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February 4, 2015
04 Feb 2015

Get More Customers by Following a Digital Marketing Plan

The Complete Beginner’s Guide to Creating Your Own Digital Marketing Plan

Many businesses start with their digital marketing but lose track in the process of everything else that they do.

Some start with a lot of momentum at the beginning of the year, only to fizzle out after the first quarter.

To those that are reading this, it’s still early in the year, but you might have already drowned with all the work assigned to you and forgotten about marketing altogether.

As you can see, it’s easy to get lost.

Don’t worry. It’s not just you.

A lot of the companies start running out of the gates like it’s a sprint. The same goes to bootstrappers that run their own campaigns. Red hot, full of momentum and enthusiasm.

Then POOF! Everything stops.

They got too busy doing their own things and their digital marketing work had to take a back seat.

Many of the businesses and managers that we now advise or work with went through the same problems.

It’s a fairly common thing, which is why the online market is still pretty much wide open. Many businesses (start-ups and old businesses alike) are still hesitant to invest money and time for it but some are beginning to do so and are already reaping the rewards. Long term, they have the advantage because they moved first.

Don’t you think you should, too?

If you do, then it’s time for you to get your feet wet and not make the same mistakes they did.

If you are new to digital marketing, you might want to check out our crash course on Digital Marketing, an eBook which you can get for free by signing up here. We’ll also send you regular tips on SEO and the other facets of digital marketing.

 

 

Crafting Your Own Digital Marketing Plan

online digital marketing categories parts of

Every one of these is vital for great online marketing.

Digital Marketing covers a wide scope. You’ll get lost in all the lingo if you dove in now.

So let’s just focus on the Internet marketing side for now… but you will still be able to add in other digital marketing strategies, such as SMS marketing at the end.

For this online digital marketing plan, there are 5 main categories:

  1. Search Engine Optimization
  2. Pay Per Click Marketing
  3. Social Media Marketing
  4. Email Marketing
  5. Conversion Rate Optimization

Each of them will have “Sub-Categories” and each Sub-Category will be broken down into Tasks. Tasks can have multiple sub-tasks that you will need to identify and streamline to fit your own process and level of knowledge.

Note: I will not be going through a step by step on how you can do each task. That will be over 15,000 words per main category and it will just bore the heck out of you. Instead, I will link to the best people you can learn from so you can take your time to learn each one.

Search Engine Optimization Plan

Build a Good Foundation. Begin with SEO in Mind.

Here at LeapFroggr, we focus on SEO a lot for most of our digital marketing campaigns. The reasoning is that we want to use other Internet marketing strategies to complement the SEO processes that we do.

By doing so, we maximize the long-term free traffic from search engines like Google and Bing, convert them to leads/sales better, while getting more data to further improve our other marketing campaigns.

At the end of the day, we want the brand’s website to be visible, trusted and be remembered.

You should treat SEO as the foundation of your brand’s online marketing campaign and much like with buildings & organizations, if the foundation is great, then it will practically last you a lifetime.

If you are new to SEO, then here’s a quick read.

 

On-Page SEO

On-page SEO parts tasks online digital marketing

There are plenty of ways to make money online without having a website.  But for brands and companies, having a website and building that up is usually the best option.

This is the first (major) sub-category under SEO and it’s something you should not neglect.

A lot of people just throw up websites and leave it alone.

They will think there are no customers online because they don’t get any sales. They think the Internet sucks for business. They give up and spread the word about how putting up a website is a waste of time and money.

Sound familiar? Are you going through this phase now?

If they thought about it a little bit harder, then they’d realize that most people look for things using a search engine like Google. That’s probably how they found information, too.

If they dug a little bit more, they’d learn that they can use this thing called SEO to get traffic and eventually, sales.

If they did good on-page SEO right from the start for their website, they eventually would’ve gotten traffic, leads and sales even after leaving it alone.

That’s how important on-page SEO is today. Great on-page SEO is already half the battle.

So, let’s break this sub-category down to smaller tasks.

Off-Page SEO

Tasks off-page SEO online digital marketing

If you’ve stumbled upon SEO, then the first thing you usually hear about is “links” and that you need to build links to point to your website.

