Your executive summary is the first part of your business plan, but you usually write it last because it is a summary of all the important parts.
The point of your executive summary is to get the reader’s attention quickly. Tell them what kind of digital marketing agency you run and what its current status is. For instance, are you a startup, do you have a digital marketing agency that you want to grow, or do you run a chain of digital marketing agencies?
Next, give an overview of each part of your plan that follows.
- Briefly describe the digital marketing business.
- Talk about what kind of digital marketing agency you have.
- Detail your direct competitors. Tell us about your ideal customers.
- Give a quick summary of your marketing plan. Find the important people on your team.
- Give an overview of how you plan to handle your money.
In your business summary, you’ll explain what kind of digital marketing agency you run.
For example, your agency might focus on one of the following types of digital marketing agencies:
- This type of digital marketing agency is usually bigger than most others and offers a wide range of digital marketing services. Businesses often work with full-service digital marketing agencies because they have experience with projects like lead nurturing campaigns and website redesigns that the businesses need done. These agencies can also give marketing departments more muscle for less money than it would cost to hire more people.
- SEO Digital Marketing Agency: This kind of agency focuses on helping their clients’ websites and website content rank high in search engine results.
- Social Media Digital Marketing Agency: This kind of digital marketing agency helps companies set up and keep up a good social media presence. They make content for social media sites and manage their ads on sites like Facebook and Instagram. Other services include responding to customers on social media platforms and managing influencer outreach for cross-promotion and/or affiliate marketing.
- Web Design Digital Marketing Agency: This type of agency is made up of a group of creative designers who make websites for their clients’ businesses that are customized and optimized.
In the company overview, you need to say what kind of digital marketing agency you will run and give some background on the company.
Include answers to things like:
- When did you start your business, and why?
- What important steps have you taken so far? Milestones could be things like the number of clients served, the number of clients whose problems were solved, serving X number of clients, etc.
- Your business’s legal structure. Are you set up as an S-Corporation? An LLC? A single-person business? Explain your legal structure here.
For your industry or market analysis, you need to give an overview of the digital marketing industry.
Even though this may not seem necessary, it serves more than one purpose.
First, learning about the digital marketing industry educates you. It helps you understand the market in which you are working.
Second, market research can help improve your marketing strategy, especially if your analysis finds market trends.
The third reason is to show readers that you are an expert in your industry. By doing the research and putting it in your plan, you can do just that.
In the industry analysis section of your digital marketing agency business plan, you should answer the following:
- How big is the digital marketing market (in dollars)?
- Is the market falling or rising?
- Who are the top competitors in the market?
- Who are the top suppliers in the market?
- Which trends are affecting the industry?
- How fast is the industry expected to grow over the next 5–10 years?
- What’s the relevant market size? That is, how big is the possible target market for your digital marketing agency? You can figure out such a number by looking at the size of the market in the whole country and then applying that number to your local population.
In the section of your digital marketing agency business plan called “Customer Analysis,” you must describe the customers you serve and/or expect to serve.
Large companies, small businesses, and nonprofits are all examples of customer segments.
As you might expect, the type of digital marketing agency you run will depend a lot on the customer segment(s) you choose. Obviously, nonprofits would react differently to marketing campaigns than, say, big businesses.
Try to figure out who your ideal customers are based on how they look and how they think. In terms of demographics, you should talk about the ages, genders, locations, and levels of income of the people you want to serve.
Psychographic profiles explain what your target customers want and need. The better you can understand and define these needs, the easier it will be to find and keep customers.
In your competitive analysis, you should list your business’s direct and indirect competitors and then focus on the direct ones.
Other digital marketing agencies are direct competitors.
Indirect competitors are other things that customers can buy besides your product or service that aren’t in direct competition with it. This includes social media sites, apps, and people who work for themselves. You should also talk about this competition.
Give an overview of each competitor’s business and list their strengths and weaknesses. Unless you’ve worked at one of your competitors’ companies, you won’t know everything about them. But you should be able to find out important facts about them, like
- What kinds of customers do they work with?
- Which type of digital marketing agency are they?
- How much do they charge (high, low, etc.)?
