to keep your clients?
  • How much does your client retention cost?
  • How much are you paying your outside partners?
  • What kind of growth rate are you expecting?
  • How do you plan on selling your services?
  • How much will it cost to sell them?
  • Are you planning on taking out a new business loan?
  • What is your employee turnover rate?

All of this and much, much more has to be backed by numbers.

Simply put, without the numbers backing your claims, no one is going to believe you – not your employees, not your potential investors or partners, not your customers.

If you avoid numbers in your business plan , they will notice it and once they do, the first place they will go to is that you are trying to hide something.

One word of warning – this does not mean you should divulge absolutely everything about your finances. That being said, some transparency with your numbers can go a long way.

4.Focus on People

The people from the subheading above are your people, your employees.

The reason why they are making a feature in an article about a digital marketing agency business plan in 2023 is that 2023 will hopefully finally be the year when digital marketing agency owners and managers realize the value of the people in their employ.

The situation is such that employee loyalties are all but becoming a thing of the past and in an industry such as digital marketing, this is perhaps even more pronounced than in some other, “slower” industries.  In addition to this, people are finally talking about the debilitating costs of high employee turnover which occurs when companies do not value the people who work for them.

It is because of all of this that you need to feature your people heavily in your digital marketing company business plan. (Of course, this is especially true if your digital marketing agency business plan is of the internally-oriented kind.)

You should outline all the ways in which you plan on retaining your best people and help them do their jobs better and raise their job titles .

You should write down all of the investments you will make in them and in making your company a better place to work. You should flesh out a clear-cut and results-driven hiring policy, as well as an onboarding one.

Everyone who gets a hold of your plan needs to understand that you are a digital marketing agency that understands the realities of the evolving workplace and that values its employees above everything else.

5.Be Realistic and Honest

Business plans should avoid fluff, be realistic and honest. The biggest mistake entrepreneurs can make when writing a business plan is to be overly optimistic with sales and future cost estimates.

Make sure your business plan demonstrates the compelling reasons why customers need your agency’s services and how you will achieve competitive differentiation in the digital marketing industry. Make the financials realistic, and look at worse-case scenarios so you get a view of what could go wrong and what you would need to do to put things right.

Must-Haves of a Solid Digital Marketing Agency  Business Plan

Your business plan is more than just pages of objectives; it’s the embodiment of your vision and commitment to navigating the intricate world of digital marketing. So, this isn’t about just “making it” but about leading, innovating, and setting benchmarks.

If you’re unfamiliar with crafting a business plan or simply want to expedite the process when starting a digital marketing agency , consider leveraging artificial intelligence, editing the outputs and putting them into the final form. We offer prompts designed by ChatGPT-4 that can be utilized with GPT to maximize the advantages of AI in your planning.

1. A Comprehensive Market Analysis

Understanding the nuances of the digital marketing space is essential. Beyond just recognizing industry leaders or listing potential competitors, you should delve deep into identifying market gaps, emerging trends, and potential threats. 

Can you identify areas of innovation that haven’t been tapped into yet? What about shifts in consumer behavior due to technological advancements or global events? 

By providing detailed market analysis, you’re not only setting your agency up for a proactive approach but also showcasing to stakeholders that your strategies are rooted in research and foresight.

ChatGPT Prompt for Market Analysis:

“Provide a detailed market analysis for the digital marketing industry in 2023, focusing on emerging trends, potential threats, and untapped areas of innovation.”

digital marketing business plans

2. Leveraging AI for Strategic Planning

It’s 2023, and artificial intelligence isn’t just a buzzword—it’s an integral component of any forward-thinking strategy. When building your business plan, illustrate how AI will fit into your operations and service offerings. 

You can do this by showcasing how AI-driven insights can refine target audience segments, optimize ad spend, predict emerging consumer trends, or even enhance user experience on digital platforms. Think of AI as more than just a tool—it’s a collaborator that can significantly enhance your agency’s efficacy and efficiency.

ChatGPT Prompt for Strategic Planning:

“How can artificial intelligence be integrated into a digital marketing strategy in 2023? Provide insights on AI-driven tools and methodologies for audience targeting, ad optimization, and predicting consumer behavior.”

digital marketing business plans

3. Clearly Defined Business Goals and Objectives

Every successful journey begins with a clear destination in mind. Your business plan should resonate with this philosophy. Are you aiming to be a local leader or have aspirations to expand globally? Do you want to specialize in a niche or provide a comprehensive suite of digital marketing agency services ? 