More often than not, newbies take that the wrong way. They proceed to create thousands of artificial links, hire bad SEO specialists or outsource to cheap SEO contractors and flat out get penalized.

Off-Page SEO is the next sub-category under SEO that you need to plan out. It’s definitely harder than on-page SEO but the rewards are gratifying.

Other SEO-related Tasks

Besides the 2 above, there are still other minor tasks that you need to plan and execute. I will be including just some of them here but I’ll try to update this part with new tasks when I can.

Pay Per Click Marketing (AdWords) Plan

Get in front of your audience. Run tests, adapt and #win faster.

PPC MArketing how to guide online digital marketing

PPC includes a lot of tests and research. Professionals will meticulously crunch the numbers, observe results and apply tweaks.

I will not be talking about goals, best practices and improving quality score. I will also not be talking about shopping ads as that’s a totally different beast.

Instead, I will just list the basic tasks that you will be handling when you are planning out your PPC campaigns.

Social Media Marketing Plan

Build social proof, trust and raving fans.

Social Media Digital Marketing Online Plan

Social media is huge but depending on the type of business you have, you might want to leave this last if you had to choose between this and SEO.

It can be a real rewarding process if given time or it can be an epic failure if handled wrongly.

Either way, you’ll get eyeballs to see your brand and people can send you feedback or engage with you using social media. Businesses back then would have given an arm and 2 legs to have that feedback system.

Note: I will be assuming that you already created your official social properties here. If you haven’t, then add an extra step here to your plan.

 

Email Marketing

Retain your customers and keep in-touch with them.

how to Email marketing digital online SEO

Email marketing is still the KING when it comes to promoting & keeping in-touch with your client-base.

Even today, with all the social media networks that people use and waste their time on, email is still the dominant way of communication and that’s a fact.

If you are familiar with the term or the book, Permission Marketing, then there’s nothing that embodies permission marketing today more than email marketing.

I’m not knocking the effectiveness of social media because it is pretty darn powerful, we all know that, but in terms of reaching customers directly and efficiently, email is worlds better and THAT is why you need to build that email list.

Note: I’ll leave the part of signing up and setting up an autoresponder service to you.

Conversion Rate Optimization

What good is traffic if it doesn’t convert?

Conversion rate optimization or CRO, is basically about maximizing the potential that each visitor brings to your website.

What I mean by conversion is that it can be about a signup to your email newsletter, it can be a contact form completion to become a lead for your service, it can be a purchase of your product, it can be a completed survey. It can be anything you want the visitor to take action on when they land on your site.

If you optimize for conversions, even small traffic can be better than a site with a tidal wave of traffic because at the end of the day, it’s all about how you converted those eyeballs.

Putting It All Together

Put them together and what do you get?

If you’ve subscribed to our email list, then you know what project management tool we use and always recommend.

If you have an internal project management system, you can apply it to that and have your team members help you. If you are going it alone, then you might want to insert it to your To-Do list app or however it is that you plan your projects.

Now that you have a plan with a list of tasks broken down to that point that you can do each one by one, we recommend using a productivity strategy that fits you, such as the GTD (Get Things Done #GTD) process, so you can focus on the tasks that you NEED to do.

All major categories can be started simultaneously but if you are just starting, then doing each major category one at a time is the best choice so you don’t get overwhelmed.

Start with SEO, work on your On-Page SEO and then execute your Off-Page SEO plan. Allow yourself at least 6 months to see considerable results so you’d have a mindset to keep on going.

Remember, a lot of your competitors won’t see results and stop within weeks or a couple months. You know better and that’s why you’ll succeed.

As you can see, having a plan gives totally different tasks a single purpose. This will focus all your efforts into building your visibility online and keep you on track. No wasted movements, no feeling of guilt because you didn’t do enough.

For many, SEO alone is a handful and it’s true… but if you craft your plan, set goals and keep working on it, you’ll have a pretty good online digital marketing plan. If you follow-through, then you’ll be reaping the rewards pretty soon.

Conclusion

TL;DR

If you plan on succeeding online, you need a digital marketing plan. As they say, those who plan, plan to succeed.