- What can they do well?
- What do they do wrong?
For the last two questions, try to answer them from the customers’ point of view. And don’t be afraid to ask the customers of your competitors what they like and dislike about them.
The last part of your competitive analysis section is to list the ways you are better than your competitors. As an example:
- Will you offer marketing services that aren’t online?
- Will you sell or provide things that your competitors don’t?
- Will you treat your customers better?
- Will you price things better?
Think about how you will do better than your competitors and write them down in this part of your plan.
Usually, a marketing plan has four parts: the product, the price, the place, and the promotion. For a business plan for a digital marketing agency, your marketing strategy should include:
Product: In the product section, you should say again what kind of digital marketing agency you have, just like you did in the company overview. Then, explain what products or services you will be selling. For example, do you design websites, take care of SEO, manage social media, or do public relations?
Price: Write down the prices you’ll be charging and how they compare to those of your competitors. In the product and price sections of your plan, you show what products or services you offer and how much they cost.
Place is where your digital marketing agency is located. Write down where your agency is and how its location will affect your success. For example, is your digital marketing agency in a busy shopping area, a business district, a separate office, or only online? Talk about why your site may be the best place for your customers.
Promotions: In the last part of your digital marketing agency’s marketing plan, you’ll write down how you’ll bring potential customers to your location (s). Here are some ways you could promote your business:
- Advertise in the local newspapers, radio stations, and/or magazines
- Get in touch with websites
- Put out flyers
- Engage in email marketing
- Place ads on social media sites
- Improve your website’s SEO (search engine optimization) for specific keywords
In the other parts of your business plan, you talked about your goals. In your operations plan, you talk about how you will reach those goals. Your plan for operations should have two separate parts.
Everyday short-term processes include everything that goes into running your digital marketing agency business, such as communicating with clients, planning and scheduling ad campaigns, holding staff meetings, billing clients, etc.
Long-term goals are the goals you want to reach in the future. These could be the dates when you expect to book your Xth session or when you hope to earn $X. It could also be when you want to add a new city to your digital marketing agency.
To show how successful your digital marketing agency could be, you need a strong management team. Show the backgrounds of your key players, focusing on the skills and experiences that prove they can help a company grow.
You and/or other members of your team should have managed digital marketing agencies before. If so, talk about this knowledge and experience. But you should also talk about any experience you have that you think will help your business do well.
If your team isn’t strong enough, you might want to put together an advisory board. Two to eight people would be on an advisory board. These people would help your business by giving advice. They’d help answer questions and give advice on how to plan. If you need to, try to find advisory board members who have run a digital marketing agency or an advertising and/or public relations agency successfully.
Your 5-year financial plan should include a monthly or quarterly breakdown for the first year, then an annual breakdown after that. Your income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement are all parts of your financial statements.
A more common name for an income statement is a Profit and Loss statement, or P&L. It shows your income and then takes away your expenses to show if you made a profit.
You need to make assumptions in order to make your income statement. For example, will you book 5 clients per day and/or offer customizable advertising packages? And will sales grow by 2% or 10% every year? As you might expect, the financial forecasts for your business will be greatly affected by the assumptions you choose. Do as much research as you can to try to make sure your assumptions are true.
The Balance Sheets
Balance sheets list what you own and what you owe. Balance sheets can have a lot of information, but try to boil them down to the most important parts. For example, if you spend $50,000 building up your digital marketing agency, you won’t make money right away. Instead, it is an asset that you can use to make money for years to come. Also, if someone gives you a check for $50,000, you don’t have to pay it back right away. Instead, you will have to pay that back over time.
Statement of Cash Flow
Your cash flow statement will help you figure out how much money you need to start or grow your business and make sure you never run out of cash. Most business owners and entrepreneurs don’t realize that you can make money but still go bankrupt if you run out of money.
When making your Income Statement and Balance Sheets, make sure to include some of the most important costs of starting or growing a digital marketing agency:
- Cost of office supplies and equipment
- Payroll or salaries given to employees
- Insurance for businesses
- If you’re starting a new business, you’ll also have to pay for legal fees, permits, computer software, and equipment.