Break down these goals into quantifiable metrics—whether it’s revenue milestones, client acquisition numbers, or expansion timelines. Then, layer this with actionable strategies, ensuring that your objectives aren’t just aspirational but also achievable.

ChatGPT Prompt for Business Goals and Objectives:

“List clear and quantifiable business goals for a digital marketing agency aiming to expand its operations in 2023. Break these down into short-term and long-term objectives, with strategies to achieve each. “

digital marketing business plans

4. Detailed Financial Projections and Budgeting

Transparency is key when it comes to finances. 

Your business plan should provide crystal-clear financial forecasts, including revenue predictions, operating costs, profit margins, and potential ROI. But remember, it’s not just about showcasing profits. 

Address potential financial risks and have contingency plans in place. You can also highlight planned investments, be it in technology, talent, or infrastructure. If you’re approaching stakeholders, they should be able to understand not just the ‘how much’ but also the ‘why’ behind each financial decision.

ChatGPT Prompt for Financial Projections:

“Draft a financial projection for a digital marketing agency in 2023, detailing expected revenue, operating costs, and potential ROI. Also, highlight potential financial risks and contingency plans.”

digital marketing business plans

5. A Strong Emphasis on Talent Acquisition and Retention

People make businesses, and in the realm of digital marketing, this statement holds even more weight. Your plan should detail how you’ll attract top-notch talent to drive your agency’s vision. 

Think recruitment drives, partnerships with top universities, or even apprenticeship programs. However, acquisition is just one side of the coin. Retention, often overlooked, can be your competitive advantage. 

Detail out plans for continuous training, mentorship programs, competitive benefits, and perhaps even a glimpse into the agency culture you aim to cultivate. Making it clear that employees aren’t just resources, but invaluable assets will set your agency apart.

ChatGPT Prompt for Talent Acquisition and Retention:

“Provide strategies for talent acquisition and retention for a digital marketing agency aiming to establish itself as an industry leader in 2023. Include methods for recruitment, training programs, and creating a nurturing agency culture.”

digital marketing business plans

Wrapping Up

If you are looking for a bulletproof, step-by-step business plan template for your digital marketing agency growth , we are sorry to disappoint. The reason why this article does not fit that description is that such a template does not exist.

We aimed to provide the most important things to keep in mind when coming up with a digital marketing agency business plan for 2023. 

The rest will be up to you.

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How to Write A Killer Digital Marketing Agency Business Plan

Short on time, let's get started, ready to accelerate your agency.

digital marketing business plans

Do you have a business plan for your digital marketing agency? If not, you’re missing out on a brilliant tool to help you structure growth and progress over time. 

Many people think of creating a business plan as being a tedious, time-consuming process. The truth is, it can take a couple of weeks or even months to perfect your plan. However, with the right knowledge in place, you can create a killer digital marketing business plan with relative ease.  

We’re here to share that knowledge with you and get you on the right track. 

In this guide, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about why business planning is so important, how to create your own digital marketing agency business plan, and how to implement it for ongoing success. 

What is a Business Plan?  

A business plan is a detailed document that creates a picture of your agency as it is today and details your growth plan over the next three or five years. Your business plan will structure and explain your key business goals and your strategies for how to reach them.  

Most plans include plenty of market research to support these strategies and provide proof that they will provide the results you want to see. 

Why Do You Need a Digital Marketing Business Plan?  

Your digital marketing business plan should include your key short-term and long-term goals and digital strategies. It should also cover an analysis of your competitor landscape, and other information like budgets, timelines, the channels you aim to target, and more. 

Your business plan will act like a roadmap that shows you exactly what you need to do to work towards your desired path. You probably already know where you want to get to, and your plan will supply you with a specific, logical route to take to get there. 

You’ll also need a complete business plan to secure funding and attract investors and stakeholders. Virtually all businesses use a business plan to obtain funding from investors. So, the clearer and more convincing your plan is, the more likely people will be to invest time and money into your venture.  

Of course, your plan should include a projected marketing budget that will show you exactly how much you need to spend to market your services effectively to the right audiences. If you can get your brand in front of your target market without breaking the bank, you’ll be in a great position to maintain profitability in the long run. 