The plan I showed above is just the tip of what can be done but doing the steps is enough to give you great all-around results and even dominate your current competition.

What happens when you finish each of those tasks? Then you need to continue improving them. Digital marketing is an ongoing battle. You just don’t stop because you finished your tasks.

Your current competitors won’t stop until they beat you. New competitors will pop up out of nowhere and try to steal some of your thunder. Big brands with a bias from Google will come aiming at your keywords. But they will continue to fail if you are ready for them.

Do the planning right, put in the time, and you are better equipped to deal with competitors.  You’ll have a foundation so strong that it will take a lot of effort for them to catch up.

Once you get to this point, pat yourself on the back. Congratulations, you are the king of the hill.

Now it’s time to go back, get ready and make an even better plan using the data you now have. A new battle will start soon and you need to prepare.

Need our Help? Let us Know

Bonus! Here’s a list of our recommended project management tools and they are free!

Project Management Tools for SEO and Marketing

Take The Conversation Further!

We’d love to hear from you about how you prepare your SEO or Digital Marketing Plan for your business.
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53 replies
  1. Soumya Roy says:

    Dennis, mind-blowing post and actionable tips. Thanks mate for sharing this. I am an optimizer and a recent entrepreneur. I was planning to start Adwrods PPC and Facebook marketing from this month. This will be a complete testing phase where I want to gather more data so that I can create more effective marketing campaigns later on which will deliver better ROI over time. The tips you shared on Adwords section really helped me to understand how to start.
    Super helpful article and amazed with the in-depth details you covered in a single post.

    Regards
    Soumya Roy

    Reply
    • Dennis Seymour says:

      Thanks Soumya, I really wanted to go more in-depth but damn, that’s going to take ages 😀

      Good luck with the campaigns, keep testing. That’s where you’ll find gold 🙂

      Reply
  2. Abrar Mohi Shafee says:

    Hi Dennis,

    Can’t agree more with the planning concept. To make a successful business, it is essential to craft a well researched and effective plan.

    One thing I heartily believe, working without planning might not go that long. Very soon it will fade away unless we take necessary steps to indurate the base.

    All the five elements you described are important. This would be an ultimate marketing plan if we can tie all of them into one.

    Thank you for an helpful post, Dennis. Loved the image!

    Reply
    • Dennis Seymour says:

      Thanks Abrar, appreciate you leaving your thoughts. It definitely is important to plan it out. I didn’t in the past and it wasted a crap load of time (aka years) – I dont want people to go through that 🙂

      Reply
  3. Donna Merrill says:

    Hi Dennis,

    This is another great post you’ve put together for us. You’ve offered so many resources and strategies that I’m afraid some folks might think it’s all too much to do.

    That’s where the planning comes in to play. You’ve got to plan, and yes, you’ve then got to #GID … 🙂

    I’m always amazed when one of my clients will work so hard to implement a digital strategy, whether it’s developing a blog or creating an info product, or whatever… and half way through the process decide to do something different!

    I think the bottom line to any digital business rests on converting your readers, fans, subscribers etc into paying clients and customers. If you put a strategy into place you MUST “get it done” by implementing consistently over a sustained period of time. It doesn’t happen overnight. But you need to keep building and building one what you started, not re-starting every 30 or 60 days with a whole new plan or business model. Folks that do that, just get nowhere. Every time you switch gears and move into “something new”… you have to start all over again.

    That’s why it’s so important to start your digital business with something you’re passionate about. If you don’t love what you’re doing, you’ll just get frustrated and overwhelmed. When you do love it, you just keep digging deeper. Each challenge is an opportunity for growth rather than a call to close up shop and open on the other side of the street.

    You’ve outlined a great marketing plan here, and it’s a really cool action guide for those ready to run to the top with their online business. The key to it all is to 1. #GID and 2. Stay on track.

    -Donna

    Reply
    • Dennis Seymour says:

      Yeah, sorry about that Donna, I guess it did get a tad long… I chopped off around 1k words though so it’s just 9k now. 😀

      Kidding aside, yes, definitely. A plan and a GID (or GTD) attitude is a must. It’s very easy to get lost with all the tasks but doing them through phases will make it all very easy.

