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Digital marketing plan template for startups, small, and mid-sized businesses

Rapidly create a simple digital marketing plan using the Smart Insights RACE planning framework

Why do I need this guide?

Have you noticed how most advice and case studies of marketing in books and blogs, focuses on the Big Brands with their Big Budgets? Yes, every business can learn from the heritage of these brands, but it’s a very different world from that for small businesses where budget is limited and every dollar and pound of investment matter.

There's often less time or dedicated resource for strategy and planning in smaller businesses too, yet all managers recognize the importance of this.

This template is aimed at helping you quickly create a practical 'real-world' digital strategy that enables you to review all of the digital marketing activities available to small businesses.  It clearly shows you what needs to go into a digital marketing plan and where you need to prioritize your investment of time and available budget. It covers a mix of no or low-cost promotion techniques like organic search and social media marketing, plus reminds about cost-effective paid techniques like retargeting.

Who is it for?

This short planning template will help small and medium businesses (SMEs or SMBs) and startups to rapidly create a short but comprehensive digital marketing plan. It's designed to be used for businesses operating in both B2B and B2C sectors.

Depending on the company size and people in your team it may be relevant for:

  • Business owners or owner/managers
  • Marketing or digital marketing managers
  • Agencies or consultants assisting the business with their strategy

The structure of template can also be used for mid-size and larger businesses considering their digital transformation. Issues more relevant to larger organizations are highlighted.

How is the template structured?

The template is structured using the Smart Insights RACE Planning framework and six pillars for effective digital marketing.  This gives a simple structure for you to implement your strategy. The six pillars of digital marketing covered across RACE are:

  • Planning and governance
  • Goals and measurement
  • Digital media
  • Content marketing
  • Digital Experience (website and mobile apps)
  • Conversational messaging (Email marketing automation)

RACE starts with an initial digital strategy planning phase. Many businesses miss this, but it’s essential as a foundation to make the most of the opportunities to reach your audience and target them effectively online. Issues to consider are recommended in the planning and goals section.

Who is this guide for?

This guide is for you if you’re looking to expand a small business using the power of low-cost or no-cost digital marketing. You will be responsible for digital marketing as:

  • Owner, manager or director of the business
  • Marketing or digital marketing manager in small-medium sized businesses
  • Other directors in and SME/SMB for whom marketing is not your main role, e.g. Financial Director, Operations director

Resource Details

About the author

Dr. Dave Chaffey

Dave ChaffeyDave is co-founder of Smart Insights. He is editor of the 100 templates, ebooks and courses in the digital marketing resource library created by our team of 25+ Digital Marketing experts. Our resources used by our members in more than 80 countries to Map, Plan and Manage their digital marketing.

For his full profile, or to connect on LinkedIn or other social networks, see the About Dave Chaffey profile page on Smart Insights. Dave is author of 5 bestselling books on digital marketing including Digital Marketing Excellence and Digital Marketing: Strategy, Implementation and Practice. In 2004 he was recognised by the Chartered Institute of Marketing as one of 50 marketing ‘gurus’ worldwide who have helped shape the future of marketing.

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