Common Business Plan Structures  

A business plan usually contains a scope of between one and three years – and in some cases, up to five years. Most business plan structures include sections for sources of revenue, cost management strategies, new service development strategies, marketing budgets, and projected profitability figures.  

They also include existing financial performance reviews, objectives, and strategies to achieve them, and your value proposition. Along with sales and marketing tactics, operational strategies, financial forecasts, hiring and staffing strategies, and any foreseen potential challenges. 

The purpose of a good plan is to align your goal opportunities with strategic activity, resources, and effort to achieve your desired growth. Luckily, there are plenty of templates available online that break down your digital marketing business plan into simple, easy-to-understand categories. This helps to ensure that you include all the information you need without leaving anything crucial out. 

How Do I Develop My Digital Marketing Strategy?  

There are five key stages to developing your agency’s digital marketing strategy .  

Step 1: Planning  

Every solid digital marketing strategy needs a plan. We highly recommend using data to assess the efficacy of your current marketing practices and develop tactics to improve them.  

You can craft a plan using KPI dashboards, customised analytics, and SMART goals to craft a step-by-step improvement strategy for your digital marketing, lead generation, and sales approaches. 

Step 2: Reaching out to leads  

Once you have a plan in place, it’s time to enhance your marketing funnel by reaching out to as many leads as possible and building awareness of your agency. Use the latest, most effective online marketing approaches like paid advertising and SEO to drive traffic to your site. 

Step 3: Take action  

By this, we mean interacting meaningfully with your target audience through your website and social channels to generate as many quality leads as possible. Once you’ve reached your audience, take action to guide them through your marketing funnel towards making a purchase.  

Content marketing is especially effective in this regard. It helps to entertain, educate, and engage potential leads, helping to persuade them to become customers. 

Step 4: Convert your leads  

Strategies like nurturing leads, optimising your conversion rates, and retargeting past customers are all excellent ways to convince your leads to become loyal customers.  

You should consider using website personalisation and social commerce to your advantage. Data shows that 87% of eCommerce shoppers use social media to help them make purchase decisions! 

Step 5: Engage your customers  

Now that you’ve successfully transformed leads into customers, there are many ways to increase sales from them by keeping them engaged in the long term. Use tools like personalised website, email, and social media communications using customer data to create customised marketing campaigns.  

You can obtain this data using A/B testing, customer personas and content mapping, customer feedback, website surveys, and more. Predictive analytics tools are also great for finding out the best times to engage with your customers and follow up with them. 

How Do I Create My Business Plan?  

As we mentioned earlier, we’re big fans of using business plan templates to structure digital marketing efforts and strategies. Using a template is the best way to ensure that you include every piece of information you need to secure funding from investors and drive your agency forward. 

Your plan should include: 

  • An executive summary 
  • Company overview 
  • Industry analysis 
  • Customer and competitive analyses 
  • Marketing and operations plans 
  • Management team structures 
  • Financial plans 
  • Balance sheets and a cash flow statement 
  • An appendix and summary 

How Do I Successfully Implement My Business Plan?  

Once you have your business plan in hand, it’s time to gather your team and inform them of the details. Additionally, you can share any metrics (like sales or conversions) that need to be prioritised. Establish timelines and milestones for reaching these goals.  

Delegate tasks and responsibilities to the right team members and create systems that will allow you to measure your results and progress. Remember to schedule regular business plan review sessions as well. This is a working document that will need to be updated frequently as your goals and the greater market shift. 

A Plan For Progress   

Every agency needs a strong digital marketing business plan to structure and guide its progress towards its greater goals. Use our tips to create a complete, comprehensive plan that will secure your success. 

  • 📈 Identify your target audience, market, and competition to understand the landscape of your industry.
  • 📊 Set measurable goals and KPIs to track your progress and evaluate the success of your digital marketing plan.
  • 💻 Develop a comprehensive digital marketing strategy that includes tactics such as SEO, PPC, content marketing, social media, and email marketing.
  • 👨‍💼 Assign responsibilities and establish a timeline for each step of your digital marketing plan to ensure accountability and efficiency.
  • 📱 Use digital tools and platforms to automate and streamline your marketing efforts, such as Google Analytics, HubSpot, and Hootsuite.
  • 👍 Continuously evaluate and adjust your digital marketing plan based on data analysis and customer feedback to optimize your results.

digital marketing plan

Create a Digital Marketing Plan: 9 Step Strategic Guide

Nov 27, 2020 | Read time: 11 min.

