Digital Marketing Strategy Checklist in 12 Steps

Discover how to plan, optimize and measure your digital marketing efforts with this simple checklist.

Marketing design
August 11, 2021

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Trying to create a digital marketing strategy that covers every single aspect of your online presence? It is hard to include every single step in one article, but in this one, we’ll try to focus on the basics and help you build from thereon.

A marketing strategy focused on online channels should be all-encompassing. It should define every step, from how you will use graphic design to better your marketing game to how often you will create lead magnets and how you will target your Google ads.

So, needless to say, a digital marketing checklist is not a definitive list, especially since trends, search engines, and social media platforms evolve by the day. It is more of a list of entries to remind you of all the types of digital marketing that can help you increase sales and conversion rates and help you compile marketing ideas for the long run.

Here are 12 of the most important steps we, as the marketing team at ManyPixels, regularly improve and brainstorm.

Branding guidelines

No matter what you need to create for a digital marketing campaign, web design, blog post, any other element that comes to your mind—you need to set the basics.

A branding guideline will help you define the look and content of your marketing plan. On the aesthetic side, that means:

  • Colors
  • Fonts
  • Usage of symbols, photos, and illustrations
  • Primary and secondary logos
  • Backgrounds and patterns, etc

But a branding guideline will also encompass messaging and keywords that speak about your brand and define its voice. Key-value propositions, slogans, mission statements, and brand vision are some of the things that you need to put on paper and use in the long term in copywriting and corporate communications.

brand creation process.png

So, for your SMM plan, you should create:

Define and track your KPIs

A KPI, or a key performance indicator, is a measurable value or metric that shows how a company is performing in achieving its objectives. There are dozens of different KPIs you can focus on that show how well a company is performing in terms of productivity, marketing, sales, customer service, etc.

When it comes to digital marketing, KPIs can be conversions, new users, marketing revenue attribution, customer lifetime value, organic traffic, mobile traffic, lead-to-customer ratio, and many others. Most of these values are measured through Google Analytics, but some are private data that only the company can compile and analyze.

Here is how to define and track your KPIs:

  • Choose your goals and objectives
  • Choose the best metrics that will help you track your success
  • Decide which actions will help you meet your goals
  • Include all team members and share the KPIs with everyone involved in achieving them
  • Review KPIs regularly and track the success

Design high-performing email campaigns

An email marketing strategy is valuable for your company. It can increase your sales and improve the relationship you have with your customers.

There were 3.9 billion email users in 2019, MailerLite reports. In 2024, this number is expected to increase to 4.48 billion email users.

Furthermore, the number of email newsletter signups is also increasing: the average weekly signups per account have increased by 34.9% since March 9, 2020. It might be the pandemic’s doing, but it is for sure favorable for marketers.

And email marketing campaigns are also one of the most economically effective investments in marketing. According to research done by DMA in 2019, for each dollar invested in an email campaign, you can expect a return of investment of 42 dollars.

So, since email marketing is for sure going to be a part of your digital strategy, make sure to also provide high-quality emails at the right time and frequency.

You can create an art direction for your email newsletter, as well as read about the trends in email marketing to make sure that your campaign is up to date and follows all the most important deliverability factors.

Content marketing strategy

One of the most important aspects of digital marketing is content marketing. This is a great way to attract a bigger audience and nurture the relationship through providing engaging and informative articles, videos, podcasts, and other types of media formats.

Content marketing refers to producing long-form material that helps readers and viewers learn or discover topics that are directly or indirectly connected to the company's scope of activity.

Content marketing is inextricably linked to SEO. It's generally based on keyword research that overlaps the business's core interest, rivals, and topics that the audience wants to learn about.

So, in your checklist of “musts” for a successful digital marketing strategy, make sure to list a long list of articles that are:

  • Relevant to your business
  • Helpful and informative to your target audience
  • Will help you rank better on search engines
  • Can be interlinked to other articles on your website

Social media marketing plan

Social media marketing drives traffic and raises brand awareness through advertising and posting on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, TikTok, as well as YouTube (although it isn’t considered a social media platform).

The biggest thing that makes SMM so important is that it involves active participation and feedback from the target audience. This means that the advertisers can easily measure the success of campaigns, as well as learn the demographic data, interests, background, and other information for their ideal buyers.

