How to Create a Marketing Plan: 8 Steps You Need to Know

Creating a marketing plan, or even more specifically: a digital marketing plan, from the ground up can seem like a daunting task. And if you have no marketing experience, it can feel even more intimidating! Hiring a marketing agency or consultant to help with this process is typically really expensive, and you might not have the funds when you’re just getting started. Thankfully, you don’t need to invest thousands of dollars to lay a solid foundation, build your audience, and start making sales online. Here are eight key steps to consider when developing your first marketing plan.

In this article:

1. Define your mission.

What are you setting out to do? Are you looking to help clients get strong mentally or physically? Teach parents new ways to help their kids conquer sleep or picky eating habits? Do you want to teach people how to build a sustainable garden? Regardless of your business objective, defining your mission and how you hope to help your audience is crucial to building your marketing plan.

Example: at Genesis Digital, LLC (owner of Kartra, WebinarJam and EverWebinar), our mission is to help consumers earn from what they know and love. We have created different marketing messages for different audiences, but everything comes back to our core mission –  to help content creators, like you, earn income from sharing your knowledge and expertise.

Defining your marketing mission will help you earn from your content.

2. List out your target audience key attributes.

Effective marketing resonates with its intended audience. Take time to identify and segment your target market. Consider demographics, psychographics, behaviors, and preferences. Think about how they spend their time and what their pain points are. If you have more than one key demographic, that’s totally fine! Just list the different types of customer personas that you plan to market to, you always have your audience documented. Also, assume your audience WILL change. After you launch your business, get traffic to your website, become more active on social media, and send more emails, you’ll gain valuable analytics that help refine your audience based on their engagement level. This is 100% normal! But remember, it’s important to list who you are targeting from the beginning, so that you have a guiding light.

Example: At Kartra we are focused on helping content creators, coaches, experts and influencers sell their expertise online. We know that a lot of our clients use Kartra to help them earn money with a side hustle, in addition to their full time job. We also know that a lot of our clients are strapped for time and resources. That’s why we strive to ensure that Kartra is an easy-to-use and accessible platform, whether you are a marketing pro or just getting started. Kartra and our team are here to support you from day one.

3. Set goals for yourself.

Goals provide direction and purpose to your marketing endeavors. We recommend that you utilize the SMART framework – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. This will help you set clear objectives for where you want your business to be in 30 days, 60 days, 6 months and even a year from now. Whether you’re launching your first course, attracting your first client, setting up a landing page, or achieving your first sale, you want to set realistic goals according to the time and budget you have. 

Pro Tip: Write down your priorities every day. What are 3 to 5 tasks you can do to move your business forward? Be realistic and be consistent. This sounds simple, but prioritizing a small list will help you manage your time and resources in a more efficient manner. And if you choose just 3 to 5 items each day, you will make small changes that lead to big impact.

4. Take a survey of what/who you are competing against.

In the ever-evolving marketplace, staying informed of the other options in your niche is vital. It’s important to ask yourself questions like, what are the other ways your target audience is solving their pain points today? How can you differentiate yourself from the competition in a way that stays true to your brand? If you have an audience already, whether leads or a social following, what do they want specifically?

Pro Tip: Kartra has a helpful survey and quiz feature that allows you to engage directly with your audience to find out what they want. You can even send tailored follow up messages thanking them for their input and providing next steps. The more you know what your audience is interested in and looking for, the better you will be able to position your product and solve a need in the market.

A Kartra customer is creating an online survey to understand their customer better.

5. Develop your key message. 

When making a buying decision, everyone wants to know “what’s in it for me?” This includes your audience. Your key value proposition should showcase what you will offer to your customers and how it’s beneficial for them. Crafting a compelling message that clearly communicates the benefits of your products or services will help your audience know exactly what they are getting when they sign up for your online course, follow you on social media, or enlist your services. Don’t forget to address customer pain points that you identified earlier, and make sure to highlight what sets you apart from competitors. A strong value proposition will be the recurring theme for all your content creation and marketing communication. 

Pro Tip: Content and messaging can be overwhelming. Give yourself a helping hand with Katra AI – just by adding a prompt and information about your business and products, you will have prebuilt landing pages and emails at your fingertips.

6. Choose where you plan to market your business and message.

With an abundance of marketing channels available, it’s tempting to test all of them at once, but that can get expensive and resource intensive. Instead, focus on selecting the channels that best align with your target audience. Whether it’s social media, email marketing, search marketing, audio marketing, or content sponsorships, prioritize quality over quantity. Tailor your messaging and content to resonate with each specific platform, maximizing your reach and impact.

Example: Develop simple campaigns and funnels that include one or two marketing channels. Start with a social media platform: create ads/posts to market your ebook or online course, include an opt-in form to grow your email list, then start emailing your leads more content as a follow-up. This strategy gives your brand immediate visibility on two marketing channels, and will build your audience since you are providing useful information in exchange for a simple email address.

A screenshot of a Kartra customer developing a marketing funnel that will make it easier to convert customers.

7. Create a budget and allocate based on performance.

Effective marketing requires financial investment – whether it’s in resources, software or ad spend. Allocate your resources strategically by creating a comprehensive budget that maps out where you plan to advertise and what you need to create. Consider expenses for advertising, branding, personnel, and technology. Keep in mind your projected ROI (Return on Investment) and track it weekly, monthly and quarterly. 

Example: Track everything you spend your time and resources on. Your time and knowledge is valuable.Oftentimes, it would be lower cost to outsource some of your ad creation while you focus on meeting with clients or building content. Make sure you track your time the same way you track your financial investment. 

8. Test and adjust.

Marketing results are not always predictable, so do not give up if you aren’t getting the traction you hoped for! It may take a while for you to learn which message resonates with your audience most. Keep pushing yourself to test and refine your content to evolve with your audience. The more you test, iterate, and improve your marketing and communications, the more your audience will stay with you on the journey.

Pro Tip: As you get your business launched, don’t forget to implement analytics tracking. Many platforms, such as Kartra, come with built-in analytics, which will help you see web page traffic and user engagement, as well as email open and click rates, and most importantly, sales. 


Building a marketing plan from scratch can feel challenging, but by following the eight key steps we’ve covered, you can establish a strong foundation for your business.

As a recap, start by defining your mission and identifying your target audience, then set achievable goals and analyze your competition. Develop a compelling core marketing message, choose your marketing channels wisely, and allocate your budget strategically. Remember to continuously test and adjust your strategies based on performance and analytics for maximum success.

Ready to build and monetize your marketing plan? Start a 30-day trial of Kartra, the all-in-one marketing platform designed to help experts, consultants, coaches, and creators earn from their knowledge.

Sign up today and see how Kartra can transform your marketing plan into a successful reality.