Patrick Lane , Sr. Marketing Manager

  • A digital marketing plan helps you determine the most effective strategies for your business and then put those strategies into action.
  • Without a well-defined digital marketing plan in place, you’ll likely end up wasting money and not making the impact you want.
  • A digital marketing plan can include business and marketing goals, strategies you’ll use to meet those goals, timelines, digital channels, and more.

Contents Jump to

Digital marketing has become exponentially more complicated since the early days of the internet. Back then, businesses rarely created a digital marketing plan. And those that did, focused mostly on websites, banner ads, and email marketing.

Now, you have dozens of digital marketing channels and platforms to choose from. Should you focus on SEO or PPC ? Blogging or webinars? Social media or email? Podcasts or video marketing? Augmented reality (AR) or virtual reality (VR)? How much should you spend and when can you expect to see results?

Trying to choose the best options for your brand can feel daunting, overwhelming even.

What you need is a digital marketing plan.

A clear plan helps you determine the most effective strategies for your business and then put those strategies into action. A digital marketing plan helps you organize your initiatives so that you’re continually connecting with your audience, engaging them, and driving them to action. With a digital marketing business plan, you think ahead, coordinate among departments, and integrate your digital marketing for greater impact.

Read on, and learn nine steps to structure a digital marketing plan.

What is a digital marketing plan?

MARKETING TERM DEFINITION Digital Marketing Plan A digital marketing plan is a document in which you strategically map out your digital marketing objectives, as well the actions you’ll take to achieve those objectives.

Among other things, it can include business goals, digital strategies, and competitive landscape analysis as well as timelines, budgets, digital channels, and more.

Think of a digital marketing plan like a roadmap of sorts. You know where you want to go, and the plan provides you with a specific route to follow. 

Without a well-defined plan in place, your digital marketing efforts will be inefficient and ineffective. You’ll likely waste money and see diminished returns.

Digital Marketing Plan Template

Create a winning digital strategy that connects with the right consumers at the right time.

How to create a digital marketing plan

Now, let’s talk about the various digital marketing plan components as well as the specific steps to follow as you develop your strategy.

1. Define your digital marketing goals and business objectives

Clear, measurable, and attainable digital marketing plan objectives help you define exactly what you want to achieve and measure. Be clear and concise when you set these goals. You should also include specific numbers and timeframes to benchmark your progress.

For example, avoid goals that state you will update your lead generation system , boost conversion rates, or improve digital customer experience . Those are a bit too vague. You can’t measure your results and it’s not apparent what steps you should take to reach that goal.

Instead, a much better goal is to double organic search traffic in the next 12 months. This provides you with a deadline, a framework for setting milestone goals, and specific actions to take (optimize your site, create amazing content, and conduct strategic outreach for SEO, etc.).

“ SMART goals are: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. TERAKEET

2. Define audience segmentation and buyer personas

A key reason why digital marketing is important is because it allows you to target your audience with great precision.

For any digital marketing campaign to be successful, you need to know who you’re targeting. Segmenting your audience and then building buyer personas for each of those segments can provide you with insights about what types of marketing will be most effective. 

For example, say you sell IT services. Part of your audience might be small businesses with less than $500,000 in revenue. You might also sell to large corporations with significant IT needs. Your buyer personas and marketing strategies for each of these segments will look very different. Messaging that resonates with a small business owner probably won’t resonate with the head of a large IT department, and vice versa.

Start by defining the different segments in your target audience. From there, begin building out the personas of your ideal customer within each segment. Here are 9 great examples of personas to get started.

Your buyer persona information will vary depending on whether you’re B2B or B2C and the price of your product/service. Some demographic and additional information you may want to include is:

  • Social media platforms
  • Pain points
  • Products/features desired

Your goal in creating personas is to get inside the minds of your target customers and to see things from their perspectives. When you understand what matters most to them, you can make a digital marketing plan that speaks to their deep desires and big challenges. 

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3. Conduct a competitive analysis and determine market share

If you want your marketing efforts to be effective, you need to know who you’re up against. A competitive analysis allows you to identify your competitors, calculate your market share , and determine the marketing strategies they employ.