      A long term outlook is important because they’ll get to see the whole picture and not just the short term. Sometimes, little setbacks can just throw them into a loop and make them stop working. With a long term plan, they get to look at the setbacks as part of the process and not as failures.

      Thanks for leaving your thoughts Donna. Appreciate the share as well!

      Reply
  4. Barbara Charles says:

    Great article.

    Never really understood all the aspects of digital marketing. I didn’t understand that some of the items you mentioned were called ‘digital marketing’ although I’m aware of everything individually.

    It’s definitely good to come up with a solid plan. Thanks for providing this information.

    Barbara

    Reply
  5. Carol Amato says:

    Hello, Dennis!

    Thank you so much for mentioning my guest article on Don’s site, I really appreciate that!

    Had to chuckle because I did not click on the left links before until now… Awesome info!

    “Complete Beginner’s GUIDE” is right and it’s comprehensive – I’m very impressed.

    Will definitely be bookmarking.

    At first I was very disappointed that Google changed the keyword tool to the planner. However, I agree with you and now I really like it.

    I make sure to use my Google Webmaster Tools to see keywords… also as they only let you see 3 months at a time, I think.

    Thanks again for the kind mention, Dennis.

    Have a great day. 🙂
    ˜Carol

    Reply
    • Dennis Seymour says:

      No problem Carol. Always top notch writing from you.

      I guess I made a mistake then. I thought about using those tabs to make it easier to navigate around and to curb the length. I see now that it can be a problem. 🙁

      Yeah, there’s a 3 month limit to Webmaster Tools, but the data in there is good enough and pretty accurate. That’s pretty much all you need. Be sure to include your subfolders in there as well for even more keyword data 🙂

      Thanks for dropping by here as always and I really do appreciate the share!

      Reply
  6. ikechi says:

    Wow! Dennis

    I must commend you as this is sure a wonderful guide and so awesome that is free for everyone.

    I love the way you arranged the post with titles, links and subheadings. I am seeing so many topics that I can’t just rush it. I just have to bookmark this page for future reference. Thank you for sharing such an awesome post

    Reply
    • Dennis Seymour says:

      Hi Ikechi,

      Thank you, I tried writing something that I would be proud of. I think it’s good enough for now haha.

      Take your time, it’ll be here for a long time. You can make use of most of these on your blog this year. 🙂

      Reply
  7. Erik says:

    Wow, Dennis,
    what a great guide!

    Full of added value, information and resources.
    Worth a bookmark, indeed. 🙂

    Thank you so much for mentioning my post about “faking social signals”.
    We just want real fans and followers, right?

    I found out that having a plan is a must if you take blogging seriously.
    And creating a digital marketing plan is definitely very important.

    You wrote a detailed guide to help people achieve that.
    Congratulations.

    Thanks for sharing, and have a great day!

    Reply
  8. Jane says:

    Hey Dennis,

    This is a AWESOME post! Bravo, for taking such an effort in putting up a complete marketing plan.

    I so love the email marketing bit. Email marketing rocks and it is still one of the personal ways to do direct one to one marketing. And it works even in the age of many other advanced marketing techniques.

    Search engine marketing is one of the powerful ways, but one should not rely on it too much.

    As we can see, we need a mixed marketing strategy where we don’t rely totally on any one source – and if anything goes wrong we will still be strong in the marketing department.

    Cheers,
    Jane.

    Reply
    • Dennis Seymour says:

      Hi Jane!

      Thanks. I tried my best to explain these different things, though its really hard to completely explain each one.

      Yeah, email marketing is still something near and dear to me. I especially love it for my affiliate sites 😀

      Appreciate you dropping by! Have a great weekend!

      Reply
  9. Brooke Neari says:

    Hey really great post!

    It was very informative and I’m definitely going to put some of this information to use.
    Thanks for the great info!

    -Brooke Neari

    Reply
  10. Sunday says:

    Hi Denis,
    This is sure one of those posts that I readily bookmark and convert to read in PDF formats! Its rich in quality and quantity. The content is superb and well-written for the novice and the expert.

    Its important to have digital marketing plan. However, the practicality and delivery of the details are readily important!