  • Art direction for your social media assets
  • Calendar of social media posts and frequency
  • A roster of keywords and messaging to use
  • Research of platforms that fit your target audience
  • List of right formats and sizes for assets for each platform
  • Plan of long-term campaigns

All of these elements are done by a combination of your own branding guidelines and research of your ideal buyers, as well as trends and relevant data for social media marketing and your competitors.

Calendar of marketing campaigns

There are plenty of holidays, special events and occasions for which you might want to launch a campaign. Whether it’s Black Friday, Christmas, or Back to School Week, depending on the industry of your small business or startup, creating a calendar beforehand will help you have an overview of the dates. Furthermore, you’ll know what assets you need to produce and workdays your team will need to invest in that.

It is hard to foresee what will happen in the long term. Still, suppose you can schedule a meeting with your marketing and sales teams once every quarter and try to pinpoint which holidays and events are relevant to your audience. In that case, you will be able to plan well ahead.

You might also find it useful to find niche dates and occasions that not all your competitors will have covered with a marketing campaign. That will give you the opportunity to gain some extra attention when everyone else has failed to use that opportunity.

SEO strategy

Search engine optimization, or SEO, is the process and actions of making a website "search engine friendly," split into on-page and off-page SEO. On-page refers to the inclusion of keywords and best practices onto your website and landing pages. In contrast, the latter is mainly done through backlinks and link exchange strategies.

SEO professionals enhance four main components of a website's online performance using best practices and research:

  • Content and its quality
  • Number and quality of inbound links
  • User engagement and experience
  • Mobile-friendliness

Imagine a search engine checking if a website is excellent, or as we say, "crawling" it. This is the easiest way to visualize SEO.

Phrases used in website text and content marketing, local SEO and how to enhance it, loading speed on all parts, user-friendliness, and experience, number of other websites that connect to yours, and so on are all factors considered.


Web design and performance

One thing that is sometimes overlooked, but can influence the success of all digital marketing efforts, is the web design of the website and how well it performs.

Make sure to add conversions, bounce rates, read times, and other metrics into the KPIs you regularly check. These numbers will help you understand whether the content or the design of your website is attracting (and keeping) the attention of your target audience. If not, you’ll know what you can do to fix it.

Furthermore, the design of your website can greatly influence the number of visitors that come and stay. If it is easy to navigate, intuitive, and quick to answer what they are looking for, visitors will be more likely to visit your website again.

Lastly, check whether the images, videos, and other additional elements in your website and its content load properly. The loading time of a website can help you or hurt you in terms of ranking better on search engines.

Lead magnets

Lead magnets are tools that help you obtain the email and other information from qualified leads, i.e. contacts that generally fit your ideal audience. These tools can be:

  • Ebooks
  • Landing pages
  • Events
  • Webinars
  • Quizzes
  • Newsletters
  • Free tools, etc.

PPC campaigns

PPC, or pay-per-click marketing, refers to advertising on search engines and paying only when a person clicks on your ad. The main goal of PPC is to get a noticeable and good spot on a search engine that then reaches a large number of viewers.

So, if that is fitting for your business and audience, you should do keyword research, search engines and websites that your target audience usually uses and visits, as well as their visiting habits (when and where they visit, what search engines they use, etc.).

PR strategy

Although not as common as the other digital marketing tools and tactics, PR outreach is much older and, when done well, extremely effective.

Journalists use research and PR assets as resources for reporting on topics. If your company can provide valuable insight or contribute in some way to solving an issue, finding your name in the traditional media can be of great value.

Some of the ways to provide valuable information for PR distribution is:

  • Doing a market research
  • Contributing to a community or societal issue
  • Adopting a socially responsible strategy
  • Providing expert industry-based knowledge

Regular review of the ideal target audience

The last useful step that will help you in your future is to use all the learnings and data you can from previous and current marketing campaigns and update your ideal buyer personas and target audience accordingly.

Brands sometimes miss the forest for the trees by trying to appeal to the wrong audience or focusing on a value proposition different from what makes the customers purchase from them.

No digital marketing strategy is successful if it doesn’t have the right people in mind and uses the wrong tone and aesthetic to appeal to its buyers. So, make sure you work together with the sales team and other stakeholders to review and update your target audience once in a while.

Journalist turned content writer. Based in North Macedonia, aiming to be a digital nomad. Always loved to write, and found my perfect job writing about graphic design, art and creativity. A self-proclaimed film connoisseur, cook and nerd in disguise.

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