When doing your competitive analysis, consider the following types of things:

  • Which audience segments are they targeting?
  • What digital marketing channels are your competitors using? 
  • Where are they strongest?
  • Where are they weakest?
  • What portion of their traffic is earned/owned/paid?
  • What’s their positioning in the market?
  • What’s their claimed differentiation?
  • What type of messaging and specific language do they use?
  • What is their tonality and brand personality?

A thorough competitive landscape analysis will give you insights into how you can use online marketing to surpass your competitors. For example, you may realize that your competitors’ positioning and differentiation are well known, so you’ll benefit from crystalizing your own in contrast. Or, you may discover they’re strong in social media marketing but weak when it comes to search engine optimization (SEO) performance.

4. Conduct a SWOT analysis

SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) is the counterpart to a competitive landscape analysis. It offers a framework to analyze your business against other forces in your market. Use this process to identify what’s working, spot potential organic growth opportunities , and prepare for external threats.

Start by analyzing the strengths of your company. What are your primary advantages over your competition? Which things do you do particularly well? What unique resources do you have at your disposal?

Next, look at your weaknesses. What elements of your business aren’t working particularly well? What things keep you from making sales? Where do you fall short of your competitors?

The third step is to look closely at the opportunities available to your company. Are there any market trends you can take advantage of? Can you utilize new technology that your competitors can’t? Is there an under-served segment in your audience? 

Finally, identify any potential threats to your business. Could a competitor steal market share? Are there any obstacles blocking business growth ? Are there potential financial issues on the horizon? 

The data from your SWOT analysis will help you develop your digital marketing plan. Your plan should cater to your strengths, mitigate your weaknesses, move toward opportunities, and proactively avoid potential threats. All in the name of helping you to increase sales.

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5. Calculate your digital marketing plan budget

The next step in creating the best digital marketing plan for your brand is to calculate your budget. The budget will define how much you have available to spend on digital marketing activities, as well as guide you toward specific channels, strategies, and tactics.

The amount you budget for digital marketing will vary based on a number of factors, including:

  • Position within the industry
  • Previous results
  • Profitability of a strategy, tactic, or campaign

How much will you allocate to brand awareness campaigns ? What about to specific campaigns and offers? Are you going to allocate a certain amount of digital marketing budget for customer retention? Do you know how much to spend on SEO?

It’s important to establish your budget upfront. However, remain flexible so you can capitalize on opportunities for greater SEO ROI . If you notice that a certain campaign just isn’t generating positive ROI, then you may be better off eliminating that spend. Similarly, if you see that a certain campaign (or channel) is producing outsized results, consider shifting the budget and allocate additional dollars towards what’s working well. If you have a specific return-on-spend in mind that’s highly profitable, then keep increasing the budget as long as you’re keeping your acquisition costs under the target.

In this way, your budget can be a dynamic, evolving support mechanism of your digital marketing initiatives.

6. Define your digital marketing channels

Before you develop a content strategy , you’ll need to define the primary digital marketing channels you’ll be using. Your choice of channels needs to take into account your audience, goals, and budget.

For example, say your goal is to drive 30% more targeted traffic to your website. One way to do that is through PPC ads, which can give you an immediate boost. However, Google Adwords can also be expensive.

To improve ROI, turn to more cost-effective channels, like SEO and content marketing. These channels take longer to produce results but also deliver a far lower acquisition cost, giving you more bang for your buck. Plus, SEO and content marketing results compound over time, setting you up for longer-term sustainable success.

When defining your digital channels, consider where your audience spends most of their time. If you’re in a B2B industry, you may want to focus on channels like LinkedIn or webinars. If your audience is younger, you may want to consider influencer marketing on Instagram. Focus on how you can deliver value to your audience within the channels they favor most.

And don’t assume your audience doesn’t care about great content. Some of the best content marketing examples come from a broad range of companies with completely different customers.

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Owned Asset Optimization (OAO) | The Foundational Guide

7. develop your digital marketing strategies and tactics.

After defining your channels, you need to develop the digital marketing tactics and strategies you’ll use within those channels.

For example, if you’re going to focus on search engine optimization, you need to determine the keywords you’re going to target and how you’re going to target them. You may decide to create a comprehensive content hub , online courses, SEO topic clusters , or a series of online tools. Or you may decide to provide more detailed, superior how-to information, or to deliver insights on upcoming trends, or to deliver content featuring celebrities.