    Thanks for sharing this plan and the steps needed to get results. Every Internet marketer needs such strategy to deliver quantum results!
    I have shared this comment in kingged.com where this post was found.

    Reply
  11. Leslie Denning says:

    Hi Dennis. If someone hasn’t already said “Holy crap!” then I’ll say it. Holy crap!!!

    You have covered a lot of material here – and it’s something that I sent to Evernote so I can go over it one step at a time. Thanks for so much information. This could be a digital product in itself.

    I will look forward to perusing the material to see where I can make improvements in my digital marketing plan.

    I found this on Kingged and also gave you a King.

    All the best,
    Leslie

    Reply
  12. Adrienne says:

    Hey Dennis,

    Okay, wow!!! What a great detailed post you shared here and my mind was a little bit on the fried side as I read through this post.

    As you probably know by now having gotten to know me a little bit, I’m not big on search engine traffic or paid (Adwords). Back in the day when I was doing only affiliate marketing I concentrated more on SEO and I did a little paid traffic. I think if you’re really eager to expand your business then both of these are important so I’m not discarding them at all of course. It’s just the direction I’m headed I’m not concentrating on them.

    Social media and email marketing, absolutely. I think what a lot of people don’t realize is that once you have a plan in place that it’s going to take some time to get your desired results. I hear so many times about friends of mine that are hired to market a company’s business only to be let go because they haven’t received immediate massive results. People still don’t quite understand that if you stick with your plan and are consistent over time then you WILL get those awesome results.

    Heck, anyone following what you share will that’s for sure. You continue to amaze me with the quality of information you share. Even though some of it I don’t apply myself, I know plenty of people I can share this with you will love you forever.

    Thanks Dennis for another quality post and hope you’re enjoying your weekend. Spending time with the family.

    ~Adrienne

    Reply
    • Dennis Seymour says:

      Hi Adrienne!

      That’s awesome, thanks for being so honest with what you are doing.

      Im sure you dont have to worry about those 2 for your blog 😀
      You are already doing amazing right now and I’m sure a lot of people (that includes me) are envious of you!

      I really do hope people get to use this, make use of it and eventually build their own plan that will specifically work for them.

      Enjoy the weekend as well! Family time!

      Reply
  13. Mi Muba says:

    Hi Dennis

    A superb post that covered the entire online promotion aspect of a business.

    Earlier the term content marketing plan was so common which now has limited scope and to exploit the full potential of online marketing it is better to term it digital marketing plan.

    In this age of stiff competition planing with short intervals can never help someone to achieve his long term goals. For this purpose development of long term plan is must.

    All the components of digital marketing plan as you pointed are not in any specific priority and have their own significance to grow a business and achieve the strategic goals.

    Thanks a lot for sharing such a comprehensive post on one of the important aspects of online business.

    Reply
    • Dennis Seymour says:

      Thanks Mi.
      I appreciate that very much. Hopefully, it could help you or your audience out somehow. It’s what this guide is for after all 😀

      You are spot on, in this day and age, it’s a must especially long term. It will set you apart from your competitors that have short term views.

      Enjoy your weekend!

      Reply
  14. kelli says:

    Hey Dennis
    Really in depth, helpful post. The other day I was playing around with some keywords related to some of the topics I write about most on my blog, and for one of them, I came up on the first page. A few others, I was showing up on the third. I’ll be honest in that I never gave much thought to SEO but after seeing my stuff actually ranking somewhat decently, it is something I want to be more conscious of. This article was really helpful. Thanks!

    Reply
  15. Richard Martin says:

    Dennis.

    Absolutely amazing content you have right here.

    I love the presentation too – with tabs? Awesome.

    Already you have given me some ideas, even though i must admit I haven’t read even 50% of this post yet. What I have done is bookmarked it.

    Terrific my friend, I think this is what they call ‘pillar content’.

    Reply
    • Dennis Seymour says:

      Hey Richard!

      Thank you! You are the first one to like the Tabs (i think LOL)

      I hope it is, I still think it has room for improvement in the future, but it’s already 9k words so I think it’s overkill now haha.

      Enjoy the weekend my friend!