If you’re focused on b2b lead generation , you may want to create case studies that showcase your results. As you think through your digital marketing plan look for ways to differentiate yourself from the competition. For instance:

  • Dollar Shave Club caught people’s attention by being funny and irreverent in a traditionally boring industry. 
  • Tableau offered a free online tool and garnered backlinks from more than 56,000 websites.
  • LEGO created an online, interactive community with more than 300,000 in monthly organic traffic.

The more crowded the market space, the harder you’ll need to work to capture attention and achieve true optimization across your digital marketing portfolio. No matter what, when you build your digital marketing strategy , be true to your brand.

8. Create a marketing calendar

A marketing calendar allows you to map out exactly when you’ll implement your digital marketing campaigns and initiatives. It also creates accountability, ensuring that you hit deadlines and effectively execute the plan throughout the year. A calendar also helps ensure that you are consistently reaching each of your various audience segments throughout the year.

Try to map out 12 months in advance, and break down your calendar into each month of the year. This will provide you with an overall framework, along with sufficient time to prepare and execute on each delivery. For example:

  • In January you’ll release a training webinar. Before you can release it, you need to create a slide deck, build a landing page, design social media graphics, etc.
  • Throughout January and February, you’ll promote the training webinar across multiple channels, including social media, email, video, and PR. 
  • In March, you’re going to start a blog that will be updated weekly. To make this happen, you need to decide on topics, assign them to writers, coordinate with a designer, create a blog calendar, organize videos to be embedded, etc.

Be realistic when creating your editorial calendar . Give yourself sufficient time to get everything done in a quality manner, and make sure that each deliverable is clearly assigned to a specific individual.

coschedule content calendar

Popular marketing scheduling tools include CoSchedule , Contently , and Trello .

9. Measure the results and KPIs of your digital marketing plan

The final step in creating a digital marketing plan and strategy is to measure your results through the definition of metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs). You need to compare the outcomes of your marketing efforts to the baseline as well as original goals. If the results are underwhelming, adjust and optimize, and then measure again.

Be sure to measure each channel so that you, as a marketer, can identify what’s working most successfully for your brand, and what may need to be cut.

klipfolio screenshot

Keep your entire marketing team informed through dashboards. Popular marketing dashboard tools  include includes Klipfolio , TapClicks , Grow , and Domo .

Great digital marketing plans encourage integration

The process of developing a digital marketing plan encourages marketing integration which fuels greater business impact. Customers can’t ignore your brand when you consistently engulf them in your messaging, offers, and calls to action. As a result, you will achieve more, with less, by efficiently and intelligently repurposing and atomizing your marketing assets.

Whether your company is an established ecommerce brand or a brick-and-mortar juggernaut, you need to have a digital marketing plan. Although it takes time, effort, and coordination, it’s worth the work. Your marketing will be much more effective, and you’ll achieve greater marketing results for the business.

A digital marketing plan is like a blueprint. It should cover the steps and tactics to achieve the broader outcomes defined by your strategy. Your plan should cover all of the digital channels you use, including social media, email, advertising, public relations, and your website.

1. Set goals 2. Define your audience 3. Conduct a competitive analysis 4. Conduct a SWOT analysis 5. Determine your budget 6. Identify your channels 7. Develop specific tactics 8. Create a calendar 9. Measure results

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Digital Marketing Agency Business Plan Template [Updated 2023]


Digital Marketing Agency Business Plan Template

If you want to start a new Digital Marketing Agency or expand your current Digital Marketing Agency, you need a business plan.

You can download our Digital Marketing Agency Business Plan Template (including a full, customizable financial model) to your computer here.

The following business plan template gives you the key elements to include in a winning plan for your own digital marketing company. This digital marketing business plan can be used for a full-service digital marketing agency, social media marketing agency, email marketing agency, creative agency, or another type of agency that provides marketing and/or advertising services. In addition to this template, conducting market research for your target market will help you identify potential market trends and customer segments to better understand the viability of your digital marketing agency.

Sample Business Plan For a Digital Marketing Agency

Below are links to the key sections of a successful Digital Marketing Agency business plan. You can also click here to get our sample digital marketing agency business plan pdf .

I. Executive Summary II. Company Overview III. Industry Analysis IV. Customer Analysis V. Competitive Analysis VI. Marketing Plan VII. Operations Plan VIII. Management Team IX. Financial Plan

Download the Digital Marketing Agency Business Plan Template (including a full, customizable financial model) to your computer here.

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Digital Marketing Agency Business Plan Home I. Executive Summary II. Company Overview III. Industry Analysis IV. Customer Analysis V. Competitive Analysis VI. Marketing Plan VII. Operations Plan VIII. Management Team IX. Financial Plan

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A Step-By-Step Guide to Structuring a Digital Marketing Plan

Steps to make a digital marketing plan  2021

Putting a digital marketing plan into motion without a previously-devised plan or strategy could lead to failure if you don’t consider all the aspects that could impact its development. And when talking about digital marketing, it’s important to do it right, given that it can make a difference in a business: companies with a blog generate 67% more leads than those without a blog, to give just one example. Between the 5,000 ads that the average person sees every day, it’s imperative to work every part of your strategy so that your plan stands out and reaches your target audience.

Digital communication channels have gained a certain importance in the success of a project. According to Forbes’ 2020 data, 55% of the world’s population has Internet access: it’s a market with more than 4.2 billion users. And the trend is favoring shopping from a cell phone: 51% of digital commerce is through mobile devices. We can’t stay out of this market and we have to ensure that our content is mobile-friendly. 

Deciding on a specific target audience ( buyer persona ), some business goals, and an adequate value proposition are some of the aspects that have to be developed when it comes to structuring a marketing plan.

What is a digital marketing plan?

In the document where we outline our marketing plan , these items can’t be forgotten. They help us articulate our campaigns and plan them: 

Short, medium, and long term business goals.

The strategies to achieve the goals at the digital level.

The channels to use.

Action and development plans .

Investment and budget. 

The timing and roadmap.

According to Philip Kotler , considered one of the fathers of modern marketing, a traditional marketing plan serves: “to document how the organization’s strategic objectives will be achieved through specific marketing strategies and tactics, with the customer as the starting point. It is also linked to the plans of other departments within the organization.” We should keep this statement on hand so we don’t lose focus. 

With this in mind, does your company need a digital marketing strategy ? In the majority of cases, the answer is a resounding yes: 100% yes. You need it to:

Attract, convince, convert, and make your customers fall in love with your product or service.  

Plan all the strategies and actions to reach your target customer.

Segment your marketing campaigns to provide value in every stage.

Before developing the steps that define a digital marketing plan’s structure , you need to feel comfortable with your company’s online domain, your target audience, the channels where you should be present, and who your competition is and what they do.

Next, we’ll give you a breakdown of the step-by-step structure for your digital marketing plan:

Structure of a 2021 Digital Marketing Plan

Digital marketing SWOT analysis

Step 1: Situational analysis

The first thing you need to do when developing your digital marketing plan is to carry out an internal and external analysis (SWOT analysis) of the company. A useful framework for this is the SWOT analysis that allows you to look at the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats for your company and the market at large.

We need to be familiar with the ecosystem in which we operate , what our customers' needs are, and where they are addressed. This analysis is equally qualitative as it is quantitative as it looks at factors such as digital habits, intermediaries, influencers , and more.

Implementing benchmarking techniques is a very common practice in companies to identify the best practices and success stories and extract an example for your digital marketing plan.

Digital marketing plan with the SMART goals 2021

Step 2: Establish Digital Marketing Goals

Once you have your place in the market and your strong points in mind, work on establishing some goals to create a clear idea of where your actions should take you . Everything you plan has to work towards meeting those goals.

You can work on developing this part of your digital marketing plan with the SMART goals framework in mind: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely goals.

Here’s an example:

Not a SMART objective: “I want to increase the number of visits to my website.”  

SMART objective: “I want to reach 20,000 visits a month on my website every month within three months. To do so, I’m going to do X, Y, and Z.”  

Step 3: Define the Marketing Strategy

Once you’ve defined your business objectives, what are you going to do to achieve them? Personalization is becoming increasingly important in digital marketing. Therefore, when it comes to defining your strategy for carrying out your plan, keep these factors in mind:

Segmenting your target audience: Know who you want to address, what their tastes, needs, or preferences are, where are you looking to meet their expectations, etc. This is the time to create your buyer persona.

Positioning: To achieve proper positioning, it's crucial that you are very clear (and reach your audience in the same way) about what your value proposition is and what it entails. It’s also necessary to know how to transmit this proposition perfectly through digital channels. Why should the consumer choose you and not the competition? Figure out the channels where your audience is present (social media, blogs, email, etc.). In addition to social media, use the “About Us” page to communicate your proposition. 