      Reply
  16. Mohit says:

    Dennis this is a very informative post. Many bloggers fail because they don’t have a proper digital marketing plan. I’m concentrating more on social media and commenting at other related blogs. Dennis I would like to see you at my blog and also have discussion about the right digital marketing strategies on Hangouts. Hoping to connect with you regularly from now.

    Reply
  17. Vernessa Taylor says:

    Hi Dennis,

    You knocked this one out of the ball park, for both beginners and seasoned marketers (whether or not it was one of the “New Year’s Resolutions”). I always enjoy reading your “guides” because they are like a personal tour guide through the wonders of what can be safely (and sometimes, easily) accomplished.

    I’m glad to see you included gathering analytics as important to the process.

    (BTW: This was first seen on Kingged, where I left part of this comment.)

    Reply
  18. Reginald Chan says:

    Hey Dennis,

    Awesome list man. Super duper tutorial and probably the most complete one I ever seen until date!

    Can’t agree more man. You nailed this one, big time!

    Reply
  19. Sherman Smith says:

    Hey Dennis,

    Bruh I just got to your blog and I do have to say this particular post just left me speechless lol… what a great job on this and what great detail you emphasized here on getting a digital marketing plan together..

    I do have to say for me it’s taking quite a while to have a really clear idea of how to market my digital products. As a matter of fact I’m still learning, but who doesn’t stop learning what’s the best actions to take considering so much competition and the paradigm shifts that take place.

    This is definitely a great reference for all of those beginners who choose to go heave in online marketing. When you’re serious, you will follow a plan like this in order to get the word out as well as maintain your online efforts to succeed.

    Thanks for sharing this in depth post! I’m going to go ahead and bookmark this!

    Reply
  20. William Earl Amis, Jr. III says:

    I must say that this is a great example for beginners with getting focused. Your information here, has opened my eyes to one location with all the right steps in marketing your products. This is the easy way to bring your awareness of products to the general public who lives online.

    My review has given me more information on your product line. As to what it will support for not just itself. Yet, for any product we may use and find worthy to present to others. This is an approach I believe has made it clear. The importance of knowing how to make aware the things we value.

    Thank you for bringing this to my attention. Well done!

    Reply
  21. Beth Hewitt says:

    Hey Dennis,

    Wow, I think you covered everything, such a comprehensive post and a one stop shop to point people in the right direction.

    Looking forward to reading more of your great content.

    To Your Success,

    Beth 🙂

    Reply
  22. Siphosith says:

    You have made a detailed digital marketing plan , of which many people do not know and follow. This kind of knowledge will help to get focused on how to build success online using the different strategies that you give. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  23. Nikhil Gupta says:

    amazing post great one
    very good written about digital marketing
    very helpful

    Reply
  24. Nisha Pandey says:

    Hi Dennis,

    Wow!!! This is the most inclusive and well thought digital marketing plan I’ve come across so far. Well put together, informative, highly inclusive, I just cannot think of any better plan. I am definitely going to implement this for my business.

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful plans. Have a nice day ahead!

    Reply
  25. Dr. Erica Goodstone says:

    Dennis,

    What an amazing article. This really is a digital marketing plan and you could charge quite a fee just to work with someone to create the plan – and then much more to help them actually implement all or most of the pieces. It certainly is not an easy task to do all of this. Each piece takes time and knowledge and experience. I will; have to return again and read this a few times. Seems as if I have only implemented a few of the pieces needed.

    Warmly,

    Dr. Erica

    Reply
    • Dennis Seymour says:

      Thanks Erica!

      Hope you can make good use of this. Very few really take action but if you set a plan, decide on doing it, then it’ll be a lot easier 🙂
      Have a great week!

      Reply
  26. Oluwaseun says:

    Awesome!!! This is one darn good digital marketing plan material. Dennis, this is really good job done. I am glad I found this material being relatively new in this domain. But I have caught up on a lot of things so quickly, its amazing.

    Trust me, I have perused quite a couple of materials online but I have not found one so detailed and also such an easy read. Its definitely worthy of a bookmark. I just had to join the leapfroggr community on google+

    Just a superb job. 🙂

    Reply

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