Content strategy: This is important for creating, distributing, and managing original content that attracts users and positions the brand as referential in the user’s mind. Besides, you also have to map out a specific communication plan ( content marketing ) for every channel. The content strategy cannot be separate from the Buyer Persona; they are intimately connected. Closely analyze your BP: what kinds of content they consume, in what format, what are their reference measures or the people and groups that they follow. The more information you extract from their profile, the closer you will be to producing the right kind of content. 

With respect to content strategies , some tools used to execute this strategy are: 

Keyword research: This involves identifying appropriate keywords for us to use correctly in our content to organically improve our SEO positioning. This is imperative for every content strategy if you want users to find you on search engines.

Content calendar: A content calendar is key for ensuring your strategy makes sense. It provides value and it lets you think long-term and optimize your resources, help create ideas, and more. In a content calendar, you should include the date of publication, author, post topic, keyword, the tags to use/take into consideration, and so on.

Social posting: Writing an article and not promoting it on social media is a mistake. Posting on social media isn’t spamming, but instead planning out what you are going to publish and when on every social media platform with the copies best suited for each one, all while having the ideal number of characters, links, hashtags, and more. It’s important to include the team itself in the diffusion of content, and we can suggest to employees that they share articles, interesting links, etc. on their professional sites (LinkedIn). The company page can even send a notification to employees when new content is published.

Step 4: Digital Strategies and Tactics

Based on our objectives (attraction, conversion, and loyalty), we’ll start to carry out different strategies: email marketing campaigns, social media, CRM , web optimization, SEO strategies, paid media advertising, etc. The value formats for acquisition are very varied; you can do webinars, encourage ebook downloads, create infographics or any kind of dossier, and also offer discounts, promotions, and offers. 

Today, considering that the number of channels to manage is multiplying and the amount of information we get about our customers is increasing, it’s critical we use Marketing Automation tools that let us automate our marketing campaigns.  

Thanks to these tactics, you'll be able to create workflows that allow you to create hundreds of campaigns with mere clicks. You’ll be able to personalize messages based on your buyer persona, increasing your chances for success. Not only that, but you’ll also be able to convert them into clients , depending on their interactions with the brand.

How to optimize your digital marketing workflow 

Technology has turned into a fundamental tool for implementing digital strategies, making it critical for you to learn how to get the most out of it.

Step 5: Measuring Results & KPIs

The work doesn’t stop after you’ve designed and implemented your digital marketing strategy. The next step is one of the most important: analyzing the results . Analytics has turned into a critical pillar for successfully optimizing digital marketing performance and spending.

We have to measure every action using KPIs to figure out if we earned the expected ROI . Measuring the effectiveness of the strategies and activities we have implemented in our digital marketing strategy will help us correct what doesn’t work to achieve the goals we set.

Having tools that allow us to carry out this analysis is crucial. Salesforce , for example, allows us to completely measure all the actions that are carried out and see how the user reacts and behaves on each step of the journey. Therefore, in addition to extracting valuable information, we also use the Al that Salesforce provides to improve the user experience and offer each lead the content they are looking for at the right time. 

Make sure you have an effective, real-time data visualization system. The digital world evolves rapidly, so you need to be on the lookout at all times to identify opportunities and room for improvement in an instant. Data value is very important, because without it we are blind and it’s impossible to make logical decisions. We insist on the need to use tools that compile, process, and extract value from the data: Mulesoft is an integration software used to connect systems with each other and ensure the exchange and use of as much data as possible. Together with the Salesforce ecosystem, it can be very helpful for you. 

Keep these steps in mind when creating your digital marketing plan and don’t leave anything to chance; it’s your greatest enemy if you’re looking to position yourself and boost your presence in the digital space.

Likewise, keep in mind that technology can turn into your greatest ally when creating personalized, automated, and ultimately successful marketing campaigns. As the task gets complicated, the new tools out there let you simplify your work and boost your performance.

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Companies and nonprofits of all sizes need advertising, marketing, and consultative services more than ever due to the fast-changing nature of online business. If you have the expertise and a solid understanding of the industries you're going to target, a well-built business plan will allow you to really hone in on your opportunity.

See how other pros have crafted their marketing, advertising, and consultant business plans with our vast library of sample plans.

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